National Association of Adult Survivors of Child Abuse

National Association of Adult Survivors of Child Abuse


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EDITOR'S NOTE: Occasionally we bring you articles from local newspapers, web sites and other sources that constitute but a small percentage of the information available to those who are interested in the issues of child abuse and recovery from it.

We present articles such as this simply as a convenience to our readership ...
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Here are a few recent stories related to the kinds of issues we cover on the web site. They'll represent a small percentage of the information available to us, the public, as we fight to provide meaningful recovery services and help for those who've suffered child abuse. We'll add to and update this page regularly.

We'll also present stories about the criminals and criminal acts that impact our communities all across the nation. The few we place on this page are the tip of the iceberg, and we ask you to check your local newspapers and law enforcement sites. Stay aware. Every extra set of "eyes and ears" makes a big difference.
Recent News - News from other times

August - Week 1
MJ Goyings
Many, many thanks to our very own "MJ" for
providing us the majority of the daily research
that appears on the LACP and NAASCA web sites.
Ms. Goyings is a Registered Nurse and lives in Ohio.

Vast international child-porn network uncovered


BOSTON (AP) — The men came from different walks of life on two continents: a children's puppeteer in Florida, a hotel manager in Massachusetts, an emergency medical technician in Kansas, a day care worker in the Netherlands. In all, 43 men have been arrested over the past two years in a horrific, far-flung child porn network that unraveled like a sweater with a single loose thread.

In this case, the thread was a stuffed toy bunny.

The bunny, seen in a photo of a half-naked, distraught 18-month-old boy, was used to painstakingly trace a molester to Amsterdam. From there, investigators made one arrest after another of men accused of sexually abusing children, exchanging explicit photos of the attacks and even chatting online about abducting, cooking and eating youngsters.

Authorities have identified more than 140 young victims so far and say there is no end in sight as they pore through hundreds of thousands of images found on the suspects' computers. They are also trying to determine whether the men who talked about murder and cannibalism actually committed such acts or were just sharing twisted fantasies.

The still-widening investigation has been code-named Holitna, after a river in Alaska with many tributaries.

"They are the worst of the worst," said Bruce Foucart, agent in charge of the U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement agency's Homeland Security Investigations unit in Boston. "This isn't just a child that's nude and someone's taking pictures of him; this is a child that's being raped by an adult, which is horrific."

The case began to unfold when Robert Diduca, a Sheraton hotel manager from Milford, Mass., sent the photo of the Dutch boy to an undercover federal agent in Boston. Diduca, a married father of three who used the screen name "Babytodd," thought he was sending the picture to another man with a sexual interest in babies and toddlers.

Agents forwarded the photo to Interpol, the international police organization, and to several other countries.

An investigator for the Dutch police recognized the stuffed bunny as Miffy, a familiar character in a series of Dutch children's books. She also traced the boy's orange sweater to a small Amsterdam store that had sold only 20 others like it.

The boy's photo was broadcast on a national TV program similar to "America's Most Wanted." Within minutes, friends and relatives called the child's mother.

Robert Mikelsons, a 27-year-old day care worker who baby-sat the boy, was arrested. On his computer were thousands and thousands of images of children being molested and raped, including the boy holding the stuffed bunny.

Photos and online chats found on computers owned by Diduca and Mikelsons led to more than three dozen other suspects in seven countries, including Canada, Britain, Germany, Sweden and Mexico. The oldest victim in the Netherlands was 4, the youngest just 19 days old.

Massachusetts U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz, whose office prosecuted Diduca, said the demand for photos of sexual assaults of young children, including babies and toddlers, has increased sharply in recent years.

"This demand leads to the abuse of children, yet there is this misconception that somehow, viewing child pornography is a victimless crime," said. "It clearly is not."

Diduca pleaded guilty to child porn and sexual exploitation charges and was sentenced to 18 years in prison. His lawyer, Richard Sweeney, said Diduca was sexually abused as a child by a Boy Scout leader. "He gets it, he knows he needs to be punished, he knows what he did is wrong," Sweeney said.

Mikelsons also received an 18-year sentence, followed by indefinite psychiatric commitment, after confessing to sexually abusing more than 80 children.

The horror did not let up after the Mikelsons case.

In May, authorities arrested Michael Arnett of Roeland Park, Kan., after finding pornographic photos he allegedly produced. Agents discovered the pictures when they searched the computer of a Wisconsin man who had been chatting online with Mikelsons.

What they found on Arnett's computer was unlike anything some of the investigators had ever come across: long, graphic, online chats about his desire to abduct, kill and eat children. They said he had also made photos of a naked 2-year-old boy in a roasting pan inside his oven. The child and two other boys Arnett allegedly abused and photographed were later identified and found alive.

In July, authorities arrested four men they say had online discussions with Arnett about kidnapping and eating children. Those arrested included Ronald Brown, a children's puppeteer from Largo, Fla. (A YouTube video shows Brown during an appearance on a Christian TV kids show in the 1980s. In the video, he tells a child puppet that he did the right thing by refusing to look at "dirty pictures" some other youngsters tried to show him.)

In excerpts of an online chat between Arnett and Brown from 2011, the two men appear to be discussing their desire to cook a child for Easter.

"he would make a fine Easter feast," Arnett says.

"yes, his thighs and butt cheeks would be fantastic for Easter," Brown responds.

A lawyer for Arnett would not comment on the allegations. Brown's lawyer did not return calls.

Prosecutors said Brown acknowledged his online conversations but said that it was all a fantasy and that he would never hurt anyone.

"Obviously the discussions regarding their claims of cannibalism are disturbing and a concern to our agency," said ICE spokesman Ross Feinstein. He said agents are following all leads "to make sure these individuals didn't follow through on any of their claims."

To find the young victims, investigators carefully studied thousands of photos, read hours of Internet chats and worked with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. They also employed some forensic wizardry.

After finding a video on Diduca's computer of a bound, 2-year-old boy being raped, investigators enhanced the images of furniture and carpet and determined the attack took place in a motel room in Bakersfield, Calif.

Then they pinpointed the date by way of a TV that was playing in the background in the video, figuring out exactly when a particular episode of "Family Matters" aired along with a certain Pepperidge Farms commercial.

A man from Black Forest, Colo., was arrested and is awaiting trial.

Similarly, in the Arnett case, investigators discovered that a water bottle in one of the photographs carried the name of a swim and scuba center in Overland Park, Kan. With the help of teachers at an elementary school, they identified three children shown in the photographs, including the toddler posed in the roasting pan.

The mother of one of the boys said she initially did not believe the allegations against Arnett, a family friend for about 15 years. She said her son, now 7, and several nephews often spent weekends at Arnett's home four or five years ago.

"Well, when we first got the phone call, we thought there's no way. You guys got the wrong guy," she said. The Associated Press does not identify victims of sexual abuse or their families.

But then investigators showed her photos Arnett had allegedly taken of her son with a shirt and no pants.

"Regret? For sending my son with a sick-minded guy, that's the only regret I have. I had no idea," she said. "It's depressing."

For the agents working on the case, the leads never seem to end.

Last week, they arrested another Massachusetts man after finding child pornography and photos of what appeared to be dead children on his computer. He allegedly had online chats with Arnett and Brown.

More arrests are expected.

"The agents that work for me are extremely driven on this type of investigation," said Bart Cahill, assistant agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Boston. "They really believe that they are taking out horrific violators and saving kids."



Saving The Children


On the dusty blue-colored walls painted with wisps of clouds are handprints of various sizes. Some of the handprints are almost adult-size, typically in darker shades; others are as small as a baby bird's wing, fluttering in bright pink, or perhaps purple.

They represent the hundreds of children who have been seen in the pediatric exam room at the Children's Advocacy Center in Fall River following a sexual assault.

The center, which serves Bristol County, including the Attleboro area, has dealt with 1,650 cases involving child abuse since its inception five years ago, Executive Director Michelle Loranger said.

The staff, which includes a pediatric sexual assault nurse examiner, has seen more than 430 cases this year, alone, an increase of 30 percent, Loranger said.

And, since the center opened in 2007, the number of child sexual abuse cases brought there has risen 43 percent.

The handprints, Loranger explained, are of "any child who participates in the pediatric assault exams. They get to put a handprint on the wall."

The idea is that they see the others, and know they are not alone.

But over time, there's been another, unintended result of the therapeutic art.

Loranger said it has become a powerful statement to some older victims.

"Some of the teens see the smaller handprints and they get mad," she said.

Child sexual abuse is an issue that's taken center stage recently, particularly following revelations about Jerry Sandusky, the retired assistant football coach for Penn State who is now a convicted serial child molester.

But it is also in Bristol County's backyard:

A youth church leader and former teacher's assistant at North Attleboro High School was convicted and sentenced to life behind bars in late June for raping an 11-year-old boy he befriended while at an Easton church.

Paul Hawksley, 43, of North Attleboro and Mansfield at the time of the crimes, earlier had been convicted in 2006 of child rape in a North Attleboro case involving two boys, and was sentenced to five years in prison.

Bruce Cooper of North Attleboro was convicted of raping and sexually assaulting a girl younger than 14 over a number of years, and was sentenced in late July to a 10- to 15-year prison term.

The Children's Advocacy Center of Bristol County provided services to the children and their families in both cases.

Authorities say it's hard to quantify exactly why the center has seen such an increased number of child sexual assault cases in Bristol County.

Loranger theorizes that it could be heightened awareness, both of the issue and the center. And nationally, the topic certainly has garnered attention that could be trickling down, she said.

Nationally, one in four girls are sexually abused before the age of 18; one in six boys.

"Ninety percent of perpetrators are known, loved and trusted by their victim," Loranger said.

She said she can only think of one or two cases over the past five years at the center in which a child was sexually abused by a stranger.

The role of the Fall River center is multi-fold.

As a closed-referral facility, the center only conducts forensic interviews and exams based on cases brought to them through the state Department of Children and Families, the Bristol County District Attorney's Office or any of the 21 law enforcement jurisdictions within Bristol County, Loranger said.

The center is a stand alone non-profit agency.

But, the DA's office, as well as Department of Children and Family offices in Taunton/Attleboro, Fall River and New Bedford and police from all Bristol County cities and towns are part of the multi-disciplinary team.

"We are a centralized coordinator - one stop shopping," Loranger said, with representatives involved in the investigation and prosecution in child sexual abuse cases.

"We're child-friendly, child-focused, to make sure the child is interviewed once, so that they're not further traumatized," Loranger said. "It's not just about checking out kids' private body parts."

The center, contained in 2,300 square feet in the lower level of 139 South Main St., has two rooms for interviews - one for younger children and another for teen victims.

The agency services children up to age 18.

The room for teens includes two green comfortable-looking chairs. Next door is a two-way, closed circuit monitor from which a team of police and investigators observes the interview.

The interviewer is specially trained in child forensics.

"It's neutral fact-finding," Loranger said as she stood in the observer room appointed with a small conference table and cushioned chairs.

Attleboro Detective Sgt. Arthur Brillon says over the past several years, the department has used the center for interviews of young children who are suspected victims of physical or sexual abuse.

He said they often work in partnership with the state Department of Children and Families.

There will be an investigator from both listening in on the interview through the closed circuit technology.

"We're able to talk to the interviewer" who can ask questions they need answered without actually being at the interview table with the victim, Brillon said.

The center allows a child to be interviewed, get a physical exam and referrals to any services that might be needed, he said, "rather than the child being brought to three separate places."

"They get all of their needs filled there."

Brillon said he thinks the increase in cases has happened, in part, "because we're doing a better job educating children about inappropriate contact and who to talk to about it."

He said the center's staff, too, is good at what they do because they're focused on the child and his or her health and needs.

Brillon said if there's a downside to the center, it's the location relative to the Attleboro area.

He said there has been some discussion in the past about the possibility of opening a satellite office that would be closer to serve families in the northern part of the county.

Bristol was the most recent county in which a children's advocacy center was opened.

Berkshire County's center is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, according to a spokeswoman for a state Department of Public Health program that oversees pediatric sexual assault nurse examiners who work in seven of the centers serving eight counties in the state.

"Massachusetts was one of the first states in the country to have children's advocacy centers, with some of the first opening in Boston and Springfield," said Cayenne Isaksen, director of public affairs for the state Department of Children and Families.

According to that department's 2010 figures, the most recent available, Isaksen said, "over 6,000 children were served through the centers."

Staff at the Bristol County Children's Advocacy Center's is comprised of Loranger, it's director, and a part-time program coordinator whose salary is paid through fundraisers.

Governed by the National Children's Alliance, it is one of 11 centers in the state overseen by the Massachusetts chapter.

There are two child forensic interviewers through the district attorney's office and a pediatric sexual assault nurse examiner, Anne Parsons Marchant, who is an employee of the state Department of Public Health and works three days a week at the center in Bristol County.

She's one of seven such pediatric SANEs, as they are called, in the state.

Marchant, who has worked at the center since July 2007, conducts physical exams on child abuse victims, but only if they agree to it.

"The principal that governs is 'do no harm," she said, noting that the children already have been traumatized.

"Some kids benefit from a physical exam to see that they're OK," Marchant said. "Sometimes, they'd rather have a root canal."

"By-and-large, they consent to a physical exam."

"I tell the kids it's just like a doctor's exam, but there are no shots and there's extra special care of their private parts," Marchant said.

A special camera, called a 'medscope,' is used to examine genitalia for aberrations that might not be noticed by the naked eye, said Joan Sham, associate director with the pediatric SANE program through the state's public health department.

Marchant said: "Even with the most horrific abuse, there will most likely be a normal exam, because it does not show on the body. It doesn't confirm or deny sexual abuse."

"The most important thing is to provide assurance that their body is OK," she said.

The exam can include testing for infection and pregnancy.

Other times, children will want to talk out their fears.

Marchant, known as "Nurse Anne," might be posed with a question like: "This happened to me seven years ago. Could I be sick because of this?"

"Kids come here talking about things they never talked about before," she said.

"For some kids it's an hour, for others it's 'thanks, no thanks," Marchant said.

Sometimes, she is called by the district attorney's office to provide testimony.

Marchant said that "for the many kids we see, most are vibrant and resilient."

"They express profound relief that it's (the sexual abuse) over."

Sham said pediatric SANE nurses like Marchant saw 829 children last year, most of them in children's advocacy centers. The year before, there were 778 children examined.

She said the Bristol County center's numbers are up largely because of the outreach conducted by both the centers and the pediatric SANEs.

The pediatric sexual abuse nurse examiners will follow up on training in community hospitals - Sturdy Memorial Hospital in Attleboro was recently one of them - in conjunction with a program that issues pediatric evidence collection kits for cases of acute sexual abuse.

"The goal of the center is to provide the care in the child's community," said Sham, who is also interim co-director of the violence and injury prevention program through the state health department. "That's why we've worked with community hospitals."

The more outreach, the more children and their families receive the personalized services they need, she said.

Since 2005, when funding for pediatric SANEs was first approved, there has been an increase in requests for those services, Sham said. Expansion of services will be done "as resources become available."

How does Marchant, at Bristol County's center, deal with years of hearing the horrific ordeals of child sexual abuse directly from the mouths of the children?

"Most vets in the field are well-versed in self care," she said. "But I think for most of us the hardest part is not hearing and listening. The hardest part is knowing resources are not available."

Knowing they are available through the center now, "goes a long way to balance" the other job stresses, Marchant said.

Loranger said the center's budget was cut in half, to $93,500, in fiscal year 2009. Funding was reinstated just this year and boosted to $200,000.

She credits the area's legislative contingent, including state Reps. Betty Poirier, R-North Attleboro, and Jay Barrows, R-Mansfield, with being champions of the program.

Plans are to move into a 3,600-square-foot renovated facility at 58 Arch St. in Fall River later this summer.

The move will increase waiting room space - badly needed because it is often busy, Loranger said - more privacy and on-site parking.

The center is currently located across from the courthouse where there is metered street parking.

Loranger said the center follows a national model in which "we treat the child and the whole family."

That includes providing resources for mental health services and helping to keep track of a sexually abused child's health.

"We make sure that after the interview and exam, the case does not fall through the cracks," Loranger said, noting it can take time for a case to reach Superior Court.

"We follow up with phone calls to see if the services fit, if they've gotten the status of the case from the DA's office and help them with services," she said.

The center also works with the non-offending caregiver to provide services to support them during their child's healing process, "because secondary trauma is so real," Loranger said.

Often, the spouses or relatives of a person accused of sexually abusing a child "are blindsided."

The center does not have records as to how many cases they've assisted in have led to prosecution of alleged perpetrators.

Whenever a case comes through the center, there is always a representative of the DA's office, but it is then between the family and the DA's office whether to proceed with prosecution.

"Bristol County District Attorney Sam Sutter's office has been very supportive of the CAC and the assistance they provide," DA spokesman Gregg Miliote said.

That includes financial donations to help sustain the center's work "because they are a great assistance to our investigative department and police officers in the district."

He said child abuse cases "are one of the most under-reported in the country."

Miliote said effective prosecution may lead to more reporting of those cases.

The center also deals with abuse of disabled adults and fields questions from people looking for information on what to look for and how to report suspected child sexual abuse.

"We act as an information clearing house for people in Bristol County. People often call us about how to navigate the system," Loranger said.

The center's workers also go to schools, teaching staff how to comply with mandated reporting of suspected abuse cases. They've been to the Mansfield and Norton school systems and plan to go to Attleboro soon.

The center's workers address "myths and norms" of child sexual abuse.

Among the topics talked about is that "it's very normal for delayed reaction," by the victim of child sexual abuse, Loranger said.

There is also an emphasis on prevention.

And the responsibility for prevention is not on the children; it's adults, she said.

"Adults are perpetrators, and adults need to stop it," Loranger said.

Tips they talk about include knowing the adults kids are left with, and not leaving kids with relatives that an adult might have 'felt funny' about when they were a child - something called the "funny uncle" rule.

Of course, Loranger said, children need to be taught about their body and which places raise a red flag if they are touched by someone else.

"We teach them how to cross the street," Loranger said, so it makes sense children also need to know how to protect their bodies.


Boy Scout files reveal repeat child abuse by sexual predators

Los Angeles Times review of Boy Scout documents shows that a blacklist meant to protect boys from sexual predators too often failed in its mission.

by Jason Felch and Kim Christensen, Los Angeles Times

August 5, 2012

For nearly a century, the Boy Scouts of America has relied on a confidential blacklist known as the "perversion files" as a crucial line of defense against sexual predators.

Scouting officials say they've used the files to prevent hundreds of men who had been expelled for alleged sexual abuse from returning to the ranks. They've fought hard in court to keep the records from public view, saying confidentiality was needed to protect victims, witnesses and anyone falsely accused.

"It is a fact that Scouts are safer because the barrier created by these files is real," Scouts Chief Executive Robert Mazzuca said in video posted on the organization's website in June.

That barrier, however, has been breached repeatedly.

A Los Angeles Times review of more than 1,200 files dating from 1970 to 1991 found more than 125 cases across the country in which men allegedly continued to molest Scouts after the organization was first presented with detailed allegations of abusive behavior.

Predators slipped back into the program by falsifying personal information or skirting the registration process. Others were able to jump from troop to troop around the country thanks to clerical errors, computer glitches or the Scouts' failure to check the blacklist.

In some cases, officials failed to document reports of abuse in the first place, letting offenders stay in the organization until new allegations surfaced. In others, officials documented abuse but merely suspended the accused leader or allowed him to continue working with boys while on "probation."

In at least 50 cases, the Boy Scouts expelled suspected abusers, only to discover later that they had reentered the program and were accused of molesting again.

One scoutmaster was expelled in 1970 for sexually assaulting a 14-year-old boy in Indiana. Even after being convicted of the crime, he went on to join two troops in Illinois between 1971 and 1988. He later admitted to molesting more than 100 boys, was convicted of the sexual assault of a Scout in 1989 and was sentenced to 100 years in prison, according to his file and court records.

In 1991, a Scout leader convicted of abusing a boy in Minnesota returned to his old troop — right after getting out of jail.

"Basically, there were no controls," said Bill Dworin, a retired Los Angeles police expert on child sexual abuse who reviewed hundreds of the files as a witness for an Oregon man abused by his troop leader in the 1980s. In 2010, the plaintiff, Kerry Lewis, won a nearly $20-million jury verdict against the Scouts.

In response to the Times' findings, the Scouts issued a statement that said in part:

"The Boy Scouts of America believes even a single instance of abuse is unacceptable, and we regret there have been times when the BSA's best efforts to protect children were insufficient. For that we are very sorry and extend our deepest sympathies to victims.... We are committed to the ongoing enhancement of our program, in line with evolving best practices for protecting youth."

The Scouts have maintained "ineligible volunteer" files in one form or another since at least 1919 to keep track of men who failed to meet Scouting's moral standards. Files that involved allegations of child sexual abuse were dubbed "perversion files." A master list of those banned from Scouting has been computerized since 1975 and is used to vet applicants for volunteer and paid positions.

Only a select few in Scouting have access to the files, which are kept in 15 locked cabinets at Scout headquarters in Irving, Texas. But over the years, hundreds of the files have been admitted as evidence, usually under seal, in lawsuits by former Scouts alleging a pattern of abuse in the organization.

