State lawmakers want to strengthen and expand child abuse protection laws
by Jennifer Wilson
LANSING, Mich. (WXYZ) - State lawmakers want to strengthen and expand child abuse protection laws to address gaps that were exposed after former MSU and Olympic sports doctor Larry Nassar admitted to sexually assaulting young athletes. For decades, the abuse went unreported by those who worked with Nassar.
Nasser is behind bars now, but moving forward lawmakers want to ensure those who suspect or see child abuse and choose not to report it, are punished too.
A group of Nassar abuse survivors are fighting for change, saying his repeated sexual assault of young girls could have been stopped decades ago if coaches, athletic trainers or others had listened to them. Nassar's accusers contend in a lawsuit that four current or former university employees they told were mandatory reporters.
Lawmakers say adults that don't feel a moral obligation to report child sexual assault need additional motivation
Currently, like all states, Michigan requires doctors, nurses, teachers, police, clergy and a few others to report suspected child abuse or neglect to authorities.
A new bill in the state senate would add college employees and youth sports coaches, trainers and even volunteers to the list.
Currently the punishment for NOT reporting is a misdemeanor with a max of 90 days in jail.
Additional legislation would increase punishment to a felony charge with up to 2 years behind bars.
The legislation has bipartisan support, but there's opposition from the ACLU which is concerned volunteer coaches, who can include high school students and young adults, do not get training they would need to recognize signs of abuse or neglect.
The ACLU is also worried about unintended consequences in instances where no abuse has occurred.
Up to 1,000 children may have been victims in worst UK abuse ring
Allegations of sexual exploitation in Telford are said to include girls as young as 11
by Jamie Grierson
Up to 1,000 children could have fallen victim to child sexual exploitation in Telford over a 40-year-period, according to a Sunday newspaper.
An investigation by the Sunday Mirror gathered allegations of abuse in the Shropshire town said to include cases involving girls as young as 11 who were drugged, beaten and raped.
Allegations reported to date back to the 1980s are said to have been mishandled by authorities, with many perpetrators going unpunished, while it was claimed similar abuse is continuing in the area.
Telford's Conservative MP, Lucy Allan, has previously called for a Rotherham-style inquiry into the allegations and called the latest reports “extremely serious and shocking”.
“There must now be an independent inquiry into child sexual exploitation in Telford so that our community can have absolute confidence in the authorities,” she told the paper.
An estimate of the number of victims was calculated with the help of Professor Liz Kelly, from the Child and Woman Abuse Studies Unit at London Metropolitan University, who reviewed the Mirror's figures.
Dino Nocivelli, a specialist child abuse solicitor, told the newspaper: “These children were treated as sexual commodities by men who inflicted despicable acts of abuse. The survivors deserve an inquiry.
“They need to know how abuse took place for so long and why so many perpetrators have never been brought to justice.”
Seven men were jailed in 2013 following Operation Chalice , a police inquiry into child prostitution in the Telford area. The paper says authorities were warned of the abuse a decade before Operation Chalice.
A spokesperson for Telford and Wrekin council told the paper: “Child sexual exploitation is a vile, evil crime. It's an issue right across the UK and has been for a long time.
“Telford will be covered by the national [child sexual exploitation] review. We welcome this. All agencies continue to work very closely together and this remains our top priority.”
Department for Children and Families must remain accountable
by Blake Shuart
The Kansas Department for Children and Families and its new secretary, Gina Meier-Hummel, are finally feeling the heat in the wake of several high-profile cases, including the killings of Evan Brewer and Adrian Jones, and the disappearance of Lucas Hernandez.
The DCF is facing unprecedented scrutiny regarding the agency's overall inaction and lack of transparency, and during an appearance before the House Judiciary Committee last week, Meier-Hummel was cross-examined at length by exasperated lawmakers who must be feeling the heat themselves.
This is a good thing, of course. The department has long needed a serious check, and sweeping changes are in order. But what took so long?
It's too bad it took a string of inexplicable tragedies to motivate changes in policy and personnel at the DCF, and it's even more unfortunate that the agency had to be exposed for doctoring records in the Evan Brewer case before it offered to do what it should have done all along: open its files to the public when children are killed.
Back in August 2016, The Eagle ran a serious of stories about child deaths sustained in day cares – both licensed and unlicensed. Lax day care enforcement was implicated, and this author suggested it was time for the Legislature and executive branch to stop concentrating almost exclusively on right-to-life issues and start working harder to protect our children.
This is still true today. DCF leaders are responsible for cleaning things up at the agency, but our elected officials are ultimately responsible for making sure this gets done.
As parents, most of us are concerned about protecting the futures of not just our own children, but the scores of others who desperately need care and attention. Everywhere we turn these days, we see new and unprecedented dangers. We're scared, quite frankly – and we probably should be.
Our schools are under attack. Sexual predators are brazen enough to victimize children in open rooms with video cameras. The FBI has declared Kansas an originating state for human trafficking. Even background checks don't provide much security these days.
Of course, the DCF does not have jurisdiction over all of these issues. But the hostile climate for children in America renders it more crucial than ever for the DCF to function effectively in two key areas: removing bad actors from the licensed child care and foster care settings, and fully investigating reports of abuse and neglect in the home setting. There has long been real cause for concern in both departments.
Both Meier-Hummel and Gov. Jeff Colyer have assured us that real, systemic change is on the way, but the agency's own internal data reports leave cause for concern as to whether we will get the full story.
According to the agency's data, Child Protective Services received 67,372 intake reports during fiscal year 2017. Fifty-five percent of reports were assigned for follow-up, and the top three maltreatment types involved were physical abuse (32.4 percent), emotional abuse (20.3) and lack of supervision (18.2). The agency self-reports that 96.9 percent of assigned child reports had a timely contact with the victim/family, and that a staggering 89.1 percent of child reports assigned for a finding were unsubstantiated.
It is these final two data points that should be called into question. Are we to believe, based on known cases of public interest, that 97 percent of assigned cases are being treated with diligence, and that nearly 90 percent of these reports cannot be substantiated? Or is it more likely that not enough cases are being substantiated, and that many of the remaining 45 percent of reports that are not assigned should have been?
All we can do as parents and concerned citizens is continue to make reports, ask questions and demand accountability. When the dust settles, and the news stories grind to a halt, we must keep the pressure on the agency. We can accomplish this by e-mailing our elected officials directly with our concerns, as experience shows that they do respond. The next election is always just around the corner.
