Why was Scottish Savile ignored?
The Scottish Government ignored calls from one of its own advisers to launch an investigation into a high-profile paedophile ring operating in Edinburgh.
by Ben Borland
Dr Sarah Nelson revealed five years ago that she had uncovered an abuse network centred on convicted sex abuser Tam Paton, the late manager of the Bay City Rollers.
However, her demands for an inquiry were never followed up - despite compelling evidence that dozens of boys may have had their lives ruined by the twisted pop svengali and his powerful accomplices.
Young runaways or children in care were lured in, drugged and then sexually abused. Many were then forced to work as 'rent boys' at a number of seedy secret flats across the Capital.
The paedophile ring is thought to have operated over several decades and to have included, at one time or another, well-known TV personalities, lawyers and police officers.
Victims were forced to stay quiet by a fear of reprisals, with at least one murder of a young man rumoured to have been carried out by the network.
In a chilling echo of the abuse scandal currently rocking Westminster, it now appears that a dossier of Scottish paedophiles with links to Paton was prepared in 1982 - but never made public.
In 2004, Dr Nelson carried out a study into adult male survivors of childhood sexual abuse on behalf of NHS Lothian - and was stunned to hear so many allegations against Paton.
Her report detailed the existence of a paedophile ring operating across the region, which had resulted in many damaged young men ending up in prison or dying from drug overdoses.
Obtained by the Scottish Sunday Express, it states: "One criminal justice (social work) team reported work with a number of 18-25 year olds, most of whom had been in jail and who disclosed, while reflecting on their violent behaviour or drug misuse, that they had earlier been abused by a particular paedophile ring.
"As workers talked to each other and with staff like homeless workers, they realised that other male clients had been abused in the same way."
In 2009, Dr Nelson carried out a follow-up study and again came across a substantial number of Paton's alleged victims. The age of the victims indicates that Paton's crimes may have continued well into new millenium.
Last night, the University of Edinburgh researcher said: "I have also worked in this field for a long time and I have heard longstanding claims that very vulnerable boys and young men were not only sexually abused by Tam Paton but also that there was a paedophile ring in existence.
"I also heard allegations that some homeless boys were placed in flats in Edinburgh for the purposes of prostitution. Both studies involved young men in the criminal justice system who revealed over time they had been abused by Tam Paton and others.
"These were very, very damaged individuals who had been inveigled into crime as part of this, so they were very reluctant to come forward. They were ashamed to have been abused and they also feared getting into further trouble with the law.
"It is fair to say they were the most damaged young men I ever worked with. The feeling at the time was that this was so blatant and so obvious that there were suspicions he was being protected in high places."
She added: "The boys were frightened, there was an atmosphere of fear around these boys of young men. It is not usually fear that holds them back it is embarrassment and shame, but these young men were frightened of retaliation."
Dr Nelson, who advises the Scottish Government on child sexual abuse issues, first called for an investigation in April 2009, just days after Paton died of a heart attack aged 70.
She said yesterday: "I think it is something that should have happened long ago and if there is a desire then all well and good. It is not about revenge, it is about justice.
"I think that if a thorough investigation was carried out that there would be a lot of people working with vulnerable young men in the voluntary sector and the criminal justice system who would be very pleased."
Frank Docherty, chairman of the In Care Abuse Survivors organisation, said the claims added weight to the growing calls for a public inquiry into hundreds of historic child abuse cases in Scotland.
He said: "Paedophile rings in my experience often involve people with power and wealth and high position. Any investigation into paedophilia would be welcomed, especially if it is going to involve kids in care."
Scottish Labour's justice spokesman, Graeme Pearson, said: “The SNP now stand alone in their refusal to implement a full and proper inquiry into instances of historic child abuse. The Scottish Government must finally agree to reassess their stance and bring forward proposals to answer the demands for justice from survivors."
Paton's disgraceful activities were an open secret for many years in Edinburgh, where he shared his fortress-like home at Gogar with teenage runaways and other troubled youngsters.
He was first jailed in 1982, sentenced to three years for engaging in "shameless and indecent conduct towards 10 teenage boys between 1978 and 1982".
As insurance, Paton and the man who would later become his gay lover, Ray Cotter, prepared a 200-page dossier containing names and photographs of members of the paedophile ring.
Mr Cotter said at the time: "One day the truth will come out and proof will be given about the nasty people in this affair."
Now aged 56 and said to be writing a book about Paton, Mr Cotter was unavailable for comment at his home in Corstorphine yesterday. In 2009, he said: "I've seen him do horrendous things, like putting drugs in people's drinks. He got away with it because people were scared of his criminal connections."
Eight years after he was imprisoned, Paton was again at the centre of the Operation Planet rent boy scandal.
It was launched in 1990 after a 16-year-old boy on leave from a children's home was held at an address in central Edinburgh, drugged and repeatedly raped over a period of 10 days.
The investigation initially resulted in 57 charges against 10 men, later reduced to 10 charges against five men whose not guilty pleas were accepted by a court in February 1991.
Paton, who built up a huge property portfolio using his pop earnings, owned a house on Palmerston Place which police believed to be at the hub of the Operation Planet network.
In 2003, Paton was questioned by Surrey Police over historic abuse allegations dating back to the 1970s but the investigation was dropped.
The following year he was convicted of supplying cannabis and fined £200,000 after two police raids uncovered drugs worth £26,000 at his house.
He was also investigated over claims he raped Rollers guitarist Pat McGlynn in a hotel room in 1977 but police said there was "insufficient evidence" to bring charges.
After his death, Rollers singer Les McKeown also claimed he had been raped by Paton and said: "I can't imagine a man nor beast who will be mourning his passing."
Yesterday, a Scottish Government spokeswoman said they could not comment on individual cases, adding: "Anyone who has evidence of, or has suffered child sexual abuse, should contact the police for an investigation to be made."
Hagan Chairs Subcommittee Hearing on Child Trafficking & Private Re-homing
Kay Hagan (NC), Chair of the Subcommittee on Children and Families, held a hearing on the growing need to address child-trafficking and private re-homing in the United States.
Washington, DC - U.S. Senator Kay Hagan (NC), Chair of the Subcommittee on Children and Families, held a hearing on the growing need to address child-trafficking and private re-homing in the United States. The hearing, titled "Falling Through the Cracks: The Challenges of Prevention and Identification in Child Trafficking and Private Re-homing," examined how child victims may go unidentified, misidentified or unreported because of gaps in training for health care providers, school personnel and social workers. Among the witnesses testifying was Ms. Abigail English of the Center for Adolescent Health & the Law in Chapel Hill, NC. This was the first hearing held in the Senate on the issue of private re-homing of adopted children.
"Within the borders of our country, children are living the nightmare of trafficking and re-homing on a daily basis," said Hagan. "In the hallways of our high schools, kids are recruited into trafficking by peers and friends they thought they could trust. In our own neighborhoods, children are bought and sold online and shuffled around to homes and families that their adoptive parents have never met and who, in some cases, have a history of child abuse and neglect. We cannot allow these children to slip through our system unnoticed, and today's hearing examined how we can better identify victims and at-risk youth so we can help them reclaim their childhoods and prevent more children from becoming victims in the future."
One of the greatest challenges in combatting child trafficking and re-homing is the lack of reliable data around which law enforcement or policy responses can be structured. According to advocacy groups, this is partly because the crimes are unreported or underreported and victims are often misidentified as being prostitutes or troubled youth.
Today's hearing focused on the importance of appropriate guidance and training for school personnel, health care providers and social workers to recognize signs and symptoms of trafficking and re-homing so that child victims are identified and treated accordingly.
"Health care professionals can play an important role in the prevention and identification of children and adolescents who are victims or who may be at risk of commercial sexual exploitation and sex trafficking," said Ms. English. "However, numerous barriers exist to limit identification by health care professionals of victims, survivors, and young people at risk. These barriers include a lack of understanding and awareness that results from stereotypes and misperceptions, and a lack of specific training."
Ms. Jenee' Littrell, Assistant Principal at Grossmont Union High School District in San Diego County, CA, added, "Everyone who is part of the school community - administrators, teachers, bus drivers, maintenance personnel, food service staff, resource officers, and others - has the potential to be an advocate for child victims of human trafficking, but, first, they must learn the indicators of the crime, its warning signs, and how to respond when a student is an apparent victim. In many cases, the adults on campus are the last responsible adults to touch these young people's lives before they are victimized or lost to this crime."
The hearing highlighted the bipartisan Strengthening the Child Welfare Response to Human Trafficking Act, legislation Senator Hagan and Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) introduced last year to address these gaps. The bill combats sex and labor trafficking of children by ensuring front-line service providers have the tools needed to identify, educate and counsel child victims and at-risk youth, and ensure that law enforcement can better track missing children.
North Carolina consistently ranks among the top 10 states in the country for human trafficking. Nationwide, an estimated 100,000 children are involved in the sex trade, at an average age of 12-14 years for a girl and 11-13 years for a boy.
For more information on Hagan and Rubio's bill, please click here.
Additionally, the hearing examined the issue of private re-homing, a practice highlighted last September when Reuters published the findings of an investigation into the online "advertising" and "re-homing" of adopted children, without the oversight of child welfare agencies. A number of stories in the report suggested the possibility of sexual abuse or exploitation of children who were placed by their adoptive parents into the homes of adults with a history of child abuse or child sexual exploitation.
"We discovered that over this five-year period, in this one forum alone, a child was offered to strangers on average once a week," said Megan Twohey, the Reuters reporter who conducted the investigation, during today's hearing. "The activity spanned the nation: Children in 34 states had been advertised. Many were transferred from parents in one state to families in another. At least 70 percent had been adopted from overseas, and many were said to suffer from physical, emotional or behavioral problems. It was clear from the online descriptions of these children that they were among society's most vulnerable. Child abuse experts pointed out that their backgrounds--and the manner in which they were advertised--made them ripe for exploitation."
Senator Hagan has been a strong advocate for improving the child welfare system, ensuring adoptive parents have the support they need, and combatting human trafficking since coming to the Senate. In addition to her bill with Senator Rubio, she is also a cosponsor of the Human Trafficking Prioritization Act, which elevates the State Department's Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking and helps to make it more effective in carrying out its duties.
Child abuse victims to sue Government
Man planning to sue over lack of victim support says reliving 'horrific' experience ruined his life
by Jack Hannong
An alleged victim of historical child abuse has instructed lawyers over his intention to take legal action, claiming the Government is in breach of its obligations to victims of abuse. The victim, who has asked not to be named for legal reasons, believes the government has not lived up to Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which guarantees respect for home life. Had it done so, it is claimed, many more victims would have come forward to assist the police. The victim is an alleged survivor of child abuse at Grafton Close, a care home run by Richmond Borough Council in south-west London.
The victim's solicitor, Alison Miller of Leigh Day, said last night: "He feels he has been badly let down by the criminal justice system, and there is insufficient care and counselling for people who have been through these traumatic experiences. We are at early stage and are examining the provisions of the law."
The victim told The Independent on Sunday : "I intend to sue the Government for breach of its human rights obligations, and I know of at least one other victim doing the same. The impact of the police enquiries three decades later was horrific. It instantly took me to my emotional state at the time of the abuse.
"I had built a safe world, and instantly all safety was gone, replaced by fear, anxiety and depression. Despite the best efforts of the police officers, there is nowhere to get any help – and it is no one's job to provide it – and there certainly isn't any money to make it happen.
"Well over a year later, help is no nearer, my world is horrific. The legal issues continue, and my life will never be the same. I am lucky enough to be single – if I had a family, or kids, I would never be able to testify – the pain is just so great and it reaches everyone around you.
"I just hope I get some meaningful help so that I might be able to enjoy the last part of my life. People choose not to come forward because of the impact. I had no choice – my safe world was ruined by that knock on the door! I'm sure dozens of people, hundreds, even, would come forward if they felt there was more trauma counselling available.
"If the politicians really want to get to the bottom of this, it's a ludicrous false economy not to spend the money on counselling. The only people it serves are the guilty."
This appears to endorse a warning from Dr Noreen Tehrani, a psychologist who advises those investigating child abuse, who is to write to the Home Secretary to point out that many of the police are "inundated with work" and are "beginning to collapse". "There aren't enough officers in these specialist teams and they are overwhelmed," she said.
The investigations have centred on claims of an establishment cover-up surrounding Elm Guest House, in south-west London, purportedly the venue for the abuse of boys from local care homes in the 1970s and 1980s. However, despite lurid allegations involving high-profile public figures, no charges relating to the guest house have been brought since the case was reopened last year.
The IoS has learnt that police handling allegations of abuse at Elm Guest House are investigating claims of impropriety by one or more of those involved in the original inquiry over 30 years ago. The latest development is believed to centre on a police raid in June 1982. The raid, which took place while two officers were at the guest house posing as guests, resulted in the manager Carole Kasir and another man being accused of "keeping a disorderly house". The police's Professional Standards Directorate is now examining potential criminal offences by undercover officers at the time. In April, a former masseur, Lee Towsey, then 16 (under the homosexual age of consent at the time), alleged he had sex with two undercover officers at the house.
Campaigners have continued to express concern about the government's investigation into child abuse, announced last week. Yesterday it emerged that Baroness Butler-Sloss, who is leading it, kept allegations about a bishop out of a report on child abuse because she "cared about the church". Campaigners also want Jersey, a Crown dependency, to be part of the investigation. The Channel Island has been the subject of many allegations over children in care at the Haut de la Garenne home, and in 2008 it emerged that at least five children were illegally placed in care in Jersey by Birmingham social services. "Given that children were trafficked from the Midlands to Jersey for sex abuse, you would think it was a bit odd to omit Jersey from the inquiry," Liberal Democrat MP John Hemming said yesterday.
Dr Liz Davies, a campaigner on child abuse, agreed. "Nicholas Rabet, former deputy superintendent of Islington's home at Grosvenor Avenue, was charged in Thailand in 2006 with abusing 30 local boys, and we know that he had links with Jersey," she said. "I have seen evidence from a child who was sent to Jersey in the summer holidays from the Grosvenor Avenue home. I have also spoken to survivors from Jersey who went to an Islington children's home for a holiday. In Jersey they were abused on yachts, in the big mansions there and in the opera house. The opera house is where British celebrities came. They mentioned Jimmy Savile and Wilfrid Brambell. It would be absurd not to include Jersey."
Glastonbury, CT prosecutors fail child sex abuse victims
by Anne Stevenson
GLASTONBURY, CT, July 11, 2014 - The successful efforts of Connecticut's top child welfare agency to rescue nine children from ongoing sexual abuse has run afoul of the State prosecutors. A policy of refusing to meaningfully track or prosecute Connecticut's most dangerous child sex predators leaves them without protection.
The case centers on George Harasz and Douglas Wirth, a married couple who adopted nine boys. George Harasz, 48, was charged with sexual assault in the first degree, two counts of injury to a minor, aggravated sexual assault, sexual assault in the third degree and cruelty to persons. Douglas Wirth, 43, was charged with sexual assault in the third degree and injury to a minor.
Meanwhile, the public's safety may be at risk while the industry professionals involved continue to turn a buck off the victim's misfortune as the case drags on at the taxpayer's expense.
Soon after Joette Katz took the helm as Commissioner of Connecticut's troubled Department of Children (DCF) in the winter of 2010, she became concerned for the welfare of nine Glastonbury boys after the agency received credible reports that they were being abused and/or raped by their adoptive fathers.
By February of 2011, the police had opened an investigation and DCF removed the children from their alleged attacker's care.
“We didn't wait for the arrests,” said Katz, stressing the agency's focus on child welfare and public safety.
By the fall of 2011, Douglas Wirth and his romantic partner George Harasz faced dozens of criminal charges for physically, sexually, and emotionally assaulting the alleged victims, who were determined to have their day in court to tell the justice system about the house of horrors they grew up in.
“They took turns raping me over and over,” one victim testified, explaining at the hearing that in his case, his adoptive fathers began raping him at the tender age of 6.
“Anyone who would do this to a child is a sick, demented person.”
But prosecutors seem determined to let the defendants off the hook without any jail time or a significant mark on their records, which may signal bigger problems afoot in the State's top law enforcement agency.
Statistics provided by the Connecticut Sexual Assault Crisis Services, Inc. (CONNSACS) suggest that 14% of Connecticut's population have experienced childhood sexual assault. One in five Connecticut victims are girls (18%) and one in fourteen victims are boys (7%).
According to Connecticut's Uniform Crime Reports, there were 3.59 million people living in Connecticut in 2012, 923 rapes of women were reported, but only 169 adults were arrested that year on rape charges. Unfortunately, the State defines “rape” as “carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will,” but apparently does not track the many men and children who are sexually assaulted each year, but there may be as many as 502,600 Connecticut residents could be included in that figure.
Given the horrifying allegations in this case and the ramifications to public safety if they are true, it is difficult to understand whether the State's attorney is merely asleep at the wheel, or just unfit and/or unwilling to prosecute the defendants. What is clear from the evidence and data collected by Connecticut's top law enforcement officials is that the State has become particularly predator friendly, and court industry professionals are cashing in.
The victims in this case are little boys who may never have known what it feels like to be safe, loved, and nurtured. They were born innocently into three separate families which were unfit or unwilling to care for them, and in some cases, the boys were physically, sexually and emotionally abused by the same hands which may or may not have fed them.
When the agency was unable to rehabilitate their parents or place the boys with a relative caregiver, they became wards of the State and nobody's sons. Perhaps the victims learned early that faith in humanity was no friend of theirs, yet as foster children, they were thrust into an alien world where both self-sufficiency and reliance on strangers are at a premium and their only hope for survival.
Even if the victims had known what to expect, they did not have the power to object when DCF decided to place them in the defendants' care.
Beginning in 2000, Dennis Harasz and Douglas Wirth began adopting little boys who were in DCF custody and raising them in their sprawling Glastonbury home. At the time of their arrest, the State had allowed the gay couple to adopt a total of nine little boys after DCF granted them waivers in 2006 and 2008 to exceed the limit for adopted children in one household.
One adopted son, Chris Harasz, 18, described life inside his fathers' Glastonbury home to the Hartford Courant as traumatic and unhealthy. However, the Glastonbury Police Department's reports give a more disturbing view through the children's eyes into the house of horrors and brutal, torture filled life they said they endured at the hands of Harasz and Wirth.
The victims (then age 6 and 15) told similar stories about how Harasz and Wirth had sexually assaulted them and forced them to perform sexual favors on them, their friends and the drugs involved, and if they refused or tried to protect each other they were beaten with belts, locked in closets, forced to sit outside in the elements for days on end, and forcibly sodomized.
The children described Harasz to the police as the main aggressor in many of the rapes, while Wirth was a man with extraordinary concentration abilities who passively participated in the crimes by refusing to rescue the children and working on his computer in the same room as the crimes were carried out.
If the allegations against the father's are true, one has to wonder what important work Wirth may have been performing while his sons' innocence was destroyed just footsteps away?
Chris Harasz says he believes that the criminal charges against his fathers have merit. But police reports only represent a list of allegations and criminal charges. They are not proof of innocence or a substitute for every defendant's right to a fair trial before he is judged guilty.
By 2014, Prosecutor David Zagaja had agreed to reduce the charges against Harasz and Wirth to a single charge for each man, who agreed to plead no contest to the charges if they were spared the inconvenience of spending a single day in jail or having to register as sex offenders.
The predator friendly plea agreement blew up in Zaraga's face and fell through in June 2014 after DCF, the victim's legal guardian objected. It was then that Zaraga chose to remove himself from the case over the fiasco rather than stay and fight for the defendants, sending the attorneys for the accused up in arms over the matter.
Teen sues DSS in sibling sex abuse case
by Meg Kinnard
COLUMBIA – South Carolina's social services agency repeatedly placed a young girl and her brother together in the same foster homes, even though officials knew for years that one was sexually abusing the other, according to a lawsuit filed against the state Department of Social Services and others.
That allegation is part of a lawsuit filed earlier this year by the girl, now 19, against DSS, several companies contracted to provide group home foster care, and several employees for grossly negligent supervision.
The case traces back to 1999, when the girl, then 4 years old, was removed from her mother's South Carolina home along with her 8-year-old brother. The lawsuit says not only did relatives abuse both children but that the boy admitted having sex with his sister.
Despite that disclosure, the suit alleges, the department continued to place the siblings together, in foster homes, group homes and with relatives. The brother's abuse of the sister also continued despite a warning from a therapist in 2001 who had treated the girl to the department that the children had been intimate.
“True to form, DSS continued to attempt to place the children together,” the girl's attorneys wrote in the lawsuit.
Social Services officials even tried to have the children adopted together, according to the suit, but the girl was ultimately adopted alone in 2003. Her adoptive parents weren't given details about her abuse history and only learned about her past after the girl revealed the abuse during counseling, which her parents sought after she began to act out at home.
In court papers, DSS and the youth homes where the children lived have denied the allegations, saying they could not have anticipated the “alleged intentional and criminal conduct” of the girl's brother. In a statement to The Associated Press, a DSS spokeswoman said the agency works hard to ensure the safety of children in its care.
“There is nothing more important at the Department of Social Services than working to respond to families in crisis and the tragedies that result from abuse and neglect,” Marilyn Matheus said. “Making sure our children in foster care are placed with the best foster parents possible and in safe and loving environments will always be one of our top priorities.”
The girl subsequently suffered from behavioral problems and had to be confined to residential treatment for a time because her adoptive parents weren't able to control her, according to her attorneys. The agency's attitude toward children's safety ultimately breeds patterns of abuse that can eventually land the children in juvenile detention or jail, they allege.
“These children get raped, and they themselves become sexually aggressive,” Robert Butcher, one of the girl's attorneys, said in a recent interview with the AP. “It's creating a cycle, and it's creating monsters within. And to compound the problem, they don't provide these children with sexual trauma therapy.”
The girl's brother, who remained in the foster care system until he aged out, is currently in jail, accused of molesting another child, Butcher said.
Christian Radio Host Arrested for Sexual Exploitation of Children
by DEBAPRIYA CHATTERJEE
A Christian radio host was arrested on June 20 after accusations of him paying authorities to arrange sexual encounters with minors surfaced. 35-year-old John Balyo was terminated from his post at the gospel station the following day, a few hours after he was detained at a Christian concert in Michigan on charges of first-degree criminal sexual conduct.
Chris Lemke, general manager at WCSG Radio said staffers were shocked and saddened to find out the truth about Balyo.
“We trust in a God who is just and sovereign and will see us through this difficult time. Effective today, John Balyo is no longer affiliated with WCSG Radio,” said Lemke in a statement.
Balyo was detained by Battle Creek Police Department and Homeland Security Investigations of Michigan State Police and his investigation was carried out under Operation Predator, a Homeland Security Investigations initiative that aims to protect minors from all forms of sexual exploitation. Though the connection between the two is not clear, a thorough investigation of Balyo's case led police to 41-year-old Ronald Lee Moser who runs a website that offers viewers videos of sexual encounters with minor boys.
The United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement issued a press release on June 20 that said Balyo allegedly paid a person involved in another investigation related to child exploitation to have access to minors so he could force sexual favours out of them. However, Moser was not mentioned in the report though Battle Creek Police believe that both cases are connected.
“Further details about the investigation are being withheld pending the defendant's appearance in court to answer to the charges,” said the release.
'Missing' Basement Boy's Stepmother Threatened to Make Him 'Disappear,' Court Told
by YAZHOU SUN l
The Detroit boy who was allegedly kept hidden in the family's basement has told authorities that stepmother would punch him and threaten to make him disappear, according to a petition filed in Wayne County Court.
