Lancaster Sheriff's deputies looking for man who tried to lure girl
(Picture on site)
by Kelly Goff
A man attempted to lure an 11-year-old Lancaster school girl into his car Thursday morning, and now authorities are asking for the public's help identifying and locating the suspect.
The girl was walking home from New Vista Elementary School on East Avenue K-2 when the man approached her near the intersection of Avenue K and Challenger Way and tried to get her to go with him in his car. She continued walking and rejected his offers. Another driver saw the incident and was worried about the girl. The driver made a U-turn, and the man sped away.
The woman driver took the girl home called the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. The suspect is a Hispanic man between 30 and 50 years old, with a thin build and a mustache. He was last seen driving a white compact car.
Anyone with information is encouraged to call Detective Melissa Sullivan at the Lancaster sheriff's station at (661) 940-3857.
We must all help keep children safe
by Jeanine Harper
What happens when children aren't safe? Last year, at Greater Richmond SCAN (Stop Child Abuse Now), we saw the results of child abuse and neglect in our own community. We served more than 1,000 children and caregivers who were directly impacted by child abuse and neglect.
When children are not protected, they remain at risk of being hurt. Recent reports have highlighted situations in which children in our community were left vulnerable to this painful reality. While steps are being taken to help our government better address these challenges, it's important for everyone to believe that they have a role to play.
Whether you are a parent, a professor, a teacher, a doctor, a government official or a child protective services officer, you can help keep children safe. It is up to all of us to look at what role we can play. To help children, no one can remain idle.
There are many ways you can help protect children. Here are five you can start with today:
• Reach out to families in your community. Anything you can do to support kids and parents helps reduce the likelihood of child abuse and neglect.
• Remember the risk factors. Child abuse and neglect occurs in all segments of our society, but the risk is greater in isolated families and those where parents have problems with drugs and alcohol.
• Recognize the warning signs. The behavior of children may signal abuse and/or neglect long before any change in physical appearance.
• Report suspected abuse and neglect. Call the 24-hour Virginia Child Abuse & Neglect Hotline: (800) 552-7096.
• Raise the issue and support child abuse and prevention efforts. Volunteer at Greater Richmond SCAN, make a contribution, raise awareness. Visit us at www.grscan.com or call (804) 257-SCAN for more information.
What happens if we don't join together to make a difference? We are all connected. Child abuse and neglect is a challenge that has an impact on all human beings and has lasting consequences.
When children are hurt, they are robbed of their ability to feel safe, to learn, to develop and to play. These early challenges will follow them throughout their lives.
Adults who were abused or neglected as children are at a greater risk for physical, social and mental health problems when compared with adults who were not mistreated as children. Each year, these results cost society more than $200,000 per victim — costs associated with child welfare, loss of productivity, criminal justice services and health care.
The most important impact is that a child has been hurt. One child hurt is one too many. Children are our most essential resource for the future of families, community, nation and the world. Though they will one day become adults, remember that today they are still children. They cannot protect themselves. They need your help.
All adults should understand the signs of child abuse and believe that it can happen to someone you know. This can take the burden off of a child who may not know when they are being hurt or may not know how to protect themselves.
No community members, government officials or other professionals who serve children should hesitate when they suspect a child is not safe.
It is only human to be concerned about where the young victim might end up if you do report your suspicions. Remember, the goal is not to take a child away from his or her home, but to get a child and the family the support they need for a safe, nurturing home.
All children deserve this right. It may save their lives.
Jeanine Harper is executive director of Greater Richmond SCAN (Stop Child Abuse Now). Contact her at email@example.com
Surviving a 'horrific' case of child sexual abuse
by Joey Cresta
Prosecutors described it as the most "horrific" case of child sexual abuse they had ever seen.
Now 21 years old, the young woman who was the victim in that case is shedding that label and calling herself a survivor. She said she owes it all to the Rockingham County Child Advocacy Center in Portsmouth.
"It really has changed my life," said Melissa Mission. "I thought I was all alone. I didn't know it happened to anyone else. I thought it was just me."
The day Mission visited the Child Advocacy Center eight years ago was the day she realized she was not alone. She said CAC's forensic interviewer lifted the feelings of blame and guilt that had burdened her for years.
"She looked at me and she said, 'Everything is going to be OK. It's not your fault.' And that was huge," Mission said.
Like most victims of childhood sexual abuse, it was no stranger who committed the heinous acts of abuse against Mission. It was the man closest to her in her world: her father.
That man, Glenn Allan Mission, 56, formerly of Raymond, is now known as Inmate 78133 at the Northern New Hampshire Correctional Facility in Berlin. He is serving a 40- to 80-year prison sentence after pleading guilty in 2006 to 26 charges, including 15 counts of aggravated felonious sexual assault, one count of incest and four counts of possession of child pornography.
"Glenn Mission destroyed the childhood of a young girl over the period of a couple of years and he deserves to spend the rest of his life in prison," Rockingham County Attorney Jim Reams said at the time of his sentencing. "Everyone involved with this case — Epping Police Department, Raymond Police Department, our advocate Tara Longo and prosecutor Scott Jordan — think that this is the most horrific sexual assault case that they have ever seen."
Melissa Mission said the abuse began after her parents divorced. Her father began treating her less like a daughter and more like a girlfriend, lavishing her with gifts, causing confusion and confliction in the young girl's mind.
"I think it was harder at first because it wasn't a stranger," Mission said, adding she at first thought her father's actions might even be normal.
Although there was a persistent thought in the back of her mind that what he was doing was wrong, she was unable to speak to anyone about it. She said she internalized her emotions, shut out those around her and battled with the fear that no one would believe her if she did speak up.
"My dad was brainwashing me for the longest time with all the negatives, (saying), 'They're not going to believe you,'" she said.
Her situation turned around when her mother discovered a video of the abuse. Mission said one day her mother and aunt told her they were taking her to the dentist, but they actually brought her to the CAC office at the Community Campus.
While she was expecting a cold, sterile interrogation, Mission said she was struck by the warmth and friendliness of the CAC staff. She said their approach let her know that everything was going to be alright.
"The fear that I had was telling somebody. ... I thought that people weren't going to care," she said. "I had people who I didn't even know open up their arms to me. I wasn't used to that."
Maureen Sullivan, executive director of the Rockingham County CAC, said the agency strives to build rapport with child victims. Interviews begin with broad questions, and the children's responses lead the direction of the conversation, she said.
"The Child Advocacy Center changed the criminal justice system for kids," she said.
The CAC in Portsmouth was the first to open in the state in 2000 and now assists 350 children a year. There are now centers for each county in New Hampshire, helping 2,000 children annually, Sullivan said.
All interviews conducted at the CAC are recorded, and any evidence forwarded to police. Sullivan said that since the Rockingham County CAC opened, conviction rates in these types of cases have gone up 41 percent and sentences are five times longer.
The work of the CAC is mandated by the N.H. attorney general and the county attorney offices, and yet the agency receives no county funding and was receiving no funding from the state until Gov. Maggie Hassan provided $10,000 in her budget this year. The state used to provide $70,000 in funding, Sullivan said, but that amount dwindled over the years until it was reduced to zero.
"This is an agency that started 100 percent grant funded. Now, it's only 10 percent," she said.
It costs around $250,000 a year to run the CAC, which makes do with what it has. Sullivan said it has only three employees, herself included, and the agency relies heavily on individual and corporate donors to operate.
"We are here and still exist because this community, the Seacoast, wants us to," she said.
An interview with a child at CAC may last only 20 minutes to an hour, but the work continues on much longer. Through interagency agreements and memorandums of understanding with agencies like Sexual Assault Support Services and Seacoast Mental Health Center, victims continue to receive therapy and services to move them forward on a path to recovery.
Sullivan said victims of sexual abuse experience post-traumatic stress disorder, are at risk of alcohol and substance abuse and have higher rates of sexually transmitted diseases. Mission acknowledged enduring through long bouts of anxiety and PTSD, saying the support of the CAC and its partners is what got her through some incredibly difficult times.
Mission now has earned her associate degree in psychology and is working toward her bachelor's. She said it has taken years to get to this point, and wanted to share her story to raise awareness of the pivotal role of the Child Advocacy Center and let other victims of sexual abuse know they are not alone.
"You're giving a kid a new opportunity and a better start. I think that's very important," she said. "That's the biggest piece to me. I view myself as a survivor, so I'm no longer that victim anymore."
How to help
This year's Seacoast Half Marathon in Portsmouth on Nov. 10 will raise funds for the Rockingham County Child Advocacy Center and Sexual Assault Support Services. The agencies provide a collaborative response to cases of abuse and help improve the lives of more than 2,500 children in the Seacoast community.
The Seacoast Half Marathon raised more than $100,000 for last year's benefactor and officials with SASS and the CAC hope to achieve this goal again this year.
SASS and CAC are seeking sponsors for the charity race. Sponsorship levels range from $10,000-plus to be a "Seacoast Visionary," down to $250 to be a "Friend of the Seacoast." Those unable to sponsor can also make a donation. To sponsor the 2013 Seacoast Half Marathon, visit www.sassnh.org. The deadline is Sunday, Aug. 25.
Citadel negligence enabled sexual abuse of boy, lawsuit claims
by Prentiss Findlay
The father of an alleged victim of convicted child molester Louis “Skip” ReVille has filed suit against The Citadel claiming that the school failed to warn anyone about information it had indicating that ReVille was dangerous to youngsters.
ReVille assaulted the victim, who is now age 16, on more than one occasion as a result of The Citadel's negligence, according to a copy of the suit filed Tuesday in Charleston County Court of Common Pleas.
ReVille has admitted to sexually assaulting the plaintiff multiple times, the suit states.
“The Citadel breached its duty, and was grossly negligent in making no disclosure of any type of information it knew in 2007 that ReVille was dangerous to children,” the suit states.
A spokesman for The Citadel could not be reached for comment Saturday night.
Last year, ReVille pled guilty to molesting 23 boys in Charleston, Berkeley and Dorchester counties over a decade's time and was sentenced to 50 years in prison.
The Citadel remained silent about ReVille until October of 2011, when he was arrested on charges of sexually abusing young boys, including the plaintiff, the suit states.
ReVille, a former coach, teacher, Bible group leader and foster parent, worked as a senior summer camp counselor at The Citadel from 2000 to 2004, the suit states .
In 2007, the father of an alleged victim reported to The Citadel incidents of sexual abuse by ReVille said to have happened in 2002. Instead of reporting ReVille to law enforcement, The Citadel chose to only share the reports of sexual abuse with its insurance carrier, according to the suit.
“Had The Citadel reported this information in 2007 or thereafter, the information would have controlled ReVille's access to sexually assault other children, and prevented, or limited, ReVille's sexual abuse of the Plaintiff John Doe,” the suit states.
He confessed to Citadel public safety officers in 2002 that he sexually abused children who attended the camp, and at that time he requested the help of The Citadel, according to the suit.
The suit requests a trial by jury, and damages to be determined by a jury. It seeks an injunction requiring The Citadel to report information it receives about childhood sexual abuse.
7,000 paedophiles found guilty... 2,862 of them aren't jailed
The Sunday People investigates how judges are letting vile perverts walk free
Soft-touch judges are letting thousands of child sex offenders off with just a slap on the wrist.
Out of almost 7,000 paedophiles found guilty of sexual activity with children, a shocking 2,862 avoided prison – more than 40 per cent.
Most were given community sentences while 605 received suspended sentences and 41 got only a FINE. Another 1,700 sex offenders got away with police cautions last year, according to Government figures.
Those given cautions are more likely to face jail in future after guidelines to give victims the right to challenge police decisions through the courts were unveiled last week. But the muddled system was attacked by Peter Saunders, chief executive of the National Association for People Abused in Childhood.
He said: “A lot of the judiciary don't understand the catastrophic nature of the crime and the damage it does. If more of them understood, they would say, ‘If you commit this crime you are going to jail for a long time.'”
The figures, uncovered by investigations agency OpenWorld News, show child sex prosecutions in England and Wales between 2005 and 2011.
Almost 6,941 defendants were sentenced for offences defined as sexual activity with a child under 13, with a child under 16, or gross indecency with a child. The numbers could be the tip of the iceberg as they don't take into account offenders sentenced for other child sex crimes including porn, grooming and sexual assault, plus rape.
Alarmingly, more than 1,000 of those found guilty in crown and magistrates courts – one in seven – already had at least one conviction or a caution for a previous sex crime.
A total 429 of these had three or more previous convictions and cautions for sex offences.
Magistrates let the vast majority walk free with fines and suspended or community sentences.
Out of 844 sentenced only 80 were sent straight to prison – fewer than one in 10. Of the 6,097 offenders sentenced at crown court, more than a third avoided immediate custody.
Mr Saunders, himself a survivor of abuse, added: “A child sex offence is the most vile thing an adult can do to a child – we have to tackle it with the full force of the law.”
Justice Minister Jeremy Wright said: “The toughest sentences are available to the courts for those who commit the most serious offences.
“Alongside that the Government is working closely with the police and other criminal justice agencies to review the use of cautions.
Soft Touch 1
Judge Nicholas Coleman (left) let serial paedophile Roger Martin (right) walk free in 2009 after a guilty plea to sexually abusing a girl of 11.
The judge was persuaded that Martin, then 71, wouldn't be able to cope with a spell behind bars because of his age and ill-health. Instead Martin, who had a 30-year history of abuse, was told at Peterborough Crown Court to attend a sex offenders' treatment programme and stop taking Viagra. He was also banned from having contact with children indefinitely.
Soft Touch 2
Scout troop leader Ryan Jameson (right) was let off without a jail sentence even though he took pictures of children he had blindfolded and tied up which he then uploaded on to his computer.
The 21-year-old also admitted downloading sadistic child porn. But Judge Patrick O'Brien (left) decided Jameson needed help and gave him a three-year supervision order at Ipswich Crown Court in 2011. The judge told him: “You have got to find healthier activities.”
Uproar erupted when Judge Nigel Peters (left) and prosecutor Robert Colover (right) described a 13-year-old girl sex victim as “predatory”.
Her abuser Neil Wilson walked free from Snaresbrook Crown Court, London, with an eight-month suspended sentence. The judge hauled Wilson, 41, back to court last week to increase the sentence. But it was only because of a technical error in the first one and it remains suspended.
New Human Trafficking Laws Now Passed In 39 U.S. States: Report
by Jessica Prois
Cindy McCain spoke out Wednesday not as a businesswoman or a politician's wife but as a modern-day abolitionist, fighting human trafficking at a time when activists estimate more people are enslaved than at the pinnacle of the trans-Atlantic slave trade.
McCain, who co-chairs the Arizona Task Force on Human Trafficking, joined a press call highlighting a newly released report from the Polaris Project. According to the report, 39 states have now passed updated, strong anti-trafficking laws.
By the Polaris Project's rankings -- which look at laws, advocacy efforts, victims' assistance resources, law enforcement training and other factors -- there are now also 32 states in the top tier for fighting human trafficking, up from 21 last year. New Jersey and Washington state ranked highest on the list, achieving perfect scores of 12, while South Dakota was the only state in the bottom of four tiers.
But the government officials and nonprofit advocates on Monday's press call weren't there to celebrate; they were pushing harder to change the still grim reality.
Some 15,000 people are trafficked into the U.S. each year for purposes of forced labor or sexual exploitation. Victims come from impoverished communities and seemingly safe suburbs. They might work in fake massage parlors, brothels, strip clubs or even nail salons, the Polaris Project reports.
McCain recalled shopping in a fabric store a few years ago in India and noticing children looking up at her through the gaps between the wooden floorboards.
"I could see all these little eyes looking up at me. It was very evident what was down there, and it was a lot of little girls," she said. "The problem with this is that I walked out of that shop and I didn't do anything, and it has haunted me ever since."
She admitted she didn't quite realize what she was witnessing.
"At that point in my life, I did not understand what human trafficking was. I didn't understand not only the danger it presented but also how rampant it was worldwide. And that's why –- and that's a small reason, but a very important reason, that brings me to the table today."
Though McCain's experience was overseas, she and others on the phone call emphasized that slavery exists in the U.S. as well.
Las Vegas is a top 10 trafficking destination in the U.S., yet Catherine Cortez Masto, attorney general of Nevada, admitted that not too long ago, she didn't quite grasp the concept either. "When we brought these young girls into the courtroom, I thought they were only there voluntarily to feed a drug habit," she said.
But Masto now understands. She described a sting in Reno, Nev., during which a 14-year-old girl was brought from California to have sex with men in a hotel room. "She didn't even have shoes, just the clothes on her back."
Both those states, Nevada and California, are in the top tier of the Polaris Project's ratings. Many other Western states, including Arizona, Utah and Colorado, ranked very low.
McCain said she will help draft legislation for Arizona that will hopefully set a precedent for neighboring states. Her goal is to move Arizona from the third to the first tier by the time it hosts the 2015 Super Bowl -- the annual football extravaganza is a notorious hotbed for trafficking.
"Arizona is lagging in this. We are not providing a unified effort, and there aren't really any resources except for those generous people working for nonprofits," McCain said.
Bradley Myles, the CEO of the Polaris Project, said more states need to pass "safe harbor" laws so that children under age 18 who have been sexually trafficked are not then prosecuted for prostitution. Federal law mandates that such children be treated as the victims they are and provided with help and resources, but state efforts can undermine that immunity from prosecution.
"We should be treating victims like victims and not like criminals. It's a reminder that we have so far to go," Myles said.
If you or someone you know needs help, reach out to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) at 1-888-373-7888.
The terrible toll of sex trafficking
Tameika Lewis' nightmare has a sequel.
After her oldest daughter was trapped by sexually traffickers for nearly a year in 2008, Lewis relived the terror all over again just over a year ago when her second daughter fell victim.
Sex trafficking is on the rise in Milwaukee. Poverty is one reason; so is the lack of strong men in some neighborhoods.
A report released earlier this month found that 77 children had been sexually exploited in Milwaukee over the past two years. With sex crimes being among the most under-reported, the actual number is likely much higher.