Many of the files will soon be made public as a result of an Oregon Supreme Court decision. The court, in response to a petition by the Oregonian, the Associated Press, the New York Times and other media organizations, ordered the release of 1,247 files from 1965 to 1984 that had been admitted as evidence, under seal, in the 2010 lawsuit.

In anticipation of the release, attorneys for the Boy Scouts conducted an informal review of 829 of the files, saying they sought to put the contents in perspective. The Scouts said the review found 175 instances in which the files prevented men who'd been banned for alleged abuse from reentering the program.

The Times analyzed an overlapping, though broader and more recent, set of files, which were submitted in a California court case in 1992. Their contents vary but often include biographical information on the accused, witness statements, police reports, parent complaints, news clippings, and correspondence between local Boy Scout officials and national headquarters.

The accounts that emerge are often incomplete. But the Scouts ultimately deemed the allegations sufficiently credible to expel the suspected abusers.

Many files contain searing descriptions of molestation from young victims.

"I was crying, and I reached around and hit Max in the face, and said I was going to quit the troop and tell my daddy," a 10-year-old Scout wrote in 1972, describing his alleged rape by a Georgia troop leader, Samuel Max Dubois Jr. "Then we heard the others coming back, and Max said put your pants back on."

Dubois was not tried in that case but was expelled from the Scouts. He was later convicted of child sexual abuse in North Carolina and spent 14 years in prison, state records show.

Today, the Boy Scouts of America says it continues to use the confidential files as part of its efforts to prevent child abuse. In recent decades, it has added other protective measures. In 1988, for instance, Scouting did away with probation; its policy now is to expel anyone suspected in "good faith" of abuse. In 2008, criminal background checks were required on all volunteers, and in 2010 the organization required all suspected abuse to be reported to law enforcement.

The extent to which these measures have succeeded is impossible to gauge: The Scouts continue to fight in court against the release of more recent files.


The case of a Southern California troop leader named Stephen Field illustrates how porous the Scouts' protections were in the 1970s and '80s.

Scouting officials first investigated Field in 1971, when a Santa Monica Scout said the leader had sexually abused him.

A troop committee including parents and a psychiatrist concluded unanimously that the boy's story was true and discovered that Field had a history of inappropriate behavior — including making Scouts run around naked after games of strip poker, according to the file.

But no one called police. Instead, a regional Scout leader followed what was then standard procedure: He filled out a biographical form on Field and assembled the evidence for national headquarters, which opened a confidential file and deleted Field's name from the membership rolls.

From that point forward, any time Field tried to register as a Scouting volunteer, his name was supposed to be checked against a national list of those in the confidential files. Scouting officials assured the regional Scout leader that Field would never participate in Scouting again.

But he did. He was involved with several Southern California troops over the next 17 years, according to his file.

Contacted recently by The Times, Field explained that after he failed a lie detector test required by the Santa Monica troop committee, he was encouraged to transfer to another troop in the city, where he served as scoutmaster for four years.

"They said it had all been cleared up with the Scouts," Field said.

In Valencia, he joined his brother-in-law's troop but left after a parent intercepted a love letter he had written to a Scout, the file shows. At one point, the file says, Field was caught watching pornography with naked Scouts in his Jacuzzi.

No one appears to have reported either incident to national headquarters at the time.

Headquarters didn't learn that Field had reentered the Scouts until 1988, when a Scouting official in Fillmore reported that "Steve Field," chairman of the local troop committee, had been arrested for masturbating with a boy. It took a few days for officials to confirm he was the same Stephen D. Field who had been expelled in 1971.

Sheriff's investigators found pictures of nude boys dating back 10 to 15 years in Field's possession and asked the Boy Scouts for their file on Field.

The national office complied, with one request: " We hope you will use this information with discretion since we have tried to maintain our files so that they cannot be subpoenaed in any legal action," wrote Paul Ernst, administrator of the confidential files from the 1970s into the 1990s.

Ultimately, Field was convicted of abusing two 13-year-old-boys in Fillmore and sentenced to 12 years in prison, his file indicates.

In the interview, Field, 67, who now works in a law office in the Central Valley, denied most of the allegations, except those of which he was convicted.

Told he had been on the Scouts' blacklist since 1971, he expressed surprise at how long he had been able to remain in Scouting.

"It's like a no-fly list," he said. "If your name is on the no-fly list, you shouldn't be able to get on a plane."

Field said he had no further contact with Scouts after his conviction.

Other convicted molesters were able to return to the ranks.

In 1973, Scoutmaster Alan C. Dunlap was arrested in Fresno on suspicion of using his position to abuse several children.

"He was arrested for the worst kind of sex deviation," the grandmother of some victims wrote in a letter to prosecutors contained in Dunlap's file. "It was through his Scout work that his contacts and friendships had been made."

The Scouts had opened a file on Dunlap after he pleaded guilty to four counts of molestation and was committed to a California psychiatric hospital.

Thirteen years later, in 1986, Dunlap had successfully registered as a Scout volunteer in Bryan, Texas, according to his file. There was no indication that anyone checked the blacklist before registering him.

According to court records, he soon began abusing boys, including a 9-year-old Cub Scout whom he later pleaded guilty to molesting. Dunlap was sentenced to 12 years in prison.

The national office received a request to include Dunlap in the confidential file — then realized he was already there.

"Convicted again — child molestation," an official noted.

In some instances, the Boy Scouts of America chose to give alleged molesters a second chance.

In a 1992 deposition, Ernst, then keeper of the national file, testified that alleged abusers were given probation — which required periodic updates on the person's behavior — only if evidence of molestation was "extremely weak."

An individual's confidential file was generally destroyed after probation was completed. But the files sometimes survived when the men went on to abuse again. Several of those cases suggest the initial evidence of abuse was strong.

In September 1978, Scouting officials in North Carolina investigated the alleged abuse of a Scout by Mark F. Bumgarner, a 21-year-old assistant scoutmaster.

One night after most Scouts had retired to their tents at Camp Schiele, the boy stayed up talking with Bumgarner, who reached into the boy's pants and fondled him, according to a statement from the boy's father that is in Bumgarner's file. The boy objected repeatedly, but Bumgarner persisted, telling him "the cartilage in [his] penis was similar to his nose and that he could break it," the father wrote.

After "considerable discussion," the national office decided that Bumgarner, an Eagle Scout and the son of the pastor whose church sponsored the troop, deserved another chance.

Months later, he was arrested for sexually abusing two Scouts during a camp-out. He pleaded guilty to one count of child abuse, prompting the national office to expel him and open a file.

Six years later, Bumgarner was back, serving as an assistant district commissioner with the Scouts in Fairfax, Va. National headquarters learned about his return to Scouting only in April 1988, when Bumgarner was sentenced to six years in prison for the sexual battery of two boys.

Probation also was given to Floyd David Slusher, a 19-year-old staffer at a Boy Scout camp in Germany, who was caught abusing a Scout in 1972 and sent home to the United States.

"Even after he was caught, they had to physically withstrain him of attempting to visit the Scout he was molesting," a Scouts official wrote to headquarters.

A file was opened, but Slusher was allowed to continue working with Scouts. He went on to molest at least eight boys in a Boulder, Colo., troop, threatening to kill them if they told, according to a Boulder County Sheriff's Department report in his file.

"Almost every Boy Scout in Troop 75 and Troop 73 has been approached sexually by Slusher on one time or another," a detective wrote, adding that the victims were "too numerous" to interview.

After pleading guilty in 1977 to one count of sexually assaulting a child, Slusher was sentenced to prison, according to Colorado corrections records, and later released. In 1990, he was convicted of another child-abuse crime and is now serving a 25-year sentence, state records show.

The Boy Scouts abolished probation and suspensions in 1988, around the same time a notorious case in San Mateo was coming to light.

Richard Stenger, the head of a unit of the Sea Scouts — part of the Boy Scouts — was charged in 1971 with tying up and fondling three boys. Police found bondage equipment and books on pedophilia in his house.

He was convicted of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, and a judge sentenced him to four years' probation, his file shows. The Scouts decided to suspend him during that period. But when the court-ordered probation ended, a local Scout executive and several parents successfully requested that the national office lift the suspension.

"I feel quite confident that no further problems will arise," wrote the local Scout executive, whose name is blacked out in the heavily redacted file.

Fourteen years later, in 1989, a parent notified the Boy Scouts that the 320-pound Stenger had padlocked her 11-year-old Scout in a harness and watched him dangle for 15 minutes during a boating trip, according to Stenger's file. Scouts notified police, who recovered from Stenger's home dozens of restraints and hundreds of images of children in bondage, including one of a blindfolded 6-year-old tied to a bed.

Two dozen former and current Scouts came forward to say they had been abused by Stenger as long ago as 1958.

"This isn't in the handbook," one told police.

DOCUMENTS: Read the Boy Scouts files

STATEMENT: Read the Boy Scouts full statement and timeline,0,5822319.story




Most sex abuse criminals are heterosexual

We are writing regarding the obvious misunderstanding of many who believe the Boy Scouts Of America made the correct decision in excluding gays from their organization. The letter writer last week indicated that BSA's decision was sound because it was meant to keep those predator gays away from those young boys. It breaks my heart to write that last sentence.

Imagine yourself a young boy questioning his sexuality and hearing all of these negative remarks from supposed informed, intelligent adults. It's already tough enough being a kid without having to listen to these kinds of untruths.

The truth is the vast majority of pedophiles and child molesters are in fact, heterosexual males. Pedophilia is the sexual attraction of an adult to a child. Homosexuality is the sexual attraction of an adult to an adult of the same gender.

Sex abuse crimes are a major problem and should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. The truth is that the overwhelming majority of sex abuse criminals are heterosexual males.

Dr. William C. Holmes, Assistant Professor of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, authored a study in the December 1998 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association that indicated that 98 percent of all male perpetrators who had sexually abused boys were identified in their families and communities as heterosexual.

Researcher Carole Jenny found, in a 1994 study, that “a child's risk of being molested by his or her relative's heterosexual partner is 100 times greater than by someone who might be identified as homosexual.” Of the 93,000 sexually abused kids in the US in 1999 (the last year of available statistics), half of the children were sexually abused by their parents (Sandusky), while other relatives committed 18 percent of the offenses.

In other words, sexual orientation isn't a factor in determining child sexual abuse.

The research is clear that the sexual orientation of an adult is not a factor in the analysis of child abuse. The American Psychological Association, the National Association of Social Workers, the American Academy of Child Psychiatrists and the Child Welfare League of America all have policy statements stating there is no correlation between homosexuality and child abuse.

We just wanted to be sure to say this is not a gay problem as the Boy Scouts Of America would have you believe and we are sure we will hear arguments to the contrary.

Jim Batty, President

Sheila Batty

PFLAG Wilmington / North DE



Santa Rosa Diocese to keep child-safety programs


Reversing his stance on a sensitive issue, Bishop Robert Vasa is allowing the Santa Rosa Diocese to continue offering child safety training in its schools and to participate in a nationwide audit that determines whether dioceses have provided the training intended to prevent child sex abuse.

Auditors working for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops will visit the diocese for two days this month. They will examine records and interview the bishop, some priests and other church officials, including members of the review board that handles sex abuse complaints.

Santa Rosa was among the Catholic dioceses that passed last year's audit for compliance with the child safety standards, including training for children and adults, adopted by the bishops conference in 2002.

The 165,000-member diocese, where the sex abuse scandal surfaced in 1994, has been found compliant with the standards since the first audit in 2003.

But Vasa, who took over as head of the diocese last July, had refused to provide children's safety training or participate in the audit in his previous post as bishop of the Baker diocese in eastern Oregon.

The Baker diocese was cited for failing to provide the children's training in 2005, and subsequently refused to participate in audits in 2006, 2008 and 2010, according to audit reports.

Vasa said last week his decision to let Santa Rosa's child safety training program continue and to participate in the audit was “not a change of heart.”

The bishop said he still questions the efficacy of the program for Catholic school children, but wants to demonstrate the diocese's commitment to their safety.

“I want to manifest that I have the best interests of the children at heart,” he said. “The audit seems to be the indicator of that fact.”

In the Baker diocese, Vasa said his decision to opt out of the audit was financial, based on the audit's $10,000 cost and knowing the diocese would be found non-compliant for failing to offer child safety training.

“It was dollars and cents,” Vasa said. “It had nothing to do with an absence of care with our children.”

The Baker diocese offered training to parents and church volunteers, but not to children, and Vasa said he still believes parents are the best line of defense against child sex abuse.

In its report on the 2011 audit, the bishops conference said that safe environment training is “powerful” for adults and children. “This training provides, to children in particular, critical, life-forming messages about the skills necessary to protect themselves from the harm of child sexual abuse,” it said.

“That's a great motive and intention,” Vasa said, regarding that statement. “Does it actually do it? I don't know.”

David Clohessy, national director for Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said it was “dreadfully arrogant for Vasa to think that he knows more about preventing abuse than child safety experts and virtually every one of his brother bishops.”

“Training kids to protect themselves from predators isn't controversial,” Clohessy said. “It's been going on for years.”

Nationwide, more than 4.8 million Catholic children received sex-abuse safety training last year, along with 1.8 million volunteers in parishes and schools, nearly 400,000 employees and teachers and 38,150 priests, according to the 2011 audit report.

The Santa Rosa diocese, which includes 42 parishes and 17 schools from Petaluma to the Oregon border, said it fingerprinted and provided training last year to 750 employees and 3,200 adult volunteers and provided training to 8,925 children in kindergarten to 12th grade.

Ten percent of students in parish schools and religious education classes at their church were not trained due to absence the day it was offered, said Deirdre Frontczak, diocese spokeswoman.

Those children will presumably receive the training in future years, she said.

Vasa said he was “not going to dismantle” the diocese's child safety training program, and predicted the diocese would pass this year's audit “without problems.”

Clohessy said that Vasa would “be risking considerable public and parishioner pressure if he insisted on watering down child safety measures in a diocese with a horrific record on child safety.”

Seventeen Santa Rosa diocese priests have been accused of sexual misconduct dating back to the 1970s, and victims have been paid about $25 million in legal settlements.

The audit report said that U.S. dioceses paid almost $109 million in sex abuse-related costs last year, and more than $2 billion since 2004.


North Carolina

Soccer club gets proactive against child sexual abuse

by Phillip Gardner

GASTONIA — In the wake of the Penn State child sexual abuse scandal and a child molestation case closer to home, a local soccer club is taking steps to protect its young athletes.

Gaston United Soccer Club held a child safety seminar Thursday and Saturday to educate its coaches, managers and staff on proper behavior, not only for moral and safety reasons but also to avoid legal trouble.

Kim Field of the Gaston County Police presented a slideshow detailing a code of conduct for coaches of minors. In addition to keeping young athletes safe, following the code of conduct can also help coaches reduce the possibility of false allegations, Field said.

Field also listed signs of sexual abuse so that coaches can detect if one of their players has been abused. The officer reminded coaches that it's their legal obligation to report suspected abuse.

The topic has taken center stage in the media with the case of Jerry Sandusky, the former Penn State football coach convicted in June on 45 counts of child sexual abuse. In a separate case that hit closer to home for those affiliated with Gaston United, former Catawba College and Steele Creek Soccer Club coach Ralph William Wager was charged last month of child sexual abuse. Steele Creek Soccer Club is located in Charlotte and neighbors Gaston United.

“Penn State is close, but Steele Creek is closer,” said Mark Wright, president of Gaston United Soccer Club.

Field shared a nine-point code of conduct that included the following:

The code of conduct included the following:

*Mentors should not find themselves on their own in dressing rooms, cars, etc., with an individual player.

*Should always remember that they are role models for players in their care.

*Never use foul language or provocative language/gestures to a player, opponent or match official.

*Be careful that you don't touch a player inappropriately.

*Use caution when taking pictures of juveniles that you get their parents permission (preferably written) and that another adult is present.

*Use an open-door policy. When you are in an office or room with a child, leave the door open and have another adult present.

*Don't communicate with your players through social networking sites, cell phones or texting.

*Do not give gifts, special notes or cards to individual players.

*Report allegations of abuse to the proper authorities.

The coaches discussed the difficulties of quickly communicating information to their players without using texts or social media. One coach asked Field whether it's acceptable to send practice information to a child via text if the parents gave permission. Field said doing so would put the coach at risk but that sending a bulk email including parents “might be your saving grace.”

“It's shaky ground and it's unfortunate that we have to be like that, that we have to be so precautionary,” Field said.

Field told about two cases of false allegations where an adult was accused of sexual abuse but the child eventually admitted lying. The motivation for such false allegations can be money or anger, and oftentimes a parent or other adult convinces the child to make the allegations, Field said.

“It just shows how people can be fooled by these kids,” Field said. “You want to believe them so bad. There's so many people out there just like me who want to believe these kids. You think of kids as being so innocent, and why would they say it if it isn't true?”

Gaston United did not require its coaches to attend either of the seminars but highly encouraged them. All coaches, managers and staff are required to complete risk management training through the N.C. Youth Soccer Association.

“In a leadership position in a club, I felt it was incumbent on my part to rally my troops,” Wright said. “… If there are people in our club or in and around our club who this sort of thing makes uncomfortable, then that's good.”



Letter to the Editor

Underage sexual relationships are never consensual

The Post committed an egregious error in its July 26 front-page story “Top swim coach accused of affair with teen in 1980s” by describing incidents of child sexual abuse as an “affair” and a “sexual relationship.” Not only do these terms imply consent but they also minimize what is a very insidious crime and suggest that some of the blame may lie with the victim.

Children are not able to give consent. The swimmer at the focus of the story was 13 when the abuse allegedly began. A child's involvement with an adult offender should never be considered consensual. A more accurate description is “statutory rape.”

Mai Fernandez, Washington

The writer is executive director of the National Center for Victims of Crime.



Quinn Signs Law Cracking Down on Human Trafficking

Governor Pat Quinn today signed a law to reform human trafficking code in Illinois. The law will make it easier to prosecute the human traffickers, more commonly referred to as pimps.

Gov. Quinn reformed the 2005 Trafficking of Persons and Involuntary Servitude Act of Illinois, which resulted in no prosecutions to date.

In 2005, federal authorities found seven sex trafficking brothels within Rockford. The new bill helps in clarifying the illegal acts of human traffickers. No longer is physical harm necessary to prove control of their victims. Other threats are now able to be used as evidence. Some Rockford residents say they see prostitution ruining their neighborhoods.

"This is good legislation because it gives us more tools on a local level to address the prostitution issue from a human trafficking standpoint, and it'll generate money from the fines to help the victims of the human trafficking," said 11th Ward Alderman Karen Elyea.

Elyea says that Broadway has been a hotbed for prostitution for many years.

Also new under the legislation, money collected from impound fees relating to prostitution will go directly towards services for survivors of the sex trade.


Preventing Child Sexual Abuse: Beyond the Conversation

by Michael Piraino CEO, National CASA Association
(Court Appointed Special Advocates)

The child sexual abuse scandal at Penn State has sparked a nationwide conversation about how to recognize, report and prevent the sexual abuse of children. This is as it should be. Almost no one believes they would allow harmful sexual behavior to continue to if they knew for sure that it was going on. And many are certain they would recognize exploitive or abusive behavior if it were happening. However, if that were the case we wouldn't have statistics like these:

  • 63,940 children were confirmed victims of sexual abuse in 2010. (1)

  • The annual cost of personal crimes, including child abuse, is estimated to be 450 billion. (2)

  • Child sexual abuse is often undisclosed by the child and unreported by adults when they do become aware of it. (3)

Why is this? There are a number of reasons. First, we need to get comfortable talking about this issue. Unfortunately, abuse will continue to happen unless we provide people with accurate and balanced information, practical resources, and access to support when they do take action to keep children safe. The risk of shame or rejection should not outweigh the risk of remaining silent.

Second, we need to ask questions of the institutions and organizations that work with children about their policies and practices and how each are implemented. As a child advocacy organization, National CASA has a standardized, comprehensive training program for volunteer advocates. At every level, CASA programs have clear policies and guidelines in place for the protection of the children we serve.

Third, we cannot rely exclusively on government systems to protect our children. Each of us has a responsibility, and because we share the risk of inaction, we must jointly protect the well being of our children. We have to find ways for those with the knowledge and experience in advocating for children to collectively raise their voices and ensure that they are heard loudly and clearly across the country. What is needed now is a movement to mobilize public and private support for shaping new policies, generating new investments, and creating a common vision for protecting children against abuse.

At CASA for Children, we are privileged to work alongside creative and innovative child welfare services organizations whose leaders have firsthand knowledge of the needs of the children in their communities and have developed workable approaches to address those needs. We've known for years that investing in our children is one of the best investments we can make--public or private. Now is the time to go beyond the conversation and take action.

(1) Child Maltreatment 2010.

(2) Based on 1993 estimated costs, updated to 2010 dollars, of $186,200 per victim. Ted R. Miller, Mark A. Cohen, and Brian Wieserman, Victim Costs and Consequences; A New Look, National Institute of Justice, 1996.

(3) Loseke, Donileen R.; Gelles, Richard J. and Cavanaugh, Mary M. (2005). Current Controversies on Family Violence, Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications Inc.



Law requiring child abuse reporting ambiguous on penalties, making prosecution difficult

by Matthew Stone

AUGUSTA, Maine — A Maine State Police report released this week that suggests a number of people knew Bob Carlson sexually abused multiple children, but didn't come forward to report it, has raised questions about a state law that requires a certain class of professionals to report suspected child abuse.

