Indiana changes Child Abuse Reporting Procedures
Indiana school employees are now required to report suspected child abuse or neglect directly to the Department of Child Services of local law enforcement instead of first notifying a school administrator.
by the Associated Press
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (AP) — Indiana school employees are now required to report suspected child abuse or neglect directly to the Department of Child Services or local law enforcement instead of first notifying a school administrator.
Republican State Sen. Mark Messmer of Jasper co-authored the legislation. He told the Tribune Star that the change was made because there's been a history of issues being swept under the rug and not reported.
Prior to the law, school employees first had to report suspected abuse to the school's principal or the principal's designee.
The law said schools can't create a policy that would restrict or delay an employee from reporting suspected abuse in any way.
The change emphasizes that "all of us having firsthand responsibilities to protect kids," said Teresa Meredith, president of the Indiana State Teachers Association.
She said it's better to "err on the side of caution" and report rather than "find out later that something horrible happened."
The Vigo County School Corp. in Terre Haute is working on changing its policy to comply with the new state law. The proposed policy change had its first reading on July 17 and will have two more readings before being finalized.
The policy "needs to be clear that the person who observes or has reason to believe or has evidence that supports the child has been abused has to report to authorities first, then to the principal," said school board member Jackie Lower.
The law also requires schools to start providing age-appropriate child abuse education to children in kindergarten through 12th grade.
County tackles alarming number of child sex abuse cases
by A.J. Rao and Jimmy McCarthy
Slithering under the news-grabbing opioid and heroin epidemic is a pernicious trend of children being sexually assaulted and abused in Chautauqua County.
Statistics show one in 10 children in the county will be sexually abused before the age of 18; of which, 90 percent will know their perpetrator and 30-40 percent will be related.
According to Prevent Child Abuse New York, an Albany-based non-profit, nearly 270 allegations of child sex abuse were reported in Chautauqua County in 2016 compared to 239 in Allegany and Cattaraugus counties.
Similar-sized counties like Jefferson and Chemung reported 206 and 168 allegations, respectively.
While such reports to the Child Advocacy Program of Chautauqua County have decreased over the past few years, the problem is not seen as going away; rather, the bulk of abuses are thought to be unreported.
According to Sean Lennon, clinical mental health coordinator for CAP, the majority of child sex victims, who happen to be under the age of 12, never report their abuse.
Making matters worse, prosecuting those responsible remains a Herculean task, especially in the face of insufficient physical evidence or children often too young to provide credible testimony or understand what exactly happened to them.
Lennon said educating the public on signs of abuse and who exactly to contact is vital.
“Our numbers in the last two years indicate sex abuse is the No. 1 type of abuse being reported by far,” he said. “We have a greater responsibility to be more vigilant when we do see signs that a child may be a victim of sex abuse. Even though it's a topic that makes people uncomfortable to talk about, it exists and we have a way to address it.”
Signs seen in children include mood swings, nightmares or sleep problems, a fear of certain people or places, or adult-like sexual behaviors like language and knowledge.
If sex abuse is suspected, people can contact their local police agency or the New York State Central Register of Child Abuse and Maltreatment at 1-800-342-3720.
In Chautauqua County, CAP will be notified of the reported abuse and a Multidisciplinary Team, composed of law enforcement, Child Protective Services, mental health services, the district attorney's office and medical professionals, will conduct a coordinated response.
State resources are also continuing to support specially trained staff to interview victims of sexual and physical abuse.
Last week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that Chautauqua County will receive just over $157,000 to support children.
“With this funding, child advocacy centers will be better equipped to partner with law enforcement to bring the abusers to justice while offering effective emotional support services to child victims and their families,” Cuomo said.
Lennon said there are several trained forensic interviewers in the county who conduct interviews for the district attorney's office and law enforcement.
Forensic interviewers provide children with a safe place to share their story in their own words to experts. The purpose of the forensic interview is to obtain information that may be helpful in a criminal investigation and to assess the need for medical treatment and psychological care.
In terms of prosecuting suspects, Patrick Swanson, Chautauqua County district attorney, is hoping to add five additional prosecutors to his office over the next three years, one of whom will be dedicated to “Special Victims” cases, such as sexual assault, child abuse, Internet crimes against children and sex offender registration.
Lynn Schaffer, second assistant district attorney, is currently handling all child sex abuse cases for the county, a responsibility, she said, that's only a “portion” of what she has to shoulder at the moment.
“In terms of numbers that have to be handled through our office, there are significantly more of them than what we are actually able to prosecute,” she said. “We get somewhere between six and two dozen referrals a month that we have to assess and investigate and make a charging decision on. Ideally, you would want a family coming in on an allegation of child abuse and a responsive prosecutor on each investigation. We have historically not been able to do that in every case. We meet with families in every case that we can, but it's not sustainable.”
Schaffer said the complex and sensitive nature of these cases – not to mention, the psychological factors – can greatly hinder their progress.
“There is a psychological behavioral pattern in children that are abused called “Child Sexual Abuse Accommodation Syndrome,” which means children do not tell right away,” she said. “It's totally normal … it's just how the human brain works when you're a child and it usually happens when the child knows the abuser and trusts the abuser.”
Schaffer said this leads to a problem with proof when all you have is a child that tells of an incident well after it took place.
“That is what many of these cases look like and we work with (the Multidisciplinary Team) to dig up anything else that might be out there,” she continued.
Currently, victims of child sex abuse in New York state can only seek civil penalties against their abusers until the age of 18. A bill called the Child Victims Act, which aims to extend that age to 50, remains in limbo in the New York State Legislature.
For more information on child sex abuse in the area, visit the CAP website at www.capjustice.org or call 338-9844.
15 W. Second St.
Jamestown, NY 14701
Child Deaths From Abuse Or Neglect Rising
For the fourth year in a row, child deaths from abuse or neglect have risen.
Indiana officials say it's because of two main reasons, unsafe sleeping arrangements for infants and open water dangers from pools or ponds. But authorities also say there are significant underlying contributing factors for each of those.
A new report profiles data from 2015, where the state saw 77 kids die because of abuse or neglect. That's the highest number found since 2003, the farthest that reports are available online.
"It's really an awareness piece and prevention piece that we want everyone to know about," said James Wide of the Indiana Department of Child Services.
Wide says the report is meant to encourage parents to be more aware of safety.
"That's why we want to get the report out to let the community know to be vigilant about those issues," said Wide.
In cases of abuse, data shows the cause of death is almost always head trauma. In neglect cases, asphyxiation is often the cause, which is why DCS said dangerous sleeping arrangements and water are the two leading contributors. The report profiles a number of cases where infants died while co-sleeping with their parents who were either drunk or high on drugs.
The report also profiles numerous cases where kids left unattended drowned in pools, ponds or even bathtubs.
"You look at poverty, you look at substance abuse, [and] those are some of the contributing factors to the fatalities," said Wide.
Wide says those underlying factors make child fatalities more likely, especially among at-risk populations. He says for parents who may be struggling or feel overwhelmed, they should not be afraid to ask for help.
If you need help or want to report suspected abuse, you can contact the Department of Child Services or Prevent Child Abuse Indiana.
Hot enough to kill
by the Register Guard
Two cases of possible neglect in the last 15 days — amid one of the longest heat waves in Oregon history — raise the issue of children and pets being left unattended in cars. This is a matter of common sense, and you wouldn't think people would need to be reminded of it. Think again.
On July 23, a Springfield woman was charged with child neglect and reckless endangerment after leaving her 5- and 7-year-old daughters in a car in a Walmart parking lot for 25 minutes — in 90-degree temperatures. The children survived but were found sweating profusely and flushed with red skin.
Last Wednesday, three pet owners in Springfield were cited for second-degree animal neglect involving dogs and cats left in hot cars. All survived, but their skin temperatures were found to be 110 and 114 degrees.
Oregon law takes such matters seriously. Oregon Revised Statute 163.545 says: “A person having custody or control of a child under 10 years of age commits the crime of child neglect in the second degree if, with criminal negligence, the person leaves the child unattended in or at any place for such period of time as may be likely to endanger the health or welfare of such a child.”
Though Oregon is among roughly half the states without a specific “hot car” law regarding animals, such cases fall under the state's animal neglect law. And in cases of both children and pets, the Oregon Senate in June passed a bill that exempts people from criminal or civil liability if they break into a car to rescue a pet or child.
A locked car can be fatal to young children or pets if the temperature is even in the low 70s. Oregon is in the midst of a streak of 90-degrees-or-hotter days that's expected to continue throughout the week. The temperature in a window-up vehicle in 90-degree weather can reach as high as 124 degrees in only half an hour.
“It's a real threat,” said Sen. Peter Courtney, D-Salem. “This is not something that can only happen in Phoenix, Arizona, or in the southwest in summer months.”
Though it seems incredible, in some cases children or pets die — or nearly die — because the driver gets busy, distracted, upset or confused by some change in routine and forgets about the child or pet.
More common is the driver who rushes into the store to grab a few items and figures the child — or pet — will be fine. But that's not always the case. On average, 37 children a year die from heat-related deaths after being trapped inside vehicles. Hundreds of pets die the same way.