Charlie Bothuell V, 12, told the court that he had been disciplined with a PVC pipe, sometime to the point that he was too sore to sit or walk, and has been abused by his father “for the entire two years he has resided” with him, the document states. It also said Charlie was found “shivering and hungry.”
In addition, the said he was forced to perform a punishing exercise program more suitable for a grown athlete.
The petition filed in juvenile court last week detailed abuse accusations made by the boy against his father, Charlie Bothuell IV, and his stepmother, Monique Dillard-Bothuell.
The boy's alleged plight became public after a massive 11 day search for the boy that ended when he was discovered hiding in his own basement.
Bothuell accused his stepmother of punching him and threatening to kill him, telling the boy that “I can make you disappear,” according to the petition.
Dillard-Bothuell had put him in the basement on June 14 after accusing him of lying to her about completing his evening workout. The boy told authorities that he heard his stepmother go upstairs, call his father and told him Charlie went missing and that “she looked everywhere.”
The boy said when his stepmother came back to the basement, she would tell him to “shut up, stay quiet, and don't say anything, no matter what you hear.”
The workout the 12-year-old was subjected to was grueling. He was forced to do 100 push-ups, 200 sit-ups and 100 jumping jacks twice a day, he claimed. He would have to curl a 25-pound weight on each arm and do 5,000 revolutions on an exercise machine. If he didn't finish the routine in 30 minutes, he would have to start over again the document states.
The boy was discovered while his father was talking to Nancy Grace live on air. When Grace informed the father his son has found alive in his basement, Bothuell IV appeared stunned and speechless for 10 seconds.
“I checked my basement. The FBI checked my basement. The police checked my basement. My wife checked my basement,” Bothuell IV said.
The boy is now living with his birth mother, and no charges have been brought against his father and stepmother, according to Detroit police spokesperson Michael Woody.
“Currently, we are waiting for parental analysis to come back to the police station,” Woody told ABC News today. “We have submitted all the evidence to the crime lab, and we will turn the completed package to the prosecutor's office for recommendations on charges.
Mark Magidson, Dillard-Bothuell's lawyer, told ABC affiliate WXYZ, "There is a history of diabetes in the family. So they are very concerned of their child being overweight. He put him on a diet, and he had him exercise."
Magidson could not be reached for comment by ABC News. A lawyer for the father could not be located, but immediately after his boy was discovered the father said, "I take care of my son which is what I've done his whole life."
What makes people prone to child abuse?
by Veronica Jean Seltzer
SOUTH BEND - A South Bend four month old is in critical condition. Police preliminarily charged her father with neglect. This case isn't isolated. Child abuse is more prevalent in our area than you might expect. In April 2014 alone, there were a total of 166 cases of abuse in Elkhart, Kosciusko, Marshall, and St. Joseph Counties.
We all know raising children comes with its highs and lows, but, unfortunately, we're hearing more and more lately about parents neglecting or abusing their children.
"I mean there's days you get stressed, but take them to the movies or take them to the park or the zoo. There's other ways around it or call a babysitter. It's never okay to put your hands on a child," said Oaklawn Psychiatric Center's Sandy Westra says a person's environment and past experiences can make them more likely to mistreat a child.
"Anytime you have more and more stressors on a family or on an individual it becomes harder and harder for them to behave in the ways that they might under other circumstances," Westra said.
Stressors like money issues, domestic violence, neighborhood violence, and lack of maturity. She says, without care, the abuse often continues generation after generation.
"In mental health services, there's probably a 90% frequency of people who have had many adverse childhood experiences," Westra said.
Westra says she's actually surprised the number of substantiated abuse cases aren't higher in our area and says many are left unproven or unreported. Still, there are things we can do. Westra says a community based approach can help minimize child abuse. She says in the past there were more multi-generational households where parents had help. Today, it's different.
"One thing that you could do is offer to help and that would be providing the kind of support," Westra said.
The community also offers a variety of programs like Healthy Families, which offers parent education through voluntary home visits.
Porn exposure linked to children sexually abusing other children
by Emily Moulton
WA children as young as four are sexually abusing other children because of exposure to pornography.
And in a stark warning, experts say we could be left with a generation of abusers if more isn't done to reduce exposure.
They said the average age for a child seeking explicit images was 10, but because of the prevalence of smartphones and tablets an increasing number of younger children were being exposed.
Holly-Ann Martin, director of Safe4Kids, said the inability of young minds to process adult content generally left them traumatised, but in some cases led to them acting out what they saw.
She said in one incident at a WA child care centre, a four- year-old boy digitally penetrated a three-year-old.
It emerged the child had been sitting next to his father while he was watching a pornographic movie.
In an incident at a remote WA school, two 14-year-olds held down a five-year-old so an eight-year old-could rape him.
Ms Martin said she understood the children had been exposed to an excessive amount of pornography.
“It seems some parents are still oblivious as to how easy it is for children to access,” she said.
Her group teaches children and teenagers protective skills.
“Last year I taught 3000 people, from 4-17-year-olds,” Ms Martin said.
“I asked ‘what would you do if you saw, or someone showed you, private pictures or movies?'
“The 4-6-year-olds usually say they will tell a grown-up. The 7-17-year-olds aren't telling anyone for fear of having the device taken away or getting into trouble. “They are not prepared to talk to an adult about it.
“My big thing is trying to educate parents about talking to your kids and telling them if they see this stuff to tell them and not punish them.”
University of South Australia professor Freda Briggs, who has released a report that found children sexually abusing other children was increasing, said while most incidents resulted from a child replicating sexual abuse they had suffered, there had been a rise in incidents linked to pornography exposure.
“We pay a very high price for adults' rights to see whatever they want to see,” she said.
Prof Briggs said teachers and child care workers were ill-equipped to deal with the issue and often dismissed the abuse a “normal sexual curiosity”.
“This is not normal sexual curiosity or experimentation. It is indicative of being abused or exposure to an excessive amount of pornography,” she said. “The problem is if the child enjoyed the power acting out gave them, it is likely to continue.”
Prof Briggs, who wrote the national schools safe framework for the Federal Government, said every school should have a child protection curriculum that was age appropriate.
She also criticised the WA Education Department's program saying it was outdated.
Juanita Healy, acting CEO of the School Curriculum and Standards Authority, said the authority was working on adapting the Pre-Primary to Year 10 Health and Physical Education Australian Curriculum content.
“This includes introducing updated protective behaviours curriculum,” she said.
Dilemma on how to treat Arizona sex traffic victims
by Megan Cassidy
The Arizona Republic has agreed to use the pseudonyms Faith and May rather than the girls' real names in order to protect their identities.
Faith is a runner.
She ran away from her grandparents, who had taken her in when police discovered that her stepfather was prostituting her in his massage parlor when she was 11.
She ran away from StreetLightUSA, a Valley-based residential center for children and teens who are victims of sex trafficking.
And about a week later, she says, she ran away from the pimps who had snared her, drugged her and allowed her to be gang-raped daily.
Now back at StreetLightUSA, the 17-year-old with flat-ironed fuchsia hair and stark, manicured eyebrows seems almost detached from her grim autobiography.
She betrays little emotion as she recounts her young life, fleeing from pimps and drug dens as well as comparatively stable family homes and treatment centers.
"I don't like family settings because I'm not used to it," Faith says. "I don't like people to care about me. I don't like getting attached to people, because they've always just left."
Faith's plight underlines a thorn in the fundamental values of the recent tide of anti-sex-trafficking movements.
Recent initiatives like Gov. Jan Brewer's task force on human trafficking operate under the premise that juvenile prostitutes are victims preyed upon by johns and pimps, who are the true criminals.
But while the political rhetoric has shifted from "teen prostitute" to "sex-trafficking victim," officials are faced with the uncomfortable reality that many of these juveniles will run from proffered treatment. In order to make a case against traffickers and connect the girls with uninterrupted services, those held up as victims are often placed behind bars.
New initiatives are emerging in Arizona that would house high-flight-risk sex-trafficking victims in what supporters hope will be a hybrid between juvenile detention and therapeutic services.
The project is not without critics.
Those who question the plan say that it's hypocritical to detain those marked as victims and that in order to foster a lasting lifestyle change, the teens need to trust those who are caring for them.
"The issue of running is a really controversial one," said Eliza Reock, director of programs at Shared Hope International, an anti-trafficking advocacy group based in Washington state. "How do you say that we're treating these young girls like victims and locking them up at the same time? And will that really help them long term?"
Arizona is one of several states actively working to combat sex trafficking. While tougher laws are created for traffickers and amnesty is granted to the trafficked, lawmakers are increasingly forced to decide what to do with a complex victim population that often doesn't want to be saved.
Trouble making a case
Earlier this year, Brewer signed sweeping legislation that adds muscle to existing penalties for traffickers and johns and offers a defense against prostitution charges for sex-trafficking victims.
Federal law prohibits underage girls from being criminally penalized for prostitution. A handful of states have mirrored this law, but Arizona is not one of them.
When a Phoenix police officer comes into contact with an underage prostitute, the options of where to place her are limited and imperfect.
Most of the time, police encounter teen prostitutes because they have committed a crime, whether it's for prostitution itself or for another crime, such as shoplifting, drugs or trespassing, in which the prostitution is revealed, said Sgt. Clay Sutherlin, who works on the Phoenix police vice squad.
If a pimp is involved, a conviction often hinges on the account of the girl, who can be a transient witness.
"There's no perfect solution for these girls right now," Sutherlin said. "They are such flight risks on the investigative side if your girl is your witness to your case. You've got (her pimp) for Class 2 felony charges, but she's disappeared into the wind, and so has your case."
Sutherlin said the girls — and they are mostly girls — who are picked up for prostitution or another offense will first undergo an intense interrogation to pry out information about her trafficker.
After the interview, officers have a few options. The girls may go back and live with their parents, be placed with the Department of Child Safety or with an agency such as StreetLightUSA or be held in jail or juvenile detention.
Parents — even the good ones — will beg to get their little girl back only to watch her walk out the next day, Sutherlin said. State child-services units, he said, are not secure facilities. Attempts to flee StreetLightUSA are often successful.
"Many times in the past we were forced, for the girl's own safety, to book her into jail on the original charge," Sutherlin said. "In a way, you absolutely feel like you've victimized the girl again."
The StreetLightUSA campus, tucked into an unassuming Valley neighborhood, is unmarked and unlisted. This detail is by design; exploiters are known to target facilities that cater to troubled youths.
It has six brightly designed cottages, with names evoking the center's Christian roots: Faith, Hope, Grace, Peace, Dream and Believe. The center can house up to 48 girls at any given time, and 32 live there at the moment.
"Our founders looked at what the kids needed," said Lea Benson, president and CEO of StreetLightUSA. "You don't feel trust when you're locked down."
StreetLightUSA employs counselors specifically trained to deal with the unique issues of prostituted girls and those who have high-risk profiles, Benson said.
They receive individualized plans that include schooling, mentoring and counseling, plus medical and mental-health treatment.
The girls' freedoms are individualized, as well, based on merit. The yard is equipped with a playground and basketball court. A shredded pillow litters the grass, evidence of the dog the center allowed the girls to adopt.
Inside one of the cottages on a recent Monday morning, the girls were fixing breakfast, washing the dishes and idly chatting about hair, school, gossip and other topics like other teenage girls.
Benson said about 60 percent of the girls who are admitted will flee, a disheartening statistic she qualifies with a more promising one:
"Ninety-nine percent of the girls that have AWOL'ed come back."
Faith is one of those girls.
But after about a week of being sold, Faith made her move.
It was about 4 a.m., she said, and the traffickers had just fallen asleep. She ran to a nearby McDonald's and called her grandparents, who returned her to StreetLightUSA.
"I like it (here). I think we have really good staff," she said three weeks after her return. "I don't know. When I go to church, I'm thankful that ... they show you the motherly way. I have all this staff to help me. They care. They really do."
Faith hopes to study to become a cosmetologist and then perhaps a nursing assistant. She feels lucky to be at StreetLightUSA and knows she can't run again. But it has crossed her mind.
Plagued by issues
For many teens whose bodies are sold, prostitution is a symptom of one or a host of issues that plague the population. Many are runaways, foster children, victims of family abuse or molestation, addicted to drugs or suffering from mental-health problems.
May, an eloquent 17-year-old with a ballerina's frame, was 13 and in Detroit's foster-care system when she was approached by a 23-year-old man she would soon call her boyfriend.
"My boyfriend at the time opened my eyes to it," she said of her first prostitution experience. "He said, 'No one's going to take care of a Black girl in the system. You're probably going to be in the system forever, so you might as well make the most of it.' "
Now housed at Children of the Night, a Los Angeles-based organization for prostituted youths, May still maintains that the man wasn't deceiving her. He was just presenting the facts.
"I felt like everything he told me was the truth," she said. "No one cared about me. I didn't really have a way to make money. ... I didn't have a place to stay. He was everything I had.
"So, he wasn't lying to me, but he wasn't in it for my best interest, either."
Experts say it's unsurprising that this demographic would flee, either by compulsion or back to the very person from whom they've been extracted.
"This trafficker may be the first person to say, 'I love you,' " Shared Hope's Reock said. "If you look at that long history of lack of trust, there's a reason these people may be running."
Researchers have identified 161 sex-trafficking victims already in the state's Juvenile Court system for other offenses, according to a March study conducted by the Office of Sex Trafficking Intervention Research in Arizona State University's School of Social Work.
Researchers were able to collect richer data from 37 of these youths, and nearly 80 percent of those victims were also involved in the former Child Protective Services, which the Department of Child Safety has replaced.
Keeping the net small
Last month, Dave Byers, director of the Administrative Office of the Courts for Arizona, presented a plan at a meeting for Brewer's Human Trafficking Council that would establish a facility in Yavapai County to provide residential programming for victims of sex trafficking.
The plan would use the existing court infrastructure as well as an existing establishment: the Yavapai County Juvenile Justice Center.
Justice Center Director Scott Mabery said he was approached by the Administrative Office of the Courts about converting a pod to house juvenile victims of sex trafficking.
"The reasoning behind it is there is a great need for residential treatment for these girls," Mabery said. "There are a number of different organizations that try to treat these kids, or hang on to them or give them shelter … from traffickers, but the problem is they're not locked, and the traffickers are able to have access to them."
Mabery said there was a push to find facilities that were locked, as well as out of reach of the traffickers in metro Phoenix.
He stressed that the plan is still in its infancy, with details yet to be ironed out. It has not yet been presented to the Yavapai County Board of Supervisors, which must approve the plan before the center shops for a contractor.
Mabery said the intention is to create a softer feel for the pod than the other detention structures in the facility — pulling out the detention furniture and bedding and replacing it with a more therapeutic atmosphere.
He said it's important to remember that most of the children will be arrested for crimes other than prostitution and said the plan is to employ a screening tool that will help address all the individual needs of the minors who come through. Initially, he said, the unit will be a 12-bed pod.
"I think the intention is to keep the net small," he said. "You want to focus on the most high-risk of high-risk kids."
Heather Murphy, director of communications at the Arizona Supreme Court, said research suggests that it's beneficial to completely remove sex-trafficking victims from their familiar lifestyles. Doing so, she said, decreases the chances of running away.
"If you take them out of their local network and provide good supervision, their abuser is not likely to network with them, to swing by at 11:05, hop in a car and go off and do the sorts of things that they're used to," Murphy said.
Benson attended the meeting where the proposal was presented and said she is strongly opposed to a lockdown model.
"For these girls to heal, they need to be in a regular environment," she said. "When you're locked down, what does that do to you? When you've lost trust in people? When you're in the life, you're told to not trust authority as it is."
Benson compares sex-trafficking victims to victims of domestic violence, who are statistically shown to flee from services many times before agreeing to stick with a program.
"But yet we don't lock them up," she said.
Lois Lee, who runs Children of the Night, has been working with the population for more than 35 years. Her facility is not locked down and experiences about a 30 percent rate of runaways. As with StreetLightUSA, many girls return.
"I feel it's entirely inappropriate," Lee said of locking in trafficked youths. "When they get out (of a lockdown facility), they run compulsively, and they will never ever go back to residential care again. You can't force residential care on anybody. You can't force them to change."
While the concept of sex-trafficking minors is not a new one, the nation's attention and research on the topic is just beginning to materialize.
Short of conclusive research, Reock said, there are several competing philosophies on how to best treat the population.
Reock said Shared Hope has identified about 50 service providers throughout the country. Shared Hope advocates for the least restrictive model that is going to keep a young person safe.
"There are going to be young people who do need therapeutic foster care or group home … and there may be some that are harmful to themselves or others. They may need some sort of lockdown," she said, adding that some may need just community services.
"It's tough, because there's this sort of tendency to want to generalize this type of trauma … and these services aren't going to be a one-size-fits-all."
Why We Must Empower Victims of Human Trafficking
by Sen. Roger Wicker
No state in America is free from the stain of human trafficking -- a rampant form of slavery that seems unimaginable in this day and age. Trafficking is not a problem faced only by faraway countries. It exploits thousands of men, women, and children in the United States each year. These innocent Americans are robbed of their basic freedom to live as they choose.
Human trafficking is a persistent and evil crime. In fact, investigations and prosecutions at the federal and state levels are on the rise. The Polaris Project, which operates a national hotline for victims and those with information about trafficking, estimates there were more than 5,000 potential trafficking cases just last year.
Children and youth are particularly vulnerable to forced labor and trafficking for sex, often coerced through intimidation and violence by family members, pimps, or strangers. They are abducted in their own communities, taken from their loved ones, and sold.
The horror stories are endless. Consider the 12-year-old runaway who was kidnapped in New York City and advertised on a sex trafficking website. Or the 16 juveniles -- ranging in age from 13 to 17 years old -- rescued in a sex trafficking operation during this year's Super Bowl. These children face unique challenges as victims, in need of both justice and rehabilitation.
A bill I have introduced, the "End Trafficking Act of 2014," would close current gaps in existing laws to stop trafficking and prosecute those who perpetrate it. I believe more can be done to address the complex issues associated with trafficking, including what drives it and how victims can receive the counseling they need.
Sex trafficking affects individuals of all backgrounds and races, but it disproportionately impacts women, both domestically and internationally. Although news headlines often glibly refer to a "war on women" in political terms, policymakers might well devote more energy to sex trafficking -- a nightmarish war faced by the most vulnerable among us, young women who are being bought and sold for sex against their will.
One proposal in my bill is a court-based pilot program modeled after Hawaii's "girls courts" and the federal drug court system. Often juvenile trafficking victims are charged with a delinquency offense in order to be detained and kept away from their traffickers. Many laws on prostitution do not differentiate between adult prostitutes and children who have been exploited for sex. These minors should be considered victims but are often treated as offenders and fail to receive counseling and support while in detention. Some later return to the trafficker, who often warns their victims to distrust the police. A specialized court docket and integrated judicial supervision would put the well-being of the victim first, providing an opportunity for victims to return home and undergo treatment. Detention alone does not amount to rescue.
My bill also seeks to punish the drivers of the problem -- both traffickers and the buyers, or "johns," they serve. First, there should be strict enforcement of laws already on the books that prohibit the purchase of sex with minors. Second, child victims should have a longer statutory limitations period to file a civil suit against their trafficker. Finally, those who distribute or benefit financially from commercial advertising that promotes prostitution should face criminal charges. My bill would do all three.
As part of the criminal underworld, trafficking is hard to measure in scope and magnitude. The precise number of domestic victims is unknown. However, greater interagency cooperation and outreach can assist efforts to understand who is affected as well as determining the most effective ways to respond.
The United States remains the freest, most prosperous nation in the world. And yet, it is also a country where traffickers still find and transit victims, putting U.S. citizens and foreign nationals at risk. Fighting human trafficking within our borders will not completely eradicate the problem, which affects some 21 million people worldwide. We can, however, serve as a model for other countries to follow and better protect those here at home.
Speaking Out About Dark Moments, Human Trafficking
NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA - The game is called human trafficking and Florida is a big player. Earlier this month an accountant was arrested for using three women as sex slaves inside his home. And that's just one example of the many stories out there. One local victim is raising awareness across the state.
The sunshine state is ranked in the top three states for human trafficking and some people are working through their personal stories to change those numbers.
“The reality is that human trafficking has been here, the exploitation of children has been here in Florida for a long time... It's just that we refuse to see it," Richard Tovar with the non-profit FIGHT said.
It's a dark world to live in. A world Jerome Elam from Gainesville knows all too well. "I became trapped in this world… an enormous burden no child should have to bear. For seven year of my life I was trafficked by a pedophile ring and I was finally able to escape and get out of it," Elam said.
Elam who felt like he was trapped in misery until the age of 12, can now re-tell his story after more than 30 years. "One of the things that haunts me and drives me are the children I remember that didn't make it, that I still see their faces every night and it really just makes me want to fight harder because I don't want one more child to suffer the horrific nightmare I endured as a young child," Elam said.
Yvonne Williams from Lecanto started the Trafficking In America Task Force, an annual conference that educates youth on the matter. The event will take place in West Palm Beach from July 16th-18th. Elam will be there to share his story with teens.
Williams said, "If we don't address the why, we will never stop this. If we don't make changes in our culture, we will never stop this. So my heart moving forward is not talking about human trafficking 101 per say, we now know about it. Finally America woke up to this aspect. But now we need to say what are we going to do to change this culture to stop this?"
Tovar with FIGHT a non-profit in Gainesville fighting against sex trafficking says that in order for this problem to stop, people need to stop buying sex. "Whether it's a in a strip club or pornography or hiring a prostitute in the street, going online or any of these places… there's no reason for us to do that, when we do that we're just increasing that demand which eventually causes women and children to be brought into this industry because it's 'good business.'"
For more information about Trafficking In America Task Force, click here and for the conference click here.
For more information about FIGHT, click here.
Ohioans selling sex with their own kids
by Alan Johnson
Ohio children younger than 6 have been sexually trafficked by their own parents in exchange for drugs, rent and cash, a new report indicates.
Information from the Ohio Network of Children's Advocacy Centers shows that 51 minors from across the state were potential human-trafficking victims — five of them age 6 or younger — over a nine-month period. The network has a state contract to screen children referred by law enforcement, children's services agencies and others, to determine whether they may have been trafficked.
Statistics from July 2013 to March 2014 showed all but five of the 51 minors reported were 13 to 18 years old. Only one case involved a male. They came from both urban and rural areas of the state.
“I'm most shocked that families are doing this to their own children,” said the director of the advocacy center that originally detected three of the cases involving the youngest children. She asked not to be identified for this story to avoid pinpointing specific details about the cases that might cause problems for the children, or jeopardize legal proceedings.
“We think it happens to young girls who are runaways. But with these youngest kids, it's their actual families who are trafficking them.”
She said more information about what happened to very young children gradually comes out over time as they are in counseling and other therapeutic programs.
Information on at least three of the five youngest victims indicated they were trafficked sexually by one or both of their parents in “exchange for drugs, rent, goods or money,” said Amy Deverson Roberts of the children's advocacy network.
She said some cases have been referred for prosecution and others are pending. She could not release specifics about any cases.
The suspected victims were referred for help to law enforcement, children's services, mental-health providers and other agencies as needed, Roberts said.
“It's all about collaboration to provide the best services for victims,” Roberts said.
The network last year received a $523,000, two-year grant from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services to provide training to detect signs of trafficking, to put on education programs, and to handle child referrals. The grant came from a trafficking task force created in an executive order by Gov. John Kasich.
Officials estimate that 1,100 children are forced into the sex trade each year in Ohio; 13 is the most common age for children to be victimized.