East Idaho organization works to rescue children from sex trafficking
by Jenni Whiteley
In Southeast Idaho, the horrors of child sex trafficking seem more like a subject for far-away developing nations.
But Matthew Smith, the executive director of Operation Shield, an Idaho Falls-based non-profit organization fighting to prevent, rescue and treat victims, says, “It's happening right here.”
Smith, Idaho Falls Police Chief Bryce Johnson and a local survivor will all be available Wednesday during a Community Round Table at Hillcrest High School's Performing Arts Center in Idaho Falls at 7 p.m. to answer questions about sex trafficking.
Smith said that on Oct. 26 of last year alone he found 28 ads in Southeast Idaho for sex trafficking on places such as Craigslist. He also stated that in 2017, 22 cases of sex trafficking were identified in Southeast Idaho news stories where the child was recovered and prosecution procedures had begun.
“The rule of thumb that we go by is that for every one recovered, there are at least five more in need of recovery,” he said.
Smith also said that a lot of child pornography is produced in Southeast Idaho.
“There's a whole dark web that has a black economy that sells and trades this garbage,” he said. “There's a lot of money involved in it. This isn't pornography of a child in the bathtub either. This is horrific stuff.”
In 2010, Smith, Doug Andrus, Mike Adams, and Nick Thompson started the Prosperity Project to bring medical aid to victims of the earthquake in Haiti. The Prosperity Project leaders were approached by Operation Underground Railroad and asked to also help provide therapy to rescued sex trafficking children in orphanages. They found that many orphaned children or families who could no longer afford to provide for their children were falling prey to sex traffickers with promises of food, shelter and safety.
Smith said that right now the Prosperity Project is working with a Haitian orphanage that houses 123 children. The orphanage had originally identified eight sex trafficking victims, but when Smith's team tested the others, they found the total number was closer to 60.
Operation Shield was started in 2013, which was a time when Smith said, “We started seeing the signs of sex trafficking here in Eastern Idaho and decided we were not going to ignore our own backyard.”
So far, Operation Shield has only been able to help fully rescue six victims, though the need is much greater.
“A big problem is that very few people know we exist,” Smith said. “Another reason is that these girls do not seek out help on their own. We normally only get our referrals from other survivors with whom I interact. Traffickers isolate and teach them not to trust normal people and then you've got the ‘Johns' [people who pay for their services] who appear as normal people, yet are abusing them right and left so they don't know who to trust.”
Smith continued, “The tragedy is that very few of these victims actually escape, even here in Idaho. The girls that I network with are saying that only about 2 percent of the girls who are in the business live through it. The average life expectancy, which is backed up with evidence, is only seven years from the point of entry. They are usually killed by being beaten to death or shot.”
Smith said that Southeast Idaho doesn't yet have adequate training and resources to identify, rescue and rehabilitate this population of victims, which is Operation Shield's focus right now.
Besides not knowing who to trust, Smith says that victims do not seek help for fear of harm to themselves or their families by their pimps. Those at Operation Shield are training personnel such as police officers and emergency room workers to recognize victims and ask the right questions at “points of contact” to help them escape.
In October, more than 70 police officers from Eastern Idaho and Wyoming received training from those at Operation Shield at a conference in Idaho Falls. The organization is also informing therapists about the trauma and needs of sex trafficking victims.
“Many therapists hold the belief that these victims are just typical PTSD clients,” Smith said. “But Complex PTSD is PTSD on steroids due to someone continually being traumatized from an environment that they don't feel they can escape from. … You have to understand where they are coming from and build a relationship or they will close down.”
Though the trauma is deep, Smith said that recovery and hope is possible for these victims. He said that the therapy that Bob Stahn, the clinical director for Operation Shield and owner of Well Spring Counseling, uses is creating miracles in the lives of these victims. Though the trauma is always there, survivors have been able to learn to cope and live healthy lifestyles to rebuild their lives.
Smith said that victims of sex trafficking do not fit a stereotype.
“We'd like to believe that it's poor kids from the bad part of town or an issue of poor parenting, but that's not how the facts bear out,” he said. “I have seen victims where the mother is a school teacher and the dad is in law enforcement.”
Smith also said that most child victims in the U.S. aged 11-16 fall prey to sex traffickers not by being kidnapped, but through social media sites such as Facebook, SnapChat or chat rooms.
Children in these developmental stages are trying to gain their independence and sometimes rebel against authority figures. Predators are looking for this vulnerability and create false characters. They pose as someone who loves these children more than their parents and groom the children away from their support systems.
The predator begins an online romantic relationship with the child, which often includes sending inappropriate pictures and promises of marriage if the child will run away. Once the child leaves, the predator tells the child that they need money to stay together and the child is then prostituted.
Before starting Operation Shield, Smith worked with hundreds of therapists as a program developer in the children's mental health industry for 25 years. He earned his bachelor's degree in psychology and a graduate certificate in substance abuse counseling.
Through his work, Smith has seen that one of the biggest indicators that a child might be getting involved with a predator is a dramatic, sudden change in the child's behavior.
The best way parents can help prevent their children from being victimized is to build relationships of trust and keep communication lines open.
“I'm not a therapist,” Smith said, “but this is what we have learned. … They will stop trusting the people closest to them, they will alienate themselves from their support group. You re-establish that first and then, you start asking gently about the behavior changes you are noticing. … It's not just girls either. It's boys as well who fall victim.”
Though Operation Shield's main focus is child sex trafficking, they will help adults who contact them as well.
“We know of ways to leave that life without any trace and can give you a good opportunity for a new start,” Smith said.
Operation Shield can be reached at 208-534-8303 and firstname.lastname@example.org . The address is 5130 Treyden Dr., Idaho Falls, ID 83406
Catholic Church fights new child sex abuse bills in Florida & Georgia as 'unfair'
The Catholic Church is opposing new child sex abuse legislation in both Georgia and New York. One archbishop described proposed statute of limitations extensions for survivors to come forward as "extraordinarily unfair."
A legislative proposal known as the "Hidden Predator Act" (House Bill 605), to extend the statute of limitations for adult survivors of child sex abuse, has been decried by the Roman Catholic Church (RCC) in Georgia as a step too far. A lobbyist for the RCC's Archdiocese of Atlanta is attempting to gut the bill, which would afford survivors more time to file lawsuits against groups, entities or organizations that harbored pedophiles in the past. The proposed rule change would extend the statute of limitations for child sex abuse cases from age 23 to 38. It would also afford survivors additional recourse beyond that upper limit.