Child welfare advocates are pushing for a federal law, introduced in the Senate last month, that would require carmakers to build back-seat alarms. Once a car's engine has been turned off, sensors similar to those used to report tire pressure or open doors would trigger an alarm if a child is left in the back seat.
That may, indeed, prove a long-term solution. Meanwhile, the real onus falls on adults driving with young children and pets. They need to remember who else is on board with them, even if takes placing a purse or briefcase in the back seat next to a child or pet. They need to look before they lock. And don't leave a child or pet in a car, which can quickly heat up, especially on hot days.
In other words, be responsible.
Smart policing initiative results in over 1K sex trafficking arrests
The National Johns Suppression Initiative has led to nearly 8,000 arrests of sex buyers since it began in 2011
by PoliceOne Staff
COOK COUNTY, Ill. — A series of monthlong stings resulted in the arrest of over 1,000 sex trafficking individuals.
The National Johns Suppression Initiative ran its 14th operation in collaboration with 37 law enforcement agencies in 17 states, CNN reported. At least 1,020 sex buyers were arrested, 15 face trafficking-related charges and 81 individuals were recovered and offered services.
The most arrests occurred in Harris County, Texas, with 170 arrests, and Seattle, with 160 arrests.
The National Johns Suppression Initiative began in 2011 to raise awareness to the exploitive nature of the sex trafficking industry and reduce demands for purchased sex, according to a press release.
Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart proposed an ordinance Wednesday that would mandate the creation of a publically searchable database that would list names of sex buyers, according to the press release. Names would be eligible for removal after two years, if there are no repeat arrests.The ordinance would also double the fines to $2,000 for those individuals. According to Demand Abolition, increasing fines for sex crimes results in fewer repeat offenders.
Officials in Arizona told CNN that over 400 people were deterred from buying sex after recieving texts, calls or website redirects that informed them about the impact of the sex trafficking industry.
The initiative has led to nearly 8,000 arrests of sex buyers since its implementation in 2011.
Woman gets death penalty for locking 10-year-old cousin in storage box
The 10-year-old was being punished for stealing an ice pop
by Clarice Silber
A Phoenix woman sentenced to death Monday in the killing of a 10-year-old cousin who was locked in a small plastic storage box and left to die is one of just dozens of female death-row inmates in the United States.
The jury reached the verdict after Sammantha Allen, 29, was convicted in June of first-degree murder and four counts of child abuse in the 2011 killing of Ame Deal, who was punished for stealing an ice pop.
Allen held her head in her hand and wept as the verdict was read and later cried and hugged her attorneys before she was led out of the courtroom.
She will become the 55th woman condemned to die nationwide. There are only two other women on death row in Arizona, which is among the states struggling to buy execution drugs after pharmaceutical companies began blocking the use of their products in lethal injections.
In comparison, nearly 2,800 men are facing executions in the U.S., according to an April report by the NAACP that's used by the Death Penalty Information Center.
In Allen's case, authorities said she and her husband are responsible for making Ame get into the box, where she was left and found dead six or seven hours later.
The girl's death was the culmination of a history of abuse that a handful of relatives heaped on her, authorities say.
Ame was forced to eat dog feces, crush aluminum cans barefoot, consume hot sauce and get in the storage box on other occasions. She also was kicked in the face, beaten with a wooden paddle and forcibly dunked after being thrown in a cold swimming pool, investigators said.
Adults at the home originally claimed Ame hid during a late-night game of hide-and-seek and wasn't found until hours later. Three other relatives are in prison serving sentences for abusing Ame.
Allen's husband, John Allen, 29, is scheduled to go on trial Oct. 9. He's has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder and child abuse and also faces the death penalty.
Sammantha Allen's mother, Cynthia Stoltzmann, who also was Ame's legal guardian, is serving a 24-year prison sentence for a child abuse conviction.
Child welfare authorities in Arizona said they didn't receive any reports of abuse before her death. But child welfare reports from Utah, where the family lived before moving to Phoenix, listed Ame as an abused child, police said.
The verdict comes after executions in Arizona were put on hold following the 2014 death of a prisoner who was given 15 doses of a two-drug combination before he died in what his attorney called a botched execution.
But the state is now able to resume executions after a lawsuit that challenged the way Arizona carries out the death penalty was settled earlier this summer. No executions are scheduled.
Santa Rosa Kids House, school district to implement anti-abuse program
by Alicia Adams
MILTON — Santa Rosa Kids House is currently working to implement a new safety program in Santa Rosa County schools, which protects students from all forms of abuse.
Child Safety Matters by the Monique Burr Foundation is a free program for everyone in Florida, similar to the safety program the district currently has in place, Lauren's Kids. The difference between the two programs is: the Lauren's Kids program focuses on sexual abuse, while Child Safety Matters focuses on sexual abuse, child abuse, bullying, internet safety and more, according to Keith Ann Campbell, the executive director of Santa Rosa Kids House.
According to the MBF website, Child Safety Matters is a research-based, primary prevention program that educates and empowers students and all relevant adults with information and strategies to prevent bullying, cyberbullying, digital abuse, and all types of child abuse and exploitation.
The program was originally created and released in 2010 as Speak Up Be Safe by a development team that included Childhelp, a nationally recognized child abuse prevention organization; Arizona State University; and the Florida Education Cooperative Planning Team, including partners from the Florida Department of Education, Florida Department of Children and Families, the Florida Governor's office and MBF.
“It's really neat because it's completely designed by grade level,” Campbell said. “Right now, they have elementary and middle schools, and next year they are going to try to get it into the high schools.”
Santa Rosa Kids House is slated to meet with the school district and Superintendent Tim Wyrosdick to go through all the details of the new program. Santa Rosa Kids House is a nonprofit organization located in Milton that provides treatment, prevention and intervention for all forms of child abuse.
“They're very receptive to things like this, so I don't think there will be any barriers,” Campbell said. “I know that they're about to pass Erin's Law, which means that we have to do these kinds of things in each county.”
Erin's Law is a 501c4 nonprofit established in 2012. Childhood sexual abuse survivor Erin Merryn of Illinois is lobbying every state to pass Erin's Law, which requires all public schools in each state implement a prevention-oriented child sexual abuse program. The Monique Burr Foundation is a strong advocate for this law.
According to Campbell, qualified employees of Santa Rosa Kids House will teach the Child Safety Matters program curriculum.
“We will go into the schools and teach it for them,” Campbell said. “They won't have to train their teachers and guidance counselors to do it.”
Santa Rosa Kids House offers parent resilience classes and group therapy for abuse victims. Campbell said that the organization's biggest concern is outreach and getting information out to the public.
“What we will start to do is offer public classes, like to parents and to church people,” Campbell said. “Because, what's going to happen is, once we go into the schools with this curriculum, it's probably going to cause some children to come forward with things that they've had, and they're supposed to choose a safe adult that they want to tell. We are going to have to educate adults what to do if a child comes to them.”
The Santa Rosa County School District is ready to implement Child Safety Matters, and the director of student services, Sherry Smith, said that the district considers it an important safety program.
“Safety programs, such as Lauren's Kids... provide an abuse prevention curriculum that teaches students the tools to be the first line of defense against abuse,” Smith said.
Law enforcement, tech companies team up to fight online abuse at Crimes Against Children Conference
by Kylie Madry
When Emily Vacher was searching for a victim of sexual abuse, members of her team managed to narrow the investigation down to a single school district. From there, they spent weeks digging through a decade of yearbooks, trying to uncover the child's identity.
All of that work could be reduced to fractions of a second with new technology, she says.
Vacher, who spent a decade with the FBI before her current role as Facebook's director of trust and safety, hopes that the social network and law enforcement can collaborate to bring justice to victims of abuse more quickly.
"The conflict between speed and precision can be horrible," she said Monday. "On one hand, you want to be accurate, but on the other hand, every second counts when it comes to cases like this."
That dilemma can be eliminated with technology developed by companies such as Intel and Facebook, she believes.
Using resources like artificial intelligence and machine learning makes "finding those precious haystack needles easier," she said.
Vacher's keynote speech opened the annual Crimes Against Children Conference, held in the downtown Dallas Sheraton, which runs through Thursday.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children received 4.4 million CyberTipline reports in 2015, mostly for apparent child pornography. That number almost doubled in 2016, to 8.2 million reports.
The sheer volume of work facing law enforcement officers on child exploitation cases like these makes their job difficult, Vacher said.
That's why new collaborations are key, especially in the internet age, despite law enforcement's hesitance to let outsiders in.
"Kids' neighborhoods are no longer just the geographic regions around their house. Kids now live in a virtual neighborhood," said Lou Luzynski, co-founder and managing director of Watch Systems, the company that created sex-offender management system OffenderWatch.
And once something is on the internet, it can be difficult to permanently get rid of, Vacher said.
Beyond child abuse or exploitation, tech companies are also trying to fight what's commonly known as "revenge porn," or sexually explicit images shared without a victim's consent. According to the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative, 93 percent of victims report "major emotional distress" from having their photos shared.
