Police: Video shows Florida man raping unconscious woman
by The Associated Press
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- A 34-year-old man was captured on a video raping a 19-year-old unconscious woman behind a trash bin outside a Florida restaurant, police said Friday.
The video shows Christopher Shaw raping the woman early Thursday before two witnesses separated them, said Gainesville Police Department spokesman. He said the video was taken by one of the witnesses.
Shaw was charged with sexual battery and jailed on a $500,000 bond. Jail records did not list an attorney for him Friday. His arrest comes just a week after a former Vanderbilt football player was sentenced to 15 years in prison after he was convicted of taking part in the gang rape of an unconscious female student. It also comes amid the widespread furor over a Stanford University swimmer who was sentenced to six months in jail earlier this year for raping an unconscious student behind a dumpster on the university campus.
"Upon viewing the videos, it is clear the victim was mentally and physically unable to give consent due to her level of intoxication," the police report on the Gainesville attack said. "The victim was slumping over and unable to hold up her head. The (defendant) can be seen pushing the victim back up. ... When pushed back up the victim's eyes were closed and her head fell back against the dumpster."
The two witnesses told investigators the woman was unable to walk on her own, couldn't keep her eyes open, and had difficulty speaking, the report says.
When the woman regained consciousness at a hospital several hours later, she told police she didn't know Shaw and had not consented to sex with him, according to the report. She also said that at one point she attempted to push him away and told him no "but was physically helpless because she was going in and out of consciousness due to her level of intoxication."
The Associated Press does not generally identify victims of sexual assault.
According to the police report, Shaw told investigators he "was walking through the alleyway and the victim pulled him next to the dumpsters." The report says he "admitted to making out with the victim" but "denied any sexual contact" with her. His statement is "completely contradicted by the video and the victim's testimony," the police report says.
Last Friday, former Vanderbilt football player Cory Batey was sentenced to 15 years in prison after being convicted of taking part in the gang rape of an unconscious female student in June 2013. Last month, a judge sentenced former Stanford University swimmer Brock Turner to six months in jail and ordered him to register as a sex offender for life after a jury convicted him of raping a student behind a campus dumpster in January 2015. Prosecutors had sought a six-year sentence. The lighter sentence prompted charges that the white judge let Turner, who is white and from a wealthy family, off easy because the judge also played sports at Stanford.
The judge cited Turner's clean criminal record and the effect the conviction will have on his life.
Getting baby back
What happens when a child is removed from their family? One program in Sydney's west is helping put parents on the path to getting their children back.
by Jacqueline Maley
Candy* remembers in painful detail the months leading up to her “removal story”, as it's known to women like her, women who have had their children taken away by Family and Community Services (FACS).
The birth of her baby, Ray*, hadn't gone well, with the caesarean scar rupturing soon after. Then her partner started getting rough again. She got out, first to a women's refuge, and then to her own rental. Her ex came for access visits, and when he came, so did the arguments.
Ray's nappy rash was angry-red and he kept biting kids at daycare. He cried so much. His outrage and distress filled the room. It was the sort of crying you couldn't help but take personally. There was no time to put out the garbage. It piled up.
Then one night, there was a knock at the door.
"My ex was over and he had just put Ray to bed. These two middle-aged ladies showed up. They checked the house over and they said, 'You have to take Ray to Nepean Hospital,'" she recounts.
Child injury experts examined Ray's nappy rash, and a cut on his ear, which Candy says happened when he fell on a coffee table. He was discharged, but Candy was asked to come to the local FACS office the following day for a "chat".
"I was in there all day. I said, 'I need to get Ray from daycare,'" she recounts.
"They said, 'You don't need to go get him because he's not there. We've removed him.'"
Candy was given 15 minutes to farewell her son. The FACS people "give you a piece of paper telling you how to act", she says.
"Having to say goodbye to your child and not know where they're going or who they're going to, if you're going to see them again, and then getting told you have to hold it in, you have to be okay, you have to smile … you want to cry," she says.
"You have to put that on hold until the child is out of your sight."
Candy cries now, as she recounts the story, sitting in a beige brick house in a blank-looking cul-de-sac in St Marys in Sydney's west.
This suburban home looks like it belongs on the set of Neighbours. But it is home to Uniting Newpin, a parenting program imported to Australia from the UK in 1998 by UnitingCare.
The parents have been referred here by a court or by FACS. They all come with some combination of abuse, domestic violence, drug addiction and mental health problems in their backgrounds.
Many have abused or neglected their kids; some admit it.
All want their kids back.
Newpin undermines the conventional wisdom that taking kids from "bad" mothers is the best thing for them, and for society. It proposes an alternative: sometimes women need to be taught how to be mothers, and the state should help them learn.
NSW has the highest rate of child removals in Australia, and the highest number of children in foster care.
In recent years, the numbers have ballooned. In 2002, there were 9273 kids in "out-of-home care". By 2013 it was 18,400 and it is forecast to hit 22,400 in 2017. Some attribute the rise to better reporting of child abuse, some blame the ice epidemic.
Appalling cases of child abuse, particularly those ending in death, are given top billing by the media. We read reports about how child protection authorities had received notifications of abuse that weren't followed up. Maybe FACS officers visited the home and did nothing. These reports lead inexorably in one direction: why wasn't the child taken away?
Few ask the corollary question: taken to where? What happens to the thousands of children who are removed? Are they really better off away from their families?
Foster kids are much more likely than other young people to end up homeless. They have poorer mental and general health. They are grossly over-represented in the criminal justice system, both as juveniles and adults. The Australian Law Reform Commission has found that foster kids are 68 times more likely to appear in the Children's Court than other children.
This phenomenon is so common that some in the legal profession have a name for it. They call these children "cross-over kids".
Foster care is not just toxic to children. It's expensive to the taxpayer. The state's "out-of-home care" budget for 2016-17 is $1.07 billion. An interim report of a recent review of the state's foster system found it was financially unsustainable and needed immediate reform.
Sally Cowling, head of research and advocacy at UnitingCare, which runs the Newpin program, believes much child protection policy is based on a "paternalistic" assumption that the cycle of child abuse and neglect is inevitable. It never occurs to policy makers that many parents whose kids are removed are abuse survivors who are motivated to change.
"If I was six, and my alcoholic father was assaulting my mother, would I have the strength to make sure my siblings were out of the room?" she asks.
"How dare we think, when a child has endured that and survived, that we can't tap into that innate strength and resilience to create a new path?"
Newpin is dedicated to showing women such as Candy that path exists.
Developed in the UK in the 1980s to help families who kept boomeranging back into social services, Newpin (which stands for New Parents Information Network) is underpinned by attachment theory. The belief is that a child's attachment to her primary carer will set the pattern for all her important adult relationships.
NSW has five Newpin centres. Two more will be opened this financial year.
"Newpin is very much targeted to a group of parents where child abuse and neglect has been part of their history," says Cowling.
"Mothers start by saying, 'When I was six ... I used to promise myself if I ever had a baby I will never do this.'
"But as they grow up they find cycles repeating, and they don't understand how much their parenting is about their own parenting."
It's lunch time at Newpin St Marys. Today is a "contact day", when children are bussed in from foster homes to visit the parents who hope to get them back.
There are three families and five kids present, a tangle of toddlers and babies bouncing between the living room, where a toy-and-book nook is set up next to the couches, and the kitchen, where Joanne Horton, a family worker who has been with Newpin eight years, is cooking a roast.
Jo's colleagues call her "J'Oprah", after the famous TV host, because she is delightfully noisy and hugs freely and often. She wears loud floral dresses and her emotions on her sleeve.
Jo's cooking is famous around here, and today she has gone all out, because today is special.
It's a farewell meal – one of the Newpin couples is having their last contact visit with their kids, aged three, two, and two months. FACS is pulling this couple out of the program after only nine weeks, due to their severe mental health issues. The kids will go into permanent foster care and the parents will get eight access visits a year.
"Darlin', that's bloody good!" Jo says later, when I express dismay at how little contact that is.
Jo's job, when not roasting beef, is to work with the mums. When a mother like Candy begins the program, Jo will spend three months just being with her, gaining her trust ("I'm always cuddlin' 'em!" she shouts, laughing) and helping her understand how her own upbringing affects her parenting style.
"Once they start feeling safe, they disclose stuff," Horton says. "That creates empathy, and that empathy and that attachment style, they can then use with their own child."
The mums do group therapy and courses on keeping children safe. They are encouraged to pursue their own education. They complete an internationally renowned program called Circle of Security, which teaches them that they are their child's secure base, from which the child explores the world.
"We get the parents to recognise children have the same emotions as adults, but children don't have the language or ability to express those emotions," Horton says.
Meanwhile, a play facilitator works with the child, who will often have behavioural or developmental problems from the upheaval he or she has endured.
Eventually, the two strands are brought together and the mother puts her education into practice.
"Healthy attachment is the big thing," says Tracie Mitchell, co-ordinator of the St Marys centre. "If the parent and child have a healthy attachment, it means that the parent is attuned to the child's emotional needs, which in itself keeps the child safe.
"Newpin teaches new parenting skills, like the importance of setting boundaries, age-appropriate expectations, guiding children's behaviour and being able to meet the emotional needs as well as the physical needs of the child."
Newpin is a long, slow program – it takes 18 months – but that is the reason it is believed to be so successful. The most recent statistics show a 62 per cent restoration rate in Newpin families. Among other families it's closer to 25 per cent.
But the program doesn't work for everyone. Today, the spectre of not getting your "section 90" – Newpin shorthand for the legal provision to get your kids back – hangs over lunch.
Candy and Ray sit down at the table with the family who are having their last supper, along with a third couple, whose drug and alcohol issues prompted authorities to remove their six-month-old, Carey*. They take turns cradling her, tick-tacking in the way new parents do.
It feels like a normal family lunch, which is precisely the atmosphere the staff has worked to create.
The toddlers play with their food more than they eat it. One of the dads tries to get a two-year-old to ingest a vegetable. Someone starts a round of Twinkle Twinkle. We all join in.
Talk at the dining table turns to sleep deprivation and 3am wake-ups.
Jo says she loves being a grandma because she doesn't have to do night feeds any more. The father of three says they got so used to them, they started waking up before their kids.
The mother of six-month-old Carey chimes in, so quietly you can only just hear her. "That's what I'm looking forward to," she says.
"I can't wait 'til I have a reason to wake up in the middle of the night."
Candy is telling me about her "shark music".
This is a Circle of Security term, named after the famous soundtrack to Jaws , the daaa-da, da-da music, which speeds up in the lead-up to the Great White chomping an arm off.
Newpin teaches that every mother has her shark music – the thing that triggers her into an emotional response so overwhelming she's in danger of taking it out on her child.
For Candy, it was Ray crying. And clutter. Candy grew up in a chaotic household with a single mother who hoarded belongings. Her dad was rarely around.
"For a long time I just thought that's how life was," Candy says.
Ray was removed because of his severe nappy rash, reports of his violent behaviour at daycare, and concerns of violence between his parents. The situation was complicated by Ray's health – he had bad reflux, kidney problems and has developed behavioural issues that may place him on the autism spectrum, or may be a result of the disruption of foster care. No one is sure.
"I didn't want to admit to myself that I wasn't coping. That's the last thing you want to do as a parent."
Most mothers understand the reluctance to admit to struggling. But for Newpin mothers, this reluctance is worsened by the stigma that attaches to women whose children are removed. Women such as them.
"I think everyone who comes into the system feels judged and often vilified," says Helen*, a Newpin graduate whose kids were in foster care for 14 months before she won them back.
"Society has this massive attitude that anyone who's had their children removed must be this horrible abusive person."
Helen is a 28-year-old with rainbow-coloured hair and facial piercings. She grew up with a mother who was addicted to pethidine for part of her childhood, and a father who wasn't there ("I've never had much interest in knowing my dad because he had no interest in knowing me.")
Helen's twins – a boy and a girl – were removed at eight months, after she and her partner took the girl twin, Nessy*, to hospital with a head injury.
The head injury turned out to be a skull fracture that was several weeks old. The police were called and the Joint Investigation Response Teams (JIRT) became involved, as they are with any serious allegations of child abuse or neglect.
Helen and her partner John* both say that to this day they have no idea how their baby girl sustained the skull fracture. But the authorities didn't believe them.
FACS turned up at hospital to take Nessy, and at the same time, they took her twin brother, Frank*, from home, and their half-sister Chelsea*, 9, from her school.
"It was the most terrifying, devastating experience of my life," says Helen.
"There is nothing worse than someone showing up at your house and handing you a piece of paper and saying, 'We don't believe your children are safe with you, so we're taking them away.'
"There's not really words to describe how painful that is."
Helen was given a list of things to do if she wanted her children restored, and the court gave her a referral for Newpin.
Helen liked Newpin's focus on bonding and attachment.
"Newpin helped me deconstruct my childhood in a really blame-free way. I looked at how it was and how I want it to be for my children," she says.
"As parents we often try to push against the child's emotions. We try to distract them or tell them not to cry. [Newpin taught me] to sit with them and name the feeling. You talk to them about why they're upset. You talk to them about what they can do about being upset."
One of Newpin's most prominent tools is the "bear chart", which features teddy bears in various emotional states – sad, anxious, angry or happy. Children struggling with overwhelming feelings can just point at the relevant bear.
And often the mums will need to point at a bear too.
Candy has her boy back. Ray was returned after eight months, from the age of about 18 months to just over two. He had seven foster placements in that time.
Their reunion was sweet, but Candy knows that while it was one of the last steps in getting FACS to close her case, it was only the first step in the bigger project that looms before her: raising Ray.
"I'm getting used to the way he is," she says when we visit at her rented home in Sydney's far north west.
"He's very different to the way he was before he went into care," she says as Ray tears around the backyard under the watchful eye of the neighbour's child, who peers through the wire fence.
"When we got home I noticed how much it had impacted him. It was like having a six-month-old baby again. He had lost a lot of words … and, sort of, the energy behind him."
She doesn't know, and probably never will, how much of his regression was due to underlying problems and how much was due to the disruption of foster care.
There are lots of blanks in her knowledge about Ray now. He gets up earlier, she thinks, because one of the foster fathers was in the military and an early riser. He imitates a puppy sometimes, so she thinks one of the families must have had a dog.
"I wonder how much is typical. What has he seen and been exposed to?"
Candy fought hard to get here. She stayed afloat financially, even though her single parent payment was taken at the same time Ray was. She is studying teaching at Western Sydney University. She believes Newpin has made her more confident in managing Ray. She has, she believes, defied expectations. She's changed.
"It was hard because I never stopped caring about him, but until the final orders were made you didn't want to get too close, in case he was taken away again," she says. "It wasn't until I got my paperwork that I could relax. They are not looking over my shoulder, watching me."
We walk with Candy and Ray through the lonely suburban streets, past well-tended lawns and closed curtains, up to the local park.
It's cold and while the adults brace against the wind, Ray races into it, raring for the swings.
When we arrive, Candy sets him in one and pushes him. Ray shouts that he wants to go higher. She keeps pushing, just a little bit harder.
*All names of Newpin participants and their children have been changed.
'Screaming was pointless,' survivors tell of school abuse by Christian Brothers
by Peter Smith
The Christian Brothers were meant to be men of God - a religious order within the Catholic Church.
At their St Ninian's school in Fife, though, two of the Brothers were men of unspeakable cruelty who stole innocence from children and left the deepest scars.
John Farrell and Paul Kelly were today convicted of 11 counts of sexual and physical abuse against six children in their care. Children as young as 11. The pair were doing it with impunity through the 1970s and 80s.
Survivors of their crimes told me how they did it.
“There was a strategy of ‘good cop, bad cop,” says one man who doesn't want to be identified. “Kelly would go out of his way to be horrible to me - scare me, punish me. We were children in care so we were alone - just scared wee boys.
“Then Farrell would step in. He'd put an arm round you and and act like your best pal. He'd invite you to go into his room to help him with a chore and then he'd tell you to spend the night with him. That's how he got me in. Then he started touching me."
There was no point in shouting or screaming because nobody would hear you.
And if they did hear you they'd know what was going on, so screaming was pointless.
– St Ninian's abuse victim
Until now Farrell and Kelly have been free men, walking the streets with a clean record. Those they abused, however, told me they have been prisoners of their torment for more than three decades.
Some have suffered mental health problems, others alcoholism.
Another former St Ninian's pupil explained to me how he still suffers. “This has an affect on your whole life,” he says. “It's affected every single relationship I've had as an adult. There are nightmares, flashbacks. It never leaves you.”
The Christian Brotherhood has a particularly grim record of child abuse. They've paid out millions of pounds to victims after thousands of allegations emerged in Ireland, America, Canada, and Australia.
This, however, is the first conviction of Christian Brothers in Scotland. As yet there has been no apology from the Brotherhood for these crimes.
While Farrell and Kelly face prison time when they are sentenced, there are others who say they were abused at St Ninian's by men who have never been prosecuted.
David Sharp told me he was taken to Ireland to be passed around for abuse at parties.
I am still campaigning for justice. This only scratches the surface.
Until these people, the perpetrators, are caught, justice is done, and the Christian Brothers and the Catholic Church come out and show a meaningful apology then I can't get on with my life.
– David Sharp
Farrell and Kelly used to brag to their victims that no one would listen to them against men of God. Today, after more than three decades, the survivors of the St Ninian's abuse were at last heard.
INTERVIEW: New Report Sheds Light on Lingering Issues from Child Abuse
DES MOINES, Iowa -- A new report is shedding light on many of the problems facing our society.
A lot of it comes back to how we raise our children.
Researchers say abused children carry the scars, make poorer choices than they otherwise might have and their life spans may be shorter as a result.
The report raises the question: Can you recover from child abuse or is the damage permanent?
One of the report's authors, Lisa Cushatt with Central Iowa ACEs, stopped by for an interview with Dan Winters during the Channel 13 News at 4 on Friday.
Faces of Innocents: Police could start paying for child abuse tip-offs
by Talia Shadwell
What price would you put on information that stops a child from being killed?
We may soon have an answer to that very question, after Police confirmed they are considering offering money for tip-offs to break the wall of silence around child abuse.
"It's not just about abuse it's about neglect. Kids are left home for days with only a packet of Twisties in the pantry, if they're lucky. They are not going to school. It's that sort of information that we're interested in," Superintendent Tim Anderson said.
Children's Commissioner Andrew Becroft said it was an indictment on our society that the idea needed to be considered.
But it could work if police used paid tips as a "door opener" to investigations, he said.
"If it leads to more disclosure of abuse, and it's done with safe measures in place, and it saves a child's life, who can be against it?"
Some pockets of our community had an "absolutely warped, twisted and mangled" view of responsibility to children, Becroft said.
"It's sad to us all. Who wants to live in a country where the view out there is to not report abuse?"
Criminal bar association president Noel Sainsbury said he was not against the concept. But he questioned whether police could trust those who would only report abuse in exchange for money.
"My main thought is I would have some reservations about that - whether you would get 'good' information from people so cynical."
Sainsbury said police would need to be careful that axe-grinding agendas might motivate some child abuse tip-offs, as sometimes happened with drug-world informants motivated by a desire to take out their competition.
When asked whether the prospect of payment could encourage informants to hold tips to ransom, Anderson said police would not rely solely upon them.
"Information provided by informants is thoroughly investigated and is not taken at face value."
Police paid $301,772 to informants in the 2014/2015 financial year. Anderson declined to say whether the informants were paid when they offered the information, or when the tip was proven.
He could not say exactly how much money would be paid for abuse tip-offs, but police would have a "matrix" in place to determine the value of the information and pay tipsters accordingly.
Payments for abuse would be made only to "registered informants" who provide credible information. Those Informants would not be trial witnesses, just sources, Anderson said.
A WALL OF SILENCE
Twins Chris and Cru Kahui died a decade ago, yet to this day, no one has been held to account for their deaths.
Their father Chris Kahui was tried and found not guilty using the defence that the babies' mother, Macsyna King, was responsible.
A 2012 coroner's inquiry found their fatal head injuries were inflicted in their father's care.
But police declined to charge Kahui again after a review, saying the case would remain open.
Rotorua toddler Nia Glassie's torture included being spun around on a washing line and tumbled in a clothes dryer before she died in 2007.
Her mother Lisa Kuka and four men were jailed over her death.
It later emerged that neighbours who heard or saw Nia's suffering did not report it.
Asked if he thought having to pay some people for tips was a bleak prospect, Anderson said: "We can see that from being out in the streets over the years that people haven't been [reporting these crimes]."
HOW TO REPORT ABUSE
If you have concerns about the safety of a child, call police on 111 or Child, Youth and Family on 0508 FAMILY (0508 326 459) for advice.
Anonymous tips can be passed to CrimeStoppers on 0800 555 111.
Bahamas Rights Group Pushes for Sexual Offenders Registry As Child Sexual Abuse and Incest Cases Rise
NASSAU, Bahamas – A non-profit activist group is urging Bahamians to join an online protest today to pressure government into opening a Sex Offenders Registry and Marco Alert system for missing children.
The push by Solidarity242 comes almost five years after the murder of 11-year-old Marco Archer – a tragedy that triggered calls for the Sex Offenders Registry. In October 2013, Kofhe Goodman was sentenced to death for abducting, kidnapping and eventually murdering Archer. According to the prosecution, he committed the crime for his “sadistic sexual gratification”.
Goodman had been convicted of unnatural sexual intercourse in 1993 and was also jailed for the attempted murder of a nine-year-old boy.
“It has been five years since The Bahamas was rocked by the brutal death of Marco Archer and yet Marco's Law is not fully functional. There is no Sex Offenders Registry, there is no Marco Alert,” said Kishlane Knowles, co-founder of Solidarity242.
“Our children are being left vulnerable and we as Bahamians have to push back and demand that the government does its part in protecting our children, as promised.”
In 2013, Freeport saw the loss of five young boys, all of whom went missing, all of whom were murdered. In June of 2015, Minister for Social Services, Melanie Griffin revealed in her 2015/2016 Budget Address that there had been an increase in the reported cases of sexual abuse and incest incidents involving children.
Earlier this year, a retired police officer pleaded guilty to molesting three siblings.
“Sexual predators are walking among us, nameless and faceless. We don't know who they are until they have hurt a child. When a child goes missing there is no systematic way of alerting the general public immediately. How many children between 2011 and 2016 could have been saved from sexual abuse and/or abduction had the government implemented the elements involved in Marco's Law? Let's really think about that,” Knowles said.
At 6 p.m. today, Bahamians all over the country and abroad are being asked to visit the Marco's Law viral protest event on the Solidarity242 Facebook page for ways to get involved in the social media demonstration.
“There will be hashtags, a temporary profile picture for supporters to download and two other elements that we are keeping under wraps until Friday's launch”, revealed Selina Archer, who created the viral protest concept and plan specifically for Solidarty242.
“The protest has been designed to be inclusive of all Bahamians no matter what island they live on or what country they live in. The beauty of the viral protest is that all the activities can be done online from the comfort of a smart phone, tablet or computer.”
Knowles, along with Solidarity242 co-founders Lisa Davis and Shenique Fisher will use the social push to aggressively pursue answers from government once the protest is over.
BACA rescues, empowers children wounded by abuse
by Sherry Blakeley
BELOT— Some people think that bikers look ‘rough and tough,' but they sure can have soft hearts.
The men and women of BACA (Bikers Against Child Abuse) come to the rescue for local children. They help kids who have been abused, offering reassurance and protecting kids who have suffered physical, sexual or emotional trauma. The Rock River Chapter is just one of dozens of chapters across the U.S. and world.
Known in public only by their chosen street names, monikers adopted to convey strength and protect their privacy from the perpetrators of crimes against kids, BACA members must undergo a federal background check, complete required training that includes webinars on working with children and court etiquette, attend meetings and work under a sponsor when just starting out.
All BACA members follow the group's strict code of conduct. Individuals who want to join BACA must be over 18 and have access to a motorcycle. The group welcomes the support of others who want to help children but do not want to become full members. Children come to BACA's attention through referrals from officials and agencies.
Level 1 intervention is the time that the child first becomes a member of the BACA family, said Publicity Director Tunez (pronounced like “tunes”).
So how does the program work? Security officers first ride to the location of a court appearance to make sure everyone will be safe upon arrival. Then, following BACA's road rules with the Road Captain and board members leading the way, the group of bikers rides to the location.
“People come from all over the state,” Tunez said.
BACA members always remove their sunglasses upon greeting the child.