The "Hidden Predator Act" passed unanimously (170-0) on the floor of the House of Representatives, despite rumored lobbying by exposed groups like the RCC and the Boy Scouts. Proponents claim that many victims don't come forward until after the age of 40, while opponents argue that such increases in the statute of limitations would inflict collateral damage on people in organizations that were not involved when the abuse occurred.
Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory, who led the US RCC's response to a slew of sex abuse scandals in the early 2000s, issued a statement in which he described the proposed bill as "extraordinarily unfair" to the church.
“HB 605 would allow lawsuits against churches, private schools, businesses and non-profit organizations for actions asserted to have occurred many decades ago, potentially as far back as the 1940s, and the accused are very often deceased. Recognizing that these lawsuits can be very difficult if not impossible to defend, and risking grave injustice, the vast majority of states simply do not permit them,” Gregory wrote . “Rather, innocent people and the organizations to which they belong will be radically impacted based on allegations against individuals who may no longer even be alive and cannot speak for themselves.”
“How can someone reasonably be expected to defend themselves from allegations for something that happened so long ago,” said Catholic lawyer Charles A. Jones Jr., as cited by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution : “We don't need endless liability.” Jones's was the only dissenting voice against the bill at a House subcommittee meeting last month.
However, various christian groups have voiced their support of the bill. “The Georgia Baptist Mission Board supports Rep. Jason Spencer's effort ( HB 605: The Hidden Predator Act ) to hold entities accountable who conceal the sexual assault of children. We look forward to working with Rep. Spencer to perfect a bill that will protect children throughout our state,“ Dr. J. Robert White, Executive Director of the Georgia Baptist Mission Board, wrote in an online statement in support of the proposed bill.
The RCC has also made moves to block similar legislation in New York State, despite Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo pledging support for extending the statute of limitations for child sex abuse survivors. “These survivors deserve justice, plain and simple,” Cuomo said, as cited by The New York Daily News . “Giving victims the opportunity to advance their claims in court is the right thing to do, and I urge the Legislature to join me and pass this measure once and for all.”
However, the fate of the bill may ultimately be decided by Republican State Senate leader John Flanagan who has reportedly refused to meet to discuss the bill. “They are denying us our day in court. They are protecting the institutions of the abusers,” said Bridie Farrell, a former speed skater and sex abuse survivor.
Four years ago, Farrell, 35, accused her mentor and teammate of abusing her when she was just 15. As in Georgia, survivors have until the age of 23 to file a lawsuit or criminal charges against their alleged abusers.
New York and Georgia have some of the strictest statutes of limitations in sex abuse cases, joined by Mississippi, Alabama and Michigan. For context, both Ohio and Pennsylvania give survivors until the age of 30 to come forward, while Massachusetts allows until the age of 35, despite the heavy Catholic presence there. The Catholic Conference in New York state opposes the proposed bill and instead supports alternative legislation, that would eliminate the criminal statute of limitations on such cases and give victims until the age of 28 to file civil suits.
The proposed legislation in New York would afford survivors a one-year amnesty to come forward, regardless of when they were abused. California passed similar legislation in 2002, after which Catholic dioceses were forced to pay out $1.2 billion in legal settlements.
“The bishops feel strongly that we need to do more to protect children from abuse and give survivors of abuse more time to seek justice,” said Dennis Poust, spokesman for the Catholic Conference, as cited by AP . “Our only objection is with that retroactive window which comes without any caps on either time or dollars. Any organization that deals with children would be looking at potential catastrophic liability when you're looking at cases from the '50s and '60s.”
3 officers working in Sex Crimes & Child Abuse Unit disciplined after 60 cases go uninvestigated
by Kaylyn Hlavaty
CLEVELAND - Two Cleveland police officers working in the Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Unit were demoted, and a third officer received a suspension, for letting 60 cases go uninvestigated.
Police chief Calvin Williams conducted an administrative review of a detective who was assigned to the unit that handles crimes against children and rape cases. Safety director Michael McGrath conducted a disciplinary hearing for all three officers involved in the case and decided to go ahead with the recommended disciplinary actions against the officers.
Commander James McPike will be demoted to captain, and sergeant Tom Ross, who was the detective at the time responsible for the 60 cases, was demoted to patrol officer. Sergeant Anthony McMahan was suspended for 15 days.
Williams said there are already programs in place to make sure cases don't go uninvestigated but wouldn't elaborate any further. The 60 cases that went uninvestigated have since been reassigned to other investigators and are either closed or under investigation within the Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Unit.
Williams said an internal audit showed Ross was the only detective at the time that left 60 cases unresolved.
"We are in the process of making sure we staff all the units and operations within the division to a level they can operate," Williams said.
Williams said staffing was not an issue in this particular instance.
"Staffing is always an issue. People come and go from all these specialized units, but as the mayor stated, there were things in this particular case that had nothing to do with staffing. There were things that happened in the case that shouldn't have happened," said Williams.
Jeff Follmer, president of the Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association, said staffing is an issue and called for more officers to be recruited and hired throughout the division.
"It wears them out. It's demoralizing. When you think we are going home after a 10-hour shift and to say, 'Hey, you can't home right now.' We are people. We have families, we have kids, we have responsibilities, but we are going to protect the citizens," said Follmer.
The Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Unit is currently fully staffed, said Williams.
Bringing awareness to child abuse
by Quentin Smith
STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI)- It's a problem that plagues every community, child abuse.
“A child is an innocent person and often times they really can't be able to help themselves,” said West Point Police Chief Avery Cook.
Law enforcement said they're seeing a rise in the number of reported child abuse cases.
Sally Kate Winters Family Services reports from 2016 to 2017, the organization saw a 73 percent increase in the number of child abuse interviews they conducted.
The abuse comes in different forms, and Sally Kate Winters is on the front-line in many of these investigations.
“Sally Kate Winters provides forensic interviews for child victims of abuse, so we do felony child abuse investigations and we interview kids who've been abused,” said Morgan Colley, Children's Advocacy Center Advocate at Sally Kate Winters Family Services.
Now the organization is sharing its knowledge.
During a Child Abuse Investigation Training on Monday, law enforcement officers, child protective services, and first responders learned new techniques for spotting signs of mistreatment.