Nationally, more than 100,000 children between the ages of 11 and 14 are vulnerable to being sold for sex by pimp-captors every year, according to government statistics. Many of these children are runaways who come from fragile families and disadvantaged communities.
Some rap lyrics glamorize the pimp lifestyle, but it is nothing more than modern-day slavery. Pimps are sexual predators.
Lewis opened up to me because she feels that too many families who have suffered from sex trafficking have been silent. Some put more blame on the parent and the child instead of where it belongs, on the pimps and johns.
She said she did everything within her power to protect her daughters. In one incident, she went after a pimp with a crowbar only to have a gun pointed in her face. There was not a day that she didn't blame herself.
Before her oldest daughter ran away, Lewis said, she was a quiet teen who went to school and stayed out of trouble. Then things changed. She started talking back and cursing her. Then a man started calling the house.
"I told him that my daughter was only 15 and to stop calling my house," she said.
The calls turned into harassment. One spring night, her daughter walked to a corner store to buy snacks. Lewis didn't see her again for five months.
Her daughter was arrested in Las Vegas and New Jersey for prostitution. Both times, she was released to the same man who allegedly was her pimp.
Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm said some members of law enforcement still don't get it; they treat those in the sex trade like second-class citizens.
Assistant District Attorney Sara Lewis said that the sex trade culture has been hard to change, and officials have come across generational pimps — sons who follow in their fathers' footsteps in abusing women.
While there are federal and state laws against sex trafficking, mandatory minimum sentences for those who sell and those who buy could add more teeth to the state laws. Additional funding needs to go into studying trafficking and training law enforcement to use existing laws effectively.
Wisconsin should follow the lead of other states by increasing the age for children in foster care from 19 to 21. Too many youths age out of foster care unable to provide for themselves, making them easy targets for flesh peddlers. Without a job, support system and no place to live, the one thing left to sell is your body.
Lewis said the lifestyle stole her child's innocence. When her daughter came home after five months, she was dressed like a call girl in a miniskirt and heels.
Lewis was determined to protect her child. She said when her daughter tried to leave the house, she tried to hold her but her daughter started walking down the block to a fancy car.
Lewis followed with a crowbar in hand.
"I told my daughter to get out of that car," Lewis said.
When she went to swing her weapon, the pimp pointed a gun at her and told her that her daughter was his property. They drove off, and she did not see her daughter for another two months. After returning that time, her daughter has since stayed home.
Her daughter only told Lewis about some of the trauma she endured, which included beatings. She isn't ready just yet to reveal everything.
"She will never be the same, and neither will I," Lewis said.
Lewis relived the nightmare when a second daughter at age 15 fell victim to sexual trafficking as well. She was one of the 10 Wisconsin children rescued during an FBI sting last month, in which 100 suspects were arrested nationwide.
Sex trafficking would not exist if there were not a market for sexually exploited individuals. Johns are just as guilty as the pimps, who profit off the backs of the young girls and women.
Strong men can help to end this bad sequel.
Human Trafficking Around the World: Hidden in Plain Sight'
by John Tirman
Human trafficking is one of those issues that rankles people even when they don't understand its actual shape and scope. At least a dozen books have appeared in the past few years describing the horrors of sex trafficking, a gruesome practice of enslavement and perversion affecting millions of (mostly) girls the world over, including, with alarming frequency, in the United States. But as Stephanie Hepburn and Rita J. Simon point out in their encyclopedic study of global trafficking, the larger crime is forced-labor trafficking, which is three times greater than that for sex commerce. The official response to each is inadequate — under-resourced, legally fragile and too often complicit.
The scale of these crimes is staggering. “As of 2005 this global phenomenon reaped an annual worldwide profit of $44.3 billion and affected more than 12.3 million persons,” the authors write. About half are children. Other forms of trafficking are rampant — human organs, most prominently — but forced labor accounts for two-thirds of the cases. Victims are often recruited with promises of jobs abroad or within their own countries, but once in the grip of the traffickers they are essentially slaves. Various forms of subjugation are involved, such as debt bondage resulting from exorbitant fees for transportation, food and housing, but it all amounts to a system of violently enforced servitude from which escape is only a remote possibility.
While the common perception of trafficking tends to focus on sexual exploitation in places such as Thailand and Dubai, the United States is among the top 10 destinations. Thousands of victims are brought into America each year from all over the world. They are used mainly for household labor, agriculture, food and care services, and in the garment industry. Those in industry are housed in substandard quarters and do not get paid, or owe so much because of the traffickers' “fees” that payment is irrelevant.
Sex trafficking to the United States is estimated to bring 50,000 women and girls to our shores each year, mainly for prostitution. The authors cite a case of Mexican women trafficked to Florida to work, they thought, as maids or waitresses. “Upon arrival in the United States, the traffickers raped the women and girls, confiscated their travel documents, and forced them to prostitute. Guards prevented them from leaving the brothels, and if the victims tried to escape they faced severe physical punishment as well as threats of deportation.”
Forced labor follows similar patterns the world over. Hepburn and Simon march the reader through 23 countries, including several in Europe, to illustrate different dimensions of the problem. This is not just a pathology of “Ninotchkas” from post-Soviet Russia or sex-crazed sheiks or sex tourists in Bangkok. This is an enormous enterprise that touches every corner of the globe.
Most disquieting is how laws in many countries are used against trafficking victims. For example, in Italy, the United Kingdom and elsewhere, laborers brought in illegally, under duress, can be put in detention, fined and deported as illegal immigrants. Time and again, the authors explain, trafficking victims are charged and sometimes jailed for prostitution or using false papers, among other lawbreaking. In India and elsewhere, the law enforcement system is so deplorable when it comes to prosecuting traffickers that it's the rare case that makes it to a conviction. The authors recount that “a rescued victim from Nepal was repeatedly deposed and continually asked embarrassing questions in an attempt to get her to withdraw the charges.” Laws are changing, and some judicial and police practices are improving, but the pace is slow and incommensurate with the scale of the crimes.
Hepburn and Simon, lawyers associated with American University, parse the different causes and sources of human chattel — desperate poverty is the font of vulnerability, of course, but conflict-riddled countries are particularly prone to exploitation. In Iraq after the U.S. invasion, contractor immunity granted by U.S. officials in effect gave permission for the abuse of workers, who were imported from many of the same countries we see with large guest-worker programs: Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh. Reconstruction and the promise of good wages drew many workers who were then diverted to household servitude or worse.
Women in Iraq are “particularly vulnerable to a variety of crimes such as kidnapping, sexual assault, and human trafficking. One trafficking ring sold 128 Iraqi women to Saudi Arabia in 2008 and 2009. The ring was made up of Iraqi police officers, members of the Governorate's Council . . . and security officials.” Poor families are preyed upon by syndicates pretending to be adoption agencies or nongovernmental organizations that will take their children to better lives, only to sell them into slavery or the sex trade, or as child soldiers. “I did anything possible to keep them with me,” a woman who sold two of her children explained, “but I lost my husband while I was pregnant with my fifth child and life became too hard.” The Iraqi government estimates that there are at least 900,000 widows in Iraq, and poverty among them is high.
Throughout this grim account, the authors only rarely let emotions slip through. The book reads like a policy document, sometimes a legal one, organized identically in each chapter. Statistics abound. This is a bit off-putting but nonetheless valuable. It's a good companion to the 2010 book by Louise Shelley, “Human Trafficking: A Global Perspective,” which emphasizes the role of transnational organized crime. Kevin Bales, an anti-slavery activist, has written several books, including “The Slave Next Door: Human Trafficking and Slavery in America Today” and “Disposable People: New Slavery in the Global Economy,” which use victims' stories to illustrate larger themes, humanizing this topic without sensationalizing. Many other books on the subject published in the past 10 years, as the issue of trafficking has become more prominent, rely on personal testimony. Among the best is the remarkable “Sold” by Patricia McCormick, about a 13-year-old sold into prostitution. It is being made into a movie, as a few others have been.
Among these tales of slavery and sexual depravity — some of them published in novels that seem a hair's breadth away from exploitation themselves — Hepburn and Simon's “Human Trafficking Around the World” comes off as a kind of reference book or college text. But it's an immensely learned and informative piece of work, much needed to prod and set aright the misperceptions and lethargy that beset this disturbing issue.
John Tirman is executive director and principal research scientist at the MIT Center for International Studies.
Minnesota lawmakers lead national efforts to end sex trafficking
by Michele Garnett McKenzie
It's no secret that human trafficking is a widespread crime. All one has to do is look at last month's FBI Operation Cross-Country, which recovered over 100 teens across the United States. Human trafficking is also one of the oldest crimes against persons, or as Vednita Carter, founder and executive director of Breaking Free, aptly calls it, the “world's oldest oppression.”
But Minnesota lawmakers are crossing the aisle to put an end to one of the greatest human rights atrocities in our country: the buying and selling of human beings for sex.
The House's End Human Trafficking Act, H.R. 2805, co-sponsored by Rep. Rick Nolan (D-MN-8 th ), and it's Senate companion introduced by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), are bi-partisan efforts to recognize under federal law that people who “obtain, patronize, or solicit” prostituted children are guilty of the crime of human trafficking.
Let's be clear. We're talking about the buyers of sex. The “johns.” Or, as Minnesota statute defines them, the “patrons.” Rep. Nolan and Sen. Klobuchar propose a step that needs to be taken if we are to stop the buying and selling of our children for sex. Their legislation recognizes that it's not just the “pimps” who are part of the human trafficking equation, it's the men who believe they are entitled to sex when and how they want it, so long as they pay for it.
Another Minnesotan, Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-MN-3 rd ), joined New York Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY-25) to introduce H.R. 2744, the Child Sex Trafficking Data and Response Act of 2013. Paulsen's bill would, among other things, amend federal law to require that states' programs relating to child abuse and neglect include provisions and procedures to identify and assess all reports involving child victims of sex trafficking and to train child protective services workers about identifying and providing comprehensive services to exploited children.
Paulsen's bill addresses head-on one of the barriers to effectively providing services to sexually exploited children: Our child protection systems often fail to see these kids, to recognize them as crime victims, and to extend protection.
And Sen. Al Franken, long a champion of efforts to end human trafficking, this session joined his Minnesota colleague in support of increased reporting and data collection efforts by signing onto S. 413, the Human Trafficking Reporting Act, another bipartisan effort.
Federal efforts in step with state initiatives
Congressional efforts to end human trafficking take their place alongside innovative state approaches, including Minnesota's ground-breaking Safe Harbor for Sexually Exploited Youth Act. Safe Harbor put in place the beginnings of a response to sex trafficked children by recognizing these kids as crime victims and establishing the framework for statewide services – including safe housing – designed to meet their complex needs.
Safe housing and other services form the backbone of an effective approach to getting victims out of the life of trafficking. Unfortunately, the legal response to human trafficking continues to reflect the long-held ambivalence about prostitution, which continues to rescue victims by arresting, detaining, and prosecuting them rather than by focusing efforts on the traffickers – both the “pimps” and the “patrons.”
The latest efforts by Minnesota's congressional delegation focus public policy where it counts by defining “patrons” as what they really are, by ensuring that child protection measures include trafficking victims, and by making sure we know what's really being done in efforts to combat trafficking. We have a long way to go, but Minnesota's efforts again will help lead the way.
Michele Garnett McKenzie is director of advocacy for The Advocates for Human Rights.
Florida Ranks Third In Human Trafficking But Can't Prosecute Many Cases
by Gina Jordan
The Florida Attorney General's Office says Florida is third in the nation for the number of human trafficking cases. 27 million people are enslaved worldwide, and most victims are female.
Three children in Tampa were among 105 children rescued nationwide last month during a FBI sex trafficking sting operation.
“Operation Cross Country” focused on underage victims of prostitution and led to more than 150 arrests.
“This operation serves as a reminder that these abhorrent crimes can happen anywhere,” said Ron Hosko, assistant director of the FBI's Criminal Investigative Division.
The National Association of Attorneys General knows it can happen anywhere. Unfortunately, states can do little about the exploitation of children online in many cases.
The Communications Decency Act of 1996 was supposed to protect children from indecent content on the Internet. But the association says the law doesn't give states the authority to prosecute pimps and others who use websites to advertise underage prostitution.
On this day, “therapeutic massage” is the top listing on Backpage.com. Ads in this category tend to be accompanied by provocative pictures of scantily clad females. The site includes plenty of mundane listings like “furniture for sale,” “trades & labor jobs,” and “pets for sale.” Others seem innocent enough – like “health/beauty services” - until you click on them and realize you're glad no children are in the room with you.
The association sent a letter to congressional leaders in Washington, urging them to amend the law so state and local prosecutors can have jurisdiction over human traffickers who promote their businesses online.
The Florida Attorney General's Office explained in a press release why this change is necessary:
"Prostitution is a local crime. Absent interstate travel, federal property, or the involvement of a minor, prostitution is not a federal crime. While the Communications Decency Act provides criminal authority to the federal government, the attorneys general believe that criminal jurisdiction needs to be extended to help combat these crimes.
Local prosecutors report that prostitution solicitations have largely moved online. Backpage.com, for example, generates an estimated $3 million to $4 million per month in revenue."
“By updating federal law, we can give prosecutors the tools they need to crack down on those who use technology to exploit children,” Attorney General Pam Bondi said. “I am committed to making Florida a zero-tolerance state for human trafficking, and changing this law is just one more way we can work toward accomplishing that goal.”
Bondi's office refers to human trafficking as modern day slavery. Victims of human trafficking are subjected to sexual exploitation or forced labor as part of a $32-billion industry.
In 2011, Florida ranked 3rd in the number of calls received by the National Human Trafficking Resource Center's hotline.
Here's a portion of the National Association of Attorneys General letter to Congress:
In instance after instance, state and local authorities discover that the vehicles for advertising the victims of the child sex trade to the world are online classified ad services, such as Backpage.com. The involvement of these advertising companies is not incidental—these companies have constructed their business models around income gained from participants in the sex trade.
But, as it has most recently been interpreted, the Communications Decency Act of 1996 prevents state and local law enforcement agencies from prosecuting these companies.
In the last few months alone, law enforcement agencies throughout the nation have linked sex-trafficking operations to internet advertisers. For example, on March 28, Miami police arrested a man for advertising the sex services of a 13-year-old girl on Backpage.com. The perpetrator had tattooed his name across the girl's eyelids, marking her as his property.
Federal enforcement alone has proven insufficient to stem the growth of Internet facilitated child sex trafficking. Those on the front lines of the battle against the sexual exploitation of children—state and local law enforcement—must be granted the authority to investigate and prosecute those who facilitate these horrible crimes.
Let's get this straight: Child victims are never at fault
by Randy Ellison
for the Child Abuse Network
Last week it was reported that a former Ashland High School volunteer swim coach was arrested on multiple counts of felony rape and sexual assault stemming from his alleged conduct with a 14-year-old girl on the team. The 24-year-old was being held in the Jackson County Jail on four counts of third-degree rape and four counts of second-degree sexual assault.
The Jackson County Child Abuse Network has no comment on any aspect of this case other than the language used to describe the alleged crime and reminding people of our duty to protect children.
The words we use influence our perceptions and create images in our minds. Police Chief Terry Holderness was quoted as saying a several-week APD investigation determined that "no force was used" between the alleged offender and the victim, who was a freshman at the high school.
We would like to clarify the use of the phrase "no force was used." This refers to the description of the legal codes. Rape in the third degree is described as having sexual intercourse with a person under 16 years of age. Rape in the second degree is having sexual intercourse with a person under 14 years of age. Rape in the first degree is described as sexual intercourse with a person under 12 years of age, or the "victim is subjected to forcible compulsion." In Oregon a person under 18 cannot legally give consent to have sex.
In other words, the degree of crime is based on the age of the victim or whether it is a violent attack. We have no doubt that Chief Holderness was explaining why the charge was third-degree rape and not first-degree rape. Our concern, and why we are writing this article, is the potential misconception that any rape can be described as without force or that the victim holds any responsibility.
There are many factors in child sexual abuse that come into play that may not seem like overt force. The first is what is called grooming. The offender is typically well versed in endearing themselves to the victim through kindness, compliments, attention, favors and gifts. Over time this leads to a lessening of normal caution and defense mechanisms on the part of the victim and can end up with them taking part in activities that they would never otherwise consider or choose on their own.
Possibly the most important aspect of child sex abuse is the power differential between the adult offender and the victim. Often the offender is in a position where the victim wants to please them and gain their approval. Our society sometimes erroneously sees this as the child being at least partially at fault by their actions, which in fact are just normal adolescent behavior. Wouldn't you want the attention or to please your coach, your minister or any person of power in your life? Our laws and our science tell us that it is never the fault of the child, no matter how it happens. Anything less is considered "victim blaming."
The responsibility lies with the adult to know that our culture and laws do not allow for any form of physical relationship between adults and children. And it is the job of the community to look out for children of all ages and respond appropriately if we think anything inappropriate is going on. Hundreds of studies and thousands of broken lives have proven the destructive results of child sex abuse.
We make no assumption of the guilt or innocence of the alleged offender in this particular case. What we do know is that today there is a child that needs the love and support of their family, friends and community. Law enforcement and the courts can decide the legal issues.
The message we would like to leave with you is that children are never responsible for being abused in any form, no matter what the particular charges or circumstances are. There is always some type of manipulation on the part of offender to gain power and control over the child or adolescent. Our children need our support and protection- without exception.
Randy Ellison is a survivor of childhood sexual abuse who has become an advocate for prevention. He wrote this on behalf of the Jackson County Child Abuse Network.
Child advocacy group offers initiative to raise awareness about child abuse
by Hunterdon County Democrat
Court Appointed Special Advocates of Somerset, Hunterdon, and Warren Counties (CASA SHaW) is a nonprofit, 501(c)3 organization committed to advocating for children living in foster care under the jurisdiction of the New Jersey Family Court. CASA SHaW recruits, screens, trains, and supervises community volunteer advocates who identify needed services, make best interest recommendations to the court, and ensure that assistance is made available to these children with the ultimate goal of moving them to safe, loving, and permanent homes. The organization recently amended its mission statement to include “CASA SHaW is committed to advocating for these children both individually and through community outreach and education on the issues of child abuse and neglect.”