“We kneel down to the child's level,” Tunez said.
The child receiving services is given his or her own jacket known as a “cut,” which is a smaller version of the vests the adult bikers wear. They get help creating their own road names that help them feel good about themselves. Some of the kids' nicknames are written inside the children's hand prints emblazoned on Tunez' motorcycle.
Tunez said the kids also each receive a teddy bear wearing a BACA shirt.
“We tell them the Teddy bear is full of hugs. If the bear ever runs out, we'll come back and fill it with hugs,” he said.
BACA member Storm said that the acts of kindness can make all the difference for an abused child's happiness.
“The kids need us,” she said. “We adopt these kids into our family. If you mess with our kids, you mess with us.”
Each of the new junior BACA members gets to ride on a motorcycle. One girl who chose “Peanut” as her street name was too small to ride behind a biker recently, but was thrilled to hop into a motorcycle sidecar.
BACA's code of conduct does not allow any violence except in extreme circumstances. Members are available to accompany the children to court when they are called to testify against their abusers. This is especially comforting to wounded children after their families are subpoenaed. The families cannot go to court with the kids.
Members of BACA also will patrol a child's neighborhood and keep an eye on the house if there is danger that the abuse perpetrator will try to return. They do what is necessary to make the child feel empowered. Some children have peered out their windows to make sure BACA members were standing guard for them.
Some BACA members such as Boomer, America, Trouble and Storm have endured child abuse themselves, or know of a family member who endured it.
“No kid should go through it,” Storm said.
One man in BACA road gear got to his feet during a recent meeting and said that his granddaughter had been abused. BACA stepped in to help the youngster.
“I joined BACA after that so I can help other children,” he said with tears in his eyes.
Rock County has one of the highest child abuse rates in the state, other BACA members said. Tunez praised local officials such as Judge James P. Daley who support the work of BACA and do what they can to help. Before the Rock River Chapter of BACA moved into full operation, it had to prove itself through several years of training. With Rock River now on board, there are now five full time Wisconsin BACA chapters.
BACA has many success stories. One girl who had been into martial arts and school, started to pull away.
“BACA helped her bubble of safety grow,” Tunez said.
The girl has since earned her black belt and become an A student.
“Success is helping children speak out against their abusers,” America said. “Nine-eight percent of BACA children are able to testify in court.”
Experts Looking Into Recent Child Deaths In OK
by Adrianna Iwasinski
OKLAHOMA CITY -- In the past two weeks, Oklahoma City Police Detectives have been called to investigate the deaths of three babies.
The Oklahoma Commission on Children and Youth and the YWCA are always looking at all of the factors that lead up to the death of any Oklahoma child. They do everything they can to promote ways to stop violence and abuse in homes, before tragedy strikes.
“Being a caregiver is one of the toughest jobs anyone will ever do,” said OCCY Executive Director Lisa Smith. “And I think a lot of people underestimate it when they bring a baby home from the hospital and try to provide care.”
Smith says their main goal at OCCY is child safety, and to equip adults with how to care for a child. But many in Oklahoma don't know they are out there, until it's too late.
Just this month alone, Oklahoma City has seen its share of tragedy. Police say 8-month-old Ezekiel Veloz was found stabbed to death inside a Southside apartment last week, after his mother took a knife to both herself and her entire family. Nineteen-month Lincoln Lewis died in a Tulsa hospital this week. His mother's boyfriend is currently in jail accused of killing him.
News 9 checked and at least two other Oklahoma City men are currently awaiting trials for killing their girlfriend's children within the past year alone. James Ray Fuston is charged with murder and neglect in the death of his and his girlfriend's 3-week-old son. Also, Justin William Lawson is charged with rape and murder in the death of his girlfriend's 2-year-old daughter.
“We see it many times where boyfriends are left to care for these children and they're not equipped to care for them,” said Smith. “They have poor coping skills they have anger management issues they've never dealt with, they may be children of trauma. They are expected to care for a child they don't have an emotional bond with set.”
“It breaks our heart,” said YWCA Executive Director Jan Peery.
Peery sits on the Oklahoma Domestic Violence Fatality Review Board and says every time there is a child death reported, they wonder what else is going on in the home.
“And when there's a death of a child from child abuse, there's research that shows that at least 70% of the time, there's a pattern of abuse against the mother,” said Peery. “At what point do we say enough?”
According to the YWCA:
“In 2014, the DVFRB identified 17 domestic violence homicide cases in which a child or children (under the age of 18) were murdered; resulting in the deaths of 18 children. Of the 18 children who died, 11 were male and 7 were female. The youngest child was less than 1 day old and the oldest child was 17. Children were murdered by their brothers, fathers, mothers, and other relatives.”
To see analysis of 2014 domestic violence homicides click here.
To learn more about what the YWCA can do to help, click here.
According to the Oklahoma Child Death Review Board 2015 annual report, there were a total of 22 child homicides reported, 10 of which were due to abuse and neglect.
Preliminary statistics from the Child Death Review Board 2016 child abuse and neglect deaths show that between January 1, 2016 and July 19, 2016 there have been 128 cases referred. Of those, there were 78 deaths and 50 near deaths.
Smith also says that 30% of caregivers investigated in these kinds of cases had substance abuse issues and nearly half had prior contact with DHS.
2015 Annual Report
Both Smith and Peery wants everyone out there to remember just two things:
Be careful who you leave your child with.
Seek help if you feel overwhelmed or in danger.
Sick paedophile Eamon Cooke profiled by top Irish criminologist
Criminologist John O'Keeffe profiles Eamon Cooke, 'Ireland's Jimmy Savile'.
by Sunday World
Adult sex offenders
IT is sometimes difficult for the general public to imagine the horror that lies behind sex offenders such as Eamon Cooke. Sex offenders fall in to various categories, each with their own special brand of terror. Adult sex offenders such as Larry Murphy tend to fall into that special brand of psychopathic category that can unleash merciless violence on their unfortunate victim. Thankfully, as their victims will be adult, there is some possibility of escape – as Murphy found out to his own dismay.
Child sex offenders/Cooke – paedophiles and haebophiles
THOSE that abuse pre-pubescent children are strictly categorised as paedophiles. They will often speak of being in love with the child. They did not abuse, they state, but have a “relationship” with them, which was not only welcomed but also encouraged by the child. In the fantasy world of paedophiles such as Cooke, normal adults simply do not understand the “special” connection they have with such children. An equally worrying category is that of haebophiles, who will abuse children during or just after puberty. Young girls can at this stage of their emotional and sexual development be receptive to the advances of the middle-aged sexual predator such as Cooke, who will have presented themselves in a wholly different light.
Cooke was a sexual predator and then some as he was one of the smaller categories of child abuser who spanned both deviancies – in other words he offended against both pre- and post-pubescent children. Furthermore, he abused both girls and boys. To Cooke no child was too young, too old, or of the incorrect gender. Cooke was the most savage of all the beasts in the child-abusing jungle.
The children whom Cook abused – in the case of Philip Cairns, whom he may have also murdered – will not have a nuanced view of adult behaviours. This was Ireland in the '70s, '80s and '90s – an Ireland where emigration and incessant depressive national navel-gazing was the norm. Enter stage left a charismatic and seemingly important and fun man who could introduce them to the world of “illegal” broadcast media and a range of apparently worthwhile people.
The fact that Cooke may have been filthy and prone to outbursts were nothing beside the “treats” that he would bestow on all children who came to him. A couple of pounds here, a bit of flattery there, an understanding nod that their parents just didn't understand them. In no time the stage had been set for Cooke's grooming process to begin proper.
Cooke the psychopath
COOKE was not, however, a “lover” of children in any sense. Although his abuse spanned all age groups and abuse his psychological typology will be that of the child rapist – he was therefore as unpredictable in his sexual and physical abuse as he was “engaging”. This goes to the heart of how he operated – or his modus. The “showboater” one minute who could charm both children and adults alike, the child sex abuser the next. He may have presented as a disheveled filthy middle-aged man but like all true psychopaths he operated like a magician and many would not have seen where the real tricks were going on. In other words his charm, charisma, control and apparent influence distracted from the real truth – here was one of God's lowest creatures – a man with no moral compass, no remorse and zero empathy for the tragedy he heaped on many children's lives.
Cooke's grooming – the car
NEVER underestimate the draw of a flash car to a child. Multiple child sex offender Jimmy Savile drove a Rolls Royce. Paedophile DJ Jonathan King drove a €2.7m Bugatti. Eamon Cooke drove a Jaguar – a car as rare as hen's teeth in Ireland 25 years ago. This is the part of the grooming process for already vulnerable, bored and uninspired youth. Few men owned a marquee car and even fewer children could imagine being proximate to one, let alone being allowed to sit in one.
The Jaguar then became Cooke's calling card around Dublin. Having access to Garda communication, he would appear at crime scenes before the gardai – the Jaguar became a moving metaphor for his utter evil.
Philip Cairns and Cooke
THE mother of Philip Cairns has stated that her son never spoke of Cooke or of even knowing him, which has led some to believe that Cooke may not after all have been involved in his disappearance or murder. It would have been highly unusual for her son to so do. Children typically do not involve their parents in conversations about their friends and less so if they have made adult “friends.” It is suggested that the reasons for this is twofold. Firstly children are by their very nature reticent to discuss anything of substance with their parents when Philip's age for instance – like children over the generations, they live in the moment and friendships come and go.
Another issue with a predator like Cooke was that he would almost certainly have issued veiled threats to all children who came to his personal attention of an overt – or more likely – a covert nature. Philip Cairn's would have been fascinated and repelled by Cooke in equal measure, as will many of his victims. It is the fake charisma of sexual deviants such as Cooke that ensure little or no reporting may ever occur of their behaviours.
Bill benefitting sex trafficking victims signed into law.
by Sara Rubin
Gov. Jerry Brown signed AB 1684 into law Friday, giving victims of human trafficking greater powers to seek civil damages as they rebuild their lives.
The law, authored by Assemblyman Mark Stone, D-Scotts Valley, allows public authorities in the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing to seek damages on behalf of victims.
Existing law allowed victims themselves to take similar actions, but they often lack the financial resources needed to take offenders to court.
The bill passed unanimously out of both the state Senate and Assembly.
According to the California Attorney General's Office, human trafficking is a $32 billion-a-year global industry, and California is one of the top destinations for trafficking victims.
In 2014, State Attorney General Kamala Harris (now a candidate for U.S. Senate) convened a human trafficking task force that over two years conducted 2,500 investigations, identified 1,300 victims and arrested nearly 1,800 suspects.
“We must do more to protect human trafficking victims," Stone said in a statement. "These vulnerable Californians deserve a chance to rebuild lives."
Law aims to shut down human trafficking hotel hot spots
by Lex Talamo
A new law going into effect Aug. 1 will require all hotels in Louisiana to post a human trafficking hotline number in employee notice areas — or face fines.
Yet two weeks before SB 377 takes effect, dozen of area hotel managers — including hotels with long rap sheets of prostitution - and trafficking-related arrests — said they weren't aware of the bill or its requirements.
Many hotel owners also voiced beliefs that human trafficking — including both labor trafficking and sex trafficking — wasn't a problem in the area.
“I haven't heard of that many cases here,” said Vimal Patel, general manager of the Super 8 on Monkhouse Drive. “I'm not saying it doesn't happen, but I think it happens more in Texas.”
A recent series by the Times highlighted Shreveport's hidden identity as a major hub for sex trafficking — particularly the trafficking of children and youth.
Supporters of the legislation say enlisting the help of hotels in posting the resource number is critical, while critics — including hotel managers themselves — doubt the impact of posting the required fliers.
Hotspots for trafficking
The NHTRC listed hotels and motels as the second most common venue for human trafficking—following commercial brothels— in 2015.
Louisiana's I-10 and I-20 provide convenient transportation routes for traffickers, said Caddo Parish Juvenile Services' Administrator Clay Walker. Many recoveries of victims — particularly children — come from hotels and motels because the industry affords easy access to buyers, a degree of privacy and a cheap place to do business, according to local law enforcement and the FBI.
The NHTRC reported 28 victims under the age of 18 in 2015. A majority of total recovered victims are women and U.S. citizens, according to NHTRC data.
“Truck stops and hotels have to be part of the solution to join in this fight when it comes to children,” Walker said.
One local case involves a couple headed to trial at Caddo Parish Courthouse in August for trafficking a 14-year-old child out of the Moonrider Inn on Monkhouse Drive last year. In November of 2015, Tyrone Smith pled guilty to three counts of sex trafficking girls and women and transporting them across state lines. Smith and Lacoya Washington each face a charge of human trafficking, and if convicted, face between 15 and 25 years in federal prison.
Moonrider Inn's General Manager Norm Shum said the hotel stands firmly against child pornography and sex trafficking and supports the new law.
“The hotel desk people are the first in line. They are the ones who will notice,” Shum said. “We have already talked to the FBI, the respective industry, about getting training for our staff in looking for the warning signs.”
The FBI said they could not confirm Shum's statement.
Shum said new ownership at the Moonrider Inn is trying to change the hotel's negative reputation: The new owners have invested more than $5 million in renovations and are committed to being a part of community solutions.
But Shum said the current legislation's provisions aren't adequate and put hotels at a disadvantage.
“ I can put 10 posters everywhere and they will just collect dust. You can give someone a number to call, but they're not going to call because they are afraid of repercussions or they might not know what to look for,” Shum said. “We're not trained law enforcement, and trainings can get expensive.”
Reporting suspicious activity
NHTRC's Senior Regional Specialist Vanessa Chauhan said Louisiana's new law is a step in the right direction.
“I think this is a fantastic step forward to raise awareness,” Chauhan said. “What we're learning is that every industry has sex trafficking, and hotels are a venue for not just sex trafficking, but labor trafficking.”
Chauhan also didn't doubt the impact of the hotline number. Statewide, the NHTRC hotline has answered almost 1,600 calls since 2007—with 48 calls and 22 reported cases of human trafficking in 2016 alone.
Investigations into 16 of the hotline's 22 reported cases, or 73 percent, started with a call from a concerned community member who reported a tip.
“ The trafficking hotline is important because it's a 24/7, 365 day number. You don't have to know anything about trafficking. You'll talk to a person who will run through your information,” Chauhan said. “We were set up as a one-stop resource center, and your call is completely confidential.”
Because NHTRC is based in Washington, D.C., Chauhan said the organization relies on community stakeholders to promote the number.
Jim Kelly, executive director for the New Orleans-based nonprofit Covenant House, works with youth who have been trafficked on a daily basis.
“Posting the human trafficking resource hotline on hotel employee bulletin boards can only help and is a step forward,” Kelly wrote in an email, but added, “Enforcement is key, and too often is lacking.”
An issue of enforcement
Louisiana may have passed an important law — but whether or not it will be enforced is another issue.
Senate Bill 377 amended a prior law passed in 2014, which required hotels deemed a “public nuisance for prostitution” to post the NHTRC number.
The Times talked with managers of about a dozen hotels identified by law enforcement to have had multiple prostitution — or trafficking-related arrests. None of the managers had posted the number, and none had heard of either the 2014 or the 2016 law.
Marriott Residence Inn, Super 8, and Moonrider Inn on Monkhouse Drive managers said they had not heard about the new legislation. Neither had management of the Levingston hotel on Pete Harris Drive or the Merryton Inn on Monkhouse Drive—hotels where law enforcement have made multiple arrests.
District 37's Sen. Barrow Peacock,R- Bossier City, who sponsored SB 377, said ignorance of the law is no excuse.
“If they see something, they should call and get that information to the appropriate authorities,” Peacock said. “This is something where we all need to do our part. We can't turn a blind eye to it, and we have to let law enforcement do its job.”
The Louisiana Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control will be responsible for enforcing the law and citing noncompliance.
“The ATC has long supported the state's initiative on this very important issue and takes its responsibility very seriously,” said an official ATC statement. “Our agency is currently working to integrate this enforcement responsibly. Once completed, our agents, who are deployed statewide, will be inspecting applicable locations for compliance and will cite appropriately.”
Hotel owners in violation of the legislation's requirements will face a civil fine of between $50 and $500 for a first offense. Second offenses carry fines of between $250 and $1000, and third offense fines range from $500 to $2500.
To comply with the new law, all hotel management must post a flier— no smaller than 8 ½ inches by 11 inches and using at least 14 point font — in the area where other employee notices are placed, with the following message in English, Spanish and Louisiana French:
“If you or someone you know is being forced to engage in any activity and cannot leave, whether it is commercial sex, housework, farm work, or any other activity, call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline at 1-888- 373-7888 to access help and services.”
Despite a general lack of knowledge of the law's requirements, all hotel managers said they would be happy to comply.
“Sure, if you want to leave a flier, we can put it up,” said Kumar Visnagra, general manager of Shreveport Value Inn on Monkhouse Drive.
Chauhan said expanding the current legislation to require training or posting of the hotline number in each hotel room could increase the law's impact.
“I hope in addition to posting where the employees can see it, there's also training that goes along with it, where employees are trained in identifying the signs,” Chauhan said. “There are certainly ways to expand, such as posting the number in every hotel room.”
Katie Longo, senior director of government affairs communications for the American Hotel and Motel Lodging Association, said AH&LA has developed numerous resources and training tools for hotels as well, including an online training program developed with ECPAT, a leading anti-trafficking organization.
Past training has included webinars on trafficking, roundtable discussions at the national level, annual conferences and congressional meetings at the state and local levels, Longo said.
"We believe that in order for anti-trafficking efforts to be truly successful, there needs to be a society-wide focus on the issue," Longo wrote in an email. "It is especially important for all members of the travel industry to be cognizant of the unique intersection of travel and trafficking networks."
Shobana Powell, who works with Northwest Louisiana's FREE Coalition, said the anti-trafficking initiative has free training for hotel staff. Powell said no hotels have currently shown interest.
“We would love to find a way to work together, and if they are interested, provide free training to their staff,” Powell said.
National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline: Call (888) 373-7888 or text BEFREE (233733)
FREE Coalition: To schedule free training for hotel staff or to learn more, email email@example.com or find the group on Facebook.
Young and trapped: Homeless youth and young adults ensnared in human sex trafficking
Alone and vulnerable, homeless youth frequently fall prey to human sex traffickers
by Dean Mosiman and Doug Erickson
By age 19, the petite, blond-haired woman was homeless, a slave to heroin and becoming ensnared by a sex trafficking industry that is quietly rampant in Madison.
Eventually, she would sell her body to three or four men a day, most days of the year, making lots of cash but surrendering most of it to a lover-pimp who provided food, cheap motel rooms and "protection" — and, most importantly, fed her drug addiction.
At 22, heroin had transformed her body to an anemic rail and she estimates she'd been with 1,500 men.
"Drug dealers will take what you want most and absolutely use it against you," she told the State Journal.
Her sister lived the same life.
So do hundreds of other girls and young women in Madison, most of them homeless.
"It happens a ton," said Madison Police Detective Maya Krajcinovic, who works on sensitive crimes. "This is the new drug of choice in Madison — trafficking kids."
The girls and young women, sometimes boys and men, are recruited in shopping mall food courts, outside emergency shelters for the homeless or the Dane County job center, at bus transfer stations during the school year, on Facebook, at motels where homeless mothers with young children often stay.
Most people call them prostitutes. In their ads they refer to themselves euphemistically as "escorts." But police and social service workers know them simply for what the vast majority are: victims.
The pimps and victims are tied to all kinds of illicit activity, Krajcinovic said. "This population is involved in most of the other crimes in Madison," she said. "It's a criminal enterprise — burglary, shooting, gang activity, drugs. You wouldn't believe how much these people do in a day."
In almost every case under investigation or pending before a court, "the victims lack stable housing," said John Vaudreuil, U.S. attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin.
The victims become quickly trapped, becoming a reusable "product" easier and safer to sell than drugs, Vaudreuil said. The "escorts" are advertised online, with "dates" occurring in homes, motel rooms, truck stops or vehicles in parking lots at all hours of the day, he said.
"The community must understand this is not about sex, nor is it a sex crime," he said. "This is about violence and we must look at it like we view other crimes of violence. Extremely vulnerable victims are being violently forced into commercial sex. This is nothing less than modern-day slavery, and no civilized society should tolerate these crimes."
'The seedy underbelly'
It's around 11 a.m. on a Monday, and a plain-clothed Krajcinovic rolls her unmarked squad car through the parking lot of a Far East Side motel.
She quickly recognizes a man in a yellow shirt standing next to a vehicle, talking to the driver. He's 19, just out of jail and a suspected pimp likely making a drug deal, she said — "probably crack or heroin."
Krajcinovic circles around the motel and spots a young woman and a man standing by an exit. "That's a working girl," she said.
As she again passes the entrance, a woman with two children in tow crosses the parking lot. The woman, Krajcinovic said, is being trafficked. "She's homeless. She does a trick or two. She doesn't feel good about it, but she's got a roof over her head" and her children.
Trafficking, Krajcinovic said, is pervasive. She pulls over and uses her cellphone to call up a website called Backpage that is loaded with local ads for escorts. The ads, which cost $7, have often raunchy text and some pictures, although many are stock photos. That day by 11:30 a.m., there already are ads from 35 available local escorts.
The sex occurs all over the place, even in the parking lots of the motel or nearby East Towne Mall, Krajcinovic said. "It's just like doing a drug deal."
At a nearby motel where the homeless use vouchers to stay, Krajcinovic immediately identifies a pimp and "escort" with orange-tinted hair sitting on a rock wall near the driveway entrance. "She's 18 or 19," she said. Soon, a man wearing a Brewers shirt and a weathered-looking woman with red hair exit the motel. She, too, is being trafficked.
A bit later, Krajcinovic drives to the mall to check on the food court, and is surprised not to see the usual contacts being made — men in their 20s or older approaching young teens. "There's a ton of runaways here," she said. "They're very naive. It takes 20 minutes in a food court to be manipulated into the lifestyle. They don't even know they're being victimized."
The men let the girls stay in their hotel room and give them cash, food and clothes, Krajcinovic said. Soon, they want sex for their provisions. Then, they persuade the girls to have sex with others for cash and initially let them keep the money. After a few tricks, the men demand the money. There are threats and beatings. The girls, she said, are brainwashed, trapped. "They're doing this to survive and don't know how to get out of it."
On the way out of the mall, several men and a young woman pass by. The woman, Krajcinovic said, is being trafficked, and her Backpage ad was one of those she had seen on her phone an hour before.
"It doesn't affect the majority of the city. People just go about their lives and don't see it," Krajcinovic said. "This is the seedy underbelly."
'A new kind of evil'
The term "human trafficking" conjures images of kidnappings and a slave or sex trade — somewhere else.
In reality, it's everywhere, brought through fraud, force or coercion. The women, vulnerable to threats or sometimes brutal and sadistic violence, have long been seen as criminals for prostitution but are increasingly viewed as victims.
"It's only been within the last six or seven years that we started to recognize this was not just prostitution," said Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel. Homeless youth are especially vulnerable, he said, citing a study showing that once on the street, one out of every three teens will be approached about prostitution within 48 hours.
Tyler Schueffner, street outreach and transitional living coordinator for Briarpatch Youth Services, sees a big increase in Dane County, where more awareness of the trafficking issue has exposed many more cases of sexual exploitation of teens in the form of online pornography and sex trafficking.
"Some of this, there's a new kind of evil, to do what they do to another human being, let alone a child," he said.
"This is a business, and like any business, where there is demand there is trafficking," Vaudreuil said. "The problem occurs across the state because the product can be easily and safely transported. A pimp driving with a female trafficking victim isn't like driving with drugs in the car for sale."
In Madison, since 2012, police have identified about 300 girls under age 18 being trafficked.
"These are only the ones we know about," Krajcinovic said.
In a grim example, information from a juvenile trafficking victim triggered three criminal cases that eventually linked to activities of multiple pimps, some of whom are also drug dealers, and gang associates in Madison and Milwaukee from 2013 through 2015. The men were "grooming" or trafficking more than 20 girls and women, most homeless or living out of motels or fractured homes.
The cases included a homicide, drug overdose of a boy, a shooting, and multiple cases of sexual assault. Another helped bust an East Side gang responsible for drive-by shootings, burglaries, robberies and drug dealing.
Jan Miyasaki, executive director of Project Respect, which provides advocacy, counseling, crisis intervention, transitional housing and other services for women with prostitution histories, said Madison is ripe for trafficking.
"Right now, Madison has a huge supply of people who have limited options," she said. "The homeless population is a huge supply."
