VA Beach may look into child abuse review policy
VIRGINIA BEACH -- To show they haven't been physically abused or harmed, children under age 5 who are not in day care are required to remove their clothes during visits with city Human Services Department caseworkers.
The practice was criticized in a recent state quality review that was jointly released with a Child Welfare League of America review that looked into a child's death. Now, officials are looking at reconsidering it, Human Services Director Bob Morin said.
Two foster families "expressed concern regarding the agency's practice to check children under age 5 by removing their clothing," according to a state review.
A staff member gave this feedback, the report says: "If the child is under 5 and seen weekly, I believe the local agency practice of stripping the child of clothing is unethical and may provide mental harm, especially if the child is a victim of sexual abuse."
The policy was initiated after Braxton Taylor, a 10-month-old in the department's care, was shaken to death by his foster mother, Kathleen Ganiere. She pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and was sent to prison for 10 years.
The report said the agency should "evaluate the effectiveness and potential concerns" of the practice. "None of the other 22 local agencies in the Eastern region follows this practice," it said.
The policy was undertaken, Morin said, after Braxton's death so caseworkers wouldn't miss injuries.
"I don't care to do it because it is intrusive, but we will look at those policies to see how we can change that," Morin said. "We want to make sure that the children are safe. We want to make sure there are no injuries."
Other changes as a result of Braxton's death include automatically referring foster children to child-safety investigators if bruises or other injuries are noticed.
Morin said the department has ordered smartphones for caseworkers, so they can take photos of suspected injuries, send them to their supervisors and get an immediate decision about abuse and neglect suspicions.
He added that a corrective action plan, due to the state by Sept. 1, will look at ways to change the policy. He's not sure when changes would be implemented.
"We want to train our staff in other ways to identify child abuse," Morin said. "We need to talk to experts to find other alternatives."
Doris "Cookie" Palacios, Chesapeake's director of human services, said her agency does not require children to undress during social worker visits.
"I don't know of any time when we have had to totally have the child disrobe," she said in an email. "We have the right to inspect a child for wounds, but it is only when we observe, or the child discloses that there is a wound. At that point, we would call a CPS investigator to do an investigation."
She said that if a child discloses abuse, the foster care worker will ask to see the injury, if they feel comfortable. And if the child does not, the child's physician does the exam.
Grant allows Utah child abuse therapists to get specialized training
SALT LAKE CITY – The heartbreaking details about Penn State's Jerry Sandusky and the father of the 5 Browns here in Utah have made more people aware about the devastating consequences of child sexual abuse. Now Utah children who have been abused or exposed to violence will soon have more mental health treatment options, thanks to a generous grant from the Verizon Foundation.
A series of workshops, sponsored by the State Friends of the Children's Justice Centers and coordinated through the Utah Children's Justice Center Program, will train providers on treatment models proven to reduce trauma and lower the risk of future abuse. Therapists from Davis, Weber, Utah, Box Elder, Cache and Uintah Counties began their first workshop on Aug. 10 at the Davis Children's Justice Center in Farmington.
Additional workshops will be held in Cedar City in September and Salt Lake City in November.
“Unfortunately, specialized mental health services are limited in many areas of Utah, and without appropriate treatment, children can suffer lifelong emotional and physical consequences,” said Tracey Tabet, CJC Program Manager. “This program will help communities meet their mental health needs.”
The $20,000 grant allows trainers from Primary Children's Medical Center for Safe and Healthy Families, the program's medical partner, to conduct two-day workshops for 60 therapists throughout the state. The trainers will follow up with monthly phone consultations with therapists over the next year. “This was an ideal collaboration,” Friends Board Member Nena Slighting said. “The State Friends Board and the Verizon Foundation are both committed to making sure that every community – big and small – has access to quality care for children.”
The workshops teach “evidence-based treatment” models, which have been proven to reduce traumatic stress and re-victimization. Research has also found that family members can be the key to a child's recovery, so therapists are encouraged to involve non-offending care givers in the treatment.
“Many myths around therapy linger, including the assumption that any type of therapy works, and that therapy must be long term,” said Laura Seklemian, CJC Training and Development Coordinator. “These models are very individualized, and often involve only 12 to 16 weeks of therapy.”
This is the CJC program's first training initiative aimed specifically at mental health providers.
The Verizon Foundation uses its resources and partnerships to address critical social issues, including access to health care services in underserved and rural communities. Every year, Utah's CJCs provide a friendly atmosphere for more than 5,000 children while they are being interviewed regarding allegations of abuse. In addition to coordinating forensic interviews and medical exams with partner agencies, CJCs refer families to specialized mental health resources.
Even though the investigation and prosecution of a child abuse case can take months or even years, therapy can begin immediately. Investigators, prosecutors, medical providers and other child abuse professionals are also trained through the Utah CJC program and its 20 CJC and CJC-satellite locations.
The Utah Legislature established the Utah CJC program to provide a multidisciplinary response to child abuse. The Attorney General's Office administers the program and, CJC services are delivered locally through contracts with counties. The State Friends Board is a private, nonprofit dedicated to raising funds to support training, program needs and raise awareness of CJC services. More information about the CJC can be found on the Attorney General's website.
Help for sexual assault victims needed
by Daily Democrat
SADVC is offering a state-certified 70-hour peer counseling training.
The Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Center is located in Woodland at 175 Walnut St., and provides crisis intervention services to children, women and men in Yolo County who have experienced domestic violence or have been sexually assaulted.
Topics for the upcoming peer counseling training include types of domestic and sexual violence, cycle of violence, effects of domestic violence on children, child sexual abuse investigations, safety planning, and working with law enforcement, Child Protective Services, District Attorney's Office and more.
Volunteer positions include crisis line, children's program, Russian outreach, Sexual Assault Response Team and legal advocacy.
Training will be held and at the SADVC offices in Woodland from 5:30 to 10 p.m., Mondays and Wednesdays, and every other Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Training starts Oct. 3 and ends Nov. 12.
Attendance is mandatory for all training days. The cost is $60 for volunteers and $110 for professional development.
Visit www.sadvc.org for a Welcome Packet and application.
SADVC was established in 1977. It's mission is to eliminate sexual assault and domestic violence through sensitive prevention, intervention and treatment.
Jacksonville gathering hears reports on rampant sexual abuse of children
Innocence Tour says too many children are being victimized
by Charlie Patton
The event was billed as a fact-finding visit to Jacksonville by Connie Lee, founder of Family and Friends Fighting Against Sexual Assault, who brought her “Holocaust of Innocence Tour, Research and Documentary Project” to a Baymeadows church Saturday.
But what actually happened was something of a rally by people angry about a problem they think has become out of control. Kaye Smith, a Jacksonville sexual abuse counselor, called it “an epidemic of adults who were sexually abused as children.”
“I am so upset about people's reaction to sexual abuse,” said Smith, founder of ReClaim Global, which sponsored the event. “They don't want to hear about it.”
America's most notorious pedophile, Jerry Sandusky, the former Penn State assistant football coach, was mentioned only briefly during the two-hour gathering because the primary focus was on the victimization of girls, not boys.
Lee told an audience of about 300 people that nationally one in three girls and one in six boys are sexually abused. Smith, whose group works with adult women who were abused as children, said she thinks those statistics actually underestimate the problem.
Smith said she had been victimized sexually by three men growing up. Robin Quackenbush, founder of Thrivers Unite, told an even more dramatic story of being bred by her mother for use as part of a sex ring organized by her stepfather, a police officer. She said she was raped for the first time on the day she started kindergarten after being auctioned by her stepfather. She was raped by strangers who had paid for her until, at 12 years old, she managed to get away.
That was luck, she said. “Most of the girls knew they were going to die by the age of 12,” she said.
Lee said she started her organization and launched her fact-finding tour after growing frustrated with a justice system that treated accusations of sexual abuse of children as a “he said, she said thing.”
“We want to break the wall of silence,” she said.
Ann Dugger, executive director of the Justice Coalition, told the gathering that she had recently attended the sentencing of a 24-year-old man who had been caught in a police sting making arrangements to meet for sex with what he thought was a 14-year-old girl. He was sentenced to five years in prison, the same sentence the judge gave to a man accused of stealing air-conditioning units, she said.
“That doesn't make sense,” she said, then told the group “together we can, together we will make the First Coast safer by citizen involvement.”
Smith summoned some of her ReClaimers, about 45 women who had gone through therapy sessions with her. Her goal in those sessions, she said, is to help the women understand that any shame belongs to the victimizer, not the victim.
“I don't own that shame,” she said. “He does.”
Near the end of the conference, Smith unveiled a new ReClaim Global flag, a white flag with a hole in its center and five vertical stripes. The hole, she said, symbolizes the shattered soul of a victimized child. She gave flags to Lee, Dugger and Quackenbush.
Then rapper MoBigga performed his new song, “ReClaim the Innocent,” the chorus of which proclaimed: “Stand up, stand out, you have a voice. Speak out, be bold, unashamed. No more a victim now. You're ReClaimed.”
Jacksonville is the fourth city Lee has visited on her tour. She plans to visit 30 more, then produce a documentary.
Smith, who said she plans to launch a television program next year, said she hopes that the result of Saturday's event is “a groundswell of people who will arise from here and change the world.”
UN Warns of Impact of High Prevalence of Child Abuse in East Asia
The report, Child Maltreatment: Prevalence, Incidence and Consequences in East Asia and Pacific, analyzes a series of studies undertaken by experts and academics over the past decade on child maltreatment in the region.
Child maltreatment has harmful long-term consequences, not only for the children suffering the abuse, but also for the families and societies in which they live, " UNICEF`s Regional Child Protection Specialist, Amalee McCoy, said in a news release. Understanding the prevalence of child maltreatment is a first step towards identifying the right measures to make every child in the region safer. "
There are currently some 580 million children in the East Asia "Pacific region, representing one quarter of the world`s children, living in some of the most densely populated and culturally diverse places in the world.
The report, which will be released on Wednesday, reveals that although the frequency of physical abuse of children varies from country to country and from study to study, the best case scenario suggests that one in 10 children experience physical abuse, while the worst case finds that 30.3 per cent of children suffer from abuse. Severe physical abuse includes beatings, including those inflicted by fists or implements, which result in physical injury.
According to UNICEF, the consistently high prevalence of child maltreatment throughout a region with such a large number of children was distressing. " In addition, amongst other findings, the report found that between 14 and 30 per cent of the region`s boys and girls report experiencing forced sex, and for many young people their first experiences of sexual intercourse is forced.
We need to strengthen national child protection systems to protect children who are already experiencing harm, and to create environments where abuse is prevented and the risks of violence to children are mitigated, " Ms. McCoy said.
The damage to children caused by sexual and physical abuse is often very serious and lifelong, UNICEF notes. Children who are abused, neglected, exploited or experience violence are more likely to be depressed and experience other types of mental health problems, to think about or attempt suicide, to have more physical symptoms " both medically explained and unexplained " and to engage in more high-risk behaviours than their non-abused counterparts.
The report's finding will be reviewed by child protection experts from governments, the UN system and civil society at a meeting that will be held in Bangkok, Thailand, on Wednesday.
Woodland Hills man charged with murder, child abuse in heroin death of 13-year-old
by Eric Hartley
Prosecutors filed charges, including murder and child abuse, Friday against a Woodland Hills man they say gave heroin to a 13-year-old boy.
Brett M. Cronin, 23, was scheduled to be arraigned in Van Nuys.
Cronin is charged with murder, furnishing or administering heroin to a minor, and child abuse, the District Attorney's Office said. The murder charge could carry a life sentence.
Prosecutors said Cronin is the stepbrother of the 13-year-old's friend. The deceased boy, whose name police did not release Friday afternoon, died while spending the night at his friend's house this week.
Cronin and the 13-year-old went into a bathroom, where the boy injected or was injected with heroin, prosecutors said.
Paramedics were called to the house Wednesday morning, but the child was already dead. Cronin was arrested late that night.
Mother arrested after leaving children in hot car
A young Los Angeles woman was arrested Saturday on suspicion of child endangerment after allegedly leaving her two small children in a locked car while she went shopping in Cudahy as temperatures soared outside.
Arely Amaya, 18, is suspected of leaving her 1-year-old son and 2-week-old daughter strapped in their car seats as the outside temperature reached 92 degrees. The car interior was probably 10 to 15 degrees hotter, and the children were hot and sweaty to the touch, said Lt. Daniel Lopez of the East Los Angeles sheriff's station.
Deputies were alerted to the children's plight by a passerby, who saw the car parked in the 7900 block of Atlantic Avenue about 12:30 p.m.
A deputy was able to unlock the car through a partially open rear window and the children were kept in an air-conditioned patrol car until paramedics arrived, Lopez said.
“We really appreciate it when citizens call us with information like this,” he said. “We'd like to thank that citizen who placed that call.”
Investigators estimated that the children had been confined in the car 20 to 25 minutes.
The children were in stable condition Saturday night at St. Francis Medical Center in Lynwood. Amaya was in custody in lieu of $105,000 bail and faces possible felony charges.
Each year, dozens of children left in parked vehicles die from hyperthermia, an acute condition that occurs when the body absorbs more heat than it can handle, according to the National Weather Service.
Even on a mild day, the temperature inside a parked vehicle can rapidly rise to a dangerous level for children, pets and even adults. Leaving the windows slightly open does not significantly help, the weather service advises. The effects can be more severe on children because their bodies warm at a faster rate.
The Weather Service noted that, in one recent case, a child died of hyperthermia in a car when the outside temperature was only 81 degrees.
“No amount of time is safe to keep a child or pet in a vehicle when temperatures are this high,” Lopez said.
Bigger Than Penn State
by Wendy Strgar
August 10, 2012
Media stories of childhood sex abuse have filled the airwaves of late; from the Penn State trial of Jerry Sandusky to the ongoing Catholic Church scandals to the first conviction of a high ranking church official. While these stories stir our outrage, their telling and re-telling truly only reflect the tip of the iceberg when it comes to both the enormity and secrecy surrounding childhood sexual abuse. In fact, childhood sexual abuse makes up more than 10 percent of the millions of reported childhood abuse cases in the US.
Worldwide, research shows that up to 36 percent of girls and 29 percent of boys have suffered child sexual abuse and coercion. According to the World Health Organization, these statistics represent 150 million girls and 73 million boys under the age of 18 who experienced forced sexual intercourse or other forms of sexual violence. That number increases substantially when you include the vast sexual slave trade market that holds millions more children in its grasp. Most shocking of all is that even these numbers are considered to be only fractional because sexual abuse carries such profound taboos that the vast majority goes unreported by the victims themselves.
