National Association of Adult Survivors of Child Abuse

child abuse trauma prevention, intervention & recovery

"News of the Week"
EDITOR'S NOTE: Every day we bring you news articles, opinion pieces, crime stories and official information from government web sites. These are highlights, and constitute the tip of the iceberg .. a small percentage of the daily information available to those who are interested in the issues of child abuse, trauma and recovery. Stay aware. Every extra set of "eyes and ears" and every voice makes a big difference.
programs / projects
together we can heal
help stop child abuse
a little about us
join us, get involved
"News of the Week"  

January, 2018 - Week 3
MJ Goyings
Many thanks to our very own "MJ" Goyings, a resident of Ohio,
for her daily research that provides us with the news related material that appears on the LACP & NAASCA web sites.



Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis was a fraud

by Wesly Hall

20 Maresfield Gardens in HAMPSTEAD, was the home of Sigmund Freud and his family when they (supposedly) ‘escaped' Austria following the Nazi annexation in 1938.

Freud continued to work in London and it was here that he completed his book Moses and Monotheism. He also maintained his practice in this home in Hampstead and this is where he saw a large number of his patients for analysis.

The Freudian Cover-up is a theory first popularised by social worker Florence Rush in the 1970s, which asserts that Sigmund Freud intentionally ignored evidence that his patients were victims of sexual abuse.

The theory argues that in developing his theory of infant sexuality, he misinterpreted his patients' claim of sexual abuse as symptoms of repressed incestuous desire!!!!! WHAT THE HELL????? Therefore, Freud claimed that children who reported sexual abuse by adults had either imagined or fantasised the experience.

He's key in creating a model that dismisses child sexual abuse. More so he facilitated the process which would eliminate male predators from prosecution.

Early within Freud's career, he believed that little girls often experienced sexual abuse, since most of his patients were predominantly women and consistently reported childhood instances of sexual molestation.

Many of Freud's patients suffered from a common Victorian diagnosis, hysteria. Since his hysterical patients repeatedly reported sexual abuse, most often naming their fathers as the abusers, Freud drew a causal connection between sexual abuse and neurosis. This became the frame for the seduction theory, in which he pointed to a direct connection between sexual abuse in childhood and adult hysteria.

According to Florence Rush, author of The Freudian Cover-up, this repeated and persistent incrimination of fathers by his patients made him uneasy, and led him to abandon the seduction theory.

More at ease with the fantasy rather than reality of sexual abuse, Freud was even more comfortable when he could name the mother rather than the father as the seducer. Hence, the "Oedipal complex" came into fruition. Other feminists who supported Rush's claims are Susan Brownmiller, Louise Armstrong, and Diana Russell.

Before Freud could conclude that the seduction by fathers was a fantasy, he had to be rid of his earlier theory. Since men did not complain of maternal seduction Freud limited the imagined abuse to a specific female problem.

To remove the responsibility from fathers, Freud found it necessary to undermine the perceptions of his female patients.

Within the period between the 1970s and 1980s, and 1990s arguments were made that Freud abandoned his initial beliefs in women's accounts of abuse (the seduction theory), and replaced it with the Oedipal theory; this illustrates the ways in which he withheld or altered information from his patients, which is unacceptable in a professional context.

The Freudian Cover-up exposed Freud's theory, the refusal to name the offender, but furthermore, one man's attempt to hide illegal or immoral sex practices. It was within this time that Victorian men were permitted to indulge in forbidden sex, provided they managed to keep their indiscretions hidden.

Freud, who regarded the incest taboo as vital to the advance of civilisation, appeared to demand only that forbidden sex be practiced with tact and discretion so that the surface of Victorian respectability was in no way disturbed.

Therefore, any attempt on the part of the child or her family to expose the violator exposes her own alleged innate sexual motives and shamed her more than the offender; concealment is her only recourse.

Any so-called therapist who uses any of freud's theories in practise today is failing survivors of abuse.



New York Times

The Pope Causes More Pain for Priests' Victims

Pope Francis arrived in Chile with the right message: He was “pained and ashamed,” he said on Tuesday, about the irreparable damage abusive priests have inflicted on minors. Yet he refused to meet with victims of the country's most nefarious sexual abuser, and when pressed about his support of a bishop linked to that priest, he dismissed the accusations as slander.

For all his professions of horror at the revelations about predatory priests whose activities were covered up by the hierarchy — and for all his other admirably enlightened and pastoral actions — it seems the pope has yet to fully appreciate that the abuse of minors is not simply a matter of a few deviant priests protected by overzealous prelates but of his church's acceptance of a horrible violation of a most sacred trust: that of a devout and questioning youth and a spiritual guide.

Acknowledging and regretting the damage is not enough. If the Catholic Church is ever to lift the deep stain of child sex abuse, the pope must take every opportunity to reject not only clear violations but also the slightest appearance of tolerance for such behavior.

He missed that opportunity by attending the funeral last month for Cardinal Bernard Law, the powerful former archbishop of Boston who resigned after revelations that he protected abusive priests for years and became, in effect, the image of a hierarchy that concealed and thereby enabled sexual abuse. He missed it in the failure of the Vatican so far to appoint a new Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors after the commissioners' terms expired in December.

And Pope Francis missed it again in Chile. One of Latin America's most staunchly Catholic countries, Chile had been shaken by revelations about the sexual crimes of Fernando Karadima, once one of Chile's most respected and influential priests. It took years for the church to act on complaints about him, but a Vatican investigation in 2011 finally found Father Karadima guilty of sexual abuse and restricted him to a life of isolated penitence. A Chilean judge later determined that the allegations against the priest were truthful, but the statute of limitations had expired.