“We're trying to help provide law enforcement with every tool that they need to investigate child abuse and child sexual crimes especially,” said Steven Woodruff, investigator for the district attorney's office. “We're seeing an uptake in that in our community, and we don't think that it's just now starting to happen, we think that it's just beginning to be reported more.”
“We're doing two different presentations, one on corroborating evidence, so we have a child that discloses something and getting them to think about some of the minor details that a child might bring up in their testimony to make their story come alive,” said Jim Holler, who conducted Monday's training session. “This afternoon we're doing one more investigative piece, especially physical abuse investigations and what the investigators can do to help the kids to help make their stories come alive.”
Holler is a former police chief with more than three decades of law enforcement experience.
He said the tools everyone learned during the training session are important and can help prosecutors be more effective.
“Just trying to put all the facts together and making sure that we've got the details, so we can bring a strong case to our prosecutors office, and hopefully that case will be strong enough to go proceed without a child having to testify,” said Holler.
Sally Kate Winters and the district attorney's office co-sponsored the training session.
Priests tied to abuse listed
Report: Some of accused clergy have ties to Niagara County.
by Mark Scheer and Rick Pfeiffer
A list of priests accused of sexual abuse while serving in the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo includes several names with previous ties to parishes in Niagara County.
The list, released Tuesday morning by attorneys representing sexual abuse victims, covers clergy associated with the Diocese of Buffalo who have been accused of committing sexual offense crimes against minors.
Of the 13 priests on the list compiled by Jeff Anderson & Associates, P.A., five were shown to have service histories with ties to Niagara County communities, including Niagara Falls, North Tonawanda and Lockport.
Included on the list are:
• The Rev. Robert J. Biesinger , who served at St. Mary's in Lockport in 1968. According to the report, Beisinger resigned after a survivor filed a lawsuit alleging that he sexually abused her as a child. The report indicates that a second woman later came forward and alleged that Father Biesinger sexually abused her as a young adult. Biesinger's last appointment was from 1988 to 1994 where he served at St. Aloysius Gonzaga in Cheektowaga. He died in 2012.
• The Rev. Joseph P. Friel , who served at St. Joseph in North Tonawanda in 1959 and at St. Charles in Niagara Falls from 1988 to 1990. According to the report, Friel was the subject of a 1994 civil lawsuit alleging that he sexually abused a teenage boy in the late 1960s. The report indicates that Father Friel died in 1995 just over a year after the lawsuit was filed.
• The Rev. Fred D. Ingalls , who served at St. Joseph's in Niagara Falls from 1983 to 1988. According to the report, Ingalls was placed on leave and sent to an out-of-state treatment facility in February 2004 after he was criminally charged with receiving child pornography and storing it on a computer in the rectory in June 2004. The report indicates that Ingalls pleaded guilty and was subsequently sentenced to just over three years in federal prison.
• The Rev. Bernard M. Mach , who served at Sacred Heart in Niagara Falls in 1981 and at St. Mary's in Lockport from 1991 to 1993. According to the report, Mach was placed on leave in December 1993 in the wake of an allegation of child sexual abuse. He reportedly lived in Florida without privileges before he died in 2004.
• The Rev. Loville N. Martlock , who served at St. John de LaSalle in Niagara Falls from 1980 to 1981. According to the report, Martlock was placed on medical leave and sent to an out-of-state treatment facility in 1994 in the wake of an allegation of child sexual abuse.
A sixth priest on the list — Father Norbert Orsolits — admitted to the Buffalo News last month that he sexually abused "dozens" of boys while serving in the Buffalo Catholic Diocese in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
While the list released by the attorneys on Monday did not show Orsolits having served in Niagara County, the Catholic Diocese previously confirmed to the Niagara Gazette that he served at Our Lady Czestochowa parish on Oliver Street in North Tonawanda for roughly five months from September of 1973 until February of 1974. A spokesman for the diocese said he could not "reveal any specific allegations" against Orsolits as they related to his time at the North Tonawanda church.
The report containing the list of priests' names was released by Jeff Anderson and J. Michael Reck, attorneys who have been involved in previous civil litigation involving survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Their report notes that the "vast majority" of the claims against the priests in question "have not been evaluated in a civil court" and cautions that all allegations should be considered allegations and should not be "considered proved or substantiated in a court of law."
The attorneys said the report is an attempt to compile information already available to the public from various sources of public media, bishopaccountability.org and other sources that have attempted to chronicle such information for public use. The report notes that the Diocese of Buffalo does not make available to the public the "full history, knowledge and context of the sexually abusive clerics."
"We're hoping the diocese will do the right thing (now)," Reck said."That they will acknowledge what they did and what the'll do about it. How can an institution make itself better without acknowledging the mistakes of its past."
The Buffalo Diocese announced earlier this month the creation of the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program, which will allow a third-party administrated fund to provide compensation for survivors of sexual abuse by priests. Attorneys from Anderson and Associates noted that the fund is available only for survivors who previously reported their abuse.
"That is a very small percentage of the survivors," Reck said. I think it's a good, small, first step.
The attorneys also noted that a deadline of June 1 has been established for those who qualify for the IRCP in the diocese.
In response to requests for comment about the attorneys' list, a spokesman for the Buffalo Catholic Diocese said: "Any time we receive notice of a claim of abuse and there is a semblance of truth, we remove the priest from active ministry and report it to the appropriate district attorney in accordance with our agreement with the eight counties in our diocese."
“Since the announcement about the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program, we have heard from a number of people, some of whom have filed claims.”
Diocese spokesman George Richert indicated that the diocese intends to release its own list of priest names associated with abuse "very soon," adding that Bishop Malone is "taking this very seriously."
Reck and his partner, Anderson, will release the names of more priests accused of sexually abusing minors in the Dioceses of Syracuse and Ogdensburg. The pair say they hope Catholic dioceses across New York will move to become more transparent on the issue of priests accused of sexual abuse.
"It's our hope to be on the forefront of the child protection movement in New York," Reck said.
TO FILE A COMPLAINT
• Anyone who wants to file a complaint of sexual or other abuse by a priest of the Western New York Catholic Diocese is encouraged to contact the victim assistance coordinator for the diocese at 895-3010.
Child abuse bill spearheaded by detectives clears another hurdle
by Katie Pelton
DENVER (KKTV) -- A bill is moving forward that would change child abuse laws in our state. The issue is being spearheaded by a group of detectives from southern Colorado.