To that end, the program has developed a presentation designed to raise awareness about the issues of child abuse and neglect, including state law's governing what constitutes abuse, what abuse can look like, who is considered a mandated reporter, and how to make a report. The organization hopes to share this two-hour presentation with other organizations and groups that work with children, including preschools, coaches, and instructors.
“It is our goal to raise awareness, get help to child victims sooner, and empower community members to take action when necessary,” says Tracey Heisler, CASA SHaW's executive director. “Almost all of us have had an experience where we saw something that just didn't seem right – this training will hopefully help to educate those of us who work with children on what to look for and how best to respond to it.”
Groups interested in having a representative from CASA SHaW come out to share this free training should contact Heisler at 908-689-5515 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CASA of Somerset, Hunterdon, and Warren Counties is part of a statewide network of community-based, non-profit programs that recruit, screen, train and supervise volunteers to “Speak Up for a Child” removed from home due to abuse or neglect. CASA is the only program in New Jersey that uses trained volunteers to work one-on-one with children, ensuring that each one gets the services needed and achieves permanency in a safe, nurturing home.
Visit casashaw.org or call 908-689-5515 for more information about CASA of Somerset, Hunterdon, and Warren Counties. Or, to find a local CASA program in your county, visit casaofnj.org.
Northern Ireland to probe stifled history of institutional child abuse
by PAUL WALDIE
Even as it continues to struggle with deep sectarian divisions, Northern Ireland is launching a probe into another dark corner of its history.
A government commission is set to bring to light the long-suppressed history of abuse at orphanages and children's homes that included forced confinements, canings, beatings, bullying and sexual assaults. The Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry will hold months of public hearings next year with hundreds of witnesses expected to detail horrific accounts of brutality. Victims were inspired to demand the probe after a similar review in Ireland uncovered decades of child abuse at more than 250 church-run institutions.
In Northern Ireland, officials say thousands of children may have suffered mistreatment in dozens of Catholic, Protestant and state-run institutions during a 73-year period from the creation of the province in 1922 until 1995, when the orphanages were reformed.
One victim is Kathy Devlin who now lives in Montreal. Her hope is that the inquiry will force the government and those who ran the homes to “actually acknowledge that there was abuse” and apologize.
In the late 1950s, Ms. Devlin and her younger brother were sent to a home in Londonderry called Nazareth House. She recalled being treated like an animal, routinely left hungry and cold. Her brother nearly died of pneumonia and she developed chronic bronchitis.
“It was sort of a time in my life when you are supposed to be learning,” she recalled. “For me it was basically a wasteland because we were ignored intellectually and physically. It's something that you remember but you try to put at the back of your mind because it's not happy memories.”
Ms. Devlin isn't sure if she will testify when the inquiry begins public hearings next year. But she hopes the inquiry will force the government and those who ran the homes to apologize and “actually acknowledge that there was abuse.”
Conditions in the orphanages started to become known after the investigation in Ireland began in 2000. But some advocates for the victims say the government has failed to provide help and, despite the creation of the official inquiry, is still not facing up to abuse at the notorious Magdalene laundry institutions for unmarried mothers.
Ms. Devlin is one of 300 people who have come forward so far with allegations. The inquiry has started a publicity campaign through advertisements and media interviews across Britain, Australia and Canada.
“There may well be a number of individuals now living in Canada who may have experienced abuse in institutions of this type in Northern Ireland and we are very anxious to reach out to them so that they know that we are here, know the work that we are doing and are able to contact us if they can,” said Sir Anthony Hart, a retired judge who chairs the inquiry's three-member panel. Their travel costs to come to Northern Ireland to testify will be covered, he added, and investigators could be sent to Canada if enough people come forward to tell their stories in public or confidentially to investigators
The approach taken by Canada in investigating its residential schools abuse is being studied as a possible model.
Northern Ireland had roughly 170 of these homes over the years but most disappeared long ago leaving few records behind. For now the inquiry is focusing on 35 facilities including one workhouse, four government-run training schools, 14 homes managed by local councils and 16 run by Catholic orders and Protestant non-profit groups. “There are potentially many thousands of children who might have been affected,” said Sir Anthony who added that inquiry staff will provide the names of the institutions next month.
The inquiry has been criticized for dealing only with victims who were under the age of 18, which excludes hundreds of people who alleged were abused by clerics and women who were sent to Magdalene laundry-type institutions, where unmarried pregnant women were coerced to give up their babies and forced to work in harsh conditions. There were about a dozen Magdalene-style facilities in Northern Ireland up to the 1950s.
“They [victims] feel what they suffered as young adults was abuse and the state also has a responsibility to investigate what happened to them,” said Patrick Corrigan the director for Amnesty International in Northern Ireland who has been campaigning to broaden the scope of the inquiry. The government has said those issues will be dealt with later and that it was important to start with child victims.
Sir Anthony said the inquiry's mandate is broad, and it will review allegations of sexual, physical and emotional abuse, which includes humiliation, bullying and lack of proper care such as withholding medical treatment or food. It may recommend an apology, a tribute or some form of financial compensation when it reports its findings in January, 2016.
There is also a separate “acknowledgment forum” in which victims can provide confidential information to a four-member team who will investigate the claims and include some of the information in the inquiry's final report.
Others, such as Margaret McGuckin, want support services now for victims. She spent four years pushing for a public inquiry into abuse at orphanages and she now runs a group in Belfast called Survivors and Victims of Institutional Abuse. “We get no support from the government – no funding,” she said in a recent interview. “I have no qualifications or anything – all I had is a listening heart.”
Ms. McGuckin can certainly relate to the people she is helping. She, her sister and her two brothers were taken from their home in the late 1950s after welfare officials decided their parents were unfit. “We all got separated,” Ms. McGuckin said. She was three years old at the time. “It was brutal. It was a brutal regime. Leather belts, bamboo canes. That was their way of controlling us. Just like cattle.”
She spent eight years in the home and the experience scarred her deeply. The family never recovered and remained detached. One brother was sexually abused and is now in a psychiatric hospital. Ms. McGuckin said she recently discovered that her mother came to the home once and asked to see her daughter. “She was pushed away by them people and they handed her a cross, a little small cross,” she said.
Allison Diver spent much of her childhood in and out of church-run homes in Londonderry because state officials deemed that her parents – both alcoholics– couldn't look after the family. She said she has only recently begun to talk about what happened – about being locked in cupboards, being beaten so hard it left her with hearing problems and suffering repeated sexual abuse at the hands of a priest. She links the experience to the way her her adult life spun out of control too after she married an abusive husband and struggled to raise five children while battling depression and anxiety
But since she has come forward to the inquiry, the police have tracked down the priest and are pursuing a criminal investigation. She is also preparing to testify at the inquiry next year, even though it will bring back awful memories.
“It has been really, really hard,” Ms. Diver said from Belfast where she moved a few years agoafter leaving her husband. “But at least they might do something.”
Girls taken abroad for forced marriages urged to hide spoons in underwear to alert airport security
by Deni Kirkova
Thousands of British youngsters sent 'on holiday' to marry a stranger
Airport staff on lookout for teens in distress
Setting off metal detector with spoon gives them last chance to seek help
Derby charity Karma Nirvana came up with the concealed item trick
Organisation supports victims of forced marriage and honour abuse
British girls being taken abroad for forced marriages are being urged to hide spoons under their clothes in order to alert authorities to their plight.
As Britain puts airport staff on alert to spot potential victims, one campaigning group says the trick has saved some youngsters from coerced unions in South Asia.
The concealed cutlery sets off the metal detector at security control in Britain. Girls - and sometimes boys - can then be taken away from their parents to be searched, which gives them a last chance to seek help from airport staff.
The British school summer holidays, now well under way, mark a peak in reports of young people - typically girls aged 15 and 16 - being taken abroad on 'holiday', for marriage without consent, the government says.
The bleep at airport security may be the last chance they get to escape a union to someone they have never met in a country they have never seen.
The spoon trick is the brainchild of the Karma Nirvana charity, which supports victims and survivors of forced marriage and honour-based abuse.
Based in Derby, central England, it fields an average of 6,500 calls per year from around Britain. However, the organisation says this number has already been reached with another four and a half months to go until the end of 2013. It says this increase is due to increased awareness of the issue.
When petrified youngsters ring, 'if they don't know exactly when it may happen or if it's going to happen, we advise them to put a spoon in their underwear,' said Natasha Rattu, Karma Nirvana's operations manager.
When the girls go though security, the spoon will set off the alarm - if 16 or over, they will be taken away to a safe space
When the spoon sets off an alarm, 'they will be taken to a safe space where they have that one last opportunity to disclose they're being forced to marry,' Rattu told AFP.
'We've had people ring and tell us that it's helped them and got them out of a dangerous situation. It's an incredibly difficult thing to do with your family around you - but they won't be aware you have done it. It's a safe way.'
The charity is working with airports - so far London Heathrow, Liverpool and Glasgow, with Birmingham to come - to spot potential waring signs, such as one-way tickets, the time of year, age of the person and whether they look uncomfortable.
'These are quite general points, but there are things that if you look collectively lead you to believe something more sinister is going on,' said Rattu.
People who come forward can be escorted out of a secure airport exit to help outside.
Marriages without consent have led to suicides and so-called honour killings.
Officials fear the number of victims coming forward is just the tip of the iceberg, with few community leaders prepared to speak out and risk losing their support base.
One woman, whose identity has been protected by Essex Police in southeast England, was forced to get married in India.
She said she was threatened by her father 'because he said if I thought about running away he would find me and kill me'.
'I was shipped off with a total stranger.
'That night I was raped by my husband and this abuse continued for about eight and half years of my life.'
She eventually fled.
Last year, the Foreign Office's Forced Marriage Unit dealt with some 1,500 cases - 18 per cent of them men.
A third of cases involved children aged under 17. The oldest victim was aged 71; the youngest just two.
The cases related to 60 countries: almost half were linked to Pakistan, 11 per cent to Bangladesh, eight per cent to India, and two per cent to Afghanistan. Other countries involved included Somalia, Turkey and Iraq.
Calls to Karma Nirvana tend to spike before the British school summer holidays and again at the end, said Rattu.
'The holidays are a really good time for young people to go missing because there is nobody accounting for where they are at school,' she said.
Since Ramadan ended last week, calls have risen again, including one from an 18-year-old who has fallen pregnant - her family is trying force her into marriage to conceal it.
Burdened by codes of 'izzat', or family honour, youngsters can be put under extreme physical and emotional pressure to marry relatives in a culture and country they were not brought up in.
If they refuse, they are often threatened with being thrown out of the family - or worse.
'It really takes a brave person to stand up against their family,' said Rattu.
What the Forced Marriage Unit in the UK say
'In June 2012, the Government announced that forced marriage will become a criminal offence and by doing so we are sending out a clear message that this brutal practice is totally unacceptable and will not be tolerated in the UK.
'The Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) provides direct assistance to victims as well as undertaking a full programme of outreach activity to practitioners and communities, to ensure that people who are in contact with victims are fully informed about how to approach such cases. Statutory guidance is already available to support those agencies that exercise public functions to safeguard children or vulnerable adults.
'This year the FMU is handing out "Marriage: it's your choice” cards, to all professionals across the UK, including airport staff, safeguarding professionals, teachers and NGOs. These cards will provide victims and potential victims with key information, in addition to signposting them to where further confidential advice and support can be obtained.'
Four Manatee High administrators charged with failing to report child abuse against Rod Fraizer
by Carson Chambers
MANATEE COUNTY - Manatee High School is a football powerhouse. However, ABC Action News learned from newly released police reports that a winning record may have been the reason a ball coach was reinstated, even after serious allegations involving underage female students.
The report suggests that administrators called for a "speedy investigation" so he wouldn't miss a big playoff game.
"Lying during an investigation or false statements is you know, very much of a concern," said Manatee County Superintendent Rick Mills.
Coach Rod Frazier was charged last month and now the fallout is growing. Four school administrators have been arrested including two former Manatee High School principals. Matthew Kane, Debra Horne, Gregg Faller and Bob Gagnon are charged with failing to report child abuse.
"As a school district it is our responsibility to make that our highest priority, the safety and security of our students and our employees, so anything else other than that is not at that level of priority," said Mills.
Police reports suggest school administrators brushed Frazier's sexual advances toward underage female students under the rug, despite what Superintendent Mills said.
"We have an open door policy and we expect people to be frank and candid and share what their concerns are," he said.
New details include female victims who say Frazier groped them and sent them graphic texts.
A parent liason says he saw Frazier "shove a bottle of water in between ((victim's)) legs."
One victim told police, "when she wore skirts he would ask her what kind of underwear she was wearing” and "he would stroke his hand on her buttocks.”
S he told Bradenton Police the unwanted touching happened as many as 20 times.
Another teacher said she witnessed ((victim)) sitting on Mr. Frazier's lap feeding him cake.
And another victim said Frazier told her "she would have to give him oral sex if another female student came to him with gum."
Former Vernon School Crossing Guard Gets Prison For Sexually Abusing Children
by DAVID OWENS
VERNON — A former school crossing guard in Vernon has been sentenced to 7-1/2 years in prison for sexually assaulting a child.
Russell Pike, 76, abused other children during the last 50 years, a prosecutor said, but the crimes fell outside of the statute of limitations, and police could not charge him.
Pike, who lived in the Rockville section of Vernon, was investigated a decade ago after he was accused of sexually assaulting children. Vernon police investigated Pike 2001 and 2002, but his victims did not disclose the abuse to police and no arrest was made.
Vernon police, including now retired Det. Don Skewes and Det. John Divenere, looked at Pike again in 2011 when one of the women police talked to earlier stepped forward.
The victim was 22 when she decided to speak up after learning Pike was working as a school crossing guard and had daily access to children. She told the detectives she feared he'd hurt more children. She did not talk to police when she was 11, she told the detectives, because she was afraid.
Others, including relatives of Pike who are in their 60s, told police Pike abused them when they were young.
In October 2011, police charged Pike with first-degree sexual assault, fourth-degree sexual assault and risk of injury to a minor. Prosecutor Elizabeth Leaming reached a plea bargain with Pike and his public defender, Douglas Ovian, this summer.
In exchange for Pike pleading guilty to second-degree sexual assault and risk of injury to a minor, Leaming agreed to the 7 1/2-year prison sentence. If Pike survives prison, he'll be on special parole for eight years when he is released. He must also register as a sex offender. Pike was formally sentenced July 26.
Leaming described Pike as a stereotypical pedophile. She said he groomed his victims, bad-mouthed their parents, convinced them he was the only one who cared about them, and then scared them into not disclosing the abuse.
When police confronted Pike during their investigation, he said he "never harmed" any children and said if he sexually assaulted anyone it was not intentional, according to the warrant for his arrest. He did not confess to touching children.
Behind Closed Doors - Facts We Ignore!!!
by Tracey Grabowski
1. Domestic Violence and Abuse
Domestic violence and abuse can happen to anyone, yet the problem is often overlooked, excused, or denied. This is especially true when the abuse is psychological, rather than physical. Noticing and acknowledging the signs of an abusive relationship is the first step to ending it. No one should live in fear of the person they love. If you recognize yourself or someone you know in the following warning signs and descriptions of abuse, reach out. There is help available.
Understanding domestic violence and abuse
Domestic violence and abuse are used for one purpose and one purpose only: to gain and maintain total control over you. An abuser doesn't “play fair.” Abusers use fear, guilt, shame, and intimidation to wear you down and keep you under his or her thumb. Your abuser may also threaten you, hurt you, or hurt those around you. Domestic abuse , also known as spousal abuse, occurs when one person in an intimate relationship or marriage tries to dominate and control the other person. Domestic abuse that includes physical violence is called domestic violence.
Domestic violence and abuse does not discriminate. It happens among heterosexual couples and in same-sex partnerships. It occurs within all age ranges, ethnic backgrounds, and economic levels. And while women are more commonly victimized, men are also abused—especially verbally and emotionally, although sometimes even physically as well. The bottom line is that abusive behavior is never acceptable, whether it's coming from a man, a woman, a teenager, or an older adult. You deserve to feel valued, respected, and safe.
Recognizing abuse is the first step to getting help
Domestic abuse often escalates from threats and verbal abuse to violence. And while physical injury may be the most obvious danger, the emotional and psychological consequences of domestic abuse are also severe. Emotionally abusive relationships can destroy your self-worth, lead to anxiety and depression, and make you feel helpless and alone. No one should have to endure this kind of pain—and your first step to breaking free is recognizing that your situation is abusive. Once you acknowledge the reality of the abusive situation, then you can get the help you need.
Signs of an abusive relationship
There are many signs of an abusive relationship. The most telling sign is fear of your partner. If you feel like you have to walk on eggshells around your partner—constantly watching what you say and do in order to avoid a blow-up—chances are your relationship is unhealthy and abusive. Other signs that you may be in an abusive relationship include a partner who belittles you or tries to control you, and feelings of self-loathing, helplessness, and desperation.
2. Child Abuse and Neglect
Child abuse is more than bruises and broken bones. While physical abuse might be the most visible, other types of abuse, such as emotional abuse and neglect, also leave deep, lasting scars. The earlier abused children get help, the greater chance they have to heal and break the cycle—rather than perpetuate it. By learning about common signs of abuse and what you can do to intervene, you can make a huge difference in a child's life.
Understanding child abuse and neglect
Myths and facts about child abuse and neglect Child abuse is more than bruises or broken bones. While physical abuse is shocking due to the scars it leaves, not all child abuse is as obvious. Ignoring children's needs, putting them in unsupervised, dangerous situations, or making a child feel worthless or stupid are also child abuse. Regardless of the type of child abuse, the result is serious emotional harm.
MYTH #1: It's only abuse if it's violent.
Fact: Physical abuse is just one type of child abuse. Neglect and emotional abuse can be just as damaging, and since they are more subtle, others are less likely to intervene.
MYTH #2: Only bad people abuse their children.