Among those accused of turning a blind eye to Father Karadima's behavior was a priest and longtime member of Father Karadima's entourage, Juan Barros Madrid. Yet Pope Francis made him a bishop in 2015 and, despite protests from victims of Father Karadima and from many priests and laypeople in the diocese, Bishop Barros participated in the pope's official ceremonies in Chile. When reporters raised the subject on Thursday, Pope Francis answered sharply that there was “not one single piece of evidence” against the bishop. “It is all slander,” he declared. “Is that clear?”

No, it is not clear.

Victims of sexual abuse may have only their tortured memories as evidence, and these have been dismissed for far too long as slander by a hierarchy intent on protecting the church's reputation. Pope Francis has repeatedly pledged action to end the abuse and the cover-up, and the church has come a long way. But too often he and his church raise doubts that they're fully committed.



Neighbors 'key' in working against child abuse

NORTH PLATTE, Neb.-- A California community is shocked with allegations that parents held their own 13 children inside an unsuspecting home in horrible conditions.

David and Louise Turpin are charged with torture and child endangerment in the case.

Could the children, ranging in age from two to 29, have been freed much sooner if the people living around them had been more alert to warning signs and spoke up to authorities?

Sgt. Larry Meyer of the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office says that the key in child abuse cases is neighbors who report anything that seems out of the ordinary.

That includes, for example, children with poor hygiene or who appear malnourished, or even unusual padlocks on windows or doors within a home.

"The neighbors hear things and they see things on a daily basis that law enforcement, teachers, Sunday school teachers don't necessarily see all the time," Meyer said.

Meyer sees anywhere from about two to ten reports of child-abuse cases every week. Some of those reports come from school authorities who are required to report them, while others come from people who just want to protect a neighborhood child.

"A vast majority of [the cases] are unfounded at the end of the day, but at least we are taking a look and keeping the children safe," Meyer said. "That's the number one priority."

With any concerns, Meyer encourages you to call the anonymous child abuse hotline number at 1-800-652-1999. Calling this number does not necessarily mean a parent will get into criminal trouble. Meyer says that the goal of investigating these cases is oftentimes to help provide parents with resources to better take care of the children.



Hundreds of journals found in home with 13 captive children

by Brett Kelman, The Desert Sun

PERRIS, Calif. — The children weren't allowed to eat. They weren't allowed to bathe.

They couldn't play with toys that were kept in the closet, still packaged. They couldn't go outside. They couldn't escape.

Their depraved parents allowed them to do only one thing, prosecutors said.

They could write.

On Sunday, Riverside County law enforcement discovered 13 siblings — ages 2 to 29 — imprisoned in the an unassuming four-bedroom, three-bathroom suburban home. A teenage captive had escaped through a window and called for help, revealing a crime that has horrified and captivated the nation.

The children's parents, David and Louise Turpin, now face life in prison for multiple counts of torture, child abuse and false imprisonment that lasted for years. While describing the case Thursday, prosecutors revealed the Turpin children's only freedom was writing in journals.

Authorities have recovered hundreds of them.

Riverside County law enforcement officials now are combing through those journals. District Attorney Mike Hestrin said he believes they will be very significant to the coming court case and will provide “strong evidence of what occurred in that home.”

The diaries also have sparked the interest of academics who research trauma and language. Writing in the journals was, quite possibly, what allowed the children to survive a life of fear, hunger and torture, said James Pennebaker, a renowned expert on using writing to heal from traumatic experiences.

“There is a good chance that being able to write may have kept them sane,” Pennebaker said. “In an interesting way, this may have helped them come to terms with the bizarre world they lived in.”

Pennebaker, a University of Texas-Austin psychology professor who has been following the Perris case from afar, described the child torture as the “most horrific story imaginable.” In an interview Friday, he wondered aloud why the Turpins would have allowed their children to chronicle their captivity and still kept the journals in the house, basically stockpiling evidence of their crimes.

But the unlikely existence of these journals creates a unique research tool that may allow academics to design therapies to help victims of torture, maltreatment and prolonged captivity, Pennbaker said.

The children's stunted language skills might make the journals hard to decipher, he said. But this challenge also would be valuable in the study of communications barriers and the evolution of language.

From a research perspective, the only writings that could even loosely compare to the children's journals would come from prison inmates or the famous diary of Anne Frank, a Jewish teenager who chronicled her life as she hid from the Nazis during World War II, Pennebaker said.

“Anne Frank lived in an insane world, but her family life was remarkably normal,” Pennebaker said. “This is the exact opposite.”

Research into the journals likely will have to wait until the Turpins' criminal case is resolved, and only if the writings are released to academics, Pennebaker said.

In the meantime, the journals will also have tremendous value for the criminal investigation, even though they may not be admissable as evidence in a courtroom, said Laurie Levenson, a criminal law expert at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles.

Investigators who are attempting to interview the children, a delicate process, could start with the journals, asking about entries that imply abuse, Levenson said. Additionally, if either of the parents were to testify in their own defense, prosecutors could use the journals to cross-examine them. 

And finally, if any of the children testify, they could use the journals to refresh their memory on witness stand, much the way a police officer reviews a report before testifying about an old crime, she said.

“You can't cross examine a journal, you have to cross examine the children, but they are a still a good starting point," Levenson said. "And frankly, they may be enough to persuade a defendant that they don't want to go through a long trial here.”

The Turpins are accused of starving their children to the point of dramatically stunting their growth, beating them and strangling them. Sometimes they were chained for months at a time as punishment, Hestrin said.

California criminal charges stemmed from crimes dating to 2010, he said. But authorities believe the children's abuse began in Texas.