Recent revelations of the years of child sexual abuse that occurred in the Penn State locker room generated a national swell of outrage in response to the institutional efforts to cover for the perpetrator which enabled the sex abuse to continue. Just days before, Monsignor James Lynn was the first high ranking church official ever to be convicted for the same crime of protecting and enabling other priests that were abusing altar boys. Unlike the Sandusky case where the perpetrator was also sentenced, the priests were not tried. However, what both these cases share in common is the silence, denial and shame that the victims faced when they came forward.
Sadly, our national conversation about this rampant form of child abuse too often ends with the dispensing of punishment. We refuse to delve deeper into the frequency and prevalence of inappropriate sexual behavior that impact millions of children. Like Sandusky, it is not surprising that many, if not most, perpetrators were once childhood victims themselves. Our collective discomfort with the reality of this situation creates a weighty silence that suppresses and distorts normal human sexual impulses and turns them into a distorted cycle of repeated pain. Jerry Sandusky wasn't an outright liar in his trial. In order for him to live with his overwhelming shame he had to reinvent what happened with all the boys he abused, just as he had to reinvent the story of his abuse as a child.
He needed help that he couldn't ask for or even recognize. Many other highly educated people witnessed his need for help but could not overcome the shame and silence surrounding sexual deviance. The abuse occurred in a world in which many shut down the efforts to educate oneself and others about the complexity and mystery of being an erotic human being. When we refuse to host a sexual conversation that is focused on healing, it leads to misinterpretation of the lasting emotional damage for both the perpetrator and the victim. Denial and distortion are as common to the adult perpetrators as to the children being coerced into sexual acts that they do not understand. They create ramifications in all of the other aspects of their emotional and social relationships. Those who have looked the other way in the hierarchy of the institutions are silent not only out of covering up bad press issues, but like many of us, also are clearly unable to language and determine consequences of inappropriate sexuality.
Not long ago, I interviewed Dr. David Knighton, a renowned physician and the author of The Wisdom of the Healing Wound and was stunned when he shared the story of his own healing journey. He identified that the source of a lifelong migraine originated from the place where his grandfather had held his head during forced oral sex throughout his childhood. Other adults must have known what was going on during the frequent trips to the basement to fuel the furnace. Yet, Dr. Knighton revealed that the most painful aspect of his own healing was coming to terms with his memory of his grandfather as the sole member of his conservative family who really loved him. In his career, Dr. Knighton went on to invent several innovative healing tools that revolutionized the treatment of physical wounds, but admitted that had he not had the opportunity for his own healing, this childhood sexual injury would have destroyed his life and his potential.
Indeed, of all of the institutions that need reform, it is the family structure, which accounts for the largest proportion of both reported and unreported cases of childhood sexual abuse. The injury is made that much worse by the denial of childhood sexual abuse that goes unrecognized for generations. One of the most disturbing aspects of this form of abuse is that the majority occurs with people that the child knows and often trusts. Many adult victims are ostracized from their family or called crazy for their accusations even years later in life. Remarkably, even in the worst cases of abuse where children require treatment, they are often placed back in the home with the perpetrator.
In this context, it becomes easier to understand how both child victims of sex abuse and the adults who know of its occurrences remain silent, ashamed and wounded, refusing to give voice to their suffering or legitimate accusations. Although this context does not excuse the denial of the much larger institutions for not taking responsible measures to protect children, it is clear that culturally we all participate in a culture which lacks the courage and maturity to express the depth and gravity of sexual abuse in childhood. We have grown accustomed to looking the other way instead of facing this invisible epidemic which has stolen the soul of many people's sexualities.
I was hopeful that opening this national discussion up within the recent trial and conviction would enlarge our national dialogue about this giant elephant sitting in our midst. Instead we focused our extensive commentary on the severity of the punishment to the Penn State football program. This is a critical opportunity to refocus our commitment to sexual education because it is only through education that children will learn how to identify and communicate respectful boundaries of their emerging sexual selves. Likewise, adults whose sexual fantasies converge on potentially abusive behavior will be able to identify appropriate sexual outlets.
So long as sexual revelations are associated only with shame and punishment we will continue to suppress the truth of who we are sexually and refuse to ask the question of how we got here. What has been happening in our most revered large institutions are not isolated cases of human sexual deviance, they are the magnification of the imposed silence from decades of “just say no” to everything sexual and the historic fears of our own mysterious sexual drives. What is forced underground within the human psyche does not go away; it exerts an internal force that is unstoppable. It cannot be punished out of us. What is required instead is nothing less than a seismic cultural shift towards human sexuality. Replacing the shame and fears of our erotic selves with a deep respect for its powerful capacity to heal us instead of hurt others is where this shift must begin.
Child advocacy center reports spike in child abuse victims
by Robin Y. Richardson
The Martin House Children's Advocacy Center — which provides services for abused children in the Harrison, Marion and Gregg county areas — has reported a record number of victims served in July.
“We had twice as many children come to our center in July than any other month,” Executive Director Roxanne Stevenson said.
She said the center, which serves children up to 18 years old, usually assists an average of 30 to 32 children per month. In July, it provided services for 62 children from Gregg, Harrison and Marion counties.
“Although we wish we didn't have to be in business at all, we hope that the increase means that adults are taking a stand against child abuse and reporting suspicions to authorities. Only then can we ensure the health and safety of children in our communities,” Stevenson said.
Of the 62 children receiving services, 22 were from Harrison County, 39 were from Gregg County, and one was from Marion County.
She said 20 of the children were in the birth to 5-year-old category, 27 were between ages 6 to 12, and 15 were between ages 13 to 17.
“Investigations are still ongoing,” Stevenson said.
She noted that during the past fiscal year, the center provided services to 384 children — primarily from Gregg and Harrison counties.
Stevenson said the center, which was established in 2009, offers a child-friendly environment where young victims can feel safe talking about abuse and receive services and information free of charge that are necessary for their healing process to begin.
“That's one reason why we encourage and pay for the families to go to mental health counseling,” she said. “We really try to follow up on the victim. That's the best way to help these children and families heal.”
Stevenson said the center's specially trained staff members conduct forensic interviews of children for law enforcement, child protective services, and the district attorney's office to aid investigators in determining if abuse has occurred. The information can be used as evidence in the prosecution of perpetrators.
“This innovative multidisciplinary team approach is much less traumatic for young victims, significantly increases the likelihood of a successful outcome in court, and provides long-term healing for the abused child,” she said.
Stevenson said state law mandates that adults suspecting child abuse or neglect should report it directly to Child Protective Services through the state's abuse hotline at 1 (800) 252-5400, or to local law enforcement agencies.
“Timely reporting not only alleviates a child's suffering, but may also prevent future incidences of abuse. Responsible adults must be the voice for these children. It is all adults' responsibility to keep children safe,” Stevenson said. “If you suspect abuse, call the hotline.”
The center offers the following tips if a child reveals he or she has been abused or is showing symptoms of abuse:
Remain calm and assure the child that they did the right thing by telling someone.
Help the child to understand that they are not to blame for the abuse.
Believe the child. If a child makes an outcry, be sure to react in such a way that indicates to the child that he or she is believed.
Contact the Texas Abuse Hotline at 1 (800) 252-5400 or local law enforcement.
Feds investigate possible Sandusky child-porn ring
by Val Brickates Kennedy
BOSTON (MarketWatch) -- Federal authorities are investigating whether former Pennsylvania State University assistant coach Jerry Sandusky was part of a child-pornography distribution ring, according to CBS News on Friday.
Investigators are also looking into whether Sandusky sent "seductive" letters across state lines for "sexual purposes."
The probe is being led by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the U.S. Attorney's Office in Pennsylvania.
Sandusky, once a Penn State football icon, was convicted in June of 45 counts of child sexual abuse, some of which occurred on university property.
Air Force sex scandal claims top base leader
Commander of basic training group relieved of duties at Lackland
AUSTIN, Texas — The fallout from a sex scandal at Lackland Air Force Base widened Friday, when the top commander was ousted over the basic training unit where investigators say dozens of female recruits were sexually assaulted or harassed by their male instructors.
Col. Glenn Palmer had arrived at Lackland last year and was in charge when allegations involving more than a dozen instructors began to mount within his 737th Training Group. Collen McGee, spokeswoman for the Lackland training wing, said it was decided the unit needed new leadership.
"But Col. Palmer did not create the environment that created the misconduct," McGee said.
Military prosecutors have investigated more than a dozen instructors at Lackland and charged six with crimes ranging from rape to adultery. Officials said Palmer was not facing any criminal charges and that his new assignment had not yet been determined.
Lackland is where every new American airman reports for eight weeks of basic training. About 35,000 airmen graduate each year.
The White House pick for Air Force chief of staff was held up while Congress pressed the service for answers about the widening scandal at the Texas base.
Abuse Probe Follows Discovery of Underground Cult
by Jessica Golloher
MOSCOW — At least 20 children have been discovered living in an underground bunker beneath a house in Kazan, in the eastern republic of Tatarstan.
Prosecutors say that many of the children have never seen sunlight because they weren't allowed to leave the bunker and that their parents are being investigated for possible child abuse. Russian officials discovered the Islamist sect on the outskirts of the city, which is located about 800 kilometers west of Moscow.
At least 70 adults and 20 children were living in an area beneath the building's basement. Irina Petrova, an aide to Kazan's prosecutor, described the living conditions as less than human.
"The premises consist of cells without natural light and ventilation dug into the ground," she said. "It is an eight-level anthill. Not only adults were living on these premises, but also children."
After the bunker was discovered, the children, many of whom were born underground, were brought to clinics to be checked.
"Children were in satisfactory condition. They were all fed, although they were dirty. Upon receiving them, we washed them," said Tatiana Moroz, head of Kazan's in-patient children's clinic, explaining that all of the children have been examined by a range of specialists. "Saturday the full analysis will be finished and we will give our final conclusion about the condition of their health."
Prosecutors reported that one of the girls found underground was 17 and pregnant. Officials said that no one has been arrested in conjunction with the sect, but police have opened an investigation that could culminate in charges of child abuse.
The youngest child found was 17-months old. One former sect member who asked to remain anonymous said living with the group was not easy.
"The living conditions were spartan, everyone made do as he was able," the former member said. "We also put the beds together by hand; other things were found and brought — things like a metal bed. The children slept in these conditions. There were not enough clothes. Some people donated clothes. Some people took clothes from garbage bins and brought them."
The group's founder, 83-year-old Fayzrahman Saratov, who declared himself a prophet, defended the sect and the fact that the group cut all ties with the outside world.
"I left my daughter, I left all my relatives," said Saratov. "[I] told them, if you want to live as a follower of Allah, you should come here. I will give you a place. We will feed you, give you clothes. Allah will provide clothing and if you are not going to follow Allah, go away from here."
The court system will decide whether the children remain with their parents. Meanwhile, prosecutors said they will make a request to have the underground bunker demolished.
Ear piercing for babies: Is it child abuse?
by Jenna Myers Karvunidis, (PSA on site)
Babies are all born perfect. Even the not-so-healthy ones. They're all fresh and clear like new snow or a blank Google doc. And although we're in charge of their little bodies (no smoking, ever, missy) their bodies are actually theirs to make long-term decisions about and upon which to make modifications. In theory. We can't just go around tattooing them or installing studs in their skulls. But what about early ear piercing?
The tides are shifting in the circumcision arena as more parents in recent years see the practice as barbaric and unnecessary. Give it a decade and circumcising a baby might go the way of ancient Chinese foot-binding. But what about ear piercing? Same perfect baby, similar flash of pain, but is it child abuse? Some say so.
At the age of five(ish?) I made my own choice to get my ears pierced at the glamourous emporium known as Claire's at the mall. I'm sure you did too. It's the American way. Of course I got the glittery pink studs and twisted them and slathered them with ear solution like a soldier. Later, I got cocky. I once pierced my own ear with a blunt stud during 10th grade gym class and cleaned it with spit. Warrior! Dude, just a few pops and it's through. Ain't no thang. However when it comes to my own precious daughters, whom I'd like to bubble wrap and freeze in time like the Iceman, I forbid ear piercing until some later date when we're all more educated and aliens rule space. My kids still have the perfect, sweet little ears they were born with. Double standards, I'll be here all day. I don't know why it was okay for me and not for them. Throw it in the heap with underage booze and tattoos.
Cultural differences abound on the ear-piercing issue. While young, hip, naturalists will smoke a bowl with one hand and tsk ear-piercing with the other, hispanic populations declare early ear-piercing as a normal part of life. My friend Maria argued that babies are poked and prodded at birth so much they barely notice getting their ear pierced. Many baby girls in Latin America have the procedure done the same day they are born. So what's the beef?
Some say choice. Ear piercing is unnecessary pain. Although it is reversible, it's a semi-permanent procedure that could lead to infection or scarring. By these arguments though, no child should get their ears pierced until they are of legal adult age and able to fully accept the consequences and responsibilities. What next? A legal age of consent for haircuts? For toxic nail polish? Chocolate?
I think ear piercing is like any other parenting decision. As long as the family is contemplative and informed and the procedure is legal, parents should make the best decisions for their children. Sometimes that means people are going to do things we don't like or wouldn't choose for ourselves. I may not choose to wear Crocs, but I will defend to the death your right to wear them. Sort of.
ICE seeks public's help to identify Jane Doe wanted for production of child pornography
(PICTURES ON SITE)
WASHINGTON — U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) is urgently seeking the public's help to identify a suspected child pornography producer and rescue at least two underage victims.
This week, the HSI Child Exploitation Investigations Unit's Victim Identification Program obtained a "Jane Doe" arrest warrant in the District Court for the District of Columbia for the suspect. The unit believes that Jane Doe has produced child pornography videos featuring herself and an unidentified adult male engaging in sexual contact with two minor victims, one 5 to 7 years old and the other 3 to 5 years old.
Jane Doe, pictured right, is described by HSI special agents with the agency's Victim Identification Program as a Caucasian female, 25 to 35 years old, with a medium build, dark brown hair and blue eyes. She has a large mole on the back of her left thigh (pictured above). Although her whereabouts are unknown, special agents investigating this case believe she lives somewhere in the United States.
HSI special agents in Los Angles initially discovered the videos during a computer forensics examination of material in an unrelated child pornography case. The material was submitted to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the national clearinghouse for child sexual exploitation material. The center determined that the victims have not yet been identified or rescued.
Jane Doe's information and photos are being distributed through law enforcement channels by the Victim Identification Unit, HSI Los Angeles and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in a unified effort to find the perpetrators and rescue the two children.