Vacher said that for one woman who endured physical and sexual abuse, the fear that her images will continue to be shared online "is more devastating than the physical abuse she endured."
This, too, Facebook is fighting. In April, the social media company announced that when a user flags an intimate photo published without permission, a new tool prevents that photo from being shared.
While many of the company's touted solutions to making law enforcement's jobs easier are still in prototype stages, Vacher hopes that they will make communities safer.
"We represent the glimmer of hope for children and families who need our help," she said.
Parents urged to use Indiana's new Child Abuse Registry when shopping for child care
by Zach Myers
JOHNSON COUNTY, Ind.-- Public safety officials are urging Hoosier parents to make use of a new tool that could potentially save their family from tragedy.
Indiana's new Child Abuse Registry became available for free to the public last month. The registry works much like Indiana's Sex Offender Registry, but provides information on those convicted of crimes related to child abuse and neglect.
“So a sex offense, a battery on a child, child selling, child neglect, neglect of a dependent,” explained Johnson County Deputy Prosecutor Carrie J. Miles.
Miles and other law enforcement officials hope more Hoosier parents will become aware of the registry and utilize it when making decisions about child care for their children. While licensed day care facilities perform criminal background checks on prospective employees, many parents turn to unlicensed facilities or at-home day cares, where background checks may or may not be performed.
“I would also encourage parents to think about, if they use an in-home daycare, not just the person who's in charge of the daycare, but who's regularly coming in and out of that house,” Miles said. “Who else lives there?”
The registry, known as “Kirk's Law,” was inspired by the tragic case of 19-month old Kirk Coleman. Coleman died from injuries he sustained at an Elkhart County daycare that had a history of child abuse.
Online records show the Indiana Department of Child Services has received more than 19,000 substantiated reports of child abuse and neglect in Indiana so far this year.
Miles believes the Child Abuse Registry could prove to be a life-saving tool for who are choosing a daycare or babysitter. Parents can also use the registry to check out any adult who spends regular time around their children, whether that be a neighbor or the parents of one of their own child's friend.
“Parents really need to use all the tools they have available,” Miles said. “Common sense, references, criminal background checks.”
The registry is limited to convictions going back to 2012. If you want to search further, or look for other kinds of convictions, you can use the state's public court record website, MyCase.
Louisville mayor signs child abuse reporting law
by Heather Fountaine
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- A law signed by the mayor is taking things a step further when it comes to suspected child abuse
“I saw a gap and I took a lead to make sure that there was clarity in what the expectations were,” said Councilwoman Angela Leet.
Metro employees, including Louisville Metro Police Officers are now required to report suspected or known sexual abuse to state authorities, like Kentucky State Police or the Office of the Commonwealth's Attorney, and not just the police department, as was expected before the law.
“I think it was a gross oversight in the original writing of this ordinance. Now, if anyone suspects abuse of a Louisville Metro Police Department employee, that cannot be reported only within Louisville Metro Police Department,” explained Councilwoman Barbara Sexton Smith.
Terry Brooks with Kentucky Youth Advocates told WHAS 11 News he commends city leaders for strengthening the process.
“It's really what police officers should've been doing from the get-go,” he said.
The law was spurred by the abuse allegations in the LMPD Explorer program. Former officers Brandon Wood and Kenneth Betts are accused of sexually abusing at least one teenager, who was involved in the police department's program.
“There was clearly a system's failure of a few individuals, not dozens, but a few individuals who violated a very sacred trust 4:59 We as a community have to be vigilant, we have to be unrelenting in making sure not a single little boy or girl in Louisville suffers at the hand of an abuser,” said Brooks.
LMPD's Public Integrity Unit is still investigating the abuse allegations along with former U-S attorney and special investigator Kerry Harvey.
There is already a state law that requires anyone to report child abuse if there a suspicion or knowledge of it. Those who fail to do so could face charges.
New center opens to help victims of child sexual abuse
ALFRED (WGME) -- A new center is open to help victims of child sexual abuse.
The Children's Advocacy Center opened Tuesday at the York County Courthouse.
The program helps children who were victims of child sexual abuse by giving them a place to tell their story, hoping to minimize the impact on their mental health down the road.
Organizers say typically, kids will have to re-tell their stories five or six times before they even reach court. This new program provides one account for every step of the legal process.
It's a solution child care advocates say is life changing.
This is the fourth child advocacy center to open in Maine, and organizers say soon every health district in the state will have one.
Toddler found dead inside van outside Florida daycare after child neglect report, police say
by Mary Stringini
ORLANDO, Fla. - A 3-year-old boy was found dead in a van outside of a Florida daycare on Monday night, a spokesman for the Orlando Police Department said.
Around 8:30 p.m., OPD received a call about a child in a van in the lot outside of Little Miracles Academy on Plymouth Avenue. They say it was a report about child neglect.
When officers arrived at the daycare, they found a preschool-aged child unresponsive inside the vehicle. They later determined that the child was deceased, an officer said during a press conference.
Orlando Police Chief John Mina says that the child, identified as 3-year-old Miles Hill, was believed to have been inside the car since 9 a.m.
Police say that a female daycare worker, who has not been identified at this time, picked up Miles and other children from another daycare location and did not realize that Miles was still in the van when they arrived.
When Miles did not arrive at his grandmother's house Monday evening, she called 911 and the daycare center immediately.
“This is an absolute tragedy which could have been prevented,” Chief John Mina said in a press conference. "Please ensure that we are checking our checking our vehicles for our kids, it just takes a minute”
Police believe that Miles death was heat related but are awaiting the autopsy. Criminal charges will be placed against the daycare worker after the autopsy is complete. The Florida Department of Children and Families will be conducting an institutional investigation on the daycare center.
Just last month, Little Miracle's Academy was cited by the Florida Department of Children and Families for not properly logging the destination time, arrival time, destination location and departure location when children were being transported. Additionally, earlier this year the daycare was cited for not recording a signed Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Requirements form as well as for leaving 1-year-old children unattended.
'Little legs are dangling out the bag': Mom charged after her baby was rescued from the trash
by Cleve R. Wootson Jr.
At first, Karen Seals thought the sounds coming from her neighbor's garbage bag were from an animal trapped inside. Wary, she and her sister grabbed a stick and went to investigate.
“My sister came out off the porch and went to the side to the back yard of my neighbor's house with a stick, thinking it was a dog,” Seals told WENY , an Elmira, N.Y., ABC and CBS affiliate. “We thought it was a dog, honey, and it wasn't. It was a baby!”
“I ran up and I see the little legs are dangling out the bag, so I said, ‘You guys, it's a baby,' and they're looking at me like ‘It's a baby?' I said, ‘Yeah it's a baby.' So I ran up, I picked her up, I tore the bag that she was in.”
She said the baby had been pushed headfirst into the bottom of the trash bag, which had been tied and placed near the house.
The baby girl wasn't responsive. The sisters rushed her into their house.
“She wasn't breathing, so I opened her mouth … and I drop some water in there and she started gasping for air after I did that,” Seals told the news station.
“I just spoke to her: ‘Come on baby, come on baby, come on sweetness.' ”
Authorities summoned to the scene on Tuesday began to care for the baby and launched a search for whoever had placed her in the trash. Investigators told reporters the baby had likely been in the trash bag for hours.
Shortly after the baby was found, Elmira Police announced they had charged the infant's mother, 17-year-old Harriette M. Hoyt, of Sayre, Pa., with attempted second-degree murder. Sayre is about 20 miles from Elmira, just over the Pennsylvania-New York border.
An arraignment had been scheduled, and Hoyt was being held in the Chemung County jail, according to police. It was unclear if she had hired an attorney.
Her baby survived and was taken to a hospital to be treated.
She was listed in stable condition, although she had been transported to a second hospital for further evaluation. Child protective services and the Chemung County District Attorney's Office are involved in the case. Police are asking anyone with information on the crime to come forward.
No one keeps nationwide statistics for abandoned babies, although all states have some kind of safe-haven law for parents who don't believe they can properly take care of a newborn.
According to The Washington Post's Ben Guarino , in 1999, Texas governor George W. Bush signed the first safe-haven bill into law after 13 dead infants were found in trash bins in Houston.
In Texas, about 50 infants had been surrendered under the safe-haven law between 2004 and 2011, according to the Dallas Morning News . In that seven-year period, more than 1,600 children died of abuse or neglect, and more than 2,300 children of all ages were abandoned, the newspaper reported, citing state statistics.
New York's safe-haven law allows a parent to leave an unharmed newborn “with an appropriate person, or in a suitable location” if the child is not more than 30 days old.
On Tuesday, Seals told the news station that the baby she found in the trash didn't deserve what happened.
“All I wanted to do is cry for her,” she said. “I could just feel her heart, and what that little girl went through is wrong.”
On Monday night, she made a public post on Facebook: “Why would anyone do evil like that to a baby I hope she ok and just pray for her we all did right by her lil mama we love u”
Tourists who stop at crash horrified to find Mom dragging daughter's body into woods: cops
by Inside Edition
A horrifying and mysterious scene unfolded Sunday in West Virginia where tourists stumbled upon a car crash only to watch as a driver dragged a limp body into the roadside hills.