Trafficking victims can get help by calling a national hotline, 1-888-373-7888, or texting the word INFO to 233733.
Child Victims Of Sex Trafficking Need Services — Not Arrest — Advocates To Tell Council
Child victims of sex trafficking need comprehensive services, not arrest, advocates will tell a D.C. Council committee today.
The Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety will hear testimony on a bill that would offer safe harbor to child victims of sex trafficking, put in place new reporting methods and expand on the training Metropolitan Police Department officers currently receive for better victim identification.
Andrea Powell, the executive director of Fair Girls, says her non-profit already works with MPD to secure services for identified victims. Thirty-seven percent of referrals to Fair Girls, which provides crisis response for trafficking survivors, come through police. This bill would, in part, formalize this arrangement.
The Sex Trafficking of Minors Prevention Amendment Act was drafted with the DC Alliance of Youth Advocates and introduced by Councilmember Mary Cheh. "Right now, D.C.'s current policy and procedures toward child sex trafficking victims only worsens the exploitation of young people," DCAYA wrote in a blog post. Part of correcting this problem, according to the group, is immunity for minors "suspected of engaging in or offering to engage in a sexual act or contact in return for receiving a fee."
Paul Quander, Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice, is expected to oppose the safe harbor provision as arresting a child is one way to ensure her safety. Requests for comment Wednesday were not returned.
"We understand wanting to keep children safe," Powell said. "But when effectively using this model, you don't re-victimize the victim. You get a better witness, and that child is more likely to stay engaged in services because they have done so with full support, rather than being compelled to do so."
The Committee will hear from one sex trafficking survivor, who is now 18, on that subject, according to Powell. The survivor went unidentified as a victim, as she went in and out of the juvenile justice system.
Another client who worked with Fair Girls, Powell said, was willing to talk to the authorities about her victimization — until she received a subpoena.
The need to identify victims before they enter the justice system is also addressed in the bill. "The best way to identify victims is really having well-trained, sensitive and compassionate law enforcement conducting interviews and identifying victims on the street," Powell said. "This bill further mandates a more comprehensive training around missing and exploited children." This includes children who are at-risk or who have been misidentified. The training would help police see if there's a deeper reason a child has been arrested for abscondence or a curfew violation, for example.
Powell understands the fear that exists with safe harbor provisions. "The bottom line is that you can't keep them in a detention facility forever," she said. 'When they get out, if they haven't received services, they're going to run further and deeper underground. And they're going to find a meaner and more horrible pimp."
While Powell has never met a client who left jail feeling better, she said services like therapy are proven to work.
The ordeal of Charlie Bothuell, the ‘missing' boy found in family basement
For 11 long days, authorities searched for a 12-year-old boy. A boy reported missing by his own family. A boy later discovered in his own basement.
Police found Charlie Bothuell V last month shivering and hungry, hunkered down behind a makeshift barricade made of boxes and totes in the basement of his family's townhouse in Detroit. This week, the state filed papers, citing allegations of physical and mental abuse that led up to the lengthy ordeal. A court hearing began Thursday to terminate the parental rights of his father and stepmother, the Associated Press reported.
Charlie was found by police June 25 as his father, Charlie Bothuell IV, appeared live on cable TV, pleading for the nation's help in the search for his missing son. When legal commentator Nancy Grace told him his son was alive — in “Daddy's basement” — Bothuell seemed at a loss for words.
“I checked my basement. The FBI checked my basement. The Detroit police checked my basement. My wife checked my basement,” he said. “We've all been checking.”
But that's exactly where his stepmother, Monique Dillard-Bothuell, allegedly told him to go 11 days earlier, Charlie told authorities. He said she told him to go down there because she didn't believe he had finished one of his twice-a-day workouts — which allegedly included 100 push-ups, 200 sit-ups, 100 jumping jacks, 25 arm curls with a 25-pound weight and thousands of revolutions on an elliptical machine, according to reports.
If he didn't finish within an hour, he told them, he'd have to start over again.
“Shut up, stay quiet and don't say anything no matter what you hear,” Charlie said she told him. And “I know where the sharp knives are. … I can make you disappear.”
Charlie told police he heard the officers who were looking for him while he was down there. He would wait until it was quiet, he said, and then head upstairs for protein shakes and dry cereal.
The allegations came out in a petition filed in Wayne County juvenile court. It states doctors found a scar on Charlie's chest where, he told authorities, his father allegedly drove a PVC pipe into his body. He was also allegedly hit on his head, arms, thighs and feet which, he said, sometimes making him too sore to finish his daily workouts, Reuters reported.
The FBI found a PVC pipe that had allegedly been used to discipline Charlie. It had blood on it, according to the petition.
Dillard-Bothuell's attorney, Mark Magidson, said there was no child abuse.
“Was there corporal punishment on some occasions? There may have been,” he told the AP. “Once all the evidence is out, you'll understand why.”
As for the workouts, Magidson said Charlie was overweight when he moved in with his father.
Bothuell's attorney, Stephanie Carson, declined to comment, the AP said.
The case will resume July 17. No criminal charges have been filed.
Charlie is in the care of his mother, Detroit Free Press reported.
A secret history of child abuse
by Sanchia Berg
A major inquiry has been launched into how historical allegations of child abuse were handled. The UK's National Archives contain some appalling examples of abuse at children's homes and approved schools from decades past.
In 1952 the Home Office gave clear guidance to managers of these schools - saying they had a duty to report allegations of crimes, including "indecent practices", to the police.
But the files show that didn't always happen.
The files - dealing with cases that the Home Office was alerted to - show how abuse was not taken as seriously as today, and how at least one institution wanted to allow a convicted abuser to return to work with children after his sentence had been completed.
All of the cases in these files deal with attacks on boys at homes or schools. Approved schools - somewhere between a children's home and a youth detention centre - were disproportionately male.
Here are a selection of some of the most significant cases we have found in the files.
Westfield Children's Home, Liverpool, 1965-6
Westfield was a local authority children's home with 26 children, aged six-16, mostly from "disturbed" backgrounds. In September 1965, a young housemaster was found guilty of buggery [the offence of male rape did not exist then] and indecent assault against several of the boys, and sentenced to four years in prison.
In court, the judge said "the state of affairs in this home can only be described as shocking" - and there was an outcry in the city. Many called for a public inquiry. The files show that the Home Office was not enthusiastic about this - and officials were relieved when the council decided to hold an inquiry in private, led by a QC, G W Guthrie Jones.
Guthrie Jones found that this was a "well-run home", with high household standards, regularly inspected by the Home Office, as all such institutions were.
He pointed out that the boys concerned had been involved in sexual activity with other boys in the past. The youngest boy, particularly, had been "buggered" by other boys, Guthrie Jones said. The first incident, recorded in 1962, was when he was only eight years old.
The convicted housefather had no record of homosexuality, Guthrie Jones noted. "It is plain that if a man, particularly unmarried, lives in such a community the strictest supervision is required. Indeed, it is possible that such a man might himself be in one sense the victim of boys who had already been corrupted."
Such a comment really illustrates the difference between attitudes then and now - though the files do show there were a small number of other cases where officials and police really did try to prosecute abusers.
The "sexual behaviour" of the youngest boy at Westfield had been discussed by doctors and council workers the year before. The council had considered moving him - he'd been in care since the age of five. But they decided another children's home was out of the question, as they didn't want to "spread" such behaviour, and they couldn't find foster parents for him.
Guthrie Jones made several recommendations - for instance, that boys "known to be indulging in homosexual practices" should not sleep in the same room. He suggested better staff selection and training as well as more use of doctors and other specialists.
"This was a shocking and appalling case and the way in which it was dealt with 50 years ago is a stain on the city's child welfare record," says Councillor Jane Corbett, Liverpool City Council Cabinet Member for Children's Services. "There has rightly been a seismic shift in attitudes since then, coupled with the introduction of rigorous safeguarding policies."
The Ockenden Venture, 1965
In June 1965 Peter John Moor appeared in court in Leicestershire, and was found guilty of two offences against young boys who were resident at Donington Hall. They were refugee children, apparently aged 11 and 14. Their identities are protected - but they would most likely have been Polish or from the Baltic states.
The Ockenden Venture had been set up some years before to cater for the children of stateless families - many still living in camps years after the war ended.
Moor had been a housemaster there, employed for only a few weeks. It emerged that he had resigned from two previous teaching jobs. More importantly, he had a long string of convictions for buggery, theft and indecent assault. He had first been convicted at the age of 15, in 1923, for "assault on a male". In 1957 he had been sentenced to eight years in prison for a sexual assault on a 15-year-old boy.
Moor had been able to move around freely simply by changing his name. The Home Office did hold a register of persons unsuitable to work with children - but he'd dodged that.
Officials agreed this was a "disturbing case" but felt that there was little that could be done. They reminded institutions they should always check references. "All this goes to show that no system is foolproof," wrote one senior official in the Home Office. The file makes clear that Ockenden, catering for some of the most vulnerable children in England, had been targeted before. The headteacher had called the regional inspectors directly on this occasion because of "former allegations of indecent behaviour by a housemaster in 1962".
"Ockenden has been shocked and appalled by the allegations of abuse highlighted by the media," say the trustees in a statement. "Historically, as part of its remit to assist refugees and displaced persons, the charity used to run children's homes. Having received a complaint about a housemaster at the Donington Hall children's home in 1965, the charity immediately contacted the police. The housemaster was suspended and ultimately, convicted and imprisoned. It subsequently transpired that the housemaster had obtained his position at Donington Hall by disguising his true identity and his former convictions."
St Gilbert's, Christian Brothers school, 1963
The Christian Brothers, or De La Salle Order, ran several approved schools in England. The approved schools were the ultimate responsibility of the Home Office - children were sentenced to terms there by juvenile courts. They catered generally for boys who'd committed relatively minor crimes. Their intention was reform.
Ian McCallum was sent to St Gilbert's, near Kidderminster in Worcestershire, when he was 13, after his home life became very difficult. McCallum was something of a rarity at St Gilbert's - a boy who'd passed the 11-plus.
St Gilbert's was harsh, he says. Boys were beaten so badly their backsides were black with bruising. He remembers how - soon after he arrived - he awoke to find seven of the ten other boys in his dormitory had run away. The boys were badly caned on their return.
McCallum vividly recalls the night he woke up to find Brother Maurice, the deputy headmaster, leaning over his bed. He woke up with a start - and the monk leant back, claiming nothing happened.
The files in the National Archives show that in 1963 a mother had complained to the police about the behaviour of one of the brothers. The name is redacted, but the context, and research by the BBC, indicates it was Brother Maurice. It shows that there had been earlier complaints about this monk - and the head of the order had moved him to Scotland. The order had also taken legal advice, indicating that they did not need to volunteer any information to the police.
In January 1964, Brother Maurice pleaded guilty to six counts of indecent assault against boys at the school. He was sentenced to three years' probation, on condition he spent 12 months as an outpatient at St Bartholomew's Hospital.
Five years later, the order wanted to place Brother Maurice back in an approved school as a teacher. He had been reinstated as a teacher by the Department for Education and Science, according to the note in the file. He would have remained on the "register" - but the order would not normally check one of their appointments against that Home Office record.
Civil servants were concerned there might be some repercussions for Whitehall if the monk reoffended. "It seems to me that the S of S [secretary of state] might be open to some criticism if [name redacted] were to have a relapse and the order could represent that the Home Office were aware of their intentions to re-employ him and had not advised against it," wrote DJ Marks, a senior civil servant in the Home Office. They decided to express their reservations by phone - there's no note of what the outcome was.
McCallum is still shocked by the lack of care and concern for the children involved.
"There's no mention of anything about the children… He got three years' probation. What's three years' probation? And a year at a hospital just discussing his problems."
The De La Salle order now stresses that it has totally changed its approach to child safety in the light of the 2001 Nolan Report and the 2007 Cumberlege Commission Report.
"The De La Salle order condemns without reservation any action or behaviour that harms young people and, in particular, that perpetrated by one of its own members or employees. It apologises unreservedly to the victims of such behaviour."
Allegations are now referred to police and any alleged abusers immediately suspended. There are regular inspections.
"With regard to the specific question about St Gilbert's School in the 1960s, no member of the order involved in that school is alive today and the order holds no documentation with regard to how any allegations dating from that period were dealt with."
St Vincent's approved school 1948-9
St Vincent's was a junior school in Kent - for boys as young as eight or nine. It was a small school - run by nuns. In September 1949 several boys complained to the cleaning lady of "rude behaviour" on the part of one of the masters. When she asked more questions it was clear he'd been abusing them.
She reported this to the police. In this instance both the police and the Home Office acted quickly. A Mr Davey from the Home Office went to the school, accompanied by a number of police officers. The very next day, police interviewed all the boys in the school and decided there was a case against one of the masters. They had evidence from 10 boys that he'd abused them - and statements from a further 11 boys who were witnesses.
The police didn't stop there. They traced boys who'd moved on to other approved schools. Nine boys said they'd been assaulted by a master who'd left the school in 1948, two said he'd raped them. Five boys said they'd been sexually assaulted by a housemaster who'd also left the school.
Charges were brought against all three masters and they were tried in early 1950. The current master confessed to five counts of indecent assault and two counts of buggery, and was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison. It emerged that he'd left his previous job in a remand home after assaulting boys in a dormitory. The Home Office had warned St Vincent's about him, but the headmistress had ignored it. She'd even allowed him to take boys away from the school premises for "parties".
The other men denied the charges - no adult witnesses were called in the trial and the boys were easy to undermine. The men were found not guilty.
A spokesman for the Catholic Church in England and Wales says: "The church, learning from its failings in the past, now has robust national guidelines and procedures for the protection of children young people and vulnerable adults. It automatically refers allegations of abuse to the statutory authorities.
"However, we should not forget that victims and survivors of abuse of many years ago - like the boys of St Vincent's School - can experience pain and trauma on a daily basis."
Danesford Approved School, 1965
Danesford was another school for younger boys, including many vulnerable children. The first allegation of sexual abuse came from a mother who had heard that another boy had been "the subject of minor interference" by a member of staff. "She had expressed the hope that her son would not undergo the same treatment," the file says.
The complaint was investigated, and a master questioned. It emerged that the man had previously been warned about spending too much time alone with individual boys. "There was however no reason to believe that [name redacted] had any homosexual inclinations and the warning was intended to protect the staff member from possible allegations by boys exploiting the publicity value of such charges," the file says. It's a typical comment of the time, when complaints from children themselves were often considered suspect.
In this case, the boy was interviewed, and claimed he'd been repeatedly indecently assaulted by the master. The master was suspended and interviewed by police.
"After first denying the allegations he broke down and confessed to offences against boys over a period of three years but mostly in the last few weeks," the file says.
The man became extremely agitated and the police "feared for his safety". The headmaster stepped in, offering him a room in his own house. The next day, he was driven to his parents' house. The file says he was sentenced to nine months in prison.
Six years later the Home Office were again contacted. A boy claimed that a master had "interfered" with him in the early hours of the morning. The school did not intend to call the police, believing that this was not a sexual assault. The Home Office agreed it was a minor matter - and "in the absence of any corroborative evidence it seemed unlikely the police would be able to prosecute".
"We are appalled by those who have abused the trust of the very children they should have been protecting," says a spokesperson for Action for Children. "The voices of children must always be heard - keeping them safe is our highest priority and we have robust procedures in place to do so."
The current inquiry
These files - and others that may now be uncovered - will surely be essential background reading for the new inquiry. The files reveal the attitudes of the time, particularly among government officials, responsible for the inspection of approved schools and orphanages - people who from today's perspective could have acted far more decisively to help vulnerable children.
"Child sexual abuse is a vile and abhorrent crime, no matter where and when it has been committed," says a spokesperson for the Home Office. "We are continuing to see appalling cases that show serious failings by public bodies and important institutions. That is why the government is establishing an independent panel of experts to consider whether these organisations have taken seriously their duty of care to protect children from sexual abuse."
Why there was such an apparently casual approach to the rape of these children over decades is hard to understand. As early as the late 1940s, some officials and police recognised the problem, and tried to act. In the most striking case, a senior civil servant wanted the then director of public prosecutions to confront the governors of one school that had covered up abuse.
However, most of the files show how many in power saw abuse as an inevitable - though unpleasant - feature of the system. And as Ian McCallum pointed out, there is virtually no concern expressed for the victims.
If you've been affected, the following organisations can help:
The police if you have evidence of having suffered sexual abuse so an investigation can be made
NSPCC charity specialises in child protection
National Association for People Abused in Childhood offers support, advice and guidance to adult survivors of any form of childhood abuse
Louisiana ruling sparks debate over confessions to priests as testimony
Catholic Church: Decision infringes on religious freedom
by Meredith Somers
A teenage girl's confession to a priest can be used as testimony in a child abuse case, the Louisiana Supreme Court recently decided in a ruling that has renewed debate over the sanctity of clergy-penitent privilege in the justice system.
The Diocese of Baton Rouge deemed the court's decision a violation of the separation of church and state, and in a rare statement on legal proceedings, declared the ruling an infringement on religious freedom.
“This is not a gray area in the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church,” the archdiocese said. “This matter cuts to the core of the Catholic faith, and for a civil court to inquire as to whether or not a factual situation establishes the Sacrament of Confession is a clear and unfettered violation of the Establishment Clause of the Constitution of the United States. This matter is of serious consequence to all religions, not just the Catholic faith.”
But David Clohessy, national director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said his organization doesn't take a stance on theology, but “there should be some way for clergy to both respect the privacy of adults and protect the safety of crime victims.”
“I don't pretend to have the magical answer,” Mr. Clohessy said. “Clergy are smart people, usually with superb people skills, and it does seem as though there must be some way to protect crime victims yet also the sanctity of their sacrament.”
According to canon law, the sacramental seal of confession is “inviolable,” meaning “it is absolutely forbidden for a confessor to betray in any way a penitent in words or in any manner and for any reason.” A priest who breaks that seal faces excommunication.
“A confessor is prohibited completely from using knowledge acquired from confession to the detriment of the penitent even when any danger of revelation is excluded,” according to the code of canonical law.
A priest must keep confidential all confessions, even those of robbery, abuse, terrorism, murder — even of poisoning the wine just before Mass. Revealing a confession anonymously is prohibited.
“The clergy-penitent privilege is one of a significant number of privileges that we give in the legal system to protect confidential communication between clients,” said Norman Abrams, emeritus law professor at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Mr. Abrams noted that lawyer-client and doctor-patient confidentiality is upheld for the majority of confessions. Imposing limitations, such as forcing a priest to break a sacramental seal, would infringe on the priest's freedom to practice his religion, he added.
While that privilege might sound excessive, the Constitution protects that sacrament via the First Amendment.
“Whether it's the Catholic Church, Protestant Church, Muslim mosque or Jewish synagogue — all of these communications of a penitential nature — the communications themselves would be protected,” said Chad Marzen, assistant professor of legal studies in business at Florida State University. “Another privilege courts traditionally give strong deference to is something like national security secrets or state secrets. There are certain areas in evidence law where presumption is not going to force discovery.”
The problem, however, is when confessions involve admissions of serious crimes, such as child abuse.
“I think it's a very interesting conflict placing priests between centuries-old holy rites and mandatory child abuse statutes,” said Kari Dalton, a law professor at John Marshall Law School and author of “The Priest-Penitent Privilege v. Child Abuse Reporting Statutes: How to Avoid the Conflict and Serve Society.”
“When you involve priests as mandatory reporters under child abuse reports in states, you run into lots of potential constitutional issues,” Ms. Dalton said.
While the First Amendment covers freedom of religion, each state has its own laws for how to handle confessions, particularly those involving child abuse, like the Louisiana case.
According to the Child Welfare Information Gateway, all 50 states, as well as the District and a few U.S. territories, have laws that designate “mandatory reporters” for child abuse or neglect. About 27 of them include clergy members.
“There's a clash between child abuse reporting laws and the seal of confession,” said Paul F. Rothstein, law professor at the Georgetown University Law Center. “The church says it's all behind the seal, but the law in [other] jurisdictions is different.”
To complicate matters, when considering the sanctity of confession within a legal framework, a court has to determine whether the confession was made under the seal of confidentiality or in a less formal meeting.
If a secret is determined to have been shared outside of an official confession, that information could be used as testimony.
“What a privilege does [is] it protects certain kinds of communication,” said Ronald Allen, a law professor at Northwestern University. “In a typical case, you're protecting the person who's getting the benefit of the privilege. Typically, in a priest-penitent privilege context, it's the penitent. But some states that are weird, it's the clergy who is the holder.”
It's the holder of the privilege, Mr. Allen said, who can waive that right to privacy, such as in the Louisiana case.
Court documents state that in 2009, the family of a girl sued the Archdiocese of Baton Rouge, the now-deceased George J. Charlet Jr., the Charlet Funeral Home Inc. and the Rev. Jeff Bayhi. The documents state that around the time the girl was 14, she began an email correspondence with Charlet that escalated over time into Charlet “kissing and fondling” the girl.
The girl, court papers said, on three separate occasions confessed to Father Bayhi that Charlet had inappropriately touched and kissed her, to which Father Bayhi said, “This is your problem. Sweep it under the floor and get rid of it.”
The archdiocese attempted to block the girl's testimony about the confession, which was supported by an appeals court, but the state supreme court overturned the ruling and remanded the case back to district court.
Even for advocates of a clear separation of church and state, the idea of clergy-penitent privilege is something to be respected.
“As long as the clergy-penitent privilege is treated similarly to other analogous privileges such as psychiatrist-client or attorney-client privilege, there's not a constitutional problem,” said Alex Luchenitser, associate legal director at Americans United for Separation of Church and State. “I think in terms of whether privilege can be overridden without consent of the parishioner, you need to show compelling government interest.”
Lead by example: Pope offers abuse victims open ear, open heart
by Carol Glatz
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- More than a meeting and homily, Pope Francis laid out a clear road map for the church when he celebrated Mass and welcomed abuse survivors to the Vatican.
The morning he dedicated to six men and women who had been abused by clergy was a powerful combination of upholding the importance of having the letter of the law and displaying the proper spirit behind it.
Jesuit Father Hans Zollner, a German psychologist and psychotherapist who accompanied the two abuse survivors from Germany July 7, said: "This is not only about the letter of the law. This has to come from the heart if this is to really take fruit" and make real, lasting change.
The homily/plan of action repeated calls for zero tolerance and accountability for the "despicable" crime of abuse and underlined continued commitment to vigilance in priestly formation and better policies, procedures and training for the implementation norms.
But most striking that day, some of the visiting survivors said, were not the pronouncements at Mass, but the heart that went into the patient, one-on-one listening later, in private.
While Pope Benedict XVI began the highly symbolic meetings with groups of survivors with his 2008 visit to Washington D.C., Pope Francis took the practice further.
He invited survivors to the heart of the church in Rome for a real sit-down conversation -- devoid of aides and officials, for a total of two and a half hours.
"The pope gave so much time. There was no hurry, there was no clock watching. Each survivor got the time they needed to tell the pope their story or whatever they wanted to say," said Marie Collins, who accompanied one of the two survivors from Ireland for the closed-door papal meeting.
"It was wonderful to see the pope listening so intently, for the survivor to feel heard and have the opportunity to say everything they wanted to say," said Collins, who is also a survivor of clerical abuse.
The eye contact, the silent reflection and how the pope reacted all showed how "it must have been hugely emotional for him as well as for each of the survivors," she said.
This seemingly simple feature of limited distractions and formalities ended up being an unexpected turning point for many of the visitors, Collins said, even "life-changing" for another who later spoke to the press.