But Miyasaki put the onus on men paying for sex with desperate, vulnerable girls and women being trafficked. "We can't expect our kids to protect themselves," she said. "This couldn't happen if people weren't buying them."
'He's taking all my money'
The petite blonde woman, raised in Green County by a single mother who had three children by age 20, is smart, articulate, resourceful. In grade school, she and her sister did beauty pageants. In high school, they did cocaine and painkillers. Both graduated.
She agreed to tell her story to warn others about the dangers of the life she lived for four years. The State Journal is not naming her to avoid endangering her.
Eventually, she moved to a duplex with a man in his mid-20s and soon learned the downstairs neighbor was a heroin dealer, a convenience that helped deepen her addiction.
Later, the sisters moved in with their father, a drug addict who regularly got high with his daughters. By then, the pair were making frequent trips to Madison, hanging out with drug dealers, leaving for weeks at a time.
During this time, the sisters sampled the sex trade. At first, they made cash through a scam, putting ads on the internet, telling men they needed to pay for an initial webcam meeting, and then using a fake image to dupe the client into making payment, never meeting face to face.
Then they began to meet the men. "She did the first call," the woman said of her sister. "I followed. Nobody introduced us to it. We were in so deep. We took it to the next step."
The first time, they met a man in Paoli, the sister joining him in his car. In less than five minutes, she came back with a $100 bill. They started selling sex daily, the ease of making hundreds of dollars in scant time intoxicating. A client who was a police officer from northern Wisconsin gave them an older car and roughly $15,000 over a few months.
"Every once in a while, you end up with a sugar daddy," the woman said. "You'd be surprised at the type of guys who are into this."
But almost all of the cash was consumed by their addiction. "Some of it paid for the hotel," she said. "The rest of it paid for heroin. We were doing so many drugs."
One day, the father had enough, abandoning his daughters at a sleazy Beltline motel, leaving them with only $20 and a pack of cigarettes. "That's how we landed on the street," said the woman, 19 at the time. "At that point, we were officially on our own. If we couldn't find clients, we were sleeping in our car."
But the sisters, both with prepubescent looks, were candy for men who prized young girls who saw them as fresh "like a schoolgirl." The encounters were "degrading and gross," the woman said, adding, "My sister and I were lucky we didn't come across some psycho."
By now, the sisters were woven into a criminal underworld of dingy motels, pimps and trafficking, Backpage connections and heroin, their addiction costing $500 to $700 a day. "It always went back to drugs," the woman said. "Our drug dealers got the money."
Like many girls drawn into trafficking, she fell for a drug dealer-pimp. In this case, a 38-year-old man who was married, had a child by another woman, and had other, ongoing sexual partners. "I fell in love with him," she said. But "it doesn't matter if they like you or not, they will take advantage of you."
In June 2014, Krajcinovic began an investigation that led to the arrest of the woman and her pimp. He was charged with human trafficking, drug offenses and sexual assault and sentenced to 15 years in prison after a plea deal knocked off the sexual assault charge. She was charged with drug possession, fraud and bail jumping, but the felony counts were dismissed in a plea deal. Her probation ends next May.
The woman, now 23, has been sober for almost two years and living content with an older man and their baby son in his creme-colored ranch house on the West Side.
"When I got sober, that's when I got serious," she said. "I've never felt better than where I am."
But she realizes, "I'm still recovering. "When you've lived that lifestyle so long, it's still a struggle every day not to go back to what I was doing."
She still doesn't see herself as a victim, a reflection of the depth of a pimp's control.
'I don't even know who I am anymore'
The psychological trauma of trafficking is profound, Miyasaki said.
She's now working with an 18-year-old woman who was taken from her dysfunctional mother and lived in foster care and on Madison's streets as a runaway.
The woman, who doesn't know her father, has been homeless since age 13, falling into heavy drinking, drugs, and trading sex for money or shelter while living in multiple states. She returned to Madison a few months ago, and continued her lifestyle, has been gang raped and trafficked.
"I'm in a place where I don't even know who I am anymore," she told the State Journal in an interview with Miyasaki present. She describes her status among dealers and pimps: "I am a bitch. I have to stay in my place."
She is now trying to escape a toxic haze of homelessness, addiction, violence and manipulative pimps.
Dr. Mollie Kane, a family doctor who specializes in adolescent medicine, sees many girls through her work at Access Community Health Center and the Dane County Juvenile Detention Center, the latter where she began encountering human trafficking victims a decade ago.
"Over time, it led me to start screening all the kids," she said, adding that she now sees a large number of youth who trade sex for shelter, food and clothing and about five a week engaged in human trafficking.
Their profile is young, 13 or 14 years old and mostly white, with a smaller number of black and Latino girls, Kane said.
Often, vaginal trauma from sexual assault disappears before she sees the girls, but she sees black eyes and once even a pregnant girl with trauma to her belly, Kane said. "By far, the biggest problem we see around sex trafficking is drug addiction and mental health problems."
"The horrible effects on the victims are the most troubling," Vaudreuil said. "As we investigate and prosecute these cases, the long-lasting trauma we see is overwhelming.
About 'human trafficking'
Human trafficking is the recruiting, enticing, harboring, transporting or obtaining a person for the purposes of commercial sex through fraud, force or coercion.
Its usage has increased in recent years as people in law enforcement and social service have sought to draw a distinction between prostitution in which the person selling sex is more or less freely choosing to do so and the more common situation in which a pimp is controlling and profiting from the person who is delivering the sex.
Other terms associated with human trafficking include:
Backpage: An Internet site that has legitimate purposes but also a section advertising local "escorts," many of whom are victims of human trafficking.
Bitch: The most common term used by pimps and customers when referring to a prostitutes and nude dancers.
Pimp: A person, almost always a man, who persuades, compels or entices someone else to become a victim of human trafficking. The pimp usually will take all of the money from his victims, and he often will have several girls working for him. The pimp usually has no legitimate source of income. A "finesse pimp" controls through psychological brainwashing, and a "gorilla pimp" controls his victims through violence -- though nearly all pimps exert some level of physical intimidation over their victims.
Prostitute: A person who offers sex for something of value, such as money or drugs. Is independent and not connected to a pimp.
Trick/john: A customer or date.
Source: Madison Police Department
How to help, how to get it
If you are homeless or near-homeless and need help: For emergency shelter, call the toll-free Dane County Housing Crisis Line at 855-510-2323. For other housing questions or general assistance, call the United Way of Dane County helpline at 2-1-1 or go to danecountyhomeless.org.
To report a case of suspected trafficking , especially in matters of immediate danger, call 911.
To share information on known traffickers or victims , contact the Wisconsin Department of Justice, which receives calls 24-hours a day at, 608-266-1671.
To make a cyber tip report , contact the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-843-5678, or to make an online report, missingkids.org/cybertipline
Locally, trafficking victims seeking support can contact Project Respect: 608-332-4955, or firstname.lastname@example.org
If you would like to help the homeless: The United Way's 2-1-1 helpline also is a place to call to give help. Or go to volunteeryourtime.org or danecountyhomeless.org.
Did the Vatican halt an investigation into former Twin Cities Archbishop Nienstedt?
by Laura Yuen
Documents released by the Ramsey County Attorney's Office Wednesday showed the extraordinary measures Catholic officials took to quash a private investigation into former Twin Cities Archbishop John Nienstedt.
Nienstedt himself had ordered the investigation, citing unspecified allegations against himself. He said at the time that the allegations did not "involve minors or lay members of the faithful, and they do not implicate any kind of illegal or criminal behavior" and "involve events alleged to have occurred at least a decade ago, before I began serving in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis."
He called those unspecified claims, at the time, "absolutely and entirely false."
But as MPR News previously reported, once the lawyers hired to conduct the investigation started uncovering allegations of Nienstedt's alleged sexual misconduct with adult men, the archbishop attempted to obstruct their work.
One new document, released Wednesday, goes even further: It suggests that the order to halt the investigation came not from Nienstedt, but straight from the Vatican.
A July 2014 memo from the Rev. Daniel Griffith, who at the time was in charge of the archdiocese's department focused on protecting children, accuses the apostolic nuncio — the Vatican's representative to the United States — of ordering the investigation to end abruptly, without following up on all the leads investigators had uncovered.
Griffith also alleges the nuncio — who, at the time, was Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano — ordered top church officials to destroy a letter that indicated their disagreement with him.
If that assertion is true, it means the Vatican could have played a role in destroying potential evidence.
How it all started
By fall of 2013, the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis received allegations against Neinstedt, claiming sexual misconduct with men. At some point, officials became aware that Nienstedt may have had a relationship with Curtis Wehmeyer, the former priest, now in prison, whose abuses and cover-up led to the unraveling of the archdiocese's clergy sexual abuse scandal.
The archdiocese hired the law firm Greene Espel to investigate.
The firm's investigators gathered affidavits from 11 people who detailed a number of allegations of misconduct by Nienstedt spanning many years. Some of the statements came from priests who said Nienstedt sexually harassed them and made unwelcome advances against them.
Several months later, MPR News reported, two Twin Cities church leaders — Auxiliary Bishops Lee Piche and Andrew Cozzens — went to Washington, D.C., to meet with Vigano. Shortly after that meeting, the investigation — as it was originally ordered — was over.
But until now, it was never clear who exactly made the call to halt the investigation.
Settlement unearths new evidence
On Wednesday, the archdiocese admitted wrongdoing in the way it handled sexual abuse allegations against Curtis Wehmeyer. The admission came as part of a settlement deal with the Ramsey County Attorney's Office, which dropped criminal charges it had filed against the church last year.
Later in the day, Jeff Anderson, an attorney for many abuse victims, held a news conference to highlight Griffith's July 2014 memo, which was released by Choi as part of the settlement. The letter was written to Piche and Cozzens just after Greene Espel withdrew from the Nienstedt investigation.
Griffith, a priest well-respected throughout the archdiocese, had been put in charge of the archdiocese's child safety program after Wehmeyer was sentenced to prison.
In his letter, Griffith summarizes his deep concerns about the allegations against Nienstedt, and how top officials responded.
He says shortly after the meeting in Washington, Nienstedt convinced the nuncio that the allegations were not as serious as described.
The nuncio then instructed the lawyers at Greene Espel not to pursue any further leads, Griffith writes. Even more damning, Griffith says, Vigano instructed the bishops to destroy a letter in which they objected to his decision to shut down the investigation.
He calls the events a "good, old-fashioned cover-up to preserve power and avoid scandal and accountability."
An attorney for the archdiocese responded Wednesday that the criminal charges had been dismissed and "that dismissal is unconditional and speaks for itself."
David Clohessy, director of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said he's not shocked by the allegation. "I think it's very, very significant that Vatican officials are interfering with investigations here in the United States about clergy sexual misdeeds," he said Wednesday.
In a written statement Wednesday, Nienstedt reiterated his earlier assertions that the investigation had been prompted by allegations more than a decade old, and outside the Twin Cities archdiocese, though he did not elaborate. He said again that the unspecified allegations were false, and said he still has not seen the results of the investigation.
"However," he added, "I want to be clear and reiterate the public responses that I have made since the investigation began. I am a heterosexual man who has been celibate my entire life. I have never solicited sex, improperly touched anyone and have not used my authority to cover up, or even try to cover up, any allegation of sexual abuse."
He called the allegations "a personal attack against me due to my unwavering stance on issues consistent with Catholic Church teaching, such as opposition to so-called same sex marriage," and went on to say that he saw the allegations as retribution for decisions he made as a supervisor and leader of the archdiocese.
Griffith said Wednesday he stands behind the contents of his letter. "The memo speaks for itself," he wrote in an email. "I have confidence in Archbishop [Bernard] Hebda, Tim O'Malley and his safe environment team. I welcome the opportunity to work with them in protecting children and in facilitating greater healing for the victims of clergy abuse."
The results of the private investigation have not yet — and may never be — released. A spokesman for the Ramsey County Attorney's Office said Wednesday that prosecutors had asked for a report from the Greene Espel investigation, but the archdiocese declined, citing attorney-client privileges.
Child Abuse Numbers Rise in Washington County
by Erika Hall
The children's safety center is seeing an increase in child abuse cases in Washington county.
According to the Development Director Emily Fisher, case numbers are up 24% in Washington county from last year and it's only July.
"It does happen here, child abuse does happen in Washington county, you can look at our annual reports and see that," said Fisher.
The children's safety center is a child advocacy center that handles child abuse cases in Washington County.
Fisher says the center sees primarily priority one cases.
"That's sexual abuse, severe physical, witnesses to violence, about 92% of the cases we see are sexual abuse cases," said Fisher.
And the numbers are way up from last year, in 2015 there were 546 cases, this year they're already to 677 cases. That's a 24 percent increase. So why are the numbers rising?
"We like to think that maybe more people are aware of the tools, you know, we have the 1-800 hotline number, maybe we're getting the word out that we're here to help as well," said Fisher.
She suggests talking to your kids about body safety and awareness.
And if someone makes your child uncomfortable, make sure they can name five adults they would feel comfortable talking to.
"It's something that we don't talk about and we need to start the conversation now in order to prevent it," said Fisher.
If you want to help the children's safety center, the 9th annual dream big charity gala is happening this weekend!
It the CSC's main fundraiser of the year and is set for Saturday, July 23 at the Fayetteville Town Center from 7 to 11 at night. Tickets are $65 ahead of time, or $75 at the door.
It's a circus-themed event this year, complete with live music from Boom Kinetic.
Failure to report child abuse could lead to jail, consultation says
Proposals extend duty to report suspected abuse to support staff as well as practitioners such as doctors and teachers
by Alan Travis
School caretakers, secretaries and dinner ladies could face prosecution and possible imprisonment for failing to report signs of child abuse or neglect under official proposals in the wake of the Savile, Rotherham and Rochdale scandals.
The government consultation had been expected to include a new legal duty on professionals such as doctors, teachers and police officers to take action in cases of child abuse or neglect but ministers are considering extending the scope far wider.
The consultation paper suggests the new duty could be applied not only to professional practitioners but also administrative and support staff as well as senior management in local authorities, the health service and police forces.
“Those in administrative or other support roles for practitioners or organisations delivering the activities outlined above could also be within scope,” says the consultation paper, published on Thursday.
“School secretaries, caterers or caretakers, for example, may be in a position to identify and take action in relation to child abuse and neglect because of the nature of their working environment,” it adds.
The consultation paper puts forward two options to replace the current criminal offences of “wilful neglect” in overhauling the current child protection system in the wake of a series of high-profile child abuse scandals.
It says the first option could be a system of mandatory reporting, which would require certified individuals and organisations to report child abuse or neglect if they knew or had reasonable cause to suspect it was taking place. Reports would be made to local authority children's social care.
The second option would involve introducing a wider duty to act, which would require certain practitioners or organisations to take appropriate action – which could include reporting – in relation to child abuse or neglect if they knew or had reasonable cause to suspect it was taking place.
The joint Home Office and Department for Education consultation paper notes that the current referral rate in England of 54.8 per 1,000 children in 2014-15 is higher than the rate in the US (47.1 per 1,000 children in 2012-13) and Australia (37.8 per 1,000 children in 2013-14) – both of which already have mandatory reporting systems.
It says the focus of the duty to act would be broader than the mandatory reporting option and sanctions for breaches would be focused on cases where there were reckless reasons for failure to act, or because practitioners and/or organisations were indifferent to the harm, or potential harm, that might be caused. This would target individuals consciously taking a decision not to intervene or take action.
The consultation suggests the new duty could cover social workers, care assistants, housing officers, teachers and teaching assistants, nursery staff, childminders, police officers, firefighters, GPs, nurses, health visitors and midwives among others.
It suggests that sanctions could involve fines and imprisonment for individual practitioners and remedial orders and publicity orders could also be used in cases where organisations were found to have breached either duty.
“High profile cases have led to calls for specific reforms to our child protection system. In particular, the introduction of a new mandatory reporting scheme or other measures focused on taking action on child abuse and neglect have been suggested,” says a joint foreword by the Home Office minister Sarah Newton and education minister Edward Timpson.
“The issues involved are complex and the evidence for such schemes is mixed. We need to consider carefully all the available evidence and views of a range of experts, children, families, survivors and practitioners so that any changes we make to the system do deliver the best outcomes for children,” they add.
'Nursery crimes': One ECD's quest to stop child sexual abuse in Malaysia Painful personal experience pushed NagaDDB's ECD, Alvin Teoh, to create a powerful campaign against paedophilia.
by Alvin Teoh
KUALA LUMPUR - Sexual child abuse, unfortunately, has been making headlines in Malaysia recently. In the UK, Richard Huckle, now known as Britain's worst paedophile was convicted and given life in prison for the abuse of at least 23 children in Malaysia and Cambodia.
This shed light on an issue that many in the strictly religious and rather sheltered nation deny is a problem. More recently, Malaysian activist Syed Azmi exposed a prolific chat group created to discuss sex with children and to share child pornography. The 751 members of the group would take images of children off the web, often from social-media sites, and discuss what they would like to do with the children. Also recently, journalists at Star Media's R.AGE exposed the 'grooming' activities of predators.
A lack of awareness, and poor-to-no sex education in Malaysia, particularly among rural and more strictly religious communities, has been pointed out as a factor that makes Malaysian children particularly vulnerable to predators like Huckle.
A national campaign launching today, spearheaded by Alvin Teoh, ECD at NagaDDB, hopes to change that.
"My 9-year-old daughter was a victim of a paedophile teacher two years ago, but thankfully she escaped before any serious damage was done because she planned her escape as soon as he made his moves on her," Teoh shared. "Needless to say, that was the time I felt most broken. But the lesson for us was that my daughter was empowered with awareness, thanks to the efforts of my wife. That saved her."
Teoh pointed out that before the Huckle case made headlines, there was next to no reportage on the issue in Malaysia. "Even now many here see it as a White-man disease, ignoring the fact that there are countless locals who are predators. These predators draw power from ignorance, and so many have gotten away."
The first phase of Nursery Crimes, targets parents of very young children and is about getting this taboo and misunderstood topic into the spotlight, said Teoh. "We want people to talk about it and we want to drive the microsite to seek information and to seek advice and help via PS the Children, an NGO that is at the forefront of the battle against this abuse."
This stage of the campaign rides on the fact that children can't tell the difference between love and sexual abuse. Statistically, many of the crimes are committed by people they trust: neighbours, teachers, caretakers, even parents and grandparents. "This is tragic as well as shameful and is quietly swept under the carpet," commented Teoh.
The campaign features three films, one each in English, Malay and Chinese, each of which leads to a microsite that provides information on how to spot the signs of abuse, how to react to a case of child abuse and where to seek help.
"Then, each visitor to the site is invited to be an advocate of this mission just by passing on the knowledge by sharing information from the microsite."
Two years in the making
It took Teoh two years to get this campaign off the ground, because when the idea was first proposed, it made the social workers that he consulted uncomfortable.
"They were afraid that children would not understand and would start to sing these nursery rhymes we had rewritten," he said. "So we put it on hold, out of respect. But after a year of waiting, these stories started to come out and we went ahead. But we did remember their advice and the videos will be online, and if it's on air, it will be in a timebelt where children are unlikely to be watching."
The videos are extremely difficult to watch. The appropriation of beloved nursery rhymes is shocking, and there is a genuine creeping sense of dread for the child in the video. "When we were casting, we had quite a few parents pull their children out when they read the script," Teoh said. "However in the end, we found parents who understood and were fully on board with the project."
Teoh believes that there is a need to shock, and that greater awareness and education on the issue outweighed the negatives. "It's controversial and straightforward," he said. "We knew we couldn't hold back on shocking people, and we didn't want to be too clever about it. People are meant to be angry, to be in denial. Any response is a good response."
Teoh and his team donated their work to the project pro-bono, along with the production and audio houses involved. "When they heard what we wanted to do, they were keen to work on it free of charge," he said.
But Teoh was firm that the project needed the full support of a legitimate NGO. "We could have carried the project, but we don't have all the necessary knowledge," he said. "We need experts, people working in the field to advise us. We 're not social activists, we're ad-agency people. Sometimes intentions might be good, but you can cause a lot of damage because of ignorance. Someone's misery and pain is not a subject matter for award wins."
PS the Children, said Teoh, was happy to work with NagaDDB on the project and is at the forefront of working with abused kids in Malaysia. "They have given us their full support."
More to do
The campaign will air in TGV Cinemas, which has donated screen time to the campaign. Audio versions will be broadcast on Astro Radio, which has likewise given free air time to the project.
"We're also in discussions with Astro to see how we can bring this topic to life via their talk shows," said Teoh. "The media, publishers and key opinion leaders are also lending their support to amplify the project."
This is only phase one, and there is much more to do, concluded Teoh. "There's cyber-stalking, the empowerment of survivors of child sex abuse and even child brides. Malaysians need to have proper conversations around these topics."
Child Sexual Abuse Crime – the real insider threat
by Fredrik Frejme, Head of NetClean
Often ‘insider threats' are thought of as the typically unwitting evasion of security protocols by employees taking steps to improve productivity. This can be anything from storing private data using Dropbox or forwarding confidential details to a personal email account, without any thought for data security.
Yet, lurking on company networks and under the radar of our collective attention is a much more sinister ‘insider threat'. This comes in the form of employees who perform illicit activity like downloading, watching and distributing child sexual abuse (CSA) material online. Controversial as it seems, it's happening and we must accept the fact that paedophiles are a part of our society. We live amongst those who are actively spreading and viewing related material in our workplaces.
Moral issue or corporate risk?
While of course this is in large part a morality issue and a topic for the CSR agenda, there's also a very real long-term risk factor involved. Especially when considering that this activity is happening at all levels of society today. In fact, a recent Intelligence and National Security Alliance Symposium reveals as much, with the director of the Pentagon's Defense Security Unit confessing his amazement at the vast volumes of CSA material that has found its way onto government devices and across agency networks.
Risk aplenty raises alarms
Worryingly, the warnings and dangers to businesses today don't just come in the form of acknowledging that CSA can occur irrespective of the size and nature of the organisation involved. It's been made clear that staff in positions of power at government agencies are committing illegal crimes that are opening up a whole host of new risk factors. If this activity was to be exposed by individuals with their own agendas, who is to say that blackmail and bribery could not occur as a result? After all, a historical example has proven that an NSA contractor regularly paid for access to sexually explicit websites, all while in possession of top secret clearance. Who knows what could have happened if this was to be exploited for personal gain?
Add to that concern, the risk these perpetrators present in terms of other addictions they may be harbouring. It's not out of the question to suggest that those who consume CSA material, could also possess other potentially harmful addictions that could infiltrate a business and put its success and well-being in jeopardy.
Due diligence versus damage control
Ultimately, businesses must wake up to the fact that it's no longer just about showing you've done your part to tick the CSR box. It's not as simple as demonstrating moral grounding on the exposure of CSA material. It's about understanding the real business risk that these perpetrators impose. Today's leaders must recognise that criminal activity not only questions integrity, but threatens business survival and increases the likelihood of other company-wide risks arising.
Championing preventative measures
The only benefit of hearing the shocking revelations that child sexual abuse is widely viewed online, and by well-respected government officials, is that businesses have no excuse but to act, and fast. Implementing tools to monitor and control the activity of potential perpetrators should no longer be a taboo subject that leaders feel is a mark of distrust to their employees. Nor should it be a problem that is confined to the IT or security departments.
The technology exists to help organisations locate CSA images if they are downloaded through networks or accessed via computers. So there's no reason that these shouldn't be active across business environments to stamp out illegal activity that could lead to profound future implications. In fact, addressing this ongoing issue as a top priority on the management agenda is critical. To hear more about the solutions that can be used to support this battle please click here.
Child sexual abuse reports triple in Kent in past four years
Reports of child sex abuse have more than TRIPLED in Kent in the past four years.
Official crime figures released today by the Office for National Statistics show a sharp increase in cases of sexual activity involving youngsters under 13.
The number jumped from 76 in the 2012 to 2013 financial year, to 282 from 2015 to 2016.
Children's charity the NSPCC described the figures as "grim".
A spokesman said: "Recent investigations have exposed a dark underbelly of abuse that went on for far too long with the impact only now becoming tragically clear.
"Sexual abuse has a devastating impact on a child, and we urge all victims to come forward as soon as possible so they can get the support they need and offenders can be brought to justice."
Kent Police said the rise shows people are now more confident about reporting sexual abuse - with an increase in the number of historic offences investigated.
DCI Susie Harper said: "There is a significant growth in the confidence people have in the police to fully investigate sexual offences.