Chilled to the core, the couple--who were reportedly in town from New York to attend a bluegrass festival--said they got far more than they'd bargained for as they watched the woman drag the blanket-wrapped body into the woods.
Authorities got a call around 11:20 a.m. from the shocked tourists, which prompted West Virginia State Police to visit the scene near the Virginia border.
Police said they soon found 37-year-old Erica Newsome, along with the body, 150 feet from the road on an old logging road.
The body was that of Newsome's 11-year-old daughter, police said.
Cops have not released the cause of death but Newsome was arrested on charges of concealing the body of her daughter, Kaye-lea Plummer.
"It was obvious that the 11-year-old did not die from injuries from the accident," West Virginia State Police Sgt. Herby Barlow told the Pocahontas Times . "Her injuries were non-motor vehicle injuries."
In her Miranda statement, cops say Newsome told them she had picked her daughter up from her bed and put her in her truck on August 4.
Newsome reportedly told cops that Kaye-lea did not move, eat, drink, speak or use the restroom for two days during the drive from where they lived in Jacksonville, Florida.
Newsome was reportedly en route to where the girl's father--Newsome's estranged husband, Donath Plummer--lives in Buffalo, New York.
Speaking to Jacksonville's News 4 Jax, Plummer called his wife an excellent mother and that she must have "snapped."
Cops, meanwhile, they've not made any final determinations.
"It is still a very active investigation," Sgt. Barlow said.
Emotional response, concrete action
Rahul Bose on his initiative to combat child sexual abuse, and the need to reach out to more schools
by Sayoni Sinha
In India, speaking about sexual violence against children still remains a subject of social stigma despite widespread reporting on the atrocities towards them. To address this concern and bring in a change, Bollywood actor Rahul Bose has launched an initiative, which seeks to spread awareness on the issue through his NGO ‘Help Eradicate Abuse through Learning' (HEAL) that has been working in this field for more than a decade. “There are a few atrocities worse than child sexual abuse because it robs the child of trust. In India, more than half of our children have been sexually abused and we have the second highest rate of child sexual abuse (CSA) in the world,” says Bose.
Till recently HEAL was a part of his NGO, Foundation, that works to prevent discrimination. Talking about the need to launch this initiative, the actor reveals that three of his five close friends have been sexually abused as children. “One of them was abused by her father, another by their domestic help and one by an uncle. I have realised how rampant it is and the damage it causes. I responded to this cause emotionally,” says Bose.
HEAL would also work towards “lifting the veil of silence and shame” that plagues our society where sexual abuse is embedded in a culture of silence, shame and victim blaming. According to a 2016 National Crime Records Bureau data, out of all the CSA cases that were reported, 95% of abusers were known and trusted people to the children — either from within the family or neighbours. “People feel a strange kind of aversion to something that makes them confront the worst of the human condition.” The problem is more amplified due to the dearth of therapists equipped with a nuanced understanding of the implications of CSA who can provide the required help to the survivors and their families. “The only way CSA can be eradicated is to remove the veil of silence, be educated, be vigilant, punish perpetrators and most importantly, support survivors with ceaseless love, care and healing,” believes Bose.
Learn signs, stop abuse
Till now, HEAL has trained over 35,000 individuals across schools, colleges and communities, equipping them to identify the threats and signs of sexual abuse and teach preventive behaviour. The foundation largely works with groups of parents and teachers to debunk myths surrounding sexual abuse and help them deal with situations of CSA. “It was difficult to crack schools at first. In Bombay, we have managed because we made the administrators, school principals and teacher understand and experience the workshops. Once they are aware that this is not a scandalous and salacious workshop but a very sensitive piece of communication, they begin to trust you. You need to build that trust,” he says.
The NGO has a trained team of 34 trainers who regularly conduct awareness trainings across Mumbai. Through a qualified panel of psychologists and psychiatrists, HEAL has so far extended therapeutic support to over 60 survivors of CSA — both adults and children. “We are addressing students, parents and teachers in schools — because it acquires legitimacy then. Just going into a home and chatting about it won't help. In a school, it is a collective and a structured experience and there's a sense that it is somehow more valid than just friendly advice,” he adds.
HEAL under The Foundation was also part of lobbying for Protection Of Children against Sexual Offences act (POCSO), that was formulated in 2012 to effectively address sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children. The team was actively involved in the consultation process to draft the bill that grew into POCSO. But Bose believes that despite the act, not much has changed, as people hardly know about its existence. Given the fact that CSA often comes from people who are known and trusted by children, it calls for adults to learn how to identify, confront and prevent abusive behaviour, as well as understand the developmental challenges such behaviour may pose in front of children. “The workshops for school children are different from workshops for parents and school teachers. For children, it is more about personal safety education whereas for adult's workshop — what are the signs that a child is being abused.”
In the past, the actor has been associated with several causes; especially his unrelenting, post-tsunami efforts in the Andaman and Nicobar islands for which he was awarded the Godfrey Phillips Prize for Bravery in Social Service. With HEAL, the actor hopes to create more awareness about the social issue which affects both boys and girls. According to the pan-India national study on Child Abuse (2007) by Ministry of Women and Child Development 52.94 % were boys. “With HEAL, we would like to keep the conversation going with our presence in 20 cities. We would also like to set up a physical centre though we don't have the bandwith for a helpline right now.” For now, the focus will be on workshops, sensitization and counselling.
For more information on HEAL, see thefoundation.in
Fear of being called racist stops people reporting child sexual exploitation concerns, Labour frontbencher claims
by Jack Maidment
A fear of being called racist is stopping authorities from dealing with child abuse and sexual exploitation, a Labour frontbencher has claimed.
Sarah Champion, the shadow women and equalities minister, said that “people are more afraid to be called a racist than they are afraid to be wrong about calling out child abuse”.
Her comments came after 18 people were convicted of or admitted offences in a series of trials related to child sexual exploitation in Newcastle .
Newcastle joins a growing list of English towns and cities where sex rings have been exposed, including in Rotherham and Rochdale.
Ms Champion, who is also the MP for Rotherham, said society needed to acknoweldge that in “all of the towns where these cases have gone on the majority of the perpetrators have been British Pakistani”.
She said: “We have got now hundreds of men, Pakistani men, who have been convicted of this crime.
“Why are we not commissioning research to see what is going on and how we need to change what is going on so that it never happens again?”
Ms Champion said if such crimes were being committed by, for example, a motorbike gang “we would recognise that as an indicator and we would deal with it”.
She accused the Government of failing to address the issue and when asked why she believed action is not being taken she said: “I genuinely think it is because of people are more afraid to be called a racist than they are afraid to be wrong about calling out child abuse.
“I know in Rotherham I have met frontline social workers who when, we are talking 10 years ago now, when they were trying to report this crime were sent on race relations courses, they weren told they were going to have disciplinary action if they didn't remove the fact that they were identifying the person as a Pakistani male.
“This is still going on in our towns now, I know it is still going on, but we are still not addressing it.”
Ms Champion said that every time she spoke about the issue “the level of Islamophobia increases” and that she would be attacked for her comments.
She said: “Absolutely and from both sides, the far right will attack me for not doing enough, the floppy left will have a go at me for being a racist.
“But this isn't racist, this is child protection and we need to be grown up about this and deal with it.”
About | Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse
Set up:7 July 2014 by then-Home Secretary Theresa May
Duration:Up to six years - possibly longer
Led by:Professor Alexis Jay – a former social worker who helped expose the Rotherham abuse scandal. She is the fourth head of the inquiry
Remit:To investigate whether institutions and organisations have taken seriously their duty of care to protect children from sexual abuse in England and Wales. These include:
the Crown Prosecution Service
the Immigration Service
the armed forces
churches, mosques and other religious organisations
charities and voluntary organisations
“I am committed to ensuring this Inquiry does everything it has set out to do and does so with pace, with confidence and with clarity.”
- Professor Alexis Jay
We all play a role in preventing child sex abuse
by Kristen Rector, Sue Fort White, Tim Tohill, June Turner and Michael McSurdy
The news out of the Nashville area once again includes a story about a series of alleged sexual assaults on a sixth grade boy — this time occurring in a middle school locker room.
The alleged perpetrators were 14-year-old, eighth grade boys.
A civil suit brought against the school and several of its staff alleges, among many things, that adults who were made aware of the allegations at the time did not report them to criminal justice or child welfare authorities.
Preventing child sexual abuse is an adult task. One important step in preventing child sexual abuse is to immediately forward any and all allegations to the authorities for investigation.
Reporting helps prevent child sexual abuse, it protects both children and institutions, and it allows those trained to investigate crimes to do their jobs.
Reporting is also state law in Tennessee where all adults, 18 and older, are "mandated" to report all disclosures, discoveries and/or suspicion about sexual abuse of a child or teen to law enforcement and/or child welfare authorities.
Very specifically Tennessee law says that if you are 18 years or older and you know of or suspect child sexual abuse, you are the mandated reporter — regardless of your position of authority, or lack of it, in any family, community, organization or institution.