The Turpin family had lived in Fort Worth and Rio Vista, Texas, before moving to Murrieta, Calif. They moved into their Perris home, about 60 miles southeast of Los Angeles, in August 2014.

"I will tell you as a prosecutor, there are cases that stick with you. They haunt you," Hestrin said. "Sometimes in this business we are faced with human depravity. That is what we are looking at here."

David and Louise Turpin pleaded not guilty to charges during a brief hearing Thursday. Their lawyers declined to comment as they left courtroom, saying they were unwilling or not yet ready to discuss the case publicly.

Jan. 19: A California couple did these things to their own kids, police say
Jan. 19: DA decries 'human depravity,' says kids beaten, starved for months
Jan. 18: 13 malnourished kids were chained to furniture, taunted with food
Jan. 17: 'Not one person called us' about odd behavior, official says
Jan. 17: Woman accused of torturing kids 'shut us out,' sister says
Jan. 16: Police: Teen's 'courage' led officers to tortured, starved children
Jan. 15: Calif. couple charged with abuse for starving, chaining their children



13 children held captive in California home were denied contact with outside world, aunts say

by Amy Taxin and Amanda Lee Myers - Associated Press

Thirteen malnourished siblings allegedly kept captive in filthy conditions by their parents in a Southern California home lived a strict existence with no social lives and no contact with extended family, two of their aunts said Wednesday.

"They weren't allowed to watch TV. They weren't allowed to have friends over — the normal things that kids do," the children's aunt, Teresa Robinette, told NBC's "Today" show.

Robinette is the sister of Louise Turpin, 49, who along with her husband, 57-year-old David Allen Turpin, were jailed on $9 million bail each. Charges that may include torture and child endangerment could come Wednesday and a court appearance is scheduled for Thursday, authorities said.

Deputies said some siblings were shackled to furniture in the foul-smelling home in suburban Riverside County. They were so malnourished that the older ones still looked like children.

Robinette said she voiced concerns to her sister about the children's health.

"I always made comments to Louise when I did talk to her, about, gosh, they are so skinny," Robinette said. "She would laugh it off and say David's so tall and lanky, they are going to be like him."

The arrests Sunday came after a 17-year-old daughter who looked closer to 10 jumped out a window and called 911. Her parents had made the home a private school, a prison, and a veritable torture chamber for the siblings aged 2 to 29, authorities said during a press conference Tuesday.

Until the girl fled with photographic evidence, it appears no one, neither neighbors nor public officials, knew anything about what was happening inside.

Few details have been released about how the parents kept them captive despite what appeared to be opportunities for them to leave.

Another aunt, Elizabeth Jane Flores, told ABC News' "Good Morning America" that she tried for years to get in touch with her sister, Louise Turpin, but Turpin shut her out.

"I want to reach out to the kids, I want them to know that for years we begged to Skype, we begged to see them, the whole family," she said.

Flores tearfully said she and Turpin didn't have a relationship for two decades beyond the odd phone call. She said she was shocked by her sister's arrest.

In one of many surreal details that emerged as the investigation grew, it appears that an Elvis impersonator who performs weddings in Las Vegas is one of the few people who had direct dealings with the family, and he saw a different side.

"It's very disturbing because I felt like I did know them," said Kent Ripley, the Elvis impersonator who led the parents through at least three vow renewal ceremonies in recent years, most recently on Halloween, 2015.

He looked back at YouTube videos of the ceremonies after hearing the news, including two that show all the children dancing and smiling, with matching outfits and similar haircuts.

"Watching them now it's kind of haunting and disturbing," Ripley told The Associated Press in an interview Tuesday. "They all looked young and thin but I figured it was just their lifestyle. Maybe the activities they did, maybe because of their religious beliefs. I didn't get that in depth with them but I knew they were a fun family."

Numerous photos on the couple's Facebook page show the children dancing at the Elvis Chapel, visiting an amusement park that appears to be Disneyland and going on other outings, always looking thin but often smiling.

It was a normal public face the family put on that included the ordinary outward appearance of their house, one of many brown-and-beige homes that lined a residential street. Four vehicles were parked in their driveway Tuesday, with a horde of international media surrounding the house.

Neighbors, just a few steps away in either direction, said the family kept to themselves and never so much as waved. No calls about trouble ever came to police or child welfare officials.

But inside it was a stinking mess, the conditions "horrific," Riverside County Sheriff's Capt. Greg Fellows said Tuesday.

"If you can imagine being 17 years old and appearing to be a 10-year-old, being chained to a bed, being malnourished and injuries associated with that, I would call that torture," Fellows said.

He said there was no indication any of the children were sexually abused, although that was still being investigated.

The couple, married 32 years, sometimes dressed their children alike in pink dresses or Dr. Seuss T-shirts, kept them away from outsiders and cut the boys' hair in a Prince Valiant-style resembling that of their graying father. Photos show nearly all the girls with shoulder-length brown hair parted in the middle.

The Turpins moved to Southern California from the Dallas area in 2011, and bought the home in 2014 in the rapidly growing city of Perris 70 miles southeast of Los Angeles with their 12 children. They lived there quietly for at least three years and had another baby.

Turpin worked as an engineer at the Northrop Grumman aerospace company and earned $140,000 annually and his wife was a homemaker, records showed.

Their house doubles as the Sandcastle Day School, where David Turpin is listed as principal and its enrollment of six includes only the couple's younger children, Fellows said.

No state agency regulates or oversees private schools in California, and they are not licensed by the state Education Department.

Mark Uffer, CEO at Corona Regional Medical Center, said seven of the couple's children were there Tuesday.

The children are "very friendly," he said. "They're very cooperative, and I believe that they're hopeful that life will get better for them after this event."