Did a university president, for example, have a legal responsibility to pass on reports of sexual abuse of a child? And what would the penalty be if he did not?

Maine's mandatory reporting law requires that 32 types of professionals — from school employees to medical personnel to law enforcement — report child abuse or neglect to the Department of Health and Human Services if they have reason to suspect it has happened.

A review of the mandated reporter law's history in the Maine Legislature shows the law has expanded from a statute meant to compel medical professionals to report suspected child abuse to a more encompassing law that's largely in line with other states' but doesn't clearly spell out a penalty for failing to report abuse.

Maine's mandated reporter law first passed in 1965 as a measure to require doctors who see signs that young patients have been abused to make a report to what was then the state Department of Health and Welfare.

The provision laid out a penalty of $100, up to six months in prison, or both for failing to report suspected abuse. It also guaranteed someone who made a report of abuse immunity from civil or criminal liability.

Rep. Malcolm Berman of Houlton wondered whether the law was realistic. “I ask, does anyone here believe that any doctor or hospital official will ever be prosecuted under this law?” he said during House debate on March 2, 1965, according to the legislative record.

But that question “seems to me to miss the point,” said Rep. Harrison Richardson of Cumberland. “The point is that we should encourage our medical people to report cases where they have reason to believe and a reasonable basis for believing that a child is willfully abused by its parents or natural guardians.”

Since the law first passed, it has been changed 25 times, according to a legislative history compiled by the Maine State Law and Legislative Reference Library. It changed in some cases to make minor language adjustments, sometimes to add to the list of mandated reporters and other times to change the procedures for reporting abuse.

School officials joined the list of mandated reporters in 1975, when the state was preparing to apply to the federal government for funding under the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act.

The state needed to amend the law to qualify, so lawmakers extended the list of mandated reporters to include social workers, psychologists, child care employees, law enforcement, teachers, school officials and others.

The amendment didn't further define “school official” to clarify whether the designation applied to university presidents. The law did, however, impose a stricter penalty for failing to report, raising the potential fine to $500, up to six months in prison, or both.

In 1977, though, the penalty was scaled back. Failure to report became a civil violation punishable by a $500 fine. The penalty language disappeared from the law entirely in 1980 when the mandatory reporting statute became part of the broader Child and Family Services and Child Protection Act. A review of the legislative record — the official record of debate — shows no discussion about dropping the penalty.

While the statute no longer details a penalty for failing to report suspected child abuse, an online training for mandated reporters of abuse on the Department of Health and Human Services website notes that failure to report abuse is a civil violation “for which you may be prosecuted and fined up to $500.”

DHHS spokesman John Martins said the language on the training website is accurate and that the penalty has rarely, if ever, been applied.

“It's difficult to prove someone has knowingly or willingly not acted as a mandated reporter should,” he said.

The online training also notes that, outside of the law, a licensed professional could face professional sanctions for failing to report abuse or neglect.

Without language on penalties, prosecution for violating the law would be difficult, said Penobscot County District Attorney R. Christopher Almy.

“If there is any kind of evidence that a mandated reporter in this situation failed to report, then you have to look to see whether or not the statute is clear and says, in fact, that if there is a failure to report, whether it is a criminal offense, a civil offense or any offense at all,” Almy said Friday. “My reading of the statute is that it is vague on that point. Vague.”


North Carolina

Local Firefighters Learn Child Sexual Abuse Prevention

by Gigi Krachenfels

CHAPEL HILL - Firefighters from the Chapel Hill Fire Department are now being trained in the prevention of child sexual abuse.

Seventy members of the fire department attended the Darkness to Light (D2L) Stewards of Children Workshop , held by the Chapel Hill-Carrboro YMCA. The workshop instructs participants how to recognize, respond, and prevent child sexual abuse.

D2L Prevention Specialist Tricia Smar says working with the fire department was a great way to build awareness.

“They're focused on prevention, they're focused on injury prevention and in turning intention into action in the community,” Smar says. “It just really seemed like a natural fit because they are leaders and people look to them for setting the tone for safety.

Smar says she hopes the program will expand statewide so all community members can be reached.

“We're starting from the ground up, and we are working on getting some higher level folks involved,” she says. “We have one of the premiere programs and to get a statewide initiative in North Carolina would be the ultimate.”

The Chapel Hill-Carrboro YMCA offers the Darkness to Light Workshop free to the public. You can register for the program online by visiting


Canadians fight back global sex trafficking on their soil

by Youngbee Dale

WASHINGTON , August 3, 2012 — A recent announcement by the Adult Entertainment Association of Canada (AEAC) outraged Canadian human rights advocates. Joy Smith, a member of the Canadian Parliament, pledges to protect high school and college students from the AEAC's recruitment in the sex industry. While many Canadians are against human trafficking, Ms. Smith argues that they are unaware of the crime occurring on their own soil.

Recently, the AEAC announced its plan to recruit high school and college students to fill the demand for sex workers. The announcement came after the Canadian government banned visas allowing foreigners to work in the sex industry. The AEAC said it had already created flyers targeting high school and college students highlighting the benefits of working as exotic dancers.

Ms. Smith, however, says that she and many other advocates will fight to protect young Canadian women and children from the AEAC's recruitment on campuses. While the AEAC argues that the sex industry is a safe place to work for any woman, Ms. Smith says that couldn't be further from the truth.

“There is a misconception that sex trafficking isn't a prevalent issue in Canada when in reality it is. While the majority of people are against human trafficking, many Canadians do not realize that prostitution, strip clubs, and massage parlors, are where the majority of victims of human trafficking are found.”

Human Trafficking in Canada is an international issue. According to a 2010 study by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), Canadian law enforcement found that women were trafficked from Canada to the United States for sexual exploitation.

Canada also remains a gateway for many Asian and Eastern European sex trafficking victims to the U.S. Many traffickers have taken advantage of Canada's lax immigration policy to smuggle foreign trafficking victims into the United States.

Mimi was smuggled from South Korea to the U.S. through Canada in 2006 after responding to a false employment opportunity. During the following four years, organized criminals forced her into prostitution across the country. Eventually police rescued and safely returned her to her family in South Korea. However, not long after that, she committed suicide.

Up until the visa ban on foreign sex workers, many Eastern European traffickers used Canada's lax immigration policy to traffic foreign women into Canada. The 2010 RCMP study notes that in 2008, Canadian authorities discovered an attempt to use fraudulent Latvian passports to transport enslaved sex workers into the country. Most were forced to migrate to Canada. In some cases, foreign sex workers came to Canada of their own will. But, they were subject to coercion and threats upon their employment in the sex industry. The study further notes that escort agencies confiscated their documents and placed the workers under debt bondage to pay off their travel costs.

Since 2010, Ms. Smith has been working to combat trafficking in Canada. In particular, she and other advocates have focused on tackling child sex trafficking issues.

"In 2010 my legislation amended the Criminal Code, which brought in mandatory minimum sentences for people trafficking minors. This past year I introduced legislation to amend the definition of Human Trafficking in the Criminal Code in order to provide the necessary tools for law enforcement to apprehend traffickers. This legislation also included extraterritorial jurisdiction in the Criminal Code, which enables police officers to apprehend Canadians and permanent residents when they enslave children or adults."

Ms. Smith continues to work toward implementing better legal tools to fight trafficking in Canada. She also focuses her efforts on raising awareness to the Canadian public.

“Our greatest weapon for safeguarding our youth from traffickers is education. So I am encouraging everyone to contact my office for a free anti-human trafficking resource kit. As high schools are within provincial jurisdiction, it is crucial that provincial governments take action. Thus, I am strongly encouraging them to take decisive action to protect our youth from those who are seeking to lure them into sexual exploitation. I am continuing to work alongside our federal government, and doing all that I can to mobilize Canadians in every region of the country."

In response to the recent announcement by the AEAC, Ms. Smith and many advocates in Canada are planning to fight back with a strong response to protect children from sex trafficking. Regardless of increasing anti-trafficking efforts, Canada remains a destination, transit, and source of global sex trafficking victims. For that reason, advocates around the world must pay attention to Canada's battle against sex trafficking.



Bluegrass & BBQ to stop child sex trafficking

by Margo Hamilton

The Barefoot, Bluegrass and BBQ fund-raiser at Conifer Community Park at Beaver Ranch is Saturday, Aug. 4, from 11 am to 6 pm. It's a fundraiser to help stop child trafficking.

Six bluegrass bands—including The Farewell Drifters, national banjo playing champion Jeff Scroggins and Conifer's own Greg Blake with Mountain Holler—will take center stage. Sex trafficking makes headlines worldwide, however, a local Conifer man founded an organization that is doing much more than keeping the masses informed.

Before Jeff Brodsky, ph.d., became the founder and president of JOY International, he had a heart for kids and a gift for making them laugh, and revealed, “My mother was going to hire a clown for a party she was hosting when I was 16, and I signed up for the job.” Clowning became a global catalyst for Jeff, and he clowned professionally and internationally for over 25 years.

“I loved going into Third World countries to bring joy where there was no joy.” In 1979, Mother Theresa extended Jeff a personal invitation to clown in her Home for the Destitute and Dying and Children's Home in Calcutta, India.

With a doctorate of divinity degree in hand, this Jewish man embraced Christ and proclaimed John 15:11 as his compass and mission; “These things I have spoke to you, that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.”

As Jeff and his wife, Gail, were bringing joy, hope and healing to orphaned and abandoned children worldwide, a shocking documentary on sex trafficking changed their lives forever. “I was shocked. How could sex trafficking be going on in the countries I had worked in for years without me knowing anything about it? As a research fanatic I learned this is the worst of crimes.”
In six short years, JOY International has networked worldwide and, just this year alone, it has rescued over 80 girls being held as slaves in brothels.

“Restoration is a vital period for these young girls, as young as 4 years of age, and we must work with quality safe houses. Their emotional scars are unbelievable,” Jeff said. With a large parcel of property available, JOY International is trying to raise funds to build a prototype for a safe house that will be replicated worldwide.

Re-integration is another component, and Jeff reports one young girl is currently in law school to help bring justice into the lives of these innocent sex slaves. JOY also works to educate impoverished people living in remote villages within third world countries where predators knock on their doors and lie; imploring poverty stricken people to part with their young daughters with the promise they will live in comfortable homes, eat good food and become educated as they work with other domestic staff.

If you think sex trafficking is an international issue, Jeff chided, “Think again. It's happening in our own mountain community. Recruited teen boys prey on young girls, take them to parties where people await to lure them into the snare of sex trafficking. Once in, the girls are threatened their family members will be hurt or killed if they tell anyone.”

“There are only a handful of organizations that are willing and have the ability to rescue these young girls. There's always the threat of being harmed or killed, but if it was your child, wouldn't you risk it?” he asked. “You would sell everything you have to get your child back.”

You can partner with JOY International as our mountain communities come together for the Barefoot, Bluegrass and BBQ fund raiser at Conifer Community Park at Beaver Ranch off Highway 285 and Foxton Road on Saturday, Aug. 4, from 11 am to 6 pm.

Six bluegrass bands, including The Farewell Drifters, national banjo playing champion Jeff Scroggins and Conifer's own Greg Blake with Mountain Holler will take center stage. There will be food from Moe's Denver BBQ and other delicacies. Activities for kids include games, crafts, face and feet painting and everyone will enjoy a one mile hike with The Barefoot Guy. Dr. Jeff has not worn shoes or socks for over two years after seeing Cambodian orphans digging through piles of trash, barefoot and in search of food. Adults can watch the documentary about Jeff and JOY International confronting sex traffickers and rescuing girls living an unbelievable horror.

Tickets for the fund raiser are $25 for adults and $35 the day of the event. Kids 15 and under attend free. Group pricing is available too. Visit, email or call 303-952-0252.


South Carolina

Man commits sexual assault on child while out on bond

ORANGEBURG COUNTY, SC - An Orangeburg County man out on bond for a homicide by child abuse charge is back in jail Friday. This time, investigators say, he sexually assaulted an 8-year-old girl.

The Orangeburg Department of Public Safety says 34-year-old Anwar Young was arrested Thursday after a 3-day investigation into the alleged assault.

In 2009, Young was arrested by the Orangeburg County Sheriff's Department after investigators said he shook a 2-month-old baby to death.

According to the incident report at the time, Young told investigators he became angry and shook the baby. The report also stated Young called 911 when he noticed blood coming from the baby's nose.

Young was out on a $35,000 bond for the homicide by child abuse charge. The bond amount for the sexual assault case was set at $30,000.




Child abuse reporting: Penn State impact

by Bill Bollom

Researchers say the odds are high that we all know one or two child molesters, but we don't realize it. This is supported by an FBI estimate that there is a sex offender living in every square mile of the U.S. One in four women and one in six men are sexually abused before age 18. Over my lifetime, I have known of several cases of child abuse here in Oshkosh. I would guess most other Oshkosh people have similar knowledge, but, for various reasons, little has been reported.

Hopefully, something good will eventually come from the Penn State case. The window on child sexual abuse has been opened. Wisconsin law now better protects those who report suspected abuse. People will be more reluctant to stick their head so deeply in the sand. They will be less likely to turn a blind eye to the situation, and allow further abuse.

Most people want to do the right thing, but not if they will be the ones to suffer the most; from retaliation, public shunning and law suits. Even eye witnesses don't want to get involved. They fear they will get into trouble, or not be believed. I believe that, in order to get more people to report possible child abuse, they must understand and feel comfortable with the process. The Penn State case has made this possible. Having specific guidelines and knowledge of the process known to one and all, might even prevent perpetuators from acting on their desires. Here are the current rules and guidelines for reporting suspected child abuse or neglect in Wisconsin:

Reporting child abuse/neglect is mandatory if there is reasonable cause to suspect it, for A. professionals (doctors, nurses, social workers, teachers, counselors, child care workers, lawyers, etc.) and B. professors, administrators, coaches and other employees of the University of Wisconsin System and C. all employees of Wisconsin public schools.

Failure of any of the above to report results in a fine up to $1,000 or up to 6 months in jail, possible license revocation and civil liability.

Reporting child abuse/neglect should not go through administrative channels. It should go directly to the county department of social/human services or police in which the child resides. The person who makes the report should be the one with the most direct knowledge.




Maryland should penalize those who do not report child abuse

OF THE MANY horrifying details unearthed in the Freeh investigation into Penn State's sexual abuse scandal, among the worst was the deliberate refusal of adults up and down the power gradient to report Jerry Sandusky for the child rapes he committed. On some level, that reflects the deification of Penn State's football program under Joe Paterno, its late and now-disgraced patron saint who protected his program at the expense of Mr. Sandusky's victims. On a national level, however, the scandal highlights the striking inadequacy of existing legislation in several states — including Maryland — to punish those who fail to report abuse.

All 50 states have so-called “mandatory reporting” statutes in child-abuse cases, but three — Wyoming, North Carolina and Maryland — don't attach civil or criminal penalties for failing to do so. Maryland lawmakers considered a bill this year that would have strengthened the state's mandatory-reporting law, making the failure to report abuse a misdemeanor with a fine of up to $1,000. Unfortunately, after passing through the Senate, the bill died in the House. In the wake of the Freeh report , it's even clearer how much of a missed opportunity this was for Maryland to take a stride in protecting its children. In the future, state legislators should waste no more time in implementing some version of this bill and the penalties it would enact.

At present, Maryland has two laws on the books that require all professionals and citizens with “reason to believe that a child has been subjected to abuse or neglect” to “notify the local department or the appropriate law enforcement agency.” But the lack of a penalty for failing to comply makes the measures virtually meaningless. Skeptics insist that penalties are likely to increase the number of accusations made, distracting attention and resources from real cases. In the 47 states with penalties, however, that hasn't been an issue. An awareness of child abuse and its potential for lifelong harm is simply not enough: As with most laws, the threat of a penalty ensures that they will be followed with the seriousness they deserve.

Until more people step in and report the abuses they witness, Penn State will remain in the territory of repeatable history. As the Freeh report makes clear, it's time for Maryland — and the two other outliers — to join with the rest of the country in doing everything in its power to prevent a recurrence of such horror.




Child Abuse Initiatives in Delaware

Child abuse initiatives taking hold Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden remains focused on making sure our children and grandchildren are better protected than they have been in the past. In a meeting last week, Biden referred obliquely to the Bradley case in Lewes and the Sandusky case at Penn State. (Because the Bradley case is still in litigation, he does not discuss it directly.)

“We have a moment in time right now to focus the eyes of the nation on a problem endemic in our society,” he said.

Biden cited oft-repeated and sobering statistics.“Studies show that one out of four girls and one out of six boys will be abused by the time they are 18,” he said.

“And, it's estimated that only one out of 10 victims ever report abuse.”

But, said Biden, there is positive movement in terms of reporting. “There is a significant uptick in the phone calls coming in with reports of abuse.”

He said that is resulting from increased attention to the child sex abuse issue and improved training initiatives.

“All of that emboldens and empowers others to speak up,” he said.

The Stewards of Children initiative in the past 12 months has educated 4,000 Delawareans about their legal and moral obligation, said Biden, to report abuse or neglect of children. The goal is to take that training to 35,000 Delawareans over five years.

The Stewards of Children program is also reaching out to 25,000 middle schoolers to help them protect themselves.

“We're trying to get across the message that one-on-one settings with adults and children are not the best thing,” said Biden, “even when the adult is trusted or in a position of authority. Eyes on is not a bad thing. Abusers too often are people in positions of trust and confidence, often with familial bonds. This is tough, and it's uncomfortable, but it's real. Institutions need to know this too, to protect the child and the entity.”

These problems are serious, and it's good to see serious initiatives to address them.

The child abuse line in Delaware is 1-800-292-9582.



Mpls. tells 'Backpage' owner to stop sex ads


Minneapolis leaders, stirred by recent arrests and disturbing stories of teenage girls swept from city streets and sold for sex on a popular website, on Thursday called upon the owner of to stop running exploitative ads that enable juvenile prostitution.

City Council members unanimously approved a resolution demanding that New York-based Village Voice Media end its "adult services" section of Minneapolis police report that all 20 child sex-trafficking cases they have investigated so far this year involve juvenile victims being prostituted on this website.

Advocates say the sex trafficking of young girls in the Twin Cities is on the rise. Vednita Carter, founder and executive director of Breaking Free, an organization that helps victims of abuse and commercial sexual exploitation, said more than 70 girls under 18 came to seek help in the past year, up from about 50 or so in the past year and around 25 in years past. She said that about 40 percent of them said they had been advertised on

On Thursday, police arrested a man they say approached two runaway girls, 15 and 17, in downtown Minneapolis early last month and turned them into prostitutes, advertising them as a "two-girl special" on, according to a criminal complaint. A day earlier, a New Jersey man was sentenced in federal court to eight years in prison after taking a 16-year-old he met outside a Minneapolis nightclub to Colorado, where she was advertised online and set up for prostitution in a hotel room.

Liz McDougall, general counsel for Village Voice Media, said she thinks it's good that the resolution calls for action but also calls for significant preventive measures. She said that the company works on many levels to stop trafficking on the site and cooperates regularly with law enforcement. Shutting the site down would only move such operations offshore, where U.S. officials wouldn't be able to recover the digital and financial clues to make arrests and conduct investigations, she said.

She added that charging for adult services ads allows the site to have credit card information, which she said is the most reliable tool in tracking down the people exploiting children. If they made the section free, it would only increase use and cause the loss of valuable evidence.

"Backpage has been targeted, and it's been a politically popular thing to do, but in doing so, [officials] are missing out on the big picture of human trafficking," she said.

After the full City Council ratifies the resolution Aug. 17, Minneapolis will join other major cities -- including St. Paul, which passed a similar resolution in July -- that have condemned the site for its role in the sex trafficking of young people.

Battle plan outlined

Assistant Police Chief Jane Harteau and City Attorney Susan Segal also told council members Thursday about their interdepartmental plan to combat the sexual exploitation of minors. The Legislature passed the Safe Harbors law last year, which requires law enforcement to treat sexually exploited youth under 16 as victims, not criminals.

"It's really opened our eyes to this issue that's hidden, that's online, that's happening right here," Segal said. She said runaway teens are approached about getting into prostitution within 24 hours of leaving home.

They said city officials are meeting with nonprofits, other law enforcement agencies, attorneys and businesses -- including hotels, where many victims meet with clients -- to improve collaboration.

Harteau said the police department assigned an investigator at the beginning of the year to work on juvenile sex trafficking cases. Since January, the department has received 60 tips of possible sex trafficking, including 20 that led to investigations. Their priorities for the project are to rescue victims, arrest perpetrators and get the message out about the issue, Harteau said. Nine people have been charged so far this year in cases involving juvenile sex trafficking. Among those charged is one child-prostitution client.

"This is a victim-centered project," Harteau said.

The FBI identifies Minneapolis as one of 13 cities with a large child prostitution concentration. Still, quantifying sex trafficking can be difficult, said Mary Beth Hanson, communications director of the Women's Foundation of Minnesota, which runs Minnesota Girls Are Not For Sale, a campaign addressing the prostitution of underage girls in the state.

"It's illegal, and because of that, it's deeply hidden," Hanson said.