Child sexual abuse is a public health problem in the US. It can be extinguished, like polio or drastically reduced, like vehicular fatalities, by communities of adults empowered with knowledge and committed to changing their behavior.
All of us have a role to play in the healthy development of children and teens, and that includes the prevention of sexual abuse. We all can be partners in prevention, and we encourage everyone to:
Spend time talking to your child whenever they spend alone time with an older teen or an adult. It's important that your child never be convinced to keep a secret from you.
Learn more about the child sexual abuse prevention plans and policies in place at the institutions you and your children frequent, such as schools, churches or athletic teams. If no policies are in place, encourage those in charge to develop them, and contact members of our coalition for assistance.
Find out more about child sexual abuse prevention programs, like Stewards of Children. The two-hour, evidence informed training offered by Nashville's Child Protection Coalition teaches adults how to prevent abuse, how to recognize the signs of abuse, and how to react responsibly when they suspect it or know about it.
Learn how you can be an active participant in child sexual abuse prevention, and volunteer for organizations who provide prevention programs.
But the most important thing any adult can do is to be a voice for the prevention of child sexual abuse.
You can make a difference by holding other adults, organizations and institutions accountable, being a vocal advocate for victims and survivors, and encouraging dialogues about abuse prevention anywhere children and teens are gathered for any reason-be it a family reunion, a daycare center, a classroom, a place of worship, a Little League team or a summer camp.
We all have a role to play in protecting children and teens from sexual abuse.
To report known or suspected child sexual abuse in Tennessee call 877-237-0004.
The Nashville Child Protection Coalition is a collaboration of Family and Children's Services, Nashville Children's Alliance, Our Kids, Prevent Child Abuse Tennessee, Sexual Assault Center, and the Tennessee Children's Advocacy Centers.
For more information regarding the Stewards of Children child sexual abuse prevention training or to schedule a training contact Cary Rayson at 615-383-0994 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lawsuit: Brentwood Academy officials refused to report repeated rapes of 12-year-old boy
by Elaina Sauber and Dave Boucher
A prestigious Williamson County private school is accused of allowing teenage boys to repeatedly sexually assault a 12-year-old boy, then downplaying the attacks and refusing to report them to authorities, according to a lawsuit seeking at least $30 million.
The lawsuit, filed Friday in Williamson County Circuit Court by a Nashville parent and her son, accuses four eighth-grade students at Brentwood Academy of repeatedly raping and sexually assaulting the sixth-grade student during the 2014-15 academic year.
Brentwood Academy Headmaster Curtis G. Masters is accused of telling the 12-year-old boy to "turn the other cheek" and "everything in God's kingdom happens for a reason."
When school administrators were approached by the boy's mother about the attacks, the lawsuit states that the boy's private counselor, a former Brentwood Academy employee, shied away from reporting the abuse to authorities, saying "this isn't how Christian institutions handle these things."
In addition to Masters, middle school director Nancy Brasher, administrator and middle school athletic director Buddy Alexander, assistant basketball coach Lyle Husband and sixth-grade basketball coach Mike Vazquez, who is also Masters' son-in-law, are named as individual defendants in the suit.
Masters responded to a request for comment with an emailed statement that said:
"Our highest priority is the safety and protection of our students. We take any allegation involving our students very seriously. We responded immediately and fully cooperated with authorities when we became aware of concerns in 2015. We are obligated to maintain confidentiality in any legal matter. Out of respect for all parties involved, and based on the advice of our legal counsel, we are unable to discuss details at this time."
Plaintiff's attorney Roland Mumford said the lawsuit shows a sad situation that could have been prevented.
"These allegations are still under investigation by the Brentwood Police Department and the District Attorney's office," Mumford said in a statement.
"We hope this will help protect children in private school where Title IX does not apply and citizens will become more aware of Tennessee's Mandatory Report Statute that requires everyone to report child abuse."
Mumford said his clients are seeking $30 million in total damages and demanding a jury trial. The lawsuit appears to request $60 million in total damages — $15 million in compensatory and punitive damages for both John and Jane Doe — but Mumford clarified late Wednesday total damages sought is $30 million.
The assaults at the academy are described in graphic detail in the lawsuit.
On five separate dates during the 2014-15 school year, four eighth-grade male students at Brentwood Academy sexually assaulted John Doe, a sixth-grader, the lawsuit states.
The first incident occurred at an after-school football game party, the lawsuit says. Students at the party restrained John Doe, placing their buttocks on his face and their scrotums on or in his mouth, the lawsuit says.
On four other dates, four male students and others “conspired to engage in male on male sexual harassment, sexual assault and/or rape upon John Doe in the locker room not supervised by an adult," according to the suit.
In January and February of 2015, one of the boys would call out the 12-year-old boy's name in the locker room before the attacks, the lawsuit states. The lawsuit says there were additional males in the locker room witnessing the event. On each date, two of the boys held closed the doors to the male locker room, preventing anyone from entering or leaving.
One of the boys proceeded to rape John Doe, the lawsuit says.
“(The boy) would place his penis before John Doe and forcibly penetrated it into the mouth of Plaintiff John Doe without consenting claiming 'eat it, eat it, eat it, open your mouth, accept it,' ” the lawsuit says.
The same boy would also place his penis into the buttocks of John Doe, the lawsuit says. The same boy reportedly "exclaimed about this sexual assault and that he ejaculated on plaintiff John Doe," the lawsuit states.
The same boy reportedly told others around the basketball team that he "f---ed that boy up the ass and stuck a Gatorade bottle in him."
The boys referenced as attackers in the suit were known as bullies, according to the lawsuit. The same boy accused of carrying out the rapes also reportedly defecated in another student's shoe, according to the lawsuit.
Multiple students reportedly told their parents of the alleged abuse. In April 2015, the mother of a sixth-grade student told John Doe's mother about the assaults, the lawsuit states.
Failing to report the abuse
After John Doe's mother, listed as Jane Doe in the suit, learned of the assaults, she approached counselor Chris Roberts, an employee of Christian counseling ministry Daystar Counseling. Roberts is accused of not reporting the assault accusations to authorities, later telling Jane Doe reporting is not how "Christian institutions handle these things." Roberts is a former Brentwood Academy employee, the lawsuit says.
Jane Doe took her son to a pediatrician, who stated "if Daystar Counseling failed to contact Department of Children Services immediately then he would do so," the lawsuit states.
Tennessee law requires counselors and school officials report suspected child abuse or neglect.
On or about April 19, 2015, Brasher, who is a board member of Daystar Counseling, called Jane Doe after discussing the allegations with Masters and Alexander.
Brasher allegedly accused John Doe of being at fault for not reporting the attacks, and that it could not be true “because the four students had been removed from the locker room in January 2015,” the lawsuit says.
On April 20, during a meeting with Jane Doe, John Doe's father, Brasher and Masters, Masters said he considered the allegations to be “boys being boys and he could not investigate each of those and run a school,” the lawsuit says.
At some point after that meeting, Masters said the boy who reportedly raped John Doe admitted to him that some of the allegations were true, according to the lawsuit. Masters said two students were “separated from the BA community,” according to the lawsuit.
Masters told John Doe to “turn the other cheek” and that one of the students would receive an in-school suspension, the lawsuit states.
Masters also told John Doe he could change clothes for gym in Masters' office until cameras were placed in the locker room, the lawsuit says.
John Doe and his mother accuse the school and its leaders of failing to stop the attacks even after having knowledge of the "hostile and/or unsafe educational environment."
The negligence of Brentwood Academy employees led to the attacks on John Doe, the lawsuit states. The attacks "inflicted anxiety, stress, depression, emotional harm, post-traumatic stress disorder, physical harm" and other damage upon John Doe, the lawsuit states.
The lawsuit bears similarity to a federal suit filed by two former freshman basketball players at Ooltewah High School in Chattanooga.
The lawsuit alleges that the Hamilton County school system and administrators ignored signs of abuse and allowed a culture of bullying and sexual assault to fester at the school.
Three former Ooltewah basketball players were found guilty in the 2015 pool-cue rape of a 15-year-old teammate. The victim sustained internal injuries that required emergency surgery. Three other players also were assaulted with a pool cue by teammates.
Brentwood Academy fast facts
Grades served: 6-12
Number of students: 780, as of 2015-16
Student to teacher ratio: 10 to 1
Annual tuition: $24,690, for 2017-18
When to report suspected child sex abuse
by Anita Wadhwani
In light of a lawsuit alleging Brentwood Academy officials failed to act appropriately in an alleged child rape case, here is an overview of state child abuse reporting requirements.
When a child is allegedly sexually assaulted, or abused and neglected, state law mandates that it be reported immediately to authorities. Here is what you should know about the law:
Who is a mandatory reporter in Tennessee?
Any person with "reasonable cause" to believe a child is being abused or neglected must immediately report it to the Department of Children's Services or local law enforcement, according to state law.
Reasonable cause can include hearing about child abuse from someone else, such as a child telling a parent what he or she has heard at school, said Jill Howlett, a social worker at Our Kids, a pediatric clinic affiliated with Nashville General Hospital that interviews children who are suspected victims of sexual assault.