Dr. Donald Kirby, director of the Center for Human Nutrition at Ohio's Cleveland Clinic, said the siblings' pale complexions could reflect a lack of sunshine and iron deficiencies caused by insufficient vitamins.

He said their small stature and childlike appearance also indicates they were probably undernourished for many years.

"What that means is this has been a very long process and that during the real growth spurt years that the needed nutrients weren't given," Kirby said. "At some point the body locks in and you're not able to grow anymore. This didn't happen last week, last month or even last year. This has been going on probably a very long time."

Kirby said the siblings' physical and emotional recovery period will likely be long and arduous.

"Lots of things are going to need to be done for these poor people," he said.

Rogers reported from Los Angeles. Associated Press writers Michael Balsamo, John Rogers, John Antczak, Christopher Weber, Andrew Dalton and Bob Lentz contributed to this report.




The Turpin child abuse story fits a widespread and disturbing homeschooling pattern

by Rachel Coleman and Kathryn Brightbill

After 13 children were found emaciated and imprisoned in their Perris home on Sunday, the gruesome Turpin family story made international headlines — no doubt in part because it seemed so extreme, so unusual. But it fits a pattern of abuse cases involving homeschooled children. As homeschool graduates, we know homeschooling can provide a child-centered, positive education. We also know that it can fail children completely, with gut-wrenching results.

Particularly severe abuse cases that involve school-age children also tend to involve homeschooling. In a 2014 study of child torture, Barbara Knox, a pediatrician at the University of Wisconsin, found that 47% of school-age victims had been withdrawn from school for homeschooling and an additional 29% had never been enrolled.

We keep a database of homeschool abuse cases and have found disturbing details repeated over and over. More than 40% of severe and fatal cases involve some form of imprisonment. The Turpin children were found chained to their beds. So was Calista Springer, a 13-year-old Michigan girl who died in a house fire in 2009 when she was unable to free herself. Christian Choate of Indiana was kept naked in a cage; he died in 2009, at age 13, but his death was not discovered until two years later. In Arizona, a 14-year-old girl was locked in a bedroom for more than a year and routinely raped by her father; she escaped by kicking down the door when the rest of the family was away and running two miles across town to the home of a friend from when she attended school.

Abuse in homeschool settings is all too common, even if it doesn't always make international headlines.

In Ohio, a couple forced their 11 adopted special needs children to sleep in cages. As with the Turpins, those parents told investigators they believed they had done nothing wrong. Two sisters in Florida were locked in makeshift cages and whipped with leather straps. In nearby Georgia, Mitch Comer spent four years locked in a bedroom in his family's home. When he turned 18, his parents put him on a bus to Los Angeles with pamphlets for homeless shelters.

How could such things happen?

Few states oblige homeschooled children to have contact with mandatory reporters — professionals legally required to document cases of suspected child abuse or neglect. California is one of 15 states that asks homeschool parents to register with the state. It's a quick bureaucratic process that involves simple paperwork. Eleven states don't require documentation at all. This laissez faire attitude is a gift to abusive parents, who can isolate their children and keep their abuse — like their children — hidden away for years.

Comer, like the Turpin children, was malnourished. The police who picked him up in California assumed he was around 12 because his growth was so stunted. More than 45% of the cases in our database involve some form of food deprivation. In Illinois, 6-year-old Liam Roberts was systematically starved by his parents; he weighed 17 pounds when he died. Natalie Finn died of starvation-induced cardiac arrest in Iowa. Minnet Bowman died of starvation in Maryland.

Starvation deaths are almost nonexistent among children enrolled in school, where teachers or administrators may notice a student's hunger and children have access to food. To fully control what their children eat, parents have to remove their children from school. Raijon Daniels' mother, for instance, withdrew the 8-year-old from school after officials became suspicious of her request that they stop feeding him. Police found him unresponsive in his bedroom, where his mother had kept him locked up on a “special” diet.

States require children who attend school to have contact with medical professionals — for vaccines or hearing and vision checks. Homeschooled kids are exempt. And there is no PE teacher to notice when a child is faint, no nurse to notice that a child is underweight.

Seven of the 13 Turpin children were adults when they were discovered. Their story is reminiscent of Robert “Papa Pilgrim” Hale, who isolated his 15 children, ages 2 to 30, in the wilderness of Alaska. Hale's abuse came to light when several of his older daughters made a run for it.

Adults who grow up in these situations are virtually helpless. They may not have driver's licenses or any form of identification. They may not have any educational records, much less a high school diploma or transcript. They may not have a single friend outside the family to take them in.

The Turpin children were so socially isolated that when a neighbor spoke to them outside of their home two years ago, the children were startled and seemed scared. They were so malnourished that the oldest child, age 29, has the body of an underdeveloped 15-year-old. And all of this happened while the family was in compliance with California's homeschool laws.

Homeschool parents do not need to submit academic assessments or show evidence that they are educating their children. There is no process to ensure that their children are involved in the community, nothing to ensure that they have contact with anyone at all.

The solution is relatively easy: Force contact with mandatory reporters. States could require annual assessments by a certified teacher and annual doctor's visits, creating at least two opportunities for a trained professional to recognize abuse.

Abuse in homeschool settings is all too common, even if it doesn't always make international headlines. For families like the Turpins, mandatory reporter contact could mean the difference between death and rescue.

Rachel Coleman is executive director of the Coalition for Responsible Home Education. Kathryn Brightbill is CRHE's legislative policy analyst.


from ICE

About Victims Assistance Program (VAP)

"Desi survived sex trafficking, rape, refugee status and family violence in the United States and civil unrest in her home country.