Hanson said many of the girls are constantly moved around the country, which makes it difficult to track them. Pimps target girls who they know are vulnerable and will use threats and drugs to keep them compliant.

The girls are forced into the work, so it can't be called a choice by any means, Carter said. "We know that little girls don't dream about becoming prostitutes," she said.

Recent cases tied to website

On Thursday, Broderick B. Robinson, 38, of Shakopee was charged with two counts of sex trafficking and two counts of promoting prostitution after police say he persuaded two runaway teens from Eau Claire, Wis., to become prostitutes.

The girls were supplied with drugs, dressed in lingerie and advertised on before they were rescued Saturday from a home in north Minneapolis. Meranda Warborg, 29, of Minneapolis, has also been charged in the case.

On Wednesday, Floyd Henry, 43, of Newark, N.J., was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis for his role in a different juvenile prostitution case.

According to his plea agreement, Henry met the girl in 2009 outside a downtown nightclub and invited her to party with him. Henry soon had the girl flown to Denver, where she posed for photos for the online ads, was kept against her will and then prostituted in a hotel.

Henry's "entire livelihood for his adult life has been prostituting women and selling fake drugs," federal prosecutors contended in a court filing, affording the "self-proclaimed pimp" expensive cars and fancy clothes paid for by the prostituting of women and girls in Minneapolis, Des Moines, Las Vegas and other cities.

Last month, two St. Paul men were charged with pimping two teenage girls at an Eagan hotel by luring customers through a ad.


A new non-profit Houston coffee shop fights sex trafficking with every cup of caffeine

by Whitney Radley

For Erica Raggett, a California veterinary student-turned-middle school science teacher in Houston, owning a coffee shop was a pipe dream.

In December of 2010, Raggett was teaching at YES Prep when she uncovered the truth about child sex trafficking and Houston's part in it as a major hub. She knew that she couldn't just sit idly by, and wanted to get the word out to Houstonians that this happens in their ZIP codes, along their streets, in unassuming strip centers.

"I couldn't believe that human beings could treat other human beings like this," Raggett tells CultureMap.

Visitors can stop by for a jolt of caffeine or a quiet spot to work and leave with a greater understanding of human trafficking — and hopefully a drive to do something about it.

During her early days of interest in the topic, Raggett spent a large amount of time and effort to discover local key players. She noticed gaps in funding for aftercare, which meant many victims — an astounding 96 percent, most of them girls between the ages of 11 and 14 — were lured back into the sex trade.

She wanted to find a way to connect people with organizations and organizations with each other, so she combined her passion and her pipe dream to found A 2nd Cup, a non-profit coffee shop aimed at raising awareness and funds, cup by cup, for local organizations that fight against human trafficking.

More than 50 volunteers transformed a little-used room at The Vineyard Church in the Heights into a warm, inviting "incubator" space, one that will serve as a temporary location while the fledgling organization gets on its feet.

Visitors can stop by for a jolt of caffeine or a quiet spot to work and leave with a greater understanding of human trafficking — and hopefully a drive to do something about it.

"The first question that people usually ask is, 'OK, what can I do?,' " Raggett says.

A 2nd Cup has set up a bulletin board listing the mission statements of local allies — like Houston Rescue & Restore, Free the Captives, Redeemed Ministries and Freedom Place — and tear-off sheets indicating who to contact to get involved, plus a calendar for events, movie nights and book discussions at the coffee shop.

"I think that people are interested in partnering with us because we are doing something very different," Raggett says.

"I think that people are interested in partnering with us because we are doing something very different," Raggett says.

One of those partners is Children At Risk, which plans to hold meetings in the space; another is Boomtown Coffee's Matt Toomey, who roasts the coffee and has proven to be an invaluable resource for tips on starting a successful business.

The shop officially opened its doors on June 24, and although it is currently only open for business two days each week, the board expects to extend hours and the menu over the next several months and secure a permanent location within a year.

Meanwhile, A 2nd Cup will be raising awareness this weekend with a booth at Boomtown Coffee during the White Linen Night festivities. Stop by to pick up some merchandise (they'll be selling T-shirts, mugs, cold cups and more) and learn more about the mission — and to see Boomtown's Ethiopian coffee ceremony.

A 2nd Cup is located at 1035 East 11th Street, and business hours are Tuesdays from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Sundays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.



Convicted doctor sends letter ahead of appeal

by Sean O'Sullivan and Cris Barrish

WILMINGTON, Del. -- Breaking his silence for the first time since his arrest 2-1/2 years ago, former a former pediatrician wrote a letter to the Delaware Supreme Court explaining why his convictions for raping his young patients should be tossed out.

The state's highest court is set to hear arguments Aug. 15 in Earl B. Bradley's appeal, but the former Lewes, Del., physician will not be in the courtroom. Criminal defendants do not sit in on such proceedings as a matter of policy.

Bradley, 59, apparently bypassed his lawyers to send the 15-page handwritten letter directly to the justices. In it, he spells out his legal criticisms of a state police search that led to the discovery of dozens of videos showing him raping and abusing children.

Bradley was convicted at a June 2011 bench trial of raping 85 girls and one boy -- the victims' average age was 3 -- in more than decade, making him one of the worst known pedophiles in U.S. history. He was sentenced to 14 life terms in prison, plus 164 years.

His lawyers did not contest the state's evidence at the trial. Bradley did not testify and has not spoken at other court appearances beyond answering the judge with a "yes" or "no."

In the letter, Bradley never addresses the content of the videos or his crimes. He also doesn't admit guilt or apologize to his victims or their families. Instead, he makes essentially the same arguments his public defenders made in his previous appeal hearing: that the search of Bradley's office was invalid; therefore, the conviction based on that evidence should be overturned.

Prosecutors declined to comment on the letter Thursday, and Bradley's defense lawyers could not be reached for comment.

Bradley, who is serving his sentence at the state prison near Smyrna, Del., writes that he was not informed of and does not expect to be invited to oral arguments during the appeal, so "I submit two documents which I hope might be read and discussed at the hearing."

Bradley then expresses outrage at the "assaults" on "basic and core privacy rights" by police during the December 2009 search of his pediatrics office. He adds that the explanations for the search are an "offense to common sense."

"Truely (sic) the case is 'stranger than fiction.' I can't imagine a constructing a case that, if upheld by the court as a legal search, could better destroy the Fourth Amendment," Bradley wrote.

A mother whose daughter was molested by Bradley said she was appalled by the once-prominent doctor's assertions.

"That is outrageous," the woman said. "First of all, he violated my daughter before he contended his rights were violated. Personally, I don't think he has any rights at this point."

Forensic psychiatrist Neil S. Kaye said Bradley's letter betrays a deep narcissism and a person who wants to control what is going on.

Bradley likely waited this long to make a public comment because he wanted to educate himself in the prison law library, Kaye said. Once he felt he understood the law, "then the narcissism kicks in," he explained, and Bradley then saw himself as not only an expert but "the world's authority on the subject."

Widener Law Professor Emeritus Thomas J. Reed said it is not unusual for defendants to circumvent their attorneys and write directly to the court.

But like defendants who do so, "Bradley isn't helping himself," Reed said. The court will not, as a matter of policy, consider letters like this from defendants who have representation.

If the Delaware Supreme Court overturns Bradley's conviction and orders a new trial, Reed said, prosecutors likely could use the letter as evidence against Bradley.

The high court, which has scheduled an "en banc" hearing before all the justices, including the three who presided over a June 13 session, docketed Bradley's letter and forwarded copies to his lawyers July 23, advising them to inform their client that all future communication with the court should be done through his legal counsel.

While Bradley was convicted of sexually violating dozens of patients and cataloging his acts in video files he labeled "Summer Best" or "January Great," his letter expresses anger at the alleged invasion of the privacy of those same young patients by police looking into medical files without seeking parental permission.

One victim's mother said Bradley should not speak on her behalf.

"I'm totally insulted by that. It disgusts me," she said.

Wilmington lawyer Bruce L. Hudson, who represents dozens of victims, agreed.

The fact that Bradley is ranting about his rights being violated is like "the old saw about the guy who murdered his parents and then asked the judge to show pity on him because he was an orphan," Hudson said. "I'm appalled by Bradley, but I'm not surprised."


Prosecutors charge Ohio couple with forcing children in plastic storage boxes as punishment

by Associated Press

STEUBENVILLE, Ohio — A couple from eastern Ohio has been charged with forcing their children into plastic storage boxes as a form of punishment.

A prosecutor told local media outlets that the couple used duct tape to seal their three children, ages 5, 7, and 8, inside the plastic storage containers, which had a hole cut in the top for air.

The parents from Steubenville were indicted this week on charges of endangering children and unlawful restraint. Prosecutors said two other people are charged with knowing about the abuse and not doing anything about it.

WTOV-TV reports that the alleged abuse was discovered in June. The children are safe and have been staying with family members since then.



Horror survivor reveals awful truth about childhood abuse

by Investigations Editor Brian Little

ON a cold June morning in 2008, welfare workers opened the door on South Australia's worst child neglect case.

There were 21 children living in the squalid Parafield Gardens home, some of them near death from starvation and torture.

This woman saw it all through the innocent eyes of a child living in the House of Horrors.

She shared a single bed with six other children and her room with two adults. She was made to watch as her mother was brutally bashed and toddlers were tied up as if they were dogs.

Kate not her real name was often fed only chips and fritz and, as a fragile 14-year-old, she sometimes had the courage to try to stop the torture of the children who almost died in her home.

The survivor of the House of Horrors now wants to set the record straight about what happened within its walls.

For legal reasons, the 18-year-old mother of two cannot be identified. Kate is the daughter of Tania Staker, the mother of 12 of the children from the house and the "mastermind" of the regime of torture and starvation of other children that led to her being jailed for 10 years.

"Now that I look back on it, I think it was a horrible life," Kate says. "I don't want my kids to even hear about it when they are older.

"But only 50 per cent of what has been said about what happened inside that house is true, and for only about half of that the right people were blamed."

She fiercely defends her mum, who received the harshest penalty of the six adults who lived in the home, after being found guilty of leading the cruel games and deprivation of five children, who were rushed to hospital suffering from malnutrition, hypothermia and infected sores.

Kate revealed it was she who triggered the chain of events that led authorities to the House of Horrors, after she found one of the children, a five-year-old boy, lapsing into unconsciousness. He had been forced to stand against a wall for hours holding a phone book above his head.

"(He) was sitting there and his eyes were rolling back in his head and I tried to get him to respond," Kate says.

"I rang mum and when she came, she tried to feed him mashed Weetbix and get him to drink and then she told (the boy's mum) that she had to take him to hospital. (The mum) said she was taking all five of them to hospital, but she didn't.

"Luke (Armistead her mother's partner) bashed mum for it and said, 'it's all your fault'. I think (the boy) was only 20 minutes from dying. With the five-year-old desperately ill in Lyell McEwen Hospital, child welfare officers and police tracked the other sick children and went to the Parafield Gardens house to discover the squalor the 21 children had been living in.

They unravelled the complex relationships of the adults in the house and later determined that Staker had led a campaign of abuse against five children of the five-year-old's mother because they were fathered by her partner, Luke Armistead, and she was "jealous".

Armistead was the father of two of Staker's 12 children.

"If anything, my mum cared for those children more than their mum did," Kate says.

"I would always be changing the kids' nappies and mum would say it was her job ... she had to do it or she would get in trouble."

The torture of the five children, Kate says, was controlled by Armistead and overseen by their mother, who had two more children fathered by Staker's brother, Michael Quinlivan, who also lived in the house.

Armistead's former stepfather, Robert, also lived in the house and was the partner of Staker's sister, Trudy Quinlivan.

They had two children living with them in the house.

Rather than it being Staker who abused the five children, the children were drawn into the abuse of her mother, Kate says.

"Luke locked us in a room, six of us, and bashed mum and made us watch," she said.

"He would get the kids to spit on mum when he had bashed her and (their mother) would spit on her too. (The mum) would laugh and joke when Luke bashed mum.

"I shared a bed with her children six of them and Michael and (the mum) slept in a single bed in the same room. Most of the time, I slept on the floor so the kids could have the bed.

"Sometimes (she) wouldn't let them go to bed. They would stand in the hall against the wall holding books all night.

"Bob and Trudy were also bashing the children. One time when Bob and Trudy were cooking mashed potato, Trudy had the dumb idea to tie them up.

"I was trying to untie them, but was also trying to look after my brothers and sisters. I said that's not what you do to children, that's what you do to dogs. Trudy said they were dogs.

"Luke got home that night and mum got bashed for it."

Kate said reports there were faeces smeared on the wall of the house were not true.

"It was messy ... they say there were faeces on the wall, but it wasn't like that," she says.

"Most of the kids slept in the lounge room with mum. She had a big double mattress there and some other mattresses. Bob and Trudy slept in the kitchen, and there was another room some of the children slept in.

"The kitchen was OK, but then we had a pig that was in our kitchen at night ... but in the laundry during the day."

Kate sports a tattoo of the word "Mum" on her wrist and says Tania Staker, who had two more children after the Parafield Gardens child neglect case was discovered and before she was jailed, is her role model.

"She's always been there for me. She didn't do the things they've said she did. If she is to blame for something, it is for not saying something, but she was so scared. She taught me to never stay in a domestic violence relationship. She said, 'you don't want your kids to see what you have seen'. Mum would go out with Luke ... to take the violence away from the house."

Staker, Kate says, was the only adult in the house who had tried to care for all the children. It was her money that paid for the small amount of food for the kids.

Luke Armistead, Michael Quinlivan and Robert Armistead were all jailed for nine years for their part in the crimes. The mother of seven whose identity has been suppressed and was jailed for six years spent their welfare pay on alcohol and gambling, Kate says.

"Mum would spend some of her money on the pokies, that's true, but it was only ever her who would buy food for us kids. "She was made to just buy us chips, that's what Luke wanted us to eat, but she would buy herself extra serves of cornjacks and then say she was full so she could give them to us as a treat.

"But she would get bashed by Luke if he caught her. I guess, in the end, Mum just gave up."

"She would even feed the nextdoor neighbour's kids because they were hungry. She would give them the fritz she would give to us. It was homebrand fritz she fed to us, and the dogs ... she never fed us dog food like people said."


Childhood abuse killed 36-year-old Texas woman, police say

AUSTIN, Texas -- Linda Gatica survived head injuries caused by child abuse when she was a baby, but more than three decades later they killed her in what Texas police are now calling a murder.

Yet investigators said on Thursday they aren't hunting for a suspect in the murder of Gatica, who was 36 when she died in May at an Austin care facility for people with mental disabilities.

That's because they believe the killer to be Gatica's long-dead grandmother, Martha Gatica, who abused her when she was four months old.

"Investigators learned that Linda was brought to a hospital by her mother in 1976 with head injuries that appeared suspicious," Austin police said in a statement.

Police weren't notified at the time, but Child Protective Services investigated and baby Linda was removed from her family and placed in foster care, the statement said.

'Out of the norm'
Retracing the CPS' probe, police found that the Linda Gatica's mother, Mary Jane Gatica, who was 20 at the time, had given a caseworkers differing accounts of how her daughter may have been hurt, including that she may have fallen off the bed or slipped on a toy, Austin's reported.

Mary Jane Gatica and her three children lived with her mother at the time, the newspaper reported.

After her death decades later, authorities concluded that the injuries suffered when she was a baby ultimately killed Linda Gatica. Further details on the injuries were not available. Police detectives decided to clear the case since the person who abused Gatica -- her grandmother -- is no longer alive.

"It's out of the norm," Austin Police Corporal Anthony Hipolito said of the case.



Plastic surgeon charged with secretly filming patients at Beverly Center-area office

City News Service

LOS ANGELES - A plastic surgeon was arrested today in connection with charges that he secretly videotaped female patients while undressed during post-operative examinations at his Beverly Center-area office.

Dr. Lance Everett Wyatt, 42, of Sherman Oaks, was taken into custody at about noon based on a $50,000 arrest warrant issued after charges were filed Wednesday, according to the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office.

Prosecutors allege that Wyatt used a concealed camera to film two women and touched one of the two patients during a post-operative exam. He was charged with four misdemeanor counts of surreptitious filming and one misdemeanor count each of battery and sexual battery.

Almost a year ago, on Aug. 4, 2011, one of the patients discovered she was being recorded, ran from the office with the camera and turned it over to police, according to the City Attorney's Office.

"Patients deserve to feel safe and secure while in the care of their physician," City Attorney Carmen Trutanich said. "Our charges allege that Dr. Wyatt violated that sacred trust and he should be held accountable."

If convicted on all counts, Wyatt faces a maximum sentence of two years in county jail and lifetime registration as a sex offender.

No arraignment date has been set.



DCF: Number of extreme child abuse cases on rise

CENTRAL FLORIDA — For the second time in two weeks another Brevard County man is accused of killing his girlfriend's young child.

Twenty-two-year-old Gavin Sola, of West Melbourne, went before a judge Wednesday afternoon.

He's facing first-degree murder charges after his girlfriend's 4-month-old son died at Arnold Palmer Children's Hospital.

An autopsy showed the child suffered severe head trauma, which Sola could not explain.

Last week, 20-year-old Joshua Carter was arrested in Titusville for a similar case.

Those cases are part of a new trend WFTV discovered.

Department of Children & Families officials said while the number of child abuse cases have remained stable, the number of extreme cases is on the rise.

"Multiple injuries, more serious injuries, histories of abuse," said

Veteran child abuse investigators, who've sadly seen it all, said they're shocked at what they're seeing.

A 3-year-old beaten so badly his ribs were broken, his pelvis shattered.

In March, two adults accused of locking a 12-year-old boy in a cage, and starving him.

"It really leaves you wondering what's going on," said

Concerned by the cases coming across their desks, investigators decided to take a look. They pulled all the cases in Orange and Osceola counties, and what they found was stunning.

"At one point, we're looking at the numbers, saying clearly there's an increase here, but there wasn't," said Carrie Hoeppner, DCF spokeswoman.

The number of cases was up compared with a year ago: 1,100 in June of 2011 and nearly 1,400 in May of 2012.

But investigators said that kind of fluctuation's normal. What's new and scary isn't the numbers, but the details.

"While the numbers may not have risen, the level of brutality in the crime against a child has gotten worse," said Hoeppner.

DCF tracks the rise to 2007, leading some to suspect stress from the economy may play a role.

But so far, nothing fully explains some of the horrors Central Florida children are living through, and in some cases, dying from.

Central Florida DCF investigators have the best record in the state for managing child abuse investigations.

But with so many cases now involving intense abuse, the agency is monitoring its own people for signs of stress, making sure people who need help get it.




Maryland should penalize those who do not report child abuse

by Editorial Board -- The Washington Post

OF THE MANY horrifying details unearthed in the Freeh investigation into Penn State's sexual abuse scandal, among the worst was the deliberate refusal of adults up and down the power gradient to report Jerry Sandusky for the child rapes he committed. On some level, that reflects the deification of Penn State's football program under Joe Paterno, its late and now-disgraced patron saint who protected his program at the expense of Mr. Sandusky's victims. On a national level, however, the scandal highlights the striking inadequacy of existing legislation in several states — including Maryland — to punish those who fail to report abuse.

All 50 states have so-called “mandatory reporting” statutes in child-abuse cases, but three — Wyoming, North Carolina and Maryland — don't attach civil or criminal penalties for failing to do so. Maryland lawmakers considered a bill this year that would have strengthened the state's mandatory-reporting law, making the failure to report abuse a misdemeanor with a fine of up to $1,000. Unfortunately, after passing through the Senate, the bill died in the House. In the wake of the Freeh report, it's even clearer how much of a missed opportunity this was for Maryland to take a stride in protecting its children. In the future, state legislators should waste no more time in implementing some version of this bill and the penalties it would enact.


Child abuse disrupts brain, may cause depression: study

Children who suffer or witness physical abuse undergo changes to their brain structure that may predispose them to depression and substance abuse later in life, a study said Wednesday.

The finding holds promise for early detection and pre-emptive counseling already in adolescence -- a crucial phase of physical and emotional development and brain maturation, say researchers in the United States.

Using a specialized MRI scanning technique, "we identified microstructural disruption at certain locations of the white matter tracts of adolescents who experienced maltreatment during childhood," researcher Hao Huang told AFP.

White matter tracts or nerve fibers, comparable to computer network cables, connect the grey matter in the brain's different processing regions -- transmitting signals to ensure they "talk" with each other efficiently.

Nineteen adolescents who had suffered physical or sexual abuse before the age of 10 or witnessed domestic violence that lasted six months or longer, took part in the study, as well as a control group of 13 with no abuse history.

Those in the abused group were physically and mentally healthy at the time they were recruited at an average age of 16, and were not abusing alcohol or drugs at the time.

All the teenagers were followed at six-month intervals for up to five years.

"We found that adolescents with maltreatment history who had disrupted white matter tracts during the initial recruitment were more likely to develop depressive and addictive disorders," said Huang of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Centre's Advanced Imaging Research Centre.

Five of the 19 abuse victims developed depression later, compared to one in the control group, while four became substance abusers compared to one control teenager.

Two from the maltreated group developed both conditions, said the study published in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology.

The adolescents exposed to childhood abuse as well as those who later developed depression had significantly lower FA values -- a measure of white matter efficiency.