HSI is requesting that anyone with information about this person contact the agency immediately, in one of two ways:
- Call the ICE Tip Line: 866-347-2423 , which is staffed 24-hours a day;
- Complete an online tip form at www.ice.gov/tips/
All tips will remain anonymous. Individuals should not attempt to apprehend the suspect personally.
HSI's Victim Identification Program seeks to rescue child victims of sexual abuse and exploitation and bring the perpetrators to justice.
Silence not golden in abuse cases
by DEWANNA HAMLIN
I was ashamed. I felt dirty. I was afraid to tell, and I was afraid not to tell because it would keep happening if I didn't. I wanted it to stop. Who would believe a kid? When I finally let the cat out of the bag, so to speak, everyone was more interested in preserving his (my abuser's) reputation, his future, keeping it hush-hush. At 13, all of a sudden, I was named the seductress; the over-developed, "fast," sassy teen. Later, that became my persona, a mask I wore, a way to reclaim my power. I wonder how my life would have been different if the adults had been more concerned about me and my future at the time.
— a local sex-abuse survivor
In light of the recent sanctions against Penn State, following Jerry Sandusky's conviction, it is time that we candidly discuss the silence surrounding child abuse. Child sex abuse is the ugly monster hiding in the closet of our nightmares, the troll under the bed and the ultimate terrorist stealing the innocence of our youth. The damage defies even the unprecedented $60 million action that will be used to provide programs for child sexual-abuse prevention and victim assistance in this case. How can we as a society assign a dollar amount to the traumatic fallout of this type of victimization?
Soon it will be time for the class buzzer to sound, and children of all ages will be trusting adults, including parents, to put sons, daughters, cheerleaders, athletes, dancers, scouts and students first. Coaches, mentors and other leaders will step forward to take a central role in the lives of our youth. Our expectations of them are high; however, we won't succeed until youth from all backgrounds are considered precious, valued and validated enough to be heard and protected. Who is important in our society and who is expendable? Who is cherished? Who is cast aside? Who is heard? Who is silenced?
The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey tells us that 80 percent of female victims surveyed experience their first rape before the age of 25, almost half before the age of 18, 30 percent between 11-17 and 12 percent before age 10. In the same survey, 28 percent of male victims of rape were first raped when they were 10 years old or younger. Other studies indicate that early victimization leads to later victimization and a host of other potential negative social behaviors such as self-harm, substance abuse, low social skills and aggressive acts.
Can anything be done to prevent these types of traumatic events from occurring in programs that cater to children? The burden should not be placed on the shoulders of a child; safety of children including adolescents and youth is the responsibility of grown-ups. There are a number of things that adults must do that hold other adults accountable in organizations:
- Create comprehensive sexual misconduct policies. Have procedures in place and make sure everyone in your organization has been trained on appropriate responses for this type of situation.
- Practice appropriate supervision of staff/volunteers working with minors.
- Offer trainings to children, parents, staff and volunteers regarding what constitutes child sexual abuse and how to report it.
- Create an atmosphere that supports and encourages discussion of sexual abuse, boundaries, healthy sexuality and healthy relationships.
- Respond to inappropriate behavior immediately.
Although approximately 88 percent of sexual abuse is never reported to authorities, and nine out of 10 people who have sexually abused children will not have a criminal background, having a thorough screening process in place as well as requiring a criminal background check should be part of the hiring and training protocol for staff/volunteers.
There are many resources in communities across the country and online to assist organizations in creating policies, conversation starters for discussions with children, signs to look for, tip sheets for parents and survivor healing. Even though inexcusable actions have taken place by perpetrators and bystanders in the past, let's make sure going forward, our children's futures are golden rather than the echoes of silence. Family Services' Vantage Pointe Child Advocacy Center is one such resource that provides forensic interviews for children affected by sexual abuse in a child-friendly setting, advocacy, emotional support and referral to other services.
Poughkeepsie center to expand fight against child abuse
Hayworth enlisted to help facility
by Nina Schutzman
The Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse is looking to expand its services. To do so, the center is looking for an advocate in U.S. Rep. Nan Hayworth.
The center serves 15,000 Dutchess residents a year and costs under $900,000 annually to run, said Executive Director Kathleen Murphy. On Thursday, Hayworth, R-Bedford, Westchester County, took a tour of the center.
“I want to expand even more,” Murphy said. “Our goal is to eliminate child abuse completely and we think it can be done in three generations.”
Murphy said the center saw 698 Dutchess County children in 2011. This year they've seen 413. If the trend continues, that could bring the number to over 800 children by the end of the year, she said.
Specially trained law enforcement and child protective service employees are on hand to interview children about abuse allegations. Investigations of sexual abuse, neglect, physical abuse and child death are performed.
Hayworth said she was impressed by what she saw at the center, a three-floor, nine-room house where children “disclose for the first time the abuse they've suffered.”
“Everything I learn about what they do will help me to be a better advocate for them,” Hayworth said. “There are things we have to think about locally as matters of national policy that directly affect the quality of life here.”
Funding comes from fundraiser efforts and grants from Dutchess County, United Way of Dutchess-Orange Region, Community Foundations of the Hudson Valley, the Dyson Foundation and the National Children's Alliance.
“There are federal programs, competitive grant programs that we can help to mobilize,” Hayworth said.
“The future of those programs depends on how well we manage the economy.”
Dutchess County Legislature Chairman Robert Rolison, R-Poughkeepsie, said one of the most important things the center does is put children at ease during their initial interviews.
“The surroundings are important, because you're talking with children about such difficult things,” said Rolison, a retired Poughkeepsie police officer.
“This atmosphere where they do those difficult interviews helps that process.”
Murphy said she's optimistic about the future of the Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse and decreasing the number of children suffering.
“It's not all doom and gloom,” Murphy said. “Higher numbers are partially because more kids are comfortable reporting incidents. The earlier they tell, the better.”
“I think there is some relief for the child, when they're leaving the center after they've talked to us,” Murphy said.
“Every kid walks out with a teddy bear in their hands. They know somebody is here to help them.”
Maine Voices: We need to open our eyes to child sexual assault – and act
We're 'groomed' to avoid the disturbing specifics. Meanwhile, someone may be 'grooming' your child.
by BILL DIAMOND
To groom, according to Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, means to get into readiness for a specific objective. Certainly that's a straightforward definition that most people understand in their routine use of the English language. However, in the dark and horrific world of child sexual assault, the word "groom" has an entirely different meaning.
Grooming in that world describes how sexual predators prepare young victims by gaining their trust and, consequently, access to their minds and bodies. Grooming by a predator may take months, even years. Most child sexual molesters are either members of the child's family or are well known by the family; in fact, research tells us that over 90 percent of sexual assaults are committed by people who fall into one of those two categories. Consequently, the opportunities for predators to initiate grooming techniques are virtually unlimited.
An example of parental grooming is illustrated in the recent arrests made in a multi-nation child pornography case. In May of this year, police arrested Michael Arnett of Roeland Park, Kan., for possessing shocking child pornographic photos and explicit chats about child abuse on his computer that allegedly he produced. According to an article published Aug. 5 in the Maine Sunday Telegram and titled, "Even seasoned investigators disturbed by child porn case," police found detailed descriptions and online dialogue on Arnett's computer about abducting, torturing and killing young children. Investigators said the suspect made photos of children he allegedly sexually abused.
The most telling part of the story was the reaction by the mother of one of the boys who was sexually molested. She initially refused to believe the accusations against Arnett; then she saw the photos that he had allegedly taken of her son. Arnett had been a trusted friend of the family for 15 years, and had complete access to her son. "I had no idea," she said. "It's depressing."
Sexual predators will systematically create a level of trust, making the child and parents feel totally confident in the relationship. Carefully groomed parents will not only allow unsupervised access to their children, but even better -- they will actually assist in providing access to their child.
Grooming a child victim may include buying gifts, demonstrating kindness and caring to both the child and members of the family, and becoming a "reliable friend" to the victim -- someone the child can depend on and trust. A child's loyalty is critical in the grooming process, especially if the predator becomes a suspect. Sharing trusted "secrets" between the predator and the victim serves as a safety net, of sorts, for the predator.
The calculating predator will analyze and evaluate the targeted family, then, through cunning and deliberate methods, move in with determination and patience getting closer and closer to his prey.
In a sense, we as a society have groomed ourselves to resist reading and learning about the tragic and heinous details of sexual assaults on children.
"Oh, I can't read that -- it's too awful, too sad, too graphic," is the common reply.
Over the years, the media has responded to the subtle pressure of their audiences by avoiding the nauseating and heart-wrenching specifics of these stories. As a result, the real issues are not discussed and the needed support for change goes unachieved.
We need to change our culture to accepting new levels of tolerance and a willingness to know -- really know -- what's going on in the world of child sexual assaults. Child pornography is the feeder system, and now more than ever, children are being subjected to rape and torture, all for the purposes of sexual gratification and, of course -- money. This is a multibillion-dollar industry supported by those who will pay to see the online production of children being sexually abused and, in some cases, killed.
It's time for a new acceptance that not only tolerates knowing the truth, but insists on it -- as unsettling as that may be. We are making progress toward change, as illustrated in the aforementioned article. That story describes some of the most horrible details reported by the media to date; as disturbing as the specifics were, the facts were still told.
It's time we as a society groom ourselves so we can accept reality and address what has been all too commonly referred to as the unspeakable facts about child rape and assault. Maybe then we will insist that reporting suspected child abuse is our highest priority -- definitely higher than protecting institutions, power and our buddies.
Sen. Bill Diamond, D-Windham, is the former chairman of the Legislature's Criminal Justice Committee.
War on International Sex Trafficking Isn't a War on Sex
Actress, 'The Secret Life of the American Teenager'
by Renee Olstead (Video on site)
Let's be clear here, the 'war on international sex trafficking' isn't a 'war on sex.' I personally believe that the war on sex trafficking would receive more support from the public if they truly knew the atrocities committed against the world's women and children, and could see that this great war is in fact a fight against the issue of modern day slavery.
I consider myself both pro-sex and pro-human rights. In fact, its my opinion that prostitution should be legalized and regulated in our own country for the health and safety of its workers, but that's another blog.
The international sex trade, however, is a different story and the stories of its victims are often silenced. Many readers may not know that children as young as four are commonly kidnapped or sold into the sex trade, at the rate of two to four million a year. Many of the worst abuses occur in countries such as Cambodia, where overwhelming poverty can persuade a family to sell their daughter to a brothel owner for as little as USD $10. After purchase, these children spend the next several years of their lives being abused, raped, and subjected to forced abortions. These children have no control over whether or not their client will wear a condom, whether or not they'll be infected with HIV, or even if the client will physically abuse them before he leaves. Many of these children will never live to survive their days in this brutal trade.
One of the most disturbing things I've learned about the Cambodian sex trade is that it's commonly thought that the virginity of a young child can cure HIV/AIDS. Children barely older than toddlers are commonly sold at a premium to infected clients looking to rid themselves of diseases. Often, after the client is finished, the child is 'stitched up' to simulate a still intact hymen and sold again. Older children who attempt to refuse a client (usually between ten and fifteen men a day) are tortured, beaten, or electrocuted as punishment.
Life for child sex-workers has held little hope until recently. The Somaly Mam Foundation, founded by a courageous Cambodian sex-trade survivor, aims to offer support to these forgotten children. Her foundation currently operates three centers that house, care for, and counsel sex-trade survivors. The Somaly Mam Foundation also offers AIDS prevention education, condoms, traditional schooling, and important job skills to the women and children of the sex-trade ensuring that they receive the life skills necessary to build a life for themselves beyond the confines of a brothel.
Charleston announces groundbreaking effort to evaluate child safety
by Carolyn Murray
City of Charleston Mayor Joseph P. Riley, Jr. has announced a groundbreaking effort to evaluate and improve child protection policies for the city.
The effort will be spearheaded by Mayor Riley and a task force to include Darkness to Light's President and CEO Jolie Logan, Libby Ralston, founder and Director Emeritus of The Dee Norton Lowcountry Children's Center, and Lib Hinson, Interim Executive Director of DNLCC. The chief objective of the task force is to develop a "Best Practices" model for moving beyond current policies and strengthening the continuum of primary prevention and reporting standards of child abuse in Charleston. The model will then be shared with other cities and communities across the nation. This initiative will build on the prevention training provided by D2L and the forensic, medical, and mental health services of DNLCC.
"The work of protecting our children is the responsibility of the adults around them," said Mayor Riley. "Working with two extraordinary agencies, Darkness to Light and Dee Norton Lowcountry Children's Center, the city will help create a model which will provide the knowledge and tools to a large number of adults who can help safeguard our vulnerable children. We hope that this program will provide a model that will help other cities and communities."
As a first step in this landmark initiative, Mayor Riley said the city is committed to achieving D2L's "Partner in Prevention" designation by directing 100-percent of the city's 1,700 employees to complete D2L's "Stewards of Children" workshop. The workshops teach adults how to prevent, recognize warning signs and react responsibly to reports of child sexual abuse.
The announcement of this commitment coincides with D2L's annual August "Prevention Month," which offers free public prevention trainings and awareness events. For a schedule of free trainings near you, please visit www.D2L.org.
"This shows incredible progressiveness by The City of Charleston and exemplifies Mayor Riley's commitment to making this a safe community for our children," said Jolie Logan, President and CEO of D2L. "This will have an immeasurable, lasting impact on our city and particularly on our children.
Negative Feedback Elicits Shame in Trauma Survivors
Shame can produce feelings of inadequacy and a sense of being less than, or being flawed. People who have survived childhood traumas tend to have high levels of shame. Although there has been an abundance of research in the area of childhood trauma and the consequences of such events, little attention has been given to the residual effects of shame on survivors. To address this gap in literature, Melissa Platt of the Department of Psychology at the University of Oregon recently led a study to determine how negative underlying assumptions (NUAs) of shame, such as feelings of being not good enough, would affect performance on an academic task.
Platt enlisted 30 college students and assessed their prior history of trauma. The participants were instructed to complete an online study course at any time of their choosing throughout the semester. During the course, the students submitted answers and were given feedback that was either positive or negative. Platt found that the students that had high levels of NUAs were more likely to have experienced some form of past trauma than those with low levels of NUAs. In contrast, those with no history of trauma exhibited low levels of NUAs.