At just 17 years old, and in the U.S. as a legal refugee from the sub-Saharan west coast of Africa, sex traffickers exploited Desi.

Her trafficker was an American citizen; an African-American adult male. He used his girlfriend to recruit young women he could sell. The woman found Desi at a local braiding salon and offered her a place to live.

The place happened to be an expensive high-rise condo in an affluent section of Atlanta.

Once there, things changed. Desi was told she owed them money. They physically abused her and threatened to kill her. The recruiter posted sex advertisements for Desi on the classifieds section of an adult website. For seven months, the physical beatings, verbal, mental and emotional abuse continued. The sex trafficker held a gun on Desi while he raped her.

Desi was living in a hell.

Eventually, she accidentally walked into a local law enforcement sting operation while on an outcall at an upscale hotel in Atlanta. They arrested her despite her juvenile status. One of the girls in jail knew Desi and notified a non-government organization that contacted U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations. We got her housing, social services and medical assistance.

Desi did a phenomenal job as a witness against her trafficker; he was put away and the recruiter was also charged.

Desi has thrived since coming out of trafficking. She is in college for nursing and has a full time job. Desi is one of the strongest young women I've met in the 12 years I've worked with trafficking survivors. She is now a trafficking advocate and speaks publicly about the issue.

She tells other people where to go for help.”

 – Alia El-Sawi, victim assistance specialist, Homeland Security Investigations, Atlanta, Georgia


OPINION - Letter to the Editor


Letter: We all can help fight the epidemic of child abuse

by Dan Hillman - The Augusta Chronicle

My wife and I attended a wedding recently in Highlands, N.C. Sitting in the Old Edwards Inn, I was reading the weekly paper and the headline was: School bus driver arrested for sex crimes.

The piece continued: A Macon County substitute bus driver … part of an online undercover investigation based in Columbus, Ga. …

If I yelled “fire!” in a theater, I would potentially be arrested and everyone there would have paid attention. Yet, as much as I talk, and yell and write about child sexual abuse being an epidemic, very few appear interested.

I know there is a fear factor; a disgust factor; a denial factor; and maybe many of you are simply weary of the continuous accounts of child abuse in the news.

What floored me was the rest of the story in that Highlands newspaper. The Georgia Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force had arrested 21 people ages 22 to 55 years of age, and charged each with sexual exploitation of a child. (The part-time custodian and elementary school bus driver in North Carolina also worked in Columbus, Ga.)

I wondered, if I encounter child abuse every day and see news accounts everywhere I go, how do others not?

I find it absurd to think that others just don't care. Also interesting about this article were the references to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Children's Bureau report finding that 10 percent of child maltreatment victims had been sexually assaulted.

Further, it cited a study from the Crimes Against Children Research Center that one in five girls and one in 20 boys is a victim of child sexual abuse.

Those statistics should be startling to everyone. For those who live in and around Augusta, the numbers here are startling as well.

Child Enrichment, the Child Advocacy Center and CASA Program for abused children served 903 children just last year. Of those, 471 were child sexual abuse victims. Of those, 64 percent were 9 years old and younger.

Of those, 20 percent were 5 years old or younger.

When adult men are sexually abusing children, very young children, it should cause an outcry and become an urgent call to action. I always hope that such significant numbers will grab people and motivate them to get involved.

Child abuse will not be stopped by government programs. Child abuse and all forms of child maltreatment can only be countered by citizens who become motivated to prevent abuse.

Everyone can do something to help. Donate money or material goods to programs that help child victims recover. You can go through Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) volunteer training and be assigned by a Juvenile Court judge to a child or sibling group who is in foster care. You will promise to stay involved with them until they have a safe and permanent home.

You can consider adoption. There are over 14,000 children in Georgia's foster care system. More than half are awaiting and hoping for an adoptive family to raise them.

You can simply learn more about child maltreatment and find a way that works for you to help.

Until we work to help all children to be safe and successful, we cannot continue to claim that children are our future. Only a portion of them are now.

Dan Hillman


The writer is executive director of Child Enrichment Inc.


United Kingdom

Former ward suing the Children's Aid Society of the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry

by Todd Hambleton

A Cornwall man who says he was a victim of child sexual abuse 16 years ago while in the foster care system is suing the Children's Aid Society of the United Counties of SD&G.

Kyle Rivette, now 23, filed a statement of claim against the CAS in Cornwall court in late November and said he did so to tell his story publicly to “encourage other people, other victims, to come forward,” and that if he's successful in his lawsuit against the CAS, he wants a public apology.

In the claim, he said the Children's Aid Society could have taken him out of an abusive situation while he was at a home in Renfrew in 2001 and 2002, but didn't, and that the sexual abuse he claims he endured went on for almost a year.

Rivette says he wants “The CAS needs to take ownership of their actions,” said Rivette, who was born in Cornwall, but lived all over eastern Ontario and other parts of Ontario in the foster care system, moving back to Cornwall at the age of 16.

None of Rivette's claims, or the CAS' responses, have yet been proven in court.

Rivette said he wants $25,000 in compensation, however “the amount of compensation doesn't really matter. What's most important is that there are some changes to (CAS) policies, procedures and directives in order to better the lives of other foster kids, and to stop this stuff from happening again.”

Rivette also wants members of the public and the media to attend all court appearances.

“This will raise public awareness,” Rivette said. “Perhaps others will come forward, and we can work to keep this from happening again. . . society can only stop something if it has knowledge of it.”

His statement of claim states he was repeatedly sexually abused by another youth in his Renfrew placement home starting in late 2001, and it was first reported to a social worker with the CAS in February of 2002.

Portions of his case file, which he requested from the CAS, are included in the claim and indicate because it was believed Rivette was not able to reliably tell the CAS what had been happening, there was no action taken.