"We believe that... brain scans might be helpful in identifying youngsters who are at high risk for developing these disorders and target them for early preventive intervention," said Huang.

Earlier studies had observed similar white matter changes in individuals with a history of abuse, but this was the first to find a link to later psychological problems.

Huang said the exact mechanism by which the white matter tracts were disrupted was not yet understood and required further investigation.


Mental abuse as injurious as other forms of child abuse

by Rachel Lowry -- Deseret News

Though the effects of terrorizing, belittling or neglecting a child are more difficult to trace — being subsequent to the nature of the relationship between caregiver and child, rather than one specific event — they can be every bit as traumatic as those of other abuse, three pediatricians wrote this week in the journal Pediatrics.

“We are talking about extremes and the likelihood of harm, or risk of harm, resulting from the kinds of behavior that make a child feel worthless, unloved or unwanted,” Harriet MacMillan, one of the three pediatrician authors, told reporters.

The survey indicated that 8 to 9 percent of women and 4 percent of men reported severe psychological abuse in childhood.

"A number of U.S. surveys have also found that more adults claim they faced psychological maltreatment as kids than claim they experienced any other form of abuse," TIME reported. "This suggests that psychological maltreatment may be the most common form of abuse inflicted on kids."

The authors of the study urged pediatricians to look for signs of emotional maltreatment that can signal sexual or physical abuse. Sometimes, the authors found, children exposed to psychological abuse may "require a level of protection that necessitates removal from the parental home."

Encouraging children to engage in illegal activities, such as using illicit drugs, for example, can fall under the category of "corrupting a child," which can also be defined as psychological abuse, CNN said.

Experts hope to help organize effective treatment and prevention programs that spread awareness among child caregivers about the dangers and long-term effects of psychological abuse, the Huffington Post reported.

"Many are things that parents may, very appropriately, do in isolated circumstances," said Roberta Hibbard, director of child protection programs at Indiana University's School of Medicine and one of the report's authors.

"For example, it's often appropriate to send children to their room and put them in time-out," she said. "But at what point does three minutes become five minutes, and five minutes becomes 10 hours?"

"A lot of attention is paid to sexual and physical abuse," said Alec Miller, chief of child and adolescent psychology at the Montefiore Medical Center in New York, who was not involved with the new report. "This is another form of child maltreatment that is more insidious, in some instances, and it doesn't get the treatment attention that is due."

Rachel Lowry is a reporter intern for the Deseret News.



Wauwatosa woman faces multiple child abuse charges

by Cary Docter

WAUWATOSA — A Wauwatosa mother faces four felony charges for allegedly abusing her three-month-old daughter — and it was all caught on camera.

The criminal complaint against Chancline Babcock indicates the father of the infant girl who was hurt had been playing with her on Thursday, July 26th.
Because the child was laughing and cooing, he set up a video camera to capture the fun.

The father left the room to make a phone call — and he left the camera running.

The complaint indicates when the father returned to the room, the infant was screaming very loudly. The infant was crying so hard, she was losing her breath.

The father wondered what happened — and reviewed the video inside the camera. The complaint says the camera captured Babcock slapping the infant four times.

The father of the girl left the room to get an aunt to come with him and the infant to the hospital — to have the child checked out. At that point, the criminal complaint says Babcock took the girl with her and locked herself in a bedroom. The father forced entry into the room and took the child back.

The medical report included in the criminal complaint says the child “suffered soft tissue injury from being struck.”

Babcock was asked about the incident by investigating officers. Her answer in the complaint stated, “I snapped.” She indicated she was angry with the child because she was crying.

If convicted, Babcock faces up to six years in prison and $10,000 in fines.

Monitor FOX6 News and for updates on this developing story.



Legislature postpones extending statute of limitations for child sex abuse

by Stephanie Ebbert

A bill that would extend the period of time during which child victims of sexual abuse could file claims against their abusers stalled Tuesday night, when the formal legislative session ended with unresolved differences between House and Senate versions and concerns about the bill's constitutionality.

But advocates say they remain optimistic that a compromise can be forged in a conference committee in the coming weeks. Legislation can still be approved after formal sessions end, as long as no member raises an objection to the measure.

“They'll have the time to do it and do it right, so we don't have any unintended consequences,” said Carmen Durso, an attorney who represents victims of sexual abuse. “I believe they're going to make a sincere effort to get this done. This is the most progress we've ever made in 10 years. So I'm encouraged.”

The measure would end the strict statute of limitations that now requires child victims of sexual abuse to file claims before they turn 21. The House version would extend that deadline to 27 years after a victim turns 16, or until the age of 43. That would be consistent with the statute of limitation for filing criminal charges, which was extended in 2006 after complaints by prosecutors who were unable to bring old cases against Catholic priests.

The bill also opens up a one-year window for a victim of any age to file a civil claim of abuse, no matter how old. But on Tuesday night, the Senate amended the House version to remove that one-year provision, meaning there would be no opportunity for some victims to file claims on older cases. The Senate legal counsel had raised concerns that the bill could be construed as unconstitutional.

‘They'll have the time to do it and do it right, so we don't have any unintended consequences. I believe they're going to make a sincere effort to get this done. This is the most progress we've ever made in 10 years.'

“The bottom line is, this needs some more work, and we're going to give it some more work,” said state Senator William N. Brownsberger, who sponsored the Senate amendment. “We can have a look-back period, but we can set the boundaries in a way that will not raise a lot of legal confusion.”

But Marci A. Hamilton, a constitutional law scholar working to end the statutes of limitations on child sex abuse claims in states across the country, said the argument of unconstitutionality is often raised by the Catholic church.

“There is no question that it's constitutional in Massachusetts,” she said. “I explained this to several different members of the Senate. So that is not a criticism that can be taken seriously. What's really going on is, at some level, politics.”

Nonetheless, she said, she is optimistic that the measure was not killed but sent to a conference committee. “To me, that indicates that senators are legitimately behind it, and so it does have a good shot at passage,” she said.

A spokesman for the Massachusetts Catholic Conference did not return calls for comment but issued a statement noting the efforts that the church has made to develop outreach programs for survivors, to be vigilant in reporting claims, to work with law enforcement to resolve cases, and to implement education and child-safety programs involving hundreds of thousands of children and adults.

“The four Dioceses of Massachusetts acknowledge the suffering of all survivors who have experienced sexual abuse as a minor, and remain committed to assuring the safety of children in the future,” the conference said. “As a society we must work together responsibly and collaboratively to root out child abuse from our communities, homes, schools, places of worship, and elsewhere.”

House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo told the State House News service early Wednesday that a conference committee would try to iron out the differences between the House and Senate versions and pass the measure during an informal session in the coming months.

“That's something we're both going to be working on, and hopefully we're going to be able to get that done in an informal session, although that may be a little bit difficult,” DeLeo said. “I think that at the very least, strides that we've made this session, if we can't get it done this session, will serve us well next session as a basis for moving ahead.”

Advocates credited increasing awareness about the ongoing threat of institutional coverups of abuse for driving legislators' interest. Four other states — Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York — are also now considering extending their statutes of limitations on child sexual abuse civil claims, and four more already have.

“The tide is turning remarkably. The difference is that the Catholic Conference, the bishops, have lost so much footing,” Hamilton said. She pointed to former Pennsylvania State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky's conviction on sexual abuse charges and Philadelphia's Monsignor William J. Lynn's conviction for covering up sexual abuse by priests, as shifting the public consciousness of institutional coverups of child sexual abuse.

“Arguments from the bishop now sound hollow because they typically say it's anti-Catholic animus that motivates legislation and the suits,” Hamilton said. “And we all know now that large institutions cover up sex abuse. It's got nothing to do with religion. It has to do with children.”



Florida DCF: Number of extreme child abuse cases on rise

CENTRAL FLORIDA — For the second time in two weeks another Brevard County man is accused of killing his girlfriend's young child.

Twenty-two-year-old Gavin Sola, of West Melbourne, went before a judge Wednesday afternoon. He's facing first-degree murder charges after his girlfriend's 4-month-old son died at Arnold Palmer Children's Hospital.

An autopsy showed the child suffered severe head trauma, which Sola could not explain. Last week, 20-year-old Joshua Carter was arrested in Titusville for a similar case. Those cases are part of a new trend WFTV discovered.

Department of Children & Families officials said while the number of child abuse cases have remained stable, the number of extreme cases is on the rise.

"Multiple injuries, more serious injuries, histories of abuse," said Veteran child abuse investigators, who've sadly seen it all, said they're shocked at what they're seeing.

A 3-year-old beaten so badly his ribs were broken, his pelvis shattered. In March, two adults accused of locking a 12-year-old boy in a cage, and starving him.

"It really leaves you wondering what's going on," said one official.

Concerned by the cases coming across their desks, investigators decided to take a look. They pulled all the cases in Orange and Osceola counties, and what they found was stunning.

"At one point, we're looking at the numbers, saying clearly there's an increase here, but there wasn't," said Carrie Hoeppner, DCF spokeswoman.

The number of cases was up compared with a year ago: 1,100 in June of 2011 and nearly 1,400 in May of 2012. But investigators said that kind of fluctuation's normal. What's new and scary isn't the numbers, but the details.

"While the numbers may not have risen, the level of brutality in the crime against a child has gotten worse," said Hoeppner.

DCF tracks the rise to 2007, leading some to suspect stress from the economy may play a role. But so far, nothing fully explains some of the horrors Central Florida children are living through, and in some cases, dying from.

Central Florida DCF investigators have the best record in the state for managing child abuse investigations. But with so many cases now involving intense abuse, the agency is monitoring its own people for signs of stress, making sure people who need help get it.



Don't let costs of staff stop fight against child abuse

Herbert Ward said that “child abuse casts a shadow the length of a lifetime.” While that could certainly be said of all forms of abuse, child sexual abuse may arguably be said to be the most horrific form of child abuse.

The high-profile case involving former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky has brought the reality of child sexual abuse, the lasting impact, the victims and the perpetrators into the public spotlight. According to a timeline of events, Sandusky was investigated by the public welfare department and law enforcement as early as 1998. The local district attorney's office did not seek to prosecute Mr. Sandusky then and no restrictions were put in place regarding his contact with children, and he was thereby allowed to continue to prey on innocent children and forever change the lives of so many people.

According to the National Children's Alliance, one in four girls and one in six boys are sexually abused before the age of 18, and 95 percent of all victims know their perpetrator. It is estimated that only one in 10 victims of sexual abuse ever discloses and many may not do so until adulthood. For abuse that most often has no physical evidence or witnesses, the child's own words are vital in discerning what actually transpired so that appropriate action and intervention for the safety and protection of the victim and any potential victims may occur.

In investigations of child sexual abuse, it is the responsibility of the interviewer to maximize the information obtained from the alleged victim. Best-practice evidence supports the use of forensic interviews, which are done in a manner that allows for an age appropriate discussion with the child as opposed to an interrogation that may have leading questions. Additionally, an important factor involving forensic interviews is they are admissible into judicial proceedings.

In Tennessee, the local Child Advocacy Centers (CAC) are where alleged victims of child sexual abuse may go for a forensic interview; however not all alleged victims of child sexual abuse will have a forensic interview. In the 107th General Assembly, a bill (SB 1148/HB 1322) was introduced that would mandate that the local CAC perform the initial forensic interview of a child who is alleged to be a victim of sexual abuse.

Those that oppose this legislation would argue that the cost of 10 additional forensic interviewers across the state of at least $350,000 annually would be unnecessary when there is already a state agency, the Department of Children's Services, that is staffed with Child Protective Services investigators who investigate allegations of child abuse and neglect. While it certainly is an accurate statement that DCS in conjunction with local law enforcement is responsible for investigating allegations of sexual abuse, neither entity staffs highly skilled interviewers such as the forensic interviewers found at CACs.

Is there any cost that can be said is too high to implement measures for the safety, protection and well-being of a population as vulnerable as our children? Victims of child sexual abuse suffer a lifetime of negative consequences, and the costs to prevent current or future acts of abuse should not be a deterrent to implementation of protective measures for children.

Kristy Timmerman is an alumnus of Middle Tennessee State University and is currently a graduate student in the master of social work program through the University of Tennessee.



Adult Survivors of Child Abuse Support Group in San Francisco

SEN FRANCISCO -- An innovative and effective support program designed specifically for adult survivors of physical, sexual, and/or emotional child abuse or neglect has been announced.

The group meets 6 p.m. Thurs. at the YMCA Embarcadero, 169 Steuart St., S.F. -- Cost is $5 to $10

For more information call (415) 513-0700 or go to:



New Support Group for Child Abuse Survivors in Modesto

A Modesto marriage and family therapist and one of her former clients have started an Adult Survivors of Child Abuse chapter.

The chapter offers a free support group that meets from 7 to 9:30 p.m. on the second and last Monday of each month. Irit Goldman said she started the chapter with a former patient because she had seen too many people who could not afford to continue their therapy.

For more, call Goldman at (209) 605-9626.



The High Numbers of Child Abuse in Nevada

The Washoe County Sheriff has seen too many child abuse cases to count. Mike Haley told us, "I've witnessed cases where children have been burned by cigarettes, where they've been shaken so badly it causes brain damage."

Terrible acts of abuse that serve as a wake-up call...even more so after a report on the extent of child abuse in Nevada. The non-profit "Fight Crime: Invest in Kids" ( says child abuse costs the state of Nevada over $100 million a year. Associate Director Ted Eismeier explained that number to us, saying "It doesn't just end when the call goes out to that police officer. There are long term costs that continue to cascade, and that's why we see amounts as high as $100 million in one single year."

They say close to 5,000 Nevada children were victims of abuse or neglect in 2010…that's 90 victims per week. Some are severe enough for a double-digit yearly death toll. And those on the front lines in Washoe County say it's getting worse. Public Health Nurse Rebecca Gonzales of the District Health Department told us, "I think we see more severe cases, absolutely." Sheriff Haley agreed, "Because of the economy, because of the lack of jobs, we're seeing an increase."

The demographics are chilling. The youngest Nevadans are by far the most vulnerable: one-third of all victims are under 4-years old. Almost half of abuse fatalities are under 1-year old. The emotional abuse to survivors too often leads them to crime. As Chief Steve Pitts of the Reno Police Department told us, "Too often these children are growing up into young adults and adults, and they're committing the same offenses, if not more violent offenses."

Child abuse itself is generational, passed from parent to child. Chief Pitts sees the "Same families, and you see the repetitive cycle, and you see the abuse and neglect."

Perhaps the most bedeviling fact about child abuse and neglect is that much of it is preventable. They all believe education and family support can save Nevada's children. Sheriff Haley wants state lawmakers to prioritize child-abuse prevention efforts more than they have, and fund programs that work. And he wants concerned citizens to contact their state representative. "They can impress upon their legislators that this is a serious issue. We need to solve it, and now's the time to do it, because our grade in this area is not a good one."

Investing in prevention, so fewer children are abused, neglected or possibly even killed.


You can see the report on child abuse in Nevada yourself:

More data: the National Children's Alliance statistical fact sheet:




Training available to curb abuse

As the Penn State University child sexual abuse scandal proves, we can't let our guard down when it comes to protecting our children from predators.

Kids' Space — Muskogee County's child advocacy center — is taking steps to help citizens prevent child sexual abuse with a new preventative training program.

Kids' Space is offering free three-hour training sessions for youth-serving organizations and individuals in Muskogee County.

“Stewards of Children” teaches participants specific tools for recognizing and preventing child sexual abuse.

Training sessions will teach participants to evaluate policies of children's schools and sports teams for example, said Lindsey Groom, Kids' Space's family/victim advocate.

We are grateful that Kids' Space is offering this training and would encourage any group or individual that serves children to participate.

Muskogee County had the fifth-highest number of child abuse cases in Oklahoma in 2011, according to the state Department of Human Services. Last year, child advocacy centers in Oklahoma counties reported serving 6,291 children — 4,508 of whom were sexually abused — according to the National Children's Alliance.

That's way too many children who had to live through the horror of abuse.

You can help

For more information on the Stewards of Children Child Abuse Prevention seminar, contact Lindsey Groom, Family/Victim Advocate & Certified Facilitator at (918) 682-4204 or



Sex abuse demands attention

by DeWayne Bartels

East Peoria, Ill. — The Penn State sex scandal — involving the abuse of at least 10 boys over 15 years by a Penn State coach — for most people is a sad story. For Lisa Burt the Penn State story is a rallying cry to bring more light to the issue of sex abuse of children by coaches locally.

“A lot of issues around here get swept under the rug,” Lisa said.

Lisa of Germantown Hills is passionate about the issue because her family's life has been tragically altered by a coach's alleged sexual abuse of her daughter, Sarah.

A family altered

Sarah Burt in 2010 was a girl living with a dark secret of sexual abuse.

It was a secret taking a horrible toll on her. But, Burt's unbearable pain has resulted in hope for other young adults dealing with sexual abuse.

Sarah, was by all accounts, a bubbly girl with an infectious smile. She was described as compassionate, generous and caring to all those around her.

Her high school career was one showing great promise. Sarah was a member of the National Honor Society at Metamora Township High School. She was involved in the National Youth Leadership Program in Washington, D.C., was a member of Rebuilding Together in Peoria, swam for many years with various swim clubs in the area, was a lifeguard at the Metamora Pool and also volunteered for the swim team working with younger swimmers.

Her post high school plans included going to pharmacy school.

Despite Sarah's incredible promise there was a part of her that must not have seen that future promise. That is the only explanation for Sarah driving her car to the area of Routes 116 and 117, stopping, parking on the side of the road, and then walking into the path of a semi at 1:30 p.m. June 29, 2010.

Her parents knew the reason, but had not seen this scenario coming. Years earlier, while in junior high, a swimming coach in the Peoria area, allegedly abused Sarah sexually.

“She had good days and she had bad days,” her mother said. “We don't know what happened that day.”

Lisa found it hard to talk about the abuse she said her daughter suffered and the aftermath.

“Suffice it to say the outcome was not what we hoped for,” Lisa said.

Sarah's alleged abuser was never tried on the charges.

Trying to create something positive out of her daughter's tragedy her parents created the For Sarah's Smile Scholarship. The scholarship got under way shortly after Sarah's death with memorial money and money collected from fundraisers.

The scholarship fund is established at CEFCU in Sarah's name for victims of sexual abuse in sports-related activities. This year the second $1,000 scholarship went to a student in Indianapolis.

A passion

Lisa said the Penn State sex scandal illustrates just how important it is for sex abuse victims to come forward, even years after the abuse.

In the Penn State incident the school's administration is accused of shielding coach Jerry Sandusky's sexual abuse of children. Penn State officials have been accused of failing to take action following being alerted to Sandusky's actions. Sandusky, 68, was convicted in June of sexually abusing 10 boys over a 15 year period. Sandusky awaits sentencing that could go as high as 373 years in prison.

The NCAA on July 23 said Penn State perpetuated a “football first” culture enabling serial child sexual abuse to occur.

NCAA President Mark Emmert said, “As the individuals charged with governing college sports, we have a responsibility to act. These events should serve as a call to every single school and athletics department to take an honest look at its campus environment and eradicate the ‘sports are king' mindset that can so dramatically cloud the judgment of educators.”

That kind of talk about responsibility is music to Lisa's ears.

“I would like to emphasize the thing that happened at Penn State is important to remember. It took years, but multiple people reported,” Lisa said.

“It's important to report sexual abuse even if it happened five or 10 years ago.

Sexual abuse of students happens all the time, and it happens here. I know because so many people who hear Sarah's story tell us it happened to them as children.”

This kind of abuse, Lisa said, is damaging and can end in suicide.

“It's more common than people want to believe. It can be very empowering to come forward,” Lisa said.

“I understand why young people don't come forward ... I understand people in pain not wanting to talk about it. But, they need to seek help.”

Lisa said she learned recently of a youth who committed suicide.

“There's help out there. In this case it wasn't successful. (Experts) try their best, but counseling is not a magic bullet,” Lisa said. “The brain is complicated. It's not easy to treat. People should not be judgemental of victims.”



Bill would require oversight of military-style 'boot camps' for kids

by Dakota Smith

Amid growing concern over abusive conditions at military-style "boot camps" for troubled youths in the region, two local politicians are seeking to establish state oversight of the camps.

State Sen. Carol Liu, D-Glendale and Assemblyman Anthony Portantino, D-La Cañada Flintridge, gathered in front of Pasadena City Hall on Tuesday to garner support for SB 1089, a bill requiring boot camps to undergo evaluation by the California Department of Social Services.

The bill, co-authored by Liu and Portantino, was prompted by disturbing video that surfaced earlier this year showing children crying, carrying truck tires, and being forced to drink water at a Pasadena-based boot camp.

The camp has since closed.

But the emergence of the video prompted officials to discover more camps around the L.A. region, Liu said.

Boot camps don't have to go through any accreditation process, she said, meaning it's essentially a Wild West situation when it comes to operation of the camps, which are geared toward at-risk youths.

"This bill brings accountability to this unregulated industry," said Portantino, adding that the camps are often a place for families seeking hope for their children.

The bill passed the Senate in May and is expected to pass the Assembly by the end of the summer.

The legislation would require boot camps to be licensed. It exempts those operated by the Department of Juvenile Justice, county youth incarceration facilities or programs that deliver education services such as charter schools.