The high NUA group was more sensitive to negative feedback and tended to exhibit shameful emotional responses than those with low NUAs. This was especially true for the high NUA participants with at least one prior traumatic experience. This finding suggests that the presence of just one trauma can increase feelings of shame that individuals may carry with them for many years. Even though the negative feedback given during the academic task was relatively minor, the shameful response was disproportionately high in the trauma survivors with high NUAs. Platt believes this study provides much needed evidence of the negative effects of trauma-related shame. She said, “According to shattered assumptions theory, traumatized individuals can no longer trust their previously held beliefs and as such, may come to believe that they and their meaning systems are flawed.” She believes more work is needed to determine what can be done to help these individuals overcome this cycle of negativity.
Childhood Trauma and the Mind-Body Connection for Adults
Do You Try to Avoid Your Feelings?
Shy, Cousin of Shame
DAs want money from Penn State fines to fund child centers
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Prosecutors in Pennsylvania hope to steer some of the $60 million in fines Penn State must pay the NCAA over the Jerry Sandusky sex-abuse scandal to children's advocacy centers across the state.
The group is not seeking a specific amount of money, but wants to add to the 21 advocacy centers that now exist across 67 counties, Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams said.
The centers offer a single place for children to tell their stories of abuse to a trained interviewer, while police, therapists and others watch remotely. This prevents children from having to tell their stories repeatedly to various experts. The centers also offer various services or referrals to the victim and family members.
The $60 million fine is part of the NCAA sanctions facing Penn State in the wake of the sex-abuse scandal involving Sandusky, a former assistant football coach. He was convicted in June of abusing 10 boys, sometimes on Penn State's campus, from 1994 to 2008.
The advocacy centers have been sprouting up in the past decade or so. Some counties contribute to their center's operating budget, while others have to raise all of their funds from donors or grants. Centre County does not yet have a center.
"Getting a (center) within a reasonable distance, say within an hour's drive, or at (every) county seat, would be the most monumental thing the folks up at Penn State could do with this money," said Bucks County District Attorney David Heckler, speaking with Williams and other prosecutors at the Philadelphia Children's Alliance, the center that serves Philadelphia. The event followed earlier stops Wednesday in State College and Harrisburg.
A school spokesman said Penn State is still contemplating how to use the money, but hopes to help children in a variety of ways.
"Penn State recognizes the fine work done each day by our state's district attorneys, children advocacy centers and countless organizations that help children. The university is working to formulate a plan to create and administer the fund. It is our hope the fund will produce countless opportunities to help children in need. We appreciate this valuable input and will provide additional details when they become available," spokesman David La Torre said in a statement.
Also Wednesday, the ranking Democrat in the state House wrote to Penn State president Rodney Erickson, arguing the NCAA fine should be used to fight child abuse in Pennsylvania.
Minority Leader Frank Dermody, D-Allegheny, asked Erickson how decisions will be made about the $60 million and what procedures will help ensure the money is spent properly.
"While child sexual abuse undeniably is a national problem, the impact of the Sandusky case has been, and will continue to be, felt most immediately in Pennsylvania," Dermody said
Victim advocacy groups struggle with tight budgets
by Brad Bumsted
August 8, 2012
HARRISBURG — Two high-profile criminal cases helped increase the number of complaints alleging child sex abuse since fall, and some advocacy groups for victims are struggling with strained budgets, prosecutors and advocates said on Wednesday.
Calls to the Department of Public Welfare's 24-hour Child Line jumped about 5 percent from November through the end of June, compared with the same period in 2011, agency spokeswoman Donna Morgan said.
Those months were marked by publicity about the arrest and conviction of former Penn State University football defensive coach Jerry Sandusky, who awaits sentencing for his June conviction of molesting 10 boys, and a case in Philadelphia in which jurors convicted Roman Catholic Church supervisor Msgr. William Lynn of sending abusive priests from church to church. Lynn was sentenced to three to six years in prison.
“In the week the (Sandusky) scandal broke, Nov. 7, 2011, we recorded 4,832 calls on Child Line,” Morgan said. “The normal average for a week is 2,300.”
Officials at the county level cited a similar increase in calls, though they could not provide figures.
“Some called just to let us know what happened to them, while others ended up being prosecuted,” said Laura Ditka, who heads the Allegheny County District Attorney's child abuse and sexual assault unit.
“We have always had a lot of calls. Since Sandusky, we've had an influx of cases.”
Yet 20 Children's Advocacy Centers across the state have no dedicated funding stream and desperately need money, said House Minority Leader Frank Dermody, D-Oakmont. The problem worsened with recent budget cuts, he said.
“These programs have been forced to lay off counselors, cut counseling hours and eliminate in-school prevention programs — all of this at a time when the state's sexual assault and rape crisis programs are reporting an even greater demand for services as a result of the Sandusky prosecution,” Dermody said.
State budget cuts have not affected A Child's Place at Mercy at Pittsburgh Mercy Health System, said the organization's director, Dr. Mary Carrasco. But finding enough money to cover expenses always is a struggle, she said.
Call volume doubled during the weeks after Sandusky's November arrest, Carrasco said. “We saw a dramatic increase at that point in time.”
The uptick strained the staff at A Child's Place, whose caseworkers divide their time between court hearings, visits and interviews, she said. They typically handle about 700 cases a year, not including calls that need no further investigation.
At the same time, businesses and nonprofits asked the nine caseworkers for help in reviewing and rewriting policies on reporting suspected child sexual abuse, Carrasco said.
The Sandusky case and the Philadelphia trial likely prompted some people who remained silent about their childhood abuse to come forward, said Adams County District Attorney Shawn Wagner, president of the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association.
The association asked Penn State and the NCAA to use money from a $60 million endowment fund — created to help child abuse victims after Sandusky's conviction — for Children's Advocacy Centers across the state.
The endowment money will come from a fine levied against Penn State as one sanction after a report last month that found top university officials turned their heads from signs of Sandusky's abuse. Under a consent decree between Penn State and the NCAA, the endowment money cannot be used to pay any potential damages resulting from civil lawsuits.
“In our analysis, Pennsylvania's Children's Advocacy Centers should be considered the priority for the NCAA's endowment funding,” said Wagner. The community centers offer a comprehensive approach to assisting child sexual abuse victims, including treatment, prosecution and prevention.
Dauphin County District Attorney Ed Marsico declined to say how much of the $60 million the group wants for the centers.
Dermody said the consent decree did not specify how to distribute the money. In a letter to Penn State President Rodney Erickson, Dermody noted that details about the endowment are scarce, and he asked whether child sexual abuse experts would have input.
NCAA spokeswoman Emily Potter said the money “will benefit external programs across the country that help prevent child sexual abuse or assist victims of abuse. We are currently finalizing the details on how the endowment will be administered.”
Penn State spokesman David LaTorre said, “The university is working to formulate a plan to create and administer the fund.”
Not all child advocacy agencies recorded increased calls about suspected abuse.
The Allegheny County Department of Human Services' caseload did not change, spokeswoman Elaine Plunkett said.
The Child Advocacy Center at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, which serves 1,200 victims of “child maltreatment” each year, reported no increase.
“Our center has not seen a significant change in numbers over the past year but the number of children requiring services remains strikingly high,” the center said.
Sex trafficking in Ohio: Attorney General releases detailed report from Cleveland to Cincinnati to Toledo
by Reginald Fields
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and his Human Trafficking Commission, is now reviewing a report analyzing the depth of sex trafficking in Ohio.
The report was compiled by commission member and University of Toledo professor Celia Williamson, took more than a year to compile and focuses on minor and adult sex trafficking across the state.
"The Ohio Attorney General's Office asked the commission to go out into the community and talk with human trafficking victims," Dewine said in a news release. "Because of this report, we now have more insight into who is more likely to get trafficked and how to prevent it."
The full report is now available online or can be read in the DocumentCloud viewer below.
Chart from the report:
Experiences of youth before being involved in the child sex trade
||Child abuse & neglect
||Worried about what they would eat and where they would sleep
41% were victims of neglect
44% were victims of abuse
40% were victims of sex abuse
37% were victims of emotional abuse/psychological maltreatment
24% were victims of physical abuse
||Family member in sex trade
||Close family member
More than a year before being trafficked
Less than a year before before trafficked
||Proximity to purchasers
||Having friends who purchased sex
||Involved in selling others
||Involved in selling themselves
||Much older boyfriend/girlfriend
||Running away from home
||Once or more than once
||Interaction with law enforcement
Spending time in juvenile detention
Being arrested for drug paraphernalia
||Difficulty in school
The report is based on interviews with more than 300 self-identified human trafficking victims, according to a release from DeWine's office. Some of those victims were from Cleveland.
The report will also contain data on the prevalence of sex trafficking in different regions around the state and offer seven recommendations on how to combat the problem.
The author of the study, a University of Toledo professor of criminal justice and social work, was also at the news conference.
DeWine's office had said that victims from Cincinnati, Dayton, Columbus, Cleveland and Toledo were interviewed, and that the report includes data specific to each region.
A Central Ohio task force appointed by DeWine last week announced that four people from Chillicothe had been indicted for bringing teenage girls to Ohio and forcing them into prostitution, working as sex slaves.
The commission released a report in 2010 , under then attorney general Richard Cordray, which concluded that more than 1,000 American-born children are each year forced into sex trafficking in Ohio. The entire report is on the attorney general's web site.
Ohio has since passed tougher laws specifically outlawing human trafficking.
The Columbus Dispatch also reported on Aug. 3 the first ever indictments in Franklin County on human trafficking charges.
Ohio's sex trafficking victims often teens who got little help
by JESSICA SHOR
The state Attorney General's Office released a report on sex trafficking in Ohio on Wednesday, shedding light on a practice more often imagined in the red-light districts of Bangkok than the neighborhoods of the Buckeye State.
Two years after a report from the Ohio Trafficking in Persons Commission found Toledo has the nation's highest per-capita rate of human trafficking, the 2012 study paints an equally troubling picture of Ohio's trafficking victims -- often teens, and usually with abuse, rape, and academic trouble in their past.
"People sometimes think it only occurs in foreign countries," Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine explained. "They think it certainly couldn't happen in Toledo or Perrysburg or Dayton or Columbus, but it could."
Data in the study -- gathered over three years from interviews with 328 current and former victims of sex trafficking -- point to the need for greater awareness of trafficking and earlier interventions for those at risk, said Celia Williamson, the University of Toledo professor and human trafficking commission member who authored the study and presented it Wednesday to the commission.
Mr. DeWine said the commission will review the report over the next couple of weeks before deciding a course of action.
The report recommended the acronym "RESCUE CHILD" to remember indicators that often identify potential trafficking victims. In the acronym, for example, the "R" stands for running away from home, as 63 percent of teen trafficking victims had. The "S" is for sexual assault, reported by 40 percent of victims, and "L" is for loving a much older partner, as 50 percent did.
"I know a lot of social workers, when they read through 'Rescue Child,' will say, 'Hey, that's a lot of the kids on my case book,'?" Ms. Williamson said in her remarks before the human trafficking commission.
She highlighted the high percentage of victims running away from home -- and what that figure says about intervention efforts -- as an especially alarming finding.
"In Ohio, it seems that kids run away and then social workers like me wait for them to run back, and then we do an intervention," she said. "That's not a good way. The kids are on the run and they're trafficked, and we're waiting for them to run back. That practice has to end."
The report confirmed that despite the prevalence of abuse in victims' pasts, few received help from social workers or child protective services.
Only 19 percent of trafficking victims reported interventions from child protective services at any point in their lives. That statistic fell to 8 percent in the year immediately before trafficking began, and just 3 percent after being trafficked. When an adult did intervene, the study stated, it was often a member of law enforcement, a probation officer, or a family friend.
Mr. DeWine described that finding as one of the report's most illuminating, and said it would be a priority for his office as it continues to review the statistics and recommendations in the study.
"It shouldn't surprise us," he stated. "Lots ran away from home and weren't in the mainstream of people receiving social support. They're just not there."
Ben Johnson, spokesman for the Ohio Department of Joband Family Services, said his agency has been working with the county-level child protection agencies it oversees to implement more effective policies for youths at risk of trafficking.
"There's going to be changes moving forward," Mr. Johnson said, when asked about the need for child services to play a larger role in trafficking prevention. "We'll be doing awareness campaigns for the general public and for people who get caught in situations and need help."
Job and Family Services' work has occurred under the purview of the governor's Human Trafficking Task Force, convened for the first time in March.
Both the task force and Wednesday's report come as the state ramps up its anti-trafficking efforts, which most recently included a bill -- signed into law by Gov. John Kasich in June in Toledo -- that increases penalties for traffickers and establishes a fund for victims.
Girl accuses father of waterboarding her
by the CNN Wire Staff
(CNN) -- A Delaware doctor and his wife were arrested this week after their daughter told authorities that she was punished by "waterboading," police said.
The 11-year-old girl told police that her father, pediatrician Melvin Morse, would hold her face under a running faucet causing the water to shoot up her nose, the Delaware State Police said. The punishments happened at least four times over a two-year period and the girl's mother, Pauline Morse, witnessed some of them and did nothing, police said.
Morse specializes in near-death experiences in children and wrote a book about the subject called "Closer to the Light" in 1991.
"In hundreds of interviews with children who had once been declared clinically dead, Dr. Morse found that children too young to have absorbed our adult views and ideas of death, share first-hand accounts of out-of-body travel, telepathic communication and encounters with dead friends and relatives," a reviewer wrote about the book.
Morse was also interviewed by CNN's Larry King about the subject, and he runs a nonprofit organization called The Institute for the Scientific Study of Consciousness.
Authorities were first alerted to allegations of abuse in July when they went to Morse's home in the city of Georgetown. Morse was accused of grabbing his 11-year-old daughter by the ankle, dragging her across a gravel driveway into the home and spanking her, police said. Morse was arrested at that time and posted a bond. Also the 11-year-old was interviewed by detectives.
During the interview, the girl spoke about other alleged abuse and talked about a punishment she said her father called "waterboarding," the Delaware State Police said.
Morse and his wife were arrested on August 7. Both face charges of reckless endangerment, conspiracy and endangering the welfare of a child, police said.
Morse was being held in the Sussex Correctional Institution in lieu of a $14,500 bail. Pauline Morse was released on a $14,500 bail. Both were told to have no contact with their 11-year-old daughter or her 5-year-old sister.
The two children were being cared for by the local Division of Family Services, police said.
The 11-year-old told police in chilling detail about the alleged abuse, according to court documents obtained by Delaware newspaper The News Journal.
The girl said her father said "she could go five minutes without brain damage," the newspaper reported, citing court documents.
According to the court documents the girl said Morse would "sometimes look away while he did it and (redacted) would become afraid that he would lose track of time and she would die."