Fact: While it's easy to say that only "bad people" abuse their children, it's not always so black and white. Not all abusers are intentionally harming their children. Many have been victims of abuse themselves, and don't know any other way to parent. Others may be struggling with mental health issues or a substance abuse problem.
MYTH #3: Child abuse doesn't happen in “good” families.
Fact: Child abuse doesn't only happen in poor families or bad neighborhoods. It crosses all racial, economic, and cultural lines. Sometimes, families who seem to have it all from the outside are hiding a different story behind closed doors.
MYTH #4: Most child abusers are strangers.
Fact: While abuse by strangers does happen, most abusers are family members or others close to the family.
MYTH #5: Abused children always grow up to be abusers.
Fact: It is true that abused children are more likely to repeat the cycle as adults, unconsciously repeating what they experienced as children. On the other hand, many adult survivors of child abuse have a strong motivation to protect their children against what they went through and become excellent parents.
Effects of child abuse and neglect
All types of child abuse and neglect leave lasting scars. Some of these scars might be physical, but emotional scarring has long lasting effects throughout life, damaging a child's sense of self, ability to have healthy relationships, and ability to function at home, at work and at school. Some effects include:
Lack of trust and relationship difficulties. If you can't trust your parents, who can you trust? Abuse by a primary caregiver damages the most fundamental relationship as a child—that you will safely, reliably get your physical and emotional needs met by the person who is responsible for your care. Without this base, it is very difficult to learn to trust people or know who is trustworthy. This can lead to difficulty maintaining relationships due to fear of being controlled or abused. It can also lead to unhealthy relationships because the adult doesn't know what a good relationship is.
Core feelings of being “worthless” or “damaged.” If you've been told over and over again as a child that you are stupid or no good, it is very difficult to overcome these core feelings. You may experience them as reality. Adults may not strive for more education, or settle for a job that may not pay enough, because they don't believe they can do it or are worth more. Sexual abuse survivors, with the stigma and shame surrounding the abuse, often especially struggle with a feeling of being damaged.
Trouble regulating emotions. Abused children cannot express emotions safely. As a result, the emotions get stuffed down, coming out in unexpected ways. Adult survivors of child abuse can struggle with unexplained anxiety, depression, or anger. They may turn to alcohol or drugs to numb out the painful feelings.
Types of child abuse
There are several types of child abuse, but the core element that ties them together is the emotional effect on the child. Children need predictability, structure, clear boundaries, and the knowledge that their parents are looking out for their safety. Abused children cannot predict how their parents will act. Their world is an unpredictable, frightening place with no rules. Whether the abuse is a slap, a harsh comment, stony silence, or not knowing if there will be dinner on the table tonight, the end result is a child that feel unsafe, uncared for, and alone.
3. Elder Abuse and Neglect
Many elderly adults are abused in their own homes, in relatives' homes, and even in facilities responsible for their care. If you suspect that an elderly person is at risk from a neglectful or overwhelmed caregiver, or being preyed upon financially, it's important to speak up. Learn about the warning signs of elder abuse, what the risk factors are, and how you can prevent and report the problem.
What is elder abuse? -- Your elderly neighbor
There's an elderly neighbor you've chatted with at civic meetings and block parties for years. When you see her coming to get her mail as you walk up the street, you slow down and greet her at the mailbox. She says hello but seems wary, as if she doesn't quite recognize you. You ask her about a nasty bruise on her forearm. Oh, just an accident, she explains; the car door closed on it. She says goodbye quickly and returns to the house. Something isn't quite right about her. You think about the bruise, her skittish behavior. Well, she's getting pretty old, you think; maybe her mind is getting fuzzy. But there's something else — something isn't right.
As elders become more physically frail, they're less able to stand up to bullying and or fight back if attacked. They may not see or hear as well or think as clearly as they used to, leaving openings for unscrupulous people to take advantage of them. Mental or physical ailments may make them more trying companions for the people who live with them.
Many seniors around the world are being abused: harmed in some substantial way often by people who are directly responsible for their care.
In the U.S. alone, more than half a million reports of abuse against elderly Americans reach authorities every year, and millions more cases go unreported.
Where does elder abuse take place?
Elder abuse tends to take place where the senior lives: most often in the home where abusers are often adult children, other family members such as grandchildren, or spouses/partners of elders. Elder abuse can also occur in institutional settings, especially long-term care facilities.
The different types of elder abuse
Abuse of elders takes many different forms, some involving intimidation or threats against the elderly, some involving neglect, and others involving financial chicanery. The most common are defined below.
Physical elder abuse is non-accidental use of force against an elderly person that results in physical pain, injury, or impairment. Such abuse includes not only physical assaults such as hitting or shoving but the inappropriate use of drugs, restraints, or confinement.
In emotional or psychological abuse, people speak to or treat elderly persons in ways that cause emotional pain or distress.
Verbal forms of emotional elder abuse include:
Intimidation through yelling or threats
Humiliation and ridicule
Habitual blaming or scapegoating
Nonverbal psychological elder abuse can take the form of:
Ignoring the elderly person
Isolating an elder from friends or activities
Terrorizing or menacing the elderly person
Sexual elder abuse is contact with an elderly person without the elder's consent. Such contact can involve physical sex acts, but activities such as showing an elderly person pornographic material, forcing the person to watch sex acts, or forcing the elder to undress are also considered sexual elder abuse.
Neglect or abandonment by caregivers
Elder neglect, failure to fulfill a caretaking obligation, constitutes more than half of all reported cases of elder abuse. It can be intentional or unintentional, based on factors such as ignorance or denial that an elderly charge needs as much care as he or she does.
This involves unauthorized use of an elderly person's funds or property, either by a caregiver or an outside scam artist.
An unscrupulous caregiver might:
Misuse an elder's personal checks, credit cards, or accounts
Steal cash, income checks, or household goods
Forge the elder's signature
Engage in identity theft
Typical rackets that target elders include:
Announcements of a “prize” that the elderly person has won but must pay money to claim
Healthcare fraud and abuse
Carried out by unethical doctors, nurses, hospital personnel, and other professional care providers, examples of healthcare fraud and abuse regarding elders include:
Not providing healthcare, but charging for it
Overcharging or double-billing for medical care or services
Getting kickbacks for referrals to other providers or for prescribing certain drugs
Overmedicating or undermedicating
Recommending fraudulent remedies for illnesses or other medical conditions
Signs and symptoms of elder abuse
At first, you might not recognize or take seriously signs of elder abuse. They may appear to be symptoms of dementia or signs of the elderly person's frailty — or caregivers may explain them to you that way. In fact, many of the signs and symptoms of elder abuse do overlap with symptoms of mental deterioration, but that doesn't mean you should dismiss them on the caregiver's say-so.
General signs of abuse
The following are warning signs of some kind of elder abuse:
Frequent arguments or tension between the caregiver and the elderly person
Changes in personality or behavior in the elder
Feeling down from time to time is a normal part of life. But when emptiness and despair take hold and won't go away, it may be depression. More than just the temporary "blues," the lows of depression make it tough to function and enjoy life.
Depression can make you feel helpless, hopeless, or empty and numb; but there's a lot you can do to change how you feel. With help and support, you can overcome depression and get your life back.
The key to recovery is to start small and take things one day at a time. Feeling better takes time, but you can get there if you make positive choices for yourself each day and draw on the support of others.
The normal ups and downs of life mean that everyone feels sad or has "the blues" from time to time. But if emptiness and despair have taken hold of your life and won't go away, you may have depression. Depression makes it tough to function and enjoy life like you once did. Just getting through the day can be overwhelming. But no matter how hopeless you feel, you can get better. Understanding the signs, symptoms, causes, and treatment of depression is the first step to overcoming the problem.
What is depression?
Some people describe depression as “living in a black hole” or having a feeling of impending doom. However, some depressed people don't feel sad at all—they may feel lifeless, empty, and apathetic, or men in particular may even feel angry, aggressive, and restless.Sadness or downswings in mood are normal reactions to life's struggles, setbacks, and disappointments. Many people use the word “depression” to explain these kinds of feelings, but depression is much more than just sadness.
Whatever the symptoms, depression is different from normal sadness in that it engulfs your day-to-day life, interfering with your ability to work, study, eat, sleep, and have fun. The feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, and worthlessness are intense and unrelenting, with little, if any, relief.
Are you depressed?
If you identify with several of the following signs and symptoms, and they just won't go away, you may be suffering from clinical depression.
you can't sleep or you sleep too much
you can't concentrate or find that previously easy tasks are now difficult
you feel hopeless and helpless
you can't control your negative thoughts, no matter how much you try
you have lost your appetite or you can't stop eating
you are much more irritable, short-tempered, or aggressive than usual
you're consuming more alcohol than normal or engaging in other reckless behavior
you have thoughts that life is not worth living (seek help immediately if this is the case)
Common signs and symptoms of depression:
Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. A bleak outlook—nothing will ever get better and there's nothing you can do to improve your situation.
Loss of interest in daily activities. No interest in former hobbies, pastimes, social activities, or sex. You've lost your ability to feel joy and pleasure.
Appetite or weight changes. Significant weight loss or weight gain—a change of more than 5% of body weight in a month.
Sleep changes. Either insomnia, especially waking in the early hours of the morning, or oversleeping (also known as hypersomnia).
Anger or irritability. Feeling agitated, restless, or even violent. Your tolerance level is low, your temper short, and everything and everyone gets on your nerves.
Loss of energy. Feeling fatigued, sluggish, and physically drained. Your whole body may feel heavy, and even small tasks are exhausting or take longer to complete.
Self-loathing. Strong feelings of worthlessness or guilt. You harshly criticize yourself for perceived faults and mistakes.
Reckless behavior. You engage in escapist behavior such as substance abuse, compulsive gambling, reckless driving, or dangerous sports.
Concentration problems. Trouble focusing, making decisions, or remembering things.
Unexplained aches and pains. An increase in physical complaints such as headaches, back pain, aching muscles, and stomach pain.
5. Rape and Sexual violence
Sexual violence is any unwanted sexual act or activity. There are many different kinds of sexual violence, including but not restricted to: rape, sexual assault, child sexual abuse, sexual harassment, rape within marriage / relationships, forced marriage, so-called honour-based violence, female genital mutilation, trafficking, sexual exploitation, and ritual abuse. Sexual violence can be perpetrated by a complete stranger, or by someone known and even trusted, such as a friend, colleague, family member, partner or ex-partner. Sexual violence can happen to anyone. No-one ever deserves or asks for it to happen.
100% of the responsibility for any act of sexual violence lies with its perpetrator. There is no excuse for sexual violence – it can never be justified, it can never be explained away and there is no context in which it is valid, understandable or acceptable.
If you have been raped or experienced any other kind of sexual violence, no matter where you were, what you were doing, what you were wearing, what you were saying, if you were drunk or under the influence of drugs, it was not your fault and you did not deserve this.
Current legal definition of rape
The Sexual Offences Act 2003 (the Act) came into force on the 1st May 2004. The purpose of the Act was to strengthen and modernise the law on sexual offences, whilst improving preventative measures and the protection of individuals from sexual offenders. The Act extends the definition of rape to include the penetration by a penis of the vagina, anus or mouth of another person. The 2003 Act also updates the law about consent and belief in consent.
The word 'consent' in the context of the offence of rape is now defined in the Sexual Offences Act 2003. A person consents if she or he agrees by choice, and has the freedom and capacity to make that choice. The essence of this definition is the agreement by choice. The law does not require the victim to have physically resisted in order to prove a lack of consent. The question of whether the victim consented is a matter for the jury to decide, although the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) considers this issue very carefully throughout the life of a ase.
Current legal definition of sexual (indecent) assault
Sexual assault is an act of physical, psychological and emotional violation, in the form of a sexual act, which is inflicted on someone without consent. It can involve forcing or manipulating someone to witness or participate in any sexual acts, apart from penetration of the mouth with the penis, the penetration of the anus or vagina (however slight) with any object or the penis, which is rape.
Myths & facts about rape & sexual violence
Government statistics released in January 2013 estimated that 85,000 women are raped on average in England and Wales every year, that over 400,000 women are sexually assaulted annually, and that 1 in 5 women (aged 16 - 59) has experienced some form of sexual violence since the age of 16. The same study reported that 28% of women who are victims of the most serious sexual offences never tell anyone about it, and we know from our experience within the Rape Crisis movement that only around 15% of women and girls who experience sexual violence ever report to the police.
One reason women and girls tell us they are reluctant to talk about their experiences is a fear of not being believed, or of being blamed for what has happened to them, as well as feelings of shame or self-blame.
Rape and other forms of sexual violence are understandably topics that many people find difficult or uncomfortable to talk about. Because of this reluctance to discuss or acknowledge them, however, myths and misinformation about sexual violence are common. Myths are also often unfortunately fuelled by ill-informed or unbalanced media reporting of sexual violence stories.
This is why Rape Crisis (England and Wales) and its member Rape Crisis Centres are committed to dispelling myths and raising awareness and understanding of sexual violence, as well as providing services to survivors. Our aim in this is to help to create a wider environment in which women and girls affected by sexual violence feel safe and confident to seek the support and justice they need, want and deserve.
WE NEED YOUR HELP!!!!
PLEASE SUPPORT AND PROVIDE ASSISTANCE TO ANYONE WHO YOU KNOW IS BEING ABUSED!!!
IF YOU KNOW THE ABUSER, PLEASE REPORT AS SOON AS POSSIBLE TO THE NEAREST AUTHORITIES..
DO NOT CLOSE YOUR EYES AND BE DEAF TO THE SCREAMS OF PAIN AND SUFFERING!!!
BE A DECENT HUMAN BEING AND PROTECT ALL OUR MEN, WOMAN AND CHILDREN!!!
PEACE BE WITH YOU
End the silence about sexual violence
by Pamela Jacobs
Sexual violence is a difficult topic to discuss, and one that many would rather ignore. But, it may surprise you to know how prevalent this crime truly is. Before the age of 18, one in three girls and one in six boys will be sexually abused, usually by someone they know and trust. As adults, one in five women will be sexually assaulted. And because of the fear and shame associated with these crimes, many victims will never tell anyone. It's time for that to stop.
I am a survivor of sexual violence. When I was two years old, I went to live with my grandmother and her husband. Some of my earliest childhood memories are of being sexually abused by my step-grandfather. I lived in fear and never told anyone what was happening to me. The abuse continued until I was 15 years old—when I disclosed the abuse to my grandmother and was thrown out of the house.
I kept my silence because I was afraid. My step-grandfather would often threaten to kill my grandmother or my beloved dog—my friend and protector—if I told anyone. During puberty, my new-found rebelliousness and independence scared him. He worried I might tell and responded by making me watch as he killed a litter of puppies. It was his way of telling me he was serious, and everyone I loved was in danger if I told. This may sound extreme, but it's not uncommon for perpetrators to threaten, and even harm, loved ones and pets as a way to scare the victim.
But, fear of what might happen to those I loved is only part of why I didn't tell. The real fear was much deeper. I was afraid I was so insignificant, so unwanted, and so bad that no one would care. I was worried my grandfather was right— that the abuse was my fault.
When I was 15, after a nervous breakdown and a suicide attempt, I told my grandmother, who coldly turned her back and told me to get out of her house. I never went home again. Twenty years later, after working with thousands of survivors of sexual abuse, I know that what happened to me is not my fault. Just like it is never any victim's fault, regardless of their age, what they were doing, whether they were drinking, or what they were wearing. Sexual assault is never the victim's fault.
I also know that there were people along the way whom I could have reached out to. There were teachers, counselors, and friends' parents who would have believed and helped me. But, I needed to know that I was important enough for anyone to care. And this is exactly the message we need to give every child, early and often: you are enough, you are special, and you are loved. Children need to feel that, no matter what happens, they will always be believed and supported. Adults need to feel this, as well.
We also have to understand that not all victims will want to pursue criminal charges. I never reported what happened to me. That can be difficult to understand, since we all want perpetrators to be held accountable. But, for me, my survival and healing was more important. Justice means something different for everyone, and each person has to define it for his or her self. Surviving was my justice.
For anyone reading this who has been sexually abused, you are not alone. There are advocates and professionals who will support you, regardless of what you choose to do. In Columbia, you can contact Sexual Trauma Services of the Midlands (STSM) at 803-771-RAPE (7273). They have advocates who can talk with you about your options and offer you support.
All victims of sexual assault can receive a sexual assault forensic exam and medical treatment without reporting the crime. Advocates at STSM or other advocacy programs across the state, can assist you with this. And if you do decide to report the crime, there are dedicated professionals in the criminal justice system who will believe and support you, as well.
You have done nothing wrong. We believe you. You are not alone. And you don't have to be silent anymore.
For more information about sexual assault services in South Carolina, please contact the South Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault (SCCADVASA) at (803) 256-2900 or http://sccadvasa.org.
Pamela Jacobs is a survivor, attorney, trainer, and consultant specializing in sexual assault and domestic violence intervention and prevention. Learn more about her work at www.pamelajacobs.com
Riding Choppers And Harleys To Protect Kids In Need
by NPR Staff
Happy Dodson and Taz Roman are bikers. Not cyclists, but the leather jacket and chained wallet kind of bikers. They're also members of a group called Bikers Against Child Abuse.
The nonprofit, with chapters across the U.S. and in some parts of Europe, accepts referrals from parents, guardians, police, social workers and other agencies. Whenever those kids don't feel safe, they can call Happy, Taz and their other biker friends, who come straight to the child's house.
"You got 15, 20 bikes rolling down the street, and everybody's in leather," Happy tells Taz on a visit to StoryCorps in Norwich, Conn. "You know, everybody works, and everybody's got everything else going on, but we drop all that stuff for that kid."
The group's sometimes fierce look can help bolster the kids, explains Taz, 29. "You know, kids understand that we're scarier than the person that's abusing them."
"Then they realize that, 'Hey, there are adults that we can trust and will take care of us,' " Happy says. "There's just no way to describe the feeling. And normally I'm not a soft person!"
"We have a kid right now, and she goes up to any biker," says Taz.
"She'll let you know real quick she's in our family," says Happy. "I remember the first day we gave her the vest, just like we wear. She put it on, and her mom said she slept with it for three days — wouldn't take it off."