"We have experienced a rise in the number of non-recent child sexual offences reported to us and we have been successful in securing many convictions for such crimes.
"Just recently, a member of the combined safeguarding team secured a prison sentence of 15 years for a man who systematically raped a young girl in the 1980s.
"Not only are we able to help see justice done but also work with our partners to offer much needed support to the victims that will help them cope with the mental scars left by such abhorrent abuse.
"In another recent case in Kent, a four-year-old became the youngest victim in the country to give evidence in court after being accused of lying by the abuser, who had committed the rape and indecent assault.
"We helped this child's voice to be heard, we ensured he was given the appropriate care and saw justice done when the perpetrator was sentenced to nine years in prison, placed on the sex offenders register and a sex offences prevention order for life."
DCI Susie Harper said: "There is a significant growth in the confidence people have in the police to fully investigate sexual offences.
"We have experienced a rise in the number of non-recent child sexual offences reported to us and we have been successful in securing many convictions for such crimes.
"Just recently, a member of the combined safeguarding team secured a prison sentence of 15 years for a man who systematically raped a young girl in the 1980s.
"Not only are we able to help see justice done but also work with our partners to offer much needed support to the victims that will help them cope with the mental scars left by such abhorrent abuse.
"In another recent case in Kent, a four-year-old became the youngest victim in the country to give evidence in court after being accused of lying by the abuser, who had committed the rape and indecent assault.
"We helped this child's voice to be heard, we ensured he was given the appropriate care and saw justice done when the perpetrator was sentenced to nine years in prison, placed on the sex offenders register and a sex offences prevention order for life."
DCI Harper said police were working hard to protect children and raise awareness of child sexual abuse.
She continued: "We are engaging more than ever before with schools to tackle the issue and bring offenders to justice.
"Behind every statistic lies a very real incident of abuse and there is a passion and desire to raise awareness within the wider community, as we know that awareness brings action, and that action saves lives being damaged for the future.
"It is a key priority for us to work with the community and with all our partners to keep our children and vulnerable adults safe."
Victims of child sexual abuse can call police on 101 or Childline on 0800 1111.
Twin Cities Archdiocese admits wrongdoing in abuse case
by Steve Karnowski
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis publicly admitted wrongdoing Wednesday for the way it handled sexual abuse allegations against a former priest, while prosecutors dropped criminal charges that alleged the archdiocese turned a blind eye to his repeated misconduct.
The admission was part of an agreement in a lawsuit that calls for Archbishop Bernard Hebda to personally participate in at least three and likely more restorative justice sessions with abuse victims. The archbishop took the unusual step of attending the Wednesday hearing where the agreement was announced.
Ramsey County prosecutors filed civil and criminal charges against the archdiocese last year. The six gross misdemeanor child endangerment charges against the archdiocese involved Curtis Wehmeyer, who is serving prison time for molesting two boys in Minnesota and a third in Wisconsin. He was ultimately removed from the priesthood.
Also Wednesday, a prominent attorney for abuse victims, Jeffrey Anderson, accused the Vatican of interfering in a law firm's investigation into alleged misconduct by Hebda's predecessor, Archbishop John Niendstedt.
The civil case was settled in December under a plan that allowed for more oversight of the church. But attorneys for both sides used Wednesday's hearing on progress in the civil case to announce new steps aimed at reinforcing that agreement.
“The Archdiocese admits that it failed to adequately respond and prevent the sexual abuse” of the three victims, the archdiocese said in papers filed Wednesday. “The Archdiocese failed to keep the safety and wellbeing of these three children ahead of protecting the interests of Curtis Wehmeyer and the Archdiocese. The actions and omissions of the Archdiocese failed to prevent the abuse that resulted in the need for protection and services for these three children.”
Nienstedt resigned from his post 10 days after the criminal charges were filed in June 2015. Hebda, who took over about a year ago, apologized for the archdiocese's failures at a news conference later Wednesday.
“Those children, their parents, their family, their parish and others were harmed. We are sorry. I am sorry,” Hebda said.
Ramsey County Attorney John Choi said the victims' family appreciated the admission of wrongdoing, supported the measures to strengthen the settlement and backed his decision to drop the criminal charges.
Wise County couple charged for child abuse and neglect of their infant
Father previously charged in death of baby's twin brother
by Kristi O'Connor
WISE COUNTY, Va. - The grand jury indicted a Wise County couple for child abuse and neglect of their infant son.
These new charges came after the father was accused last month for the death of the baby's twin brother.
Shortly after the investigation into 5-month-old Ryan Mullins' death began, the Wise County Sheriff's Office started looking closer into the death of his twin brother, Franklin Mullins.
The babies' 44-year-old father also named Franklin Mullins is now charged with two counts of child abuse and neglect against his son Franklin.
He's already accused of felony murder, second-degree murder, child abuse and neglect of his other son, Ryan.
The sheriff's office began investigating when they responded to the call of an unconscious baby.
Ryan was flown to the Johnson City Medical Center where he died a few days later of a non-accidental head injury.
His twin brother, Franklin, had died just two months prior of an E. Coli infection. The sheriff's office says both showed the same symptoms before their deaths.
The grand jury indicted the boys' mother, Viola Mullins. She was arrested on two counts of child abuse and neglect of Franklin Mullins. She is being held on a $100,000 secure bond.
Franklin is being held on no bond.
Both deaths are still under investigation.
Child abuse: matter for all
Out of respect for some families, not talking about child abuse or neglect might seem like the right thing to do. Unfortunately, it clearly is not the right thing to do if a child is endangered. Neighbors, teachers, relatives and passers-by all have a stake in raising a child in a safe environment.
Indiana's Department of Child Services last week reported 66 Hoosier children died in fiscal year 2014 because of abuse or neglect, a 25 percent increase from 2013's 49 child deaths, according to the Journal Gazette of Fort Wayne. Half of the children who died of abuse were a year old or younger, the state reported, and 46 percent of those who died of neglect were of that same age group.
For child advocates, that increase is not only alarming, it is simply unacceptable. “Each one of these deaths could have been prevented,” Department of Child Services Director Mary Beth Bonaventura said of the 2014 numbers.
It was only last year that Gov. Mike Pence said Indiana would hire more than 100 child abuse and neglect caseworkers.
But the job of improving Indiana's death rate in child abuse and neglect cases is just beginning, and Hoosiers should not have a false sense of security because more people have been hired. Socially, Hoosiers should promote child abuse prevention and dispel the myth that Indiana is a safe place to raise a child simply because of its geography. No place is safe when those who abuse or neglect children are not held accountable.
The culture of raising children has to be improved in Indiana. There should be more talk and action from everyday Hoosiers, said Rachel Tobin-Smith, executive director of SCAN (or Stop Child Abuse and Neglect).
“Frankly, almost everyone has some involvement with children,” she said in her letter to the editor we published today. “We know that children who are seen regularly by caring adults such as teachers, day care providers, aunts, uncles, neighbors, home-based workers and nurses are less likely to be abused or neglected. We all can help protect our little ones.”
It's been said that it takes a village to raise a child. In Indiana's case, it takes a state government and residents committed to raising children in safer environments.
Child Abuse Bill: A First Step, But Debate Must Continue
The Pennsylvania House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved House Bill 1947, on April 12, which addresses childhood sexual abuse in both the criminal and civil arenas. The legislation would eliminate legal deadlines for the criminal prosecution of child abusers. Victims of childhood sexual abuse would also be afforded additional time to institute civil claims. Currently, Pennsylvania law extinguishes a litigant's right to file a civil claim for childhood sexual abuse at age 30. The proposed legislation would extend the statute of limitations to age 50 for a victim who suffered sexual abuse as a minor. The original bill included a controversial look-back provision, which would retroactively nullify the statute of limitations for expired civil claims.
House Bill 1947 received wide bipartisan support in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. Not surprisingly, certain aspects of the bill have faced intense opposition from the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference, and lobbyists for the insurance industry. These organizations oppose the expansion and retroactive application of the statute of limitations in civil cases. In a website posting, titled “Justice Out of Balance,” the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference urges Pennsylvanians to “oppose unfair changes to the civil statute of limitations.” The conference contends that the Catholic Church has done more to help survivors of sexual abuse than any other organization, and that the bill unfairly targets the church. The conference further argues that the legislation will only lead to a flood of crippling lawsuits against the church for decades-old crimes, and that schools and parishioners will pay the ultimate price.
Hearings were held before the Pennsylvania State Senate Judiciary Committee following the approval of House Bill 1947 by the House of Representatives. Most of the testimony centered around the proposed legislation's retroactive effect on the statute of limitations for civil claims. Solicitor General Bruce Castor, the state's second highest ranking law official, testified that the look-back provision of House Bill 1947 violates the Remedies Clause of the Pennsylvania Constitution because “the Pennsylvania Constitution provides greater protection than the U.S. Constitution.” Following testimony on June 28, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to eliminate the controversial look-back provision from the bill. The amended legislation now heads to the full Senate for consideration.
Aggressive action must be undertaken to end the cycle of abuse. It has become all too apparent that childhood sexual abuse is a widespread and pervasive problem in our society. Every day we are inundated with television reports, news articles, and blogs about the latest serial perpetrators. The unfortunate and obvious reality is that no child, organization, corporation, school, or religious institution is immune to this societal disease. Frequently these monsters, who prey on naïve and helpless children, use their positions of authority to gain access and trust. This pattern then repeats itself due to the shroud of secrecy that veils these acts. Some scientific studies have suggested that victims of childhood sexual abuse typically need decades before coming forward with allegations. We must hold perpetrators criminally responsible whether the abuse occurred within the last five years, or more than five decades ago. The institutions that shield these individuals should also be held civilly accountable for failing to protect the most vulnerable members of our society. Our problem is not isolated instances of child abuse, but rather a society that is inundated with abusers who elude detection for decades. House Bill 1947 is only a small step toward eradicating this prevalent epidemic.
It has been more than 100 years since the Pennsylvania Supreme Court addressed whether the Remedies Clause of the Pennsylvania Constitution grants a vested right to civil defendants in expired claims. Compelling and legitimate arguments can be made by both opponents and proponents of the look-back measure. The case relied upon by Castor, Lewis v. Pennsylvania Railroad, 69 A. 821 (Pa. 1908), prohibited a worker from filing a retroactive negligence claim against the Pennsylvania Railroad Co. Proponents of the look-back measure have argued that the plain language of the Remedies Clause only provides a constitutional guarantee for a plaintiff's accrued cause of action, and does not grant a vested right in expired statutes of limitations. This position is loosely supported by more recent case law, which has allowed the retroactive application of attorney fees against delinquent taxpayers, Konidaria v. Portnoff Law Associates , 953 A.2d 1231, 1236 (Pa. 2008), and retroactive amendments to provisions of the Workers Compensation Act, in Bible v. Commonwealth Department of Labor & Industry , 696 A.2d 1149 (Pa. 1997). Legislatures in other states have debated the validity of reviving civil childhood sexual abuse claims. Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Massachusetts, and Minnesota have enacted legislation reviving expired causes of action.
The look-back provision of House Bill 1947 will give many childhood sexual abuse survivors a second chance at civil vindication. The actions of the State Judiciary Committee, however, have all but eliminated their prayers. It is not at all clear that the Remedies Clause of the Pennsylvania Constitution bars the retroactive revival of civil claims. Perhaps the Pennsylvania legislature should revisit this issue given the abhorrent nature of these acts, the societal implications, and the decades of shame silently suffered by victims. Such a measure should not be enacted if it is deemed to violate the legitimate rights granted to Pennsylvanians, but the discussion cannot end at century-old case law. The legislature has taken the first steps, but the debate must continue. •
Police seek tips on suspect in child sexual abuse case
by Myles Snyder
(Picture on site)
LANCASTER, Pa. (WHTM) – Police are asking for the public's help to locate a Lancaster County man wanted for child sexual abuse.
Julio Maldonado, 43, is accused of having indecent contact with a child at a Mountville home between September and December of last year. He faces charges including aggravated indecent assault, indecent assault, and unlawful contact with a minor.
Maldonado's last known address is in the 400 block of John Street in Lancaster.
Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to call Manor Township Police Department at 717-299-5231 or Lancaster Crime Stoppers at 800-322-1913.
Crime Stoppers is offering a reward of up to $1,000 for information that leads to an arrest.
Woman gets 3-9 more years for repeatedly contacting child sexual-abuse victim
by Myles Snyder
LANCASTER, Pa. (WHTM) – A Lancaster County woman convicted of having a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old boy will spend at least three more years behind bars for repeatedly contacting him.
Rikki Salzman, 33, of Landisville, was sentenced Wednesday in Lancaster County Court to an additional 3-9 years in prison, according to District Attorney Craig Stedman's office.
Salzman, also known as Rikki Straley, was convicted in 2014 of institutional sexual assault, unlawful contact with a minor, and corruption of minors. Authorities said she had a sexual relationship with a resident of Arborvale Manor, a Millersville placement home for teenage boys in foster care, while she was an employee.
For the 2014 conviction, she was sentenced to house arrest and probation, and she was ordered to register as a sex offender and have no contact with the victim.
Authorities said shortly after sentencing, the victim was found at Salzman's home. She was jailed in March after a police officer found her with the victim in a vehicle.
Prosecutors said during her time in jail, Salzman made at least 25 phone calls directly to the victim or through another person. She also wrote numerous letters to the other person in which she wrote of plans to “get one over on the system” and have contact with the victim.
Denial, More Than Anything, Is Hindering Progress For Victims Of Child Sexual Abuse
by Nikki DuBose
If money is one hell of a drug, then denial is one of the biggest drug dealers in the world. And no group understands that truth better than survivors of child sexual abuse. While survivors, advocates and some lawmakers have fought hard to bring justice, there's been little progress made; if anything, we've been forced to take giant steps backwards. And by forced, I'm referring to the tremendous power of, more than anything, denial.
Take, for example, the recent killing of the child victims act by NY state lawmakers. Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan offered little explanation when asked as to why a deal couldn't be reached by Governor Cuomo, Senate, and the Assembly. As quoted by the NY Daily News, Flanagan merely said, “There was no agreement, that's it.” Senator Brad Hoylman, a Democrat from Manhattan who supported the Child Victims Act, noted that the Senate gave the green light to authorize online fantasy sports betting. But yet, historically, isn't this usually how things go down? Nonsensical bills such as the online fantasy sports betting and the act pushing for food to be served in funeral services establishments are cleared through the Senate and Assembly; however, it can take years and years to see any change in the areas of mental health reform, child sexual abuse prevention, and of course, gun control.
Thus, the killing of the Child Victims Act in New York equals no statute of limitations reform for child sexual abuse survivors. The Catholic Church paid over $2M for lobbyists to block the reform. Of course, they did. Why wouldn't they? Like I said, scoot some money in, look the other way; denial is the biggest drug trafficker, and money is the most abused drug in the world. Flash some money in front of some lawmakers' faces, and they will do just about anything they are paid to do.
In America, there are over 42,000,000 survivors of child sexual abuse, and that's just the reported estimate. I am a survivor; mind you, the word “survivor” has absolutely no glamorous connotation attached to it. Recovery has been like swimming in a blood bath; for the most part, many of us deal with a variety of mental health conditions. Getting to a place of recovery can be a literal miracle. And yet there is slim justice I or any survivor can seek currently for the horrors we have had to face; horrors that are equivalent to being murdered silently over and over again.
I'm sure that the girl who Marc Gafni admitted abusing can't take any legal action, either, which leads me to my second case. Back in May I attended a coordinated protest at the opening of the 365 by Whole Foods in Los Angeles. Together with NAASCA, Nancy Levine (author of The Tao of Pug), and my colleague, Matthew Sandusky from Peaceful Hearts Foundation, who led the protest in New York City, we stood outside of the store and attempted to educate potential shoppers about Co-CEO John Mackey's ties with Marc Gafni, and his loyalty to Gafni by not standing up on a public level for survivors of child sexual abuse.
Mackey is positioned as a leader, and can use his voice for the greater good; instead, similar to mentioned NY lawmakers, he has chosen to remain silent and back a known pedophile. Again, abusing money and looking the other way leaves no progress for the millions who have been victimized. You, dear Mackey, are enabling the abuser and acting like one, yourself, in your chosen silence.
The Mackey situation ties into my third point. Gabrielle Greene Sulzberger, the wife of publisher Arthur O. Sulzberger, Jr., sits on the board of Whole Foods. In a recent article by Levine which uncovered email exchanges that took place between her and Executive Editor of the New York Times, Dean Baquet, Levine referenced the relationship between the New York Times lack of reporting on the Child Victims Act and the Sulzberger financial interests in Whole Foods Market. Mr. Baquet replied, “Only someone quite paranoid would see such a connection.” This is a classic gaslighting response. But not only did the New York Times not cover any news of the Child Victims Act, they also did not follow up on the Gafni story, and did not report any of the related protests that took place at the 365 by Whole Foods. As well, they never bothered to publish any of Mackey's statements; and yet, Levine is accused by Mr. Baquet of being paranoid for seeing a connection?
His response is all too familiar. When I was sexually victimized by someone close to me and victimized by my mother, I was made to feel as though I was someone who had no voice, who was “crazy.” As a child, I developed a serious inferiority complex. During my modeling career, I was raped by a photographer, and when I confronted the director of my agency, I was shot down immediately, and told, yet again, that I was “crazy.” Instead of seeking help right away, I buried the pain with eating disorders, substance abuse, and lived in...denial. (To find out more about my story, sign up for the release of my memoir here.)
Every leader here has a platform to help survivors of child abuse, and yet they choose to remain silent. In doing so, they are enabling the perpetrators and hindering the millions of victims from getting the help they so desperately need. Abusers feed off silence and denial - see the connection? I don't think you can call us paranoid now.
Here's what you can do to help:
• Donate to the PAC (Political Action Committee) started to help support NY politicians who will support the Child Victims Act in the future and vote out of office the bill-killers.
• Search Statue of Limitations by State and help bring justice to victims.
• Write to Liz Spayd, the Public Editor of the New York Times , and ask her to address the “appearance of a conflict of interest” — email@example.com
• Stop shopping at Whole Foods and 365 by Whole Foods and spread the word. Do not support companies who refuse to help victims of child sexual abuse, and enable sexual abuse predators. Think carefully the next time you support a company with your hard-earned dollars.
from Dept of Justice
Australian Man Pleads Guilty to Traveling to the U.S. to Engage in Illicit Sexual Conduct with a 6-Year-Old Boy
LOS ANGELES – An Australian geneticist pleaded guilty this morning to traveling to Los Angeles to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a 6-year-old boy.
Michael Quinn, 33, of Melbourne, pleaded guilty today before United States District Judge John F. Walter, who scheduled a sentencing hearing for October 3.
“Mr. Quinn traveled to the United States to have sex with a young child,” said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “Fortunately, law enforcement was able to ensure that no child was put in harm’s way and that Mr. Quinn would face severe consequences for his conduct.”
Quinn was arrested on May 21 by special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) when he arrived at a Los Angeles-area hotel to buy a 6-year-old boy for sex.
According to documents filed in the case, the investigation began in May 2016 after undercover agents met Quinn on a social networking site that caters to individuals with a sexual interest in children. Quinn admitted during today’s hearing that he told undercover agents he was traveling to Los Angeles and wanted to “meet up with a dad who shares his young ones.” Specifically, Quinn told the agents, whom he believed were like-minded people, that he was hoping to meet “other pervs” in the U.S.
Quinn ultimately agreed to pay a human trafficker $250 to provide him with a young boy with whom he could engage in illicit sex. Once Quinn arrived in Los Angeles, he was arrested after paying another undercover agent $260. According to Quinn, “a dominant purpose of his travel was to anally sodomize someone he knew was a 6-year-old boy.”
“As this case makes clear, Homeland Security Investigations is using all of the tools and resources at its disposal to combat the sexual exploitation of children by pedophiles who’re trolling the internet searching for victims,” said Joseph Macias, special agent in charge for HSI Los Angeles. “Pedophiles in the United States, or anywhere in the world, who believe they can escape the detection of law enforcement by traveling to another county to commit heinous crimes against children should be on notice. Cyberspace and international borders will not be barriers to bringing you to justice.”
Pursuant to the plea agreement, if ultimately accepted by the Court, Quinn will face a federal prison sentence of between 10 years and 160 months.
This case is a product of Project Safe Childhood, a Department of Justice initiative launched in 2006 to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse, and HSI’s Operation Predator, an international initiative to protect children from sexual predators.
The case against Quinn is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Joey Blanch of the Violent and Organized Crime Section.
Led by the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the DOJ Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals state and local resources to locate, apprehend and prosecute those who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.
FROM: Thom Mrozek, Spokesman/Public Affairs Officer
United States Attorney’s Office
Central District of California (Los Angeles)
Woman in child sex trafficking for heroin gets 51 years to life
by Terry DeMio
She said she was ashamed that she traded an 11-year-old girl for sex to get heroin, but the judge pointed out that April Corcoran never offered an apology to the child.
“You showed no kind of mercy,” Judge Leslie Ghiz said.
In turn, Ghiz said she'd have no mercy on Corcoran and sentenced her to 51 years to life during her sentencing Tuesday in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court.
Corcoran, 32, of Warren County, pleaded guilty in June to multiple counts of complicity to rape, of human trafficking and child endangering involving the child. Corcoran also admitted giving the girl heroin sometimes as a reward. The child vomited each time.
Ghiz allowed Corcoran to read a statement in court.
“I made selfish, horrible choices that will affect (the girl) for the rest of her life,” Corcoran said. “I am consumed by guilt and shame every day.”
That didn't move the judge.
The girl was sodomized, raped, forced to perform oral sex and frequently videotaped by Corcoran's drug dealer in his Camp Washington home, prosecutors say. The encounters happened between February and June 2014.
Shandell Willingham, 42, who faces the same charges as Corcoran, has been convicted in Indiana on unrelated drug charges as well as on child pornography charges. He was returned to Hamilton County last month. A hearing in his case is set for Aug. 10.
The girl's grandparents told the judge they hoped for justice for their granddaughter and that others would be protected from Corcoran. The girl's grandmother spoke quietly in court.
"I saw my granddaughter. I heard her small voice," said the grandmother. "It was horrific. How could she (Corcoran) do this? I don't know if my granddaughter is going to be able to have a normal life."
The girl, now, 13, is living out of state with her father and stepmother.
Ghiz said she had to take breaks while reading everything that was admitted into the court case.
"I can honestly say that, in three-and-a-half years on the bench, this is by far the worst thing that has come before this court," Ghiz said. And she's seen everything from thefts to physical harm done by people addicted to heroin, she said.
"I don't know that you grasp the damage that has been done to this poor child," Ghiz said, noting that the girl is undergoing medical care, has had suicidal thoughts and is taking medications.
Corcoran's lawyer, James Bogen, said his client has been "sickened and disgusted" by what she's done since she's been jailed.
Dr. Daniel Bebo of UC Health told the court that when someone's in withdrawal from opioids or heroin, “There's a lot of leeway to what they'll say or do.”
But he confirmed Bogen's statement in court about addicts: "They still know right from wrong."
Heal Thy Self | Empower your child against sexual abuse...
by Nirmala Ferraro
As a caring parent, you know that the safety of your child is primary. So you tell him not to fly his kite near a power line, and you tell her to cross the road only when the light is green, and you tell them not to play with fire. Have you also told them that their body is their own, have you told your daughter that she should say “No!” – loudly – if the helper in the school bus tries to lift her on to his lap, have you told your son that he should never allow anyone – not even his best friend at play – to fondle his private parts?
If you haven't armored your child against the risks of sexual abuse, you fall neatly into the ranks of the overwhelming majority of Indian parents.
For a long, long time, Indians have cocooned themselves in the smug belief that child sexual abuse is something that happens only in the “decadent West”. A nationwide survey by the government of India in partnership with UNICEF severely jolted that belief. It found that over 53 percent of the Indian children surveyed had been sexually abused. That is more than one of every two children. India has the world's largest number of sexually abused children. Seems that child sexual abuse has been one of India's best-kept secrets.
Unfortunately, most parents have remained out of the information loop, unaware of the findings of this survey, the largest in-country study of its kind in the world. When “Satyamev Jayate” telecast a programme on Child Sexual Abuse, host Aamir Khan asked parents in the audience to give him their estimates of the extent of such abuse in India. The answers ranged from “2 percent” to “about 10 to 12 percent”. Nobody thought it went higher than that. These were urban, middle-class, educated parents.