Department of Health: CRMC failed to report suspected child abuse
by Naomi Creason, The Sentinel
A self-reported error led to two additional allegations against Carlisle Regional Medical Center of failing to report suspected child abuse cases.
In a report that was released online to the public this month, the state Department of Health alleges that CRMC failed to report three of 16 cases of suspected sexual abuse presented to the hospital – one involving a 3-year-old, another involving a 4-year-old and a third involving a 17-year-old patient.
They are findings CRMC CEO John Kristel vehemently disputes.
“As a father and CEO of CRMC, I would never tolerate endangering the safety of a child,” Kristel said. “We take this issue very seriously, and we want to make it clear that at no time did we endanger the welfare of children. We respectfully disagree with their finding.”
Kristel said in a statement that one of the incidents involving the younger children was reported, but the other incident did not show physical evidence that warranted a report.
The Department of Health report argues that the reporting and the results of the examination were not listed in the medical records reviewed by the department.
According to Kristel, the hospital did have errors with its documentation of those cases, but the hospital's employees reported all cases of suspected sexual abuse when they could.
The investigation itself stemmed from an incident that led CRMC to self-report a documentation error.
Kristel explained that in the case of the 17-year-old, she and her mother came in and chose to go to another hospital after they were told that a Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner or Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner was not on staff at the time of their visit. However, hospital staff never got them to sign a Medical Screening Examination waiver, which is necessary for medical records and to prove a patient refused treatment at the hospital.
When that error was reported, the Department of Health picked up on it and investigated all of the cases of suspected sexual abuse since November 2011, which involved 16 cases. After that, the department released its findings to the hospital in July.
Kristel noted that after they received those findings, the hospital hired a third-party organization to conduct their own investigation, review medical records and interview staff.
In those investigations, Kristel said they found only errors in documentation and that the physicians in two of the department's highlighted incidents did not believe there was proof of sexual assault.
The Department of Health conducted its unannounced, on-site special monitoring investigation on June 29. The report was released only recently to the public since surveys do not appear on the department's website until at least 41 days after the exit date of the survey.
In this case, the report featured both the department's findings and the hospital's plan of correction – or disagreement with the findings.
In its review of medical records, the department says that a 3-year-old came to the hospital on May 25 with a complaint of alleged sexual abuse. Medical records in that case failed to reveal documented evidence that any police agency was notified of the alleged sexual abuse or that the physician or nurse notified other agencies as required by state law, according to the report.
A 4-year-old patient came to the Emergency Department on June 20, and the physician documented an impression of illness as “alleged child sexual assault.” However, the medical record also failed to reveal documented evidence that the authorities were notified, the report said. An employee also confirmed that no police agency or other agencies were notified of the alleged sexual assault in this case, according to the report.
In both of these cases, the department noted that there was no documented evidence that the patients received services from a nurse trained as a Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner (SAFE) or that the facility used a rape kit for collection of evidence.
Another medical record showed that the 17-year-old patient came to the Emergency Department at 1:17 a.m. on June 19 with the complaint of an assault/rape. A review of the “Nurses Notes” showed that at 1:40 a.m., a nurse spoke with the patient and the mother, saying that no SAFE employee was on call and the nurse referred them to another hospital, according to the report. The mother agreed to take the patient to another hospital, and the two left the facility, the report said.
The refusal for medical screening was not signed, and a review of physical documentation revealed that the patient left the facility before triage and was not evaluated by a provider, according to the report.
An employee confirmed in an interview that the medical records in that case did not have a Medical Screening Waiver form and that the facility was not able to provide documentation that the patient was transferred to a higher level of care.
The medical records also didn't show that any authorities were notified of the alleged assault/rape, according to the report. The department said that a review of the medical records failed to reveal that the facility made any attempt to provide sexual assault victim services to the patient.
Based on the review of medical records and interviews with staff, the department determined that CRMC failed to comply with the Child Protective Service Law by failing to report suspected cases of child abuse to the proper authorities and that it failed to provide good management techniques regarding sexual assault victims.
Plan of Correction
In the hospital's Plan of Correction, CRMC noted that the plan is not an admission that the deficiency existed and/or required a correction.
The plan, however, did go on to address errors in documentation to “ensure that patient records accurately reflect the care provided by CRMC to patients.”
CRMC revised its policy on Care of Sexual Assault Victims while the department's surveyors were on-site, and that included re-education for reporting suspected/reported sexual abuse to law enforcement and to state and local agencies, such as Children & Youth Services and ChildLine of the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare.
Since the report was filed in late June, the hospital has completed related training for all Emergency Department staff and medical providers, and the ED nursing staff will learn the importance of completing an MSE waiver form for all patients who refuse an exam. The hospital will also conduct an audit of all sexual assault charts in order to evaluate on-going compliance with hospital policy.
This is the second time in a little more than a year that CRMC has received findings with which it disagrees. In early August, reports surfaced that CRMC had understaffed its Emergency Department, which the department noted happened to coincide with two deaths in the ED. The department has since backtracked on that finding, but Kristel noted that the relationship with the Department of Health is still good for the hospital.
“We have an enormous respect for the Department of Health,” he said. “We feel confident we're being treated fairly. We see this as a partnership with them. The Department of Health surveys over 250 hospitals, and they see the best practices and they are able to help hospitals and make recommendations on what to do.
“We took these findings very seriously, and we made it our top priority,” Kristel added.
Posted earlier on Cumberlink:
A new state Department of Health report released recently accuses Carlisle Regional Medical Center of failing to comply with the Child Protective Service Law by failing to report multiple suspected cases of child abuse to the proper authorities.
The hospital released a statement today saying that there were documentation errors as listed by the department, but the hospital denies allegations that it failed to report suspected cases of child abuse.
Catholic Charities Offers Child Abuse Prevention And Counseling
Catholic Charities of East Tennessee will offer child abuse prevention education and in-home counseling to struggling families in counties surrounding Chattanooga. These services are now available in Marion, Grundy and Sequatchie counties through a Child Abuse Prevention Grant from the state of Tennessee.
The Columbus Home Assisting Parents (CHAP) program provides intensive home-based parent education and supportive counseling services to families who do not qualify for other intervention programs.
The services are tailored to each family's needs to prevent abuse or neglect and improve the home situation allowing children to safely remain in the home. CHAP has helped hundreds of families in Knox, Grainger, Sevier and Blount counties.
“There is nothing more terrible than the abuse or neglect of a defenseless child,” said Father Ragan Schriver, executive director of Catholic Charities of East Tennessee. “CHAP seeks to prevent these tragedies before they happen. We provide parents with the tools to heal their struggling families before the situation escalates putting children at risk.”
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the United States has the worst record of child abuse of any industrialized nation with five abuse-related child deaths every day. CHAP seeks to prevent child abuse by attacking the source: instability in families and parents. In more than 80 percent of child abuse cases reported in 2010, the perpetrators were the parents of the child.
Families are referred to CHAP through schools, medical clinics, the Tennessee Department of Children Services, churches and other community organizations, or families may enroll themselves in the program. The program typically lasts between three to six months or until the family is stabilized.
“Through CHAP, I'm confident we will be able to provide help and create hope for struggling families and reduce child abuse and neglect in these counties,” Schriver said.
For information on the CHAP in the counties surrounding Chattanooga, contact Jennifer Wilson at 865/323-3818.
Maine child abuse likely under-reported because law lacks training rules, expert says
by Matthew Stone
Maine's law that obligates professionals who have regular contact with children to report suspected child abuse and neglect has no provision that requires those so-called mandated reporters to receive training about their responsibilities.
And that could be the state law's greatest weakness and a critical factor in keeping an unknown number of suspected child abuse cases from being reported to authorities, according to a nationally recognized expert who trains investigators, prosecutors, doctors and others to recognize and address signs of child abuse.
“If we really want the reporting laws to be successful, we're going to have to address training,” said Victor Vieth, executive director of the National Association to Prevent Sexual Abuse of Children in Winona, Minn. “Everything else is just a Band-Aid. [Training] is clearly the solution that the research makes clear will truly make a difference.”
A Maine State Police report released last week that suggests a number of people may have known the Rev. Bob Carlson sexually abused multiple children, but didn't come forward to report it, has raised questions about the state's mandated reporter law and whether it applies.
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 or to their superiors if they have reason to suspect it has happened.
But the law makes no mention of training for those professionals so they can identify signs of abuse and neglect and so they can properly report them.
As a result, the training mandated reporters receive related to their responsibilities under the mandatory reporting law varies widely, said Therese Cahill-Low, director of the Office of Child and Family Services at the Maine Department of Health and Human Services.
“It's not mandated by the state as to what curriculum is followed or that, even, a training happens,” she said. Still, “people are supposed to know that they're mandated reporters.”
But the less they understand about their responsibility to report suspected abuse, the less likely mandated reporters are to report it, said Vieth.
“They oftentimes don't comply with the law because they have virtually no meaningful training,” he said.
States began to adopt mandated reporter laws in the 1960s, following the 1962 publication of the medical paper “The Battered-Child Syndrome,” by five doctors who identified signs medical personnel could look for to determine whether a child had been abused. By 1967, Vieth said, all 50 states had adopted mandatory reporting laws. Maine's mandatory reporting law first passed in 1965 as a measure to require doctors who see signs of abuse in young patients to make a report to what was then the state Department of Health and Welfare.
Most states expanded their mandatory reporting laws in the 1970s to address sexual abuse of children, Vieth said. The 1975 expansion of Maine's law also added social workers, psychologists, child care employees, law enforcement, teachers, school officials and others to the mandated reporter list.
While states have become relatively consistent in terms of who is required to report suspected child abuse, state laws have largely failed to address training for mandated reporters, Vieth said. And the research shows the lack of training is what prevents many cases of suspected child abuse from being reported, he said.
“If a community properly trains the mandated reporters, the system works,” Vieth said. “And if the mandated reporters are not trained, the system doesn't work.”
A semester-long course to familiarize mandated reporters with their responsibilities is ideal, Vieth said, and it's also important that mandated reporters receive training regularly.
At the Bangor School Department, all employees receive training annually on their mandated reporter responsibilities as part of a comprehensive review of their various responsibilities under state laws and school district policies, said Superintendent Betsy Webb.
“By having it as a frequent part of the conversation, I think it sends the message that, number one, it's the expectation and, number two, it is safe to do that,” Webb said. “We want to err on the side of being cautious.”
New employees receive a more in-depth training, Webb said.
At Eastern Maine Medical Center, all new employees receive mandated reporter training as part of their orientation, said Mark Moran, a licensed social worker and the organization's family service and support team coordinator. Certain employees, including nurses and doctors, receive more in-depth mandated reporter training.
“We talk about different types of abuse, some of the common indicators of abuse, what to do when you suspect,” he said.
The Eastern Maine Medical Center training also emphasizes that anyone who reports suspected abuse is immune from civil and criminal liability and that a mandated reporter needs to report suspected abuse even if it took place years ago, Moran said.
Such training is less common at colleges, where fewer employees have regular contact with children. Spokespeople for Husson University in Bangor and the University of Maine in Orono said their employees don't receive training to familiarize themselves with Maine's mandatory reporting law.
Maine's law is also ambiguous as to whether the definition of “school official” and “teacher” extends to university employees.
Cahill-Low, of the Department of Health and Human Services, said her office has a small corps of trainers who visit schools and other organizations that request training. Her office is also working with pediatricians, child abuse advocates and others to improve the department's online mandated reporter training, so there's easier access to high-quality training for anybody who wants it.
“I like to think that everybody's a mandated reporter,” she said. “A child's welfare is everybody's business.”
American Kayla Harrison Wins Gold and Beats Sexual Abuse
by Gerald Schoenewolf
Last week, Kayla Harrison, a 23-year-old judo competitor, became the first American to ever win an Olympics judo medal. She earned her gold medal in the 78 kg. (179-pound) division by winning 2-0 over Gemma Gibbons of England.
Harrison was ranked fourth going into the tournament, then defeated Brazilian Mayra Aguiar, ranked No. 1, before beating Gibbons in the final, leaving no doubt that she was now the greatest fighter in her weight class. After her win, she ran to the stands, where her fiancé, Aaron Hardy, a firefighter, was waiting to wrap an American flag around her.
This was not Harrison's first gold medal. She had previously won gold medals in 2008 at the Junior World Championships and in 2010 at the World Championships. She thanks Pedro's Judo Center in Wakefield, Mass.--run by a father-son tandem, Jim Pedro Sr. and Jim Pedro Jr.--as well as her fellow students at the center, for rescuing her and giving her the will to go on.
She recently revealed that her first coach, Daniel Doyle, who was with her from the ages of 13 to 16, had sexually abused her. He is now serving a 10-year Federal prison sentence. The sexual abuse and its aftermath left her confused, depressed and suicidal.
As a psychoanalyst, I have found that when people are sexually abused, the abuse can sometimes be so devastating that they never really recover. It lurks within them for the rest of their lives, affecting their self-esteem, their thinking and their behavior and, most importantly, their sexuality. Even if they don't think it is affecting them, it is. In one of my cases, a woman who had been sexually abused by an uncle told me when she first entered therapy, "I'm over it!" And yet, she later confessed, that for some reason she always felt suspicious of men. "I feel disgusted when they touch me."
In other cases, sexual abuse becomes an challenge to be overcome. Once a person overcomes it, he or she finds a new strength, and the event becomes a springboard to accomplishments. This is apparently the case with Kayla Harrison.
A big reason she overcame her sexual abuse had to do with her mother. How parents react when they are told their child has been molested by a relative or friend makes all the difference. Indeed, the molestation is often only part of the problem. It leaves the child confused, guilty and depressed, but if parents come down on the child as well, they add to the child's dilemma.
She recently spoke about her sexual abuse to Time .
"From a young age, I had a very keen drive to please people," she said. "I wanted everyone to love me. I wanted to be the center of attention. You know, Daniel definitely fed off that."
Doyle ingratiated himself with Harrison's parents and won their trust. He then took her all over the world to various tournaments. They stayed in hotels together and the coach began to make inappropriate advances. Soon, they were having a sexual relationship.
She went along with it for four years, even winning the Junior Championships. At first, she thought the sexual relationship was normal. "I thought I loved him. I thought that it was OK. I didn't think it was OK--but I thought it would be all right, I guess. I was very, very confused." At 16, she finally told a friend about it, the fireman who later became her fiancé. The friend told her mother, Jeannie Yazell. Her mother responded by calling the police and knocking out Doyle's car windows with a baseball bat.