"It's nice to see her feel safe. You can see that she feels safe when she's around us," Taz says.
Any abuse must be reported to authorities before BACA can become involved. All group applicants must pass a federal fingerprint background check to join, must attend organization meetings and events during their first year and must be unanimously approved "worthy" by a board of directors. BACA policy also dictates that no member is ever allowed to be alone with a child.
Taz, treasurer of the Connecticut chapter, has a very personal reason for getting involved with BACA. "My stepdad, you know, he'd come home drunk and start whaling on me every single night. I used to think it was my fault, and it was hard growing up like that," he tells Happy.
"I think as a kid, you always feel like you're alone," he continues. "You're going to bed with this burden every single night, and you wake up knowing exactly what's going to happen the next day. You're so scared that you don't know how to go about talking to somebody about it.
"So, if I can help kids overcome their fear of their abuser then maybe that'll help me deal with and cope with the history that I came from," Taz says.
"I wish it was something we didn't have to do," says Happy.
"I feel exactly the same way. At the end of the day, you want these kids to have a better future than you could have possibly had," Taz says. "When I put my kid to bed, that's what I think about. You don't just want it for your kid, you want it for everybody's kid. And I think that's what helps me sleep better at night."
Collaborative effort offers training in reporting child abuse, Clery compliance
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Preventing child abuse and improving safety on campus is a shared responsibility that requires continued vigilance in our community, and Penn State is among the first institutions in the nation to require annual training to help individuals spot the signs and report suspected abuse.
As part of its commitment to positive change, the University has developed a collaborative approach to offer online professional development programs on reporting suspected child abuse and Clery Act compliance for University employees, students and volunteers. The Clery Act is a federal law related to campus safety.
"A critical component of prevention is training individuals on what to look for and what to do if there are children at risk, as well as sharing strategies to reduce the likelihood of child abuse," said Susan E. Cromwell, director for Workplace Learning and Performance in Penn State's Office of Human Resources. "Our prevention and safety programs have expanded rapidly so that we can meet the training needs across the University."
Cromwell has been working collaboratively with ITS Training Services to launch the Workplace Learning Gateway. The site serves as an online portal for employees to access the appropriate training they may need in one place and at their convenience.
"Building a Safe Penn State: Reporting Child Abuse"
Penn State now requires all employees to take training on how to recognize and report suspected child abuse, through Policy AD72. Students and volunteers who are considered "authorized adults" -- those who work with children and have responsibility for children's programs -- also are required to take the training.
In 2013, as of July 9, nearly 15,500 employees, students, volunteers and others have received training.
"The program is part of Penn State's ongoing commitment to support the identification and reporting of child abuse," said University President Rodney Erickson. "This is just one component of our effort to revisit all standards, policies and programs to ensure that they meet not only the law, but Penn State's standard," he said.
"Building a Safe Penn State: Reporting Child Abuse" is available online via two training modules -- one module for Penn State employees and another for volunteers and certain part-time employees.
Cromwell explained that the modules are designed to help employees and volunteers understand their responsibilities under Pennsylvania law and University policies, and outline the process for identifying, responding to and reporting child abuse.
A second, separate training site also has been created by CWLP specifically for authorized adults who work with Penn State units, departments and organizations but who do not have University accounts, Cromwell said. This population includes volunteers and part-time employees who work fewer than 100 hours a year. The second site is available at http://ohr.psu.edu/learning/online/volunteers.
More than 5,000 CSAs trained in Clery Act compliance
Penn State's program to educate campus security authorities (CSAs) in Clery Act compliance has trained more than 5,000 individuals since June 2012, according to Gabriel Gates, Clery compliance manager at the University.
Gates said that on this front, as well as on other safety efforts, Penn State “strives to exceed the requirements of the Clery Act.”
The act requires all U.S. higher education institutions that participate in federal financial aid programs to record and disclose certain information about campus crime and security policies. This includes issuing campus alerts, publishing annual security reports, disclosing missing student protocols, maintaining a daily crime log and a daily fire log, and publishing an annual fire report, Gates said.
As manager for Clery compliance on all of Penn State's campuses, Gates collaborates with various offices across the University to develop and implement strategies to ensure adherence to the law. The law is aimed at providing students, parents and the public access to safety information, as well as educating and training the University community and instituting policies that enhance safety and security.
The training is required for those identified as Campus Security Authorities (CSAs) at the University, said Gates. An example of a CSA might be a police officer, a dean of students, a sports coach, a club or organization adviser, or a human resource representative. CSAs can be full- or part-time Penn State employees, volunteers, or other individuals working under 100 hours annually.
The program has two components. University employees must attend their first session in-classroom, said Gates, and then are required to update their training online, each year.
"Penn State is among the first in the nation to require annual training for our CSAs," said Gates. "There are not a lot of other institutions that require this training once, let alone updating it every year. We plan to continue to improve the online version and make it more interactive and robust this fall."
Beginning of school year often reveals child abuse, neglect
by Nicole Johnson CASA outreach director
The end of summer and the start of a new school year is an exciting time for most children. But for some, the beginning of school could reveal a dark secret when signs of abuse and neglect these children have suffered over the summer are noticed by teachers, staff and other parents.
Teachers in the state of Texas are mandated by law to report child abuse and neglect. According to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, schools were the number one source of reports of child abuse and neglect in 2012. The department completed 35,100 investigations as a result of reports from school officials.
“Because children are subject to less adult supervision over the summer, it's not uncommon for reports of suspected abuse and neglect to spike at the start of the school year,” said Seana Towler, Executive Director, Brush Country CASA.
Many of the children who are confirmed as victims are removed from their homes and placed into foster care—often far from their friends, families and schools. CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) volunteers from Brush Country CASA are specially screened and trained to speak up for abused and neglected children who, through no fault of their own, end up in the foster care system.
“Being uprooted from their homes and families is scary for these children. We at Brush Country CASA want to make sure that they do not get lost in the overburdened foster care system,” Towler said. “For that reason, we need more people in our community to speak up and make sure these children's voices are heard. We want to help ensure that their stay in foster care is as short as possible and that they are placed in safe, loving homes quickly so they can begin to heal.”
There are 94 children in the child protection system in Jim Wells County, and only 16 CASA volunteers to advocate for their best interests.
“Too many children are forced to go through the chaos of moving through the child protection system alone,” Towler said. “Brush Country CASA needs more volunteers to step up and be a voice for children who desperately need them.”
Adolfo Espinosa has been a CASA volunteer for 9 years. As a CASA volunteer, he advocates for children's needs in court and in the child welfare system. He helps them through their struggles in foster care. Adolfo's number one goal is to help the children find a safe, loving family.
“We need more dedicated CASA volunteers like Adolfo to walk with children every step of the way and ensure that they are placed into safe, permanent homes as quickly as possible,” Towler said.
This school year, become a CASA volunteer and help children in need find safe, permanent homes. For more information, visit brushcountrycasa.org and www.BecomeACASA.org . The next training session begins on September 10, 2013.
Program aimed at preventing child abuse
by TOM DALTON
SALEM — The Children's Trust Fund, a state organization aimed at preventing child abuse, went to Wakefield this summer in the aftermath of a scandal involving a former day-care provider.
On Tuesday, the organization will run a program here called “Keeping Kids Safe,” which teaches parents how to identify and prevent child sexual abuse.
The free program is from 6 to 8 p.m. at the downtown YMCA on Sewall Street.
The meeting will cover how to pick a child-care provider; how to teach children to protect themselves and tell someone if they are touched inappropriately; and what to do if a child discloses abuse.
The program is sponsored by state Rep. John Keenan, Sen. Joan Lovely, the city of Salem and the YMCA.
For more information, contact Keenan's office at 617-722-2263.
Hillsboro man's sex abuse sentence reduced by nearly 19 years; victim's family reacts
by Emily E. Smith
Dozens of child abuse cases have returned to Oregon trial courts on appeal following a 2009 decision by the state Supreme Court. This week, one of those cases came through Washington County Circuit Court.
The 2009 ruling says medical experts cannot testify about a diagnosis of child sexual abuse in cases that lack physical evidence because such testimony might unfairly sway a jury.
The result for 64-year-old Charles Hollywood: In a new trial, jurors again convicted the Hillsboro man of sexually abusing a 9-year-old, but on fewer charges. His original 25-year prison sentence was replaced by a prison term of six years, three months. Because he's served about five years already, he is expected to be released within little more than a year.
The outcome of the case frustrated and disappointed the victim's family, who spoke with The Oregonian by phone and email this week. The girl and some of her relatives testified at Hollywood's first trial in 2009 and again this month.
The girl's parents knew Hollywood, who went by "Doc," as a longtime friend of their families in Washington County. When the couple lived in Forest Grove, and later in Hillsboro, Hollywood was a fixture in their lives.
They knew Hollywood had been to prison before, but they didn't know the details. As they later learned, he was convicted of a raping a 4-year-old and sentenced to prison in 1982.
The parents learned of their daughter's abuse from one of their other children, who had seen Hollywood kissing the 9-year-old.
Hollywood's crimes changed their lives, the girl's mother said in a phone interview Monday. The victim and her sister lost their trust in people outside the family.
Her parents don't trust either. The mother said she and her husband blame themselves for letting Hollywood in their home.
In court, prosecutors said Hollywood's victim was developmentally delayed and struggled to articulate what was happening to her. The mother said Hollywood preyed on her most vulnerable child.
After Hollywood's 2009 trial, the family felt a sense of justice, the mother said. The 25-year sentence brought their children a sense of protection.
"It felt like finally the kids can breathe," she said.
When the Oregon Court of Appeals overturned Hollywood's convictions, the mother said she didn't want to put her daughter through the stress of another trial.
The girl has nightmares about Hollywood and has trouble sleeping, her parents said.
The mother said her children didn't want to testify again, and she didn't either. None of them wanted to be in a room with Hollywood.
"I can't even look at him," the mother said. "This is a man that I brought into my house. I trusted him."
Guilt and fear overwhelm the victim's parents at times, the mother said. Hiding their sadness from their children is impossible at times, she said.
"It's up to us to be brave for them," she said, "and we don't put on a very a brave face, you know."
The appeals process tramples the victim's rights, the mother said. Hollywood's new sentence, reduced by nearly 19 years, has left them reeling.
"They say God never gives you more than you can handle," she said. "That's a lie."
The mother and her husband said they are struggling to cope with what they and their children have been through.
"Our lives have been permanently altered," the father wrote in an email Tuesday.
"I am forever taking precautions so (Hollywood) and his family can't find us," he wrote.
His daughters "are afraid of being themselves, they live in a constant state of fear," he wrote.
"To be quite honest," he wrote, "this whole fiasco is tearing my family apart."
Pentagon's sex-assault response plan gets mixed reviews
by Jack Torry
WASHINGTON — The Pentagon outlined new steps aimed at reducing sexual assaults in the military, but critics warned that yesterday's measures do not go far enough to reduce an epidemic of assaults in the military.
At a news conference, senior Pentagon officials said they will immediately offer legal help to sexual-assault victims; guarantee that all pretrial hearings into sexual assaults be conducted by a judge advocate general officer; and offer commanding officers the option to protect victims by reassigning to another unit the service member accused of assault.
“The bottom line is sexual assault is not tolerated, not condoned, it's not ignored, and everyone in the department from the newest enlistee to the secretary of defense and everyone in between are responsible to uphold our values and continue an environment of dignity and respect for all,” said Jessica L. Wright, acting undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness.
White House press secretary Jay Carney said in a statement that “the initiatives announced today are substantial, but only a step along a path toward eliminating this crime from our military ranks.”
Carney said that President Barack Obama “expects this level of effort to be sustained not only in the coming weeks and months, but as far into the future as necessary.”
But on Capitol Hill, lawmakers who have pressured Pentagon officials to face up to the challenge of reducing sexual assaults offered tepid support for the changes.
Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton, a member of the House Armed Services Committee and a leading critic of the way the military has dealt with sexual assault, said he was “not confident” that the Pentagon “understands what needs to be done.” The new plan “does not go far enough, but it's definitely a start,” Turner said.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., described the changes as “positive steps,” but she said “it is not the leap forward required to solve the problem. As we have heard over and over again from the victims, and the top military leadership themselves, there is a lack of trust in the system that has a chilling effect on reporting.”
Gillibrand has pushed for removing sexual-assault cases from the chain of command, but the Pentagon has resisted that.
The Pentagon acknowledged that 26,000 cases of sexual assault were reported last year but that only a handful of the accused were prosecuted.
Critics have charged that victims — most of them female service members — either have been reluctant to report the offense or face major obstacles from commanders unwilling to pursue the accusations.
In particular, the Pentagon wants to make certain that an accuser does not have to continue to serve in a unit with the accused.
“All of these measures will provide victims with additional rights, protections and legal support and help ensure that sexual-assault-related investigations and judicial proceedings are conducted thoroughly and professionally,” Pentagon spokesman George Little said at the news conference.
But Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., called the new rules “baby steps” that would lead to “ marginal improvements.” She complained that “there is nothing here that will significantly curb sexual predators and their behavior, nothing that will guarantee the safety of victims who report abuse, and nothing that will fix the ongoing problems keeping cases inside the chain of command.”
Salem to hold workshop on preventing child sexual abuse
by Terri Ogan
The City of Salem will hold training on how to protect children from sexual abuse. Children's Trust Fund , a Boston-based organization that aims to eliminate child abuse in Massachusetts, is leading the free “Keeping Kids Safe” prevention program, which will be held Tuesday from 6 to 8 p.m. at the YMCA of the North Shore on Sewall Street.
With support from state Senator Joan Lovely and state Representative John Keenan, officials from the Children's Trust Fund expect the event to reach full capacity, as it did when it was held in Wakefield.
The Wakefield community came together in June to learn how to prevent child sexual abuse in the aftermath charges against resident John Burbine.
Full story for BostonGlobe.com subscribers.
Chesco prosecutor seeks detective for child abuse
by Aubrey Whelan
Child-abuse cases have nearly tripled in Chester County since 2006, officials said Wednesday, and the District Attorney's Office is asking the county to hire a detective specifically to deal with the increased caseload.
Although they won't put together the 2014 budget until the end of this year, the county commissioners said Wednesday that they supported the proposal.
"This is a concern. We want to get out ahead of letting this fester and do what we can to ensure the safety of our most vulnerable citizens," Commissioner Terrence Farrell said.
The last six years have seen a dramatic increase in reports of child abuse in the county, officials said. In 2006, county detectives fielded 121 reports of child abuse; by 2012, that number had jumped to 331. This year's reports are on track to continue the trend, Prosecutor Thomas P. Hogan said.
It's unclear how many of those cases were prosecuted. County detectives investigate each report of child abuse regardless - and the increased workload has put a strain on the department, officials said.
Hogan said the increase in cases does not necessarily mean more people are abusing children. It may mean more people are reporting suspected instances of abuse.
He said that with the attention to scandals involving former Pennsylvania State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky and Catholic clergy, "people are becoming more sensitized to reporting child abuse. People are understanding they're not alone in the world."
If the position is approved, the new detective would have a base salary around $78,000, and with benefits, the cost to the county would be about $100,000.
The District Attorney's Office has two detectives investigating reports of child abuse; if a new detective is hired, one would return to the office's major-case squad, lessening the workload on that department.
"We're already eyeballing a crop of already-trained forensic interviewers," Hogan said.
Hogan said he met with each commissioner individually to discuss the proposal.
The county commissioners said they were motivated by several child-abuse cases that have made headlines in recent months, including a Chester County prison lieutenant who allegedly abused seven children in his care.
"People are reading these stories in the newspaper," County Commissioner Ryan Costello said. "Every week we hear of something horrific."
Hogan said he would not ask for any other increases in his office's 2014 budget and will otherwise "try to come in under budget" by December.
In general, county departments have been encouraged to cut 2 percent from their budgets each year, and the county has been under a hiring freeze since 2008.
Child abuse charge against PBer droppedMom completes 18-month pre-trial program. -
by Michele Dargan
The State Attorney's Office dropped a child abuse charge against a Worth Avenue resident after she successfully completed a pre-trial intervention program, court records show.
According to the police report: Robyn Remington, 40, was arrested in June 2011 after a valet at Ta-boó called police, reporting that he heard yelling from a nearby apartment.
When the officers arrived, Remington's 11-year-old son told police that his mother tried to strangle him and that she allegedly bit him on the ear during the assault.
The boy had visible marks on his neck, police said.Remington was charged with one count of child abuse, a third-degree felony, which is punishable by up to five years in prison.According to court records, in August 2011, Remington entered an 18-month pre-trial intervention program.
Under the program, Remington had to successfully complete parenting classes, family counseling, substance-abuse evaluation, random drug and alcohol testing, a 12-week anger management course and not have violent contact with the minor child.
The state dropped the charge against Remington on July 29, according to court records.
The Torah and child sexual abuse
by Rabbi Simon Jacobson
Everything we build and teach our children, all our investments and dedication to good, all our moral standards, our entire education system, can be wiped out in one fell swoop when we or our children are violated.
The first of all ethical and Torah axioms must be stated at the outset: No one has a right to in any way violate in any way the body or soul of another human being. Indeed, we don't even have the right to mutilate our own bodies, because your body does not belong to you; it is “Divine property.”
No crime is worse that assaulting another's dignity — which is compared to the dignity of G-d Himself, being that every person was created in the Divine Image. Even a hanged murderer must not be defiled and his body not left to hang overnight because it reflects the Divine Image. How much more so — infinitely more so — regarding a live person and innocent child.
Abuse, in any form or shape, physical, psychological, verbal, emotional or sexual, is above all a violent crime — a terrible crime. Abusing another (even if it's intangible) is no different than taking a weapon and beating someone to a pulp. And because of its terrible long-term effects, the crime is that much worse.
The next question is this: What are our obligations as parents, teachers, writers, Web site editors or just plain adult citizens when it comes to abuse?