Collins and Father Zollner, both members of the new Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, said listening not just to groups but to the personal stories of individual survivors is a message to all bishops of what they should be doing in their own countries.
"Now every victim in the world can say, 'Look, you have to do what the pope did,'" Father Zollner said.
Collins said: "It's a win-win situation. For the survivors it can be very healing to be listened to" and when church leaders hear and learn more about the nature and effects of the abuse, "it can help them" in seeing what should be done.
But because what can be done and how to go about it are not always clear, dozens of church leaders meet every year for the Anglophone Conference on the Safeguarding of Children, Young People and Vulnerable Adults.
Founded in 1996, the annual conference brings together experts and church delegates from around the globe, to share best practices and develop solid norms in the prevention and handling of the scandal of sexual abuse.
Collins and Father Zollner were among the speakers at the July 7-11 conference, which was being held in Rome the same week the pope met with victims.
Deacon Bernard Nojadera, executive director of the U.S. bishops' Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection, said the Anglophone conference "is like a think tank" where people can bounce ideas around and have a healthy dialogue.
There can never be a "cookie-cutter approach," said Francesco Cesareo, chairman of the U.S. National Review Board, because different cultures have different attitudes about how to talk about sexuality.
But, he said, common sense patterns emerge and, with input from the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which deals with sex abuse cases, the conference "brings a realistic sense of what can be done."
Bishop R. Daniel Conlon of Joliet, Illinois, chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on the Protection of Children and Young People, said in one sense, responding to the abuse crisis should seem very simple. After all, "it is shepherding and a caring for the flock, but the milk is out of the bottle," he said, adding, "Humpty Dumpty is broke."
No matter what gets done for victims or perpetrators, "it won't repair the damage," he said.
Cesareo said that's why so much talk must look at the future.
"How will the church prevent the same level of abuse? We should be prepared for the future and that's more difficult," he said.
"This is just planting the seeds," Deacon Nojadera added.
Problems will still exist and some forms of abuse will happen, he said, be the church must have "a culture that's reliable," where everyone knows what warning signs to look for and where to get help.
In the church's decades-long evolution of grappling with the reality of abuse within its own walls, Father Zollner said laws won't matter unless there is "a whole change of culture within the church," one that is no longer "drawn to secrecy," cover-ups and siding with the perpetrator, but to openness to the truth and listening to victims.
Helping church leaders listen to survivors is key to getting leaders to see the importance of norms and enforcing them, he said.
Hearing their stories "changes your life and your attitude toward the whole issue," he said, "if your heart is not made of stone."
A heart hardened to human suffering and misery is one of the worst things that can happen, the pope has said, and that's perhaps why, in his homily for victims, he prayed "for the grace to weep, the grace for the church to weep and make reparation."
Along with reparation, therapy and support, Father Zollner said, "There is nothing that is more important than an open ear and an open heart, because this is the way reconciliation can start."
Panel reviewing child abuse deaths to begin hiring staff to analyze cases
by Beth Musgrave
FRANKFORT — A volunteer panel charged with reviewing the deaths and near-deaths of abused or neglected children hopes to hire a lawyer by August and additional staff by fall to analyze hundreds of social worker case files.
The Child Fatality and Near Fatality External Review Panel was appropriated $420,000 during this year's legislative session to hire additional staff to conduct the analysis and recommend how to improve the state's child-protection system.
Retired Franklin Circuit Judge Roger Crittenden told a legislative panel Thursday that hiring the additional staff would allow the 20-member panel to back the recommendations with solid data. Crittenden said the panel was supposed to meet only quarterly but now meets every other month.
"We are looking at developing a systemwide model to determine where the breakdowns took place," Crittenden told the legislature's Program Review and Investigations Committee.
The panel was created by Gov. Steve Beshear via executive order in July 2012. The legislature then codified the panel in 2013 but initially gave it no money to operate.
Since its inception, the panel has struggled to analyze the voluminous case files of children who have been killed or grievously injured as a result of abuse. Some of the case files are more than 1,500 pages long. In fiscal year 2013, which ended a year ago, the panel reviewed 115 fatalities and near-fatalities. This calendar year, it's scheduled to review 57 cases.
The panel is required to make a report with recommendations to state authorities by Dec. 1 of each year. Last year's report, however, didn't make any recommendations. The panel's work also is supposed to be reviewed each year by the legislature.
Colleen Kennedy, a staffer with the Program Review and Investigations Committee, told the committee during Thursday's meeting that the panel had complied with the legislature's directive but had been hampered by its lack of staff to analyze data.
Kennedy said the $420,000 appropriation would help resolve that problem.
Kennedy also cautioned that in future years, it will be difficult to determine the efficacy of the panel's work because child fatalities and near-fatalities fluctuate from year to year.
Jenny Oldham, the county attorney for Hardin County and a member of the review panel, said the group's work would pay off, but it would take time.
The panel hopes to make systematic improvements to the state's child-protection system — including improving communication among social workers, police, school officials and prosecutors — but such changes don't come quickly, she said.
"We want them all to take ownership of child abuse," Oldham said. "I think it's going to take a longer view."
The panel can make recommendations, but it has no authority to require their implementation by the Cabinet for Health and Family Services or other public agencies. State Sen. Dan Seum, R-Louisville, questioned whether the panel could be effective if it had no teeth.
If the panel's recommendations are not followed, Crittenden said, the group will return to Program Review and Investigations or other legislative committees to report the lack of compliance.
Crittenden said after the meeting that the panel hoped to have a staff attorney hired by August. It also is considering contracting with nurses who specialize in pediatric abuse to help review cases. He said he hoped that contract would be finalized by fall.
Governor signs bill reinforcing teachers' child abuse reporting responsibilities
by Theresa Harrington
SACRAMENTO -- Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a bill to help teachers better understand their mandated obligation to report suspected child abuse or neglect to law enforcement or child protective services.
When teachers apply for credentials or renewals, they are now required to sign statements acknowledging they must report suspicions of child abuse directly to law enforcement or child protective services, instead of to school district officials, according to AB 2560 by Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla, D-Concord, which Brown signed into law Wednesday.
The bill also requires that a written report of suspected child abuse or neglect be submitted within 36 hours of a teacher becoming aware of such an incident.
The law addresses the growing number child abuse cases in schools where reports were delayed.
Child Abuse Influences Substance Abuse Relapse
by Jacquelyn Gray
Victims of child abuse who become substance abusers are more vulnerable to addiction relapse, according to a study published in JAMA Psychiatry .
For the study, a team of researchers at Yale University and the New York University School of Medicine conducted brain scans on 79 patients undergoing a 12-step treatment for a substance use disorder (SUD) and 98 healthy controls. Both groups included participants who had suffered childhood maltreatment (CM), the authors reported.
The investigators reported a reduction in gray matter volume (GMV) in both the SUD and control CM patients' left hippocampus, parahippocampus, and anterior fusiform gyrus, which control emotion, learning, and memory. The study results also indicated the importance of those brain regions' facilities regarding relapse, as CM participants with an SUD had a shorter relapse time. In addition, GMV deficiencies successfully predicted the severity of addiction relapse.
Although the role of CM in SUD and relapse has not been widely studied, the authors claimed their research provides additional biomarkers to identify addicts at high risk of relapse.
“We can begin to think about ways to address the underlying pathology in substance abuse and explore use of exercise and some medications to stimulate new growth and connections in brain cells in these specific brain regions to help restore trauma-related brain atrophy,” senior study author Rajita Sinha, Director of the Yale Stress Center, commented. “As childhood trauma is highly common in substance abuse, addressing these trauma-related structural brain changes can help us develop better treatment plans to promote successful recovery from addiction.”
Chained up child calls 911, parents face abuse charges
MEMPHIS, TN -- (WMC) - An 8-year-old child who was chained up called 911 for help and now his adoptive parents are behind bars on child abuse charges.
Police arrested Melvin and Kenya Bloomingburg Wednesday evening. According to the affidavit, one of their adoptive sons called 911 and told police he was chained to his bedroom wall.
The affidavit also states when officers found the child his clothes were soaked in urine. The 8-year-old was taken to LeBonheur Children's Hospital where doctors found scarring, abrasions, and signs of malnutrition.
The child told police that he had to sleep on a dresser while he was chained up in his bedroom. He also said that he was chained inside a backyard shed for three days and was denied food by his mother and father.
Six other children were removed from the home in the 5600 block of Gaywinds Avenue on Thursday, July 3.
The biological mother of the child found chained up in the house says she wants her parental rights back.
Both Melvin and Kenya Bloomingburg, the adoptive parents, are facing aggravated child abuse charges. In court Thursday, the couple was arraigned; Kendra saw a judge in person while Melvin communicated through a video camera.
The two were told that if convicted they could be in prison from eight to 60 years for the charges.
Melvin Bloomingburg is locked up under a $75,000 bond and his wife is on a $25,000 bond.
When Law and Justice Succeed: Trafficked Victims Offered Diversion in Ohio
by Dr. Christi Scott Bartman -- Associate Professor, Public Administration at American Public University
Much has happened in Ohio to put an end to human trafficking since my previous post, “When Law and Justice Collide.” At that point HB 262, (the Safe Harbor Act) had recently passed. As of June 2014, Ohio passed HB 130, (the End Demand Act), which focuses on the “johns” and ending demand for prostitution, therefore ending the demand for sex trafficking. Another area that has made impressive progress is the CATCH (Changing Actions to Change Habits) Court.
CATCH was initiated in Ohio by Franklin County Municipal Court Judge Paul Herbert. Judge Herbert realized that many of the defendants accused of prostitution before him exhibited signs of domestic violence and appeared to be coerced into prostitution–making them victims and not criminals. He investigated the grim statistics on human trafficking and felt the need to offer the women support instead of condemnation. I can only describe the process from this point as transformative.
I walked into his court, fully expecting the familiar proceedings I have witnessed in the past. The first thing I noticed was that there were no men, except the judge. These women had such bad experiences with men that to allow them in the courtroom would be too traumatic. I made my way through a crowd of women seated along the outside of the court. I found out later that these were the advocates representing the many nonprofit agencies and services that supported these women.
Within the court was another ring of women who were in the program already. They were there to offer support and advice to the woman before the judge that day. The judge was announced—but instead of going straight to the bench—he walked over to a chalkboard and addressed the women in the program. He talked about concepts such as habits and how they influence actions. He had an amazingly casual and supportive air.
He then moved behind the bench and the proceedings took a more familiar turn. The victim was brought before the court. Judge Herbert read the charges and addressed the legal formalities. He then offered her the option of a diversion. If she stayed clean for two years, left the influences she was currently under, and attended mandatory counseling services, she could have her record expunged. Once she agreed, the procedure went from adjudication to support group.
The judge asked the victim to turn around and address the women and read a statement she had prepared. The day I was there, the victim read a poem and there was hardly a dry eye in the place. The women in the program were then asked to comment and one-by-one they stood and offered positive advice and counsel. The newest “sister” was then accepted into a program that would neither judge nor condemn her but give her as much support as she would accept.
For a similar success in New York, see the recent blog post by AMU Professor Michelle Beshears. AMU, in collaboration with the International Police Training Institute, will host the second annual International Summit on Combating Human Trafficking Nov. 17 -20, 2014.
About the Author: Dr. Christi Scott Bartman holds a Master of Public Administration from Troy State University, a JD from the University of Toledo College of Law, and a Ph.D. in Policy History from Bowling Green State University. She is currently an Associate Professor of Public Administration at APU. She serves on the Legal and Legislative Subcommittee on Human Trafficking in Ohio.
Know the Language of Human Trafficking: A Glossary of Sex Trafficking Terms
by Leischen Stelter
Correction officers in our nation's prisons and jails may be among the best positioned of all law enforcement officers to throw roadblocks in the way of human trafficking crimes.
John Meekins has been a correctional officer in a women's prison for more than nine years and has witnessed inmates being solicited and coerced while behind bars. Sometimes these women are recruited by other female inmates who are paid by outside pimps .
“These recruiters coerce female inmates into working for the traffickers,” says Meekins. “When they walk out to what they think is freedom, the traffickers are right there to pick them up to lead them into the worst kind of slavery.”
In other cases, female inmates are directly contacted by sex traffickers through websites like paperdollpenpals.com and jailbabes.com , which provides inmates' mailing address.
But how can correctional officers identify the signs of human trafficking within facilities?
The most common way, says Meekins, is to pay attention to what's being said and written. Many traffickers send letters and money to prisoners in an effort to build a relationship with them. In these letters traffickers try to convince inmates to live with them when they leave prison.
Correctional officers, especially those who screen phone calls and mail, need to be educated and well versed in the language of human trafficking.
Here is glossary of sex trafficking terms and slang phrases commonly used by traffickers:
Automatic : A term denoting the victim's “automatic” routine when her pimp is out of town, in jail, or otherwise not in direct contact with those he is prostituting. Victims are expected to comply with the rules and often do so out of fear of punishment or because they have been psychologically manipulated into a sense of loyalty or love. All money generated on “automatic” is turned over to the pimp. This money may be used to support his concession/phone account or to pay his bond if he's in jail.
Bottom or “Bottom Bitch” : A female appointed by the trafficker/pimp to supervise the others and report rule violations. Operating as his “right hand,” the Bottom may help instruct victims, collect money, book hotel rooms, post ads, or inflict punishments on other girls.
Branding : A tattoo or carving on a victim that indicates ownership by a trafficker/pimp/gang.
Caught A Case : A term that refers to when a pimp or victim has been arrested and charged with a crime.
Choosing Up: The process by which a different pimp takes “ownership” of a victim. Victims are instructed to keep their eyes on the ground at all times. According to traditional pimping rules, when a victim makes eye contact with another pimp (accidentally or on purpose), she is choosing him to be her pimp. If the original pimp wants the victim back, he must pay a fee to the new pimp. When this occurs, he will force the victim to work harder to replace the money lost in the transaction. (See Reckless Eyeballing )
Circuit : A series of cities among which prostituted people are moved. One example would be the West Coast circuit of San Diego, Las Vegas, Portland, and the cities in between. The term can also refer to a chain of states such as the “Minnesota pipeline” by which victims are moved through a series of locations from Minnesota to markets in New York.
Coercion : Threats or perceived threats of serious harm to or physical constraints against any person; a scheme intended to cause a person to believe that failure to perform will result in serious harm to or physical restraint against any person.
Commercial Sex Act : Any sex act on account of which anything of value is given to or received by any person.
Cousin-in-Laws : Victims of pimp partners who work together.
Daddy : The term a pimp will often require his victim to call him.
Date : The exchange when prostitution takes place, or the activity of prostitution. A victim is said to be “with a date” or “dating.”
Exit Fee : The money a pimp will demand from a victim who is thinking about trying to leave. It will be an exorbitant sum, to discourage her from leaving. Most pimps never let their victims leave freely.
Facilitators : It is important to realize that human trafficking operations often intersect or exist alongside legitimate businesses. As a result, certain industries may help to enable, support, or facilitate human trafficking. This “support structure” may include a wide range of individuals, organizations, businesses and corporations, and Internet sites and practices. Common facilitators on which traffickers frequently rely include:
Hotels and Motels
Taxi and other driving services
Airlines, bus, and rail companies
Advertisers (Websites like Craigslist.com and Backpage.com; Phone books; Alternative newspapers)
Banks and other financial services companies
Inmate pen-pal services
Family/Folks : The term used to describe the other individuals under the control of the same pimp. He plays the role of father (or “Daddy”) while the group fulfills the need for a “family.”
Finesse Pimp/Romeo Pimp : One who prides himself on controlling others primarily through psychological manipulation. Although he may shower his victims with affection and gifts (especially during the recruitment phase), the threat of violence is always present.
Force (Federal TVPA Definition): Physical restraint or causing serious harm. Examples of force include kidnapping, battering, kicking, pushing, denial of food or water, denial of medical care, forced use of drugs or denial of drugs once a victim is addicted, forced to lie to friends and family about their whereabouts, being held in locked rooms or bound.
Fraud : Knowingly misrepresenting the truth or concealing an actual fact for the purpose of inducing another person to act to her/his detriment. Examples of fraud include false promises for specific employment, being promised a certain amount of money that is never paid, working conditions are not as promised, being told she or he would receive legitimate immigration papers or a green card to work but the documents are not obtained.
Gorilla (or Guerilla) Pimp : A pimp who controls his victims almost entirely through physical violence and force.
Head Cut : A victim getting beaten down by their pimp.
Human smuggling: The facilitation, transportation, attempted transportation, or illegal entry of a person or persons across an international border, in violation of one or more countries' laws, either clandestinely or through deception, such as the use of fraudulent documents.
In-Pocket : Not paying any other pimp than the one controlled by the victim. Not speaking to any other pimp.
“John” (a/k/a Buyer or “Trick”) : An individual who pays for or trades something of value for sexual acts.
Kiddie Stroll : An area known for prostitution that features younger victims.
Loose Bitch : Pimps call a loose bitch a victim who keeps choosing different pimps.
Lot Lizard : Derogatory term for a person who is being prostituted at truck stops.
Madam : An older woman who manages a brothel, escort service or other prostitution establishment. She may work alone or in collaboration with other traffickers.
Out of Pocket : The phrase describing when a victim is not under control of a pimp but working on a pimp-controlled track, leaving her vulnerable to threats, harassment, and violence in order to make her “choose” a pimp. This may also refer to a victim who is disobeying the pimp's rules.
Pimp: A person who controls and financially benefits from the commercial sexual exploitation of another person. The relationship can be abusive and possessive, with the pimp using techniques such as psychological intimidation, manipulation, starvation, rape and/or gang rape, beating, confinement, threats of violence toward the victim's family, forced drug use, and the shame from these acts to keep the sexually exploited person under control.
Pimp Circle : When several pimps encircle a victim to intimidate through verbal and physical threats in order to discipline the victim or force her to choose up.
Pimp Partner : Two pimps who are friends and allow their victims to work together.
Quota : A set amount of money that a trafficking victim must make each night before she can come “home.” Quotas are often set between $300 and $2000. If the victim returns without meeting the quota, she is typically beaten and sent back out on the street to earn the rest. Quotas vary according to geographic region, local events, etc.
Reckless Eyeballing : A term which refers to the act of looking around instead of keeping your eyes on the ground. Eyeballing is against the rules and could lead an untrained victim to “choose up” by mistake.
Renegade : A person involved in prostitution without a pimp.
Seasoning : A combination of psychological manipulation, intimidation, gang rape, sodomy, beatings, deprivation of food or sleep, isolation from friends or family and other sources of support, and threatening or holding hostage of a victim's children. Seasoning is designed to break down a victim's resistance and ensure compliance.
Serving a Pimp : The actual phone call one pimp makes to another after “taking” his victim.
Squaring Up : Attempting to escape or exit prostitution.
Stable : A group of victims who are under the control of a single pimp.
The Game/The Life : The subculture of prostitution, complete with rules, a hierarchy of authority, and language. Referring to the act of pimping as ‘the game' gives the illusion that it can be a fun and easy way to make money, when the reality is much harsher. Women and girls will say they've been “in the life” if they've been involved in prostitution for a while.
Track (a/k/a Stroll or Blade) : An area of town known for prostitution activity. This can be the area around a group of strip clubs and pornography stores, or a particular stretch of street.
Trade Up/Trade Down : To move a victim like merchandise between pimps. A pimp may trade one girl for another or trade with some exchange of money.
Traffickers : Traffickers are people who exploit others for profit. They can be any demographic, individuals and groups, street gangs and organized crime, businesses or contractors.
Trick : Committing an act of prostitution ( verb ), or the person buying it ( noun ). A victim is said to be “turning a trick” or “with a trick.”
Turn Out : To be forced into prostitution ( verb ) or a person newly involved in prostitution ( noun ).
The Wire : (1) A pimp hotline, like a phone tree pimps use to get the word around, to find out which city is on/off. (2) Wiring money from victim to pimp in different cities/states (“put it on the wire”).
Wifeys/Wife-in-Law/Sister Wife : What women and girls under the control of the same pimp call each other.
The Real Truth About Child Sex Abuse
Is the Church doing enough?
by Fr Dwight Longenecker
This week Pope Francis met privately with victims of priestly sex abuse from Ireland, Britain and Germany. They attended Mass with the pontiff at the chapel at St. Martha's Guesthouse, shared a meal and then met privately to tell their stories. Their meeting took place after the second gathering of a special commission the pope has established to address the problem of sex abuse by priests.
The sexual abuse of minors by Catholic priests has been a horrible crime against young people, and Pope Francis is right to liken it to a “sacrilegious cult.” As Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI did, Pope Francis shared their struggles and asked forgiveness. Expressing the feelings of most Catholics, Pope Francis said, "Before God and his people, I express my sorrow for the sins and grave crimes of clerical sexual abuse committed against you. And I humbly ask forgiveness."
Predictably, the critics of the Catholic Church are unsatisfied, Barbara Blaine, the president of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) dismissed the importance of Francis' meeting. The Pope's apology was not enough. Blaine demanded, "Francis must take decisive action right now" to address the scandal more directly. She dismissed the Pope's call for reparations and said “stopping abuse and protecting children comes first...no child on earth is safer today because of this meeting.
With or without church officials, abuse victims can heal themselves. But only with church officials' help can children protect themselves from child molesting clerics. That's where the Pope must focus. And that's where he's refusing to act.”
If Blaine is an expert in this problem as she claims to be, then she is deliberately lying. She must know of the extensive child protection plans the Church has put in place. In addition to setting up an international commission to deal with this problem, Francis has responded with clarity and force. In the face of continued attacks on this issue from the United Nations and others, Pope Francis defended the Church's actions in a March interview with the Italian daily, Corriere della Sera : “the Catholic Church is possibly the only public institution to have acted with transparency and responsibility.”
The Catholic Herald 's William Oddie highlights what the Catholic Church has done to address the problem and puts the crisis in a societal context -- showing that the Catholic Church is far from being the only institution with a problem. Quoting Francis and pointing out what is being done, Oddie observes the high level of child sex abuse in American public schools and this week's news from England lifts the curtain on historic child sex abuse of shocking proportions running through the English political and entertainment world.
Around the world Catholic bishops have put extensive protection programs in place. So, for example, in the United States safe environment training takes place in 194 dioceses. Over 2 million adults have been trained to recognize the behavior of offenders and what to do about it and over 5 million children have been taught the skills to help them protect themselves from abuse. In addition to safe environment training, background checks are conducted on all personnel who have contact with children.
All dioceses have Codes of Conduct spelling out what is acceptable behavior, employ Victim Assistance Coordinators, assuring victims and in 2012, $8,015,842 was spent on therapy for the victims of clergy sexual abuse. Furthermore, all dioceses have Safe Environment Coordinators who assure the ongoing compliance to the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. There is a Zero Tolerance policy on abusers since 2002. When even a single act of sexual abuse by a priest or deacon is admitted or is established after an appropriate process in accord with Canon Law, the offending priest or deacon will be removed permanently from ministry.
None of this work is acknowledged by SNAP or by the press. Instead the Catholic Church, as Pope Francis has pointed out, continues to be scapegoated, and Barbara Blaine and SNAP continue to pretend that nothing is being done. Attendees at the annual SNAP convention testify to the atmosphere of extreme hatred toward the Catholic Church. Could there be another motivation for the continued attacks on the Catholic Church? The links between church-suing lawyer Jeff Anderson and the funding of SNAP are well established.
What else can the Catholic Church do to address the sex abuse crisis? The Pope's commission must make sure the zero tolerance principle is maintained across the church's structures, but most of all, Catholic officials must be more proactive in getting the message across about what is being done every day at the local level to prevent child abuse. Those of us who work in parishes and school in the United States can testify to the extensive training courses, certification, background checks and child protection policies that are in place. At a moment's notice, given any form of credible accusation, a priest or church worker will be yanked out and thrown under the bus. Catholics need to make it known that the zero tolerance policy is in place.