It also exempts the Los Angeles Police Department, which runs a boot camp for troubled youth called the Juvenile Impact Program.

That LAPD program has no oversight.

The press conference was held one day after the LAPD's Internal Affairs division began an investigation of a boot camp run by off-duty police officers at a Los Angeles Unified District school in Hollywood.

One of the officers who ran the Hollywood class said he modeled it after the LAPD's program.


SocialToaster Amplifies Baltimore Child Abuse Center (BCAC)'s Efforts to Increase Social Sharing and Secures Votes Needed to Win Liberty Mutual Insurance's Like My Baltimore Campaign

Baltimore's child advocacy center promotes nomination and opportunity to receive $30,000 through hot new software to continue its mission to ensure that any child who is a victim of sexual abuse has a voice that is heard

BALTIMORE -- SocialToaster, the new innovative software company that creates fan advocacy programs to increase social sharing on social networking sites, announced the launch of Baltimore Child Abuse Center's Advocacy Program . The program is designed to help the Baltimore Child Abuse Center (BCAC) promote their participation in the Liberty Mutual Insurance's Like My Baltimore Project, a program designed to honor the people and organizations that are doing the right thing all over Baltimore .

BCAC is using SocialToaster to amplify their message and to engage with more fans, to secure 'Like' votes on Facebook and mobile text votes for the opportunity to receive $30,000 . The Liberty Mutual Insurance's Like My Baltimore Campaign runs through August 20 .

Voters can vote DAILY on Facebook at and can cast a vote by texting daily LMBAL1 to 61698 .

For over 25 years, BCAC has provided a gateway for hope, justice and solutions for victims, families, and professionals fighting sexual child abuse. BCAC focuses on intervention when abuse is reported, treatment to aid in the healing of survivors and their families, education around recognizing, preventing, and reporting suspicions of abuse, and advocacy at the local, state and national levels.

"Having children who are safe from sexual child abuse doesn't happen easily," states Executive Director Adam Rosenberg , "We are honored to be nominated to participate in Liberty Mutual Insurance's Like My Baltimore Campaign."

Rosenberg continued, "In a post Penn-State era, we have engaged with SocialToaster to amplify our social media efforts, increase our reach and share rate to win votes and increase our chances of receiving the $30,000 , in order for BCAC to continue to provide high-quality services to our community and make sure that any child who is experiencing sexual abuse has a voice, is heard and receives the justice and resources he/she deserves."

"Child abuse is unfortunately a big issue in the Baltimore region and SocialToaster is aware of the successes and milestones BCAC has achieved in the past year alone in regards to their mission and this local issue. We feel very strongly about supporting BCAC in their efforts to educate the region and to ensure that BCAC continues to receive the necessary funds for them to continue their mission to provide readily available resources for children who are victims of sexual abuse," said Brian Razzaque , CEO of SocialToaster.

"SocialToaster has a footprint in working with non-profits and charitable organizations and is well-educated on the challenges they face both from a fundraising and monetary stand point as well as engaging with current and new supporters. We have crafted a customizable solution for this market in order to create campaigns that will resonate with their fans, truly increase their social sharing rate and engage with fans on a different level," Razzaque concluded.

About Baltimore Child Abuse Center
Baltimore Child Abuse Center is a 501(c)3 non-profit that provides all reported victims of child sexual abuse in Baltimore City and their non-offending caretakers with comprehensive interviews, medical treatment, and crisis counseling services. Baltimore Child Abuse Center is the oldest children's advocacy center in Maryland and served close to 1,000 children in 2010. For more information, visit:



Teacher arrested: Neighbors say they had suspicions Reported

by Leslie Coursey

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Chris Bacca, 26, a teacher at Windy Hill Elementary School, a youth minister at a local church. The last person you'd expect to be accused of sexually abusing a child.

"Nice guy. Real nice guy. Very easy to talk to," said a neighbor we're calling Neighbor #1.

But since his arrest Tuesday, his neighbors are starting to come forward saying they had suspicions about Bacca. They don't want to show their faces, but they're willing to tell their stories.

Neighbor #1 said, "I was going out to my car one day, and I seen him with a group of kids."

Neighbor #2 said, "I saw him have them jump into his arms. And he'd rough house with them."

They say they knew the kids weren't Bacca's. But they say children often spent the night at his house. They played at the pool at their apartment complex. And Neighbor #1 said he saw an inappropriate kiss between Bacca and a child.

"Kind of like a kiss your dad would give you, at the age of 6. But that was kind of weird," said Neighbor #2. "It wasn't like a sexual thing. But it was a weird thing."

Action News wanted to know, if the neighbors suspected something suspicious, are they legally obligated to report it? We took our question to local attorney Randy Reep. He said, "The average citizen has never had an obligation to intervene in the criminal activities of another person."

We asked, "At what point does a neighbor have the responsibility? If they saw the abuse? Would they have to come forward?" Reep replied, "There's proposed legislation that may very well go into affect that's going to put it on the average citizen to do that."

Reep says the laws may change in the future. But right now, those neighbors had no legal obligation to report Bacca's behavior. A moral obligation is a different story.

Neighbor #2 said, "I'm also angry with myself for not keeping my eyes more open. And maybe being a nosy neighbor."

Neighbor #1 said, "We all were thinking it. But he's such a nice guy, we gave him the benefit of the doubt."



Long term affects of child abuse

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Christopher Bacca's time in court could turn out to be a lengthy process. But it's the damage done to his alleged victim that could last a lifetime.

"It is a profound wound that takes a lifetime to heal from. And it's a trauma that we as a society have to embrace and embrace healing for our children who become adults." Angela Williams is a child advocate, author, and a survivor of sexual abuse. She's also the founder of the 'Voice Today' movement. To end the silence of sexual abuse through awareness, prevention, and healing programs.

"Child sexual abuse is still a really stigmatized and a very taboo subject in our society but we have got to break that code of silence," says Williams.

Only 1 in 10 sexually abused children will tell. And she says the affects for those who don't can be detrimental. Williams says, "You'll find many survivors of child sexual abuse will live very self destructive behaviors."

Things like eating disorders, drug addictions, and depression, she says, are just a few symptoms they might deal with later in life. "Often they just feel so isolated and they're so ashamed and guilty over what happened and they feel like no one is ever going to believe them," she says.

Williams recommends talking to your children about sexual abuse at a young age. She says prevention is the key.


Psychologist Who Wrote of Abuse Is Punished


A federal health services psychologist who told superiors that an American Indian tribe was ignoring widespread child abuse on a North Dakota reservation has been reprimanded and reassigned, according to federal officials and documents.

The psychologist, Michael R. Tilus, director of behavioral health at the Spirit Lake Health Center on the Spirit Lake Indian reservation, describes himself as a whistle-blower. He wrote in an e-mail to state and federal health officials this spring about an “epidemic” of child abuse on Spirit Lake, which is in a remote area of northeastern North Dakota.

Among the recipients were officials with the Department of Health and Human Services and the Indian Health Service, which oversee most health care on Spirit Lake.

Dr. Tilus wrote in the e-mail that he had lost confidence in the ability of tribal leadership to protect children.

Federal health officials responded this month by issuing a letter of reprimand to Dr. Tilus, rescinding a scheduled promotion, and transferring him to the agency's regional headquarters in South Dakota.

The Spirit Lake reservation has been buffeted by accusations of child abuse and neglect during the past 15 months.

This month, a 2-month-old girl died there after tribal officials had received warnings of child abuse, according to a federal official, and in May 2011, a 9-year-old girl and her 6-year-old brother were sexually assaulted before being stabbed to death and left under a mattress. Their bloody bodies were discovered several days later. A 19-year-old man was arrested and charged in the killings.

Because of myriad problems detected in the tribe's social service system, the State of North Dakota suspended financing this year for tribal children in foster care.

Although Dr. Tilus wrote the e-mail to superiors in April, he did not receive the reprimand until after portions of his e-mail were quoted in a July 7 article in The New York Times about child abuse on Spirit Lake.

Mark Weber, a Health and Human Services Department spokesman, declined to say whether Dr. Tilus's punishment had been in retaliation for sending the e-mail.

The agency refused to make Dr. Tilus available for an interview.

But in the reprimand letter, which was obtained by The Times, Dr. Candelaria Martin, the department's clinical director of medical staff at Spirit Lake, said Dr. Tilus's dissemination of the e-mail to health and law enforcement officers outside his chain of command constituted “engaging in action and behavior of a dishonorable nature.”

Dr. Martin wrote that Dr. Tilus had brought discredit to the federal government's public health services and had damaged relationships with the tribe, the Indian Health Services and the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

The tribe did not return a call seeking comment.

The reprimand bars Dr. Tilus, who has been in the Public Health Service for 10 years, from promotion for two years and could put his professional license in jeopardy. The letter is dated June 25, but Dr. Tilus wrote in a response to the department that he received it on July 13, six days after The Times article was published, and the same day both he and Dr. Martin signed the letter in acknowledgment of receipt.

Dr. Tilus also wrote in his response that he had consulted his direct supervisors about abuse on Spirit Lake over the course of several years but that his efforts had failed to curtail it, which he said led him to fear that some young victims would commit suicide.

“After significant thought and with great concern for the protection of my patients, I acted as a whistle-blower and made a lawful disclosure by raising my concerns about the health and safety of these abused children to more than just my direct supervisors, but to multiple appropriate agencies who could be intimately involved in resolving this public health crisis,” Dr. Tilus wrote. “This was more than just doing my job. Doing my job for five years had resulted in no agency action.”

Mr. Weber, the Health and Human Services spokesman, said: “The foremost concern of the department is the health and safety of the children of the Spirit Lake Tribe. We will work closely with tribal leaders, the Bureau of Indian Affairs and state officials to address abuse and neglect in the community. The department respects the need to protect individuals who speak out about issues regarding public health and safety, and will afford all applicable legal protections to those who do. We are reviewing all of the facts related to this matter.”

Dr. Tilus wrote that instead of being punished, he deserved whistle-blower protection under the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act of 2012, which was signed into law by President Obama this month. That law extends military whistle-blower safeguards to federal Public Health Service officers.

While Dr. Tilus is a federal Public Health Service officer, it is unclear whether his actions qualify him as a whistle-blower.

In an e-mail to superiors on Saturday, Dr. Tilus said he believed the agency was retaliating against him.

He said he planned to file a complaint with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.



Man faces 42 charges after Ottawa child sexual assaults

Man, 52, alleged to have sexually abused 5 young boys in Ottawa from 2002 to 2008, police say

by CBC News

A Brampton man is facing 42 charges in connection with the alleged sexual abuse of five young boys in Ottawa from 2002 to 2008, and there could be other victims, police said Monday.

Scott Waldo Fraser, 52, has been charged with:

  • 11 counts of sexual assault,
  • 11 counts of making child pornography,
  • 11 counts of invitation to sexual touching,
  • Three counts of permitting people under 14 years old on their premises for a sexual purpose,
  • Two counts of distributing child pornography,
  • Two counts of possessing child pornography,
  • One count of accessing child pornography and one count of extortion.

The boys were all between nine and 17 years old at the time of the alleged offences, police said, and the suspect was living in Ottawa.

The investigation began in April when Toronto police were notified by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service that a Canadian was suspected of sexually abusing young boys and sharing videos and images of the assaults.

Suspect 'befriended' boys using video games, police say

Toronto police then notified Ottawa police about the alleged assaults.

Staff Sgt. François D'Aoust of the Ottawa police internet child exploitation unit said the suspect "was not in a position of authority" at the time the incidents were alleged to have taken place.

D'Aoust said some of the boys lived in the suspect's neighbourhood. D'Aoust said the suspect "befriended" the boys, sometimes by offering them the chance to play video games at his home.

There could be other victims police don't yet know about, D'Aoust said.

A home in Brampton was searched by Peel Regional Police and Toronto police in May.

Ottawa police then took custody of Fraser, who remains in custody and is scheduled to appear in court on Aug. 2.

Anyone with information about Fraser is asked to call the Ottawa police internet child exploitation unit at 613-236-1222, ext. 5660, or Crime Stoppers at 613-233-8477 (TIPS) — toll free at 1-800-222-8477.


North Carolina

Underage girls being sold for sex in Charlotte

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The U.S. attorney's office says underage girls are victims of sex trafficking in Charlotte.

Eyewitness News anchor Natalie Pasquarella found out the federal office is working with authorities on every level to put a stop to it, by forming a new taskforce.

Pasquarella also went along with a local nonprofit that helps victims into one part of Charlotte, after the group received tips of sex trafficking happening there.

Ish Payne is the director of Compassion to Act, a nonprofit that helps human trafficking victims. Payne said the area near Interstate 85 and Sugar Creek Road, where there is a cluster of hotels, is an area of concern for him.

"You knew things were going on, but its seeing it actually happen," said Payne.

Payne said he has received tips that underage girls are being sold for sex in the area.

"You know they're there. Connecting with them is another thing," said Payne.

Payne often drives the streets to reach out to possible victims. He typically hands out information about his group, and asks women if they know of anyone that needs help.

Eyewitness News went along with Payne, and saw some girls who looked under the age of 18 walking to and from hotels and also approaching and leaving cars.

Not far from that area, along I-85, sits a new billboard urging people to report child prostitution.

U.S. Attorney Anne Thompkins said the problem is very real.

"Sex trafficking is happening in this community," said Thompkins.

She said major interstates, like I-85, make Charlotte a prime spot.

"We're an urban area, which is going to bring the sex trade. We have a grid of highways that go through Charlotte, go through this area," added Thompkins.

Thompkins said there are trafficking cases under investigation in Charlotte that involve children ages 15-18. Many of those cases began online, and can involve adult websites advertising girls.

"The Internet gives a perpetrator a sense of anonymity and a perceived safety," warned Thompkins.

She said pimps target runaways and immigrants, typically girls who struggle financially.

Thompkins also said men often threaten young immigrants with deportation.

Brock Nicholson, with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, also works with Thompkins to target sex trafficking.

"However you came here, you have a right not to be exploited. You have a right not to be a slave," said Nicholson.

Thompkins and Nicholson are both part of a new human trafficking taskforce in Charlotte. The taskforce is made up of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the State Bureau of Investigation, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the U.S. Attorney's office, the District Attorney's office and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg County Police Department.

"What we need is, we need passion, we need people, we need interest, and that's what we have," said Thompkins.

The first training event for members of the taskforce will take place on August 21, at Good Shepherd United Methodist Church. The training will include medical and social workers, lawmakers, law enforcement, and community advocates.

For more information on human trafficking, click here.

To find out more about human trafficking in North Carolina, click here.

Resources for Human Trafficking victims can be found at the Department of Justice website and the Homeland Security website.



Record number of men, boys seek help from Cleveland Rape Crisis Center after Jerry Sandusky case

by Diane Suchetka

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Fifty men and boys who had been sexually abused or assaulted sought counseling from the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center in 2011.

This year, 70 have.

And the year's only half over.

So many more males are asking for help this year, they now make up 20 percent of the Cleveland center's clientele, compared with about 7 percent last year.

Numbers are up nationally, too.

"Of course it has to do with the Sandusky case," says Columbus psychologist Howard Fradkin, who counsels men who've been sexually abused.

Jerry Sandusky, a former top Penn State assistant football coach, was arrested last November on charges of abusing boys, including some while inside a football building on campus. He was convicted of abuse charges in June. The high-profile case led to the firing of beloved coach Joe Paterno and massive penalties from the NCAA.

Since the case broke, organizations across the country have seen more men who were abused asking for help. , a website that Fradkin helped found, has had a 47 percent boost in traffic in the past six months.

And RAINN -- the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network -- saw a 54 percent jump in people asking for help on its online hot line in November 2011, after the indictment of Sandusky.

RAINN doesn't ask the gender of its online visitors, but counselors say many of those reaching out are men and plenty are mentioning Sandusky.

"The courage of the 10-plus men who had the willingness to finally speak their truth has inspired a lot of men to feel more comfortable coming forward," says Fradkin, who's also a survivor of sexual abuse.

Sandusky was convicted in June on 45 counts of sexually assaulting 10 boys in a scandal that destroyed Penn State's reputation and deflated the idolized world of college sports. Also losing their jobs because of the scandal were the university president, a school vice president and the athletic director as it became apparent the high-level officials knew of Sandusky's deeds and did nothing to stop him.

Last week, the NCAA fined the school $60 million and leveled so many sanctions against the football program that experts say it will take a decade to recover.

The severe punishment sent a clear message to boys and men who've been sexually abused or assaulted, experts say: People will take you seriously. They'll believe your story. And they'll do so even if it contradicts the statements of a revered sports figure.

"I think athletics in the United States has a higher status than any church," says Alexander Obolsky, a psychiatrist and assistant professor of clinical psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Northwestern University Medical School. "There are whole towns, whole communities that are so focused on athletics.

"So when this institution is getting its comeuppance for not taking care of the most vulnerable in its midst, it makes people feel safer.

"It makes them feel that no institution is held above the law, that if your abuser is a famous coach or somebody else of high stature, people will listen to you."

Reassurance that victims are not at fault makes them feel less humiliated, Obolsky says, and reducing that humiliation enables them to talk about what happened.

"When you feel humiliated, the last thing you want to do is go talk about it because you're going to live it all over again," he says. "You want to be swallowed by the earth, you want to disappear. And that's what keeps people from seeking help."

National and international attention on the Sandusky case is helping victims in a number of ways.

"Other mental-health agencies seem to have an awareness," says Annette Kent, who counsels men at the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center, "so we've had referrals from other agencies -- treatment programs, in particular." Men who have been abused and don't talk about it are more likely to be depressed, anxious and compulsive and become addicted to alcohol, drugs, work or sex, Fradkin says.

The Penn State story appears to be helping stop sexual assault, too.

"We've seen an increase in folks who suspected that there was abuse happening in their community or their neighborhood or their family and they were unsure how to move forward," says Jennifer Marsh, RAINN's national sexual assault hotline director.

"That's the silver lining."

What's motivating the changes doesn't matter as much as the fact that they're happening, says Kent.

"Whatever it is, I'm just glad they're coming forward," she says.

"They've been suffering in silence so long, not getting the help and healing they deserve.

"This is just the very beginning of something that could be very powerful for men."


Childhood Mental Abuse Under the Radar?

by Nancy Walsh Reviewed by Robert Jasmer, MD - Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco

Emotional maltreatment of children deserves as much attention as that given to physical and sexual abuse, according to a clinical report from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

"Psychological or emotional maltreatment of children and adolescents may be the most challenging and prevalent form of child abuse and neglect, but until recently, it has received relatively little attention," wrote Roberta Hibbard, MD, of Indiana University in Indianapolis, and colleagues.

The result can be difficulties in socialization, attachment, and education during childhood, aggression, delinquency, and suicidality during adolescence, and problems with intimacy, sexual function, and caregiving in adulthood, according to the authors, writing on behalf of the academy's Child Maltreatment and Violence Committee.

Psychological abuse can take many forms, including spurning, which refers to belittling or ridiculing the child in public; terrorizing, or allowing the child be be in chaotic or dangerous situations; and isolating.

Other abusive behaviors include exploiting or corrupting, avoiding emotional responsiveness, and neglect of mental and medical health or education.

These behaviors "may be verbal or nonverbal, active or passive, and with or without intent to harm," and can be most damaging in the first 3 years of life, when profound growth and development are occurring, the authors stated.

Although it can be difficult to determine the actual prevalence of psychological and emotional maltreatment of children, an estimated 4% of men reported having experienced some form of this abuse as children, as did 8% to 9% of women.

An isolated incident that may appear abusive does not necessarily indicate systemic maltreatment, they cautioned. Rather, it's a pattern of behavior on the part of the parent or caregiver that may be interpreted by the child as rejection and that interferes with healthy development.

The problem most often is found in families with high levels of conflict, and where substance abuse, violence, and parental mental health difficulties such as depression exist.

The damage associated with emotional abuse is not limited to the child. "Psychological maltreatment carries a significant burden for society, as can be seen in its effects on the health and social care systems, such as the costs of educational failure, crime, and health services as a result of poor mental health," wrote Hibbard and colleagues.

Detecting emotional abuse in children can be challenging, the authors conceded, and requires that clinicians develop skills for interviewing the child about the parental relationship and feelings of self-esteem and safety.

In addition, as with physical and sexual abuse, corroboration must be sought from others such as teachers.

Another important aspect of the evaluation requires observing the interactions between the child and caregivers, keeping in mind that parental behavior during a physician office visit may not accurately reflect the larger parent-child relationship.

Reporting abuse also poses difficulties, requiring systematic, careful documentation and records of statements from the child, parents, and others, as well as referrals as appropriate.

The key to avoiding the potentially devastating consequences of childhood emotional abuse is in preventing it from happening, according to the authors of the report.

"Prevention before occurrence involves both the use of universal interventions aimed at promoting the type of parenting that is now recognized to be necessary for optimal child development, alongside the use of targeted interventions directed at improving parental sensitivity to infant cues," they wrote.

Accordingly, every contact between healthcare professionals and family is an opportunity for observation of parent-child interactions, with the provision of targeted interventions if signs of trouble are seen.

An example of a targeted intervention that has shown benefits for child abuse in general is the Nurse Family Partnership, which involves prenatal and early infancy home visits to help first-time low-income mothers better care for their infants.