On one hand, we are talking about protecting innocent people from criminal predators, which clearly is a major obligation and a priority concern. On the other hand, we do have laws prohibiting embarrassing people (even criminals) in public, always hopeful, allowing people to correct their ways. We have laws about avoiding gossip and speaking ill about others ( lashon harah ), and not feeding into the base instinct of “talking about others” or “mob mentality” witch-hunting expeditions.
We have several obligations when we see or know about a crime, as well as obligations to prevent further crimes:
1) A witness to a crime who does not testify “must bear his guilt” (Leviticus 5:1).
2) “Do not place a stumbling block before the blind” (Leviticus 19:14), which includes the obligation to warn someone from a danger we are aware of. If you see someone walking down the street and you know that farther down the block there is an uncovered pit in the ground or a man with a gun, you are obligated to warn him. If we are aware of a predator, we must do everything possible to protect people from him.
3) “Do not stand still over your neighbor's blood (when your neighbor's life is in danger)” (Leviticus 19:16). It's interesting to note that this commandment follows (in the same verse) “do not go around as a gossiper among your people,” suggesting that gossip is an issue only when no life is in danger. But if a life is in danger, then “do not stand still” even if means speaking about it in public.
4) “You must admonish your neighbor, and not bear sin because of him” (Leviticus 19:17). If one does not admonish, then he is responsible for the other's sin (Sefer HaMitzvot, Positive 205; see Shabbat 54b. 119b). Although at the outset rebuke must be done “in private, kindly and gently,” not to embarrass him publicly (Arkhin 16b; Sefer HaMitzvot, Negative 305), but if it doesn't help, the obligation is to admonish him in public (Rambam Deos 6:8. Shulchan Aruch HaRav Hilchos Onaah v'Gneivas Daas 30).
This is true even about a crime that does not affect other people. All the care taken about public shame is because the crime does not affect the public. And even then, there are situations where the admonishment must be done publicly. By contrast, in our discussion about abuse, which affects others, all these restrictions do not apply: Embarrassment of a criminal is never an excuse or a reason to put anyone else in potential danger.
Based on the above, I would submit the following criteria to determine whether to publish and publicize the name of a molester:
1) The abuse must be established without a shred of doubt. Because just as we must protect the potential victims of abuse, we also are obligated to protect the reputations of the innocent, and not wrongly accuse anyone without evidence or witnesses.
2) Publicizing the fact will serve as a deterrent or even possible deterrent of further crimes, or will warn and protect possible future victims. If that is true, then lashon harah does not apply. It would be the equivalent of saying that it is lashon harah to warn someone of a weapon-wielding criminal who may cause harm.
3) Even if a name is not available to be publicized, the issue of abuse itself must be addressed for the same reasons stated: to make the public aware of the dangers, to protect innocent children.
The argument that publicity will give the community a “bad name” and “why wash our dirty laundry in public?” does not supersede the obligation to protect the innocent from being hurt.
Anyone who suggests that abuse must be overlooked, because (as one person told me) it “happens all the time” and “by many people, including our leaders,” or for any other reasons — is not different from ignoring any other crime, and is in itself a grave crime.
One could even argue that the greatest “ kiddush HaShem ” (sanctifying God's name) is when a Torah-based community demonstrates that it doesn't just mechanically follow the laws or isn't merely concerned with reputations, but that it sets and demands the highest standard of accountability among its citizens, and invests the greatest possible measures to protect its children from predators, create trust and absolutely will not tolerate any breach or abuse. That the greatest sin of all is ignoring or minimizing crimes being perpetrated against our most innocent and vulnerable members: our children.
In conclusion: The bottom line in all matters regarding abuse is one and only one thing: protecting the innocent. Not the reputation of an individual, not the reputation of the community, not anything but the welfare of our children. In every given case, whether to publicize, whether to take any other action, the question that must be asked is this: What is best for the victims? Will or can this action help prevent someone from being hurt or not? If the answer is yes or even maybe yes, then the action should be taken.
The crisis has reached a boiling point where it must be addressed and brought to the attention of the public to make everyone aware of the dangers, the long-term consequences and the zero-tolerance policy that needs to be applied to every form of abuse.
Anything less would be irresponsible, immoral and, yes, in some way complicit.
Rabbi Simon Jacobson is the author of the best-selling book “Toward a Meaningful Life.” He heads The Meaningful Life Center (meaningfullife.com), in Manhattan, N.Y., which bridges the secular and the spiritual through a wide variety of live and on-line programming.
The Citadel gets child sex abuse prevention award
by Aris Walker
MOUNT PLEASANT, SC (WCSC) - The Citadel joined nearly 50 other organizations from all over the state Wednesday to receive an award for participating in a child sex abuse training program sponsored by Darkness to Light.
"This is an issue that is very sad, very taboo even to this day," said Liz Boeschen, prevention program manager with Darkness to Light.
It's difficult to talk about child sex abuse, but experts say discussion is the first step to prevention, and employers can have a big voice.
"It is vital to have employers involved to push the agenda," said Boeschen. "There is that theory that everything comes from the top down."
In order to get the award, an organization much have trained at least 90% of their staff in child sex abuse prevention. The Citadel went above and beyond that.
"There were people who looked and said,'How are we going to do this?' 3,000 folks in six months," said General John Rosa of the Citadel.
"We had 97% of our faculty and staff, 99.7% of our cadet core, and 100% of our contractors," said Stephanie Hewett an associate professor with at the Citadel.
The work that The Citadel is doing with Darkness to Light is extremely important, especially given that they have had some issue with child sex abuse allegations in the past.
Back in 2007, a sexual abuse complaint was filed against Citadel staff member Louis "Skip" Reville for abusing a number of boys during summer camps at the military college.
"Before that individual, and before that horrible incident, we had been training staff," said Rosa. "What this does is reinforces the importance."
Officials with Darkness to Light say child sex abuse prevention is ongoing and continues beyond training sessions.
"They can prevent this," said Boeschen. "By preventing it, they can help a child escape a lot of other consequences that can happen when they are abused
Select Health of South Carolina got an Honorary Partner and Prevention award for their work.
More survivors of child sexual abuse filed lawsuit against Yeshiva University
by Vicki Polin
Today the law firms of Jeff Anderson and Associates and attorney Kevin T. Mulhearn announced that more survivors have been added to the sexual abuse lawsuit filed in the Southern District of New York. The defendants include: Yeshiva University, Marsha Stern Talmudical Academy-Yeshiva University High School for Boys, Rabbi Norman Lamm, Rabbi Robert Hirt and various members of the Board of Trustees for Yeshiva University.
The complaint states that the 32 Plaintiffs were sexually abused while students at Yeshiva University High School by perpetrators including the school's former Principal, Rabbi George Finkelstein -- who targeted vulnerable students, used his power as an administrator to silence the victims and lowered their grades thus affecting their scholastic futures.
“This has been one of the most trusted institutions and through recent revelations it helps us all to realize there are serious problems that are left to be addressed. It's now the mission of these survivors shared by us advocates to make sure a measure of justice is done for the past so children are protected in the future,” stated Attorney Jeff Anderson.
From 1962-1995, numerous reports were made to report Finkelstein's abuse but no one listened. Reports of sexual abuse were also made involving another sexual abuser Richard Andron, as well as Judaic faculty member Rabbi Macy Gordon. None of the perpetrators were ever reported to law enforcement despite then-Vice President Israel Miller's knowledge of Gordon's sexual abuse. Gordon was allowed to remain on campus and proceeded to sexually assault at least one more student.
According to the papers filed, during a December 2012 interview, Rabbi Lamm admitted he knew of some allegations of improper sexual activity involving several YUHS staff members but he chose to deal with the allegations privately instead of contacting law enforcement. Lamm resigned July 1, 2013 and issued a letter stating “I acted in a way I thought was correct which now seems ill conceived…I now recognize that I was wrong.”
Yeshiva University was founded in 1886 as a private university under Jewish auspices in New York City and The Marsha Stern Talmudical Academy – Yeshiva University High School for Boys is an Orthodox Jewish High School that functions as a preparatory school for Yeshiva College, YU's undergraduate school for men.
A copy of the complaint is available at: www.AndersonAdvocates.com
Sanctioned child abuse
by Ronnie Polaneczky, Daily News Columnist
THE YEAR was 1973, and Pat Clapp had just ended the regular monthly meeting of the Pennsylvania Association for Retarded Children, in Harrisburg.
That's when things turned irregular.
Clapp, the group's president and a mother of a child with Down syndrome, was approached by a distraught woman. She said her own child with Down, housed in a residential center, had been injected - without parental permission - with the meningitis virus as part of a vaccine study.
Clapp investigated and learned that a University of Pennsylvania pediatrician named Robert Weibel, under contract with Merck, Sharp & Dohme laboratories, was conducting the study on 20 children with Down between ages 3 and 10. None of their parents was asked beforehand if it was OK to use the kids as lab rats.
When Clapp asked Weibel how he could do such a thing to little ones with mental and physical disabilities, he replied: "This makes their lives worthwhile. They'll be making a contribution to society."
Which sounds like the kind of defense that Nazi doctors used during the Nuremberg trials, when they were tried for performing grisly medical experiments on prisoners, many of whom perished as a result.
When Clapp went public with what she learned about Weibel's study, all hell broke loose. Wall-to-wall media coverage and subsequent state investigations resulted in a ban on unauthorized medical research in Pennsylvania's mental institutions.
"Pat Clapp is a hero, and I wish there had been more," says local author and historian Allen Hornblum, who writes about Clapp and others in his new, can't-put-it-down book Against Their Will: The Secret History of Medical Experimentation on Children in Cold War America (Palgrave Macmillan 2013). "There were so many people who knew about experiments on children or heard about it, but they kept their mouths shut. And that's really a key part of the story."
Hornblum's book documents one hideous story after another of medical experimentations perpetrated on kids. The children, housed in state-run institutions, were "feebleminded" or poor or disabled or orphaned. Or they had parents who lacked the resources to protect them from researchers who saw their children as chattel.
As "cheaper than lab animals and less problematic to deal with than adults," Hornblum writes.
The stories that he has unearthed, with co-authors Judith Newman and Gregory Dober, are ghastly. We learn of children subjected to electric shock. Dosed with LSD. Castrated and sterilized. Fed feces-tainted foods. And of young, poor black women subjected to gynecological procedures, without anesthesia, because it was believed that black women felt pain differently than white women did.
One of the most chilling passages in Against Their Will includes the recollection of a young dermatology student at the University of Pennsylvania in the 1950s. She recalled how world-famous physician researcher Albert Kligman - co-creator of Retin-A, the anti-acne medication also used to treat aging skin - described how easy it was to infect "retarded" children with ringworm.
Recalls the student, "He told us, 'The kids in these institutions are so desperate for affection, you could hit them over the head with a hammer and they would love you for it.' "
Child sexual predators, exploiting the same vulnerability to hurt kids, have gone to prison for their actions. Kligman and medical researchers of his ilk got away with it simply by wearing white coats.
If Hornblum's name is familiar to Philadelphians, it's probably because of the critical acclaim he received for his 1998 expose, Acres of Skin: Human Experiments at Holmesburg Prison - A True Story of Abuse and Exploitation in the Name of Medical Science. The title of the book, which chronicled Kligman's use of prisoners for skin research, was inspired by Kligman's rapt first impression of the now-shuttered Northeast prison, on Torresdale Avenue.
"All I saw before me were acres of skin," Kligman said. "It was like a farmer seeing a fertile field for the first time."
What a monster.
Acres of Skin eventually gave birth to Against Their Will, Hornblum says.
"After that book came out, I started hearing stories about how Holmesburg wasn't the worst of it, that children had been experimented upon for decades," says Hornblum, a former urban-studies professor at Temple University. "Children were considered ideal guinea pigs for researchers when testing had advanced beyond the use of animals. Children were the step between chimps and humans - because they weren't considered 'full humans.' "
Hornblum has written an important book, one you'll stay up late to finish reading.
But good luck getting to sleep afterward.
Central African Republic: Children Suffering Sexual Abuse, Disease and Recruitment into Armed Groups
Bangui — More than 100,000 children forced to flee their homes since the rebel takeover of the Central African Republic last March are facing sexual abuse, disease and recruitment into armed groups, says Save the Children.
The children's charity, announcing details of its first ever emergency response in the Central African Republic, also reported concern over spiking rates of malnutrition and malaria amongst displaced populations.
"Thousands of children's lives are at risk. Families are running out of food, and many are still hiding in the bush, afraid to return home. When they are not direct victims of violence, children have often witnessed their homes and schools being looted and their parents threatened or beaten", said Maria Wangechi, Save the Children's CAR Country Director. "Moreover, healthcare workers have had to flee as hospitals and health centres have been ransacked", Maria continues. "Children and their families need urgent humanitarian assistance. It is imperative that the international community allocates adequate resources and funding to a humanitarian crisis that in many respects has been largely ignored and that continues to escalate."
The Central African Republic is facing a humanitarian crisis after a violent coup led to widespread looting and displacement across the country. Hospitals and health posts were ransacked as medicines, equipment and even mattresses were stolen.
Thousands have fled to the bush and children are now the most at risk. Many may have witnessed and experienced terrible things, and may be struggling to cope. Children are particularly at risk of exploitation, abuse and recruitment into armed groups.
Save the Children teams are already on the ground providing life-saving health and nutritional support to medical facilities in some of the areas worst affectedby the crisis, as well as in the capital Bangui. As unrest continues, Save the Children has started providing psychosocial support to children through its child-friendly spaces, distributing much needed drugs and medical equipment to looted health centres, setting up mobile clinics to reach vulnerable families in remote villages and launching healthcare programmes for both new mothers and victims of sexual violence.
Violent potential of abusive partners should trump visitation rights
As a domestic violence survivor and mother, I was horrified by reports of the murder of a 9-year-old boy by his estranged father at a YWCA in Manchester, N.H. However, I was also appalled by the focus on whether a metal detector had been used before the fatal visit (“Man kills son, self at YWCA in N.H.: Questions raised on safety at facility after budget cuts,” Metro, Aug. 12). The focus here should only be on the violent potential of abusive partners.
More than 50 percent of people who abuse their intimate partners also abuse their children. More than 70 percent of domestic violence murders happen AFTER victims have ended the relationship.
Yet our country's judges, lawyers, and police officers routinely force children to visit the person who abused their mother and quite often the children as well.
When will attorneys general and family court judges understand how dangerous it is to order parental visits, supervised or unsupervised, with adults who have demonstrated that they are physically abusive? Do a father's rights include the right to kill his own son?
In order to end domestic violence murders, we need to understand the potential lethality of the situations, and ignore red herrings such as whether a murderer walked through a metal detector.
The writer is the author of the memoir “Crazy Love” and of the 2012 TED Talk “Why Domestic Violence Victims Stay.”
Child Sex Trafficking Residential Programs: The Basics
by Dr. Lois Lee -- Founder and President, Children of the Night
Advocates for America's child sex trafficking victim continue to promote "prostitution" or "sex trafficking" as a disease -- something that requires specialized treatment. Prostitution is not a disease -- it is a circumstance that presents itself as a solution to escaping chaotic homes characterized by sexual abuse, domestic violence, post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse and mental illness. These are the underlying factors that lead to child sex trafficking and are the issues that need to be treated when a child is rescued.
Experts in these fields already exist and an effective intervention and program will require a multidisciplinary staff made up of experts in these fields and advocates must realize that -- one size does not fit all.
Restoration? Who wants to be restored to a family where the mother sold you for crack and the father and his friends came into your bedroom at night to have sex with you?
In fact, the pimp presents prostitution as a solution to childhood sexual abuse. He tells the child "You no longer have to lie in your bed and wait for your daddy to come in and have sex with you. I can show you how to control the sex and make men pay you for sex." Prostitution becomes one-upmanship on early childhood sexual abuse.
Children victimized by sex trafficking not only want a way out, they want a way in to the mainstream of society. They want everything everyone else wants: a home, a partner, children, and a business -- they want the American dream. A program that does not provide the child sex trafficking victim with these opportunities will fail.
Child sex trafficking victims have long lost their sexual dignity prior to being sex trafficked in most cases. If not, they were gang raped and humiliated as a "grooming process" prior to introduction to prostitution. In most cases, however, by the time they are prostituting they have learned to "disassociate" their feelings and their minds from the sexual activity involved in prostitution/sex trafficking. When they sob, they are sobbing because their first caregivers betrayed them by sexually abusing them or allowing others to do so.
The degradation and humiliation that accompanies child sex trafficking requires that these children are served in residential programs exclusively with other children who have been sex trafficked. They are a danger to the less sophisticated runaway and they are victimized by older, tougher street youth. In fact, many of these children meet pimps and abusive partners in youth shelters.
Foster care for America's child sex trafficking victim as a placement option has failed miserably. In the '80s, some of the most skilled social workers and agencies trained to work with child sex trafficking victims placed these children in specialized foster care. These skilled social workers and child sex trafficking experts recruited and trained selected foster parents and placed highly screened child sex trafficking victims in specialized foster homes. Other children in the foster homes were sexually abused by the child sex trafficking victim and child abuse reports were filed by the victims against the foster parent -- some valid abuse reports and some out of vengeance.
In one case, a seemingly appropriate, educated teen trafficking victim was placed with a single mom and her 8-year-old daughter. One day when the mom returned home she found her 8-year-old nude and her hands tied to the ceiling hanging over the bed and being fondled with a feather. The child sex trafficking victim did not mean any harm -- she was acting out what had been done to her.
In another case, a man who owned and operated a beauty school accepted a 14-year-old boy into his home. Everything went well for a long time until the foster father announced his 9-year-old daughter was coming for a visit and the foster father asked the teen not to frighten her with "overt" sexual expression. The teen dressed in female clothing, cursed repetitively and told sexual stories. He then filed a child abuse report. Everyone lost. The foster father was humiliated when the Los Angeles County Department of Children's Services visited his school and announced he was being investigated for child abuse, the 9-year-old daughter was alienated from her father for the next several years and the foster child was asked to leave the home only to end up back on the streets.
Yet another case, a social worker's home investigation revealed the foster father was walking the 14-year-old foster boy around on a dog leash in the garage. Such little regard is given to the child sex trafficking victim that many do-gooders feel that any help at all is better than life with a pimp/trafficker.