“If you're a parent who knows or suspects child abuse may have occurred, you become a mandatory child abuse reporter,” she said.
“People get scared to call authorities because they don't think it's their business. But if there's child abuse involved, it's everybody's business.”
Reporters may remain anonymous.
Reporters who report and act "in good faith" are immune from any civil or criminal charges.
Are there penalties for not reporting?
Failing to report abuse is a Class A misdemeanor carrying a sentence of up to three months in jail.
What should schools do to prevent and monitor abuse?
All schools, churches and other institutions where children are present should have clear policies in place and training for staff to prevent circumstances in which abuse could occur, Howlett said.
“Having policies and making sure that kids and parents know what those polices are, are definitely what schools and camps should be doing,” Howlett said. “Those policies should include never allowing an adult to be alone with a child or to have multiple children alone without supervision.”
Schools should not investigate sexual assaults internally, she said.
“It's always best to rely on trained professionals to question children and to make that determination.”
Is it different when kids are suspected of abusing other kids?
"I think sometimes it's perceived as less serious when it's juveniles who are the accused offenders,” Howlett said.
“When a child is forced to do anything with their body that they're not OK with, that's when boundaries have been crossed, and to dismiss it as some sort of child's play is not appropriate. They should all be investigated seriously and by proper authorities before assumptions are made.”
How to report child abuse or neglect:
Call DCS: 877-237-0004
Report online: https://apps.tn.gov/carat/
New law on child abuse reporting
by the News-Dispatch
As another school year begins, a whole new set of “eyes” is on children. Oftentimes, teachers spend more time with our children from Monday through Friday than we get to as parents. As skillful observers, they have witness to a side of our children that we don't get to see. The classroom, playground and lunchroom can bring out interesting conversations and behaviors amongst children when they're with their peers.
At the same time, a child's problems from outside the classroom are likely at some point to surface at school. A teacher may notice a straight “A” student regressing to failing grades, frequently arriving late or unprepared for school, wearing dirty clothing or clothing that is not suitable for the weather or struggling to concentrate due to daily fatigue or hunger. Any of these may have a reasonable explanation — maybe the dog really did eat the homework or the hot mac and cheese really did accidentally scald the arm. Most of us entered adulthood still proudly bearing the battle wounds of a well-played, mischievous and adventurous childhood.
But, what if something more than what meets the eye is going on at home or the neighborhood? A scar happens on knees, but is it common to have one black eye after another? Or to be dressed for a sultry summer day when the snow is falling? Or to be falling asleep at the desk?
When a teacher's concerns rise beyond suspecting a student's momentary lapse in forgetting the homework assignment or a parent's momentary lapse in funding the lunch account, he or she can be lifesaving in protecting the child. Yes, lifesaving because it may be the first effort anyone has ever made to get help for a stressed family. To help teachers be responsive to suspicions of a child being abused or neglected, State Sen. Mark Messmer, R-Jasper, co-authored a bill which became law on July 1. It can be found at Indiana Code 31-33-5-2.
Indiana State Teachers Association legal counsel Eric Hylton explained that the new law now requires the school employee to immediately report suspected child abuse or neglect to the Department of Child Services or to a local law enforcement agency, and then notify the principal or the principal's designee that a report has been made. Mr. Hylton stresses that DCS or law enforcement is contacted before notifying the principal or principal's designee.
The change emphasizes that “all of us have firsthand responsibilities to protect kids,” said Teresa Meredith, president of the Indiana State Teachers Association. She added that it's better to “err on the side of caution” and report rather than “find out later that something horrible happened.”
In La Porte County, 203 cases of child abuse and neglect have been substantiated year-to-date through July. That number is 12 percent higher than where the county was last year at this time.
In Indiana, any individual who has a reason to believe a child is a victim of abuse or neglect has the duty to make a report; therefore, each citizen of Indiana is considered a “mandated reporter.”
DCS offers these tips when contacting the Hotline (retrieved from https://www.in.gov/dcs/2971.htm):
Intake Specialists will ask you for information about the parties involved (victim, parent(s)/guardian(s), perpetrator) and the specific allegations giving rise to the call. Information you will be asked to provide may include:
1. Child Information: Name, age, address, current location, person caring for child, and need/receiving medical treatment.
2. Parent/Guardian Information: Name, address, phone number as well as any domestic violence, substance abuse, criminal history, mental health issues, or past CPS history.
3. Alleged Perpetrator Information: Name, address, phone number, relation to the child, behavioral issues, and other children who may be at risk
4. Physical abuse, sexual abuse, or neglect allegations: What happened, when, where, timeframe, and specific conditions.
DCS urges that even if you are unable to provide all of the information above, to contact the Hotline to make a report if you suspect a child is a victim of abuse or neglect. An Intake Specialist will review the information you are able to provide to determine whether it meets the statutory requirements for DCS to initiate an assessment. Please do not wait for someone else to make the call – your call may be the critical first step in protecting a child.
The toll-free Hotline number in Indiana is 800-800-5556. Keep in mind that a call is confidential and can be made anonymously. Also, a call made in good faith cannot be prosecuted.
Your call can save a life.
Charles County superintendent promises more training for staff on child sex abuse
by Jamie Anfenson-Comeau
Charles County Public Schools will train every employee regarding child sexual abuse through the Stewards of Children program, Superintendent Kimberly Hill said during her first school board address of the 2017-18 school year.
Hill addressed the impact of the charges against Carlos Bell, 30, of Waldorf, a former track coach and instructional assistant at Benjamin Stoddert Middle School who was recently charged with 119 counts related to the sexual abuse of children and possible HIV transmission. Authorities allege Bell victimized at least 24 children over the course of two years.
Bell came to the attention of authorities when a parent at La Plata High School, where he coached track, reported an inappropriate text message, but charges did not come until June when graphic images of Bell committing sexual abuse were allegedly found on his electronic devices which had been sent to the state crime lab.
Bell was reassigned to the central office pending investigation and told not to have contact with students. Bell was terminated after failing to show up to work at his new assignment.
“We are cooperating fully, as we have since December, with the officers investigating this heinous crime,” Hill said.
Hill also announced that she and Stoddert's interim principal, Marvin Jones, will attend the second parent information night at the school on Aug. 16.
The first meeting was held on July 28 under then-principal Kenneth Schroek, and Hill did not attend. The first meeting was held in the format of small, facilitator-led focus groups, where parents were asked how they felt and how the school's relationship with parents could be improved. The meeting became chaotic, with some parents storming out.
Schroek was removed from his position and transferred to the Office of Supporting Services three days later following the announcement of the 119-count indictment.
Hill said the format for the second meeting has been changed in response to parents' comments.
Hill said the nonprofit Center for Children will be providing sexual abuse prevention training for administrators during the school system's Leadership Institute next week.
Over the following month, every employee will be trained through the Stewards of Children program, a training system designed to teach adults how to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to child sexual abuse using real people and real stories, according to the website for Darkness to Light, a Charleston, S.C.-based nonprofit aimed at ending child sexual abuse.
Similar trainings and presentations will be offered for parents during the fall and winter through parent-teacher organization meetings, Hill said.
Kenneth Savoid, a school crossing guard at Benjamin Stoddert, was the sole speaker during the public comments phase of Tuesday's meeting and addressed the revelations of child sexual abuse at the school.
“I have to say, that I am appalled that this is going on here in Charles County,” said Savoid, a retired officer of the Prince George's County Police Department and White Plains resident. “This is a problem that has resurfaced and gone on too long.”
Savoid addressed recent reports of child abuse in Prince George's County Public Schools as well, saying, “I solemnly suggest that both you and Prince George's County get it together and trade ideas.”
At least 35 children die at Indian hospital after oxygen is cut off, parents say
by the Associated Press
LUCKNOW, India (AP) — Parents of at least 35 children who have died in a state-run hospital in northern India over the past three days have alleged that the fatalities were due to the lack of a sufficient oxygen supply in the children's ward.
District Magistrate Rajiv Rautela said Saturday that the deaths of the children being treated for different ailments at the Baba Raghav Das Medical College Hospital in Gorakhpur city in Uttar Pradesh state were due to natural causes. He denied that an insufficient oxygen supply led to their deaths.
Parents said that the oxygen supply to the ward ran out Thursday night and that patients' families were given self-inflating bags to help the children breathe.
"That's the time when the death of the children peaked," said Mritunjaya Singh, whose 7-month-old son was admitted to the hospital and was not among the dead.
The Uttar Pradesh government has ordered an investigation.
Prashant Trivedi, the state's top health official, acknowledged that there was a problem in the pipeline supplying oxygen.
"But the situation was managed through oxygen cylinders," Trivedi said. "The hospital administration has enough supply of cylinders in its stock. So the report about death of children because of oxygen issue is false."
The parents said the company that supplies oxygen to the hospital had earlier threatened to stop the distribution of oxygen unless the government paid its long-overdue bills.
Rautela said that the hospital owed 6.8 million rupees ($106,000) to the company, but added that it had adequate numbers of oxygen cylinders.