Senate Bill 119 passed the Senate Appropriations Committee on Tuesday. It's a small victory for local detectives who are pushing for this bill to help kids in our community.
"I was abused for several years and confined from duct tape to saran wrap to leather straps. I was electrocuted," said Victor Marx. He shared his story at the Colorado State Capitol in support of Senate Bill 119.
The bill would make it a felony to detain a child by tying, locking, caging, or chaining them for an unreasonable amount of time.
"I was one of the kids that we're talking about right now that needs protection," said Marx. Now a group of detectives from the Pikes Peak region are working to get kids that protection.
"They had a window that was boarded up with about six inches left of light coming into the house," said Fountain Police Sgt. Mark Cristiani recalling a previous case. "The door was locked so the children could not get out. There was nothing in the room."
"The Fountain Police Department were allowed only to charge these parents with misdemeanors," said Sgt. Cristiani.
Opponents argue we don't need another law. "We find the act unnecessary because there are already existing, more appropriate legal mechanisms to both punish offenders, as well as protect children," said Genevieve Manco with the Colorado Bar Association.
But detectives disagree. "Currently under the child abuse statute, you can only charge a type of felony, and not any type of misdemeanor, when there is serious bodily injury involved," said El Paso County Chief of Staff Janet Huffor.
Senate bill 119 reads: The bill states that a person commits class 5 felony false imprisonment if he or she confines or detains another person less than 18 years of age by means of tying, locking, caging, chaining, or otherwise restricting that person's freedom of movement by any instrumentality for an unreasonable amount of time under the circumstances.
The bill will soon head to the House. We will be at the state capitol when lawmakers discuss it again. We'll let you know what happens.
KKTV has been tracking this bill. Click here to read our previous story. 11 Call for Action Reporter Katie Pelton sat down with all of the detectives who are spearheading the issue. Click here to read the story.
Iowa Senate votes to extend statute of limitations for child sex abuse claims
by William Petroski
The Iowa Senate voted Tuesday night to extend the statute of limitations for lawsuits alleging child sexual abuse.
The Senate amended House File 2284 , a bill dealing with judgments on claims for rent, to include provisions authored by Sen. Janet Petersen, D-Des Moines. She said the bill doubles and sometimes quadruples the statute of limitations for landlords to go after renters, but she was also concerned about victims of child sexual abuse.
"We have seen case after case in the news about child sexual abusers who have preyed on multiple children," Petersen said.
She specifically referenced a case involving Penn State University in which 10 boys were sexually abused over at least a 15-year period and another case in which a physician for the U.S. Olympics gymnastic team has had at least 265 victims identified.
One provision of the amended legislation, which returns to the House for consideration, would extend the statute of limitations for damages suffered as a result of sexual abuse suffered when the victim was a child but was not discovered until after the victim turned 18. The provision extends the statute of limitations from four years after discovery to 25 years after discovery if the discovery was after the age of 18.
In addition, the time to file an action for damages suffered as a result of the sexual abuse when the victim was a child would be extended to 25 years after the victim turns 18, regardless of when the injury was discovered.
The amendment also extends the statute of limitations for damages suffered as a result of sexual abuse or sexual exploitation by a counselor, therapist, or school employee from five years after the victim was last treated by the counselor or therapist to 10 years and from five to 10 years after the victim was last enrolled in or attended school.
However, if the victim was a minor when the abuse or exploitation occurred, the statute of limitations for bringing an action for damages would be 25 years after the victim turns 18 or 25 years after the discovery of the injury and related damages if the discovery was after age 18.
Sen. Jeff Edler, R-State Center, who was the bill's floor manager, thanked Petersen for offering the amendment.
"I agree. I think there is common ground here and I am going to urge my colleagues to support this amendment," Edler said.
The amendment was approved on a voice vote and the bill passed 49-0.
Senate budget resolution gives chance at new child sex abuse laws
by Kenneth Lovett
ALBANY - A Senate GOP budget resolution awaiting action Wednesday leaves the door open for a deal on legislation making it easier for child sex abuse victims to seek justice as adults.
"The Senate budget resolution will affirm our support for amendments to both the civil and criminal statutes of limitations to further protect children from sexual predators,” said Senate GOP spokesman Scott Reif.
But unlike Gov. Cuomo and the Assembly Democrats, the Senate Republicans' commitment offers no specific plan.
A deal would have to be hashed out as part of the upcoming state budget negotiations.
“We're extremely disappointed that this resolution once again doesn't provide justice to so many survivors,” said Senate Democratic spokesman Mike Murphy.
Gov. Cuomo and the Senate Democrats support the Child Victims Act; the Assembly has passed different versions of the legislation over the past 12 years, including last year. But the Senate GOP has never allowed the measure to come to the floor for a vote.
Senate Republicans have been under increasing pressure this election year from child sex abuse survivors advocates who've zeroed in on their longstanding opposition. In addition to focusing their efforts at the Capitol, advocates have also been holding events calling out specific Republican senators in their home districts.
Gary Greenberg, an upstate investor and survivor who created a political action committee to push for the Child Victims Act, warned that if the Republicans don't act this year, there will be electoral consequences.
“All parties must work together to achieve a viable solution to get predators off our streets,” Greenberg said.
He noted New York has among the worst child sex abuse laws in the country.
“That is unacceptable to the residents of New York State,” Greenberg said. “If the Senate Republicans cannot negotiate in good faith then all advocates and victims will unite to see these senators defeated at the ballot box.”
The November elections will determine which party will control the chamber the next two years.
AP: Child-on-child sex assault cases languish on US bases
by Justin Pritchard and Reese Dunklin
A decade after the Pentagon began confronting rape in the ranks, the U.S. military frequently fails to protect or provide justice to the children of service members when they are sexually assaulted by other children on base, an Associated Press investigation has found.
Reports of assaults and rapes among kids on military bases often die on the desks of prosecutors, even when an attacker confesses. Other cases don't make it that far because criminal investigators shelve them, despite requirements they be pursued.
The Pentagon does not know the scope of the problem and does little to track it. AP was able to document nearly 600 sex assault cases on base since 2007 through dozens of interviews and by piecing together records and data from the military's four main branches and school system.
Sexual violence occurs anywhere children and teens gather on base — homes, schools, playgrounds, food courts, even a chapel bathroom. Many cases get lost in a dead zone of justice, with neither victim nor offender receiving help.
"These are the children that we need to be protecting, the children of our heroes," said Heather Ryan, a former military investigator.