Child sex trafficking victims require the same level of care as blind, crippled and/or developmentally disabled children. Because "sex is at issue" in their victimization there are some special concerns and safeguards in providing residential care, but we should not throw out State regulations for residential care. These regulations have been designed by accomplished, experienced, esteemed social workers in response to the abuse of children in orphanages of years past. And almost every regulation has a story of a child being abused or neglected in congregate care.
The key guiding principles for these regulations require a balancing act of "adequate care and supervision" and the rights of the child. "Rights of the Child" includes the child's ability to not be locked in a secured facility without access to fire escapes, not be isolated in some remote area where contact with the outside world is prohibited and not separated from the activities available to other children in the same home.
Until we understand these basic premises of acceptable residential care and the challenges presented by America's child sex trafficking victims, residential care for these children may be as damaging or dangerous as life with a pimp/trafficker.
Man Granted New Trial in Child Sexual Abuse Case
by ALAN FEUER
A federal judge this week threw out the conviction of a 66-year-old Long Island man found guilty in 2008 of molesting his granddaughter and two of her friends after defense lawyers investigated a serial number on the back of a photograph that refuted a key portion of the prosecution's case.
Judge Arthur D. Spatt of Federal District Court in Central Islip, N.Y., ruled on Monday, after five years of litigation in three different courts, that the convicted man, Thomas F. Green of Selden, had been deprived of a fair trial because of ineffective assistance by his lawyer at the time. In a 44-page order, Judge Spatt wrote that the evidence introduced by prosecutors at Mr. Green's trial in Suffolk County had been poorly investigated by Mr. Green's defense lawyer and sent the case back to the state court for a new trial.
Mr. Green, a construction contractor, was initially accused of molesting his granddaughter when she was 7 years old, along with four of her friends, each of whom was younger than 10 when the abuse was said to have begun. According to the prosecution, the abuse began in 1998 and continued intermittently for the next few years at Mr. Green's home during sleepovers and outside the home at local eateries like a Carvel ice cream shop.
The main witness for the prosecution, one of the four friends, identified as B.M., said that she had waited until 2006 to accuse Mr. Green, in part, because she had learned from watching the television show “Law & Order: SVU” that appearing in court was “a big responsibility,” especially for a young girl, according to court records. She said not only that had Mr. Green abused her, but also that she was present when he tried to molest his granddaughter.
Although Mr. Green's granddaughter testified that she herself had not been abused — and, in fact, had not known the other girls until at least 2000 — the prosecution introduced evidence corroborating B.M.'s account, including two photographs. One was of the granddaughter and B.M. sitting on Mr. Green's front porch in Halloween costumes and was said to have been taken in October 1998. The other was of the two at Coney Island, and was still housed in a souvenir frame bearing the date June 1998.
The friend, in her testimony, said Mr. Green had given her an educational toy she called a Turbo Twister Speller as a gift in 1999.
In his own turn on the stand, Mr. Green denied having abused any of the girls, adding that he did not understand why they had accused him and “was sorry that they felt this way.” He testified that B.M. was a “hypersexual” girl whom he had once caught masturbating at an early age. He denied having known any of the girls before 2000, but was convicted of sexually abusing the main witness and another friend, and of the attempted sodomy of his granddaughter.
After his conviction, Mr. Green hired Ronald L. Kuby, the well-known Manhattan defense lawyer who for years has been trying to exonerate another defendant, Jesse Friedman, in another child sexual abuse case on Long Island. Mr. Kuby in turn hired a private detective, Jay Salpeter, who within a few months' time — and “with very little effort,” as Judge Spatt noted — made a few discoveries that upended the case.
First, Mr. Salpeter found a serial number on the back of the Coney Island photo and learned from Polaroid, which manufactured the film, that it had been taken in 2000, despite B.M.'s testimony and the date on the souvenir frame. In the Halloween photo, one of the girls was wearing a sweatshirt with a logo reading “Princess University.” Mr. Salpeter determined that the brand had not been trademarked until 2000.
Moreover, Mr. Salpeter figured out that the educational toy, Turbo Twister Spelling, was not produced until at least a year after B.M. had claimed to have received one from Mr. Green. He finally determined, with a simple phone call to the show's producers, that “Law & Order: SVU” was not on the air when B.M. claimed to have seen it.
In its own appellate filing, the Suffolk County district attorney's office acknowledged that some of the evidence it had introduced at trial was misdated or erroneous, but said that did not mean Mr. Green had had ineffective counsel at his trial, and that it did not prove his innocence. A state appeals court agreed, but that decision was effectively overturned by the federal court ruling on Monday.
Bob Clifford, a spokesman for the district attorney's office, said the decision was being reviewed by the office's appellate bureau and that a decision as to how to proceed would be made in the next few weeks.
Mr. Green, meanwhile, remains in prison, in the fourth year of a 35-year sentence, “but he is packed,” Mr. Kuby said.
“Sometimes the process is long, excruciating and filled with defeat until someone in a black robe finally pays attention,” Mr. Kuby said on Tuesday. “It shouldn't have taken this long and a lot of people who should have known better didn't do anything about it.”
ICE to be featured in Lifetime made-for-TV movie
Mystery, intrigue and suspense are just some of the things that viewers can expect from Lifetime's new two-hour made-for-TV original movie "Baby Sellers," set to air Aug. 17, at 8 p.m. EST.
In the movie, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Special Agent Nic Morrison, played by Jennifer Finnigan, stumbles upon an international human trafficking ring, which specializes in selling infants.
According to Lifetime, Baby Sellers exposes "the dark international crime enterprise of infant trafficking..." Carla Huxley, played by Kirstie Alley, is "a well-respected, influential owner of a major U.S.-based adoption agency... Morrison... believes Huxley is fueling a global business that stops at nothing to find the right child for the right owner – at the right price – and goes undercover to bring her sordid operation down."
ICE is serious about ending human trafficking, and considers it as one of the most heinous crimes that it investigates.
In its worst manifestation, human trafficking is akin to modern-day slavery. Victims can find themselves forced into prostitution, involuntary labor and other forms of servitude. Much like the movie Baby Sellers, in certain cases, the victims are mere children. They find themselves surrounded by an unfamiliar culture and language without identification documents, fearing for their lives and the lives of their families.
ICE relies on tips from the public to dismantle these organizations. ICE encourages the public to look and listen for suspicious activity. Trafficking victims are often hidden in plain sight, voiceless and scared.
ICE and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security both have human trafficking awareness campaigns, the In Plain Sight and Blue Campaign respectively.
Baby Sellers is Executive Producer Robert Halmi Sr.'s follow-up to his 2005 Lifetime movie "Human Trafficking," which starred Mira Sorvino, Donald Sutherland and Robert Carlyle, and also featured ICE.
Baby Sellers was produced by Reunion Pictures; executive produced by Halmi, Sr. and Matthew O'Connor; directed by Nick Willing; and the screenplay was written by Suzette Couture and William Gray.
To report suspicious activity, call ICE's Tip Line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or report tips online. To learn more about human trafficking indicators, trafficking in person, public awareness, support for victims, recent investigations and more, visit ICE's human trafficking webpage.
Speak up when children are abused
Report reveals disturbing statistics
It has happened to most of us. You are in a restaurant or store, and you see an adult speaking harshly to, screaming at or even striking a child. You feel helpless and conflicted as you watch the situation unfold. Is it your place to intervene? Should you call the police?
Now, a new report from the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services adds weight to the argument that everyday citizens need to report possible child abuse. Last week, DCFS officials announced that the number of Illinois children killed by abuse or neglect over the past year likely will be the highest in 25 years.
The report shows that 94 of the 223 deaths of children investigated by DCFS officials during the latest fiscal year that ended June 30 involved credible evidence of abuse or neglect. Another 45 cases remain under investigation and are awaiting official rulings. That means the number of abuse-related deaths — what the department terms “indicated” cases — likely will surpass the state's all-time high of 102 recorded in the 1989 fiscal year.
By comparison, there were 90 indicated cases statewide during each of the previous two years and 69 during the 2010 fiscal year. The upward trend is disturbing and is prompting DCFS officials to urge Illinoisans to report suspected mistreatment of minors before it results in death.
Another disturbing fact is that three of every four deaths linked to abuse or neglect involved households that had no prior contact with DCFS. The agency often is criticized in cases where the state was aware of problems in a family before a death occurred, but when 75 percent of the deaths occur in homes that have not been investigated by child-welfare officials, the need for better reporting becomes obvious.
DCFS officials are urging relatives, neighbors and friends to call its hotline at (800) 252-2873 when they first suspect abuse is occurring, rather than waiting until such mistreatment leads to a child's death.
It's not easy to pinpoint the reason for the increase in the number of abuse- and neglect-related deaths. The report shows that 60 percent of the children confirmed to have died from these causes were younger than 6 months old. This may reflect the isolation of parents caring for infants and the stress they are under. And because children so young are not playing outside or being seen by neighbors as often, it's more difficult for outsiders to spot signs of trouble.
One encouraging aspect is that the number of child deaths in Illinois has fallen over the past six months. The 18 deaths reported in July were nine fewer than the same month in 2012. Agency officials say that decrease could be attributed in part to its efforts since January to partner with nonprofit groups, ethnic chambers of commerce and law enforcement officials to encourage citizens to report suspected abuse before it results in a fatality.
Still, the 223 child deaths investigated by DCFS over the latest fiscal year represent a 14 percent increase over the previous year, and it's the highest total since 257 such cases were investigated in 1994.
The leading cause of death among children in Illinois appears to be infants who suffocated while sleeping with parents, with blankets or on their abdomens; the American Academy of Pediatrics has warned against these practices. But other common causes of child deaths include homicides, which typically involve fatal beatings, and inadequate supervision, which most often is seen in drownings.
When one sees an incident that appears to involve possible abuse or neglect of a child, it's understandable to consider it a private matter in that family and to wish to avoid getting involved. But when one considers the cost to defenseless children, minding your business is no virtue. Better to report such matters and let the authorities determine whether they involve abuse or neglect than to ignore them and risk complicity in a child's death.
Experts seeing rise in N.O. metro area child abuse cases
by Tania Dall
NEW ORLEANS -- Physical child abuse is on the rise in the metro area, with some of those tragic cases making headlines this year.
A local children's advocacy center responsible for tracking those numbers says it's not looking good. "We've actually seen about a 48 percent increase in children served where there's been physical abuse," said Stacie LeBlanc with the New Orleans Children's Advocacy Center.
The community rallied in July around a Harvey mother after six-year-old Ahlittia North's body was found stabbed and then stuffed in a trash can. A relative is accused of her murder.
Then, in March another violent child abuse case.
"In his words, he just clicked out. He became very irate and very angry," said Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office Col. John Fortunato talking about the anger that authorities say killed Darionne Taylor. The two-year-old girl lost consciousness on the kitchen floor after detectives say her mother's boyfriend confessed to shaking her violently and then dropping her.
In February, three-year-old Desmond Brown was found dead inside his Marrero house. Authorities arrested his mother's boyfriend after an autopsy report showed possible suffocation and evidence of blunt force trauma.
The New Orleans Children's Advocacy Center says severe physical abuse cases are up. Last year's total was 223. So far, this year the center has seen 221 cases.
"That is two less children and we're just a little over half the year," said LeBlanc, "It is definitely a shock to show that one particular form of abuse seems to be spiking while the others are remaining consistent."
The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) says between January and July of last year it was involved with 2,614 families in the New Orleans region regarding abuse and neglect.
The state agency says over the same 7 month-period of this year it has seen 2,714 families.
LeBlanc can't pinpoint what might be fueling the spike in local child abuse cases but says economics can play a big role.
"They've been three published research articles in the last 3 years. That have indicated that in times of recession and in times in economic hardship that child physical abuse is shown to increase," said LeBlanc.
"Nobody really wants to think a family member or someone we know could be doing harm to a child," said LSU Health Sciences Clinical Social Worker Michele Many. She says for parents or guardians who are overwhelmed its best to seek help before its too late. Many also stresses the importance of reporting abuse with the North case as a tragic lesson.
"I think we need to think more carefully about the possible harm that can follow this child and unfortunately this poor little girl lost her life and in a very violent way," said Many.
There is a statewide, toll-free child abuse hotline anyone can call for help. That number is 1-855-4LA-KIDS. DCFS says in the last 2 years the number has helped assess 95,000 reports of suspected child abuse or neglect.
New Novel Dramatizes a Current Way to Heal Child Abuse Victims
Ann Haydon comes out with an urgent novel that echoes the silent scream of victims and the way the tide can be turned towards healing.
Hamilton, Ontario -- The poem “Silent Scream” found at the end of this novel is a poetic summation for Ann Haydon's As God is My Witness: Annie's Story. It is a poem that will make you cry. It is about a victim named Annie who was abused by her stepfather but stayed silent for so long, since trying to clear a path for herself out of that deep wounding and betrayal took time. Haydon's book is not a mere shout of pain or a trail of tears that she follows. Annie's story is poignant, yes, but it shows more–it shows victims and the general public how to get to the point where healing is possible:
“A victim needs to know that (he or she) is no longer that helpless little child. … Once the victim remembers and relives the abuse, (he or she comes) to the realization that he or she was a child. The pain and shame become easier to deal with (then but)…anger…can take as much as a lifetime or may never be conquered. The victim will need to deal with issues of trust. If children tell…that they have been molested, believe them. Listen to the child and get them help.”
Ann Haydon's fiction is something more in touch with the realities of real healing than most–the kind of healing that modern society has finally put up for its victims and is now a real support structure. The turnaround time for victims vary but for Annie it took maturity for her to able to handle the pain, when she finally found the will to let herself be healed. Her life until then had been a struggle for justice and it illustrates how kids like her have been neglected for so long by the system.
For victims, when the possibility of healing becomes real, the process of healing, no matter that it might be long, tedious and painful becomes more orderly–as patients who go to hospital for healing physical maladies are treated. Haydon knows how victims tread on a tenuous path. Ann Haydon believes in healing child abuse victims as soon as possible and As God is My Witness leads victims to access a more direct way to heal. Haydon will teach readers to be angry but to channel that anger into a positive mode, one that sums up her advocacy in helping victims of child abuse:
“One may even be angry with God, but God our Father gave us all free choice, and it is what we decide to do with that free choice that matters.”
For Ann Haydon, free choice means the choice to do what's right for abused children today, an urgent wake up call for all sectors of society to lend a hand now.
For more information on this book, interested parties may log on to http://www.Xlibris.com
About the Author
Ann Haydon was one of 12 children growing up in a rural southern Ontario town. She is an award winning fine artist and writer. On completion of college in May of 1997, the author received an English award in Creative Writing and her Graphic Arts Diploma. She is a devoted mother who puts her family first. She voluntarily helps others move beyond their pain of past experiences, while inspiring them to have the faith and courage to heal.
Bail $1M for Salem woman accused of raping boy
by KGW Staff
SALEM -- A 35-year-old Salem woman was arrested Sunday on accusations of rape and sex abuse of an 11-year-old boy, according to Marion County Sheriff's Office spokesman Don Thomson.
Deputy Bill Ovchinnikov arrested Sarah Beth Hopkins following an interview with her Sunday afternoon.
On Monday, Hopkins' bail was set at $1 million for 20 charges, including rape.
The mother of the now-12-year-old victim called the sheriff's office early Sunday after her son told her he had been sexually active for the past eight months with Hopkins. The mother then confronted Hopkins who admitted the abuse, Thomson said.
The mother and her son lived in the same apartment complex as Hopkins until about two weeks ago. Now police said they fear there could also be more victims.
"We're kind of asking anyone with a male child who may have had contact with Mrs. Hopkins, befriended by her, lived near her or whatever, we'd like them to sit down with their son and talk. Make sure everything's okay,” explained Don Thompson with the Marion County Sheriff's Office.
Neighbor Stephanie Rendon said it was difficult to believe the abuse could have happened at her apartment complex.
"There's a lot of kids here, so it's shocking to hear," said Rendon. "It's just really devastating."
When questioned by the deputy, Hopkins admitted that she and the victim had been sexually active, Thomson said. She said she hadn't threatened the victim or given him anything in return for sex, he added.
Anyone with information that may help investigators was asked to call (503) 588-5094 or email the investigative deputy at Bovchinnikov@co.marion.or.us
Victim in Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal speaks to children, parents in Dallas
by JULIE FANCHER
Aaron Fisher is known to many people as Victim 1 in the Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse scandal. But the 19-year-old is focusing on being a survivor, not a victim.
“I was inappropriately touched,” Fisher told children and their parents Sunday at the Dallas Child Advocacy Center. “And standing here now before you and telling you that is a lot easier than it was for me in the years past.”
Sandusky, 69, served as an assistant football coach at Pennsylvania State University for 30 years before his arrest in 2011. Police say he abused several young boys over a 15-year period, many of whom he met at his children's charity. He was sentenced to 60 years in prison in 2012.
Fisher, the first victim to come forward publicly, was one of several who testified at Sandusky's trial. He will be the keynote speaker at the 25th annual Crimes Against Children Conference, which begins Monday in Dallas.
Other speakers at the conference for law enforcement and child protection professionals will include emergency workers who responded to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings.
Fisher, his mother and his psychologist, who together wrote Silent No More: Victim 1's Fight for Justice Against Jerry Sandusky , spoke Sunday at the Dallas Children's Advocacy Center. “A lot of our education has been to professionals, but we need to include the community and talk to parents and kids,” said Lynn Davis, the advocacy center's president and CEO.
He said Fisher's story is a powerful example of how speaking up can help begin the healing process.
One in four girls and one in six boys is sexually abused before they turn 18, according to the advocacy center.
“Only one in 10 of those kids will speak up, so if we can have someone like Aaron come and encourage one more kid to speak up, it helps,” Davis said.
Fisher's mother, Dawn Daniels Hennessy, spoke largely to the parents in the audience.She said she had seen warning signs of abuse from her son as he began acting out, but she wasn't sure. She said she had a gut feeling and began asking herself, “What if?”