Parmatma Gautam, whose 1-month-old nephew, Roshan, died when the oxygen supply stopped, said the hospital authorities and the district administration were trying to cover up their failure to pay the bills on time.
"We saw our baby struggling to breathe and we couldn't do anything," Gautam said as tears flowed down his weather-beaten cheek.
The family had rushed the newborn to the hospital from neighboring Siddharthnagar district on Aug. 9 because he had a high fever.
"We are now going back with his body," Gautam sobbed.
The federal health ministry sent a team of specialists to the hospital Saturday to verify what caused the deaths at the facility, which provides health care to a vast swath of Uttar Pradesh and neighboring Bihar state.
Meanwhile, opposition leaders took to social media to blame Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party, which rules the state, for its neglect and indifference to people's health.
Opposition Congress Party Vice President Rahul Gandhi tweeted: "Deeply pained. My thoughts are with the families of the victims. BJP govt. is responsible & should punish the negligent who caused this tragedy."
Some of the children had been treated for encephalitis, a disease that preys on the young and malnourished and is rampant in the state during the monsoon season, which runs from June till September.
The hospital, which has become a major center for children with encephalitis, has treated nearly 370 cases in the last two months. Of these, 129 children died, said Satish Chandra, a hospital spokesman.
Health activists said successive governments had ignored the threat posed by encephalitis as it was a disease that affected poor, malnourished children.
"Encephalitis has a mortality rate as high as 30 percent. The government needs to tackle it with a rigorous campaign," said R. N. Singh, a medical doctor who has been leading the fight against the disease in Gorakhpur district. "Commonly, this disease affects the voiceless poor, so it has not got the attention it warrants," Singh said.
Gorakhpur is located 300 kilometers (185 miles) southeast of the state capital, Lucknow.
Who is enabling heinous crimes against children?
by Fr. Shay Cullen
How could a child, aged eight, seriously sexually abuse a three-year old if he did not see such lewd acts being performed? Well, that is what happened in a town south of Cebu and it seems that the eight-year old boy had been allowed to surf the internet in a computer shop in an arcade and was able to view child or adult pornography. He is just one of many, according to a social worker. The adults running the internet shop in the arcade and in malls have to be held responsible. It is illegal and morally wrong to allow children access to the internet on computers that have no filters and no pornography blocking software. The Anti-Child Pornography Act of 2009, otherwise known as RA 9775, mandates this.
It is clear that the anti-child pornography and child protection laws are not known, respected or being enforced in the Philippines. In most countries, it is a serious crime for anybody to access, possess or share illegal images of children. Philippine inspectors may be corrupt and getting paid off by the internet shop managers. For sure, the Internet service providers (ISPs), the telecommunications companies that provide internet access, are not implementing the law. The officials of the National Telecommunications Commission are allegedly not doing their job enforcing the law. Are they in cahoots with the ISP corporations? The commissioner is supposed to report directly to the President. Now that there will be free public Internet access, who will control child pornography?
Children and young people are damaged by pornography, in fact driving an eight-year old to abuse a three-year old (www.preda.org). Their positive understanding of a female as a person to be respected and untouched is, after exposure to pornography, damaged. They see the female as an object to be abused for personal satisfaction. Pornography is destroying the personality, human development and the future of those children where they can have normal relationships when they grow older. Above all, there is the life-long trauma suffered by the victim-survivors.
This is a serious social and psychological problem and it is widespread and growing around the world wherever there is internet. It is driving the increase in rape and incest. It is a grave threat to the well being of children and youth. There is little government or NGO response to combat it. The sexual abuse of children is directly connected to the availability of child porn on the internet. But also, the bad example of adults sexually abusing children in the home is worst of all. The perverted acts are surely known to the younger children in families. The young boys will get the idea that it is an acceptable behavior because the adult male does it and rarely is the crime reported. Frequently, the mother or relatives do not intervene or report the abuse. But it is widespread and frequent and one in three girls are victims of sexual abuse and one in six boys.
According to one report in UCAN, “children make up 77 percent of rape survivors in the Philippines, a predominantly Catholic country, and the crime occurs at a rate of two every minute. Midyear 2015 data released by the national police showed rape cases surging 63.5 percent to 8,288 from 5,069 recorded in the first six months of 2014.” It is estimated that the reported cases will double by 2017.
Many young people are addicted to watching pornography on the internet and also violent computer war games and assassinations where women are abused. The exposure to such violence desensitize the children and youth to the fact that they are practicing crimes online and it makes it all too easy for them to be violent in real life and to condone and approve violent solutions for every problem. This leads to violence in the home and even sexual violence if the games are sexually orientated. Perhaps that is why so many Filipinos approve the human trafficking into the sex industry and the killing of suspects in the President's war-on-drugs. It has official approval and in a hierarchical society like the Philippines, people unthinkingly follow the leader whoever he may be.
The internet is the greatest communication tool ever invented but this technology is both a blessing and a curse by misuse. The greatest sinners besides the immoral and unscrupulous internet shops are the ISPs that enable anybody easy, uncontrolled internet surfing, even by children, especially when the law says there must be blocking software to stop child pornography.
If you search the websites of the major ISPs, you will find it hard to see any reference to an anti-child pornography policy or a statement saying they comply with the law RA 7995. The law orders the ISPs to install blocking software and filters on their servers but apparently they don't. The spread of child pornography and growth of cybersex crime can be laid at their door. They have a case to answer.
When the heinous crimes of children being sexually abused online by live streaming for money are sent through the ISPs, we ask who are the real enablers of child abuse,? Who are the real criminals?
Texas doctor seeks to stop child sex abuse before it can happen
by Jamie Stengle
A Texas doctor is hoping to stop child abuse and neglect before it can happen by adapting a predictive modeling system that's been successful in reducing violent crime.
Pediatric anesthesiologist Dyann Daley started a nonprofit this summer to help communities create maps that can zero in on areas as small as a few blocks where such maltreatment is likeliest to happen.
The hope is that it will help head off instances of abuse and that it can help advocacy groups better focus their limited resources on where they'll be most effective.
Unlike the common hot spot mapping approach, which identifies high-frequency areas of child abuse based on past cases, Daley's risk terrain modeling approach identifies other risk factors that indicate an area is fertile ground for abuse.
The sad, dark truth about Bali orphanages where helping kids is a mask for paedophilia and abuse
by Cindy Wockner and Komang Erviani
FOREIGNERS and locals are setting up orphanages in Bali under the guise of helping local children but allowing a more sinister activity to occur in the form of paedophilia and sexual abuse by staff members.
Former Victorian police officer Glen Hulley, who runs Project Karma, a body aimed at saving children in South East Asia from sexual predators, says orphanages, some of which are illegitimate, are becoming a problem and a crackdown is needed.
Mr Hulley is currently in Bali setting up a pilot project to combat child sexual abuse on the holiday island. The teams include investigators who track down paedophiles and evidence and then hand it to police to make arrests.
Mr Hulley told News Corporation that his organisation is currently running five investigations of child sexual abuse in Bali, at least one of which involves Australians. He expects raids and arrests within the next few months.
This includes two investigations where staff at orphanages are believed to be sexually abusing children in their care.
Regarding the five investigations, Mr Hulley said he could “only disclose at this stage that they involve both foreigners and locals, mainly in remote regions of Bali”.
Project Karma was instrumental last year in having 70-year-old Australian man, Robert Ellis, arrested and prosecuted for sexually abusing 11 girls aged under 18 years. He was sentenced to 15 years in jail for his crimes, saying he had paid the girls well for what he did to them.
Poorer villages, in remote areas of Bali, which are far away from the tourist strip, are particularly prone to child sexual abuse, especially as the money offered to children by paedophiles is a small fortune and is often condoned by their parents.
It is this which Mr Hulley's group wants to target, educating local village leaders and village security, about the dangers of abuse and how to identify those responsible and bring them to justice.
Under a pilot project to combat child sexual abuse, which Project Karma is setting up in Bali at present, it is hoped to reach 120,000 people in the next six months.
Mr Hulley has begun a series of community awareness seminars this week in Bali, talking to local security, village leaders, civil police, business owners and university students.
The plan is then to train community investigators, with the help of police, and to set up community awareness groups to deliver seminars in villages and schools.
The investigators would gather evidence and work closely with local police to arrest offenders, Mr Hulley said.
Ni Luh Gede Yastini is the legal and policy division head of the Bali Child Protection Commission. She says there should be better supervision of foreigners living in Bali by local police. And she called on the local community to play a more active role.
“The community should be more active and watchful. Whenever foreigners often go out with children, they should be monitored. People should be more vigilant,” Ms Yastini said.
“Paedophiles are different to other common sexual abuse cases. They groom and approach the family of the victim for a long time before doing their acts. Before they get the children they will approach the parents, give them gifts, appear kind so they can take the children”
Ms Yastini said part of the problem was due to the fact that many people do not fully understand the term paedophile and often think that touching the children is okay.
She said there was also a big problem in Bali where many children become pregnant to their grandfather, especially in remote villages, where the child is too afraid to speak up.