The tens of thousands of kids who live on bases in the U.S. and abroad are not covered by military law. The U.S. Justice Department , which has jurisdiction over many military bases, isn't equipped or inclined to handle cases involving juveniles, so it rarely takes them on.
Federal prosecutors, for example, pursued roughly one in seven juvenile sex offense cases that military investigators presented, according to AP's review of about 100 investigative files from Navy and Marine Corps bases.
In one unprosecuted case from Japan, witnesses confirmed that a 17-year-old boy pulled a 17-year-old girl from a car in a school parking lot and took her to his residence, where she said he raped her. A medical exam of the girl found his semen.
On a U.S. Army base in Germany, Leandra Mulla told investigators that her teenage ex-boyfriend dragged her to a secluded area and thrust his hand down her pants while forcibly trying to kiss her. Four years later, Mulla still wonders what came of her report.
Offenders, meanwhile, typically receive neither therapy nor punishment, and some are shuffled off to other installations or into the civilian world.
In North Carolina, at Camp Lejeune, the coastal training ground for U.S. Marines, a 9-year-old boy admitted to Naval Criminal Investigative Service investigators that he had fondled toddlers in his home and classmates at Heroes Elementary School. He said he couldn't help himself.
Military child abuse specialists couldn't help him either — they intervene only when the alleged abuser is a parent or other caretaker. A federal prosecutor twice declined to take action.
A dozen current or former prosecutors and military investigators described to AP how policies within the Pentagon and Justice Department thwarted efforts to help victims and rehabilitate offenders.
"The military is designed to kill people and break things," said former Army criminal investigator Russell Strand, one of the military's pioneering experts on sexual assault . "The primary mission, it's not to deal with kids sexually assaulting kids on federal property."
Sexual assault cases can be difficult to investigate and messy to prosecute, more so when they involve children. Offenders may threaten further harm, and victims or their parents may not want to relive the trauma through lengthy investigations and prosecutions.
AP began investigating sexual violence among military children after readers of its 2017 investigation of sex assault in U.S. public schools described an even more complex problem on bases.
AP found the otherwise data-driven Pentagon does not analyze reports it receives of sexual violence among children and teens on base. When the Defense Department said it could not pinpoint the number of assault reports, AP used U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests to obtain investigative reports and data from the agencies that police the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marines. AP also analyzed documents released by the Pentagon's school system, which educates 71,000 students in seven U.S. states and 11 other countries.
Records the military initially released omitted a third of the cases AP identified through interviews with prosecutors, military investigators, family members, whistleblowers and data that officials later provided. Other cases get buried.
Strand, now a private-sector consultant, estimated that in the Army alone colleagues passed on opening several hundred sex assault cases involving offenders under 14. Strand said he learned of those alleged assaults in the 32 years that he was a military investigator and, later, as a trainer.
Responding to AP's findings, the Defense Department said it "takes seriously any incident impacting the well-being of our service members and their families." The department promised to take "appropriate actions" to help juveniles involved in sex assaults. It said it was "not aware of any juvenile sex offender treatment specialists" working in the military or its school system.
The Office of the Secretary of Defense described child-on-child sexual assault as "an emerging issue" that merited further review. AP found that military lawyers have warned about a juvenile justice black hole since the 1970s.
The military's school system said student safety was its highest priority, that school officials were obligated to report all incidents and that "a single report of sexual assault is one too many."
Leandra Mulla was a freshman at Vilseck High School on a U.S. Army base in Germany when, she recalls, her former boyfriend dragged her off campus and sexually assaulted her one afternoon in February 2014. Her basketball coach saw her crying and alerted the principal's office.
At a police station on base, Army criminal investigators and local authorities met with Mulla. They took some of her clothes as evidence, she said, and when it was over an officer explained someone would be in touch.
After no one followed up and the boy remained in school, her father sought answers. Pete Mulla, a civilian Army employee, said military investigators offered fuzzy details about German officials possibly having done something.
All the family could glean was that some sort of restraining order had been issued.
"I just really want closure," said Mulla, who graduated last spring. "At least tell me something."
Prosecutors in Germany, who share jurisdiction over crimes on U.S. military bases there, told AP they investigated but found insufficient evidence to file charges. The Pentagon school system told AP it had "no responsive records" on the Mulla case.
Leandra Mulla said neither the Army nor the school offered her any help, such as counseling.
"The military is a great field to be in," she said. "But they just like to cover up what goes on because they have an expectation and they try to uphold an image."
How sexual assault reports are handled can hinge on personality and rank. Whether their child is the accused or accuser, higher-ranking families receive more consideration, several former military investigators and lawyers told AP. Supervisors with kids of their own were more likely to push an investigation, they said, while in Army offices preoccupied with case backlogs investigators would stash less serious allegations in a "raw data" file, where they languished.
Regulations require that all credible reports of sexual assault be investigated, Army Criminal Investigation Command spokesman Chris Grey said, adding that raw data files are checked for cases that merit a second look.
AP unearthed just over 200 cases missing from records the military and Pentagon school system initially provided when asked about assaults. At least 44 had been criminally investigated.
Some agencies resisted providing all data sources or defined cases in ways that led to undercounts. Pressed about missing cases, for example, Grey said that data initially released representing "the number of sex crimes reported at installations" in fact reflected a much narrower subset — full investigations "closed" only after an extensive, bureaucratic paperwork process.
Among the missing cases was one in which an Army investigator's step-daughter reported being assaulted in a pool at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. According to the official data provided AP, there were no assaults at that base. The last assault on any Army base in Germany was, according to the records, in 2012 — two years before Mulla reported being attacked.
AP also found undisclosed cases at large military bases in Alaska, Colorado, Texas and Italy, which reported having no or only a few sexual assaults.
Unlike many U.S. school districts, Pentagon schools do not publicly share statistics on student sex assaults. Responding to AP's request for total incidents since the start of 2007, school officials said they had information only as of fall 2011 and produced documents that showed 67 sexual assault or rape reports through last summer.
A review of the school system's underlying records, though, showed they were in such disarray that, for four years, forms recording sexual assaults were misclassified as "child pornography" reports.
Reporters also learned of a separate student information database that logs student misconduct. After arguing the database could not be analyzed, school system officials released logs showing 157 confirmed cases — mostly fondling and groping — that fit the criteria for a federal felony charge. They acknowledged those records were incomplete.