After Doyle was arrested, Harrison didn't want to continue with judo. Her mother had other ideas. She heard about Pedro's Judo Center and took her daughter there a few weeks later. In the beginning, she didn't want to get out of bed or take part in the training; at one point, Jim Pedro, Jr. found her on the roof of a two-story building ready to jump. Eventually, the Pedros prevailed and the rest is history.
Harrison's case fits the profile of the typical case of sexual abuse. Sexual molestation, as well as physical and emotional abuse, has currently become rampant in American families. About 90 percent of abuse victims know the perpetrator, and, in 68 percent of cases, the perpetrator is a member of the child's family . Fatality rates from all cases of abuse, including sexual and physical abuse and neglect, have gone up from three deaths per day in 1998 to five deaths per day in 2010.
These statistics may be surprising to some, since the media has created the myth that pedophilia is something that involves creepy strangers picking up unsuspecting children from malls. Such cases are the exceptions. Most pedophiles are relatives of the children they abuse, and many others, as in Harrison's case, are trusted acquaintances. Harrison's case helps to highlight how pedophilia usually works and to call attention to what may be called an epidemic.
Fortunately, her mother did not refuse to believe her daughter, as often happens. One of the things that can cause sexual molestation to have the most damaging effects is when the child tries to tell adults what has happened and the child is not believed. Oftentimes, when a mother is told her husband or her brother has molested her child, her first reaction is to deny it. "You must have imagined it. Uncle Fred would never do something like that."
In Harrison's case, her mother not only heard her, she took immediate actions that helped to remedy the situation and to restore her self-confidence. Harrison probably resisted telling her mother because she was afraid of disappointing her and losing her approval. Her boyfriend told her mother for her, and her mother not only believed her but also was quite consoling and encouraging. This kind of acceptance and encouragement was important; it helped her daughter restore her own self-acceptance.
Harrison hopes that by revealing her story she will help others. I'm certain many people will thank her for that.
Gerald Schoenewolf, Ph.D., is a licensed psychoanalyst, professor of psychology and author of 20 books. He is also an avid sports fan.
Auburn preschool shut down in wake of child abuse allegations
Teenager arrested at facility Tuesday afternoon
by Amber Marra
A 14-year-old boy was arrested Tuesday for allegedly committing lewd acts with multiple children at the Colored Pencils Preschool and Child Care in Auburn.
According to a press release by the Placer County Sheriff's Office, detectives arrested the boy Tuesday afternoon for "committing lewd and lascivious acts with a minor under the age of 14."
The release states the boy, who will not be named because of his age, is related to the woman who operates the daycare center and lives in the house attached to it.
The boy was arrested at the daycare Tuesday and taken in for questioning at the Placer County Sheriff's Office. He has been booked at the Placer County Juvenile Hall in Auburn.
Colored Pencils, which is at 13335 Luther Road in Auburn, was shut down by the state Department of Social Services on Tuesday after the arrest.
A complaint regarding the closure supplied by the department lists the license to operate the daycare under Alma Rosa Arroyo and lists the facility as being in operation since June 3, 2005.
The allegations listed within the complaint state that at least once in June or July two children had been sexually molested at the daycare. Under a separate allegation the complaint states that Arroyo was made aware of what was going on in her daycare, but failed to acknowledge or take the allegations seriously.
A woman who did not identify herself at Colored Pencils Tuesday afternoon did not wish to comment on the situation at the daycare.
A man, who remains anonymous to protect his daughter's identity in accordance with the Journal's policy of not naming victims of crimes, said he has taken his daughter to the daycare for a year. He also said she has told him recently that she was touched inappropriately by the 14-year-old who was arrested.
"I moved her up here from Sacramento to get away from (stuff) like this," the man said. "I moved her here to bring her up in a good environment."
The man said he found out yesterday and had been contacted by the sheriff's office on the matter. He also said he knew of other parents whose children had said directly that someone "touches me" at the daycare.
"Trying to get through the work day without being sick to my stomach and enraged has been difficult," he said.
The man also said he had additional concerns with the care his daughter was receiving at Colored Pencils even before he found out about the alleged sexual misconduct of the teenage boy.
"Nobody wants to believe their child is a molester any more than someone wants to believe their kid has been molested," the man said.
Contact Amber Marra at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @Amber_AJNews.
Attachments Click here to view the state Department of Social Services complaint against Colored Pencils.
(application/pdf, 384 KB)
Samsung Is Accused Of Child Abuse At Its Manufacturing Facilities
(Bloomberg) -- A Chinese company that assembles devices for Samsung
Electronics Co. hired children at its production facilities and forced employees to work excessive hours, violating labor laws, China Labor Watch said in a report.
Seven children younger than 16 were working in the factory of HEG Electronics (Huizhou) Co. that makes phones and DVD players for Samsung, according to the report issued today. Child workers faced the “same harsh conditions” as adults and were paid only 70 percent of the wages of other workers, according to the New York-based group, which said it conducted investigations in June and July.
China Labor Watch previously published reports on explosions at factories and in 2010 accused Foxconn Technology Group, the assembler of Apple Inc. iPhones and iPads, of running a sweatshop in the country after a spate of suicides, a charge the Taiwanese company denied. The latest report said working conditions at HEG are “well below” those at Apple suppliers.
“Samsung Electronics has conducted two separate on-site inspections on HEG's working conditions this year but found no irregularities on those occasions,” Nam Ki Yung, a spokesman for Samsung, said in an e-mailed statement. “Given the report, we will conduct another field survey at the earliest possible time to ensure our previous inspections have been based on full information and to take appropriate measures to correct any problems that may surface.”
Li Qiang, a director at China Labor Watch in New York, said a group member took a job at the factory to conduct the investigation and interviewed the seven children. The group used aliases when referring to the children in the report to protect them, he said.
China Labor Watch did not report the cases to public security bureaus or other government agencies, Li said.
“What we want, most of all, is for the children to go back to school,” Li said by phone today.
Four calls to two telephone numbers in Huizhou, southern China, listed on HEG's website were unanswered, and an e-mail sent to the company's designated address bounced back. HEG is a unit of Harbin Electronic Group Corp., according to its website.
“The company has clearly violated Chinese labor laws,” China Labor Watch said about HEG Electronics. “A serious light needs to be shined on these issues.”
Overtime of between three to five hours a day in addition to the routine eight-hour work day is compulsory for HEG employees, China Labor Watch said in the report. Workers on HEG's 11-hour night shift are given only a 40-minute break for meals, the labor rights group said.
“Child labor is a common practice in the factory,” the report said. Student workers amount to 80 percent of the factory workforce, it said.
Human trafficking: How US states fare
by Laura Trevelyan (Map ranking the states on site
A new report looks at the laws US states use to protect victims of trafficking.
Human trafficking is often called modern-day slavery. Women and men are exploited and degraded while their traffickers become rich.
In the US, sex trafficking and domestic servitude are not uncommon, but often hidden from view: women smuggled across borders and coerced into prostitution; people who don't speak English working round the clock as domestic staff, unaware of their legal rights; young people out of school and looking for work lured into travelling sales jobs that turn into forced labour.
The Polaris Project, a US-based anti-trafficking organisation, has identified 10 types of statues they deem critical to fighting human trafficking.
Polaris Project Ranking System
- Tier 1 : State has passed significant laws to combat human trafficking, and should continue to take steps to improve and implement its laws.
- Tier 2 : State has passed numerous laws to combat human trafficking, and should take more steps to improve and implement its laws.
- Tier 3 : State has made nominal efforts to pass laws to combat human trafficking, and should take major steps to improve and implement its laws.
- Tier 4 : These states have not made nominal efforts to enact a basic legal framework to combat human trafficking, and should actively work to improve their laws.
Source: The Polaris Project
"Passing these laws is literally saving lives," says Mary Ellison, the director of policy at the Polaris Project.
"Without them, victims are going to languish in exploitative situations and traffickers will continue to make lots of money."
In their most recent report, they ranked states according to their legislative record on trafficking.
They flag four "faltering" states which aren't doing enough to establish laws to curb this trade: Montana, South Dakota, Arkansas and Wyoming.
Ms Ellison says progress has been made since the Polaris Project released last year's ranking.
"The broad picture is more than half of the states have passed new laws in the past year, so that's incredible," she says.
"We have a horrible, high-profit, low-risk crime and human rights violation going on in our country and we're establishing a proper legal framework to deal with this."
Massachusetts has gone from being a state with one of the worst legislative records on human trafficking to one of the most improved, according to the Polaris Project's rankings. Ohio, South Carolina and West Virginia are also rated most improved.
In the past year, Massachusetts has not only passed an anti-trafficking law but started prosecuting traffickers too.
Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley told the BBC in a statement: "We are proud to be recognised as the most improved state by Polaris Project.
"The recent passage of a human-trafficking law in Massachusetts recognises that these crimes are happening in our own communities, and gives us the tools to combat those crimes and offer critical services to victims."
Wyoming, on the other hand, is the only state in the union not to have passed any laws specific to human trafficking.
But law enforcement officials there say the small state doesn't need separate legislation to help victims.
"We're a small rural district. We don't experience the same type of problems in a place like Wyoming that perhaps folks in a place like Chicago or New York do, or even in bigger states like Indiana or Iowa," says Jim Anderson, a federal prosecutor stationed in Wyoming.
Because of their size and limited resources, he says the state relies more heavily on assistance from federal prosecutors and federal laws against trafficking.
"It's unfair to label Wyoming as a state that is not concerned about this type of issue," he says.
"We have worked to form a task force with state and local and federal law enforcement to address these types of cases when they come up. So far, we don't think anything has fallen through the cracks."
Ms Ellison says that federal prosecutors have limited resources, and take on the cases which are bigger in scope. "Having the ability to also prosecute through the state court provides added tools," she says.
The scale of human trafficking in the US is hard to gauge, but the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline, operated by Polaris Project since December 2007, has received more than 57,000 calls from every state in the union.
Incidences of sex and labour trafficking have been reported in all 50 states in the US, and the District of Columbia, in the last two years.
According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, more than 100,000 minors are estimated to be in the commercial sex trade in the United States.
Report on sex trafficking in Ohio to be released
CINCINNATI (AP) — An Ohio commission is set to release a report about sex trafficking based on interviews with more than 300 victims in communities across the state.
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine will speak about the report's findings at a news conference Tuesday afternoon in Columbus.
Joining him will be the study's author, a University of Toledo professor of criminal justice and social work.
DeWine's office says that victims from Cincinnati, Dayton, Columbus, Cleveland and Toledo were interviewed, and that the report includes data specific to each region.
A 2010 report by DeWine's Human Trafficking Commission estimated that about 1,000 American-born children are forced into the sex trade in Ohio every year, and that about 800 immigrants are sexually exploited and pushed into sweatshop-type jobs.
New law helps sex trafficking victims clear their names
by Zahra Haider
A new law makes it easier for people forced into sex trade to move forward with their lives.
The state has already passed two anti-trafficking laws to support victims, one back in 2006 and another in 2010. Senate bill 1037 goes a step further by allowing victims who have been charged with prostitution a chance to clear their name through court. The bill also lengthens the statute of limitations for prosecuting pimps and helps turn their assets into funds for victims.
Alderman of Rockford's 11th Ward Karen Elyea says the new law will help cut down on prostitution in the city.
"It will provide use with more tools in arresting pimps and will also provide a revenue stream to help prostituted individuals get away from that lifestyle."
State lawmakers say the new measure will ultimately help victims get back into society by increasing their access to better housing, employment, education and more.
From the FBI
A Sordid Scam
Two Receive Life Sentences for Preying on Aspiring Models
Some of the aspiring young models thought they were getting the chance of a lifetime when they showed up in South Florida to audition for a man they believed to be a legitimate talent scout. Instead, they were drugged and raped on camera—and the resulting videos were sold on the Internet.
The two men responsible for this depraved scheme—one a former police officer and the other a self-described porn star—were sentenced to 12 consecutive life terms in prison earlier this year, thanks in part to the investigative efforts of Special Agent Alexis Carpinteri, Det. Nikki Fletcher of the Miramar Police Department, and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida.
“These are probably two of the worst offenders I have ever seen,” said Carpinteri, who works in our Miami office. “There were many more victims than the multiple women who were represented at trial.”
Beginning in 2006, if not before, the subjects used Internet modeling sites as their “hunting grounds” to lure potential victims, Carpinteri said. They understood the industry well enough to impersonate representatives from major multinational companies.
The young women, many aged 18 to 22, agreed to come to Miami believing they were auditioning for a commercial for a prominent liquor company. They were persuaded to come alone because they were told family or boyfriends would be a distraction. The former police officer, Lavont Flanders Jr., “was not stupid,” Det. Fletcher said. “He knew how to manipulate people, and he could be charming.”
The women were told they would be doing a test shoot in which they would have to drink the liquor they would be advertising. But the alcohol was laced with a date-rape drug that made them extremely compliant and often left them with no memories of what had happened to them. After the drugs took effect, the women were encouraged to sign model release forms.
Based on those consent forms, Carpinteri said, “The subjects thought they were going to get away with it.” Initially, investigators and prosecutors were “disturbed by the videos” because it appeared the victims were willing participants. But the raw footage told a different story. “It was clear the women were drugged and often barely conscious,” Carpinteri said.
“Because of their memory loss, a lot of the victims swore that nothing had happened,” she added, “until we showed them the videos.” Other women woke up in their cars the next morning bleeding, covered in vomit, and disoriented. Some notified police.
In 2007, Flanders and his partner, Emerson Callum, were arrested and charged by the state of Florida with multiple counts including sexual assault and distribution of a controlled substance. Released on bond pending trial, the pair eventually began victimizing women again.
That's when Carpinteri and Fletcher began working on the case to painstakingly unravel the scam. They identified and interviewed victims from various locations and pieced together evidence from police reports, rape treatment center examinations, DNA results, and cell phone records to help build a case for federal prosecutors. The subjects were indicted federally in 2011 and later convicted by a jury of sexual battery, human trafficking, and other charges.
“This was a difficult case,” Fletcher said, “but it had a good outcome. It's very satisfying to know that these two individuals will never do this to anyone again.”
Penn State adds players' names, child-abuse awareness ribbon to football team's jerseys
by Associated Press, August 7
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Players' names are being added to Penn State's football jerseys for the coming season, the university announced Tuesday, along with blue ribbons to show support for victims of child abuse.
The team's generic look — blue-and-white, no names on jerseys — has long been a trademark and was associated with the buttoned-down style of former coach Joe Paterno, who was fired last year after his former assistant Jerry Sandusky was arrested on child molestation charges.
School officials said adding the names was a way to recognize the “resolve and dedication” of the players, as the team faces a four-year bowl ban and loss of scholarships under the severe penalties handed down by the NCAA last month over the school's handling of the Sandusky scandal.