However, no consensus exists on the optimal treatment for children who have experienced emotional or psychological abuse.

Some research has examined different types of cognitive-behavioral and child-management programs, but a "major need for research" remains to identify effective therapies for these children.

"As with other types of child maltreatment, children showing signs of behavioral and psychological problems should be assessed to identify specific conditions, such as depression or post-traumatic stress disorder, for which there are evidence-based treatments," the authors stated.

Clinicians should always be alert to problems within families, including spousal violence and mental health problems, and should advise parents of the potential impact of these conditions on their children.

They also need to coordinate with others. "Collaboration among pediatric, psychiatric, and child protective services professionals is essential in formulating a management plan for a child at risk for or experiencing psychological maltreatment," the authors wrote.


Children Carry Invisible Scars From Psychological Abuse


Physical abuse of children carries undeniable marks of pain, but in many cases the hidden scars associated with psychological abuse may be more detrimental in the long run, according to an American Academy of Pediatrics position statement published Monday in the journal Pediatrics.

Psychological abuse may be the most common form of child abuse and often the hardest to treat, according to the paper.

"This is an area easily overlooked because it's hard to articulate," said Ruth Anan, director of the early childhood program at the Center for Human Development at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Mich.

Many child health experts have grappled with properly identifying and defining the threshold for psychological abuse.

"We are talking about extremes and the likelihood of harm, or risk of harm, resulting from the kinds of behavior that make a child feel worthless, unloved or unwanted," said Dr. Harriet MacMillan, a professor in the departments of psychiatry and behavioural neurosciences and pediatrics at McMaster University's Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine in Ontario, and an author of the paper.

Psychological abuse can range from depriving a child of social interactions to terrorizing. Single events of repetitive yelling were not defined as psychological abuse, according to MacMillan. Rather, abuse included ongoing events of belittling a child or consistent neglect, in each case "with or without the intention to harm," according to the paper.

Parents are most often the perpetrators and in many cases they do not know that their actions are considered abuse, many experts said.

The abuse, especially incurred within the first three years of life, can affect a child's development and lead to attachment disorder, delayed development, erratic behavior and socialization problems, according to the paper.

"The dose of abuse is an important factor to determine how severe the child's reaction will be," said Anon. "The frequency of the abuse and also the perpetrator and how influential they are in the child's life also affects the outcome."

More severe effects of the abuse may not be apparent in a child until much later.

"Children who are victims of emotional violence may appear totally normal when away from the family," said Dr. Astrid Heger, professor of clinical pediatrics at the University of Southern California Medical Center.

Previous studies suggest that nearly 9 percent of women and 4 percent of men in the UK and the U.S. have reported experiencing extreme psychological abuse during childhood.

Even when such psychological abuse is clearly defined in a clinical setting, many experts said it's difficult for children to receive the necessary intervention.

"The systems charged with the protection of children like to have physical evidence that abuse is occurring," said Heger. "They tend to see emotional abuse as nebulous and blurry and usually will not intervene."

A parent or other adults in the child's life are often the best people to help clinicians identify whether there is a problem, said Heger.

Some signals of abuse are detectable. Children exposed to psychological abuse are often hypervigilant or paranoid. They may also emulate the abusive behavior they are exposed to, said Heger.

"They also will react to other peers in the same manner that they are being treated at home," she said.

In many cases, identification of the problem and subsequent intervention require a group effort, said Dr. Karen Warman, associate professor of pediatrics at Montefiore Medical Center.

"Interdisciplinary support, including social workers and mental health professionals, is necessary to provide resources to help parents, or other caregivers, with healthy parenting," she said.

While prevention is often difficult depending on who the abuser is and the type of environment the child is raised, Warman said, continual positive reinforcement by any adult in contact with the child may help a child overcome the potentially detrimental situation.

"Children should know that their feelings matter and that the adults in their life will protect them," said Warman.




Pa. Legislature should stop delaying child abuse law changes

by Patriot-News Editorial Board

It is safe to say that a year ago many people didn't think regularly about child sexual abuse. They perhaps didn't realize a pedophile could hide in plain sight, and if they suspected abuse some likely wouldn't have known how to report it. The terrible crimes against children that took place in State College have changed that.

Awareness has grown. Organizations are rethinking the way they do background checks on volunteers and how to educate staff on spotting abuse. At Penn State, change also is happening because of the abuse. It has new leadership after previous administrators failed to report abuse and is now dealing with the NCAA's harsh sanctions.

But for all this flurry of action, the state Legislature continues to stall on changes that will assure children are safer in the commonwealth.

Lawmakers deserve credit for passing a bill sponsored by Sen. Pat Vance, R-Cumberland County, requiring school personnel to receive at least three hours of training every five years on recognizing signs of child abuse. It was signed into law by the governor.

Also, the governor's Task Force on Child Protection is meeting, and as Gov. Tom Corbett said this year, it “has a tremendously important job. It will provide input to help us strengthen state laws and ensure every Pennsylvania child receives the protection from harm they deserve.” The group, however, will not release its report on recommendations until later this year, which makes it likely that changes won't happen until 2013 — or beyond. (Legislative leaders say they won't hold a lame-duck session after the Nov. 6 election.)

How long do children have to wait? There are issues that the Legislature should be able to take action on when it returns to business in September.

Rep. Ron Marsico, R-Lower Paxton Twp., has sponsored legislation that would lift the statute of limitations on criminal prosecutions in child sexual assault cases. It also would extend the statute of limitations in civil proceedings until the victim reaches age 50. This is an important measure because some victims are left out of the legal system simply because they cannot come to terms with their abuse until they are older.

For a few years the idea of a children's ombudsman has been floated. This entity would be charged with monitoring children's welfare and serve as a place parents or advocates could go when they have a concern about a child as it relates to a state agency or entity.

Marsico, who chairs the House Judiciary Committee, has another proposal to fund the Children's Advocacy Centers, specialized child abuse treatment centers statewide, with an increased fee on child abuse background checks. This idea is worth exploring.

The task force has an important role to play as we move forward on critical issues concerning child abuse. It is tackling complex issues that need time for consideration.

But there are ideas that can be addressed now, and the Legislature should act quickly on them.



600 police officers trained to recognise and prevent child sexual abuse

A programme to reduce rates of child sexual abuse has trained more than 600 police officers to recognise the signs of abuse.

Stop it Now! Scotland has trained officers from across eight forces to understand child sexual abuse, the telltale signs, and the appropriate steps to prevent abuse happening in the first place.

Child protection chiefs said the project had raised awareness and helped safeguard more children.

William Manson, Stop it Now! Scotland project manager said: "We need to get real about child sexual abuse and dispel some of the myths that are out there. We know that most abuse is committed by people who the children know in the home, not by strangers.

“So much of this goes unreported and that's why adults need to know the signs to look out for and what to do about it. We cannot leave the child to be the one to take action.

"It is estimated that one in six children across Scotland experience sexual abuse before the age of 16. By working with the police we have been able to spread vital sexual abuse prevention messages at a local level within communities.

“We are hoping that the expansion of the project and training professionals from other community-facing agencies will increase awareness to the issue and, most importantly, protect a greater number of children from harm."

As part of the programme, officers act as “prevention agents”, providing hundreds of adults and families with vital information about how they can help tackle the problem of child sexual abuse and protect the children in their lives from harm. A toolkit is distributed to answer the most frequently asked questions about abuse.

Assistant Chief Constable Graham Sinclair, of ACPOS, said: "A large part of the work of the police service is protecting the vulnerable in our communities.

"We work closely with organisations such as Stop it Now! Scotland and welcome the development of the Upstream Project and the opportunities it presents for officers working in the community to learn more about the threats to children and how they can share important information with the people who need to know it."



New team seeks justice for sexually abused children

Child sexual abuse cases are among the most difficult crimes to prosecute.

That's why 20 people were training last week at the Center for Children and Families in downtown Billings. The group included five uniform law enforcement officers representing the Billings and Laurel police departments and Yellowstone County Sheriff's Office. Representatives from the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services included Kevin Frank, regional Division of Child and Family Services director. Pediatrician Patrick Sauer and nurses from Billings Clinic attended. County Attorney Scott Twito and Deputy County Attorney Ann McKittrick were on hand as were children's counselors. The group included the eight professionals who are serving on Yellowstone County's first multidisciplinary team to fight child abuse.

The team will focus on abuse cases involving suspected criminal conduct, especially sexual abuse. Although Yellowstone and other Montana counties have long used child protection teams, the new team will have special training and resources for conducting proper criminal investigations. The team is dedicated to justice and to protecting child victims from further trauma of repeated interviews or medical exams.

We'd like to think that such a team will rarely be needed. However, nearly half of the 311 rapes reported in Montana in 2010 involved victims between the ages of 3 and 17.

Dana Toole, director of the Montana Children's Justice Center in the attorney general's office, shared other disturbing statistics:

-- Five children's advocacy centers in Montana served more than 700 children last year, including 561 in sexual abuse cases and 87 who had suffered other physical abuse. The centers in Helena, Kalispell, Missoula, Butte and Helena conducted 611 forensic interviews, 367 medical exams, and provided 700 counseling sessions for children.

-- One in four girls and one in six boys in the United States are sexually abused before age 18.

-- 90 percent of child sexual abuse is committed by someone known and trusted by the child and by the community.

-- 10 percent of child sexual abuse is perpetrated by a stranger.

DPHHS Director Anna Whiting Sorrell and Attorney General Steve Bullock issued a joint statement that explains why multidisciplinary teams and children's advocacy centers are necessary:

"Instead of the child victim navigating a difficult a confusing system of multiple, repetitive interviews, the system can literally be brought to the child. Multiple disciplinary teams are modeled on the simple but powerful concept of coordination and collaboration between community agencies and professionals involved in protecting children from abuse and neglect."

The Yellowstone County team is gearing up to start taking cases by the end of the year. All of the participating professionals and agencies are commended for committing to bring justice to child victims. It takes everyone working together to keep all our children safe.


More Victims Claiming Sexual Abuse by Montana Priests

by Heather Steinberger

In January, Indian Country Today Media Network reported that a Yakima, Washington–based law firm had filed a 12-page legal complaint on behalf of a Northern Cheyenne tribal member seeking justice for years of abuse she suffered as a child at Montana's St. Labre Indian School in the 1950s and 1960s. The case is a significant one, as the accused is Father Emmett Hoffmann, a near-legendary figure on the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation.

In recent weeks, the case has become even bigger. According to an amended, 19-page version of the legal complaint filed on June 6 in Montana's Eighth Judicial District Court, priests and nuns misused their authority to “molest, exploit and abuse children” across eastern Montana. The Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis are now named in the complaint, and 10 additional male and female victims have joined the original Jane Doe in filing suit against the Diocese of Great Falls-Billings.

“At the beginning, I called this the tip of the iceberg,” says Blaine Tamaki, founder of Tamaki Law and a practicing trial lawyer for three decades, who is the lead attorney on this suit. “Now, we are beginning to see just how big that iceberg is.

“From the outset, our extensive experience suggested that pedophiles usually do not limit their victims to just one. They prey on vulnerable children. The more powerful the pedophile, the more access they have to children, and the more likely it is their victims will suffer in silence.”

Priests and nuns, he notes, are particularly powerful, since they are blessed and appointed by the church. And at mission boarding schools and orphanages, they had access to plenty of vulnerable children.

According to the complaint, the alleged abuses occurred at St. Labre Indian School, Cheyenne Home Orphanage, St. Paul's Indian Mission, St. Xavier Mission and others, all owned and operated by the diocese. Allegations state that the Roman Catholic bishop of the Diocese of Great Falls-Billings sent known perpetrators to remote areas in Montana, including Indian mission boarding schools. This created an “unreasonable risk that vulnerable children…would be victimized by the priests, brothers and nuns” named in the complaint.

The complaint goes on to state that canon (Vatican) law requires bishops to maintain “secret archival files” of material that could be “injurious” to the diocese and the church.

“We know that, historically, such files were used to move perpetrators around to the most isolated areas, and that the resulting molestation and abuse created lifelong devastation to the children,” says Vito de la Cruz, Tamaki Law attorney. “In other words, it's clear that sexual molestation and exploitive, abusive behavior were inflicted on poor, rural children sent to Montana missions, orphanages and parishes by perpetrators who were moved from place to place like pieces on a game board, to protect the Catholic Church.”

Tamaki hopes the legal complaint makes it clear that the victims were not under the control of their parents while living in those

institutions; rather, they were under the control of the Diocese of Great Falls-Billings, which bears the ultimate responsibility. “We are alleging that the church knew or should have known, and turned a blind eye on priests and nuns who were sexually molesting children,” Tamaki says.

Instead of correcting the injustice, he notes, the diocese is now hiding behind what he calls a clever sound bite. “They need to address what happened on their watch when these adults attended the boarding schools as children,” he says. “The church's announcement that ‘they are in compliance now' is self-serving [and] unproven.… The Catholic Church is well known for its centuries-old traditions. This tradition of harboring pedophiles is another…which has been slow to change.”

As he points out, the first disclosure of widespread sexual abuse of children by priests came decades ago, yet the problem is still front-page news around the world as victims find the courage to come forward.

It's particularly difficult for these victims in eastern Montana to speak out. When ICTMN spoke to Vito de la Cruz in January, he said of the first Jane Doe, “There definitely are layers of inhibition involving her cultural background. In this case, the priest is such a big figure, and this is such a small, closed community. She's very fearful. She's very aware of the shadow Father Hoffmann throws.”

Her fellow plaintiffs face similar barriers, according to Tamaki, because the Catholic Church is a major employer on the Northern Cheyenne and Crow reservations. “This creates barriers to victims speaking out, for fear of being blackballed and foreclosed from work opportunities,” he explained. “Combined with the other obvious reasons why victims remain silent—shame, humiliation, being stigmatized—the challenge of educating and empowering victims is very difficult. We've interviewed many victims who will not come forward because of the church's power as a major employer.”

Yet 10 plaintiffs did join the first Jane Doe, and Tamaki says they all came forward in the wake of ICTMN's original article in January. “[The coverage] made other victims feel they were not alone,” he says. “In any abuse case, when the first victim has the courage to speak out, other victims feel empowered to also speak out to correct the injustice.”

It does take courage, and not only because of the employment issue. Many tribal communities, Tamaki says, have divided loyalties when child-abuse allegations arise. “Many Native Americans support victims' rights, but Native American Catholics [often] feel they must remain loyal to the church,” he says.

This lawsuit is now entering its discovery phase, which means the legal teams are conducting a full investigation into each of the claims. According to Tamaki, the diocese has already raised Montana's statute of limitations on child sexual abuse cases as a defense. “In our opinion, there are exceptions…which should allow each of the cases to move forward,” he notes. “It will be up to the court to decide if justice is served.”


FBI Informants Speak Out: Eric Holder's DOJ Is Ignoring Child Sex-Trafficking Victims

From Townhall Magazine's August report, " FBI Informants Speak Out: Eric Holder's DOJ Is Ignoring Child Sex-Trafficking Victims ," by Brandon Darby: Why Speaking Out Is Necessary

by Elisabeth Meinecke

My experiences of working undercover with the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force have been well-documented by the media, as has my conversion from a prominent left-of-center activist to a tea party activist who advocates for law enforcement and for our nation.

I was an operational human source, commonly referred to by the public as a type of informant, for the FBI. The FBI has had special agents testify under oath that I was trustworthy and reliable and that my information was always accurate and never deceptive. They also testified under oath that my motivations were deemed to be moral and ideological, not financial. These factors categorized me as a “trusted source,” meaning my words were capable of initiating the FBI to assign resources to request warrants be issued. I have refrained from speaking on issues surrounding my experiences with the FBI, except in matters they have chosen to make public or otherwise ensured me would not have an effect on an ongoing investigation. I have also refrained from discussing any involvement with the FBI since the much-publicized 2009 trial of far Left would-be bombers in which I was the star witness for the FBI and the United States Attorneys' Office.

It's no secret that I have retained relationships within the FBI and that I have utilized these relationships for the purposes of helping citizens report crimes or terroristic activity. I have not discussed the fact that I was reactivated as an operational human source for the purpose of aiding the FBI's efforts to stop human trafficking. In other words, I went back undercover. I am now speaking out without the approval or consent of the FBI due to the gross lack of concern or action from the Justice Department overall to stop known cases of children being trafficked by criminals for the purposes of sex and profits. Another former FBI human source, Dottie Laster, joins me in an effort to hold the DOJ accountable for neglecting the children we know to be sex slaves. Defending the men and women who serve in the FBI and other agencies under the United States Department of Justice has been a central effort in my life since my identity was revealed in connection with the aforementioned trial. I have, however, refrained from defending the politically appointed leadership and their executive managers within the organizations. It is unfortunate that my conscience now mandates I speak out about the leadership's decisions and priorities. It is unfortunate that I must break from keeping with the culture of silence so prevalent in federal law enforcement agencies under the DOJ.

Untangling the Knots

Laster, a longtime advocate for the victims of human trafficking, contacted me seeking understanding as to why the Justice Department seemingly had little interest in pursuing investigations where slavery was involved. She initially asked me why I would defend such entities when they were refusing to help the victims she worked with. I explained to her that there was surely something we could do as citizens, and I began to research the matter. I discussed the issue with various federal agents and others employed by or otherwise under the umbrella of the DOJ. I learned that the majority of law enforcement agencies did not take on human trafficking investigations due to complications arising from interacting with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Agencies that received federal funding were required by federal law to inform ICE of any such investigations and cooperate with them. Unfortunately, ICE would frequently act unilaterally and raid the facility that was being investigated. This made any substantial long-term investigation impossible. ICE has a very thin charter, and removing possible illegal aliens took priority over prosecutable cases. If ICE engaged in a raid too soon, the local agency investigating the possible human trafficking was left with little evidence for prosecutions and therefore wasted much needed dollars and work hours. The end result of this dynamic was human traffickers walking away with little consequence, free to continue their enterprise, and law enforcement agencies that shied away from launching such investigations.

But the FBI exhibiting a seemingly low amount of interest in human trafficking cases was a different matter altogether. As an apex law enforcement agency, they were not required by federal law to notify ICE in the same way that local or state agencies were required. The issues were much more complex with the FBI. The FBI was able to launch investigations on their own, thus ensuring a thorough investigation with proper charges would be possible for the perpetrators of such modern-day human slavery. Unfortunately, the FBI lacked the proper resources and ability to provide the short-term and intermediate safe shelter for the victims they and their informants rescued. The FBI was dependent on the U.S. Attorneys' Office to designate the victims as witnesses before resources were available to the victims. This dependence on the U.S. Attorneys' Office for short-term and intermediate resources seemed to be the clog preventing freedom and safety for many trafficking victims based on my research and the FBI agents and assistant U.S. attorneys I spoke with. Human traffickers often targeted illegal aliens who were already in the United States, or would kidnap and bring unwilling citizens from other countries across the United States' porous border. Therefore, various types of visas would have to be made available for many victims if their testimony was needed to prosecute and neutralize the perpetrators of the slavery. However, other human trafficking victims were U.S. citizens who were either suffering from various addictions or were teenage runaways. Both Laster and I saw the same DOJ hesitancy to help in both groups.

Part of the solution to this clog in the system was addressed with the creation of various visas, such as the T-Visa and the U-Visa. These two visas were designed so that federal agents and other law enforcement agencies would have a mechanism to allow witnesses to stay in the United States to testify against the perpetrators of human trafficking by designating their presence as being necessary for an investigation. Unfortunately, law enforcement was rarely willing to sign the Law Enforcement Declaration form, which was necessary to document the victim's cooperation and a vital part of the applications. Again, this hesitancy seemed due to law enforcement agency fears of lacking the needed resources to house and feed the victims—a conclusion based on Laster's and my experiences and discussions we had with individuals from various law enforcement agencies. Once I presented my findings to Laster, we began to strategize on possible solutions to remove the clogs and better help the victims she was working with.

Uncovering the Horrors

We decided to reach out to the now-deceased Andrew Breitbart. In short order, Breitbart, Catherine Engelbrecht of True the Vote, Hannah Giles and I created a nonprofit named Citizen Patriot Response to organize tea party groups to help communities and individuals in need without governmental funding and dependence. Though the organization was not founded solely for helping human trafficking victims, the issue was a top priority. My home was quickly turned into a shelter for human trafficking victims under the auspices of the newly formed nonprofit. The idea was that my home could provide the short-term and intermediate shelter and food for the victims. This would hopefully make possible more investigations on the part of the FBI. We had intended for this shelter, coupled with my advocacy and lobbying on behalf of victims to the FBI, to provide a model for how citizens could organize and unite to help law enforcement bring justice to a greater number of human trafficking victims. Laster began to utilize this shelter as a refuge for the human trafficking victims she worked with. I began to use every possible relationship within the FBI to pressure the organization to take on more human trafficking investigations. Though my efforts were initially unfruitful, I did finally find a very caring FBI special agent, whom I will refer to as Special Agent X. Special Agent X began to dutifully examine the cases Laster and I presented. The forms necessary for the appropriate visa applications were signed in a number of our cases, and it appeared that justice was finally occurring with a little push from concerned citizens and a compassionate federal agent. I also asked Laster to become a human source for the FBI so that she could better assist the victims she represented and help initiate investigations when her network had information of new cases. Laster agreed and was opened by the FBI as a human source.