“If you ask yourself, ‘What if?' you need to be a detective for your child,” Hennesy said.
She encouraged parents to trust their instincts and research everyone involved with their children.
“Sandusky was a mentor for children, he ran a children's organization, but does that make it safe?” she asked. “No, he wasn't safe. So we need to teach our kids who is safe and who isn't safe.”
Fisher addressed much of his speech to the children in the audience.
He said that even though he had an extremely open relationship with his mother, he could not bring himself to share with her the details of his abuse.
“The best thing you can do to protect yourself is tell somebody,” Fisher said. “In order for child abuse to stop, you tell somebody that you trust.”
Using his own experience as a guide, he urged children to stand up for themselves.
“When he put his hand on my leg, it creeped me out, but I didn't think too much about it,” Fisher said. “But for the kids here I want you to think about it.”
Fighting child sexual abuse, porn
From a recent ABC7 I-Team report:
For more than a decade one of the FBI's top initiatives has been to stop child exploitation and close down related organized sex rings. They have arrested hundreds of people, but child pornography remains one of the fastest growing online businesses pegged at more than $3 billion in income to the purveyors of perversion.
Christian private investigator Thomas Hampson, founder of the Truth Alliance Foundation, shares this concern. He writes:
More than 35 years after my first investigation into the malignant subculture of child sexual abuse, the story stays pretty much the same. Except that the problem has gotten worse, much worse.
One of the most irritating things about the current focus on child sexual abuse is the narrative that's being pushed, that child sexual abuse is driven by an epidemic of 'human trafficking' involving young girls. This is a false narrative. And it's essentially the same false narrative that was pushed 35 years ago.
The very term 'human trafficking' implies there are large-scale organized networks of traffickers snatching innocent young girls right out of their mothers' arms and putting them to work on the street. The term triggers images of the organized criminal enterprise in the movie Taken . Now, there may be groups like that out there someplace, dealing in young girls. The problem is that so far nobody has found one.
What we discovered three and a half decades ago was that the organized trafficking of young girls was essentially nonexistent. This remains true today.
The recent arrests made by the FBI as part of Operation Cross Country have taken some bad guys off the streets and rescued some young girls. But the reality is that such sweeps are, for all practical purposes, small time. While the press (with the full approval of the FBI) trumpets this as a major nationwide sting, the truth is that it is business as usual in all of the cities where the arrests were made. From what I can tell they didn't even touch the problem of boy prostitutes.
If we view child sexual abuse as primarily a problem created by organized crime, then we simply fail to see 99% of the problem. Moreover, the small percentage of children who wind up becoming involved in organized prostitution got there precisely because they were previously abused.
Until we begin focusing our law enforcement resources on the real predators, like Jerry Sandusky, the problem will continue to get worse. We know that deviants like Sandusky operate in concert with many other like-minded predators. They function as a loosely-organized social network. They pass the kids around from one to another, they provide mutual support, they help each other get jobs, they raise money to maintain access to their source of child targets, they provide alibis for one another, they trade their pornography, and they serve as references for one another to gain access to even more children. Each one of these Sandusky-type predators will abuse, on average, 150 children in their lifetime. Of those children, approximately 6% will become predators themselves. So on average these perverts will reproduce themselves nine times over.
Based on what I know from other investigations I have worked, I would make an educated guess that there were dozens of predators who abused children involved with Sandusky's Second Mile during the twenty years it was providing services to foster children. It would be fairly easy to uncover the network of predators that were associated with Sandusky. Building a criminal case against them? Not so easy. Nevertheless, it is on these predators that law enforcement, especially the FBI, should focus its attention, not the random pimp.
A related link of interest: ChildPredators.com
Up to 64,000 women in UK 'are child-sex offenders'
After Plymouth case shocked the nation, police say number of women abusing children is rising
by Mark Townsend and Rajeev Syal
Child sex abuse by women is significantly more widespread than previously realised, with experts estimating that there could be up to 64,000 female offenders in Britain.
Researchers from the Lucy Faithfull Foundation (LFF), a child protection charity that deals with British female sex offenders, said its studies confirmed that a "fair proportion" of child abusers were women. Donald Findlater, director of research and development, said results indicated that up to 20% of a conservative estimate of 320,000 suspected UK paedophiles were women.
The release of the figures comes days after a Plymouth nursery school worker, Vanessa George – together with Angela Allen from Nottingham and Colin Blanchard from Rochdale – pleaded guilty to sexually abusing young children.
Last night George's husband appealed to her to identify her victims, whom she has so far refused to name. Andrew George, 41, said: "I would plead to her, tell those parents, all those parents who want to know.
"If Vanessa has got any shred of human decency in her she should tell those parents." At her trial, Mr Justice John Royce had urged her to tell police the names of her victims.
Findlater said: "There was some suggestion it was only blokes that sexually abused children. Over time those arguments have fallen aside and people have had to wake up to the fact that actually, sadly, there is a fair proportion of women abusing as well."
There are 32,000 names on the sex offenders register. But LFF researchers suggest that the real number of paedophiles is 10 times this figure. Provisional studies suggest that between 5% and 20% are women.
The calculations put the number of female child-sex offenders in the UK at between 48,000 and 64,000, a figure Findlater describes as "highly possible". He said: "The problem is far bigger than conviction rates and, if you look at survivor studies, you end up with a very different story about the scale of the problem of female sexual abuse."
Detectives at Scotland Yard's paedophile unit, meanwhile, disclosed that they had detected an "increased prevalence" of female offenders. Metropolitan police sources said that quantifying the number of paedophiles in the UK was problematic, but there were likely to be hundreds of thousands.
Steve Lowe, director of Phoenix Forensic Consultants, which treats and assesses child sex abusers, said the true number of female paedophiles has remained hidden for too long.
"As a society, we find women sex offenders difficult to acknowledge. But those of us who work with paedophiles have seen evidence that women are capable of terrible crimes against children – just as bad as men." He said some female abusers remained hidden because they appeared before the family courts, where their cases were not publicised because of reporting restrictions.
The latest government figures, published six months ago, showed that 56 female child sex abusers were in custody, with 49 sentenced and seven on remand. Another 84 were under supervision in the community. Fewer than 2% of people on the sex offenders register are women.
Officials at the government's Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) said under-reporting of incidents involving female abusers was a concern and warned that "copycat" abusers may attempt to replicate the abuse that took place at Plymouth's Little Ted's nursery, where George worked.
George, Allen and Blanchard, all 39, met through the networking site Facebook. Officials at the CEOP and at Scotland Yard believe that the internet is driving an increase in the number of sex abusers of children. However, while offences are on the rise, police say that they have detected no changes in the patterns of abuse that are carried out by paedophiles, whether men or women.
In college column, Cory Booker revealed time he groped friend, and she resisted
by Charles C. Johnson
Writing for his college paper, Cory Booker once admitted that he groped a friend when he was 15 years old.
Now the mayor of Newark and a candidate for New Jersey's open Senate seat, a college-aged Booker described the experience of grabbing the girl's breast and having his hand pushed away.
“Telling one's own personal story is often the most powerful way to make a point, or, more importantly, to make people think,” Booker wrote in the February 19, 1992 column for the Stanford Daily, under the headline “So Much for Stealing Second.”
“When grandiose statements entrenched in politically correct terminology are made, many may listen but few will hear,” Booker continued. “When I hesitated in writing this column, I realized I was basking in hypocrisy. So instead I chose to write and risk.”
“New Year's Eve 1984,” Booker recalled. “I will never forget. I was 15. As the ball dropped, I leaned over to hug a friend and she met me instead with an overwhelming kiss.”
Things apparently moved very quickly for the young man, who recalled thinking of sex as a “game.”
“As we fumbled upon the bed, I remember debating my next ‘move' as if it were a chess game. With the ‘Top Gun' slogan ringing in my head, I slowly reached for her breast. After having my hand pushed away once, I reached my ‘mark,'” Booker wrote.
Booker didn't elaborate on what his “mark” was, but whatever happened, it was enough to haunt him for years to come.
“Our grouping ended soon and while no ‘relationship' ensued, a friendship did,” he wrote. “You see, the next week in school she told me she was drunk that night and didn't really know what she was doing.”
He attempted to explain his behavior. “Ever since puberty, I remember receiving messages that sex was a game, a competition. Sexual relations were best achieved through luck, guile, strategy or coercion.”
Booker wrote about how alcohol lubricated those relations: “Another friend in high school counseled me on the importance of drinking,” he wrote, detailing the slogans he had heard from friends. Booker listed them: “‘With liquor you'll get to bed quicker,' … ‘What do you think happened? She invited me back to her room at 3 a.m.' … ‘I've got to find a way to snatch that snatch.' … ‘The best thing for that girl would be to be tied down and screwed.'”
Booker described how his view of women changed radically after just two years in college — so much so that a female friend “chidingly called me a man-hater,” Booker wrote.
“In retrospect, my soliloquy titled ‘The Oppressive Nature of Male Dominated Society and Its Violent Manifestations Rape, Anorexia, Battered Wives' may have been a surreptitious attempt to convince her that I was a sensitive man, but more likely I was trying to convince myself that my attitudes had changed,” Booker wrote.
Booker explained that his two years as a peer counselor had revealed to him a culture that leads to rape. “All I have are poignant visions,” he wrote.
“I see that preceding all the horrors of rape are a host of skewed attitudes.
“I see my friends seeking to ‘get some' or to ‘score.'
“I see people making power plays.
“I see myself at 15 trotting around the bases and stealing second.
“I now see the crowds, no, not the spectators, but the thousands, the millions who are rarely seen or heard.
“I've seen enough.
“I spoke to a 40 year old woman who has trouble looking at her self[sic] in the mirror when she gets out of the shower. She can't make love, she never had an orgasm, she never will forget what happened her first time. She can't close her eyes.”
Booker would refer back to that column just months later, in a final op-ed for the Daily.
“But my second column, as I raised my noble pen to address the issue of date rape, I realized that the person holding it wasn't so noble after all,” Booker wrote on May 27, 1992. “With this issue as with so many others, a dash of sincere introspection has revealed to me a dangerous gap—a gap between my beliefs and my actions.”
Booker did not return requests for comment. He is widely expected to win the Democratic primary on Tuesday and go on to the U.S. Senate.
Deaths of wandering autistic kids prompt action
by David Crary
The 3-year-old girl wandered away from her grandmother's home in Wareham, Mass., in mid-April. A frantic search began almost immediately, and within an hour little Alyvia Navarro was found unresponsive in a nearby pond. She was pronounced dead the next day.
A month later, across the continent, a larger search unfolded over three days as hundreds of emergency service personnel and volunteers fanned out around Clearlake, Calif., looking for 9-year-old Mikaela Lynch after she vanished from her backyard. The outcome grimly echoed the Wareham search: A dive team found Mikaela's body in a muddy creek.
The two girls were the first of at least 14 children with autism known to have died this year after slipping away from their caregivers. All but one of them drowned, evidence of a fascination that many autistic children have with water. The body of the latest victim, 11-year-old Anthony Kuznia, was found Thursday in the Red River after a 24-hour search near his home in East Grand Forks, Minn.
The tragic phenomenon goes by various names - wandering, elopement, bolting - and about half of autistic children are prone to it, according to research published last year in the journal Pediatrics.
That would be a huge number. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated last year that 1 in 88 children are affected by autism, and a federal survey this year pegged the prevalence rate at one of every 50 schoolchildren - more than 1 million children in all.
Wandering has led to the deaths of more than 60 children in the past four years, and the fear of it can make daily life a harrowing, never-let-your-guard-down challenge for parents.
"We take steps at home - locks on every door, gates, alarms," said writer Jo Ashline of Orange, Calif., whose 11-year-old son has autism. "But there's always, in the forefront of our minds, the thought that one tiny mistake could prove fatal."
Groups that advocate for autism-affected families, including the National Autism Association and Autism Speaks, are now making it a priority to increase awareness of wandering - among parents, professionals who deal with autistic children, and first-responder agencies that handle missing-children cases.
The study in Pediatrics found that half of parents with autistic children had never received advice or guidance from a professional on how to cope with wandering.
Among those trying to change that is Sheila Medlam of Colwich, Kan., whose 5-year old son, Mason, drowned in a pond in July 2010 after squirming out of the family home through a window that had been raised about 8 inches because the air conditioner went out.
Medlam was at work; her adult daughter was at home but didn't see Mason's getaway.
"It only takes a second of inattention and they're gone," Medlam said in a telephone interview. "They're fast, they're quiet. They can disappear in an instant."
Medlam now works with autistic children, operates a website that keeps track of wandering-related deaths and lobbies for a national alert system that would improve emergency responses.
On her website, she has written a wrenching account of the day Mason died - blaming herself for leaving the window open and for omitting potentially helpful details when she called 911, and blaming the first responders for lack of knowledge about how to search for autistic children.
"If only I could redo that day and just change one thing. But I can't," Medlam wrote. "All I can do is point out the mistakes I made, the mistakes others made, and the lack of resources that claimed my child's life and ripped him from my arms forever."
Boys and girls with autism aren't the only children who stray from caregivers, of course, but their wanderings pose distinctive challenges.
While autism encompasses a spectrum of disorders, posing a range of developmental challenges, experts say the wanderers are often among the more severely affected. They often have minimal concept of danger, don't readily absorb safety lessons, and have limited ability to communicate with others.
And once on the loose, they often make a beeline for a destination of interest that proves fatal: a busy highway or a body of water. Lori McIlwain, executive director of the National Autism Association, says about 90 percent of the wandering fatalities in recent years have been drownings, and most of the other victims were struck by cars.
McIlwain, who lives in Cary, N.C., says her own son, Connor, wandered away from his school in 2007 and might well have ended up in danger had a concerned motorist not stopped and picked up the boy after getting no response to some questions.
In the ensuing years, McIlwain said, it's been a constant challenge to teach her son how to keep himself safe.
Still, the fear that he'll bolt remains "what we live with - it doesn't go away," she said.
Precautionary measures recommended by experts include locks and alarms on doors and windows, "Stop" signs placed in key locations in the home, and ID bracelets or tracking devices worn by the child.
Other recommendations from the National Autism Association include:
- enrolling the children in swimming lessons, such as those offered by the YMCA for special-needs pupils.
- developing a family emergency plan to be used in the event of a wandering incident.
- informing local emergency services, trusted neighbors and staff at the child's school or day-care center about details of the child's interests and wandering patterns.
Even after taking such steps, many parents nonetheless sleep in their autistic child's room to avert a nighttime getaway. McIlwain knows a mother who takes away her daughter's shoes when they're home as a deterrent.
Lauri Dupree of Lumberton, Miss., says she and her husband, who are raising their 6-year-old grandson, Boo, have resorted to using a harness during outings and even sometimes at home because of his daily attempts to bolt.
"He has always done this since he learned to walk and has come close to losing his life on several occasions," Dupree said.
Jo Ashline describes her home in California as resembling Fort Knox with its array of security measures.
"There's always that state of worry - is he going to get out," Ashline said of her son Andrew. "As he gets older and taller, are we going to be able to outsmart him? It only takes one time for him to outsmart us."
She and her husband - like many other parents in their situation - shy away from travels and vacations that might expose Andrew to new opportunities to get away.
"The world itself became our greatest nemesis," Ashline wrote on her blog. "Places most families treasure such as parks, beaches, backyard swimming pools and campsites became staging grounds for our imaginations' worst nightmares."
Indeed, several of this year's wandering victims were on vacations or family outings - including a camping trip in Ohio and a beach vacation in Florida.
Even festive gatherings at home can be dangerous, according to Bob Lowery, executive director of the missing children division of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
"The backyard barbecue is probably the most unsafe place to be," he said. "Everyone assumes someone else is watching that child, and they slip away unnoticed."
To avoid that outcome, he said, some parents develop elaborate hand-off systems to try to ensure an adult always has their eyes on the child.
Over the past few years, Lowery's organization has intensified efforts to increase awareness of the wandering phenomenon and improve the way emergency services and search-and-rescue teams respond.
For example, the people who field 911 calls are being encouraged to obtain specific information from the caller such as whether the child is attracted to water, so that searchers can immediately deploy to local ponds or rivers.
"We know that if there's a tragedy with a child with autism, it probably will occur very quickly," Lowery said. "They have a tendency to head straight to water if that's what they want - you need every able-bodied person available to get to water as soon as possible to head them off."
Lowery and his colleagues, as well as many advocates for autism-affected families, have been exploring ways of developing a national alert system tailored to deal with wandering incidents. He said the existing Amber Alert system is not an option - it's limited to cases where a child is believed to have been abducted by someone who poses a danger to them.
One option being looked at is Project Lifesaver, launched in 1998 to help search-and-rescue teams find missing people with Alzheimer's disease, dementia, autism and Down syndrome. Funding is an issue, however: For the program to function, the people at risk of wandering must wear transmitter bracelets and emergency services must have appropriate tracking equipment.
The driving force behind the recently published research on wandering was the Interactive Autism Network, a program headed by Dr. Paul Law at the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore.
Law says he is encouraged that people in the autism community and beyond are now talking about the phenomenon.
"Up 'til now it's been a silent problem," he said. "Everyone was expected to deal with it on their own. They didn't talk to their doctor; parent groups didn't talk about it."
He said parents coping with the challenges of a wandering child deserved public understanding and support.
For many parents, there's damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don't aspect to the nonstop need for vigilance. Some are criticized for turning their homes into fortresses and minimizing their autistic child's contacts with new environments. Yet when a wandering-related death occurs, the parents can incur harsh criticism in social media, including aspersions that they were negligent.
Lori McIlwain, in a blog posting, denounced such criticism as "cruel and heartless."
"It's easy to place blame. It's easy to judge," she wrote. "It's difficult to be accurate unless you've been there."
Jo Ashline made a similar plea on her blog.
"We respectfully request that you refrain from the judgment that is so prevalent among those who have never chased down a defenseless child, who have never woken with the sick feeling that a door or window was maybe mistakenly left unlocked, who have never felt the dread of realizing that in a split-second, the entire world can come to a screeching halt."