The responsibility for empowering your child against sexual abuse must begin with you, as the primary caregivers. Unfortunately, for several reasons – including the veil of timorous embarrassment that still envelopes the subject of sexuality in India – most parents have a mental block that prevents them from being proactive in protecting their children against this form of abuse. It's like allowing your child to walk a minefield, while hoping and praying that a mine doesn't explode.
That's not good enough. Whether or not you believe your child is currently at risk, it is imperative to take pre-emptive steps to minimize the likelihood of it happening at all.
This point cannot be stressed enough. There is far too much misinformation about child sexual abuse and sexual predators running rampant. Before you can impart adequate safety information to your child, you need to ensure you have a sound knowledge base yourself. For instance, you should know that:
In the vast majority of cases, the offender is a known and trusted person.
(The term, “abuse”, always implies an existing relationship. So, virtually by definition, “sexual abuse” is different from “sexual assault” which means being attacked by a stranger, and which would be handled solely by the police and the criminal courts).
The government survey found that, in an overwhelming number of cases, the abusers were known to the child or were in a position of trust and responsibility (relatives, neighbours, teachers, school authorities, private tutors, baby-sitters, day care providers).
Within the family (and extended family), studies in India show, “uncle” and “cousin” are the most frequent offenders. But “father” and “brother” also weigh in at 4 percent each. Outside the home, neighbors and “as if” family members rank as frequent offenders.
» You may believe your child is safe because s(he) has never mentioned any untoward occurrence to you. The survey showed that most sexually abused children don't tell anyone.
» It is not only the girl child who is at risk. In fact, contrary to the general perception, the survey found that the majority of victims – fully 57 percent – were boys.
The research that exists on boys shows that boys tend to report differently, more readily choosing to deny their abuse or to act like they enjoyed it.
» Though men are the perpetrators in most cases, women too are offenders in about 3 percent of cases.
» Of vital importance is that the survey found that 2 percent of the children had been abused below the age of 4, a period when they would, in all probability, have been under maximum care and protection.
» There is no prototypical victim of child sexual abuse. Any child may be victimized. That said, predators more often target children with obvious vulnerabilities. A child who feels unloved and unpopular will soak up adult attention like a sponge. Children with family problems, who spend time alone and unsupervised, who lack confidence and self-esteem, are all likely targets. Successful predators find and fill the voids in a child's life.
» Another widely prevalent myth is that children with disability are not at risk of sexual abuse because predators do not find them attractive or because they feel sorry for them. In fact, the statistics show that children with disability are 2-3 times more likely to be abused.
The “good-touch, bad-touch” rule may not go far enough
Teaching our children the difference between “good touch” and “bad touch” has been advocated for quite some time as a means of protecting them from sexual abuse. It sounds like a good catch phrase, and makes sense to parents. What constitutes “good touch” and “bad touch” has been variously defined. In the “Satyamev Jayate” programme, as also by various professionals in the field, “bad touch” is defined as the touching of three body areas: the chest, the buttocks and the area between the legs. Other professionals add a fourth area – the mouth. So, at the level of specifics, “good touch” would include shaking hands, patting the back, ruffling the hair. “Bad touch” would include fondling the private areas, kissing the lips, and penetration.
But this definition is both, incomplete and misleading. What about the older cousin who persuades your son to take off his clothes, “so that I can take a nice picture of you”? What about the brother-in-law who says to your daughter: “See, my belly button is an ‘outie', it pops out, let's see if yours is an ‘outie' or an ‘innie”
There's a whole range of behaviours that do not involve touching a child in those three or four areas labelled as taboo, but which still constitute child abuse. For instance: persuading or forcing a child to perform oral sex on the abuser; rubbing one's genitals against a child's shoulder; tickling, ear-licking, stroking or kissing non-sensuous body parts.
The predator's first physical contact with a child is often non-sexual touching designed to test the waters and to increase the child's acceptance of touch. It could be an “accidental” touch, an arm around the shoulder, a ruffling of the hair.
There are also other acts that do not involve touch at all but, once again, are clearly acts of sexual abuse.
» Exposing one's private body parts to a child (exhibitionism)
» Forcing a child to watch the abuser masturbate
» Playing sexual (“pants down”) games
» Encouraging or forcing a child to read/watch pornography
» Looking at a child in a sexual way
» Making suggestive comments to a child that are sexual in nature
» Undressing in front of the child
» Watching a child in a state of nudity, such as while undressing or while using the bathroom, with or without the child's knowledge (voyeurism)
» Encouraging a child to watch or hear sexual acts
Each of these behaviors is sexual in nature, yet none of them matches the profile that good touch, bad touch covers. So, instead:
Teach your children that their body is their own
Between spankings at home, corporal punishments at school, being forced to hug or kiss uncles and aunties when they don't want to, and having the neighborhood bully wrestle them to the ground or pull their hair to the roots, children can very easily get the message that other people (and not they) are in control of their bodies and can impose their will. This skews the pitch in favor of the abuser.
Instead, by instilling in your children the conviction that their bodies are their own, and that no one has the right to make them feel uncomfortable or touch them against their will, you give them a valuable life skill, not just a skill to be used in highly-charged situations that may involve abuse. Every child needs to have this message hard-wired into his psyche: “I have a body that is my own and no one else's. And I want it that way. I can choose who touches it.” And then, by extension: “I feel good when nana gets me into her lap and tells me a story. But I did not feel good when 'uncle X' blindfolded me and said, ‘Now, I'm going to spin you around. Come closer so I can reach you' – so, I told him I didn't want to play that game, and I pulled the blindfold off. My body is mine. I can say, ‘No, don't touch me'.”
Teach your child to recognize “grooming” behavior
his is the process by which the predator increases access to his potential victim, and decreases the likelihood of discovery. He'll use emotional seduction as the most effective way to manipulate children. He may spend time playing games with them, offer them lifts to school, or buy them treats and gifts as tokens of friendship. And he will often offer a sympathetic ear. ‘Other kids make fun of you? I know what that's like - it was the same way for me when I was your age. Your parents don't understand and trust you? Oh, I know what that's like - your parents never really want you to grow up. But I trust you. I respect you. And I'm here for you – you know that, don't you?'
At some point during the grooming process, a predator will usually introduce secrecy, a gambit to bind the victim to him. “Your parents don't like you to eat golas? Come, I'll buy you one, but let it remain our secret.” Later on, secrecy joins hands with threats: "If you tell your mother what happened, you'll pay for it.”
Teach your child the correct vocabulary of sex
While imparting knowledge about sexuality should be age-appropriate, as a parent you need to work at getting over your own inhibitions so that you get comfortable about talking to your children regularly about their bodies.
Making sure your children know the correct names for their body parts is especially important. If your son knows that he has a penis and suddenly starts referring to it with strange pet names, you need to calmly bring up the question about where those names came about. Most predators don't use the words “vagina” and “penis” during abuse. So, if your daughter comes to you and says, “Uncle hurt my vagina”, what occurred is more clear than if she says she has a pain in her stomach (which is what small girls who have been abused commonly say if they do not know the word, “vagina”).
Dump the doctrine of unquestioning obedience to authority
This is one of the dictums that Indian parents often inculcate in their children: to unquestioningly obey any and every authority figure. In effect, that includes anyone older than the child. But this fallacious teaching – that respect means unquestioning obedience to authority – can increase a child's vulnerability to abuse by those older to him.
Know the only warning sign you may ever get
Child molesters are not, by and large, social misfits. They don't come announcing their presence with a leer. They don't, on the outside, appear in any way different from other people. Many of them impress others as dedicated, responsible family persons and are good providers.
Perhaps the only overt warning sign that could put you on alert is that the person seems to be spending too much time or showering too much attention on your child. Is there a relative or neighbor who:
» Constantly maneuvers to get time alone with your child?
» Insists on hugging, touching, tickling, kissing, wrestling with or holding your child even if the child does not seem to want this affection?
» Buys your child expensive gifts or gives him or her money for no apparent reason?
» Is overly interested in the sexual development of a child (Example - talks repeatedly about how fast her body is growing)?
» Spends most of his / her spare time with children and shows little or no interest in spending time with people his own age?
» Frequently intrudes on a child's privacy, for instance walks in on a child in the bathroom?
These are red flags. Don't ignore them.
Create a bonding with your child based on unconditional love and acceptance
The safest child is the one who can talk about anything to his / her parents without fear of rebuke or punishment. If your child knows that she can tell you that her hobby-class teacher put his arm around her shoulder today and didn't seem to want to let go, you can get an inkling of what that teacher might be up to, and you can nip his overtures in the bud.
If your child tells you something of this kind, do listen to your child and trust him / her. Children have their own instincts and those feelings should be respected. Speak up, take action when these warning signs are brought to your notice. Don't hesitate even if it's a close friend or relative.
Your message to your child should be unequivocal: “I love you unconditionally and am always here to listen to you without judgment or blame.”
(The author, a former editor of 'Health & Nutrition' magazine, works as a counseling therapist.)
DSS: South Carolina child abuse and neglect deaths up
by Tim Smith
COLUMBIA — The number of South Carolina children dying from abuse and neglect increased to 28 last year, the state's child welfare agency reported Tuesday.
The State Department of Social Services also says that the number of children served by DSS as a result of an indicated report of abuse or neglect increased to 20,309 in 2015 from 16,794 for 2014. The number of fatalities as a percentage of all children served by the agency remained about constant from 2014 to 2015, DSS reported.
Tuesday's numbers, posted to the agency's website, compare to 22 children who died in 2014, 25 in 2013 and 14 in 2012, according to DSS. The agency, until Thursday, had reported 24 deaths in 2013 but said that number was in error.
“Anyone who has worked in child welfare knows that the hardest part of a caseworker's job is learning of and responding to child fatalities that result from abuse and neglect,” DSS Director Susan Alford said in a statement to The Greenville News . “It is a dagger to the heart, regardless of whether DSS had prior involvement with that child. Our responsibility is to not only seriously review the circumstances in which fatalities occur, and improve our case practice to provider better safety nets for children at risk, but to also educate the public about the ways in which they can help in the prevention of child fatalities in this state.”
According to the state Department of Social Services, the number of complaints of child abuse and neglect received by the agency went from 27,370 in 2012 to 30,950 in 2014 and 40,463 in 2015.
The number of investigations in child abuse and neglect, meanwhile, jumped from 13,218 in 2012 to 16,501 in 2014 and 23,347 last year.
DSS officials have argued that most of the increase is because of a new, centralized reporting system which includes toll-free numbers that was enacted in some parts of the state last year.
Of the 28 deaths, DSS said in four cases it had indicated reports of abuse or neglect on the family in the last year. In seven cases, the agency said, it had such reports on the family within the past five years. In some cases it had no reports.
“As demonstrated in the chart above, there are cases in which the family was not known to the Department of Social Services through a prior indicated case,” DSS said in a footnote to the data. “Some families only become known to the agency because of the child's death, providing no opportunity or authority for agency intervention. These cases indicate a critical need for the communities of South Carolina to engage in the work of child abuse prevention.”
Sue Williams, chief executive officer of the Children's Trust of South Carolina, said “the time is now” for strengthening the protections for children and families in the state.
“We are not just talking about how we address a single child in crisis,” she said. “Rather, how do we strengthen families across our state and ensure that communities have the resources and training they need? We all have a critical prevention role to play – from families to community organizations to state leaders – to ensure our children are safe from abuse, neglect and injuries.”
The agency said Tuesday's numbers also reflect an increase in unsafe sleeping deaths of infants, a concern because most deaths from abuse and neglect occur in the earliest ages.
“All parents, grandparents, babysitters, child-care workers and anyone else putting a child younger than 1 year old to sleep needs to know and understand the ABCs of safe sleep,” Williams said. “Alone, on their back and in a crib free from toys, crib bumpers, blankets and other items. Following these simple steps will save lives and prevent death from unsafe sleep practices.”
Sen. Joel Lourie, a Columbia Democrat and member of the Senate DSS Oversight Committee, said one death from child abuse or neglect is “too many.”
“Yes, I'm very concerned that the numbers are going up,” he said. “But I would also tell you I think it involves more than just getting the agency the resources it needs. It involves working with law enforcement and educating the public in general so that people understand that we all have a moral and ethical responsibility if we believe we witness some level of child abuse, to make the phone call so that the proper agency can get out there and prevent a tragedy from happening.”
Several child abuse deaths have been reported this year and a North Carolina woman was charged Tuesday with murder after authorities found her 6-week-old son drowned in a pond behind a Myrtle Beach outlet mall.
During the past fiscal year, more investigations of physical abuse, 371, and sexual abuse, 47, were founded in Greenville County than any other county of the state, according to DSS. Greenville County was second only to Charleston last year in the number of founded cases of neglect. More complaints of abuse and neglect originated in Greenville County, 3,751, than any other county in the state.
The Senate DSS Oversight Committee has spent the past three years delving into the issue of child abuse and neglect and how DSS has handled such complaints. In a series of sometimes dramatic public hearings, senators heard testimony of children who were abused and died, of overworked caseworkers and severe staff turnover rates. A scathing report by the Legislative Audit Council in October 2014 found that thousands of the state's children were victims of abuse or neglect and some even died after DSS chose to refer their cases to community prevention programs instead of investigating them.
Since then, a new director of the agency has been at work making changes, the system for receiving child abuse and neglect allegations has been centralized in some parts of the state, and hundreds of caseworkers have been hired in an effort to reduce caseloads to a new standard.
“We have received support from the legislature to create local rapid response child fatality review teams, to examine the causes of a child fatality,” Alford said, “but we have to develop well-coordinated interagency efforts in public health, health care, and substance abuse to get at the prevention of child fatalities, especially for infants and toddlers in this state.”
Sheriffs unite to support child abuse prevention
by Paul Post
SARATOGA SPRINGS >> More than two dozens sheriffs from throughout New York joined forces on Tuesday to combat child abuse and neglect.
An estimated 65,000 children in the state are the victims of such crimes each year.
The non-profit group, Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, is seeking funding in next year's state budget for programs that send trained professionals into at-risk homes, in an attempt to stop abuse before it happens.
“We're here to help support this effort,” Saratoga County Sheriff Michael Zurlo said. “We can prevent child abuse and neglect. We're asking for investment today from New York State.”
The New York State Sheriffs Association is holding its annual summer training conference at the Courtyard Marriott in Saratoga Springs this week.
“Research shows that home visits prevent child mistreatment by as much as 48 percent,” said Chris Farber, Sheriffs Association president and Herkimer County sheriff. “Plus, it also prevents crime because children who are abused are more likely to commit crimes. Why would we not want to invest in this program to benefit children?”
Last year, the state budgeted $23 million for such programs. Officials are hoping to maintain this level, plus obtain a $10.5 million increase in the next budget, said Jenn O'Connor, Fight Crime: Invest in Kids state director.
Her organization supports child abuse prevention on the national level, and seeks funding for community-based programs in each state.
In New York, money in the state budget goes to programs such as Healthy Families New York that sends nurses and other trained professionals into homes to educate, train and coach expectant families and new parents.
Participants are screened to identify risk factors and stressors the family may face, such as financial difficulties, which increase the likelihood of abuse. Families who participate in the program are offered long-term in-home services until the child is in school or Head Start.
At-risk families are identified by schools and Social Services departments throughout the state.
At present, about 11,000 New York state families are served by one of four different home visiting programs.
However, O'Connor said some parts of the state are better served than others, with multiple programs to choose from, while in some places there is no home visitation program at all.
“We'd like every community to have a choice,” she said.
Ontario County Sheriff Philip C. Povero said, “We as police officers believe in prevention. We must act and stop crime before it starts.”
Putnam County Sheriff Donald Smith was presented with the Fight Crime: Invest in Kids program's annual Champion for Children Award.
“Our children are our future,” he said. “They're our most precious resource. This program is so important to America's future.”
Law enforcement officials seek more money to prevent child abuse
by Michael Goot
Law enforcement officials on Tuesday called for nearly $11 million more in state funding for home visitation programs that reduce child abuse and future crime.
A group called Fight Crime: Invest in Kids New York wants more money for these programs, in which trained staff such as nurses or paraprofessionals go into the homes and teach new or expectant parents about the early physical and emotional development of the children. They also provide tools to help them deal with stress and anxiety, inform them about resources for ensuring children's safety and teach them about techniques to deal with problem behaviors, according to a news release.
The state is currently funding $27.3 million for the Healthy Families New York program and the Nurse Family Partnership, according to Jenn O'Connor, New York state director for Fight Crime: Invest in Kids.
“That's a drop in the bucket in terms of families who are eligible for these services. We're not serving anywhere near the families that we could be serving,” she said.
The organization is made up of 250 law enforcement officials, district attorneys and crime victims statewide. The group said 65,000 children were abused or neglected in New York state in 2014, which is enough children to fill Madison Square Garden arena more than three times.
Children who have been abused or neglected are twice as likely to have committed a crime by age 19, according to a report released Tuesday by the organization. About one-third of abuse victims grow up to abuse or mistreat their own children.
O'Connor said the organization wants to restore funding that has been lost during the past couple of years and increase money for new initiatives.
“Our law enforcement members see this as a crime prevention strategy,” she said.
“These are programs that decrease child abuse and neglect and decrease future crimes,” she added.
Advertisement (1 of 1): 0:25
The programs focus on people at risk such as teenage mothers or single moms and those in poverty, according to O'Connor.
New York state currently funds $23.3 million for the Healthy Families New York program. Advocates want to increase that by $4.5 million, which advocates say would allow for expanded services and workforce development.
They also want to add another $1 million to increase funding for the Nurse Family Partnership to $5 million, which would increase capacity by 100 to 125 slots upstate and 75 in New York City.
O'Connor said advocates are seeking about $11 million in additional funding.
Advocates also want the state to fund two additional research-based programs — $3 million for Parents as Teachers to increase capacity to 1,000 slots statewide, and $2 million for the Parent-Child Home Program to help 300 more families.
Law enforcement personnel held a news conference Tuesday at the Courtyard Marriott in Saratoga Springs as part of the New York State Sheriff's Association Summer Training Conference. Saratoga County Sheriff Michael Zurlo was among those in attendance.
Local law enforcement agencies have expressed concern about the number of child deaths that have occurred in this region.
Washington County District Attorney Tony Jordan said he had not heard of the program, but thought more funding was a good idea. Locally, the Warren/Washington Care Center and Cornell Cooperative Extension provide parenting programs.
“Families are very often in need of more resources to assist them in the necessary skills and tools to raise kids than the county has been able to provide, so any time we can increase those resources would be a good thing,” he said.
Officials: over 500 cases of child sexual abuse dealt with over last year or so
by Bradford Arick
FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live): It's a statistic that's hard to stomach: officials in the FM area report more than 500 cases of child sexual abuse have been dealt with over the last year or so. And the Coalition to End Child Sexual Abuse in Cass and Clay Counties wants to make sure parents, teachers and adults recognize the signs. Do you know what to look for?
Conditions that support abuse. Common tactics of high risk abusers. Interviews with offenders and pedophiles. It's all in an effort to educate.
"Nine months ago leaders from Cass and Clay County came together to figure out how they could address the issue of child sexual abuse. And the concern was that it was becoming very prevalent," Jetta Bernier, a national expert in preventing sexual abuse.
The Red River Children's Advocacy Center estimates 1-in-10 children in the two-county area will be a sexual abuse victim by the time they turn 18. This two-day training is working to put a stop to it.
“And one of the key issues is how do we educate parents, other concerned adults, professionals and kids about sexual abuse and how to prevent it from ever occurring,” explained Bernier
That's where Jetta Bernier and her CDC funded model come in: The Enough Abuse Campaign.
“You know kids are exposed to a whole lot of things. So we're really not doing our kids any favor by trying to protect them from this kind of information,” she said.
She adds through putting the campaign together, she found that growing up, adults say their families never really talked about these issues. Its things like establishing privacy boundaries within your family, what's appropriate touching and what's not, and how parents need to be tuned in to red flags for potential abuse.
"And that's so why they are targeted by these manipulative, cunning individuals who know that they have an easy target,” Bernier said.
Part of this too is law enforcement.
“Six arrests in Moorhead and 12 arrests in Fargo for people coming to have sex with children is sickening, appalling and disgusting,” described Fargo Police Chief David Todd at a press conference on June 30th.
It wasn't that long ago we were coming to grips with 18 people arrested in a two day sting. While Bernier said the trafficking of children for sex is part of this too, the Coalition is looking at every aspect of child sexual abuse to end it. The idea is to train 30 or so people from a variety of organizations who can then take the information back and educate others.
Valley News Live reached out to the Human Trafficking Navigator for Eastern North Dakota through Youth Works, Melissa Williams. We asked are we hearing more about child sex issues because it's happening more or because we are better equipped to recognize it. She said while it's not something new to the area, we are recognizing the signs better. She adds trafficking crimes are still vastly under reported.
Williams continues that trafficking of people of any age is sex abuse and is a crime. She says there is a high correlation between youth that were sexually abused and those that are trafficked. And a history of sex abuse is a red flag for this. She says her data shows the highest number of victims trafficked are from Fargo. Also, she adds backpage.com has the highest number of ads posted in Fargo throughout the state in their escort section.
The training continues on Tuesday.
City modernizing efforts to combat child sexual abuse at public facilities
New protocols, training a result of technological change
by Bartley Kives
The City of Winnipeg is further training staff at pools, libraries and recreational facilities to watch out for signs of child sexual abuse.
Since the fall, the city has been working with the Canadian Centre for Child Protection to develop a new program aimed at combating the sexual abuse of children.
It has resulted in risk assessments of city facilities, new protocols for reporting incidents of suspected child sexual abuse and modernized staff training that will start at city pools and aquatic centres. It will be extended to libraries and recreational facilities later this year.
Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman said the program is partly in response to changes in technology.
"The manner in which images are disseminated, as I`ve learned from the Centre for Child Protection, have been changing, not for the better in recent years," Bowman told reporters Tuesday at the Pan Am Pool.
The city is also launching a public-education campaign that urges visitors to city facilities to report instances of inappropriate behaviour or suspected sexual abuse.
Surreptitious recordings of children in public places sparked this initiative, said Signy Arnason, director of cybertip.ca and the associate executive director of the Canadian Centre for Child Protection.
"We have to keep in mind for the offending community, children don't have to be nude for them to be aroused by these types of shots," Arnason said.
Protecting against the dangerous side of the web requires constant vigilance
Everyone knows about the yin and yang of life: There is no light without darkness, no joy without sorrow, no good without evil. So it is on the world of the internet, whose undeniable benefits are counterweighted by the web's dank corners, where child pornographers and sexual predators constantly work, preying on the innocence and curiosity of the young.
It creates a dangerous world for children and a frightening one for parents, who cannot possibly monitor in real time everything their offspring do on their laptops and smartphones, or what they do on their friends' technology. And yet they know – or should know – that child abusers are trolling the internet, day and night, looking for young people they can tempt into sending inappropriate pictures of themselves or even meeting and then molesting.
Child sexual predators have always been a problem, but the internet has facilitated an explosion of abuse, law enforcement officers say. Some police work full time at exposing those who work at exploiting children, an effort that requires officers to look daily at horrific images, sometimes of infants. If it's not a losing battle, it must sometimes seem that way. There are victories along the way, but always there are more predators and always more victims.
It's plain that police cannot do this all alone, and even while parents are overmatched by technology and such inevitable distractions as earning a living, there is surely more that many can do to protect their young children. For one, the smartphone has to be viewed as a privilege, and one whose availability can be restricted.
Similarly, the use of laptops, tablets and desktop computers needs to be restricted to public areas of the home. Parents should insist on knowing all user names and passwords, especially for social media accounts.
And with all that, parents need to be willing to monitor – yes, spy on – their children's use of this double-edged technology. Churches, schools, scouting groups and other organizations need to play a role, together forming, as best as possible, a protective shield around those in their care.
And children, themselves, should be made aware, in an age-appropriate way, of the potential dangers lurking around the internet. That is especially true regarding strangers seeking information or friendship, even strangers they believe to be children, but who may, in fact, be predators in disguise.
That's the practice of some predators, including Timothy Bek, a former West Seneca teacher. Bek created a false Facebook persona as a teenage girl to entice high school boys into sending him explicit photos of themselves. He was eventually caught and sentenced to 30 well-deserved years in prison.