Insure our children to ensure our future
by Sheriff Phil Povero
Serving for over four decades at the Ontario County Sheriff's Office has given me a unique perspective and insight into our community. Sadly, one recurring theme I've seen has been the negative, long-lasting effects that untreated emotional and mental problems can have on a young person's life.
These problems can create negative cycles that persist into adulthood. The cycles often include violence or other criminal activity, potentially harming both the individual and the community.
Thankfully, we have some tools at our disposal to help break those cycles — tools that sometimes come in an unexpected form.
The Children's Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, provides health care to nearly 9 million American children, which is about one out of every 10 kids in the U.S. In 2016 alone, New York's CHIP program, called Child Health Plus, helped over 680,000 children in our state.
Here in Ontario County, 2,280 children rely on CHIP for much-needed health care. That's about one in 10 children in our county. CHIP is a difference-maker for local families.
Beyond the sheer scope of how many families CHIP helps, it's important to note that the program reaches many families in need. New York CHIP covers children between 150 percent and 400 percent of the poverty level. That's an annual income of $36,900 to $98,000 for a family of four. And because it's on a sliding scale, low-income families have the most affordable premiums.
It will come as no surprise that there are significant health benefits associated with the program, but why am I discussing CHIP in connection with crime prevention and reduction? Simple. There's an important connection between CHIP and improving public safety.
Specifically, CHIP connects youth with proven mental health therapies that reduce drug abuse and crime. These therapies include functional family therapy, or FFT. Rigorous studies have shown that, among previously incarcerated youth, FFT cut rearrests in half. That reduction in recidivism helps end negative cycles of criminal activity.
Those are impressive results, but the good news about CHIP doesn't end there. If kids have a serious emotional disturbance — which basically just means a severe, diagnosable mental or behavioral disorder that persists over a long period of time — they can get comprehensive services through CHIP, including case management, crisis intervention and therapy.
Those services can make a major difference for young people in this situation, as shown in research highlighted by the national anti-crime group Fight Crime: Invest in Kids. One study of youth with a serious emotional disturbance found that almost half had involvement with the justice system, while another study found that these kids were roughly 13 times more likely to be arrested than children who didn't suffer from a serious emotional disorder. The services provided by CHIP can help fight those results and help these children live normal, crime-free lives.
CHIP also helps keep kids safe by enabling parents to access important information at the pediatrician's office that can prevent child injury and mortality. In fact, one study found that greater access to CHIP contributed to a 4 percent decline in child mortality rates from external causes, such as unintentional injury.
Unfortunately, CHIP funding is set to expire in a few short weeks.
New York receives more than $1.2 billion in federal funding for CHIP. Currently, our state gets $1.80 from the federal government per every state dollar invested. Losing the federal portion of the funding would have a devastating impact on the families who access its services, and that loss would damage public safety in the long run.
It's imperative that we work together to make sure that CHIP gets reauthorized by Congress before the Sept. 30 deadline.
It's important to Ontario County, to communities throughout New York and to communities across the U.S. for us to ensure that this popular, effective and bipartisan program continues to improve the lives of American families and break negative cycles that threaten not only the well-being of individuals but public safety as well.
Phil Povero is the sheriff of Ontario County and the New York state co-chairman of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids.
Sex trafficking in Brown Co. and how to recognize the signs
by Gabrielle Mays
BROWN COUNTY (WLUK) -- After a recent sex buying sting by the Brown County Sheriff's Office, FOX 11's taking a closer look at sex trafficking and the signs to look for.
The Sexual Assault Center of Family Services of Brown County, defines sex trafficking as "a modern-day form of slavery. It is a form of human trafficking in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion. Sex traffickers use violence, threats, lies, debt bondage, and other forms of coercion to compel adults and children to engage in commercial sex acts against their will."
Eye Heart World, an aftercare resource for trafficking victims, says since it started in November 2015, it's helped 55 females and one male victim. All of Eye Heart World referrals are Brown County based.
"We will go in and meet with them and talk with them about what kind of things they have going on that keep them in the life and talk with them about what resources they need to get out of the life," said Dawn Sprang with Eye Heart World.
While the Brown County Sheriff's Office's most recent sting was on sex buyers, Chief Deputy Todd Delain says the department also focuses on victims.
"We have operations that are dealing with human trafficking on a regular basis," he said.
Sgt. Matt Wilson is a human trafficking, evidence tech and on the Wisconsin Human Trafficking Task Force. On Thursday, he gave more details on sex trafficking in Brown County.
"I think it's just the same it has been in the last couple of years. Unfortunately, now that we're focusing on it, I think we're seeing more volume... just in the sense of now that we have somebody focused on it, we're seeing that it's here, more than what we thought it was," said Wilson.
"Traffickers are looking for someone that is incredibly vulnerable," said Shelby Mitchell, victim advocate for Sexual Assault Center of Family Services.
Family Services says from April to June of this year, 37 females and 3 males have been trafficked or exploited in some form in Brown County.
"Traffickers are very meticulous about who they pick and they do everything with a reason behind it," Mitchell said.
The sheriff's office says a lot of sex trafficking victims come from Chicago and Milwaukee.
"However, we do have our victims that are homegrown here and in Brown County and post on the internet and post in magazines every single day," Wilson said.
He also gave more background on some sex trafficking victims.
"Either they're drug dependent, or their dependent on their 'boyfriend' that their either relying on to give them clothes, food, housing," he said.
The sheriff's office says some of the warning signs of sex trafficking victims include, unexplained absences for school, talks about wild parties and sexual behavior, displays of expensive clothing and accessories that wouldn't be normal for that particular individual, less appropriate attire than in the past, and significantly older boyfriends or girlfriends.
"If they appear withdrawn or depressed, or just seem to be distracted. It also includes signs of abuse such as burn marks, cuts bruises, or new tattoos which might be signs of branding," Delain said.
If you or someone you know is a trafficking victim, call your local police department or sheriff's office. The Green Bay Police Department's number is (920) 448-3200. The Brown County Sheriff's Office is (920) 448-4200.
Portman: Ensuring justice for victims of online sex trafficking
by the Lancaster Eagle Gazette
It's hard to believe, but children in Ohio — and across America — are increasingly being exploited and sold for sex on the internet.
The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children reported an 846 percent increase in reports of suspected child sex trafficking from 2010 to 2015. They found this dramatic spike to be “directly correlated to the increased use of the internet to sell children for sex.” Sex trafficking victims in Ohio have told me “This has moved from the street-corner to the smartphone.”
I recently visited a residential therapy center in Ohio for girls ages 13 to 18. Around 60 to 80 percent of them, I am told, were victims of sex trafficking. I had the opportunity to visit with some of these girls and their counselors, and I heard heartbreaking stories. One website kept coming up, as it so often does: Backpage.com.
You might not have heard about this website before, but it's a big business — operating in nearly 100 countries and worth more than half a billion dollars. And it's the commercial leader in online sex trafficking. According to one industry analysis, eight out of every ten dollars spent on online commercial sex advertising in the U.S. goes to Backpage.
In January, after an 18-month investigation by the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, which I chair, we released a report which found that Backpage had been facilitating criminal sex trafficking for years. And they covered up these crimes in order to increase their profits.
Despite this, courts have consistently ruled in Backpage's favor when victims or prosecutors have brought charges against the company. The courts cite a 1996 law called the Communications Decency Act that provides immunity for third-party websites, like Backpage, from criminal activity on their site. In one ruling, the First Circuit Court of Appeals recognized the immoral nature of these actions but defended their legality because of this immunity. The court opinion welcomed the congressional action, stating, “The remedy is through legislation, not litigation.”
I believe the Communications Decency Act is a well-intentioned law that has an important purpose. But the law should not protect those who knowingly facilitate illegal sex trafficking. That's why this week I introduced the bipartisan Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act — with more than two dozen of my colleagues in the Senate — to ensure websites that knowingly facilitate sex trafficking can be held liable and that victims can get justice.
This bill simply clarifies Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act — the clause that courts credit to giving third-party providers blanket immunity from crimes committed through their websites. The Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act will put in place three narrowly-crafted and common-sense reforms.
First, this bill will allow victims of online sex trafficking to seek justice against websites that knowingly facilitate crimes against them.
Second, it helps law enforcement by allowing the prosecution of websites that knowingly assist, support, or facilitate a violation of already existing federal sex trafficking laws.
And finally, it will enable state law enforcement, not just the Department of Justice, to take legal action against businesses that violate sex trafficking laws.
This narrowly-crafted bill will preserve liability protections for good actors that proactively screen and block offensive material, but it will hold accountable bad actors like Backpage who currently have immunity — even though they are knowingly selling women and children for sex online.
The Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act is the legislation our courts have been calling for, our state attorneys general have been calling for, and most importantly, what victims and their families have been calling for. Congress has the opportunity to help girls and women in Ohio — and across the country — who have had their most basic human rights stripped from them.
We can never undo the trauma sex trafficking victims have been forced to endure. What we can do, and what this bill will do, is fix the flaw in the justice system that allows people who are complicit in this evil crime to profit from human misery and suffering.
Sen. Rob Portman, a Cincinnati-area Republican, is Ohio's junior senator. Visit portman.senate.gov to contact him.