Laster and I presented dozens of cases to the FBI. Many of the cases involved minors who were being forced to have sex with adults for monetary reasons under the threat of violence from human traffickers. Special Agent X worked diligently to record our information and initiate investigations. Laster and I educated ourselves further on guidelines and protocols that the DOJ used in handling such cases. We felt assured by our research that it was a matter of law and a matter of internal policy that the FBI had to investigate and act on cases where minors were identified as being involved. All seemed well.

An Unwilling DOJ

But the majority of the cases we worked on with Special Agent X never turned into investigations for the FBI—even the ones involving children that the FBI was mandated to act on. Special Agent X was shipped to a different part of the United States and was forbidden to work on human trafficking issues any further, even though the guidelines had been followed. I was deactivated without cause (meaning in good standing). As of press time, the new special agent assigned to Laster returned her call but hasn't communicated with her about the cases. Laster has also not been fully reimbursed by the FBI for time and expenses she incurred at its request.

I have since learned that, though I was correct on my initial analysis of the issues the FBI was having regarding human trafficking investigations, there were many other factors at play. ...



Enslaved by human trafficking


Things weren't going so well at home, the teenage girl confided to her new online friend.

Come stay with me, he offered. I'll take care of you. I'll help you find a job.

The plan sounded like a welcome escape to the girl, who had never left Lancaster County.

Her first couple of days in Philadelphia unfolded exactly as her friend promised. But then, he announced, it was time to go to work.

The man turned out to be a pimp, who forced the girl to sell her body on the city's drug- and crime-infested Kensington Avenue. She was beaten or raped if she refused.

Hugh Organ met the girl and another county teen while doing street outreach work for a Philadelphia youth crisis center.

Both told a familiar story.

"It starts out as the promise of something good, a better life," he says. "Then people end up in nightmares."

The girls were victims of human trafficking, a shocking, mostly hidden crime that has crept closer to the county, where a growing number of advocacy groups are determined to do something about it.

"Trafficking victims can be found pretty much anywhere," says Organ, associate executive director of Covenant House. "You just have to know what to look for."

But most people don't.

Many have heard of women forced to sell their bodies in Cambodia or Thailand. But trafficking victims also can be teens from disadvantaged or dysfunctional homes right here in Pennsylvania.

The term itself can be confusing. Trafficking isn't about smuggling.

Sex trafficking — which the federal government defines as participation in prostitution by force, fraud or coercion — is the most common type. Any minor who performs a commercial sex act also is considered a trafficking victim. It's important to note that any minor in prostitution is a trafficking victim; force, fraud or coercion does not need to be proven, as it does for adults.

Other victims are forced into labor, such as recent cases of Asian women working in a York nail salon and Ukrainians cleaning large chain stores in the Philadelphia area.

Trafficking is easy to ignore or misunderstand because it most often happens out of public view, says Ned Conway, an FBI special agent in Philadelphia.

"Most law-abiding citizens aren't going to see this on a daily basis," he says. "But [victims] are out there. We need the public's help to identify victims and prosecute traffickers."

The issue has ignited the passions of county advocates, who have formed at least a half-dozen anti-trafficking groups in recent years. Numerous local churches have launched their own efforts.

Most groups aim to raise awareness and educate the public — and especially first responders — on how to recognize a trafficking victim. One group hopes to build a home for survivors in a rural part of the county.

"We need to get people past the obstacle of [thinking] this is happening in Thailand, or India or Atlanta," says Bethany Woodcock, who started the Lancaster anti-trafficking group Not In My Back Yard last spring.

"You may not see girls being prostituted on the streets of Lancaster, but is it happening?

"I have no doubt."

Police have arrested traffickers in Reading, Harrisburg and Delaware County. There are rumors of county incidents but no confirmed cases.

Critics say Pennsylvania's anti-trafficking laws are weak, leading to few prosecutions. A new report outlines the first statewide anti-trafficking plan, recommending sweeping legislative reforms and more victim resources.

Former state Rep. Katie True, who sponsored successful anti-trafficking legislation in 2006, acknowledges that it can be an uphill battle to convince people to care about an issue that's largely invisible.

"The public really is not aware of it," says True, a Republican who represented the county's 41st District. "It's not part of their lives."

But a few decades ago, she points out, people didn't believe drugs and alcohol were a problem here either.

From vulnerable to victim

Trafficking is one of the largest global criminal enterprises — and the fastest-growing, the FBI's Conway says.

Victims are tightly controlled, making precise figures hard to find. According to some estimates, there are 12.3 million victims worldwide and 100,000 child victims in the U.S. alone.

Many victims in U.S. trafficking cases come from other countries. But 33 percent of victims here are Americans, according to the FBI.

Trafficking's growth is fueled by demand, and of course, money. A single victim can make $1,000 a day for a pimp, which is far more profitable than selling illegal drugs or weapons.

"Unlike drugs, they can sell that person over and over and over again," says Lynn Kolb, coordinator of Exit 58, an anti-trafficking initiative of Marietta-based Transport for Christ.

Traffickers often target schools and malls in their search for victims, Conway says. The Internet has made it even easier to find and sell victims, which most often are girls.

Youth from low-income homes, those who already have been abused or lack strong family ties are especially vulnerable. One in three runaways is lured into prostitution within 48 hours, Kolb says.

Traffickers use force, money, promises of love and other emotional ploys to recruit victims, Conway says. "Unfortunately, victims do fall prey to this. They're very vulnerable."

Kelly Towers, who leads the anti-trafficking group Love146's Lancaster task force, says there's a common public misconception that victims willingly sell their bodies.

"I [once] thought women wanted to be involved in prostitution," she says. "But the average age [for entering prostitution] is 13. That is not a choice."

Traffickers exercise complete control over victims by taking cellphone and credit cards, exploiting lack of family ties, supplying drugs and threatening violence, Conway says.

It's difficult to fathom victims' constant state of fear, True says. Many even refuse to cooperate with law enforcement because they fear for their lives.

"They're threatened, and they're scared, and they won't talk," she says. "They're so totally dependent for their clothing and food, it's a whole [other] form of abuse.

"These folks ... are in sheer terror."

Laws that 'lack teeth'

Recent legislation, beginning with the federal Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, has led to increased public awareness and stepped-up efforts against traffickers.

Pennsylvania also has toughened its anti-trafficking stance in recent years, but advocates argue it's not nearly enough.

In 2006, the state Legislature, led by True, passed an act imposing criminal penalties for trafficking.

The proposed bill drew little interest at first, True says. "Really, it is so hard for people to grasp that yes, indeed, we do have a problem," she says. "It's very underground."

A raid on two York County brothels, where Korean women allegedly were forced into prostitution, opened some legislators' eyes, she says. The bill eventually passed easily.

Bills currently pending in the state Legislature aim to increase awareness and reporting of suspected trafficking.

The bills, which have several local sponsors, would require transportation hubs, massage parlors, establishments with liquor licenses and other locations to post signs listing the national trafficking hotline number (888-373-7888).

Sponsor Ryan Aument, a Republican who succeeded True in the 41st District, says the county's network of major roads and proximity to big cities make it safe to assume that transporting of victims happens here.

"We want to make sure folks ... are aware of the problem, are on the lookout and quickly report human trafficking," he says. "It's just the right thing to do."

An analysis by the American Center for Law & Justice and human rights group Shared Hope International supports advocates' contention that Pennsylvania's anti-trafficking laws should be tougher.

The groups gave Pennsylvania's existing laws an "F."

A recently released Joint State Government Commission report agrees, saying current state law defines trafficking only vaguely and "lacks the teeth necessary" to effectively arrest and prosecute offenders.

Strong legislation is the key to both prevention and prosecution, Woodcock says. She expects the Lancaster Anti-Trafficking Network, a coalition of local advocacy groups, will lobby alongside others in surrounding counties to adopt the report's recommendations.

Current penalties for "johns" and even pimps are minimal, Love146's Towers says, while victims may be charged with prostitution. Tougher punishments for "johns" will decrease demand, she says.

"It's not going to stop until we approach the demand side," she says. "What is driving men to purchase sex?"

Few convictions

A successful fight against trafficking requires the united efforts of federal agencies, state and local law enforcement, social-service providers and the public, the FBI's Conway says.

Since the federal trafficking law took effect 12 years ago, FBI investigations have led to the rescue of more than 900 children and conviction of 500 traffickers.

In 2005, Operation Precious Cargo targeted sex trafficking at Harrisburg truck stops. The more than 150 victims included 45 children as young as 12. Many of the 18 traffickers received long prison sentences.

In 2010, two Reading men were charged with violating the federal trafficking law. The case was the first of its kind in Pennsylvania's Eastern District, which includes Lancaster County, Conway says.

According to a federal indictment, Paul Sewell employed minors in a large prostitution ring. Michael Johnson drove the girls to jobs.

Sewell, who called himself "God," insisted that each girl be tattooed with a "working name," such as "God's Property" or "God's Jewel."

Sewell photographed the girls and advertised them online as escorts. He subjected some to physical violence.

Sewell and Johnson pleaded guilty to sex trafficking and are awaiting sentencing. Former Reading police Officer Ronald Miko pleaded guilty in June to obstructing the investigation.

Labor trafficking made headlines earlier this month in Philadelphia. Omelyan Botsvynyuk, 52, a Ukrainian national, was sentenced to life plus 20 years in prison for running a human trafficking ring that brought young Ukrainians to the United States illegally, then forced them to clean large chain stores for little or no pay.

The victims were promised good jobs and free room and board. Instead, traffickers used threats, violence, sexual assault and debt bondage to keep them in involuntary servitude.

Botsvynyuk's brother, Stepan, 38, also was convicted in connection with the ring. Three other brothers — Mykhaylo, Yaroslav and Dmytro — were indicted but have not yet been tried.

The only convictions under the state law so far came in January, when Deryck Alston and Amanda Scott, of Delaware County, pleaded guilty to trafficking. The pair marketed a 17-year-old girl for sex by placing topless photos of her in personal ads.

A third person, Jerome Clemons Jr., also of Delaware County, pleaded guilty to promoting prostitution.

Close to home?

Local police and the district attorney's office report receiving only a handful of tips about potential trafficking. None led to arrests.

One county case that fit the criteria for trafficking happened before the state law passed.

A Columbia woman faces up to 12 years in state prison for prostituting her 11-year-old son over a four-month period in 2005. The mother, who was not named to protect her son's identity, apparently was addicted to drugs.

Advocates say a lack of arrests doesn't mean trafficking isn't happening here.

"Ladies are being sold on the Internet right now in Lancaster County," says Organ, of Covenant House. "You just have to look."

Multiple websites list women offering sex for hire in the Lancaster area. All claim to be 18 or older, but NIMBY's Woodcock suspects that many ads don't show faces because the women actually are underage.

Jennifer Sensenig believes trafficking occurs within a few miles of her Strasburg-area home.

One day, in fall 2009, she noticed a young woman's face in the window of an East Lampeter Township massage spa. She watched as the woman applied makeup while looking in a hand mirror.

The scene sparked Sensenig's curiosity about what was going on inside the spa and another nearby.

She began to "stake out" the spas, watching men carry bedding inside and writing down license plate numbers. Posing as a customer looking for a gift certificate, Sensenig saw a lingerie-clad woman preparing to give a "massage."

"Everything about [the spas] had the earmarks of trafficking," she says.

She talked with the woman from the window several times. She said her name was Caitlyn, and she was from Taiwan. Her story kept changing.

Both spas ran afoul of township zoning regulations and closed in summer 2010, before East Lampeter police could fully investigate, Chief John Bowman says.

Sensenig never saw Caitlyn again. But the young woman inspired her and others to start the North Star Initiative, an anti-trafficking group that hopes to open a local home for survivors.

"Every time I got to arguing with myself why I shouldn't [take action], her face would make me stop arguing," Sensenig says.

Believing without seeing

Anti-trafficking groups meet in churches, coffeehouses and schools all over the county.

Diane Adams got involved after she received a book about trafficking as a Christmas gift.

"It opened my eyes to the fact that there's still slavery in the world," she says. "I had no idea."

Adams spearheaded an awareness event at her church, Hempfield United Methodist. Then she started a small group devoted to reading books and watching movies about trafficking.

Now Daughters for Justice is taking action, handing out anti-trafficking pamphlets at county truck stops.

"What if I was born in India instead of the U.S.?" Adams says. "What if my daughter ran away and was picked up by a pimp? If it was me, I would want somebody to do something.

"It's a terrible injustice."

Bethany Woodcock first encountered trafficking in 1999, when she volunteered at an Albanian refugee camp.

A teen translator told Woodcock that she and two friends were promised jobs at a hotel in Italy but instead were forced to work in a brothel. The young woman eventually managed to escape.

"She was the person who gave trafficking a face and name for me," says Woodcock, who later realized that trafficking exists in the United States.

Last spring, Woodcock quit a job to start NIMBY. Her salary isn't guaranteed, but her efforts already are paying off.

She recently helped lead a trafficking training seminar in Baltimore. Afterwards, a police officer said the training forever changed his perspective on women in prostitution.

And nearly every time Woodcock speaks to a church or other group, an audience member will share their own family's experience with trafficking.

"I can't change the world, and I'm not trying to," she says.

"I know it's there. I can't look the other way anymore."



Pa. report on trafficking makes pitch for reforms


While anti-trafficking groups exist across Pennsylvania and in Lancaster County, the Joint State Government Commission's recently released report marks the first centralized, statewide effort against trafficking.

The report proposes legislation and other reforms that will "accelerate efforts to combat human trafficking, put perpetrators on notice and will demonstrate ... that Pennsylvania takes human trafficking very seriously and is working hard to fight this crime within its borders."

The entire 185-page report is available at under "Recent Publications."

Key findings

• The two most common forms of human trafficking — sex trafficking and labor trafficking — exist in Pennsylvania.

• Trafficking is the second-largest form of organized crime in the world, trailing the drug trade.

• There are 12.3 million trafficking victims worldwide.

• Pennsylvania's interstate highway system, truck stops and transient truckers make it a "pass-through" state for trafficking. Evidence suggests that Pennsylvania also is a "source" and "destination" for victims.

• Trafficking victims can be hard to identify and are sometimes treated as criminals.

• Public awareness, professional training, increased penalties and access to victim services are crucial to combat human trafficking.

• A successful fight against human trafficking requires combined efforts of regional, national and international organizations and agencies.


• Establish the Pennsylvania Council for the Prevention of Human Trafficking within the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime & Delinquency. The council would meet quarterly to develop a state plan for providing services to victims.

• Establish clear definitions of sex and labor trafficking.

• Increase fines and penalties for trafficking and involuntary servitude, and add penalties for business entities.

• Participate in the national human trafficking hotline.

• Increase training to help first responders identify victims.

• Expand resources available to victim-service providers.


California voters to decide unusual measure on sex trafficking

by Kinley O'Sullivan

California voters, no strangers to taxes, political districts and the clash of special interests, are in for a surprise in November when they get to a proposition that deals with a topic rarely listed on a ballot – human sex trafficking.

Proposition 35, dubbed the Californians Against Sexual Exploitation Act, would expand protections given to victims of human trafficking in court and force stricter punishments for those convicted.

Another rarity for a statewide ballot issue: There's little or no opposition to Proposition 35.

Polling done by the California Business Roundtable and Pepperdine University shows support at 49% yes, 19% leaning towards yes, and 20% loosely saying yes.

That's a lot of support, even in a state when ballot propositions traditionally lose ground as Election Day nears. But thus far, there is little opposition – who wants to go easy on human sex traffickers? – and the expectation more than three months before the General Election is that the measure will pass easily. The initiative's ultimate impact, given the primacy of federal law in this area, is uncertain, but there is little doubt the measure is popular

“These poll results show that even on a crowded ballot, Proposition 35 stands alone as a clear choice for voters and our state,” said Daphne Phung, the founder of a human-rights group called California Against Slavery, which is leading the push for Proposition 35. Phung launched the group after watching a documentary in 2009 about slavery and trafficking.

Proposition 35 would expand the definition of a sex trafficking crime and allow cases involving minors to be pursued as human trafficking, even when they do not involve the victim's coercion. The change would be added to the existing list of criminal violations associated with human trafficking.

The initiative would bring state penalties closer to the federal statutes, lengthening prison sentences by up to 12 years or 20 years to life, depending on the crime. Fines of up to $500,000 would be imposed on the offender, with courts raising the penalty up to $1,000,000 at the courts discretion depending on the severity of the crime.

Proposition 35 evolved from two bills that last year failed to make it through the Legislature, SB 57 by former Sen. George Runner and AB 755 by Assemblymember Cathleen Galgiani. One feature of AB 57 contained in the initiative is the requirement that all sex offenders to register their online aliases with the state.

Phung sought to get a similar initiative on the ballot in 2010 but was unable to sufficient money and gather enough signatures.

The largest backer for Proposition 35, known as the CASE Act, is Facebook's former Chief Privacy Officer Chris Kelly, who has donated over $1 million in support of the initiative. Kelly worked extensively at Facebook to improve the company's procedures to eliminate sexual predators using the popular site.

Kelly also founded the Safer California Foundation, which eventually partnered with CAS to make sure the CASE Act would be on the Ballot for November.

“The goal is to give prosecutors a greater set of tool to work with,” said Kelly. “More high profile cases brought to state courts and greater penalties will help dissuade traffickers.”

A key point in the initiative prevents victims of human trafficking from their criminal sexual conduct used against them as evidence.

“Right now, victims would be potentially risking their lives testifying against their traffickers, who may only end up with four years of jail time,” Phung said.

“Victims of rape have the Rape Shield Law to help protect them, and this will help bring up the standard at which human trafficking cases are held to the levels of rape and domestic violence.”

Currently for cases of rape, the Rape Shield Law limits a defendant's ability to be cross-examined about past sexual behavior.

The measure would reform the method for dealing with both human trafficking offenders and victims as well as expanding definition for human trafficking, but it was unclear how the state law would interact with federal law, noted Mac Taylor, the Legislature's nonpartisan fiscal analyst.

“It is unknown whether this measure would significantly increase the number of state human trafficking arrests and convictions or whether most such cases would continue to be handled primarily by federal law enforcement authorities,” Taylor said in his summary of the initiative.

Cases that cross over multiple jurisdictions are usually handled by the federal government. All funds seized by the state from traffickers, as well as those gathered from the fines paid by the criminals will be put to helping programs such as Children of the Night to assist human trafficking victims, and train police officers to better handle human trafficking cases.

The initiative's costs include a one-time local government cost of up to a few million dollars on a statewide basis, and lesser costs each year, for training law enforcement officers in handling trafficking victims. Additional costs will be incurred both statewide and locally due to the increased number of incarcerated traffickers.

Proposition 35 will be on the Nov. 6 ballot along with 10 other initiatives and referendums.


3 Washington teens sue, accuse site of enabling sexual exploitation

TACOMA, Wash. – Three Washington state teenagers who say they were sold online for sex have sued the website, accusing the website's owners of enabling their exploitation.

Two 13-year-old girls from Pierce County and one 15-year-old from King County, which encompasses Seattle, filed the lawsuit Friday in Pierce County Superior Court, The News Tribune of Tacoma reported Sunday.

Seattle attorney Liz McDougall, who represents Backpage's corporate owners, said the lawsuit will not pass legal muster and is barred by federal law. The site is owned by Village Voice Media in New York.

Backpage is a popular online destination for escort services. The company has been under heavy pressure to change the way it operates.

In May, the mayors of nearly 50 cities across the U.S. -- including New York, Los Angeles, Phoenix and Philadelphia -- signed a letter urging Village Voice Media to require identification for people posting escort ads on

"Is it proper for some outfit, for some entity, to make millions of dollars not only in trafficking women, but even more importantly trafficking children?" asked Seattle attorney Mike Pfau, who with Erik Bauer represents the teens. "No. It is absolutely unacceptable."

The lawsuit alleges that photos of the underage girls in skimpy garb appeared in numerous ads on the site, paid for by their pimps. It accuses the owners of doing nothing to prevent it. The actions described in the complaint date to 2010.

The website requires ad buyers to click an on-screen button to verify that the users are 18 or older, but the lawsuit alleges it's not much of a deterrent, the News Tribune reported.

"Other than requiring the poster of the ad to agree to this term by 'clicking' on the posting rules page, does nothing to verify the age of the escorts who appear in its prostitution ads, even though it knows that pimps are usually the ones who create the ads, or force their minor sex slaves to do so," the complaint said.

McDougall, the company's attorney, offered sympathy for the young women.

"The stories of the girls identified in the complaint are tragedies. However, the commercial sex exploitation of children is an extremely complex problem on the streets and online, and it must be fought intelligently," McDougall wrote in an email to the newspaper.

" is at the forefront of fighting it intelligently online with a triple-tier prevention system and an unparalleled law enforcement support system."

Also on Friday, Backpage attorneys won a procedural victory in federal court. U.S. District Court Judge Ricardo Martinez granted an injunction that halts a new state law that would require classified advertising companies to verify the ages of people in sex-related advertisements.

Washington state Gov. Chris Gregoire signed the law this year to cut down on child sex trafficking. It had been scheduled to take effect in June.

The decision issued by U.S. District Court Judge Ricardo S. Martinez on Friday is temporary, until the full case can be heard in court.

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