Both sides play that game. Adopting a false persona is also one of the strategies police use to unmask child predators skulking on the internet. Mike Hockwater, a Cheektowaga detective now working for the FBI, often poses as a 12-year-old boy or a girl barely into her teens to lure child predators into identifying themselves.
It is the creepy but necessary work of catching child abusers hiding in the weeds of the internet. It also helps to ensure that other predators know the web is not a risk-free zone for them to attempt to seduce young children into sexual abuse and what can become a lifetime of emotional torment.
Those are the dangers that law enforcement officers like Hockwater and FBI Intelligence Analyst Melissa McCaffrey are up against. And given the terrible inevitability of pedophilia and the anonymity of the internet, they are dangers that police need help in reducing.
Hot cars can be lethal to young children — Our View
Any is too many.
So far this summer, at least three children in Louisiana have died from heatstroke from being left in hot vehicles.
Adding to the tragedy of the loss of these young lives is the knowledge their death could have been prevented.
With temperatures soaring this week across Central Louisiana, this is a good time to remind readers to use extra care when driving children or grandchildren around town. The Louisiana Children's Trust Fund, a statewide organization that seeks to prevent child abuse and neglect, has launched a statewide “Look Before You Lock” campaign aimed at preventing heat-related deaths this summer.
“I can't imagine the mental and emotional distress that a family experiences after losing a child due to hyperthermia from being left unattended in a hot vehicle. Yet, this unfortunate tragedy can happen to any of us,” said Dr. Dana R. Hunter, Executive Director of the Louisiana Children's Trust Fund. “It is our professional and personal responsibility to prevent these heatstroke-related fatalities.”
While high temperatures can cause problems for anyone, children are especially susceptible. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a child's body temperature can rise five times faster than that of an adult, and a car's interior temperature can reach deadly levels in just 10 minutes.
The Children's Trust Fund group notes that in the past 10 years, the Department of Children and Family Services has investigated 27 heat-related deaths. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documented that more than 458 children died of hyperthermia after being left in cars in the U.S. between 1998 and 2010.
Those are startling numbers, and those of us living in the furnace that is Louisiana in the summer have to understand cars heat up very quickly.
“What's sad is most hot car deaths can be prevented. People don't realize a child can begin suffering from heatstroke in a matter of minutes,” said DCFS Secretary Marketa Garner Walters. “The best thing to do is to build a habit of checking the backseat each time you leave your car, whether a child is with you or not. This one simple habit could prevent a tragedy.”
In an effort to prevent these deaths, we join the Children's Trust Fund in urging drivers to do three things:
Never leave a child in a vehicle unattended;
Make it a habit to look in the backseat every time you exit the car;
Always lock the car and put the keys out of reach.
Also, if you ever see a child left alone in a vehicle, call 911 immediately.
Health officials note warning signs of heatstroke include: red, hot, and moist or dry skin, no sweating, a strong rapid pulse or a slow weak pulse, nausea, confusion or acting strangely. If a child exhibits any of these signs after being in a hot vehicle, cool the child rapidly by spraying them with cool water or with a garden hose, and call 911 or your local emergency number immediately.
“It is always heartbreaking to learn of a child's death from being left in a car, because it is so easily preventable,” said Amanda Brunson, Executive Director of Prevent Child Abuse Louisiana. “We understand parents have busy schedules and can get distracted, so leaving something important to them in the backseat – like a shoe or their cell phone – can literally save a child's life.”
Drivers with children or grandchildren are encouraged to always open the back door to check the back seat before leaving your vehicle. And everyone can help out by paying attention to other vehicles to be sure no child is left unattended when walking in a parking lot.
We ask all of our readers to do what they can to help so we don't lose another child to heatstroke from being left unattended in a car because, as we noted above, any is too many.
Pa. state rep says 'it's not over' after Senate removes statute of limitations provision
by Elizabeth Eisenstadt Evans
Philadelphia -- Berks County lawmaker Mark Rozzi, flanked by sex abuse survivors and victim-rights advocates on the pavement outside the Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul here on Monday, July 18, was steaming mad.
Rozzi had attempted to shepherd a bill through the legislature that would revamp the state's sex abuse laws, allowing victims to pursue legal claims for decades-old abuses against private institutions. Though it passed the Pennsylvania State House, the statute of limitations retroactivity was strongly opposed by church officials including the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference, and was eliminated from the bill that eventually passed the Senate.
Earlier this month, Brian Gergely, a victim of one of the Altoona-Johnstown diocese's most infamous clergy predators, the late Msgr. Francis McCaa, took his own life.
Rozzi, who is also a sex abuse survivor, tossed the grand jury reports from Philadelphia and the Altoona-Johnstown diocese on the steps of the Cathedral, laying the blame for the provision's failure directly at the feet of Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput.
Chaput had been one of the lead voices in the ecclesiastical effort to head off passage of the retroactivity provision in Pennsylvania. Rozzi estimated that church officials probably had 30 or more lobbyists working on the issue. "You couldn't walk around the Capitol without running into them," he said.
"As the leader of the Catholic church in the state of Pennsylvania, he is the exact opposite of my image of Jesus," Rozzi said in an interview afterwards. "I know that if Jesus was in this planet tonight he would be standing with my crowd, knocking tables over and doing all he could to help victims of child sexual abuse.
Chaput has turned his back on victims, you can't turn you back on criminal acts and pretend they didn't happen. It's just unacceptable."
Sex abuse survivor John-Michael Delaney, who spoke at Monday's event, said that Chaput canceled a scheduled meeting with him after the event became public.
"It's important to note that the Archbishop has not reversed course on any commitments," archdiocesan spokesman Ken Gavin said in a statement. "If a victim has been promised a meeting, it will take place in due time and provided all parameters are respected."
"To comment specifically regarding any individual case would violate those victim services best practices. We will not do anything that could act as a chilling effect to other survivors who may need and earnestly want the Church's assistance. We recognize and understand that every survivor has a different path toward healing. For some, attacking the Church is their process," Gavin continued.
Chaput has had several meetings with sex abuse survivors over the years, said Gavin. But while the archbishop is committed to continuing the conversations, "neither he nor the archdiocese publicizes or politicizes meetings with abuse survivors. Reciprocity in that regard is set forth as a clear expectation to all parties before any meeting is scheduled. If anyone were to turn a meeting of this nature into a public or political event, it would not be in keeping with the spirit of a pastoral encounter."
Rosalind Merritts, who was holding an orange and black-lettered sign that said "Catholic Church Preaches Eternity, Hides Behind Statute of Limitations," said she had traveled from the Altoona-Johnstown diocese to attend the meeting. Merritts, though not a victim herself, stands vigil monthly in front of the diocesan building to "make sure they aren't forgotten."
Merrits, who describes herself as a "disenfranchised Catholic," left the church in the 1980s, when news of the sexual abuse of children began to become public. "It's hard for me to sit in a congregation, knowing what some priests were doing," she said.
Retired detective Jim Money traveled up from his home in Herndon, Va., Monday to lend Rozzi and other survivors moral and emotional support. Money, who was victimized while a student at Philadelphia's Cardinal Dougherty High School, spent more than half a century working with child abuse survivors and supervising sex offenders while working in the criminal justice system in Washington, D.C. and Virginia.
"When I read about that young man's suicide I was heartbroken," said Money. "I know a lot of other survivors who are damaged. They don't know how to reach out. I don't care about ego, but you've got to ask for help."
"They get up in the pulpit and they worry about other people's sexual habits, but they aren't looking to their own house," he added, noting that the Catholic church pays for his mental health treatment.
"In terms of child sexual abuse alleged to have been committed by Archdiocesan clergy in the past 10 years, there are 2 cases in which abuse has been substantiated," wrote Gavin, who noted that the archdiocese not only has an active program to help survivors, but provides assistance for them regardless of when the abuse happened, without time limits, or screening investigations in advance.
Rozzi denounced specific Pennsylvania lawmakers he alleged had sunk the House bill in the Senate, but he is hopeful that eventually victims of historic abuse will have their day in court.
"If there is one thing that politicians and legislators hate, it's when you point them out," he said. "They have to run for reelection."
"We are coming for you, and we're going to let voters in your district know that you supported pedophiles," he said, speaking of those politicians. "We're going to make to make sure as a legislator, that you represent the people of your district."
"So many victims are concerned that it's over. It's not over by any means."
Living In The Shadow Of Latent Anxiety
by Michael J. Formica
We typically think of trauma as having something terrible happen to us. In fact, at its most basic, trauma is any emotionally fraught experience that changes the way we view the world. That experience can run the gamut from getting lost in the mall as a child to the kind of near-death experience that is typically the harbinger of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). How we interpret and integrate—or fail to integrate—that experience determines its impact on us.
The Spectrum of Trauma
The definition of trauma is rather broad, and includes responses to both one-time incidents and repetitive experience. It specifically focuses on our response to an event, rather than a determination of whether or not an event is traumatic. The experience of trauma is subjective. What one person may view as a traumatic, another person may simply see as something to be taken in stride.
One-time incidents typically have a near-death element associated with them. They are often abrupt, unexpected and beyond our control. These can include things like accidents, natural disasters, the sudden death of a loved one, or random acts of violence. What happens in response to these kinds of situations is that we are thrown into an instinctive survival mode, known as fight-or-flight, and, quite literally, get stuck there. This state of hypersensitivity and hypervigilance is at the heart of PTSD.
The ongoing or repetitive trauma associated with things like physical, emotional or sexual abuse, neglect or social deprivation feed into a more abiding and, in some ways more insidious, state of mind. Rather than being caught up in the hypertensive state we associate with traumatic stress, this is more of a low-level anxiety. This low-level anxiety resulting from ongoing trauma has the potential to flow into a state of latent anxiety that gnaws at the edges of everything.
The Shadow of Latent Anxiety
Trauma of any sort, large or small, overwhelms our ability to cope. As such, the vast majority of our emotional distress can be traced to most anything we subjectively experience as traumatic—whether we realize it or not. For instance, if a child, at the sufferance of an overbearing parent, doesn't have the opportunity to establish personal boundaries, she may develop a sense of powerlessness. This ongoing sense of helplessness in face of authority is the kind of traumatic experience that feeds low-level anxiety. That anxiety can then translate into an abiding uncertainty about the world, feeling a lack of control in personal relationships or just a simple, unshakable fear of what's behind Door #3.
For someone experiencing latent anxiety what's happened is the initial traumatic experience has taken on a symbolic value that generalizes to other, similar experiences. It's important to differentiate this experience from generalized, or free-floating, anxiety. Unlike generalized anxiety, latent anxiety has a genesis and a focus. More significantly, its symbolic value bleeds into a web of associations that turn everyday experience into an emotionally fraught rollercoaster ride.
Returning to our example, this sense of powerless, and the attendant low-level anxiety associated with the childhood experience, in adulthood becomes an engine of associated anxiety. When that anxiety is activated through, for example, a partner who fails to respect boundaries by barging into the bathroom or rifling through a purse in search of the car keys, the experience gets associated with the surrounding elements and circumstances. A shower, for instance, which was once a source of privacy and relaxation, is now a place of tension and fear, even when the offending partner is not or is no longer present.
The experience of latent anxiety is actually quite common. Getting at the source of the anxiety can diffuse its power, changing our experience. We may need some assistance in doing so because, after all, a fish doesn't know that he's wet. We may be too close to our own experience to see that our anxiety is attached to the abiding sense of powerlessness and lack of boundaries we associate with someone whom we've parentalized. On the other hand, part of reclaiming ourselves is staying present with our emotions and unpacking them to get at the root.
Dept of Justice
Arizona Man Who Photographed Sexual Abuse of Young Boys while Working in China Sentenced to 25 Years in Federal Prison
LOS ANGELES – An Arizona man who admitted molesting four young boys in China and documenting the abuse with hundreds of photographs and videos has been sentenced to 25 years in federal prison.
Kelly James Morrow, 49, who had been living in China when he was arrested last June and claims a domestic residence in Surprise, Arizona, was sentenced yesterday by United States District Judge S. James Otero.
Morrow pleaded guilty in April to two charges – sexual exploitation of children outside the United States and possession of child pornography.
“This defendant is a sexual predator who not only abused young boys – he also documented his physical and mental abuse by taking thousands of pictures of his victims,” said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “Just as Morrow’s photographs continued to victimize boys that he molested, his massive collection of child pornography victimized every one of the hundreds of child abuse victims depicted in those images.”
Morrow was arrested in June 2015, about a week after arriving at Los Angeles International Airport on a flight from Singapore. A search of his computer equipment and digital media revealed a collection of more than 60,000 images and videos depicting child pornography. In addition to the images Morrow produced in China while working on golf course projects, Morrow admitted in a plea agreement filed in court that he took a nude photograph of a young boy in Lincoln, Nebraska in late 2014.
This case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children provided the initial lead that led to the investigation.
“This case serves as a strong reminder that any abuse of children by American citizens is a crime that will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” said Joseph Macias, special agent in charge for HSI Los Angeles. “As this case shows, HSI is using all of its law enforcement authorities to combat this heinous behavior both here and abroad. We owe it to the children who are the victims in these cases, many of whom will bear the emotional scars of this trauma for the rest of their lives.”
The case against Morrow was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Robyn K. Bacon.
FROM: Thom Mrozek, Spokesman/Public Affairs Officer
United States Attorney’s Office
Central District of California (Los Angeles)
NYS Sheriff Deputies in Saratoga work to prevent child abuse
by Ali Stewart
SARATOGA, N.Y. (NEWS10) – According to the Saratoga County Sheriff's Office in 2014, 65,000 children were abused or neglected in New York State.
That's enough children to fill Madison Square Garden more than three times.
On Tuesday, NY Sheriff Deputies are looking to put an end to that, releasing a new strategy report to decrease maltreatment.
Advocates hope that investing state money in preventing child abuse will not only help New York's youth, but decrease future crimes by victims of abuse, who are actually twice as likely to commit a crime themselves.
Judge denies request to dismiss case against social workers in child abuse case
by The Los Angeles Daily News
LOS ANGELES - A judge has rejected arguments to dismiss charges against two former Los Angeles County social workers and their supervisors, charged with child abuse and falsifying records that resulted from the death of an 8-year-old Palmdale boy.
Defendants Stefanie Rodriguez, 31, and Patricia Clement, 65, and supervisors Kevin Bom, 37, and Gregory Merritt, 60, were originally set to be arraigned Monday morning on one felony count each of child abuse and falsifying public records. However, defense attorneys for the four filed court papers asking that the charges be dismissed.
The hearing was assigned to a courtroom just before the lunch hour and Los Angeles Superior Court Judge M. L. Villar asked to have until 1:30 p.m. to review the documents and the prosecution's filings in opposition.
Villar rejected the defense's arguments and arraigned the four, who all pleaded not guilty, said D.A.'s Office spokeswoman Jane Robison.
The defense filings – known as demurrers – do not dispute the facts of the case, but argued there was insufficient grounds for legal action.
Villar noted that two defendants had filed papers together while the remaining defendants filed their own responses on different, independent grounds.
The four defendants were charged March 28 in connection with the May 24, 2013, death of Gabriel Fernandez, whom prosecutors allege was tortured and murdered by his mother and her boyfriend.
When he died, the boy had a fractured skull, several broken ribs and burns over his body, prosecutors said.
The boy's mother, Pearl Fernandez, 32, and then-boyfriend, Isauro Aguirre, 36, are charged with murder in connection with Gabriel's death. Prosecutors announced last year that they would seek the death penalty against the two, who are awaiting a pretrial hearing July 28 in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom.
The case sparked a firestorm of criticism of the county Department of Children and Family Services over reports that the boy and his mother were repeatedly visited at their Palmdale home by social workers in response to abuse allegations, but the boy was never removed from the home.
According to the District Attorney's Office, DCFS opened a file on Gabriel's case on Oct. 31, 2012, and maintained one until the boy's death. Prosecutors allege that Rodriguez and Clement falsified reports that should have documented signs of escalating physical abuse and the family's lapsed participation in DCFS efforts to help maintain the family.
Prosecutors also contend that Bom and Merritt knew or should have known they were approving false reports that conflicted with evidence of Gabriel's deteriorating physical health, allowing the boy to remain in the home until he died.
An investigation revealed that at times over an eight-month period preceding his death, Gabriel – among other instances of violent abuse – was doused with pepper spray, forced to eat his own vomit and locked in a closet with a sock stuffed in his mouth to muffle his screams, authorities said.
All four defendants were fired by the county following an internal investigation into the case. Merritt, however, appealed his firing, and the Civil Service Commission ordered that he be reinstated. The matter is now being appealed in court.
If convicted, Merritt and the other three criminal defendants each face up to 10 years in prison.
Philip Browning, director of the DCFS, said in April that he could not comment specifically about the criminal case, but he defended the work done by his agency.
“I want to make it unambiguously clear that the defendants do not represent the daily work, standards or commitment of our dedicated social workers, who, like me, will not tolerate conduct that jeopardizes the well-being of children,” Browning said. “For the vast majority of those who choose this demanding career, it is nothing short of a calling.”
In a statement released after the charges were filed, District Attorney Jackie Lacey said the social workers and supervisors involved in Gabriel's case had a legal duty to protect the child.
“By minimizing the significance of the physical, mental and emotional injuries that Gabriel suffered, these social workers allowed a vulnerable boy to remain at home and continue to be abused,” Lacey said. “We believe these social workers were criminally negligent and performed their legal duties with willful disregard for Gabriel's well-being. They should be held responsible for their actions.”
Darcy Calkins, who represented Clements at an April 9 hearing, told that judge that her client was once a nun. Outside court, she said she believed her client would be exonerated of the charges.
Filer told reporters outside court after that hearing, “My client's name will be cleared.”
A new court date was scheduled for Aug. 25.
Child sexual-abuse victims and their supporters protest outside Basilica in Philadelphia
A victim's canceled meeting with Philadelphia archbishop prompts emotional rally outside cathedral
by Brian Hickey
Monday could have been the day that clergy sex-abuse victim John-Michael Delaney finally got decades of frustration off his chest during a private meeting with Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput.
But in the days since Delaney told PhillyVoice of that meeting – something he'd avoided for decades on account of “not being able to be in the same room as a priest” – officials told the victim of one of the “archdiocese's most brutal abusers” that the meeting was off.
Delaney said it was payback for going public; an archdiocesan spokesman said the meeting “will take place in due time provided all the parameters [of privacy] are respected.”
That didn't sit too well with Delaney, who flew up from Tennessee this weekend to speak at a Monday afternoon press conference on the sidewalk outside of the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul on Logan Circle.
There, abuse victims railed against the church's opposition to House Bill 1947, which proposed an extension of statutes of limitation dictating how long they had to file complaints against their alleged abusers.
The event was spearheaded by state Rep. Mark Rozzi (D-Berks County), who has long championed the rights of victims of child sex-abuse crimes. In fact, Rozzi decided to fly Delaney to town for the event “and give him his voice,” he said.
“I just want to let the bishop know, and the church know, that as much as you try to victimize me, and us, we're just going to keep coming back,” Delaney said in front of the Basilica's front doors. “Like I told you on the phone last week, I told you I'd be in Philly. Here I am. You say you don't want to talk publicly about a meeting with me, yet you oppose a bill publicly? That's a lot of double standards.
“At least be man enough to sit in a room with a victim and hear what he's got to say for 60 minutes, because I'm coming for more than 60 minutes this time. I'm going to keep coming back.”
Delaney didn't speak for more than a minute at the event, where he was joined by several fellow victims – many of whom were not victims of clergy – and those who support their fight.
Rozzi noted that his political peers who battled against the amendment decided “to stand with pedophiles and the institutions that protect them, plain and simple.”
At the end of the 15-minute event, where he was flanked by victims and supporters holding signs, including one that read “Sexual abuse of little boys and girls is SOUL MURDER,” Rozzi threw a stack of grand-jury reports onto the Basilica steps. He then yelled that they “now lay at the archbishop's feet; he's responsible for these victims” and for any who may file complaints in the future.
“To all victims of childhood sex abuse, I promise that I will continue to fight for you until my last breath,” he said at the event's onset before delving into his plans with the stalled legislation. “Not only will I put the retroactive up-to-age-50 component back in House Bill 1947, we will also be sure to include a two-year window to give all victims of childhood sexual-abuse the ability to have those voices heard in a court of law.”
He then turned back to the building behind him, and claimed that, for more than 50 decades, its leaders and all dioceses across the commonwealth “believed they were above the law … and now, they hide behind our laws.”
“Today, I want to make my message clear: I don't care who you are, what institution it is, I don't care when the abuse took place, if you abuse children, we are coming for you,” Rozzi said. “If you're an institution that protected and actively managed, pedophiles, we are coming for you. If you're a legislator who decides it's more important to protect pedophiles and the institutions that protected them, we are coming for you.”
When news of Delaney's meeting broke last week, archdiocesan spokesman Ken Gavin noted that it's common practice not to publicize such events and shared a fact sheet about all they've done for victims. On Monday, he was asked by PhillyVoice for comment on the event at the Basilica.
“In the political debate about HB 1947, lawmakers are going to have to bridge the gap between emotion, and logic and the law,” he responded. “The archdiocese does not make its victims services programs available to survivors for political expediency, but out of genuine concern for the well-being of survivors. We offer to lift the burden of accessing resources, services, and support; and we always do this strictly adhering to privacy policies that have been carefully adopted in accordance with best practices in the victim-services field.”
Speakers at the event, however, clearly didn't agree with this approach.
They included Marci Hamilton, a leading church/state scholar, who noted they'd tried for a decade to get justice for victims.
“It's time for our elected representatives to start representing the common good, and it's time for our religious leaders to start ministering to the victims,” she said. “Instead of shutting them out, instead of slamming the door on them in the legislature and in their own buildings, it's time. Let's heal the victims and let's get justice. That's why we're here.
“The survivors here behind us are here because they have the strength to go forward. What's sad is the ones who have suffered so much in this process,” she continued, referring to those who have committed suicide, including Brian Gergely. “We've got to start doing the right thing.”
Several victims who also spoke at the Basilica were at a statute-of-limitation reform-strategy meeting held at Hamilton's University of Pennsylvania office on Monday morning. Both at the event – and in conversations beforehand with PhillyVoice – they spoke about how the legislative stalling affected them personally.
They included a 51-year-old man named Tim – who requested his last name be withheld – who spoke about abuse at the hands of the owner of the corner grocery store in Wyomissing, Berks County where he worked. He knows of at least two or three other young teens who suffered the same sexual abuse by a man who also served as a scoutmaster with a church in nearby Reading.
He said that before the Jerry Sandusky case broke, he'd written to his abuser asking him to pay for his therapy but that “he ignored it all.” The Sandusky case, however, showed him that other victims were seeking legal charges against their abusers.
“I started educating myself if what my options were, and there was not a lawyer who would take my case,” explained Tim, who said his lingering anger issues affect him, his wife and children. “Nothing gets told in Pennsylvania.”
So, he filed suit on his own but after a decade of legal work, it's still pending as his alleged accuser has “convenient amnesia” as he battles the statute of limitations issues.
“It's been both the experience of having been abused and then the experience of seeking accountability and justice that is currently ongoing,” he said at Penn. “I tend not to be public about my name. I filed it as John Doe and now I'm aware of John Doe B, C, D, E, I think I'm up to H against this guy.
“As a victim, you can't just sit. You have to take action. It should have been filed decades ago. It's not about the money, it's about the healing of going through it. Money's irrelevant. For me, and others that have done this that I've become aware of, it's about the movement from being stuck in this position of being a victim and taking some action. At this point, I'm doing everything I can possibly do until a judge tells me it's over.”
That includes “deposing the pedophile's wife,” which has already happened.
“I need a window so that I have an opportunity to hold the abuser accountable for what to did to me,” Tim said outside the Basilica. “And that window has to be available for people like me, so we have an opportunity and not some arbitrary year, the age 50, where there's a cutoff, which makes absolutely no sense at all.”
Other speakers included Sister Maureen Paul Turlish, a lifetime Philadelphian who has taught in archdiocese schools.
“It's outrageous that the Roman Catholic Church of Pennsylvania is opposing legislative reform in HB 1947. Child abuse is an epidemic in this country,” she said. “By not supporting this bill, they are supporting pedophiles across Pennsylvania.”
Also speaking at Penn and then at the Basilica was Kristen Pfautz Woolley, who was sexually abused by a family friend when she was between the ages of 10 and 12. Now, she's a clinician who works with child sexual-abuse survivors and recently wrote a column for the York Daily Record about her experiences.