We must also insist on facts and call out anti-Catholic gossip and anti-Catholic bigotry when it occurs. Catholic priests are not the only abusers, and the studies reveal that the problem is much worse in other sectors of society. We must admit our own failings, make reparation and do better, but we must also continue to publicize the real story of priestly sex abuse. Objective and factual studies like Philip Jenkins's Pedophiles and Priests: Anatomy of a Contemporary Crisis and the John Jay Report provide the real facts about sex abuse among Catholic priests. These studies lay out the truth and put it into context and we need to be more proactive in proclaiming the truth.
In the name of the whole church, it is right for Pope Francis to meet victims and apologize. It is right that we face the horrible truth about a few sick men who served as priests. It is right that we fact the truth about the bishops who covered up for them.
But it is also right that we proclaim the real truth about child sex abuse and insist on justice not only for the victims, but for all involved in the sordid and sorry mess.
Judge compares incest and paedophilia to past attitudes towards homosexuality, claiming they might not be taboo anymore
by Louise Hall
A Sydney judge has compared incest and paedophilia to homosexuality, saying the community may no longer see sexual contact between siblings and between adults and children as “unnatural” or “taboo”.
District Court Judge Garry Neilson said just as gay sex was socially unacceptable and criminal in the 1950s and 1960s but is now widely accepted, “a jury might find nothing untoward in the advance of a brother towards his sister once she had sexually matured, had sexual relationships with other men and was now ‘available', not having [a] sexual partner”.
He also said the “only reason” that incest is still a crime is because of the high risk of genetic abnormalities in children born from consanguineous relationships “but even that falls away to an extent [because] there is such ease of contraception and readily access to abortion”.
Judge Neilson made the extraordinary and bizarre comments in the case of a 58-year-old man, known for legal reasons as MRM, who is charged with repeatedly raping his younger sister in the family's western Sydney home in 1981.
The man had earlier pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting his sister when she was 10 or 11 years old in 1973 or 1974 after police recorded a telephone conversation between the siblings in July 2011 in which he admitted to having sexual contact with her when she was “a kid”.
But he has pleaded not guilty to the charge of sexual intercourse without consent, with an alternative charge of incest, regarding the 1981 events.
On April 7 a jury was empanelled and the Crown Prosecutor requested the jurors be told of the earlier misconduct to show MRM had a tendency to have a sexual interest in and have sexual intercourse with his sister.
The Crown argued that without the background information, the jury might find it hard to understand why MRM began raping his sister “out of the blue” and why she did not report it to her parents or police.
In the mid-1970s MRM had warned her not to tell their parents because they had just lost another son in a car crash and she remained fearful of upsetting her parents when the abuse recommenced in 1981.
But Judge Neilson refused to admit the evidence, saying the sexual abuse which had occurred when the girl was 10 or 11 and the youth was 17 occurred in a different context to the sex which happened when she was 18 and he was 26. By 1981, she had had sexual relationships with two men and had a young child.
“By that stage they are both mature adults. The complainant has been sexually awoken, shall we say, by having two relationships with men and she had become ‘free' when the second relationship broke down,” Judge Neilson said.
“The only thing that might change that is the fact that they were a brother and sister but we've come a long way from the 1950s … when the position of the English Common Law was that sex outside marriage was not lawful.”
He went on to say incest only remains a crime “to prevent chromosomal abnormalities” but the availability of contraception and abortion now diminishes that reason.
“If this was the 50s and you had a jury of 12 men there, which is what you'd invariably have, they would say it's unnatural for a man to be interested in another man or a man being interested in a boy. Those things have gone.”
On Tuesday Crown Prosecutor Sally Dowling SC asked the Court of Criminal Appeal to remit the case to a judge other than Judge Neilson because of the "misogynistic" attitude he displayed towards the complainant.
“These remarks in my submission are completely disgraceful,” Ms Dowling said.
"The reference to abortion is particularly repellent.”
Justices Arthur Emmett, Derek Price and Elizabeth Fullerton reserved their decision.
Adults Surviving Child Abuse president Dr Cathy Kezelman said: "To equate homosexuality, incest and the crime of child sexual assault is as ill-informed as it is outrageous. For it to be paraded by a Judge in Australia in 2014 during the time of the Royal Commission into Institutional Abuse, or at any time, is beyond belief. Literally thousands of survivors of child sexual abuse have given testimony before the commission of the decades of damage their abuse has caused," Dr Kezelman said.
"The relational betrayal of the horrors of incest between a brother and sister of any age is abhorrently criminal. Failure to understand that prior abuse disempowers the victim establishing the ground for future assaults is ignorant. This together with referring to a sibling as being sexually ‘free' or ‘available' demands strict censure."
Bravehearts founder Hetty Johnston called for Judge Neilson to step down from the bench for "ludicrous and obscene remarks".
"These comments are offensive to every child, every victim, every homosexual person in this country."
Ms Johnston also called on the case to be referred to the current Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
Marriage is no safe haven from abuse
by Mariya Taher
I work at W.O.M.A.N. Inc., an anti-domestic violence agency in San Francisco. The other week, a woman in an abusive marriage emailed me for help, the same week Washington Post's PostEverything article came out suggesting marriage protects women from abuse. After working at W.O.M.A.N. Inc., whose staff has a cumulative experience of more than 70 years in the domestic violence field, I confidently state this is not true.
We are taught from childhood that our ultimate happiness occurs with a loving relationship and a stable family. Yet, the United Nations Development Fund for Women estimates that one in every three women globally will be beaten, raped or otherwise abused during her lifetime. In most cases, the abuser is a family member. Last year alone, more than 24,000 calls were made to San Francisco domestic violence crisis lines like mine and approximately 8,000 domestic violence calls were made to 911.
Furthermore, domestic violence often begins or escalates in severity during pregnancy. Post columnist W. Bradford Wilcox's claim ignores that married or unmarried, one in six pregnant women report abuse by partners. On our crisis line, one recently pregnant woman mentioned she was hospitalized after her partner attacked her and she miscarried.
Wilcox's claim that males "calm down" after having a family suggests he knows nothing about the prevalence of family violence. His reasoning that married fathers naturally watch out for the physical welfare of their wives and daughters ignores that domestic violence is a learned behavior: Sons who witness violence are more likely to engage in domestic violence and daughters are more likely to become victims themselves as adults.
UC San Francisco found that domestic violence is more common than any other single health problem among women during pregnancy with serious implications for their infants. These children are 30 percent more likely to require intensive care upon birth. Homicide, the second-leading cause of traumatic death for pregnant women, accounts for 31 percent of maternal injury deaths in the United States.
These unfortunate realities have mobilized the Women's Policy Institute and a group of dedicated nonprofits including the California Catholic Conference and Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California, two unlikely allies, to support AB 1579, the Healthy Babies Act of 2014. This legislation would allow countless women to obtain CalWORKs benefits, the state welfare program for needy families, at the second trimester of their first pregnancy.
In California, a high number of CalWORKS recipients have been abused at some point. Financial dependence contributes to them staying in abusive relationships including marriages. In Kern County, 78 percent reported abuse and 18 percent reported using CalWORKS to escape abuse. The Healthy Babies Act would lessen undue stress on newly expectant mothers by ensuring earlier access to basic needs grants that can mitigate financial burden, eliminate dependence on abusive partners and ensure better health outcomes for themselves and their babies. In other words, public assistance becomes a lifeline to safety.
It is irresponsible for Wilcox to say marriage and babies are the cure-all for domestic violence. His solution implies women must marry a man for protection. This framework disempowers women and supports the notion that men have control. It perpetuates the misconception that domestic violence is the survivor's fault -- for not being a good woman and settling down. Instead of focusing on whom to blame for the violence, we need to look at ways to prevent domestic violence.
The Healthy Babies Act is a step in this direction and is set to be heard before the Appropriations Committee of the California Senate. You can be part of this movement by contacting your representative and stating that Assembly Bill 1579 is critical to the welfare of women and their children, the future generations of Californians.
Mariya Taher is the community liaison manager at W.O.M.A.N. Inc., a San Francisco-based anti-domestic violence agency. She is also a 2013-14 Women's Policy Institute Fellow through the Women's Foundation of California.
Father charged with daughter's murder 22 years after beating, autopsy shows
MURFREESBORO — A man serving a 25-year sentence for child abuse was charged with first-degree murder after an autopsy revealed the beating he gave his infant daughter led to her death last year, according to a media release.
Anthony Shannon Lane, 41, was convicted of aggravated child abuse in 1992 for attacking and critically injuring his daughter, Amanda Michelle Lane-Woodall, when she was 5 weeks old, according to the release. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison, and upon his release was charged and convicted of aggravated child abuse of a second child, her half-brother Ryan Lane.
Anthony Shannon Lane, who is serving a 25-year sentence for the second conviction at Hardeman County Correctional Facility, was charged Monday with first-degree murder for Lane-Woodall's death last year, according to the report. An autopsy performed by the state medical examiner's office showed her manner of death was homicide, caused by complications of blunt-force head injury.
Lane-Woodall's case was originally investigated in 1991 by Sheriff's Office Detectives Chuck Thomas and J.D. Driver, resulting in the conviction of Lane and Lane-Woodall's biological mother, Stephanie Pinson, according to the release. Pinson was convicted for accessory after the fact of child abuse. She was sentenced to two years in jail.
Cold Case Detective Sgt. Dan Goodwin and Detective Steve Kohler questioned a number of doctors and other witnesses before presenting the most recent charges against Anthony Shannon Lane to the district attorney's office, according to the release.
Rutherford County foster parent Nancy Woodall-Holmes of La Vergne began caring for Amanda when she was three months old, according to the release.
"She could only do less than a newborn baby," said Nancy Woodall-Holmes said in the release. "She couldn't suck or swallow. She was blind and non-verbal, fed through a tube in the stomach."
Lane-Woodall required daily injections for diabetes, and she also had cerebral palsy, according to the report. She was confined to the same bed for 22 years.
The woman was reunited with her half brother, who was also adopted, during therapy, according to the release, though they were never able to have a conversation.
"She and Ryan had their wheelchairs next to each other, and their hands touched," said Nancy Woodall-Holmes in the release. "It was like they made a connection with each other."
Nancy Woodall-Holmes said in the release that she hopes this case motivates longer sentences for child abusers so they do not have the chance to commit the same crimes again.
Anthony Lane is being held in Rutherford County Adult Detention Center while awaiting a court hearing July 18, according to the release.
Oprah Interviews Sandusky Son About Sexual Abuse
“At bedtime, his ritual began.”
by Victor Fiorillo
(Preview video on site)
On July 17th at 9 p.m., Oprah Winfrey's OWN channel will air her interview with Matthew Sandusky, the adopted son of serial child sexual abuser Jerry Sandusky, who was convicted of 45 counts of sexual abuse two years ago.
“Oprah speaks exclusively with Matthew Sandusky, the adopted son of former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, who tells the untold story of his childhood sexual abuse,” said OWN in an announcement. “In his first television interview since Jerry's 2012 conviction on 45 counts of child sexual abuse, Matthew reveals never-before-heard details of the sexual abuse he experienced as a child at the hands of his adopted father, and why he is choosing to speak out now.”
Matthew Sandusky had told police that his father sexually abused him starting at age 10.
He explains to Oprah, "At bedtime, his ritual began."
"Did the ritual happen every night?" she responds. We almost don't want to know the answer.
Why the impunity of male power is the big theme of the child abuse scandal
Something strange is happening in the maelstrom of moral panic – a collective refusal to analyse how patriarchy works
by Suzanne Moore
It's good, isn't it, that we are finally talking about paedophilia openly, and that something is apparently going to be done about it through all the various inquires?
It's good, too, that we have seen successful prosecutions for "historical abuse". It's good that survivors and victims are speaking out even if, like Vanessa Feltz, they are then subject to vile online insults. No wonder, as the Liberal Democrat MP Tessa Munt explained, it had taken her until she was expecting her first child in her 30s to talk about her own experience of sexual abuse: "When I was a child, I didn't feel I was going to be believed". It's good, also, that after years of rumours about paedophile rings at the heart of the establishment, this will be investigated.
Hopefully then it can all be tucked away nicely into the past and everything can get back to normal; all decent people are appalled – and so why is there still such a silence? This unsaid thing is ringing in my ears as I listen to the competitive outrage about it; it is part of the refusal to confront the gender dynamic, the sexual politics. Put simply: who is alleged to have done the abusing? Who has gone to prison for abuse? Men in positions of power. I am not saying women never abuse children – they do – but the large scale cover-ups that are now to be finally investigated are about men; the light entertainers now dead or in prison are male. Their victims are both girls and boys, those deemed to be at the very bottom of society who seemed disposable.
Already there is a backlash to what is being called a moral panic. Have we not become hysterical seeing nice ordinary men as possible abusers when they are not? No, of course not. Are we overreacting? Let's be clear, in these inquires we are looking to see if institutions enabled and covered up the rape and sexual assault of children in their care. If this is the case then that culture of culpability needs to be busted open.
We know better now. In some ways. Anyone who works with kids has to understand safeguarding, but we swing between excessive surveillance (a few years ago I had to have a CRB check to go on a school trip with my daughter) to outright denial that charming men are capable of doing anything so awful.
Something strange is happening here, a collective refusal to contemplate how patriarchy works. And I shouldn't need to say this but it's obligatory: just because some men abuse children does not mean all men do. Men like Keir Starmer have worked tirelessly for victims to be heard. But an analysis of how male power operates would be useful, and there are experts in this. We are called feminists. Child abuse isn't a new story for us.
Nor is a the sense of entitlement produced by the interaction of class and gender. To see Tim Fortescue, a Tory whip in the Heath government, talking openly in a 1995 documentary about smoothing over MPs' troubles such as "a scandal involving small boys" alerts us to who and what mattered then. Young working-class bodies and minds could be broken into with impunity. Celebrity then conferred a similar privilege.
Many would prefer to take refuge in the idea of the paedophile as pathological and aberrant. Those who work with victims of abuse will tell you that as with rape, most abusers are known to the victim. Home is where the hatred is and that is why abuse rips apart the boundaries between love and trust and intimacy in families and is so devastating.
Damage in individuals may be repaired, but now we can see that this damage spreads out to political legitimacy, to issues of trust.
As with Jimmy Savile, we turn away from the victims and watch an episode of BBC self-flagellation. Now with these latest allegations the crisis focuses on institutional failure from Westminster down.
The alleged crimes carried out mostly against young boys in care homes were, like most crimes, opportunistic. The perpetrators thought they could get away with it. They were not daft to think that. Men often have.
A moral panic, in Stanley Cohen's words, happens when "a person or group of persons emerge to become defined as a threat to societal values and interests". This threat cannot be named as "creatures of the establishment" so it is "paedos". But we should not panic. There is no need to pathologise most child-adult relationships. Children should indeed learn to cope with strangers and understand what consent is.
But it is absolutely negligent to talk about power and abuse without any context, in some gender-free vacuum. If we cannot talk about historical abuse and how male privilege operated to make it so risk-free, then it won't go away. Abuse is always an expression of power. Not acknowledging that power is another way of silencing its victims.
Sex Abuse Victims Respond to Pope Francis' Apology
by Katie Gibas
Child sexual abuse victims around the world are responding to Pope Francis' apology this week. After meeting with several people who were abused by priests as children, Pope Francis begged for forgiveness for the church for failing to prevent the abuse. He also promised action to protect young parishioners, as well as to punish those who committed child sex abuse.
But as Katie Gibas reports, while many church leaders are praising the Pope's statements, some survivors said words aren't enough.
Charles Bailey carried a dark secret with him for 40 years. At age 50, Bailey finally told someone he was abused by a Roman Catholic priest in the Syracuse Diocese in the early 1960's when he was in fifth and sixth grade.
"It's like your childhood is ripped from you in an instant. Up to that fall day when I was 10-years-old, I was a happy little kid with a big grin on my face. From that day forward, my childhood was gone. I didn't fit in with my peers. I was too young to fit in with the adults. You feel like you're solitary, alone, an outsider," said Charles Bailey, a child sexual abuse survivor.
He said telling his family and getting counseling helped him get the support he'd needed for 40 years to begin to recover. In 2007, he published his story in a book called "In the Shadow of the Cross." In addition to sharing what happened to him, he uses his writing as a way to help people manage their recovery.
"Come forward. Call somebody. Tell somebody. There's counseling out there. There's help out there. There's peer support out there. Just come forward. It's okay. You're not alone," said Bailey.
Earlier this week, Pope Francis met with victims of church sexual abuse. He apologized, begged for forgiveness and promised the perpetrators would be held accountable.
"It's the same rhetoric, just a different day. It's how bad we feel and how things should happen. Once again, there's no action being taken," said Bailey.
"To say nothing has been done, I completely disagree. Does more have to be done, certainly. I think what Pope Francis is doing by creating the panel that he's created, he's certainly delving in deeper to operations and so forth at the Vatican that I think we'll see changes. I think we have made significant strides and will not tolerate a child being harmed. I can speak for the Diocese of Syracuse. Priests have been removed. Victims have come forward. Victims have been treated with counseling and therapy and hopefully moving toward healing. That's going to take some time," said Danielle Cummings, the Syracuse Roman Catholic Diocese assistant chancellor.
The Syracuse Diocese said if the allegation is about current abuse, the cleric in question is removed from duties while it is investigated by law enforcement. If it's on case that's decades old, every time an allegation is made, the alleged abuser is again removed from duties while an outside investigation firm looks into the accusation, and if the accusation is believed to be credible, it is sent to the Vatican for a final ruling.
Bailey is also calling on lawmakers to abolish the statute of limitations for reporting and prosecuting child sexual abuse, because in his case, it took him 40 years to get the courage to tell someone what happened. He said it's still a crime, so the time frame shouldn't matter.
Paedophile ring had 20 high-profile members
Senior politicians, military figures and even people linked to the Royal Family were among the alleged abusers
by The Daily Mail
London: At least 20 high-profile members of the British Establishment formed a VIP paedophile ring that abused children for decades, a whistleblower claimed last night.
Peter McKelvie, 65, said senior politicians, military figures and even people linked to the Royal Family were among the alleged abusers.
The campaigner, who first raised the alarm about prominent individuals engaged in child sex abuse two years ago, said the conspiracy may have been going on for 65 years.
Speaking in public for the first time in 20 years, the former local authority child protection chief said there were still people in power who had been involved in child abuse two decades ago.
While working in Hereford and Worcester, he helped to convict notorious child abuser Peter Righton — once one of the country's most respected authorities on child care. Righton, who is now dead, was also a founding member of the Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE) — which tried to decriminalise sex between children and adults, before he was convicted of importing child abuse images.
McKelvie told police in 2012 that seven boxes of potential evidence about Righton were being stored by West Mercia Police, and that these might contain evidence of further abuse by senior members of the establishment.
He told the BBC: “For the last 30 years — and longer than that — there have been a number of allegations made by survivors that people at the top of very powerful institutions in this country, which include politicians, judges, senior military figures and even people that have links with the Royal Family, have been involved in the abuse of children.
“At the most serious level, we're talking about the brutal rape of young boys.”
McKelvie said the child abusers made up a “small percentage” of the British Establishment, but “a slightly larger percentage” knew about it but did not report it to the police.
He said these people “felt that” in terms of their own self-interest and self-preservation and for political party reasons, it has been safer for them to cover it up than deal with it.
The retired civil servant said he had once tried to blow the whistle with a “very prominent figure” in the Labour Party when the party was in opposition, but “nothing came of it”.
McKelvie also took his concerns to Labour MP Tom Watson, who then raised the matter in Parliament two years ago.
His comments prompted the Scotland Yard inquiry known as Operation Fairbank, into claims of a paedophile network linked to Downing Street.
Speaking on the BBC's Newsnight , McKelvie added: “Over many years I've spoken to a considerable number of victims and most recently victims of perhaps the most powerful elite group of paedophiles.
“Because the worst part of sexual abuse is the power that powerful people have over them. And they don't believe that power can ever be broken.”
The evidence from West Mercia Police includes letters between Righton, who was a consultant to the National Children's Bureau before he was unmasked, and other suspected paedophiles. He welcomed the two inquiries ordered on Monday by Home Secretary Theresa May but said the allegations should have been taken up “a very long time ago”.
He said: “At last there is the very real prospect of survivors and victims having justice. I believe that there is strong evidence and an awful lot of information that can be converted into evidence if it is investigated properly. There has been an extremely powerful elite, among the highest levels of the political classes, for as long as I have been alive — and I am 65 now.
“There has been sufficient reason to investigate it over and over again — certainly for the last 30 years — and there has always been the block, the cover-up and the collusion to prevent that.”
Westminster's dark secret: Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together
by Andy McSmith
Thirty years ago last month, speculation about a paedophile ring inside the British political establishment went global – not for the first time. The Toronto Globe and Mail was one of the newspapers to report on it.
“Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher has stepped in to quell widespread rumours that her government is in the grip of another sex scandal,” its correspondent Vera Frankl wrote, on 23 June 1984. “Rumours circulating in Westminster… suggest that a senior cabinet minister is a child sex offender.” Mrs Thatcher, she added, was sure that the minister was innocent, but “Tory MP Geoffrey Dickens, a leading anti-child-sex campaigner… is under pressure to name the minister in the House of Commons.”
Before we need to go any further, we need to pick up on that word “another” for what it tells us about Westminster's attitude to sex in 1984. The writer was not referring to some other allegation of child sex abuse, but to the fall of Cecil Parkinson, a minister who was forced to resign from the Cabinet as it became known that he had had a long affair with his secretary, who was now pregnant and accusing him of breaking a promise to marry her.
In those days, it would seem that adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and the abuse of children were all lumped under one heading of things people really should not do, some of which were illegal.
In the summer of 1982, there was a sensation when it emerged that the Queen's chief bodyguard was actively homosexual. His prompt resignation did not abate the fury of MPs such as Eldon Griffiths, a much respected backbench Tory, who exclaimed: “It is astonishing that the positive vetting of this officer should either have failed to reveal his homosexual proclivities, or if they were revealed, that it was not regarded as making him a security risk.”
Later in the 1980s, a Tory MP named Harvey Proctor was arrested after a young man was found near naked and screaming from pain outside his Fulham flat. Proctor got his sexual kicks by handcuffing and caning young men; but it was neither the age of his victims nor the pain that he inflicted on them that led to his arrest, in what the newspapers at the time repeatedly called a “homosexual scandal”. During Proctor's trial, his solicitor, Sir David Napley, remarked: “If this man had performed equal acts of gross indecency with a female prostitute under the age of 21, he would have committed no offence.”
Our age has a different understanding of what is genuinely shocking. It condemns the sexual exploitation of the vulnerable – and particularly of children – with a harshness that would have seemed excessive in the 1980s, while being tolerant now of what was then looked upon as deviance.
The failure to place the sexual abuse of children in a category of its own, as a sinister crime, was not restricted to those who disapproved of sexual licence: there was also a notorious blindness on the part of those who campaigned for a more liberal society. The former Labour cabinet minister, Patricia Hewitt, who was general secretary of the National Council of Civil Liberties in the Seventies and early Eighties, only recently admitted that they were wrong to associate themselves with the Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE), which was campaigning for the legalisation of sex with children.