“The CAS let the abuse continue until November of 2002,” Rivette said. “In the actual case documentation from the social worker, it says I was a willing participant. . . I was six years old.”

The claim states he was ultimately removed from the house only after the foster mother admitted that supervising the brother “has proven to be impossible.” His claim states the CAS had knowledge of the child sexual abuse but allowed it to go on for another nine months.

Rivette said he has no lawyer or legal aid, and is representing himself in the case, and that he has over a decade of legal experience. He said his first criminal charge came when he was 12 years old and that he's had a long history of being in trouble with the law. Rivette said he's not employed and is receiving Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) benefits.

In its statement of defence, the CAS said it denies the allegations contained in Rivette's claim and denies he suffered any damages. It also suggests too much time has passed to litigate several of the items where it might be liable.

The CAS' statement of defence said that in January of 2000, it entered into a contract with an outside paid resource which provided foster home facilities and was licensed by the Ministry of Children and Youth Services. The CAS states one of the reasons it was necessary to place Rivette with an outside paid resource was due to his history of secretive, exploitive sexualized behaviours that required close supervision and attention.

It says that during the time Rivette spent in the foster home, it received regular reports from the outside paid resource and that none of the reports made any reference to the assault(s) he's claimed happened.

In his statement of claim, Rivette listed numerous reasons why he's suing the CAS, including “hiring under-qualified foster parents who could not prevent the reoccurrence of abuse.” He said the CAS had full authority to switch placements, but failed to do so and allowed the abuse to go on. The agency denies these allegations in its statement of defence.

In his statement, Rivette said that “as a young child I was unaware of what wrong or right was – I was only a child. . . I have never fully forgotten the abuse that happened and probably never will. I grew up thinking what happened was somehow my fault.”

“...I ultimately forgave the (CAS) but will never forget what I've been through.”

Peter E. Chisholm, legal counsel for the CAS, said he was unable to speak about the case.

“The matter is before the court, and I'm not in a position to comment,” he said.

Rivette said that as an adult he still shows “sexualized behaviour,” that sexualized behaviours and comments got him kicked out of college at one point, fired from several jobs, and that he has difficulty holding down relationships.

“The aftermath of the abuse is apparent,” he said.



"I've been coming for you for a long time" survivor Kyle Stephens' testimony led to Nassar's first arrest

LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Woman after woman recapped their abuse, and the impact which often included; nightmares, thoughts of suicide, physical health issues, and even left some relationships destroyed.

The woman whose testimony led to the arrest of Larry Nassar was the first to speak at his sentencing today. Kyle Stephens parents were friends with the Nassars. He molested her when she was just six years old.

"Without my knowledge or my consent, I had engaged in my first sexual experience by kindergarten. You used your power as an adult to manipulate me, you used my body for six years for your own sexual gratification, that is unforgivable," Stephens said.

It tore Stephens' family apart because her parents believed Nassar over her when she finally told her them about the abuse, six years after it started. "Larry Nassar wedged himself between myself, and my family, and used his leverage as my parents' trusted friend to pry us apart until we fractured," Stephens said.

It wasn't until she was about to leave for college that her family finally believed her. But by then her father, who had debilitating health issues, was so distraught with shame for defending Nassar that he took his own life.

Stephens told Nassar she's been waiting for this day for years.

"I've been coming for you for a long time. I've told counselors your name so they'd report you, I've reported you to child protective services twice, I gave a testament to get your medical license revoked. You were first arrested on my charges and now as the only non-medical victim to come forward I testified to let the world know you are a repulsive liar."

She continued to say, "perhaps you have figured it out by now... little girls don't stay little forever... they grow into strong women that return to destroy your world." Stephens also had a few words for the judge and said the law doesn't do enough to prevent predatory acts or punish predators.

She said while there is no amount of time Nassar can be given to repair the damage he's done to her, Stephens urged the judge to give him a minimum of 40 years instead of the 25 years allowed under the plea agreement.

After Stephens spoke Judge Rosemarie Aquilina had a few words of her own, as she did with each survivor who came forward after her. The judge reassured each of them of their worthiness, that their voice matters and called them brave and strong survivors for coming forward.

Aquilina said, "the system clearly failed you, failed so many children without voices. You've grown into a beautiful, smart intelligent woman who has a voice. This voice that you have just let out publicly will have that ripple effect to change legislation. To change the lives of children who are being abused to speak up like you."


Michigan State

Day 2 of victim statements at sentencing for Larry Nassar in sex abuse cases

Victims have chance to speak in court during sentencing

by Ken Haddad

LANSING, Mich. - Sentencing for former U.S. gymnastics and Michigan State University doctor Larry Nassar will began on Tuesday and will continue on Wednesday.

Day 2 of sentencing will begin around 9 a.m. today. More than 100 victims are expected to give statements during the sentencing period, which is expected to take a total of four days.

During Day 1 of sentencing, several victims spoke on the record about the abuse they endured from the former gymnastics doctor.

One after one, gymnasts and other victims of a disgraced former sports doctor stepped forward in a Michigan courtroom Tuesday to recount the sexual abuse and emotional trauma Larry Nassar inflicted on them as children — one with the warning that “little girls don't stay little forever.”

Nearly 100 women and girls planned to speak or have their statements read during an extraordinary four-day sentencing hearing. Many of them cried as they gave the initial testimonies Tuesday. Some requested that their identities not be made public. The judge consoled the victims and said they should not blame themselves.