The changes will take effect with the Sept. 1 season opener at home against Ohio University.
“We want our fans to know and recognize these young men,” said coach Bill O'Brien, who was hired after last season. “They have stuck together during tough times, and I commend them for the leadership they have shown.”
Fran Fisher, a longtime Penn State radio announcer, said the jersey changes may ruffle some feathers among former players, and the vanilla uniforms will continue to be associated with Paterno.
“I think Coach O'Brien has a right to do whatever he wants to do to have an identity for his team,” Fisher said. “I think that the plainness of the Paterno era will be remembered because he considered it to be a team sport.”
Sandusky, 68, awaits sentencing on 45 criminal counts, probably next month, and is likely to spend the rest of his life in state prison.
Paterno died of lung cancer in January, and a university-commissioned investigation of the Sandusky scandal concluded he and other top Penn State officials concealed allegations against Sandusky going back to 1998.
The NCAA also stripped the school and Paterno of more than 100 wins, dropping him from atop the list of the winningest coaches in major college football history.
American Bar Association
Lawmakers Should Consider Extending Statutes of Limitation for Child Sexual Abuse, Resolution Says
by Debra Cassens Weiss
A resolution calling on governments to consider extending their statutes of limitation for child sexual abuse has won approval from the ABA House of Delegates.
Resolution 107A says governments should review these time limits for prosecution to determine whether they should be extended, given special factors such as the age of the victim, the inability to report, and the abuse of trust.
Seventeen states have eliminated statutes of limitation for the prosecution of most sexual offenses against children, seven of them as a result of statutes eliminating any time limit on prosecutions of felonies, according to a report to the House of Delegates. Six other states allow prosecutions of child sexual abuse for at least 20 years after the victim turns 18.
“When it comes to sexual abuse crimes against a vulnerable class,” the report says, “society's interest in justice exceeds the time period provided in the statute of limitations.”
Elite School Details Steps to Address Sexual Abuse Cases
by JENNY ANDERSON
After two months of deliberations, the Horace Mann School announced on Monday a series of steps, including increased training for faculty members and instruction for students, to address reports of past sexual abuse at the school.
Steven M. Friedman, the chairman of Horace Mann's board, said in a letter that the school would work with the New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children to review school procedures, train faculty and staff members in identifying and reporting suspected abuse, and develop prevention programs for students. The school also pledged that all of its employees would undergo a “comprehensive background check”; in the past, such checks have been made only on new employees.
“As Horace Mann School parents, alumni and concerned community members, we as trustees are appalled and saddened by reports of abuse of children by certain past faculty members,” the letter said. “We feel pain and regret for anyone who reports to have been harmed while a student at Horace Mann School.”
The school's response was prompted by an article in The New York Times Magazine in June that described the sexual abuse of students in the 1990s and earlier by teachers no longer living. More students have since come forward with accounts of abuse; a former teacher has acknowledged having sex with students before he retired in 1986.
Some alumni are forming at least one nonprofit organization to help victims. Still, some victims and other alumni said they were not satisfied with the board's response.
“It's good we finally got some reaction from the board of trustees, but there are serious concerns that the letter did not effectively address,” said Adam Kasanof, a 1977 graduate and a retired member of the New York Police Department.
He said Horace Mann needed an independent reporting system that would allow students or staff members to report abuse anonymously to an organization with no ties to the school. “As a general principle,” he said, “having an outside investigation system not only gets you a better-quality investigation, but has an important deterrent effect.”
The letter acknowledged the frustration some groups have expressed with the board's delayed response and made clear that the school has been seeking input from groups including victims, child-abuse professionals, lawyers and law enforcement officials.
“ ‘Doing the right thing' about the past has vastly different meanings to different members of our community,” Mr. Friedman wrote. “As we wrestled with this complex issue, we recognize that the board's desire to act judiciously and deliberately has resulted in a lack of an immediate action plan that many have found frustrating.”
Group to fight sex trafficking at RNC
by Michelle Bearden
As Tampa readies for the estimated 50,000 people coming for the Republican National Convention, Marilyn Garcia has her mind on another, unreported number.
Big events like this draw big money, she says. Which is why she expects hundreds, even thousands, of women will be brought to the area strictly for sex.
"We just don't know," she says of the number. "What we do know is that an event of this size means we'll have a substantial number (of women) being trafficked. And that's just something not talked about."
So Garcia, co-pastor of Legacy Church in Tampa, is using the Republicans' high-profile visit to get the word out.
She's the founder of The Rachel Project, a faith-based initiative to help "recover and restore" trafficked and exploited victims. She's urging the faith-based community to join in promoting awareness of the problem, which the National Human Trafficking Resource Center calls a $32 billion criminal enterprise, second only to the illegal drug trade.
Human trafficking is defined as a form of "modern-day slavery" where people profit from the control and exploitation of others. They use force, fraud or coercion to gain control of others.
"We've been silent, especially in the area of sex. We haven't been teaching and educating our people," she says of religious leaders and groups. "We need to rise up and be a voice. This is happening all around us, and you can get involved to stop it."
Her nonprofit sponsors events, provides speakers, encourages lobbying efforts to change laws, and raises funds for educational materials and eventual "rescue" homes for victims. And this week, The Rachel Project will join forces with TraffickFree and other trafficking "abolitionist" advocates on an outreach project geared specifically for the week of the convention.
Volunteers are asked to take part in a training session on how to look for signs of human trafficking – Friday in Pinellas County or Saturday in Hillsborough – that also aims to place thousands of bars of soap in motels. Each bar's label will be printed with a hotline number for victims, to help them flee from a life that many cannot break away from out of fear.
The project, called SOAP Outreach, is part of a national campaign founded by a human-trafficking survivor. The Tampa effort has a goal of 300 volunteers and 50,000 bars of soap, costing $7,500. Both money and workers are still needed.
"You have to go where they're at, and do it in a way where it won't draw any suspicion," Garcia says. "Maybe it won't resonate this time. But at least they will know it just takes one phone call to get to people who will care for them."
* * * * *
Selling sex has gotten a lot easier, thanks to the Internet. Many strip clubs and sex-for-hire services put images of women on the Web; some offer live chats with prospective clients. It eliminates the fear of being caught soliciting in public, Garcia says.
"A lot of these transactions are made before the event even comes to town," she says. "The buyers know where to find these services. They place a call, order 20 women for a private party, and the deal is done. It's a lot harder to get caught in the act these days, because so much of the business is done out of the public eye."
It's not that law enforcement is unaware of the influx of business during major conventions. But in a case like the Republicans' visit, security is a priority, she says. And the sellers know they may be able to operate under the radar.
While Tampa Police spokesperson Andrea Davis says there wasn't a noticeable uptick in sex-for-hire arrests during the 2009 Super Bowl in Tampa, an FBI spokesman fully expects an increase in trafficking with the upcoming convention.
"It's a trend we've seen over the years. It has nothing to do with the specific event, and everything to do with the number of people attending it," says Tampa FBI spokesman David Couvertier. "It's no secret these pimps seek large venues to bring in their 'products.' This is a rich environment for their type of activity."
He declined to say what specific plan was in place for the RNC visit, but noted, "We're aware of this and we'll be working on it."
Garcia didn't know about human trafficking – which also includes men and children forced into either labor or commercial sex – until she visited Thailand in 2006. That's when she saw something unimaginable: women tagged like cattle, with male customers selecting their victims by number.
"It was like they were picking out a meal at McDonald's or Burger King," she recalls.
Subsequent trips back to the country confirmed that what she saw was not an isolated incident. As she began researching the shadowy industry, she learned it was a worldwide enterprise, with an estimated 27 million people trapped in some form of slavery in over 160 countries.
At home, the numbers were shocking. Several sources estimate that some 20,000 individuals are trafficked into the United States from other countries every year. And Tampa, with a reputation for high- and low-end strip clubs and an active adult industry, is among the cities in the nation with the most trafficked women, Garcia says.
That's not how she wants RNC visitors to remember Tampa.
* * * * *
Most human-trafficking survivors stay silent about their past, fearful of being hunted down by their exploiters or getting caught up in that life again. But Telisia Espinosa, 36, a member of Christian Family Church in Ybor City, shares her harrowing experience as a prostitute by speaking at churches, conferences and other events.
She was just 19, working as a dancer in a Miami strip club, when a handsome, well-dressed man walked in and began watching her intensely.
"That's all it was in the beginning. Just talking together every time he came in," she says. The more comfortable she got with him, the easier it was. Then one day he asked if she liked to travel. Of course, she told him. And are you scared of going to jail? Not at all, she replied.
Asked now why that question didn't set off a warning light, Espinosa says it never crossed her mind. "I just wanted him to keep paying attention to me. I would have said anything to please him. Growing up, she never knew her father. The man, about seven years her senior, filled that gaping hole in her life.
"He made me feel safe and protected," Espinosa says. "I was just so naïve."
Soon after, he asked if she was willing to leave with him. She didn't ask where they were going; she just packed her bags and got in his car. He drove to Cleveland, told her to change her clothes, and brought her where prostitutes worked. See that motel? He pointed across the street. That's where you'll be working.
"I was afraid something bad would happen if I didn't do what he said," Espinosa says. "When I gave him the money I made the next morning, he told me how proud he was of me. No one had ever said that to me before."
For nearly five years, she traveled the country with the man. She says her daily quota was $1,000, which means she had sex up to 20 times a night.
This was before the popularity of cybersex hookups, so most of her business came from random customers on the street. She confirms the reports traffickers are drawn to big events.
"He took me to the Indianapolis 500," she says. "It brought in a lot of out-of-town men, and we worked from a strip club across the street. They're away from their homes and families, and think they can get away it. And they usually do."
What most of those customers don't see, Espinosa says, isthe degradation, drug abuse, alcoholism and self-esteem issues that trafficked victims suffer. She was beaten up several times, had knives pulled on her and had to jump out of cars to escape violent customers. She lost count of the times she was arrested and slept in jails. Yet all along, she was sure her man loved her.
"But I was just business to him, nothing more," she says.
In her early days as a prostitute, she was standing on a corner in Grand Rapids, Mich., when a couple approached her. She tensed up, wary and suspicious.
"Can we pray with you?" they asked. Espinosa relaxed a bit. It can't hurt, she thought. "Yes, please do."
"I like to think their prayers eventually got me out of that life. It took a few years, but their prayers were answered," she says softly. "I wish I could thank them."
She eventually found the courage to leave, taking a bus from Las Vegas to Florida to stay with family members. Vocational rehabilitation got her in the legitimate workforce, and "clinging to God" got her spiritual life on track.
"I like to think their prayers eventually got me out of that life. It took a few years, but their prayers were answered," she says softly. "I wish I could thank them."
Her best therapy, she says, is speaking out about her past. She says it makes her stronger every time.
"If we're ever going to stop the ugliness with human trafficking, we cannot keep quiet anymore," she says. "We have to put this out in the public and we've got to talk about it."
Illinois Enacts Law Against ‘Epidemic' of Human Trafficking
by Maryam Jameel
Illinois strengthened its legal arsenal against human trafficking this weekend when Gov. Pat Quinn signed House Bill 5278 into law. The new legislation aims to provide further protection and services for trafficking victims while also allowing prosecutors to crack down on pimps and other offenders.
The law applies to both minors and adults, and shares a number of similarities with the federal Trafficking Victims Protection Act, passed in 2000. The TVPA and its subsequent reauthorizations created new categories of human trafficking crimes and provided protections and benefits for human trafficking victims. Similarly, the new Illinois law extends the statue of limitations for offenders and broadens the definitions of “serious harm” and “involuntary servitude.”
The signing came a day after the American Bar Association's Juvenile Justice Committee hosted a panel to address the “epidemic” of juvenile sex trafficking in Chicago. While authorities confront traffickers for their offenses, it can be equally difficult to work with trafficked youth, many of whom don't consider themselves victims of sexual abuse.
“This is a hidden population,” said Katherine Kaufka Walts, a panelist from the Center for the Human Rights of Children at Loyola University. “No one is self-identifying, no one's raising their hand to say ‘I'm a victim of sex trafficking, I'm a victim of human trafficking.'”
According to Walts, current estimates suggest between 100,000 and 300,000 U.S citizen children are trafficked in the nation each year. However, data limitations prevent researchers from obtaining precise figures, and research typically excludes boys and LGBT youth.
“We're all embracing this narrative of the girl and the pimp,” said Kate Mogulescu, project director for the Trafficking Victims Legal Defense & Advocacy Project. “And we understand that and we see that, that it is very common. But there's another population [of boys and LGBT youth] that's being affected by this, that's really not being discussed. That's a challenge.”
Street prostitution of minors, usually advertised over the Internet, is a primary form of human trafficking in Chicago. Panelist and federal Judge Virgina M. Kendall of the Northern District of Illinois also said gang-involved youth are one of Chicago's major at-risk groups for trafficking.
“[Girls] are used as kind of rewards for gang activity,” Kendall said. “‘You did something good for the gang on the street, then you get to have sex with this girl, she's the best girl,' et cetera. And they become tossed and shared around the gang, and they feel very much like they can't break from the gang the same way a gang member can.”
Other at-risk youth include missing children, children of migrant workers, children with disabilities and children who abuse substances. Minors in the foster care and child welfare systems also make vulnerable targets.
The varied backgrounds of trafficked youth necessitate a wide range of services. Many must confront issues such as immigration status, pregnancy, custody battles and prior legal offenses in addition to the horrors of the sex trade.
But recent legislation – like House Bill 5278 – has made it easier for minors in the sex trade to interact with the legal system. Illinois Safe Children's Act, signed by Gov. Quinn in 2010, decriminalized sex-trade involvement for children younger than 18. Deemed unable to consent to their own commercial sexual exploitation, minors are no longer considered perpetrators or juvenile prostitutes. Instead, they're referred to as victims, a label which has caused some controversy among trafficking authorities.
In 2011, Illinois become one of the eight states with vacating conviction legislation, according to the Polaris Project. This law allows courts to clear convictions of prostitution from trafficked victims' records.
Despite such legislation, barriers to beating Chicago's sex trade still stand strong. While panelists said it isn't legislation that's lacking to protect victims, but rather the resources to make the law a reality. Challenges include a lack of housing for victims, disparate responses from authorities and the victims' general distrust of law enforcement.
Take just New York City, said Mogulescu. That city has fewer than 50 beds to shelter trafficked victims taken into protective custody.
“We need to talk about the details of how do we make this work,” Walts said. “And I think we need to hear more from the kids frankly, about what works, what doesn't, what got them there. No one's asking the youth.”