Even the youngest MPs in 1984 were old enough to remember when any male homosexual acts were illegal. The change in the law, in 1967, which decriminalised private homosexual acts between men aged over 21, was not intended to make gay men equal under the law or to make homosexual practices socially acceptable: it simply protected them from prosecution, provided they were discreet. There were active homosexuals in both houses of Parliament. What their colleagues demanded of them was, again, discretion. One Labour MP, Chris Smith, courageously came out as gay in 1984; no other MP voluntarily followed his example until well into the 1990s. Things that were known around Westminster stayed in Westminster.
It was common knowledge among his colleagues that the Tory MP for Chester, Sir Peter Morrison, was gay, and it was rumoured that his taste was for boys rather than men, but that was never discussed in public. Sir Peter's inept handling of Margaret Thatcher's leadership campaign in 1990 was considered to be a bigger scandal than his private life.
Stories about the disgusting behaviour of the Rochdale MP, Sir Cyril Smith, were published by the unpaid staff of the Rochdale Alternative Paper but did not create sufficient shock for anything to be done.
It is, in retrospect, to the credit of that clumsy Tory MP Geoffrey Dickens that child abuse disgusted him. One of the first campaigns into which he dug his teeth was to have PIE banned. The liberal view at the time was that no matter how much you might disagree with PIE, their right to campaign for the lowering or abolition of the age of consent ought to be respected. Thus when a former Home Office employee, Steven Adrian, speaking as a member of PIE, argued in 1983 that “sexual relationships with a responsible paedophile gives a child a far greater sense of self-respect and self-awareness… It's a spurious protection against sexual assault, which, in fact, works as a weapon against children's sexual freedom,” this was duly reported in the media as a point of view, rather than an incitement to criminality.
Geoffrey Dickens believed that the law was being far too soft on people with sexual designs on children. A few months before his arrival in Parliament in 1979, a member of the public had found a package of child pornography on a bus and handed it into the police, who traced it to no less a person than the former High Commissioner to Canada, Sir Peter Hayman, who was also reputedly an officer of MI6. He was a member of PIE, and one of a group of seven men and two women who were writing to each other about their shared interest in child sex. One of the nine was also separately corresponding with a tenth paedophile with whom he shared fantasies about torturing children to death.
Those two were prosecuted, but the case against the other eight was quietly dropped, on the grounds that they were consenting adults who were not making money from pornography. But when Geoffrey Dickens came to hear of it, he used parliamentary privilege in March 1981 to name Sir Peter. His action was widely condemned as an abuse of parliamentary privilege by a publicity-seeking MP.
Sir Peter was the only person Dickens publicly named, though he threatened more than once to name others, including those who featured in the now famous dossier that he passed to the Home Secretary, Leon Brittan, in 1983, and that Thatcherite cabinet minister who has never been publicly identified.
Despite the current furore over Dickens' assertions – and indeed his one-man crusade to unmask establishment wrongdoing – was there really a huge paedophile conspiracy and cover-up from this period that's waiting to be exposed by Lord Butler-Sloss's review?
Dickens, who died prematurely in 1995, was not taken seriously in his lifetime. It is suggested that this was because of his working-class background and outsider status, but another factor was his self-defeating behaviour. After he had named Sir Peter Hayman, Dickens announced at a press conference that he was leaving his wife, Norma, for another woman, and then asked the astonished reporters not to use that information until he had had a chance to break the news to Norma. Within a month, he had changed his mind, and told the press that he was back with his wife.
He championed other causes, apart from the protection of children. He was a keen advocate of hanging. In 1982, he tackled the Transport Secretary David Howell – George Osborne's future father in law – demanding greater security on the railways, because the Chancellor, Sir Geoffrey Howe, had had his trousers stolen on a sleeper train.
That same year, his home was burgled. Dickens suggested in the Commons, without any supporting evidence, that the crime was the work of MI5. In 1990, he called for a debate on the Commons on “the spread of satanism and devil worship in the United Kingdom”.
The Government is rightly taking seriously the apparent disappearance of the dossier Geoffrey Dickens handed over to the Home Office many years ago and the suspicion that there was a cover up – but given how erratic he could be, it may be that if the dossier ever turns up, it will be an anti-climax.
HOPE investigates 500-600 suspected child abuse cases
by DELANEY WALKER
Approximately 23 percent of the yearly child abuse cases investigated by the HOPE Child Advocacy Center are substantiated.
Executive Director Teresa Grant told the Kiwanis Club of Cleveland Thursday afternoon the organization handles 500 to 600 cases each year from Monroe, McMinn, Polk and Bradley counties. The Cleveland office established in 2010 handles about 250 of the yearly cases. She said the numbers for sexual abuse and other types of physical abuse of children are consistently steady.
VISTA Brandi Keen provided a rundown for the Kiwanians.
She explained the center is a part of a multidisciplinary team comprised of law enforcement, the District Attorney's Office and the Department of Children Services.
A standard procedure is applied to every case to determine the particulars of each child's story. The organization first receives a report and has the nonoffending caregiver bring the child in for an appointment. The child is encouraged during the forensic interview to provide an accurate account of the alleged abuse. The family advocate speaks with the nonoffending caregiver while the child is in the interview. The team then determines the best plan of action.
Added Keen, “The amount of time and hard work I have seen go into every case is unimaginable and humbling.”
Grant confirmed most cases seen by the HOPE Center are sexual in nature. The organization created several programs to educate and lower the amount of such cases. Keen explained the goal of HOPE is to “tackle sexual abuse through garnering a societal change” and through the creation of a mindset of community responsibility to protect children.
According to a pamphlet provided by the HOPE Center, sexual abuse can be physical, verbal or emotional. Instances can include fondling, exposing children to adult sexual activity, spying on a child in a bathroom or bedroom or attempted rape. Sexual abuse often includes underhanded techniques, including tricking, forcing, bribing, threatening or pressuring a child.
The Darkness to Light program equips adults working youth-focused areas with steps needed to prevent, recognize and react to instances of child sexual abuse.
Sexual abuse prevention tips provided to parents from the organization include, but are not limited to often speaking with children about such dangers from a young age; being positive; listening; trusting and believing them; and telling them often how much they are loved.
Kiwanian Annette Smith introduced Criminal Court Judge Andrew Freiberg as the newest member of the Kiwanis Club of Cleveland. Smith stepped in for Freiberg's sponsor, Bob Donaghy, who was unable to make Thursday's meeting.
“It is really just an honor to be a part of this group,” Freiberg said. “I look forward to seeing you in the future.”
Club president Bruce Bradford welcomed Freiberg to the club and read the six Kiwanis objectives.
- To give primacy to the human and spiritual, rather than the material, values of life.
- To encourage the daily living of the Golden Rule in all human relationships.
- To promote the adoption and the application of higher social, business and professional standards.
- To develop, by precept and example, a more intelligent, aggressive and serviceable citizenship.
- To provide, through Kiwanis clubs, a practical means to form enduring friendships, to render altruistic service, and to build better communities.
- To cooperate in creating and maintaining the sound public opinion and high idealism which make possible the increase of righteousness, justice, patriotism and goodwill.
Any individual who needs to report suspected child abuse can do so at Tennessee's abuse hotline, 1-877-542-2873, or call 911.
The Kiwanis Club meets every Thursday at noon, in Mountain View Inn's large meeting room.
Few complaints to child abuse hotline investigated
by Gabriella Souza
When a call comes in to a state or local child abuse hotline, chances are it will never be investigated.
A Virginian-Pilot analysis shows that of the 80,000 complaints to Hampton Roads social services departments in a recent four-year stretch, only 21 percent were investigated. Statewide, the number was even lower: 17 percent.
Records show that the more cases social workers investigate, the more often they find abuse. But many complaints end up on a track that provides services or training, instead of an inquiry into the allegations.
In some cases, the system winds up leaving children in the care of their abusers.
The only time agencies should not investigate a call is when the allegations, if true, would not constitute child abuse, said John Mattingly, former New York City Administration for Child Services commissioner and current leader of the Annie E. Casey Foundation's Child Welfare Strategy Group.
“What you have going on in Virginia is a system that is just trying to keep its head above water,” said Mattingly, who reviewed the state data provided to him by The Pilot.
When a complaint is made, either directly to a Child Protective Services office or to a hotline, the information first is sent to the CPS office in the city where the abuse allegedly occurred. Each city runs its own CPS office; the state plays only a supervisory role.
The local office then must decide whether to follow up on, or “accept,” the complaint. That decision is supposed to be based on state guidelines for what constitutes abuse and neglect.
In Virginia, 40 percent of complaints are never followed up on by CPS workers.
Of those that are accepted, most wind up in “family assessment,” meaning social workers visit the family but do not take steps to set up a formal case. Some examples of those complaints: “minor physical injury,” prenatal substance exposure, lack of supervision, mental abuse/neglect, and a lack of food, clothing or shelter.
More serious cases are routed to investigation, in which social workers determine whether the complaint is “founded” – which means there is actual abuse. If so, they can take action, including removing a child from the home.
Cities could investigate every case if they chose to, said Mary Walter, child protective services policy specialist with the state Department of Social Services. Money and resources are limited, however.
Virginia has no guidelines for what percentage of calls should be accepted or investigated. Nationwide, 70 percent of calls are generally expected to be serious enough to be accepted, Mattingly said.
The percentage of complaints that turn out to be actual child abuse varies greatly from city to city, indicating that municipalities might be responding to calls differently. But according to Mattingly, cities are required by federal law to follow the same guidelines.
“The validity criteria is the same throughout the state,” Walter said. “I don't have an answer for that.”
From July 2009 through September 2013, Norfolk accepted only 51 percent of complaints, below the state average of 60 percent, but investigated more than anywhere else in Hampton Roads: 34 percent – double the state average.
Norfolk tends to investigate more often because it sees more cases of abuse or neglect that include drug use and mental health problems, said Al Steward, Child Protective Services program manager.
Mattingly said Norfolk appears to be rejecting some complaints to keep its caseloads manageable: “I think that is unconscionable.”
A spokeswoman for the city's Department of Human Services declined to comment.
In Portsmouth, social workers accept 80 percent of complaints, but 68 percent of those end up as family assessments.
The city would not grant an interview with a representative from social services. In an email, a spokesperson said: “There are times when it proves as beneficial to the family and the department to have a family assessment instituted instead of an investigation.”
It's the state's responsibility to make sure all calls are handled essentially the same, Mattingly said.
“The No. 1 principle is,” he said, “the state should be responsible for seeing to it that a child doesn't get different treatment just because of where she lives.”
He said that doesn't appear to be happening in Virginia.
Pa. universities OK child-abuse prevention policy
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania's state-owned universities adopted a policy Tuesday that is designed to protect the safety of children on campus, a concern that arose as a result of the Jerry Sandusky child molestation scandal.
The board of the State System of Higher Education adopted a set of guidelines that require staff and students who work with minors to pass a criminal background check and to receive policy and issue training.
The new policy covers the system's 14 universities and goes into effect in January, but training will start before then.
It does not cover Penn State, where Sandusky coached, because Penn State is a state-related university and not part of the state system, governed by the board.
The former longtime assistant football coach at Penn State was convicted two years ago of sexual abuse of 10 boys, and is serving a 30- to 60-year prison term. Some of his victims were abused inside university facilities.
Penn State has since revised its policy on the supervision and treatment of minors on campus or involved in university-sponsored programs. A report commissioned by Penn State that was written by former FBI director Louis Freeh and his law firm recommended changes to the policy at the time.
“It is critical for institutions and organizations that provide programs and facilities for children to institute and adhere to practices that have been found to be effective in reducing the risk of abuse,” the Freeh report concluded.
The new policy for state-owned universities will require some people to be trained in first aid and in the detection and reporting of abuse or neglect. All employees, contractors and volunteers will be required to report suspected child abuse to the Department of Public Welfare and a designated person at the university.
The state system policy applies to administrators, faculty, coaches, staff, students, outside contractors and volunteers.
The state system universities are Bloomsburg, California, Cheyney, Clarion, East Stroudsburg, Edinboro, Indiana, Kutztown, Lock Haven, Mansfield, Millersville, Shippensburg, Slippery Rock and West Chester. It also operates branches in Clearfield, Freeport, Oil City and Punxsutawney and several regional centers, including the Dixon University Center in Harrisburg and PASSHE Center City in Philadelphia.
'Selfish': Motive Given to Utah Mom Accused of Killing Six Babies
by The Associated Press
A Utah mother's motive for killing six of her newborns and storing them in a garage was that she was addicted to methamphetamine and other drugs and didn't want to deal with the responsibility, authorities said Tuesday.
Megan Huntsman, 39, was heavily into a meth addiction when she strangled or suffocated the infants from 1996 to 2006, Pleasant Grove Police Capt. Mike Roberts told The Associated Press. She wasn't worried about potential health problems caused by her drug abuse while pregnant, she simply didn't want to care for them, he said.
"It was completely selfish. She was high on drugs and didn't want the babies, or the responsibility," Roberts said. "That was her priority at the time."
Authorities think a seventh baby found in her Pleasant Grover garage was stillborn. Police had previously declined to discuss a motive, which they say was uncovered during interviews with Huntsman. Huntsman is in jail on $6 million bail, charged with six counts of first-degree murder. She is due back in court in Provo on July 21 and has not yet entered a plea. Her lawyer, public defender Anthony Howell, declined comment Tuesday. He said office policy precludes him from discussing open cases.
Married Catholic school teacher, 29, faces life in prison for 'having sex with 15-year-old male in her room between classes'
by MICHAEL ZENNIE
A married teacher at a Catholic high school in Michigan faces life in prison after she was charged with repeatedly having sex with a 15-year-old student in her classroom.
Police say Kathryn Ronk, 29, engaged in a variety of sex acts with the student - including intercourse at Bishop Foley High School in Madison Heights, a Detroit suburb.
The Spanish teacher allegedly hooked up with the student in her classroom - sometimes after school, sometimes in between classes when Ronk had a break in her schedule, the Detroit Free Press reports.
The trysts happened from January through April of this year.
'According to our investigation, this was a combination of actual sexual intercourse and other sexual acts,' Madison Heights Deputy Chief Corey Haines told the Free Press.
Authorities began investigating Ronk on May 16, when the student's parents and the principal of the school, the Reverend Gerry LeBoeuf, filed a complaint with police.
Ronk was promptly fired from her job, which she had started at the beginning of the school year last August.
She was charged on Wednesday with five counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct. She faces life in prison if convicted.
Ronk could face additional charges. Police are investigating whether sexual contact also took place outside of school grounds in Macomb County.
Ronk's bail was set at $500,000. She was released Wednesday after posting $50,000 cash on the condition that she wear a GPS tether on her ankle.
Ronk has been married since 2011, but has no children, according to her husband's Facebook profile.
A Facebook page she set up for her Spanish class, Español con Señora Ronk, shows her celebrating Día de los Muertos (The Day of the Dead) in her classroom.
The Archdioceses of Detroit, which runs Bishop Foley High School, sent a letter home to parents informing them of the allegations against the teacher, though the school did not name her.
In a statement, the Archdioceses said: 'Whatever the details or outcome, such allegations are disconcerting and are treated with the utmost seriousness.'
Pope Francis Begs Forgiveness for Church Sexual Abuse
by Yitzchak Besser
In a moment of extreme contrition, Pope Francis begged forgiveness from victims of sexual abuse by Roman Catholic Church clergymen. The Pontiff delivered his message of guilt and sorrow on Monday in a homily at a Mass with adult victims of sexual crimes.
Cases of sexual abuse by members of the Church have been discovered in many American, European and Asian dioceses over the last few years. The Pope said that the abuses were unacceptable in the Church and that bishops would be held accountable for shielding those who committed sexual abuse. There is no place in the ministry, the Pope said, for these criminals.
The Church's detractors have criticized its failure thus far in fighting against sexual abuse, and faulted the Pope for failing to meet with victims of sexual abuse earlier in this 16-month-long tenure as the head of the Roman Catholic Church. They responded to his statements on Monday by declaring that the Pope must follow up with swift and decisive action in order to prove that the Mass was not simply a collection of hollow words.
The Pontiff delivered his request for forgiveness to six victims of abuse during Mass at his residence next to St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City. This was the first time that Pope Francis had met with victims inside the Vatican. Two of the victims were from Germany, two from Britain and two from Ireland. After speaking with them collectively, he met with each person individually for at least 30 minutes. He called sexual abuse “a grave sin” and said that there was a need to make reparations on behalf of those who had “betrayed their mission” as members of the clergy.
Pope Francis, in begging forgiveness for sexual abuse, addressed a dark specter in the Catholic Church's recent history. Sexual abuse scandals have steadily continued to tarnish the Church's reputation as more and more of them came to light. The issue has affected local churches in Europe for over twenty years but was only brought to the fore in the United States about a decade ago.
Anne Barrett Doyle, a co-director at a website called Bishop Accountability, called the meeting a positive, if long overdue, step. The U.S. based organization documents cases of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. She urged Pope Francis to discipline Church leaders who have enabled, either through negligence or outright cover-ups, the sexual abuse of children. Another American group, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), made a similar statement on Monday, demanding that the Pontiff take immediate action to reveal and remove those who have committed and concealed heinous crimes against those who are the most vulnerable.
In late 2013, Pope Francis completely reworked Vatican law, broadening the scope of child abuse to include child pornography and child prostitution as well as sexual acts with children. He also made these crimes punishable by up to 12 years in jail. He then established a panel of experts for advising him on how best to tackle the issue of clergymen engaging in the reprehensible behavior.
Support groups for victims of sexual abuses were especially upset with Pope Francis when he stated earlier this year that the Catholic Church had done more than any other organization to uncover and expunge pedophilia within its ranks. According to the Vatican, officials have investigated 3,420 credible cases of sexual abuse in the last decade, and 824 clerics have been defrocked for their actions. The Church's United States division has doled out $2.5 billion in compensation payments to victims.
Pope Francis's efforts in begging forgiveness from victims of sexual abuse by Church leaders was a significant step on the “path of healing and reconciliation,” said Vatican spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi. However while the Holy See's statements represent a necessary measure in eradicating sexual abuse in the Church, the Pontiff's critics now will judge him not by the contrition of his words but by the conviction of his actions.
Sex-Abuse Victims to Pope: Stop Begging for Forgiveness and Just Stop the Abuse
Francis met with rape victims Monday and begged for their forgiveness. The head of the world's largest survivor network has 15 better ways for him to act.
by Barbie Latza Nadeau
ROME, Italy — On Monday, Pope Francis followed the footsteps of his predecessors Benedict XVI and John Paul II and met with a select group of men and women who had been raped, molested and lied to by their parish priests.
Francis spent around half an hour individually with each of the victims— a man and a woman each from Ireland, Germany, and England—whose names and ages were not disclosed. Prior to the one-on-one meetings, Francis presided over a Mass with the victims and members of the Papal Commission for the Protection of Children, led by Boston cardinal Sean O'Malley in which he apologized to the survivors for the “grave sins of clerical sexual abuse” committed against them.
“I beg your forgiveness, too, for the sins of omission on the part of Church leaders who did not respond adequately to reports of abuse made by family members, as well as by abuse victims themselves,” Francis said at the special mass according to the homily transcript released by the Holy See. “This led to even greater suffering on the part of those who were abused and it endangered other minors who were at risk.”
After the Mass and meetings, Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi briefed the press, explaining that while the content of each individual meeting should be kept private in accordance with the norms of pastor to parishioner confidentiality, one can be assured “they were profoundly emotional.” At times laughing nervously as he explained that he knew not what was said but that it was of utmost importance, Lombardi then went on to counter criticism from the clerical sex abuse victims' groups that warned that the meet and greet was nothing more than a public relations stunt. “This body of opinion has always demonstrated its unwillingness to understand the pope's actions,” he told reporters. “I'm not surprised by the reaction, but it is totally clear that it was not a public relations event. It was a profound spiritual encounter.”
Barbara Blaine, outreach director of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests or SNAP disagrees. Even though SNAP, now 25 years old, is the most widely recognized global support group for clerical victims with more than 18,000 members, no one from their leadership was invited to meet with Francis.
Ahead of the meeting Blaine, who was raped by her parish priest as a teenager, posed a number of topics she would like to discuss with Francis, if only she were given a chance. First, she says she would like to tell the pope, “Stop talking about the crisis as though it's past tense, and stop delaying while your abuse panels discusses details. You know the right thing to do. You don't need a report.”
She said she would also tell the pope to focus first on prevention, instead of forgiveness. “Wounded adults can heal themselves but vulnerable kids can't protect themselves,” she says, noting that abuse and sex abuse and the consistent cover up by the Vatican is still ongoing. She also suggests that the Holy See take “tangible steps to safeguard those at risk” by doing a number of what would seem like fairly simple steps, that are acceptable responses in the secular community when it comes to battling pedophilia, sex abuse, and child rape.
SNAP's demands include:
1. Order bishops to set up and finance a “whistleblower fund” to reward church staff whose actions lead to criminal charges or conviction of current or former abusive clerics.
2. Insist that bishops permanently post the names, photos and whereabouts of proven, admitted and credibly accused child molesting clerics (including religious order priests) on diocesan and parish websites.
3. Demand that bishops hire independent corrections staff rather than clergy to house and monitor child molesting clerics who cannot be criminally charged because of statutes of limitation in remote, secure facilities so they will be kept away from children.
4. Instruct bishops to use only licensed therapists (not priests or nuns) to deal with abuse victims.
5. Tell bishops to use only former police (not clerics) to investigate abuse cases that cannot be pursued by law enforcement.
6. Convene and fund a world-wide conference of secular lawmakers who work to reform archaic, arbitrary, and predator-friendly secular laws (like the statute of limitations) that prevent victims from exposing those who commit and conceal sex offenses through civil and criminal courts.
7. Make an urgent, strong public plea to all church employees and members, begging them to give information and suspicions about fugitive predator priests to civil authorities so the clerics may be prosecuted and kept away from children.
8. Order bishops to avoid using language that minimizes clergy abuse like “it's just a small percentage of priests” or deflects blame like “abuse happens in other settings too” or faults accusers like “these allegations are from 25 years ago” or mollifies church-goers like “he's not accused of molesting at this parish” or praises accused wrongdoers like “he's a very popular priest” or guilt-trips victims like “he has tirelessly worked to help the poor”.
9. Turn over Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith or CDF records about predatory priests to local law enforcement in the nations where the alleged crimes took place and insist that the head of each diocese and religious order do likewise with their abuse records.
10. Mandate church-based sessions to teach parishioners how to respond appropriately in abuse cases so victims, witnesses and whistleblowers won't feel intimidated or hopeless.
11. Insist that priests immediately give their passports to their bishops when abuse accusations arise so they can't flee overseas.
12. Demote and denounce at least a dozen complicit bishops, including Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City Missouri, the only sitting bishop who has been criminally convicted of refusing to report suspected child sex crimes.
13. Discourage current and future cover ups by clearly, publicly punishing prelates (like Cardinal Roger Mahony and others) who are concealing or have concealed child sex crimes.
14. Stop rebuffing secular officials and start letting Polish and Dominican Republic law enforcement officials arrest and prosecute Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski (a credibly accused child molesting cleric), instead of having Catholic officials investigate other Catholic officials.
Finally, Blaine says she would tell Francis that there is only one criteria that matters as he moves forward with his commission to protect minors: “Will this move actually protect kids by exposing and punishing clerics who commit and conceal child sex crimes?” If not, she says, “Then it doesn't matter if it's more or less than other officials or institutions have done or are doing. It doesn't matter much if it gets great headlines. It doesn't really matter if it makes adults feel better for a little bit. If it's not preventing abuse, it's probably meaningless or almost meaningless.”