“I testified to let the world know that you are a repulsive liar,” one victim, Kyle Stephens, said to the 54-year-old Nassar who bowed his head with his eyes closed or looked away as she and others spoke. Stephens, the first to speak, said Nassar repeatedly abused her from age 6 until age 12 during family visits to his home in Holt, near Lansing. She said he rubbed his genitals on her and digitally penetrated her, among other things. She said Nassar later denied it, and her parents believed him.

“Perhaps you have figured it out by now, but little girls don't stay little forever,” Stephens said. “They grow into strong women that ... destroy your world.”

Nassar has pleaded guilty to molesting females with his hands at his Michigan State University office, his home and a Lansing-area gymnastics club. He also worked for Indianapolis-based USA Gymnastics, which trains Olympians.

Another statement came from Donna Markham, who told of how her daughter Chelsey killed herself in 2009, years after Nassar sexually abused her during a medical examination.

“It all started with him,” she said, describing her daughter's downward spiral into drug abuse.

Victims described experiencing “searing pain” during the assaults and having feelings of shame and embarrassment. They said it had changed their life trajectories — affecting relationships, causing them to be distrustful and leading to depression, suicidal thoughts and anger and anxiety on whether they should have spoken up sooner.

“He touched the most innocent places on my body,” said 17-year-old Jessica Thomashaw, recounting how she was sexually assaulted at ages 9 and 12. “I couldn't be just a normal girl anymore, and I forever lost a big piece of my childhood due to his abuse.”

Ingham County Circuit Judge Rosemarie Aquilina, who is expected to order a sentence Friday, said the system had failed them.

“You shouldn't be angry with yourself,” she told a 31-year-old victim, who said she was assaulted almost 20 years ago. “You went to him for pain and healing, and you didn't know. No one faults you or any other victim for that. You were a child.”

The Michigan attorney general's office is seeking 40 to 125 years in prison for the 54-year-old Nassar. The maximum represents a year for each of the 125 girls and women who filed reports of abuse with campus police. He already has been sentenced to 60 years in federal prison for child pornography crimes.

Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles on Monday said she was among the athletes sexually abused by Nassar. Another gold medalist, Aly Raisman, tweeted Monday that she would not attend the sentencing “because it is too traumatic for me. My impact letter will be read in court in front of Nassar. I support the brave survivors. We are all in this together.”

Olympians McKayla Maroney and Gabby Douglas also have said they were among Nassar's victims as teens.

In November, he admitted to digitally penetrating 10 girls, mostly under the guise of treatment, between 1998 and 2015. As part of plea deals in two adjacent Michigan counties, he said his conduct had no legitimate medical purpose and that he did not have the girls' consent.

Nassar is scheduled to be sentenced in Eaton County in two weeks.



Rossi: Public health epidemic that we can prevent: Child sexual abuse

by Carol Neal Rossi

Child sexual abuse is first and foremost, a health problem – not just an issue for social service departments, child abuse organizations or law enforcement agencies. The overwhelming impact of child sexual abuse on health makes it just as critical to the healthcare industry as lifestyle factors, such as smoking or obesity.

Many people are surprised to learn how many children are sexually abused. This is primarily because so many victims do not disclose their abuse to anyone, even as adults. Research shows between 10 to 20 percent of children are sexually abused; 75 percent of these victims are traumatized by the experience. This trauma increases the likelihood of subsequent behavioral and health problems. According to the Adverse Childhood Experiences study conducted by Kaiser Permanente and the Centers for Disease Control:

Adult women who were sexually abused as children are more than twice as likely to suffer from depression and attempt suicide then their non-abused peers. 

Child sexual abuse survivors are more than twice as likely to have a substance abuse/dependence problem. Substance abuse causes and complicates many serious medical conditions.

Adults with a history of child sexual abuse are 30 percent more likely to have a serious medical condition such as diabetes, cancer, heart problems, stroke or hypertension. It is theorized that those who have a history of child sexual abuse are more likely to lead an unhealthy lifestyle, resulting in increased risk for serious medical conditions.

The economic impact of child sexual abuse in our country is $35 billion annually. Over $31 billion of this is attributed to the long-term quality-of-life and health consequences of abuse.

Prevention in Health care

The healthcare industry knows that prevention is more effective and less expensive than treating medical conditions. Millions of dollars have gone into prevention programs that avert heart disease, diabetes, cancer, hypertension and obesity. This approach to prevention education can be applied to child sexual abuse prevention as well. We educate adults in how to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to child sexual abuse, just as we would teach a family to prepare and eat a heart-healthy diet.

There is a research-based, standardized, adult-focused child sexual abuse prevention education program that can teach adults how to decrease risk factors and increase protective behaviors to prevent child sexual abuse. The Darkness to Light Stewards of Children child sexual abuse prevention training is a two-hour prevention education program. It is led by a trained facilitator, and includes video-based instruction from survivors and experts, as well as a workbook, outlining simple techniques to better protect children and backed by exhaustive research. Professional continuing education credits are available for those who take the course, but any adult who is responsible for children would benefit from this training. It can help anyone better protect the children in their circle of care. It can also help adults identify children who may be abused and help them to disclose and seek assistance. The physical and emotional conditions that create risk for child sexual abuse are well established through research and it is possible for adults to reduce risk by avoiding these situations and improving care-giving techniques. These common sense changes are relatively simple and easy to adopt, but until going through this training, most adults are unaware that they are putting children in their care in danger. This is why education for adults is key to prevention. Those who receive the Stewards of Children training are better equipped to prevent, recognize and respond to child sexual abuse.

Additionally, this prevention education program should be part of the regular training provided at all of the youth serving organizations within our community – schools, child care centers, after school programs, athletic organizations and faith communities. The training includes guidelines for child and youth-serving organizations to conduct more rigorous screenings of employees, develop codes of conduct and implement and enforce child protection policies. If all of the adults in our community who work with and serve our children have this training implement child protection policies we can greatly reduce this health risk resulting in healthier children and reducing their risk for so many other mental and physical health problems later in life.