Congress Recognizes The Egregious Suppression Of Global Justice Regarding Child Trafficking
Requesting that the European Union Investigate
WASHINGTON , Aug. 6, 2012 -- Shared Hope International and The Rebecca Project are pleased to announce that the U.S. Congress has taken action regarding the lack of action of the European Union in investigating child sex trafficking in the pedophilia charges against Joris Demmink, a high ranking government official in The Netherlands , and requested this matter be broached at the next Interparliamentary meeting.
Congressmen Pitts (R-PA), Wolfe (R-VA), and Smith (R-NJ) state in a letter just delivered to EU Chairman Christian Ehler:
"We write to you out of concern for the integrity of the European Union's ongoing efforts to combat the sexual exploitation of children and child pornography. As combating these crimes remains a top EU priority, we are alarmed by recent assertions of the Dutch Ministry of Security and Justice relating to the prosecution of the group 'Martijn' and allegations of child sex abuse against the ministry's secretary-general, Mr. Joris Demmink .
As you may be aware, Mr. Joris Demmink has been accused of child rape. It is asserted that Mr. Demmink traveled to Turkey in the late 1990's to carry out the abuse and rape of numerous victims, and furthermore, it has been asserted that Mr. Demmink used the power of his position to obstruct efforts to file complaints against him, and used investigations as a way to deter his accusers.
Mr. Demmink is accused of what could be considered child sex tourism, a form of human trafficking. Given the nature of the allegations against Mr. Demmink and his influence within the Ministry of Security and Justice, we are concerned that the Ministry may not be able to properly execute The Netherlands ' responsibilities under the EU Decision 2004/68/JHA, the Framework Decision on combating the sexual exploitation of children…"
Shared Hope International and The Rebecca Project are working to bring awareness to the global need to take seriously the threat presented to the world's children by perpetrators of child sex trafficking, and bring justice to the victims of Joris Demmink. Mr. Demmink has eluded investigation, raising grave questions about the seriousness with which governments are combating human trafficking and protecting child victims of sexual exploitation in their country and those where their citizens may travel as child sex tourists.
Experts Answer Questions on Sexual Assault after Teacher Rape Incident
Here's what two of St. Louis' top experts on sexual violence have to say after news broke that a former local teacher was charged with rape involving students.
by Lindsay Toler
It seems like some terrible child sexual abuse stories have been in the news a lot lately.
Here in the St. Louis area, Patch has been covering the ex-teacher who turned himself in, confessing that he raped students. Authorities said the man confessed because he believed the crimes happened so long ago that he couldn't be prosecuted for them. (He was wrong.)
And just before that, we heard Pennsylvania State University would receive harsh penalties (but not the death penalty) for creating an environment where football coach Jerry Sandusky could abuse boys in locker-room showers.
Sexual assault is an important issue for communities like ours to discuss, but it's a hard subject to bring up—for reporters, for residents, for advocates, for police, for all of us.
In light of current events, Patch would like to answer a few of the questions we've heard about sexual violence in our communities. We hope you'll see this, as we do, as the starting point for a much larger conversation.
1. If a person is raping lots of children, why don't any of them come forward? Why are we just hearing about these stories now?
To answer this question, Kathleen Hanrahan, the director of the YWCA St. Louis Regional Sexual Assault Center, asks you to think about your own sex life.
“When you think about whom you share your sexual experiences with, you certainly aren't going to tell your mother or teachers or counselors about your sexual experiences or exploits,” she said. “Why would you tell them about the worst sexual experience that you have?”
Advocates and organizations that serve victims of sexual assault say there is a large gap between the number of assaults they see and the number reported to police. It's impossible to know how many victims choose to keep quiet about their attack, but the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network said only about 54 percent of sexual assaults are reported.
“People are set up to keep this information to themselves,” especially by their abusers, who threaten, cajole and convince victims to keep silent, Hanrahan said. “Universally, it doesn't matter the age. Victims blame themselves. They are embarrassed. This is the most personal aspect of our lives, and someone invaded.”
2. Won't the victims come forward now that they are hearing about other attacks on the news?
Possibly, yes. For many victims, seeing their abuser arrested and hearing their community get upset about the abuse is enough to make them feel safe.
“Our experience has shown us, just like Penn State, once you find that one person came forward, we started to learn more and more about it and more and more people come forward,” Hanrahan said.
But sometimes the secret and consequences for breaking the secret are too ingrained in a victim for him or her to come forward.
Ilene Bloom-Ellis, director of clinical services at Safe Connections, a counseling and resource center for vicitms of sexual and relationship violence, said some perpetrators make their victims feel like no one would believe them, or even care, if they come forward. Still others threaten the victim or their families.
“The victim may feel like, ‘Oh my gosh, he's going to ruin my father or ruin somebody else that I love if I tell, so I better just not because there is going to be repercussions for someone I love.”
3. How does an abuser choose whom to abuse? And why children?
Sexual violence is all about power and control, experts say. It has nothing to do with sexual interest or desire.
And of all the groups in our society, who is more vulnerable than children?
“They don't go after the strong kids who are capable of raising their voice and standing up,” Hanrahan said. “They go after the kids who might have vulnerability.”
Fifteen percent of sexual assault and rape victims are under the age of 12, according to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network. Girls 16-19 years old are four times more likely to become victims.
“The perpetrator is going to pick somebody they know they can have power and control over,” Bloom-Ellis said. “Often, perpetrators with a child will make it sound like this is just a normal part of loving somebody. The child may not realize this is wrong, this is outside the norm of what a relationship should be.”
4. Did the perpetrators think they were having loving relationships with the victims?
Whether the perpetrator says they loved the victim or not, sexual conduct between adults and minors is illegal. And it's illegal for a reason.
“Whenever we talk about a sexual relationship with a child, we are not talking about any kind of mutual relationship whatsoever,” Hanrahan said. “People who choose to have sexual relationships with children function under a whole different mindset that allows them to seek out vulnerable children and to switch from one child to another.”
5. Aren't people usually sexually assaulted by strangers?
About two-thirds of rapes are committed by someone known to the victim, according to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network. More than 70 percent of sexual assaults are perpetrated by a non-stranger.
“You can just imagine someone who was supposed to help you and take care of you, an adult that your parents trusted to mentor you, how easy is it to continue to trust people after this?” Hanrahan said. “How do you come back from this? It's just impossible to move forward unless, hopefully, you get some real, real serious help.”
6. What will happen to the victims? How does this affect them?
Experiencing abuse and keeping silent about it can be devastating to anyone's emotional and physical well-being.
Depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, eating disorders, body image issues, sexual disorders and other mental illnesses can develop from childhood sexual abuse, Bloom-Ellis said.
Children sometimes use several unhealthy coping mechanisms to live with their abuse, including putting on lots of weight to seem less “desirable” or disengaging from reality during an attack to the point of developing Dissociative Identity Disorder.
Sexual assault victims are 26 times more likely to abuse drugs, 13 percent more likely to abuse alcohol and 4 times more likely to contemplate suicide, according to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network.
7. If I know someone who experienced abuse, where should they go?
For help dealing with sexual violence, call the Safe Connections Crisis Helpline at 314-531-2003.
For children, call the Child Abuse Hotline at 800-392-3738.
If you've been the victim of a sexual assault, call the Crime Victim Advocacy Center at 314-652-3623.
Notes about language: We chose to use masculine pronouns for perpetrators and feminine pronouns for victims because statistical evidence shows that the vast majority of offenders are male and of victims are female. However, women do perpetrate sexual violence, and men are victims.
We also chose to use the word “victim” rather than survivor. We honor and respect the decision of people around the world to be identified as survivors. However, we chose the word victim because, when reporting about crimes, journalistic style refers to those affected by a crime as victims.
In Japan, Child-Abusing Parents Retain Parental Rights
by Cynthia Ruble
Several facts stood out to me from the recent report on the record-high number of child abuse cases in Japan in 2010. One was that in the previous three months, only seven petitions to temporarily suspend parental rights were presented to the court. And of those, only one was granted. Realize that these were not petitions to end parental rights, just to suspend them for up to two years.
It is extremely difficult to terminate parental rights against the will of the parents in Japan. For example, in 2007, out of 40,639 cases of child abuse handled by Child Welfare, staff members appealed to the family court for termination of parental rights in only four cases, and only one case was approved. 1 This is the norm. As a college professor said ironically, “It is easier for judges to give someone the death penalty than for them to forcibly sever parental rights in Japan.”
Secondly, over 84% of the 51 children who died due to child abuse were age three or under; most were under age one. I have been watching a situation up close that almost contributed to this statistic. In 2010, a father, the boyfriend of someone I know, almost killed his son, who was about one year old at the time. That child remains in the child orphanage system almost a year later. The father's rights have not been severed, nor has he been charged with a crime. The child is in limbo where he may remain until he is 18 years of age. 2
Of course, there is no reason to work to sever the father's rights if the goal of the government is just to keep the child safe in an orphanage . The primary reason that parental rights would need to be severed is so that the child could get adopted. Sadly, that is not the goal. And especially in cases where the child is still so young, how much more sense it would make to push as quickly as possible to a clear conclusion for the good of the child.
As it is, though the government doesn't sever parental rights, the parents in abuse cases can be legally deprived of their child for long periods of time. The main right they retain is to keep the child from going to a loving family. By bringing the case to a clear conclusion as soon as possible, perhaps extended family members would step up and offer to become legal guardians. Or maybe mothers would get serious about leaving abusive husbands/boyfriends to keep their parental rights. The way things are, children are left waiting while the wheels of the system grind slowly and their childhood slips away.
I asked my professor friend why Japan prefers this approach. A gross oversimplification of what he said is that Japan had long been a theocracy with the Emperor as father/god, and the Japanese as children. Families were/are also considered small theocracies where the parents have the divine right to do whatever is necessary to keep the family under control. Thus, the system works in favor of the parents, and he said parental rights are very unlikely to be severed more often in the future.
Another way to understand this and other things in Japan is to recognize the value placed on form over substance. Keeping parental rights in tack and placing children in orphanages protects the form of the blood-line family. Cutting parental rights and adopting children to unrelated parents wrecks the form and makes the situation “abnormal.” The substance of family love and life-long support is not the main consideration.
An issue that often comes up when discussing orphanages and/or adoption here is the idea of taking responsibility. Parents must be made to take responsibility for their children at some level even if it hurts the children. I was not surprised to read that many of the 2010 abuse cases involved teenage mothers who didn't know how to take care of their babies and had been ostracized by their local communities (Japan Today, 7/27/2012). Since these mothers didn't do the responsible thing and get an abortion, they must be made to suffer the consequences. Probably no one around them suggested they choose adoption because that is considered “irresponsible.”
The truth is that unless Japan can wholeheartedly embrace adoption and foster care, there is nothing to do but continue placing abused children in the ever-expanding orphanage system where they are likely to be abused again. The unwillingness to cut parental rights is undergirded by the same thinking that leads to an aversion to adoption.
As I've written elsewhere, the government is beginning to promote adopting out newborns before they enter the system, so there is some hope. Of course, the women in those cases voluntarily give up their rights. That process began when a brave government worker started asking pregnant women in distress if they were interested in adoption.
I think the government should at least ask this same question to parents of young, abused children. Reluctant parents can be strongly encouraged by offers to drop criminal charges or reduce sentences, though bringing charges against abusive parents seems to be another weakness of the current system. It may be that especially young, single mothers of abused babies would quickly agree if only someone would ask and encourage them.
Stopping the abuse would, of course, be best, and I applaud the government's call for more consultation services for at-risk pregnant women. But given the many adults who were themselves abused as children, the likelihood of a continued cycle of abuse is pretty high. I hope Japan will stop the cycle whenever possible by not only getting children away from abusive parents but by also getting them into loving families.
Four accused of neglect, sexual assault of children
Children are alleged to have been tied up and insects, a snail and a spider put in their mouths at a Porirua house.
The parents of eight children have gone on trial in Wellington for neglecting them and committing sexual offences against them.
As well as sexually abusing the children, the father, 55, is accused of tying the children to a clothes line at their home and spinning them around.
He is also accused of using a knife to sexually assault three of his daughters and tying up some of the children and putting insects, a snail, and a spider in their mouths.
In the High Court at Wellington today prosecutor Geraldine Kelly said one of the children was raped on the kitchen table while the mother, 42, watched and two "uncles" took part in the abuse.
The mother is also accused of sexually assaulting both her daughters and her son.
The parents and "uncles" aged 39 and 56, have name suppression.
They have pleaded not guilty to a total of 51 charges.
Justice Alan Mackenzie has told the seven men and five women on the jury that they would hear some very distressing evidence during what is expected to be a three week trial but they should not allow their emotions to affect their decision making.
Defence lawyers said the accused will deny sexual offences or violence took place.
Noel Sainsbury, the lawyer for the father, said there were aspects of the lifestyle and parenting that were "simply not good".
But a dysfunctional family did not necessarily amount to criminal behaviour.
Greg King, acting for the mother, said the family situation was " a million miles away from an idyllic family" but there was no deliberate neglect.
The mother had her own difficulties and limitations including illiteracy, but the children had adequate food, education and healthcare, although they were not receiving more than the basics. The jury might think the mother was struggling to deal with all the children, one of whom had serious health problems.
He asked the jurors not to allow themselves to be overwhelmed by the "tale of woe and misery" that would unfold in court.
Liz Hall, the lawyer for one of the "uncles", said the man was an alcoholic who went to the family's house for drinking sessions and denied any kind of sexual touching or violence towards the children.
Paul Surridge, the lawyer for the other "uncle", said the children did not come from a rosy home environment and might be saying some things to get attention for their plight.
The evidence came from dysfunctional children who were either untruthful or unreliable, he said.
Outlining the Crown's case Kelly said a Child, Youth and Family Services social worker had been involved with the family since March 2006 but it was not until March 2010 that they were removed from the house.
Now aged two to 13, the children were left to fend for themselves while their parents and two regular visitors to the house - who were known as uncles but were not related - drank, sometimes from morning to night.
The children were feeding themselves and caring for each other, even though the youngest had special feeding needs due to a physical abnormality. They did not have enough food or adequate clothing, often went to school hungry, and one had scabies when she was seen at hospital after being removed from her parents care.
A midwife would give evidence of the mother drinking alcohol when she was pregnant.
"When they did get attention from the adults it was the type of attention no child should receive," Kelly said.
The children have cognitive difficulties and cannot concentrate for more than about 15 minutes at a time so the trial is likely to be frequently interrupted for short breaks while they give their evidence.