No man can be considered risk free in culture of abuse
by Colette Douglas Home
The woman pointed to two photographs of herself taken when she was a small child.
In the first she was smiling, bright eyed and bubbly, a picture of happiness. In the second, taken just a couple of years later, she looked withdrawn. The light has gone out of her eyes.
"Why did no-one notice?" she asked. She was taking part in a documentary film made by survivors of child sexual abuse. A handful of middle-aged women and one man looked back on their suffering and the blight it cast on their lives. It affected their personal relationships, marriages and ability to work. It haunts them still.
Judging by the avalanche of abuse revelations these past few months and years, their torments are all too common. And now we know the perpetrators are often the least obvious suspects. Rolf Harris? I would never have guessed. Would you?
First the churches were exposed, especially Roman Catholic priests. Now we have the Mother of Parliaments announcing inquiries into allegations of historic abuse. Has it, too, covered up members' culpability, as privileged institutions seem to do? In between, we've witnessed heads roll in showbusiness, Harris following Jimmy Savile into the annals of shame.
It feels as if a stone has been lifted up and the pillars of our society are tumbling. Sexual abuse has been exposed in private schools as well as children's homes. Paedophiles download child pornography from the internet. They lie in wait on social media sites.
This vile practice crosses boundaries of class, colour, nationality and race. Asian British men have been convicted of grooming vulnerable white girls. White British men go to Thailand to abuse children. Destitute parents in Cambodia have been selling their daughters' virginity to the country's elite. One mother who worked in a beer garden in Phnom Penh saw 50 girls being purchased "like they were delicious food".
These horror stories, for that is what they are, have a common denominator. In the vast majority of cases, the abusers are men.
Given the scale of the abuse that is emerging, it must follow that a sizeable minority of men, given the opportunity, will take predatory sexual advantage of the young and the vulnerable. And they will do so regardless of the consequences to their victims.
Does this inconvenient truth sit at odds with a debate about gender which likes to play down the difference and talk up the similarities? Is this the biggest gender divide of all, the unbridgeable gulf? Will we ever be able to make it go away? I don't think we will.
I knew that most child sexual abuse is perpetrated by a family friend or acquaintance. It can remain unreported or take many years to emerge; so what we are seeing reported is just a hint of what has been and still is going on.
What I hadn't realised was its prevalence. The NSPCC reported last year that almost one quarter of young adults (24.1 per cent) had experienced sexual abuse by an adult or peer during their childhood.
For 11 per cent, it involved "contact" abuse. The remaining 13 per cent was "non-contact", possibly being groomed and persuaded to perform sex acts over the internet.
It is also the case that being disabled triples a child's vulnerability to being abused. I'm not claiming that female sexual abuse is unknown but we can name the primary female predators of our age on one hand: Myra Hindley and Rosemary West being the most prominent. (And both were working with a man.)
Yes, women do sexually abuse children. Mostly, they do so at home. There is ongoing discussion about incidences involving women being under-reported. But it remains undeniable that the vast majority of predatory abusers are male.
It bewilders me. I thought I could see some rationale in celibate priests, often recruited to seminaries when they were just children themselves, developing in a perverted way. Their teaching involved seeing women as a threat to their priesthood. It excused nothing but it offered me some sort of explanation.
But when it comes to the leading figures of popular culture and now, perhaps, politicians in the House of Commons or the ermine-trimmed Lords, where fantasy can be indulged with other adults, what is the explanation? It can only be the gratification of twisted desire and the exercise of power.
We know there is a paedophile lobby that would wish for their condition to be "normalised". We must never indulge that argument. That would be normalising a practice that leaves its child victims prey to depression, eating disorders, self- blame, self-harm and, too often, suicide.
But there is a curious reluctance to be clear cut about the issue even at the higher reaches of professional understanding.
Internecine strife broke out within the American Psychiatric Association following a recent proposal to list hebephilia as a recognised condition in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. (Hebephilia is a sexual interest in children around the age of puberty: a Lolita syndrome.)
People concerned with the welfare of children would err on the side of safety. The argument about hebephilia has become critically important now that good nutrition means children reach puberty ever younger. But the motion was defeated.
We must take care that, while the age of puberty may drop, the legal age of consent must be upheld. I asked a lawyer friend what would happen if it were argued that an unhealthy sexual interest in children was innate in a minority of men.
He replied that the law doesn't punish us for what we are. It punishes us for what we do.
I find that comforting as I look around with new eyes. I know and fully accept that the vast majority of men are decent, normal people as distressed by child sexual abuse as any woman would be.
But I am also aware that no man, however charming, engaging and devoted to the young, can be considered risk free. It's a distressing thing to say but, unless we approach the protection of children with all our senses alert for danger, how can we better protect them?
Almost one quarter of children are currently slipping through the net of our combined blindness, of our naivety, of our trust.
Almost all women are strangers to the combination of sexual drive and narcissistic entitlement that must be necessary for the sexual abuse of children.
It's almost as if paedophiles belong to a different species. But it isn't true. They just belong to one extreme of a different gender.
We need to be careful never again to confuse the notion of equality with the mistaken belief that we are the same.
If we fall into that way of thinking, we risk lowering our guard when vigilance is the only protection we have.
Home for Colored Children victims tell court about rape, beatings
Harriet Johnson urges abuse victims to speak out after judge approves $29M settlement for ex-residents
by The Canadian Press
A judge has approved a $29-million settlement in a class-action lawsuit filed by abuse survivors of the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children.
Justice Arthur LeBlanc of the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia signed off on the agreement Monday between former residents of the orphanage and the provincial government, closing nearly 15 years of litigation.
The announcement brought tears, applause and embraces from former residents and supporters in the court.
Former residents say they suffered physical, psychological and sexual abuse while living in the Halifax-area orphanage.
Harriet Johnson delivered a victim impact statement detailing the repeated traumas inflicted on her.
She told the court she was raped at the home when she was eight. At age 13, her rapist compelled her to work as a prostitute.
Outside the court, she told reporters she came with a message to other survivors.
“For all those out there suffering in silence, you don't have to suffer in silence. For all those that have been abused, it doesn't matter if you're a child or an adult — it's not your fault," she said.
She said she wanted people to know they can stand up and stop such abuse.
“You can do it. You can take a stand,” she said. “You all have seen my brothers and sisters in suffering? We are strong. We are powerful. You can be just as powerful.”
Winston Parsons was twice sent to the home. As a child, beatings left him with cracked ribs and split lips. He also watched other children being beaten.
He told the court it warped the rest of his life, leading to substance abuse and jail. Today, he is reclaiming his life, and speaking in court played a big role.
“It felt amazing. It felt awesome to get it out," he said.
“My whole life, I was labelled: ‘foster child,' ‘group home boy,' ‘punk, thug, gangster.' I'd like to know what they'd label me today.”
An advertising campaign is planned across Canada to inform former residents of the settlement and encourage eligible claimants to come forward.
Those who allege they were abused have until Aug. 18 to opt out of the proposed settlement.
The Home for Colored Children opened in 1921 and operated for nearly seven decades.
Theresa May to announce wide-ranging child abuse inquiry
Inquiry expected to look into handling of claims by government, NHS and BBC after PM promises 'no stone will be left unturned'
by Patrick Wintour
The home secretary, Theresa May, is to announce a wide-ranging inquiry into public bodies' and institutions' handling of historical child abuse allegations, with David Cameron saying there will be no stone left unturned in the search for the truth.
Downing Street drew parallels with the panel inquiry into the 1989 Hillsborough stadium disaster – and its subsequent handling by public bodies including the police – rather than the judge-led Leveson inquiry into the practices of the press.
The prime minister's spokesman said there was a case for examining how a range of public bodies have handled child abuse claims. These are likely to include hospitals, broadcasters, the church, judicial authorities and political bodies.
The detailed terms of reference are still being worked on and may be adjusted once the panel of the inquiry is identified. May is to reveal more when she addresses parliament later on Monday.
Cameron spoke to the home secretary over the weekend and agreed that no stone should be left unturned in finding the truth, and that any lessons from how organisations handled claims needed to be learned to understand society's failure as a whole to listen to the complaints of children.
The prime minister's spokesman pointed out that Kate Lampard, a former barrister and deputy chair of the Financial Ombudsman Service, had been given a role in overseeing scores of NHS inquiries into child abuse. The government said it was trying to balance the need for speed and being authoritative.
The shadow home secretary, Yvette Cooper, said the inquiry should be held in public, with experts chairing the inquiry.
The prime minister's spokesman said Cameron was not expressing a view on whether there had been an establishment coverup over allegations of child abuse by politicians in the 1980s, but said it was the responsibility of everyone to produce any relevant evidence.
The government also stressed that last year's review by the Home Office into how it handled thousands of documents about child abuse stretching back to 1979 had been conducted with no ministerial oversight. This is owing to long-established rules barring ministers from one party looking at the internal papers of a previous government led by a different party.
One issue remaining is the degree to which May was informed by the permanent secretary about the details of the 2013 review once it was completed.
The home secretary is under pressure to explain how her department lost or destroyed more than 100 files related to claims of organised paedophilia, as the government confirmed that details of four previously undisclosed allegations were handed to the police only last year.
The developments come after Lord Tebbit said he believed there may have been a political coverup of the 1980s allegations.
The Tory peer said: "At that time I think most people would have thought that the establishment, the system, was to be protected, and if a few things had gone wrong here and there that it was more important to protect the system."
Asked on Sunday on the BBC 's Andrew Marr programme if he thought there had been a political coverup at the time, Tebbit said: "I think there may well have been. It was almost unconscious. It was the thing that people did."
The claims include allegations of abuse against the late Liberal MP Cyril Smith and allegations of paedophile activity at parties attended by politicians and other prominent figures. The missing Home Office material is reported to include details of officials, MPs and peers all implicated in child sexual abuse, including one Conservative MP at the time who was reportedly found with child abuse images but subsequently released by the police.
The Labour MP Tom Watson said the panel inquiry must be empowered to look at any papers inside government on how claims were handled. He said it was disturbing that there was a special branch file on Smith containing allegations of criminality that had not been followed up.
Watson said he understood why it might be necessary for the inquiry not to take evidence under oath since this might reduce the chances of prejudicing a future criminal case. But he said he believed the issue of missing files at the Home Office may prove to be a "red herring".
Who under Alabama law must report child abuse or face possible jail time?
by Kent Faulk
BIRMINGHAM, Alabama – People who fit in nearly two dozen job categories, including the clergy, are required under Alabama law to report suspected child abuse or face jail time and a penalty.
The issue of who and when suspected child abuse is to be reported came up last week when a man stepped forward to say that the former pastor at Lakeside Baptist Church in the late 1990s had covered up allegations of sexual abuse by the church's youth minister Mack Allen Davis.
The pastor, the Rev. Mike McLemore, who is now executive director of the Birmingham Baptist Association, has denied the accusation, although he acknowledged dealing with the situation privately and confidentially with the family, which included forcing a youth pastor to retire early. McLemore said he advised the family what they had the right to do.
Alabama law (code section is 26-14-3) requires people who hold certain jobs, including the clergy, to report suspected child abuse.
Bessemer Cutoff Assistant Jefferson County District Attorney Leslie Schiffman, who handles many of the child abuse cases in that division, provided a synopsis of the law she uses for training. The clergy wasn't added to the law until an amendment in 2003, she said.
Clergy, however, are not required to report if the abuse is revealed by a person seeking spiritual advice and when that communication was made with the understanding that it shouldn't be revealed to someone else, according to an Alabama Network of Children's Advocacy Centers, Inc. fact sheet from 2013.
Here's the wording of the law as it regards clergy:
"Members of the clergy (as defined in Rule 505 of the Alabama Rules of Evidence) shall be required to report or cause a report to be made immediately when a child is known or suspected to be a victim of child abuse or neglect--either by telephone or direct communication, followed by a written report--to a duly constituted authority.
A member of the clergy shall not be required to report information gained solely in a confidential communication, privileged pursuant to Rule 505 of the Alabama Rules of Evidence, as such communications shall continue to be privileged as provided by law."
According to Schiffman's synopsis:
Who needs to report?
Hospitals, clinics, sanitariums, doctors, physicians, surgeons, medical examiners, coroners, dentists, osteopaths, optometrists, chiropractors, podiatrists, nurses, school teachers and officials, peace officers, law enforcement officials, pharmacists, social workers, day care workers or employees, mental health professionals, members of the clergy, or any other person called upon to render aid or medical assistance to any child.
When the child is known or suspected to be a victim of child abuse or neglect.
Immediately by phone and follow up in writing.
What is abuse?
Harm or threatened harm to child's health or welfare.
Non-accidental physical or mental injury, sexual abuse or exploitation, rape, molestation, prostitution, child pornography, incest.
Who do I tell?
Department of Human Resources
Local law enforcement agency
(Document any information you have about the allegation.)
Why should I report?
Safety and well being of the child.
Immune from civil or criminal liability if I do report.
Penalty for knowingly failing to make this report guilty of a misdemeanor and not more than 6 months imprisonment or fine of not more than $500.
The law has a 1-year statute of limitations.
Child abuse victim's Superman memorial denied use of logo by DC Entertainment: report
Jeffrey Baldwin, who was starved to death while in his grandparents' custody in 2002, was fondly remembered in life as dressing up as the superhero and pretending to fly.
by Nina Golgowski
A memorial statue for a 5-year-old Canadian boy who was starved to death by his grandparents has reportedly been denied use of Superman's logo.
The refusal by DC Entertainment follows a request to use the iconic diamond-shaped "S" logo for a planned memorial for late Superman fan Jeffrey Baldwin in Ottawa, CDC reported.
The little boy, who died in 2002 after being refused food and sanitary conditions while in his grandparents' custody, was fondly remembered in life as dressing up as the superhero and pretending to fly.
"He wanted to fly," his father, Richard Baldwin, told a courtroom during his son's emotional murder trial that ended in second-degree murder convictions.
"He tried jumping off the chair. We had to make him stop. He dressed up (as Superman) for Halloween one year. He was so excited. I have that picture at home hanging on my wall. He was our little man of steel," the father recalled.
Jeffrey's tragic story touched one local man so much that he worked to raise money to erect a statue in his memory.
That man, Todd Boyce, said he wanted the child forever depicted in the way he would have wanted.
When reached for permission to use the hero's symbol, however, DC Entertainment — which owns the rights to the Superman logo — denied the request.
"Basically, they didn't want to have the character of Superman associated with child abuse. They weren't comfortable with that," Boyce told CBC.
He described himself as at first angry with their decision, but after back and forth discussions, a bit more understanding.
"To be fair to DC, I don't think they wanted to say no. I think they gave it serious thought," he said.
Since the Superman symbol is prohibited, the statue will still be erected but with a "J" instead of an "S," said Boyce.
He added that he hopes to have the statue's model unveiled and dedicated in September.
Increase of 12% in sexual assault complaints in 2013, 1/3 were children
by LIDAR GRAVÉ-LAZI
Last year marked a 12 percent rise in the number of complaints of victims of sexual assault to the Association of Rape Crisis Centers, the organization announced on Monday.
According to the association, in 2013 over 40,000 complaints of sexual violence were reported, of which some 8,640 were new inquiries, reflecting a 12% increase from the previous year.
The association revealed that 88% of complaints of sexual abuse were submitted regarding women and girls, and some 12% of complaints were made regarding men and boys. Furthermore, 30% of complaints were of sexual abuse of children under the age of 12.
Of these, 68% of sexual abuse of children under the age of 12 were reported to have been made by a family member – 40% by a relative and 28% by a parent. The findings indicated that 13% of complaints comprised of rape or sodomy, 12% comprised of indecent acts, and two percent of reports comprised of group rape or assault.
“Sexual abuse of children is equivalent to a terrorist attack on a gentle soul and it often takes many years for recovery and recuperation from the trauma,” said association director Orit Sulitzeanu.
“Society must protect its children and do everything possible to prevent injury and to act toward the earliest possible detection to identify these injuries,” she said.
Sulitzeanu criticized the education system, saying it did not devote enough resources to combat the growing phenomenon.
She called on Education Minister Shai Piron to train teachers and educational staff to identify child victims of sexual abuse and to require all children and youth in the education system to undergo a sexual-violence prevention workshop.
Addressing parents, Sulitzeanu advised, “Be extra vigilant during the summer months when children are not in their regular frameworks.”
The association announced on Monday the launch of a fund-raising campaign, in collaboration with “Igul LeTovah” (Round-Up), a non-profit organization that encourages Israeli philanthropy, calling on the general public to donate and support its efforts to identify, prevent and treat sexual abuse in children and youth.
Through Round-Up, every credit-card purchase can be rounded up to the nearest shekel and the spare change, an estimated NIS 4 per month, will be donated to the association.
“This is an opportunity for each and every person to take part in the circle of influence and discover their social responsibility,” said Dana Argov Tikotzky, executive director of Round-Up.
Donations to The Association of Rape Crisis Centers in Israel can be made through Round- Up by signing up to the campaign at http://goo.gl/UfdB9b or by phone at *6360.
The Call: End Human Trafficking
(Petition to sigin is on site)
by Yasmin Aslam
Ladies, gents –
The FBI made headlines two weeks ago when they recovered 168 children who had been forced into prostitution.
Sex-trafficking. Right here in the U.S.
After a week-long sweep of truck stops, casinos and the internet, Operation Cross Country led to the rescue of the highest number of exploited children in years. Just to be clear – among the victims, the majority were born on U.S. soil.
We have all heard horrible stories of sex trafficking in countries throughout other parts of the world – Asia, Eastern Europe, and Latin America. But we found this really scary: sex trafficking is on the rise in this country – and each year, the number keep climbing.
Our team started to dig a little into the veiled world of the black market. Check this out: human trafficking has been reported in all 50 states in the U.S. – with the highest rates of trafficking occurring in California, Texas, Florida, and New York. This hideous form of “modern-day slavery” subjects millions of children, women, and men to prostitution, pornography, sex tourism, forced domestic service, or factory work.
The fact is the U.S. is a destination and transit point for – and sadly, a source of – trafficking victims. If we want to do anything to put an end to this ugly mess, let's start right here at home.
That's why Team Ronan is asking you to sign our petition below urging the Senate to pass the bipartisan Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act. This bill has already passed the House (H.R. 3530)! A good first step.
Now we are asking your help to get the bill (S. 1738) passed in the Senate.
This bill includes a variety of measures and:
Clarifies current law and codifies court decisions that the conduct of buyers who “solicit” and “patronize” commercial sex with a child are committing the crime of sex trafficking. Buyers of sex acts with children fuel the sex trafficking markets; without demand, traffickers will lose their profits and countless children will be spared the horrors of sexual exploitation.
Authorizes state and local law enforcement to obtain wiretaps in state courts, without federal approval, to investigate trafficking and CSEC offenses more effectively.
Increases human trafficking identification and reporting by giving a way to citizens and lawful permanent residents who are victims of human trafficking to obtain official recognition of their status, and requiring regular reporting on the number of human trafficking crimes in the Uniform Crime Reporting Program.
Sex trafficking continues to terrorize girls
by Charlene Muhammad
Sex trafficking is a multi-billion dollar industry. At this moment, in many communities, a predator is likely working to make $150,000 to $300,000 a year by selling the bodies of teenage girls.
While many 14-year-old girls are being groomed for academic decathlons or recruited for school clubs, there are others that are being forced into sex work.
“Child prostitution and johns are two words that should not exist when addressing child sex trafficking, because a child cannot commit to commercial sex according to state and federal law,” said Lt. Andre Dawson, officer in charge of the Los Angeles Police Department's Human Trafficking Division.
Lt. Dawson said society needs a major shift. Children involved aren't offenders, they're victims. The buyers aren't sex purchasers, they're rapists. Survivors and advocates want the horror clearly identified as sex trafficking and not prostitution, especially when it comes to minors.
Law enforcement advocates like Mary Howard, an officer and president of the Nu Alpha Delta Multicultural Sorority, agree. The sorority, comprised of women from various professional, organizational and faith backgrounds, has joined a growing movement of those outraged and ready to fight sex trafficking.
The problem is real, said Howard. “We in the community need to embrace this [fight] and not wait until one of our youth or loved ones is a statistic.”
Sharee Sanders Gordon, deputy city attorney and Neighborhood School Safety attorney in Los Angeles, said talking with parents and teachers is the best way to deal with how girls are stalked by would-be pimps.
When she first started as neighborhood prosecutor for the 77th Division in South Los Angeles, prostitution along the Figueroa Street corridor was one of the first issues the community brought to her.
“I never thought about how students going to school would have to divert themselves so they could go to a safer route, or being propositioned by young ladies on the street who were just confused, or seeing used condoms as they went to school,” said Atty. Sanders Gordon.
Gordon developed the Prostitution Diversion Program that works with service providers that help victims of trafficking and street prostitution exit break free. The program provides food, clothing, shelter, medical care, individual and group counseling, and job training.
One middle school on Western Avenue is having a serious problem with prostitution activity, said Gordon.
“Young ladies are being grabbed off bus stops and forced into prostitution … and it's happening in our own back yard. This is not something that's happening somewhere else. It's happening right in our own back yard,” she stressed.
Tony Muhammad, Nation of Islam Western Region student minister, encourages advocates and police to go to the root of the pimping problem, which he believes is spiritual and mental.
“Where did trafficking start? Pimping didn't start with the gangs that's doing it. Pimping started with the slave ship. You can't just deal with branches,” said Muhammad.
The task is to teach Black men acting as pimps and self-haters how they got in their condition and how they lost their names, language, religion and culture, he said.
“Get those things back and you will begin to tune yourself up,” continued Muhammad.
Tattoos are a popular form of expression, yet some have been given by force rather than choice. According to Gordon, a pimp in San Diego County brands his girls with tattoos inside their mouths, as if they were property. The branding is all part of the pimps' indoctrination process, he continued, he added.
Pimps love to memorialize their conquests, observed Lt. Dawson. But in tattoo branding their victims provides material that can be used as court evidence, he added.
“We as a community need to take charge of the situation because the court systems are not able to do it on their own,” declared Gordon. “We're only going to be able to have any kind of lasting effect if we work on this together.”
Italy - Vatican
Pope Francis meets with victims abused by priests
by Eric J. Lyman
ROME — Pope Francis on Monday held his first meeting with victims of a sexual abuse scandal by priests that has tarnished the image of the Catholic Church over the last decade.
The pope met with two victims each from Britain, Ireland and Germany after holding a private mass at the Vatican.
In late May while on a visit to the Middle East the pope declared "zero tolerance" for any member of the clergy who would violate a child. That followed a pledge by the Vatican to craft protocols to hold bishops and other church authorities accountable if they fail to report suspected abuse or protect children from pedophile priests.
Pope Benedict met several times with abuse victims, starting in 2008.
Family-abuse children 'unprotected', commissioner warns
by Katherine Sellgren
"Alarming gaps" in knowledge about abuse within families mean "substantial numbers" of children are not adequately protected, England's deputy children's commissioner Sue Berelowitz has said.
Her warning comes as a report based on an analysis of 57,226 research studies into child sexual abuse is published.
The Office of the Children's Commissioner has launched an inquiry into how best to tackle the problem.
The two-year inquiry will look at sexual abuse within the family.
The report, entitled It's a Lonely Journey, was carried out for the Office of the Children's Commissioner by researchers at Middlesex University.
It showed there were "glaring omissions" in what was known about abuse in family environments, said Ms Berelowitz.
These include an "almost complete lack" of research directly looking into children and young people's experiences of what would help to prevent the abuse or to support those who have been abused.
The report highlights a particular lack of knowledge about the experiences of disabled children and those from minority ethnic groups.