The cost of this education program is relatively low: just $15 per person. There are authorized facilitators in the Stewards of Children training program here in our community.  If you would like to take this training or have it brought to the organization that serves your children, please email: or go to for more information.

Carol Neal Rossi is the regional prevention coordinator for the Georgia Center for Child Advocacy. She has worked in child abuse prevention for 20 years and is the former director of Prevent Child Abuse Georgia.



Should Child Sex Offenders Go Unpunished?

Murfreesboro Police are investigating an alleged rape of a female by her step father. Will Tennessee's statutes of limitations let this sexual offender roam freely?

This week an adult female with children stepped forward and told Murfreesboro Police, "I tried several times when it was happening to tell family members, but no one listened." (MPD case # 18-680, 1/11/2018)

Now authorities are listening, but sadly the victim may find that Tennessee's statutes of limitations dealing with child rape cases may protect the culprits from prosecution.

Psychological counselors note that adult survivors of child abuse often hide this dark secret for decades. Some victims harbor this painful secret to their grave.

Shockingly, Murfreesboro police have video taped interrogations with suspects who actually confess that they are guilty. It's as if they want to release the shame that's been haunting them over the years. And even with taped confessions, Tennessee's statutes protect the child abuser and allow them to go unpunished.

The National Conference of State Legislatures gives more information about civil statutes of limitations dealing with child sexual abuse cases . Tennessee Code 28-3-104 and 28-1-106 both require the victim to file a suit within one-year of having reached their eighteenth birthday. Most counselors agree, that just won't happen!

The 110th Tennessee General Assembly convened on January 9, 2018. Is this an issue that you would like to see studied by our lawmakers? Let NewsRadio WGNS know your feelings. E-mail your anonymous comments to .


State Libertarian Parties Demand Removal of Arvin Vohra for Comments on Child Molestation

A growing chorus of party leaders and state parties are demanding the removal of Arvin Vohra, the vice chair of the national Libertarian Party, over his recent remarks endorsing and condoning sexual abuse of minors.

It's a bizarre controversy, and not the first time Vohra has sparked outrage over his often strident and outlandish public comments. Over the course of the past year, he's variously condemned all veterans as murderers, compared schoolteachers to rapists, and has spoken of his desire to purge up to 80% of the party's members who don't meet his ideological litmus test.

His latest remarks, which he admits are partly intended to drive moderate supporters of former Gov. Gary Johnson out of the party, have roiled the small world of L.P. activists in the past few days. While some Libertarians work to focus on upcoming elections or preparing for the 2018 convention, the party's second-ranking officer instead chose to spend the holiday weekend posting extensively on the topic of age-of-consent laws.

Arvin Vohra compares child molestation to homosexuality

In one post, Vohra claimed that it was preferable for a fourteen-year-old to be impregnated by an adult, because then they would be less likely to collect welfare. In another comment, he insisted that child molestation was morally indistinguishable from homosexuality, and accused gay members of the party of “hypocrisy” if they disagreed. In others, he insisted the abuse of children as young as nine should be left to the discretion of their parents. That's only a small sampling: in total Vohra has spent the weekend posting dozens of times, dedicating thousands of words to the issue.

These comments are wildly at odds with the party's principles and platform, aside from basic human decency. The official Libertarian Party  Platform deliberately endorses the right to intimate relationships only for “consenting adults.” The party's position on generally respecting the right of parents to raise their children as they see fit, likewise carefully exempts “abuse or neglect.”

While mainstream libertarian outlets such as Reason have long questioned some applications of age-of-consent laws, for example in cases of the 18-year-old and his 17-year-old girlfriend, or teenagers “sexting” each other, these arguments never go so far as to endorse the permissibility of genuine child molestation. Vohra went much further, denying the morality of any such limits.   

Making matters worse, Vohra is also the party's nominee for U.S. Senate in Maryland, though efforts are underway to recruit a possible replacement. Along with the requests to suspend him from his national role, some Libertarians are also urging the Maryland party to remove him from their ticket.

Multiple state Libertarian Parties have passed resolutions demanding Vohra's removal

A rapidly growing list of states parties have officially demanded Vohra's removal, including those of Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Hawaii, Pennsylvania, Alaska, Ohio, and South Carolina. Many of them have cited the damage done to candidate recruitment and volunteer organization by his comments.

Other party members have gone further, threatening to end their support for the national party altogether if Vohra is not removed and repudiated. Dozens of Libertarian candidates also submitted a letter urging his removal, and the party's youth wing, the Libertarian Youth Caucus, put out its own statement to the same effect.

The backlash hasn't stopped some members of the national committee, including Starchild and David Demarest, from defending Vohra's comments. National party chairman Nicholas Sarwark has not commented directly on the matter, but has been criticized by many for his lack of a clear response. As of this writing, a suspension motion has been made and cosponsored by three members of the committee; it will require a fourth cosponsor to proceed to a vote, and then two-thirds in favor to pass.

While the bulk of the party is united in condemnation, the issue has proved divisive within the more radical anarchist wing, with some defending Vohra and others joining with those urging his removal. One board member of the Libertarian Party Radical Caucus, Arizona gubernatorial candidate Merissa Hamilton, resigned in protest over the issue of the group's platform specifying “individuals” instead of “adults” in this context. 

The terms of the current committee members expire at the close of the party's mid-term national convention, to be held in New Orleans from June 30 to July 3 of this year. While Vohra is widely expected to be easily defeated for re-election, the handling of the matter could become a key rift among the delegates.