“Having the right to call out your perpetrator in civil court protects future children from being violated,” she said, noting that her attacker has three daughters and grandchildren, but that she “cannot, because of the blocking of the Catholic Church, speak the truth of my perpetrator's name to protect children even though my violation has absolutely nothing to do with the Catholic Church.
“There is no price tag on the protection of a child. It is very clear: You either stand for protecting children or protecting pedophiles. It's as simple as that. So, while this is being blocked, I'd like to apologize to all future victims who my perpetrator will violate. My hands are tied until my day in court. Sorry I can't protect you. I'm going to keep trying.”
After the event, Rozzi said he's received countless emails from Catholic parishioners who do not abide by the church's lobbying push to strip the House Bill of the statutes-of-limitation amendment. He noted that he's even willing – in case the House leaders get wary of supporting his mission – "to suspend the rules on the House floor and I'm going to put [the amendment] back in. I know I have the support on the House floor. The leaders will not be able to stop me."
From here, "it's about continuing to work the issue" as victims from other archdiocese are being interviewed about being abused and how this could end up affecting "the entire Roman Catholic diocese in Pennsylvania."
"One day, it may not be in 18 months, I'm hoping within three years because good things take time, I know more is coming down the road," Rozzi said. "You can only deny, deny, deny for so long. There comes a point where you need to be held accountable. You can run but, guess what: I can run faster than you. I can track you down. We are going to make you be held accountable. It's not over by any means. If the [state] Senate wants to kill it again, let them kill it. The blood's going to be on their hands again."
Tips for detecting sexual abuse in children
by Linda Childers
Sexually abused children is a topic no one likes to think about, but according to the U.S. Department of Justice, it's a significant problem in this country with nearly 70% of all reported sexual assaults affecting children ages 17 and under.
Diane Daiber, BSN, RN, SANE-A, SANE-P, a pediatric training specialist with the International Association of Forensic Nurses in Elkridge, Md., knows these statistics all too well. A forensic nurse with 33 years of experience, Daiber and her colleagues at IAFN recently partnered with the Department of Justice and the Office on Violence Against Women to develop A National Protocol for Sexual Abuse Medical Forensic Examinations: Pediatric.
“Sexual abuse cases concerning children are very different than those that we see with teens or adults,” Daiber said. “The perpetrator is usually a trusted adult or family member who manipulates the child into remaining silent.”
Daiber said nurses play a crucial role in helping to detect cases of child sexual abuse, and that it's imperative for them to know the signs of sexual abuse, how to establish a rapport with victims, and how to report cases of suspected abuse.
Physical signs of sexual abuse
“If a child complains of pain in his or her genital or anal area or pain when they go to the bathroom, or if they exhibit bruising or sores in these areas, that should trigger additional questions,” Daiber said.
Other signs can include children with frequent urinary tract infections, sexually transmitted diseases,and vaginal or anal discharge. Some abuse victims also complain of physical ailments such as headaches or stomachaches.
Knowing how to respond
It's important for nurses to tailor the conversation to the age of the child and to conduct an exam in a matter of fact way to normalize the experience for the child, according to Daiber.
“Ask questions to determine why the child has come in for medical treatment and if they are experiencing pain in any part of their body,” Daiber said.
“If they speak limited English, you may need the assistance of a qualified language interpreter.”
Daiber said that if the child's guardian is suspected of being the perpetrator, the child should be questioned in an area separate from the adult where the child is able to verbalize freely.
For children who are nonverbal or disabled, begin by questioning the child's guardian.
“Often family members may have a sense that something may be happening to the child, but they aren't sure what to do or how to respond,” Daiber said.
Creating a rapport
Daiber said it's important for nurses to establish trust with children and to talk to them directly at their eye level.
“Respect their boundaries,” she said. “If the child doesn't want to answer a specific question that needs to be respected. Ask their permission before you touch them and explain what you're doing as you conduct an exam,” Daiber said. “Encourage questions as you go along and treat them with empathy, not sympathy.”
Daiber also noted it's important to reassure children of the following:
• You're there to help them.
• You believe what they're saying.
• They did nothing to deserve the abuse.
Even suspicion of sexual abuse is enough to trigger a mandatory report, according to Daiber.
“Child abuse reporting systems function to protect children and ensure their safety,” she said. “It's not mandatory for nurses to verify that the sexual abuse has occurred.”
Daiber said nurses should receive mandated reporting training from their employer. For nurses who want to expand on this, IAFN offers an online 43-hour pediatric/adolescent didactic training for nurses and nurse practitioners who want to learn the specifics of recognizing and reporting child abuse.
Clowns without borders are jest what the doctor ordered
by Ellie O'Bryne
OLM O'Grady ran into a spot of bother in Jerusalem in 1996. Straying into a rough area of town, the acrobat and student nurse found himself set upon by children throwing rocks. In a potentially life-threatening situation, O'Grady's response may seem unusual; instead of running or becoming aggressive, he picked up some of the projectiles and started juggling.
“The kids gathered around me and I ended up playing basketball with them, and helping them with their homework. We made friends. I remember walking away and thinking, ‘That's the power of clowning'.”
O'Grady's realisation about the healing power of humour led to his involvement with Clowns Without Borders, an international organisation with branches in 13 countries that partners with aid agencies like UNHCR and Plan International to provide comic relief to traumatised children in war-torn countries and refugee camps, as well as in marginalised communities.
A bunch of clowns may not seem like an immediate necessity for children who have often barely escaped war with their lives, but their work is widely recognised to be vital in rehabilitating children through play.
“What we do is called psychosocial first aid,” O'Grady says. “It's emotional relief through laugher. Circus is a tool that goes beyond boundaries and beyond ideas of what war is. It's a light in the darkness, and we visit some areas where that light is really diminishing.”
The work may bring light but it can take its toll, and O'Grady becomes emotional while telling a story to illustrate how important the work of the clowns can be: a volunteer who was caring for a little girl in a Nepalese orphanage reported how, repeatedly awakened in the night by recurring nightmares of abuse she had suffered, the child would sing a song she had heard in the Clowns Without Borders show to comfort herself.
Now, 50 professional Irish circus performers are involved with Clowns Without Borders (CWB) Ireland, with bases in Cork, Belfast and Galway. “We bring dreams to kids who live in a nightmare,” O'Grady says. “Some of the children have experienced such deep trauma that it's like someone has woken them up when they see a show.”
O'Grady says that the Irish clowns have a deep understanding of the unifying benefits of CWB's work because of our own history. “Ireland is very particular because we come from a warzone. I lived and worked in Belfast for any years,” he says.
Belfast Community Circus, founded 25 years ago, has a particularly strong background in using humour to heal the rift between communities after generations of bitter division. Several members also work with CWB Ireland.
The charity, which is run on an entirely voluntary basis, get some funding from Culture Ireland, the organisation that promotes Irish arts worldwide, but also relies heavily on donations.
Some of Ireland's craic troop of clowns, like O'Grady and Irish co-founder Jonathan Gunning, are hardened veterans and have seen many tours of duty in countries like Kosovo, Rwanda and Nepal, but the humanitarian crisis of Syria's ongoing war is flooding the Middle East with people fleeing conflict and CWB Ireland's most recent April tour was to Jordan, where an all-female team of four performers visited four refugee camps and reached 3,300 children and their families.
Laura Ivers was on her first international tour in Jordan. In two weeks, they performed 18 shows and five workshops in some of the largest camps set up to house the huge numbers of civilians fleeing across the border to escape bombardment in Syria. “You get in and you have a show to do and you have quite a tight schedule, but it's in the moments after the show when everyone wants to take their photo with you and say hello and shake your hand that you really do feel the joy,” Ivers says.
“Laughter is the shortest distance between two people,” Danish humourist Victor Borge used to say, and while CWB Ireland use this quote as a motto, they also work hard to devise shows that are culturally sensitive and universal. Ivers and fellow performers Niamh McGrath, Sara Cwojdzinski, and Leonie McDonagh were directed by an internationally celebrated Arabic clown for their visit.
“Our show was about Teta, which means grandmother, and the Habibis, which is an Arabic term of endearment often used for children,” Ivers says. “We stuck with some simple scenarios, like Teta wanting the children to go to sleep but the Habibis wanting to play, or she'd make them do chores. It really transfers because humans are the same the world over.”
Watching the children light up in response to the Habibis' antics was particularly poignant on a visit to the vast Zaatari camp, which houses 80,000 displaced Syrian people. In the Doctors Without Borders tent, injured children and adults were wheeled in to see the show.
“Some of them had limbs missing and were in wheelchairs and even hospital beds,” Ivers says.
“We did a much gentler show but the reaction was huge and we had people clapping along. One of the nurses of a little boy in a wheelchair came up and said, ‘Thank you so much, I've seen a change in him from the start of the show to the end of the show and that change is going to stay with him'.”
“A lot of people who have been displaced have become disconnected from their ability to laugh,” Ivers says, “But I was struck by the resilience of humanity and how people can thrive in any situation.”
Residents, who may have been housed in portable buildings for years, are desperate to hold on to some semblance of normality for their families.
“We were told that even though when it rains in Zaatari the streets turn to mud, that people are very house-proud and keep their homes in immaculate condition,” Iyers says. “There's a very strong work ethic too; they set up small businesses, things like bicycle shops and market stalls, inside the camps.”
CWB Ireland are currently preparing for their next tour to Iraq in September.
In Ireland, Iyers and her fellow clowns have done shows in direct provision centres and the charity is planning to work with homeless children.They might not solve the problems of the people they encounter, but getting them to laugh again can be a priceless experience.
CWB-Ireland presents a show for grown-ups, OutRAGEous Fortune by Carol Walsh, at Cork Arts Theatre on Thursday to raise funds for their trip to the Kurdish region of Iraq
Report finds Nebraskans unaware of sex trafficking in own back yard
OMAHA, Neb. (Nebraska Medical Center Press Release) - A Nebraska sex trafficking report released by the Women's Fund of Omaha indicates there is a "woeful lack of awareness" across the state about the crime.
They have been forced into a life of being bought and sold for sex, often by the people they trust the most – father, mother, spouse, other relatives and lovers. But when the women try to tell other people who are close to them about it, they are not believed, according to the new report about sex trafficking in Nebraska.
“There is a woeful lack of awareness about the subject among community leaders, law enforcement, teachers, health care professionals and the general public,” says Shireen Rajaram, Ph.D., associate professor, health promotion, social and behavioral health at UNMC's College of Public Health.
Dr. Rajaram and Sriyani Tidball, assistant professor of practice, College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, co-authored “Nebraska Sex Trafficking Survivors Speak – A Qualitative Research Study” that was commissioned by the Women's Fund of Omaha. Results from this study were used by the Women's Fund to develop the booklet “Nothing About Us Without Us."
“People generally believe sex trafficking is a problem in other countries, but it's happening in every state in the U.S., including Nebraska,” Dr. Rajaram said. “Our nation has failed to call trafficking what it is – a public health problem."
The first-of-its-kind report in Nebraska includes the voices of adult women survivors of sex trafficking as it documents their perspectives on the “3Ps” paradigm: to identify strategies to prevent sex trafficking, provide protection and support for survivors and prosecution of the perpetrators to reduce the demand for sex trafficking.
Of those interviewed, 17 women live in the Omaha/Lincoln area and five live in rural Nebraska. As children, 12 of the women had been in foster care and one had lived in a group home. "This is probably some of the most humbling work I have done, but I also feel it is really powerful to hear from women who have been marginalized, stigmatized and criminalized most of their lives,” Tidball said. “Our hope is that their voices will be included in the development of all policy, advocacy, awareness and prevention campaigns in order to develop effective and strategic ways to reduce trafficking."
“The ultimate goal is for this research to begin unifying the community – including service providers, law enforcement, policy makers and the general public – in creating a robust, survivor-informed approach to systems change,” said Meghan Malik, trafficking response coordinator for the Women's Fund.
The study revealed the complexity and lack of awareness among all segments of society on the issue of sex trafficking. Planning is underway to create a comprehensive statewide plan to combat trafficking in Nebraska. There is an urgent need to implement strategies to address prevention, protection and prosecution simultaneously.
"They prey upon girls out here in the Midwest because we're naïve, because we don't know about the big cities," said one victim. "We're a lot more trusting and they love to hit these small towns. They're more vulnerable than anybody else. You don't even lock your door.”
“That's the problem, because nobody is really believing that it's happening, nobody believes, even when your parents don't believe you so you don't trust nobody else to believe you," said another victim.
UNO will hold a panel discussion, “Human Trafficking: Yes, it Happens in Nebraska,” from 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m. on August 17th at the Thompson Alumni Center.
Labor Trafficking and Sex Trafficking: Equally Critical, Unequally Prioritized
by Rachel Buchan
On July 12, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) and the House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC) Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations Subcommittee held hearings to review the 2016 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report with Department of State Ambassador-at-Large to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, Susan Coppedge.
The TIP report ranks countries based on their efforts to combat human trafficking, and the 2016 report showed progressive trends globally in prosecutions, convictions, and victims identified. Though such progress is significant, both committees correctly pointed out concerns over the significant gap in labor trafficking cases handled.
Globally, labor trafficking convictions accounted for 7 percent of 6,609 total human trafficking cases in 2015, while victims of forced labor make up 68 percent of the estimated 20.9 million human trafficking victims worldwide. The number of convictions pales in comparison to the scale of the crime.
In Cuba, forced labor is neither criminalized nor acknowledged by the state. Yet the 2016 TIP report did not downgrade Cuba's ranking, a decision that astonished members of both the SFRC and HFAC. When scrutinized for the grade, Ambassador Coppedge pointed primarily to Cuba's efforts in sex trafficking.
While certainly commendable, allowing these efforts to carry a country's TIP ranking ascribes disproportionate weight to sex trafficking in assessment and policy making. As Senator Menendez asserted, the TIP report's maintenance of Cuba's ranking sends the message that combating sex trafficking is enough to cover for labor trafficking.
To be the most effective, the TIP office must cultivate global expertise on forced labor and ensure trafficking cases are identified and prosecuted proportionally across the board. When asked how J/TIP can accomplish this aim, Ambassador Coppedge highlighted the Responsible Sourcing Tool, a website developed by the DOS for businesses to monitor their supply chains. The ambassador also pointed out the need for continued engagement with international governments, increasing the number of labor inspectors, law enforcement trainings, and prosecution, and intensifying the sentencing of forced labor cases.
As a global leader in the fight to combat trafficking, the United States must increase accountability for labor traffickers by incentivizing law enforcement and prosecutors to identify and investigate additional labor trafficking cases. The reauthorization of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act in Congress next year provides an opportunity to amend our landmark human trafficking law to designate at least one labor trafficking prosecutor in key districts across the United States.
The TIP report is a vital tool for government accountability and progress worldwide. As Senator Cardin said, “[it] is critical to ensuring continued progress against the scourge of human trafficking.” In order to maximize its efficacy, however, both sex and labor trafficking deserve proportional emphasis.
To learn more about Human Rights First's approach to labor trafficking, please see our blueprint, “How to Dismantle the Business of Human Trafficking.”
Dancewear company "Frilled Neck Fashion" under fire for sexualizing pre-teen girls and encouraging pedophiles via Instagram and Facebook
by Jacintha Webster
An Australia dancewear company has come under fire for posting provocative and sexualized images of preteen girls in skimpy outfits on the popular photo-sharing app Instagram, according to the ABC .
The photos are of young girls from nine to 15 in extremely inappropriate positions for girls of that age. Some of the girls are posed lying on the ground with lipsticked mouths, backs arched, protruding chests, and longing gazes.
The Instagram page, dancewear company, and director Amelia Annand have all been called out for using sex to gain more followers, likes, and sales despite the risk the girls in the photos are at. The Instagram page currently has 19,500 followers, which is unusual for a small Sydney dancewear company.
Critics have dubbed the pictures as “reckless” and Australia's eSafety Commissioner has warned parents that pedophile parasite websites are republishing seemingly innocent photos of girls found on Facebook and other photo-sharing sites.
The pictures in question are shared to 20,000 followers and the Instagram page is a public account, meaning anyone can look at these photos. A lot of the comments below the pictures do not seem to be related to dance wear.
Caitlin Roper of a women's advocacy group Collective Shout, received numerous complaints about the photos shared on Frilled Neck Fashion Instagram and Facebook and has started an investigation after being appalled and shocked by the adult-like poses and styling contained in the photo shoots.
“When girls are young, they all like to put on their mum's heels and somehow always find the red lipstick, that's child-led curiosity,” Roper said.
What is more disturbing is that Roper discovered parents approved of the posts and often boasted about how beautiful their child looked and did not appear to be worried about pedophiles saving the photos and sharing them among other child abusers.
“Girls as young as nine don't have the emotional maturity or context to understand the potential implications of sharing these photos publicly and promoting them on social media,” Roper said.
Caitlin Roper was able to find information publicly available on the Frilled Neck Fashion's social media pages and locate the schools and addresses of two of the young models who feature on the Instagram page in question, meaning other people would also be able to track down the girls.
“It's really quite risky; it's something [parents] need to be aware of,” Roper said.
“It's reckless behavior that is putting young girls at risk. You can find these girls so easily by tracking them online, their profiles are often public and they give up a lot of information about who they are and where they live.”
Roper said she knew the difference between innocent photos being taken off Facebook and used inappropriately but does not think these photos are innocent. She is calling out the parents of the children and the dance wear company and telling them to protect the young girls.
“This is a case of adults failing to act in the best interest of the child,” she said.
Roper has been trying to contact the director of Frilled Neck Fashion, Amelia Annand, to no avail but has been able to contact some of the girls' mothers. One mother, Cindy from Sydney, has an 11-year-old daughter who features on the Instagram page but Cindy finds nothing wrong with the way her daughter is portrayed.
“They are gorgeous girls wearing gorgeous costumes. There is absolutely nothing sexual about these photos,” Cindy said.
Jemma Nicholl, a dance teacher and dance industry code of ethics campaigner, disagrees that these are innocent pictures and is campaigning for stronger guidelines for studios and dance schools. The campaign is for the KidsPace Dance Code of Practice.
“There's no denying that these children are positioned to have attention clearly drawn to specific body parts — their chest, their crotch,” she said.
“My question to parents is: ‘Are you seriously this comfortable with the way your daughters are being depicted, and are you aware of the consequences?'” Nicholl said.
The push to regulate stronger guidelines on pictures shared via social media has come after startling statistics uncovered over the past few years about pedophiles and where they find their images has come to light.
The UK's Internet Watch Foundation study tracks where the images posted on parasite pornography websites come from and discovered that in 2012, over 88 percent of child and adolescent images used by pedophiles were taken from public social media pages. Nichols wants parents to think about this when they allow provocative photos of their underage children to be plastered across the internet.
“How would these parents feel… knowing that others may be viewing their child's image on other sites?” Nicholl said.
But Sydney mother Cindy denies she is putting her young daughter in harm's way.
“None of us are out there exploiting our children, and there is nothing disgusting about any of these photos,” she said.
One of the male photographers, Rob Eyre, has also defended the pictures saying they are “cute” and he is “shocked” that anyone would think otherwise.
“I'm always mindful of what I shoot with these dancers, as they do put themselves in moves and positions that, to the wrong person, can be taken the wrong way,” Eyre said.
Nicholl's point is that the photos will be taken in the wrong way, by the wrong people, and be shared on parasite pedophile websites or used to track down and exploit the girls.
A person who has already experienced pedophilia at the hands of a dance teacher stood in front of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse Survivors earlier this year and called for better regulation of the dance industry. He was one of many survivors of pedophile dance teacher Grant Davies and says tougher guidelines need to be in place to protect the young and vulnerable.
Jemma Nicholl said it all comes down to safer and smarter practices especially with young girls and the internet.
“As dance educators, we have the potential to be a key influence in the most formative years of a child's life, and that automatically issues us with a responsibility to safeguard not only the physical, however, the mental and emotional well-being of children too,” Nicholl said.
The KidsPace Dance code of practice will be available next month.
Child death report shows neglect, abuse still problem in state
DCS officials urge awareness of circumstances
by Devan Filchak
ANDERSON – The Indiana Department of Child Services released a report Wednesday that showed data of 66 child deaths that were caused by abuse and neglect in the state-fiscal year of 2014.
The causes of death ranged from drowning and gunshot wounds to overdoses and beatings.
The department broke down numbers to educate the public, according to the report.
“Each child who was a victim of child abuse or neglect should be remembered and mourned. The circumstances of these deaths need to be studied so every citizen in Indiana can understand the factors that led to their tragic deaths, and apply these painful lessons toward preventing the deaths of other children,” the report said.
About 54 of the deaths in the state-fiscal year of 2014 were a product of neglect, while 12 were due to abuse.
The report showed the suspected trend that young children are more at risk of death from abuse or neglect than older children. About 50 percent of the abuse deaths were children ages 1 or younger, and 46 percent of the neglect deaths were also children 1 or younger.
The majority of child abuse-related deaths were the result of abusive head trauma. The majority of the neglect-related deaths in the report were due to drowning, followed by weapon (including body parts) and fire, burns or electrocution.
The report found a pattern of stress, with 61 percent of families with cases for neglect and abuse had insufficient income and unemployment as a risk factor. About 31 percent of abuse cases had substance abuse as a risk factor while substance abuse was a risk factor in 28 percent of neglect cases.
“These findings indicate continued societal/community-level issues that affect parents, and can contribute to an increased risk of child abuse or neglect in the home,” according to the report.
None of the deaths occurred in Madison County. Out of the counties surrounding Madison County, one child death caused by neglect happened in Delaware County and two neglect-related deaths happened in Grant County.
Despite the lack of child abuse and neglect related deaths in Madison County during the reported year, abuse and neglect investigations are prevalent.
While it was not during the report period, a 12-year-old girl died after allegedly being run over by a lawnmower and sustaining abuse in November 2015. Denell Roberts, who was the girl's legal guardian, was charged with murder and is scheduled to face a jury trial on Aug. 2.
Steve and Joetta Sells, of Anderson, were sentenced to 24 years in prison each after their 15-year-old granddaughter with disabilities was found severely neglected after being locked in a room continually and suffered from not having proper care.
Kim Robinson and Stephen Aukler, of Anderson, were each sentenced to 20 years in prison in April following the neglect of their 29-month-old twin daughters, who only had the physical and cognitive ability of 6-month-old children when found.
Child abuse and neglect
Anyone who suspects a child is being abused or neglected, call the Indiana Child Abuse Hotline at 800-800-5556.
Children will learn how to protect themselves against tourists' sexual abuse
by Viet Nam News
HANOI— A new project has been launched to teach Vietnamese ethnic minority children how to protect themselves against sexual harassment and assault by strangers in such tourist hotspots as Sa Pa.
A group of 20 volunteers travelled to Na Hang District of mountainous Tuyên Quang Province to teach 170 children from among 15 ethnic groups studying at the Na Hang secondary school.
The one- year project, entitled L?n Lên An Toàn (Growing up in a Safe Environment), will include lessons about reproductive health and equip them with other skills to protect themselves from sexual assaults risks.
In addition, communication campaigns will be launched to raise awareness about the need to protect children, in particular ethnic minority children working in the tourism sector.
“Children, in particular, ethnic minority children, are often very innocent and have to face many risks, in particular the risk of sexual assault. To reduce those risks, we will teach them the necessary skills to help them protect themselves,” said doctor Đ? Vi?t Dung, the project's adviser.
The project is the idea of students taking part in the Autumn School of Development, which was organised by the Institute of Sociology, Institute for Studies of Society, Economy and Environment (iSEE).
ISEE's director Luong Minh Ng ? c said this project had a significant importantce as not many children and adolescents in Vi ? t Nam know much about reproductive health.
“In many families, parents still hesitate to talk with their children about reproductive health. This remains a taboo. Many children are not ready to share with their parents their intimate stories,” she said.
“During the first year, we focus only on important tourist sites. After this year, the project will be expanded to other regions of Vi ? t Nam,” said Nguy ? n Van Công, the project's founder and director of Wellbeing social enterprise.
Last year, the country welcomed 8 million foreign tourists, said the Vi ? t Nam National Administration of Tourism.
From 2011 to 2015, 8,200 cases of sexual assault of children were detected, affecting 10,000 victims, an increase of 258 in comparison to the five previous years.
Those statistics were presented at a recent seminar about child protection in the digital environment, which was organised in March this year by the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs and UNICEF East and Pacific regional office. — VNS
One woman's journey out of child sex abuse helps reform Massachusetts child sex crimes law
by Ivey DeJesus
A highway exit sign triggered the flood of memories.