It also finds that most services to support people who have experienced child sexual abuse within a family context are targeted at adult survivors rather than at children.
Moreover, little is known about the prevalence of long-term psychological and physical harm caused by sexual abuse in family environments and almost nothing about the economic cost this places on society.
Ms Berelowitz said: "Some studies suggest as many as one in 20 children and young people experience sexual abuse, the majority of it perpetrated by people within the family or family circle.
"We know that at any one time, around 43,000 children have child protection plans, only around 5% of whom are on a plan for sexual abuse. These figures do not add up."
Report author Dr Miranda Horvath said: "Child victim-survivors' voices and first-hand experiences were absent from the vast majority of the research we reviewed for this rapid evidence assessment.
"It is imperative that future research and the work of the inquiry brings these to the fore using ethical but innovative methods, with the well-being of the child at the centre.
"At the same time, we need to know more about programmes that are focused on preventing family-based child sexual abuse before it occurs, in order to take a preventative rather than reactive approach."
Announcing an inquiry into the problem, Maggie Atkinson, the Children's Commissioner for England, said: "Society is rightly horrified by child sexual abuse.
"Most of our children are raised in secure, loving homes but I am sure very many of us will be disturbed by how much abuse within the family environment goes unreported and how little is done to support the children who suffer.
"As adults we are morally and socially obliged to protect children from harm. As children's commissioner, I also have a legal responsibility to promote their right to protection."
Ms Atkinson's office has vowed that "the experiences and voices of children and young people will be at the heart of this inquiry, and driving all that we do".
Javed Khan, chief executive of children's charity Barnardo's, welcomed the inquiry, saying: "There are few crimes more abhorrent than the sexual abuse of children but when those perpetrating this vile act are relatives, people who are supposed to love and protect, it can be all the more harrowing."
Healing found in having patients relive their pain over and over
by Melissa Dribben
Tyhira Stovall closed her eyes. Yawned. Swiveled back and forth in her chair. Played with the edges of her jacket. Sighed.
"Ok" she said, taking a breath of courage. "Ok."
But no words came. The thoughts, though, did. Poison whispers drifting out of shadows, through the cracks in the closed doors inside her head. She covered her face with her hands. Turned her head to the wall.
"Oh God," she said, and began to sob.
She was 17. It had been less than a year since her boyfriend had set her up, handing her off to friends who stripped her, forced her to dance and raped her.
Tyhira had dropped out of school. She had trouble sleeping. Fearful that someone dangerous would be lurking behind her, she could not sit with her back to the door. And she could not bear to have anyone touch her. Even her grandmother, gently brushing her arm would send the girl into a panicked rage.
Finally, the psychic pain became so intolerable, she thought about killing herself.
A week in the hospital and months of regular counseling had barely put a stitch into the gaping wound.
Which is how, and why, in February 2008, Tyhira found herself in this chair at the Center for the Treatment and Study of Anxiety at the University of Pennsylvania, midway through an intensive 14-week treatment known as prolonged exposure therapy.
The therapeutic technique, developed and refined by Edna Foa, a renowned post traumatic stress disorder expert at Penn, had been used for decades to treat adults. In her native Israel, Foa had adapted it for children and adolescents, some of whom had been sexually abused, and others who suffered PTSD from the effects of terrorist bombings.
In 2006, she trained three counselors in the technique at the Philadelphia non-profit, Women Organized Against Rape, and designed a study to measure its effectiveness compared to regular counseling methods in the treatment of sexually abused teenagers.
Tyhira's dramatic recovery would become part of the findings, which were published late last year in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
The experience of 61 sexually abused teenage girls, showed that Foa's methods were two to three times more effective than standard counseling, not only soothing the troubled souls of those with PTSD, but eliminating their symptoms completely.
Furthermore, Foa found, the counselors who had master's degrees but no prior experience in prolonged exposure therapy, became perfectly competent in the technique after a few days of specialized training and ongoing supervision.
At the end of their treatment, 83 percent of the girls who received prolonged exposure no longer met the criteria for PTSD, compared to 54 percent of those who received standard therapy. In follow-up studies one year later, those numbers held steady.
Left to fester, memories of sexual abuse, like other forms of trauma, can infect the survivor's entire personality. Rather than gingerly exploring the edges and gradually deal with the source of the injury, prolonged therapy works by lancing the problem at its throbbing core.
In her work with teenagers, Foa said, she had to adjust her methods to fit their developmental stage.
"At 12 or 13, you don't expect them to sit for 90 minutes in a therapeutic session," she said. Older teens and adults are asked to close their eyes and reimagine the traumatic experience. For some younger adolescents, Foa said, "that would be difficult."
Instead, she will ask them to draw pictures or write down their thoughts.
Having proven that the therapy works in all age groups, Foa said, the challenge now is to train more therapists to use it.
"We know it can be done. We know the therapy works. We know that therapists in the community can do it as well as experts and get as good results. But how do we incorporate it into everyday practice? That," she said, "is an uphill battle."
Fears that the treatment will worsen or prolong PTSD symptoms have kept many mental health professionals from trying it.
Without disputing the effectiveness of prolonged exposure therapy in certain cases, several experts said that the technique is not right for everyone.
"If you're building a house and you need a hammer, not everything is a nail," said Marjorie Levitt, associate professor in counseling psychology at Temple University.
Some therapists, as well as their patients, do not have the kind of personality that allows them to confront such damaging thoughts head on, Levitt said.
But especially in the early stages of training, especially, Levitt said, few if any of her students would be ready to take on that kind of challenge.
Nevertheless, she added, "I have tremendous respect for its efficacy in a lot of situations...If I had a person say, 'I've been raped, I have PTSD and I can't sleep,' I'd say, 'Call Edna.'"
At Women Organized Against Rape, which partnered with Foa's group in the study, all therapists now receive training in prolonged exposure therapy, said Carole Johnson, the executive director.
Both the rape victim and counselor, however, must be willing and able to follow through, Johnson said.
As part of the therapy, patients must do homework. Tyhira had to practice sitting with her back to the door, for example, something that gradually grew easier. She also was asked to watch the tapes of herself recounting the rape. And to put on the clothes she wore the day she was assaulted.
"I got myself to smell them," she said, "But I was never able to actually put them on. I ended up throwing them away."
The therapy requires 90-minute sessions, one-third longer than the average with regular counseling.
"People must be willing to commit to the time. They have to do some homework and they have to relive the whole incident - not everyone can do that."
The counselor, she said, "has to be a person who really believes in the process," and has enough of a rapport with the patient to persuade them to follow through.
"Can't we start small?" Tyhira had asked her therapist, Sandy Capaldi during their seventh session. (She was the only one of the study participants who consented to be interviewed and let her videotape be viewed.)
"This is tough, I know," Capaldi said tenderly. "But you can do it. . . You have that strength inside of you."
Tyhira had been warned. She would have to reach into the darkest corners of her mind, retrieve the worst memories and recount the horrible details. Not just once, but over and over and over again, until they were beaten to a powerless pulp. In the end, she was promised, her courage would be rewarded. She would be able to get on with her life.
"I was ready," she said during a recent interview at home in Overbrook. "I was tired. I'd had enough."
With each retelling, she found herself discovering new fragments. The roughness of the man's hands. His laugh. The kisses that made her skin crawl. The press of her pillow over her face to muffle her screams. Her fear that if someone heard her, she might be in even more danger.
"How's your stress now?" Capaldi would ask periodically.
On a scale of one to ten, Tyhira would answer that it had risen to 6, fallen to 2, crept back to 5, slipped down to 1 and 1/2 and in the end, exhausted, she could no longer tell.
At the end of the third recounting, she remembered finding the courage to resist with more power than before and his grip on her arms pinning her down.
"It felt like someone was sticking a broomstick inside me," she said.
She also remembered thinking that if only she had used a louder voice or fought harder, she would have escaped.
"How could I let this happen?" she said. "I felt worse than the lowest creature on earth. . . and he's enjoying himself while I'm dying slowly under this little pillow."
Capaldi praised her courage and helped her think it through.
"This isn't the kind of thing it's a snap to get over...Seriously, what could you have done? Just because your voice is big and strong doesn't mean someone is going to listen. . . It didn't matter to him."
Then like a coach in the corner of a boxing ring, she sent her back to the mat to face the bare knuckles once more.
"Get right back in there. You're doing great," she said.
Tyhira closed her eyes again.
"So, he's taking my clothes off..."
Six years later, Tyhira, now 22, has graduated college. She hopes to become an event planner and is expecting her first child this fall.
Sitting with her back to the door no longer upsets her, she said. At times, however, she still has panic attacks and has to use the breathing and relaxation techniques she learned during therapy.
"It's as if there was a box sitting in the middle of the living room," she said. "I know I will never get rid of it completely. But I had to learn to file it away so I am not always tripping over it."
TO GET HELP
Women Organized Against Rape, 24-hour hotline, 215-985-3333.
The Center for the Treatment and Study of Anxiety at Penn, 215-746-3327.
There 'May Well' Have Been A Cover-Up Of Child Abuse Says Lord Tebbit
by Andre Walker
Lord Tebbit, the former Conservative cabinet minister, has said that there "may well" have been a cover up of child abuse in the 1980s, according to the Daily Telegraph. Tebbit, who served in various government roles under Margaret Thatcher, made the comments as more questions were being asked over whether allegations against senior figures were properly investigated.
He said the instinct of people at the time was to protect "the system" and not to ask too many questions about uncomfortable allegations such as those of child abuse.
Last week Breitbart London reported that Leon Brittan was forced to deny that he failed to act after being handed a dossier about child abuse when he was Home Secretary. The file was given to him by the late Conservative MP Geoff Dickens.
Brittan admitted he had been given a "substantial bundle of papers" by Dickens but could not remember them ever having been acted upon. This led the Home Office to admit that large numbers of documents that relate to paedophile activities of senior establishment figures had gone missing.
Appearing on BBC1's The Andrew Marr Show, Lord Tebbit said: "At that time I think most people would have thought that the establishment, the system, was to be protected and if a few things had gone wrong here and there that it was more important to protect the system than to delve too far into it.
"That view, I think, was wrong then and it is spectacularly shown to be wrong because the abuses have grown."
Asked if he thought there had been a "big political cover-up" at the time, he said: "I think there may well have been. But it was almost unconscious. It was the thing that people did at that time."
Speaking on Pienaar's Politics, Nigel Evans, the Conservative MP, said that someone "within the Home Office" must know what happened to the documents that were given to Leon Brittan.
He said: "There will be more than one person who would know that that file existed and has read that file and took the decision either to destroy it or if it's not been destroyed, it is somewhere, and I think that they really do need now to turn the Home Office upside down.
"If nobody comes forward then they really do need to look absolutely everywhere to ensure that as Francis Maude said, nobody is above the law, we need to make sure that the people inside that file are properly investigated, and the question is, why weren't they investigated in the first place?"
Leon Brittan has also now been questioned over the rape of a 19 year old student in the 1960s. It is unrelated to the matter of the documents. He left British politics in 1989 to become a member of the European Commission.
Few punishments for those who fail to report abuse
by Jordan Steffen
Investigators would have found numerous inappropriate photos of a 13-year-old girl posted on the walls of her math teacher's office, but administrators at her Douglas County school never called them.
At least two students and their parents warned school officials about an inappropriate relationship between the teacher and his student. But instead of calling law enforcement or child welfare services — as required under a state law to help prevent child abuse — two former administrators at Rocky Heights Middle School punished children who reported the abuse, and failed to trigger an investigation that could have stopped the 30-year-old from preying on the girl for months before he raped her for the first time, according to a lawsuit filed by the girl's parents.
Mandatory reporters, like the school's then-principal, Patricia Dierberger, and assistant principal, James McMurphy, are required by law to report suspected child abuse. Failing to do so can result in criminal charges and up to six months in jail. But Dierberger and McMurphy will likely never face that charge or punishment for their alleged inaction.
In fact, few mandatory reporters — such as teachers, nurses, coaches and clergy members — ever face punishment for failing to report suspected child abuse, a Denver Post review has found. And the punishment for failing to report can be as little as $50.
Only one out of every 13 of the charges filed in the past 10 years has resulted in convictions. Since 2004, only 65 charges of failing to act as a mandatory reporter have been filed by prosecutors in Colorado, according to a review of state judicial data by The Post.
"It is incredibly important that people who work with children understand that they have an obligation to make reports when they believe there may be an inappropriate relationship occurring," said Stan Garnett, district attorney for Boulder County. "If you are going to be working with kids, you better know what the law is."
Attorneys and prosecutors offer varying reasons explaining the low number of filings. Some say it can be difficult to prove whether someone had a reasonable belief a child was being abused. Others say the timing of charges can be difficult. And one prosecutor says the reason there are so few charges is because people who work with children are meeting their responsibilities.
Since 2004, an average of 143 charges of child abuse have been filed each year, according to the Colorado Judicial Branch. In that same time period, an average of six counts of failing to report child abuse have been filed against mandatory reporters per year.
Abuse revealed, no action taken
Years after the assaults stopped, the woman told leaders of her Longmont church she was 14 years old when a youth pastor sexually assaulted her for the first time. But the five men she told are accused of doing nothing, and the youth pastor, Jason Roberson, continued working with children.
About a year after she reported the abuse to police, Roberson accepted a plea agreement in April and pleaded guilty to sexual exploitation of a child and stalking, according to court records. Boulder County prosecutors have filed charges against the five leaders of the Vinelife Church for allegedly failing to relay the report of abuse to police.
Prosecutors argue that the victim reported the abuse to church leaders after she turned 18, but because Roberson was still working with children, the defendants were still required to report the abuse to law enforcement or child protective services, according to court records. The charges against the church leaders were first reported by the Boulder Daily Camera.
Pastor Luke Humbrecht pleaded guilty in January and was given a deferred sentence. The other four men, including Senior Pastor Walt Roberson, who is Jason Roberson's father, have ongoing cases.
Defense attorneys in those cases argue the charges should be dismissed for several reasons, including claims that the mandatory reporting law is unconstitutional and the defendants are being unfairly prosecuted because of their religious beliefs, according to court documents. Some defendants have argued that they are not mandatory reporters.
State law defines who is required to report suspected or observed child abuse to law enforcement or child welfare services. The list of mandatory reporters for child abuse has grown in past years, with the most recent additions including coaches and emergency medical service providers.
If someone fails to report suspected child abuse, prosecutors may file a Class 3 misdemeanor against them. If convicted of the charge, defendants face a minimum punishment of a $50 fine, or up to six months in prison.
"Most of the time we are not working to put people in jail, but we want to make sure people are following the law and know there are consequences if they don't," Garnett said. "We don't charge people just to make an example."
None of the 65 charges filed resulted in jail time, and only five ended with convictions including punishments such as unsupervised probation and fines. At least 17 charges were dismissed after defendants completed deferred judgments, meaning they likely finished classes and maintained good behavior in exchange for having the charge dropped.
Prosecutors dismissed at least 18 charges outright, according to The Post's analysis.
In some cases, it may be difficult to prove if the mandatory reporter had enough reason to suspect there was abuse, said Stephanie Villafuerte, executive director of the Rocky Mountain Children's Law Center and a former prosecutor.
"One person's view of what constitutes abuse and neglect may not be the same definition for another, and as a result, a jury or judge may not be willing to convict," Villafuerte said. "This is tragic because failing to report abuse often emboldens abusers and results in more child victims."
A "nice guy"
Attorneys handling the lawsuit against the Douglas County School District say not only did Dierberger and McMurphy have reasonable cause to believe the 13-year-old was being abused by her math teacher, Richard "Rick" Johnson, they also intentionally did not report the suspected abuse to police or human services.
Johnson, now 33, pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual exploitation of a child in the case in September 2013, and as part of a plea agreement more than two dozen charges — including charges of sexual assault on a child — were dropped, according to state records. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
The lawsuit alleges that both Dierberger and McMurphy made students who reported the relationship between Johnson and the girl apologize to Johnson, lied to parents about conducting investigations and even defended Johnson, calling him a "nice guy." During the months when the administrators were telling students to stop talking about "rumors" of teacher-student relationships, Johnson was constantly texting the teenager, plying her with alcohol and carrying her books to class, according to the complaint.
Johnson began sexually assaulting the girl three months after the administrators allegedly received the first report of the relationship in April 2011.
The school district denies the material allegations of the complaint and says safety is a top priority, spokeswoman Paula Hans said in a statement.
"Neither law enforcement nor prosecutors ever charged any district employee associated with this matter with failing to report child abuse," Hans said.
The victim's parents first learned their daughter was abused in October 2012 and reported it to the Douglas County Sheriff's Office — 19 months after the administrators are accused of receiving the first claim of abuse. The statute of limitations for filing a Class 3 misdemeanor is 18 months.
On average, charges against mandatory reporters were filed 4½ months after they allegedly first failed to call authorities.
In the past year, the Colorado Department of Human Services received 83,037 referrals of child abuse and neglect. About 75 percent — roughly 65,000 referrals — came from mandatory reporters across the state.
In the past 10 years, prosecutors in Larimer County have filed 10 charges of failing to act as a mandatory reporter; nine of those were later dismissed. Clifford Riedel, district attorney for the county, said most of the cases his office handled involved people who did not know they were required to report abuse or people who reported abuse to a supervisor instead of police or human services.
A recent survey by the Department of Human Services, part of a campaign to increase the public awareness about child abuse, showed about 30 percent of mandatory reporters do not know the proper steps to report child abuse or neglect.
"It's really more an act of omission," Riedel said. "Just because a charge was filed does not mean a mandatory reporter turned a blind eye."
Under state law, mandatory reporters who observe or have a reasonable cause to suspect child abuse must report the suspected abuse to either law enforcement or child welfare services.
Mandatory reporters include: medical personnel, educators, mental health providers, veterinarians, police officers, firefighters, clergy members, emergency medical service providers and coaches.
Sexual abuse trauma part of immigration debacle
by Holly Burkhalter
It is not news to Guatemalan, Salvadoran and Honduran children that they are at high risk of violent abuse and have nowhere to turn for protection. But now that they are fleeing across our border by the tens of thousands, it is apparently news to U.S. policymakers. The drug trade that is destroying Central American societies is clearly part of the problem. But kids aren't only fleeing narco-violence and gangs; they also are trying to escape sexual abuse. The United States should commit significant foreign assistance to address this overlooked aspect of the child migration crisis.
Consider the case of Guatemala. Large numbers of children are preyed upon by adults, usually someone in the home or otherwise known to the victim. A study by Doctors Without Borders found that, among 14- to-18-year-old girls in high-crime zones, 1 in 3 had suffered sexual assault in the previous 12 months. Child victims of sexual violence are highly vulnerable to homelessness, sex trafficking, gangs or addiction. In its safehouse in Guatemala City, La Alianza (Covenant House) provides shelter and care to girls as young as 12; virtually all of them have been assaulted in their homes or trafficked for sexual exploitation.
The Guatemalan government has responded to this epidemic by adopting new child protection standards in its protocols for prosecutors and designating a special police sexual assault unit in the capital. But police, prosecutors and courts remain dramatically under-resourced and undertrained; tens of thousands of cases are backlogged and going nowhere.
International Justice Mission recently conducted a study of the 36,166 complaints of sexual assault filed in Guatemala's Public Ministry (the country's prosecution service) from 2008 to 2012 and found that the courts have successfully adjudicated a paltry 5.8 percent of these cases. Only one case in 10 even makes it to indictment, because law enforcement and prosecutors are unable to professionally question victims, gather evidence, apprehend perpetrators or secure appropriate forensic medical reports. Men who prey on impoverished children know they need not fear apprehension or prosecution.
When kids aren't protected at home, at least some of them will flee. A recent report from the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees stated that 22 percent of the Central American child refugees they interviewed said they had survived abuse and violence in their homes.
Congress is expected to increase funding for the Central America Regional Security Initiative, which has received $800 million over the past five years to combat the drug trade. But stabilizing this immigration crisis should not be limited to fighting narco-trafficking. Congress should seize the occasion to fund promising initiatives that could protect vulnerable children and stabilize slum neighborhoods where sexual violence is rampant. Guatemala City's special sexual assault police unit should be replicated, funded and deployed throughout the country. Providing police with mentoring on actual, real-time child sexual assault cases and increasing their collaboration with prosecutors can raise competence and morale quickly.
U.S. aid could also scale up Guatemala's innovative first-response facilities for sexual assault victims, where prosecutors and judges receive testimony, forensic medical personnel collect evidence and defense attorneys represent the interests of suspects. There are nine of these facilities based in the offices of the Public Ministry. Additional assistance could be used to add a trauma care component to the model and take it to scale throughout the country.
Investment is desperately needed for residences and drop-in centers offering shelter and protection for abused, trafficked or homeless children. High levels of violence in slum neighborhoods and sexual abuse at home have contributed to nearly 15,000 Guatemalan kids living on the street. They are easy targets for traffickers, pedophiles and gangs.
These are the conditions that are pushing a substantial percentage of child migrants across international borders. The United States could and should help the government develop a functioning child protection service that collaborates with responsible nongovernmental organizations to offer refuge and education to at-risk Guatemalan youth.
If the United States and European governments, donors and international development institutions do not prioritize taking predators off the streets and creating more safe residences and programs for vulnerable kids in the region, we can expect to see ever-growing numbers of unaccompanied children fleeing their terrifying homes and nations and seeking safety in ours.
Holly Burkhalter is vice president for government relations for International Justice Mission. This commentary was first published in The Washington Post.
110 cases of under 18s sexually abusing other children in Thames Valley
by JAMES AVERILL
New figures obtained by the NSPCC show that over 8,000 under 18s were accused of sexual offences against other children in the last two years.
Thames Valley Police - which includes Milton Keuynes - responded to a Freedom of Information request and revealed it recorded 110 cases of under 18s accused of sexual offences against other children over the last two years.
The youngest perpetrator was aged seven and the youngest victim just two-years-old.
Most victims knew their alleged abuser and some of the most common crimes were teenage boys abusing female acquaintances.
Whilst most abusers were male there was a small proportion of female abusers as well as both male and female victims. Crimes included serious sexual assaults, rape, and obscene publication offences.
Up to two thirds of contact sexual abuse on children is committed by other young people. But whilst these crimes are shocking, this behaviour can be turned around if caught early.
Colin Peak, regional head of service for the NSPCC, said: “It's deeply concerning that thousands of children are committing sexual offences including serious assaults and rape.
“For very young children, such as those of primary school age or younger, we have to question the environment in which they are growing up in that has led to them behaving in this way.
“Prevention has to be the key and that is recognising warning signs early and taking swift action. It could be that they have seen sexual activity that they are just too young to understand and are copying what they've seen.
“We also know that for many older children pornography is now part of life. Easy access to hard core, degrading and often violent videos on the internet is warping young people's views of what is normal or acceptable behaviour.
“It is also feeding into ‘sexting' where teenagers are creating and distributing their own videos and images that are illegal and have led to prison sentences.
“But these children are not beyond help. If we act quickly and children receive therapy such as that provided by the NSPCC's ‘Turn the Page' service we can stop them becoming adult sex offenders. And, most importantly, their victims need support to overcome what has happened to them. Sexual offences, whether committed by another child or an adult, can have lifelong consequences.”
Parents can help keep their children safe by teaching them the ‘Underwear Rule' which is a simple, effective and age appropriate way of telling children what is and isn't acceptable. Parents simply tell their children that the area covered by their underwear should never be touched by anyone else.
Any adult worried about a child or in need of help and advice can contact the NSPCC's helpline on 0808 800 5000. Children and young people can contact ChildLine on 0800 1111.