Rosanne Sliney was 24 years old when the sight of the exit sign unleashed a tide of memories long repressed: Her uncle sexually abusing her in his car.
She was 5. He was her mother's brother, a beloved member of a large Italian-American family from Massachusetts, her godfather.
That one trigger brought back the years of abuse, the pain, shame and guilt. Her uncle did unspeakable things to the young girl – in his home, his car, his business. Rumors long circulated among her relatives, but no adult – not family member, teacher or coach – sounded the alarm. Sliney endured the horror in silence for nearly 10 years, retreating from her school studies and the conventions of teen life.
The flood of memories prompted Sliney to confront her predator. He in turn sent her a letter of apology filled with anguished remorse for what he had done. He had mistaken "sex" for love, he wrote, and had asked God for forgiveness.
Nearly two decades would pass before Sliney worked up the nerve to take the next step: In 2012 she filed a lawsuit against him. Her decision would splinter her family, but she could have little imagined that it would tip the effort to overhaul Massachusetts law.
When it was all said and done, her story catapulted to triumph a movement launched a decade before in the wake of the stunning child sex abuse case out of the Boston Archdiocese. Fueled by the narrative of her story, the movement to reform the state's statute of limitations would, at the 11th hour, bring to the negotiating table the very same powerful forces that for years had blocked reform.
Sliney's story played out hundreds of miles away, but the trajectory of her story – and the efforts of victims advocates who long pushed for reform in her state – parallel the efforts mounted in Pennsylvania to reform the state's child sex crime laws.
"There should be no statute of limitation when a child is sexually abused by a priest, a family member, a coach, a teacher, someone you know and trust," Sliney said recently from her home in Burlington. [MASS.?] "It affects the mind body and soul. Being sexually molested and abused is like murder of the soul. There should be no statute."
In her lawsuit, Sliney alleged she was sexually abused hundreds of times by her uncle, Domenic Previte Jr., as a child, starting when she was 5 years old in 1968 and continuing until she was 14 years old. Because her legal rights had expired, the judge dismissed her case. But Sliney appealed and joined the effort to get the law changed.
"I felt like the state of Massachusetts was like my family," Sliney said. "They all were ignoring the fact that I'm suffering. I'm in constant physical pain. constant nightmare. I have PTSD, anxiety, eating disorders. I got thrown out of court and said, 'Wow they are turning their heads on me as well ... just like everyone else in my life. No one protected me ... and now my state wasn't protecting me."
Sliney was up again the powerful force of the Massachusetts Catholic Conference, which similar to the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference is the legislative branch of the church in the state, and as such, a powerful lobbying force. The church has fought fiercely to fend off reform to child sex laws across the country that would it leave it open to a tide of lawsuits.
The archdiocese in 2002 became the epicenter of the worldwide clergy sex abuse scandal with a scandal — first reported by The Boston Globe — that involved more than 1,100 victims and nearly 250 priests. The scandal cost the archdiocese about $150 million in damages from civil lawsuits.
"Clearly the Archdiocese of Boston was opposed to this, although they were never public about it," said Jetta Bernier, executive director of Massachusetts Citizens for Children, an advocacy group that had for more than a decade fought for reform. "They were powerful behind the scenes. They kept blocking all the efforts."
Similarly, the effort to reform the laws in Pennsylvania got started in the wake of an identical clergy sex abuse scandal out of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia in the early 2000s. The Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal further fueled the effort, but the grand jury report out of an investigation into the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese in March put the effort of advocates on the fast track.
In Boston — as in Pennsylvania — efforts to overhaul the law went nowhere for years.
"There was a lot of support for the bills in the Legislature," said Massachusetts Rep. John Lawn, a Democrat whose district includes Sliney's hometown. "It seemed crazy that it wasn't going anywhere, but when things would move forward everyone felt the insurance companies and the Catholic Church would put pressure to halt bill."
Lawn got behind Sliney's effort to push for reform, becoming the lead advocate in the House and recruiting other key legislators to the cause. In the Senate, the effort was widely led by Sen. William Brownsberger.
For Lawn, the effort was so emotional at times, he said, he once nearly got into an altercation with former House chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Rep. Eugene O'Flaherty, who he said had the interests of the church.
"We almost got into a fist fight. It was really emotional," Lawn said. "It became a big story."
O'Flaherty in 2012 told a reporter that statutes of limitations ensure that evidence and memories are fresh. "Statutes of limitations have a purpose,'' he said.
For the better part of 2013, the bill made its way up through the chambers. Then, at the last minute, the issue of its constitutionality was raised, casting concerns from advocates that, once again, the church was about to triumph in defeating the bill.
Lawn realized the only way to protect the bill was to go directly to "the elephant in the room."
He and sent a letter to Cardinal Sean O'Malley, one of the most powerful officials in the 1.2 billion-member Catholic Church and confidant of Pope Francis. O'Malley had been on the short list to succeed Pope Benedict XVI after his surprise resignation in 2013.
Lawn asked to meet with him. O'Malley was skeptical but agreed.
"He thought we were trying to come after the church," Lawn said.
Lawn was received by a cadre of archdiocese attorneys. But they quickly realized that Lawn was being reasonable. That's when O'Malley walked in.
More private meetings would follow. At the same time, Pope Francis convened a Vatican commission dedicated to protecting children from abuse and to caring for victims. It was the first time the church had launched a comprehensive effort to address the clergy sex abuse scandal, which became a global crisis threatening the church in the wake of the Boston scandal. He appointed O'Malley to head the commission.
O'Malley received a letter signed by approximately 80 advocates — and led by Massachusetts Citizens for Children — appealing for his support for reform. In the end, the cardinal got behind the legislation, and almost overnight, House Bill 1455 and Senate Bill 633 passed with unanimous votes.
"I really actually credit the church working with us," Lawn said. "Without their support I don't think it ever would have gone anywhere. And that's why it didn't go anywhere for 10 to 12 years."
The new law extended the statute of limitations for child sexual abuse lawsuits from three years to 35. It also applied the provisions retroactively to cases against the alleged perpetrator of the abuse, but not for defendants who may have "negligently supervised" the abuser. The law did not revive expired criminal statute of limitations (which the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled unconstitutional.)
The one concession advocates were willing to make was a window measure that would have opened the civil courts to all past victims for a period of time.
"So many bills that were filed had so many different aspects to it. We had to break it down and hit it small, get some things passed, " Lawn said. "It's a balance. We would have loved the window but we realized that wasn't going to happen. We took what we could get. That was progress."
In 2014, after the Massachusetts Legislature unanimously passed the reform law, Previte (Sliney's perpetrator) filed a claim asserting that the law was unconstitutional. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court in December voted in Sliney's favor, affirming the constitutionality of the law.
"What will it do for me?" Sliney asked. "Nothing. I can never get back what I lost. I lost my childhood. I lost my adulthood. My life was ruined. I never married. Never had children."
Writing for the court, Justice Margot Botsford wrote that expanded statute of limitations "appears to be tied directly to the compelling legislative purpose underlying the act, and in particular, the apparent recognition that in many cases, victims of child abuse are not able to appreciate the extent or the cause of harm they experience as a result of sexual abuse perpetrated on them for many years after the abuse has ended."
Carmen L. Durso, Sliney's attorney, argues that statute of limitations are an archaic legal tool put into effect at a time when people had limited knowledge.
"When you are talking about sexual abuse, you are talking about something that is the perfect crime because the person committing the crime is usually at the same time creating the situation where the victim can't do anything about it," he said. "When they are capable of doing something, then the statute of limitations bars them. That's an argument that has resonated with the courts — the idea that there is a difference between making retroactive statute of limitations for things that were clearly a settled matter and between a situation where a person can't begin to address the problem until some point in their life."
Durso, who has represented scores of victims out of the Boston Archdiocese scandal, said that without Sliney, the old law in Massachusetts would have conceivably remained in place.
All of them — Durso, Sliney, Lawn and Bernier — said advocates in Pennsylvania should look to Beacon Hill for guidance and for fortitude in their fight.
"In a great cause there are no defeats, only delayed victories," Durso said. "They have to keep at it until they get it and they will. Eventually someone who was abused will go talk to everybody who stands in the way and say how can you do this to me? When they find out it's someone they know ... that will change minds. That's what it takes."
Bernier advises two options: going for broke or negotiations. She is confident reason will prevail in the face of the most formidable opponent.
"I've often said why can't other states do what we did? Reach out," she said. "Don't continue to be adversary. Find common ground. Figure out what can be negotiated and consider that solution. If we can do it in Massachusetts with the archdiocese being so powerful and Cardinal Sean O'Malley, the right hand of the pope... if we were able to bring him to table, why can't New York or Pennsylvania also follow suit and sit down and negotiate. If we hadn't asked for that meeting, we'd still be fighting it out."
New York ended its 2016 legislative session in late June without acting on legislation to help child sex abuse survivors. In the wake of the Legislature's failure to take up the Child Victims Act, the head of the Catholic League said victims advocates were out to "rape" the Catholic Church over the issue of child sex abuse.
The Pennsylvania House of Representatives in April by a 180-15 vote passed House Bill 1947, legislation that would overhaul the child sex crime laws in the state.
A few weeks ago, following little public debate of the bill in the Senate, that chamber voted 49-0 to approve the bill – but first it stripped the retroactive measure away. Advocates hail the bill for its aggressive provisions for future crimes, but bemoan that it provides no relief for victims of past abuse for whom the civil statute of limitations have expired.
The amended bill returned to the House for a concurrence vote, but the House will not take it up until the fall.
Now 52, Sliney has one more year to file under the provisions of her state's statute of limitations, which for civil action expire at age 53. She is preparing to go to court.
"I'll fight until I can't fight anymore and let me tell you, it's hard to get through every day," she said. "I suffer every day of my life."
The 5 Greatest Myths About Emotional Neglect
by Jonice Webb PhD
Of the hundreds of psychological and emotional conditions, Childhood Emotional Neglect (CEN) is, in my opinion, among the least widely acknowledged.
That's because we have spent decades talking about and studying the negative things that can happen to a child. As we've done all of this vital and important work, we have overlooked, and essentially ignored, an equal but opposite force: what fails to happen for a child.
Childhood Emotional Neglect (or CEN): A parent's failure to respond enough to a child's emotional needs.
Here are five natural, automatic assumptions that are frequently held and expressed, even by mental health professionals.
5 Common CEN Myths
Myth 1 — CEN is a form of child abuse
This has been the default assumption of many people for many years. In professional articles and research studies, Emotional Neglect is typically lumped in with with the various forms of child abuse. It's assumed that all of these forms of childhood mistreatment belong in the same category, and have similar effects upon the child.
Yet nothing could be further from the truth. While abuse is a parental act ; something a parent does to a child, Emotional Neglect is a parent's failure to act . The emotionally neglectful parent may never hit the child or call her (or him) a name. A mother (or father) simply fails to notice or respond enough to her child's emotional needs.
Not only does CEN happen differently, it also has different and distinct effects. Since the cause and effects are all different from abuse, the path to healing is also different.
Myth 2 — CEN happens more often in single-parent, divorced or widowed families
Contrary to how logical this assumption may seem, it's not at all true. CEN is not about number of available parents, or even the time available to spend with parents. It's a matter of the emotional quality of the parent/child connection. Does the parent truly know the child on a deeply personal, emotional level? Does the parent notice, validate and respond to the child's feelings? Does the parent teach the child how to tolerate, manage and express her emotions? These emotional aspects of parenting are not necessarily related to whether a parent is single or married.
In fact many single parents are aware that their single parenthood, divorce or loss has affected their children, and take extra care to notice what their children are feeling and support them.
Myth 3 — CEN is not as damaging as abuse
It is true that CEN causes a different set of challenges than the experience of childhood abuse. But it's not true that the effects of abuse are worse.
CEN is a quieter, less-visible childhood experience than abuse so, as you might expect, its effects are quieter and less visible. But this is also what makes it's effects more pernicious. Those who experience abuse will be impacted by it. They will grow up feeling perhaps violated, unsafe, and mistrusting. They may struggle to feel emotionally (or even physically) safe in relationships.
The effects of CEN are more like carrying around a weight. The CEN child must push away his emotions. In adulthood, he lacks access to this highly connecting, grounding and enriching part of his life. He finds himself living in a gray world, feeling alone. Since he likely can't recall the subtle and invisible emotional neglect from his childhood, he feels innately flawed. He assumes that he is to blame for these struggles.
Myth 4 — CEN is the result of a lack of love from your parents
Ironically it's often the most loving parents who emotionally neglect their children. This is because love and emotional attention are not the same thing and do not naturally go together..
In my experience, the single factor that most predicts a parent's likelihood of emotionally neglecting her children is not whether she loves them. It's having been raised with Emotional Neglect herself.
Myth 5 — All therapists know about CEN and how to treat it
Virtually every therapist understands the foundation of CEN: that when a child's emotional needs are not met, the child will suffer negative effects into adulthood.
However, there is far more to the concept of CEN than this general foundational point. What are the specific effects of CEN? Exactly how and why do they happen? How do you know when a patient has CEN? How do you treat CEN specifically? The answers to these questions are not common knowledge in the professional mental health community. Nor have they been the subject of research. My goal is to change this in the near future.
CEN is real. When your parents fail to respond sufficiently to your emotional needs, it does not matter why. It leaves a mark on you as you grow into your adulthood. This mark you share with others who grew up in a similar way. This mark can be healed.
To learn about Childhood Emotional Neglect, how it happens, its distinct effects, and how to heal from it, see EmotionalNeglect.com and the book, Running on Empty.
To see a list of therapists who understand CEN, visit the new Find A CEN Therapist List on my website.
Children affected by parental substance use
Pediatricians positioned to break multigenerational cycle of addiction
by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
BOSTON - Children whose parents or caregivers misuse alcohol or use, produce or distribute drugs face an increased risk of medical and behavioral problems. According to a new clinical report by experts at Beth Israel Medical Center (BIDMC) and Boston Children's Hospital, pediatricians are in a unique position to assess risk and intervene to protect children. The report, "Families Affected by Parental Substance Use," is available online today and slated for publication in the August print edition of Pediatrics , the journal of the American Association of Pediatrics.
"Alcohol misuse and substance use are exceedingly common in this country, and parents' or caregivers' substance use may affect their ability to consistently prioritize their children's basic physical and emotional needs and provide a safe, nurturing environment," says co-author Vincent C. Smith, MD, MPH, a neonatologist at BIDMC and Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School (HMS). "Because these children are at risk of suffering physical or emotional harm, pediatricians need to know how to assess a child's risk and to support the family to get the help they need."
An estimated one in five U.S. children grows up in a home in which someone misuses alcohol or has a substance use disorder, the authors write. Whether from the toxic effects of exposure to these substances or from the neglect of their basic needs by parents or caretakers struggling with substance use disorders, children in these households commonly experience developmental and educational delays and, later, are at higher risk for mental health and behavioral problems. They also are more likely than their peers to have substance use disorders themselves later in life.
In their report, Smith and co-author Celeste R. Wilson, MD, Medical Director of the Child Protection Program at Boston Children's Hospital and Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at HMS, review the clinical signs of fetal exposure to alcohol, cannabis, stimulants and opioids. Pediatricians must be increasingly on the lookout for signs of neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS), the irritability, muscle stiffness, diarrhea - even seizures - that can result from prenatal opioid exposure. Recent research indicates that 22,000 U.S. babies were diagnosed in 2012 with NAS, the authors write, adding that more than a quarter of expectant mothers were prescribed opioid pain relievers during their pregnancy, according to a separate study.
Citing studies that say children whose parents use drugs and misuse alcohol are three times more likely to be physically, sexually or emotionally abused and four times more likely to be neglected than their peers, the authors urge all pediatricians to include questions about caregivers' substance use as part of the routine family assessment. Some warning signs of abuse and neglect include: frequent injuries and bruises, especially in clusters or in patterns that could indicate contact with a hand, belt or other instrument; children who are withdrawn, fearful or flinch at sudden movements; a lack dental care or immunization; or ill-fitting, filthy or inappropriate clothing.
"Because pediatricians are the health care providers most likely to encounter families with young children who may be affected by substance use, they have the opportunity to help break multigenerational cycles of abuse," the authors write. "By being informed about the effects of parental drug use on children, they can intervene when necessary."
The authors provide sample scripts to help clinicians begin a potentially uncomfortable conversation, noting that research suggests parents who screen positive for substance use are open to pediatricians presenting them with follow-up options such as community treatment programs. In the wake of these conversations, caregivers who don't opt for treatment may still achieve some reduction in harm by decreasing or altering their substance use, even if they don't completely abstain, Smith and Wilson noted.
"Pediatricians who identify substance use problems in a family are not expected to solve, manage or treat these issues; rather, they can partner with other professionals to provide families access to resources," write Smith and Wilson. "By screening, pediatricians have the opportunity to make a significant difference in the lives of the entire family affected by substance use."
Vulnerable children ‘re-traumatised by incompetent services', charity warns
Children's Commissioner Anne Longfield says professionals must be 'acutely aware' of behaviour
by Peter Yeung
Vulnerable children are being “re-traumatised” by incompetent health services intended to help them, a mental health charity has warned.
A report by YoungMinds has found that schools, social workers, police and NHS staff are among those inadvertently causing children to relive traumas because of “fundamental misunderstandings” about how to interpret their behaviour.
Titled Beyond Adversity , the report notes: “Children who have been neglected, abused, bereaved or faced prejudice may communicate their feelings by being aggressive, self-destructive, withdrawn or highly sexualised.
“As a result, they are often treated as ‘the problem'. This means the cause of their trauma is never addressed and they don't receive the mental health care they need.
A spokesperson for the NSPCC said it is a "travesty" vulnerable children are being "treated as the problem".
They told The Independent : "Instead of dismissing them as troublemakers, it's crucial that professionals are trained so that they can spot signs of abuse and investigate why a child might be behaving in such a way.
"For too long abused children have been left to cope with the emotional and mental aftermath of abuse, that's why the NSPCC's It's Time campaign is calling on therapeutic support for all abused children so that they can overcome their traumatic experiences."
Deanna Neilson, Action for Children's Head of Safeguarding, said the report highlights the "lack of a coordinated approach" from professionals.
She told The Independent : "Young people are subjected to physical and sexual abuse, race hate and homophobic hate crimes and the impact cannot be underestimated. Childline has reported that their counselling for suicidal young people is at its highest level and our professional approaches in social work, psychiatry and other agencies need to move away from a solely clinical diagnosis model to dealing with the roots of young peoples' traumatic behaviour.
Calling for a national body with representatives from social services, the NHS, schools and the police, Ms Neilson added: “This requires a broader and shared understanding from all our professional agencies on the causes of traumatic behaviour using evidence-based models of practice that result in the reduction of trauma and increase emotional wellbeing.”
Anne Longfield, Children's Commissioner for England, said in a statement: “Children who have been abused or neglected are at greater risk of mental health problems but they often don't get the support they need.
Ms Longfield said the report echoed research she carried out earlier this year, which found 70,000 children referred for mental health support in England in 2015 were sent away without help, including some who had attempted suicide.
She added: “Children coping with the emotional and psychological trauma of abuse may present challenging behaviour which a range of professionals may not see beyond.
“All professionals who work with children need to be acutely aware that such behaviour may potentially be a sign of abuse or neglect and know what to do should they suspect it.”
One in three adult mental health problems in originate from childhood trauma, according to the report, including abuse, neglect, taking on adult responsibilities, prejudice and bereavement.
The charity has called on services to fast-track mental health support for children who've had traumatic experiences, for understanding of behaviour to improve and for the government to establish an expert group to ensure consistent treatment across the country.
Sarah Brennan, Chief Executive of YoungMinds, said in a statement: “The last thing vulnerable children need is to be re-traumatised by services that should be helping them.
“If a young person who has been neglected reacts to their feelings by being aggressive at school, and is excluded, it reinforces the neglect and low self-worth that they originally experienced.”
Ms Brennan said childhood abuse can lead to a “career of crime and violence” if not treated properly, adding: “Across the board, services need to focus less on ‘correcting' behaviour, and more on identifying and addressing the underlying causes of childhood trauma.
“There are social and financial gains for the young person - but also the whole of society by doing this. Not doing anything makes no sense at all.”
Alistair Burt, Minister for Mental Health, said in response to the report: "We have launched the biggest transformation in young people's mental health, funded by £1.4billion over this Parliament. This is one of the greatest investments the sector has seen, supporting a five-year plan with backing across the health system.
"Local NHS services must follow our lead by increasing the amount they spend on mental health and making sure the right care is always available.”
Two out of five victims of childhood sex abuse experience mental health issues and are 17 times more likely to experience a "psychotic episode", according to YoungMinds.
Over half of LGBT youth report deliberately harming themselves, and 44 per cent have considered suicide, according to Metro's Life Chances report.
Truckers Take The Wheel In Effort To Halt Sex Trafficking
by Frank Morris
Sex trafficking wasn't a major concern in the early 1980s, when Beth Jacobs was a teenager. If you were a prostitute, the thinking went, it was your choice.
Jacobs thought that too, right up until she came to, on the lot of a dark truck stop one night. She says she had asked a friendly-seeming man for a ride home that afternoon.
Jacobs says he gave her something to drink in an old McDonald's cup, and drugged her. As she was waking up the man announced that he was a pimp. Her pimp.
"I kind of laughed at him, and I said, 'Oh, that's great, but I'm not that kind of girl,' " Jacobs remembers. "And I tried to get out of the car, and he pulled me back in by my hair, beat me, and he said, 'No, b****, I didn't ask you. This is what it is. I own you now. You're going to sleep with this man in this truck, and he's going to give me the money to get to Chicago.' "
She pleaded with the truck driver and cried all through the rape. The john got mad and demanded his money back.
"So, the pimp then beat me up right there in the street, right in the parking lot, and told me if I ever lost any more money for him again he'd kill me and my daddy," Jacobs says.
Despite the noise, no one at the truck stop intervened. And for the next six years, this violent pimp forced Jacobs to work as a sex slave.
The awareness of sex trafficking has changed a lot since then. Just last year, an old motor home parked at a truck stop caught the eye of trucker Kevin Kimmel.
"I saw a guy go in it, and I saw motion to the RV," Kimmel says. "And then I saw what I thought was a young girl peek out and be abruptly pulled back from the window, and the shade pulled back over it."
Kimmel called the police — and ended weeks of torture, starvation and forced prostitution for the victim.
Kylla Lanier says that Kimmel's actions "epitomizes the mission" of her group, Truckers Against Trafficking. She founded the group with her mother and three sisters a few years ago. It dawned on them that truckers would be great allies.
"Trafficking happens everywhere," Lanier says. "It's happening in homes, in conference centers, at schools, casinos, truck stops, hotels, motels, everywhere. You know, it's an everywhere problem, but truckers happen to be everywhere."
And these days TAT stickers, wallet cards and posters — showing a phone number for a sex trafficking hotline — are becoming ubiquitous in the trucking industry.
TAT teaches drivers to try to spot sullen, hopeless-looking children, teens and young adults. Perhaps they're wearing revealing clothing, or maybe have tattoos like bar codes or men's names that might indicate ownership. The group also promotes a hotline to report trafficking.
Jacobs managed to escape her life of forced prostitution after being jailed while working away from her home city. Now she counsels other survivors and works with TAT to help drivers understand the trafficking victim's point of view.
Trucking companies and law enforcement are enthusiastically on board, helping to reach nearly 250,000 drivers, whose calls to the hotline have freed hundreds of trafficking victims.
The approach is so effective that Kansas' attorney general wants to compel truck driving schools to teach sex trafficking prevention. In Ohio, says State Patrol Capt. Mike Crispen, it's already in the curriculum.
"It's just opportunity," Crispen says. "It's an opportunity to educate and get more eyes on the road for us."
Truck stops are fighting trafficking too.
Between the energy drinks upfront and the showers in back at a TA Travel Plaza in Oak Grove, Mo., about a half-hour from Kansas City, monitors play anti-trafficking videos 24/7. Stickers and wallet cards are on the counter, and anti-trafficking posters hang all over the store.
Employees are trained to spot trafficking, and District Manager Sam Tahour says the effort has completely changed his view of sex solicitation.
"If I saw a prostitute, I would have thought, 'Hey, that's what they want to do.' Now I know what signs to look for," Tahour says. "I know what actions to take. Be on the lookout for this. This is what's going on out there, and these people need a hero."