Presented with AP's findings before publication, school system officials said their primary incident tracking system "has had some challenges" and acknowledged that the student information database included "additional cases of interest."
On most bases, the military's criminal branches investigate sex assault reports, and U.S. Justice Department attorneys decide whether to prosecute.
Federal prosecutors tend to be "allergic" to any case involving juveniles, said James Trusty, a Washington, D.C., attorney who as a longtime Justice Department section chief advised colleagues considering juvenile prosecutions.
Department policy is that federal prosecutors should hand juvenile cases to their local counterparts whenever possible. AP found few military bases where local authorities regularly assumed such cases.
The federal reluctance to prosecute is clear in an AP analysis of about 100 juvenile-on-juvenile sex assault investigations on Navy and Marine Corps bases over the last decade.
Investigators referred 74 cases to federal prosecutors who, according to records released to AP, pursued only 11 cases. In contrast, local prosecutors were presented with 29 cases and acted on 11.
Cases from overseas bases were almost never prosecuted, including those that came with a confession.
In one unprosecuted case, a 14-year-old boy told investigators that over many months he broke into the bedrooms of two girls on an Air Force base in Japan while their families slept. He later recanted an admission that he molested one girl, though records noted video evidence of a sexual assault.
The findings come from more than 600 pages of investigative summaries the Naval Criminal Investigative Service released after redacting some details on personal privacy grounds.
One case involved the alleged assaults by the 9-year-old boy at Heroes Elementary on Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune.
Less than 24 hours after the initial report of an assault in the boy's home, the federal prosecutor on base declined to take the case because of "the age of the parties involved and the circumstances surrounding the alleged incident," according to the case file.
That decision came before NCIS agents had interviewed the boy. When agents pressed on, they found he'd also fondled kids in school and at a sleepover. Approached again by investigators, the prosecutor stood firm. AP was unable to locate the families involved, and no official would discuss the case.
A Justice Department spokesman said the agency does not comment on how its attorneys select cases. Prosecution rates are not a good way to assess how the system is working, spokesman Wyn Hornbuckle wrote in an email, though he said there was no alternative measure for such "a niche area" as juvenile sex assault cases on bases.
Former prosecutors and criminal investigators described to AP a legal netherworld in which justice for the children of service members depends on luck and location.
When a call came into the Air Force Office of Special Investigations on bases where Nate Galbreath was a special agent, his first move was to a map. Even bases that are governed by federal law can have nooks where, due to historical quirks and formal or informal agreements, local law enforcement takes the lead.
"It got very complicated very quickly," recalled Galbreath, now the top expert at the Pentagon's Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office, which monitors and responds to incidents among service members.
No place illustrates the intricate legal terrain quite like Fort Campbell, which as home to the Army's 101st Airborne Division straddles the Kentucky-Tennessee line. Even though it is a base where federal law prevails, the local court handled some alleged assaults on the Kentucky side. Cases on the Tennessee side were routed to federal prosecutors.
There is only one legally bulletproof way to move civilian cases from a federal jurisdiction base, experts said. It involves a rarely used legal process in which the Pentagon formally transfers jurisdiction to local authorities, as has been done at Kentucky's Fort Knox and Joint Base Lewis-McChord outside Tacoma, Washington.
When prosecutors don't get involved, a base commander may ban an offender from returning, pending therapy, or transfer the family. But commanders don't have to take any action.
"There's not necessarily any kind of justice, it's just, 'You can't be here anymore,'" said Marcus Williams, a former NCIS investigator who now handles discrimination claims, including sex assault reports, at Brigham Young University.
Relocating a kid rather than requiring rehabilitative therapy through a court process misses a crucial opportunity for reform. The most comprehensive research suggests that only 5 percent of juveniles who are arrested for a sex offense will get caught reoffending. Experts worry that when adults do not intervene, children may conclude assaults are acceptable.
The fear of future victims still gnaws at Heather Ryan, who worked as an NCIS investigator for more than two years at Camp Lejeune.
In 2011, two sisters, 7 and 9, said their 10-year-old half-brother sexually assaulted them and threatened violence if they talked. The boy confessed.
Ryan worried the boy could become a lifelong offender, but said she struggled to get him help from the military's vast support structure. Desperate, Ryan persuaded a federal prosecutor to take the case with a plan of forcing the 10-year-old into sex offender treatment in the civilian world.
When the boy stopped cooperating, the case fell apart. His family was later transferred to a base in another state. It's unclear whether he ever received therapy.
"This child needed help. He really, really needed help," Ryan, who retired from NCIS in 2015, said. "I think of him a lot and wonder how he's doing, and if he has hurt anybody else."
If you have a tip, comment or story to share about child-on-child sexual assault on U.S. military bases, please email: email@example.com . See AP's entire package of stories here: https://www.apnews.com/tag/HiddenVictims
Child sexual abuse 'not exclusive to one community, race or religion'
by Nick Lester
Child sexual exploitation is a vile crime not exclusive to any one community, race or religion, the Government has said.
Tory frontbencher Lord Young of Cookham was responding to claims by a Ukip peer that "millions of rapes" had been carried out by Muslim men against white and Sikh girls.
Lord Pearson of Rannoch pressed the Government over the scale of the problem in the wake of grooming and sexual abuse scandals in Rotherham, Rochdale and Oxford.
Speaking in the House of Lords, the Ukip former leader said: "These girls are usually raped several times a day.
"We seem to be looking at millions of rapes of white and Sikh girls by Muslim men, only 222 of whom have been convicted since 2005."
He added: "Will the Government ask our Muslim leaders whether the perpetrators can claim that their behaviour is sanctioned in the Koran and to issue a fatwa against it?
"Will the Government encourage a national debate about the various interpretations of Islam? Can we talk about Islam without being accused of hate crime?"
Responding, Lord Young (pictured) said: "Child sexual exploitation is a vile crime and it is not exclusive to any one community or culture or race or religion.
"Political sensitivities or cultural sensitivities should not get into the way of tracking down offenders and preventing future abuse."
He warned of the need to be "careful about our language" in this area following reports that anti-Islamic letters had been posted across the country, inciting a "Punish a Muslim Day" on April 3.
Lord Young said: "So I think we need to be careful about how we approach this."
He added: "There's nothing in the Koran that encourages the sort of activity he has referred to.
"In any case the Koran would be trumped by the law of the land. Islam like all world religions neither supports, nor advocates nor condones child sexual exploitation.
"Indeed respect for women is inherent in its faith."
The Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Rev Steven Croft, had been Bishop of Sheffield at the time of the exploitation scandal in Rotherham and had visited the town in the wake of the 2014 report, which revealed how more than 1,400 children were raped, trafficked and sexually abused between 1997 and 2013.
The Bishop said he had "registered the shock across all sections of the community, including the Muslim community in Rotherham, who are as deeply appalled at what has happened as the rest of the community".
He said: "Would the minister affirm the condemnation with which these scandals are greeted across the Muslim communities in each of these towns and cities?"
Lord Young said: "There is only one word which I can say and that is Amen."
Did a Couple Adopt a Native American Child for $10 in 1952?
The story behind a decades-old letter that went viral in 2018
by Dan MacGuill
A letter purportedly documenting a Catholic orphanage's sale of a Native American child to an Illinois couple received widespread attention decades later on social media, highlighting a practice that has not made it into many American history books — but which is an indelible part of the country's recent past.
In the 1952 letter, Fr. John Pohlen, who ran the Tekakwitha Indian Mission in Sisseton, South Dakota, wrote:
Dear Mr. and Mrs. Seely,
Thank you very kindly for your donation of 10.00 for my little Indians. Yours is the first invitation that was ever extended to one of our papooses [Native American children] to come and spend the vacation somewhere. We have a few little boys and girls who have noone at all interested whether they live or die or come and go.
I would send a little boy of six years or older or a little girl whatever you prefer. These Indian children are very little trouble, especially the one I have in mind. If you really mean it, I will see that we get him ready; you may have him any time you desire. I am not making any inquiries about you, because it takes a good person to make an offer as you did.
Please, let me know.
With kindest regards,
Michelle Dauphinais Echols, an attorney and advocate for Native American survivors of child abuse at Catholic institutions, posted the letter — which is authentic, and which provides a window into the history of child abuse perpetrated by the Catholic Church on Native American children — to Facebook.
The boy that Malcolm and Suzanne Seely wound up adopting is now 71 years old as of March 2018. Dennis Isaac Seely told us in a phone interview that he was an infant in 1946 when he was forcibly taken from his mother, a Dakota Sioux woman living on the Lake Traverse Reservation in Sisseton, close to the North Dakota-Minnesota border:
My mother had gone out to dance that night, and this woman was babysitting me… These two men drove up in front of her house, knocked on the door and I was in her arms…
This woman tried to hold these people back, and they punched her in the head and knocked her backwards on to the floor… Then they took me out of her arms…
Seely later pieced together the details of his early life from speaking with relatives and the family friend who was babysitting the night he was kidnapped. He says when his mother returned home, the men warned her and her friend that they faced arrest if they came looking for him at the orphanage. The women went anyway, Seely says, and were thrown in prison for a week. Seely lived in the “papoose house” at the mission for the next five years.
Pohlen ran the orphanage while Seely lived there. According to Seely and several others who joined in a 2010 class action lawsuit against the Catholic Diocese of Sioux Falls, Pohlen not only sexually abused the children himself, but sold them to people who wanted to acquire the children permanently or even “borrow” them as part of a sinister system of trial adoptions. (Pohlen died in 1969 at the age of 83.)
Two dozen former occupants of the orphanage joined the lawsuit, which was ultimately dismissed in 2011. They sued the Catholic Diocese of Sioux Falls and several religious orders over alleged sexual, physical and emotional abuse committed by 15 named Catholic clergymen and nuns between 1941 and 1982. One of the plaintiffs alleges that when she was six years old in 1952: “she was sexually abused by many of the potential adoptive families that [Pohlen], in his capacity as the head of the Orphanage, sent her to visit.” Pohlen's accusers say he abused little boys and girls, both in the “papoose house” and in his own private quarters on the grounds of the mission.
In a statement, a spokesperson for Pohlen's order, the Central United States Province of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, told us:
Everything we know about Fr. Pohlen suggests that he worked tirelessly, and at considerable personal sacrifice, to improve the lives of Native American children and others in the Sisseton community. It appears that he was well-respected among the Native American community of Sisseton as well. We have no information that would indicate that Fr. Pohlen ever exploited or facilitated the sexual abuse of Native American children through trial adoptions, permanent adoptions, participation in visits or vacations with local families, or otherwise.
Seely says otherwise. In one incident, he says Pohlen — who would have been 65 years old at the time — sexually abused Seely, who was then a four-year-old boy, tricking him with the promise of a lollipop.
“Keep him as long as you want him”
On 3 May 1952, eight days after Pohlen's letter to the Seelys, the five-year-old Dennis was alone on an 18-hour, 700-mile bus journey to his new home with only “a little bag of food” and a sign around his neck.
To make matters worse, Seely says, the bus broke down along the way, and he soiled himself and spent the night in prison after a “kind police officer” took him in, before putting him back on the bus the next morning.
Not long after young Dennis arrived in Wheaton, Pohlen wrote to Suzanne Seely: “Keep him as long as you want him — and nobody claims him.” But shortly after he arrived at the Seely house, his biological father showed up; Seely believes it was to take him home:
My father, Ben Hill, tracked me down to 217 West Front Street [in Wheaton], and they let him in. He gave me half a box of Bazooka bubble gum, and he kind of hugged me, and that was it.
His mother Sophia died in May 1963 at the age of 41, after suffering for months with cirrhosis of the liver brought on by alcoholism. Before she died, he says, his birth family tried to contact him to tell him his mother was dying so that they could see each other and say their goodbyes:
They were trying to find me…
I think they did get a hold of the Seelys, but [the Seelys] just kept it quiet. They didn't let me know. They didn't tell me that she needed to see me.
He says it was years before he found out his mother had died.
‘Cheap Indian labor'
Seely has no doubts about why he was acquired from the orphanage:
As I got older, I got to thinking of myself as cheap Indian labor. They never paid me much for anything… I kind of cleaned the floor and I had to sweep down everything…
I had to work my way, you know, to get my food. I lived about a mile and a half from the high school, in West Chicago, Illinois, and never once did they ever take me to school in bad weather… I walked.
Asked whether the Seelys ever regarded or referred to him as their son, he replied, “No. They just called me Dennis.” The Seelys also appear to have attempted to erase all record of his Dakota Sioux family and heritage. An apparently falsified birth certificate lists Malcolm and Suzanne as his biological parents. The document is dated 15 July 1947, five years before Dennis arrived in the Seely's home. It lists Suzanne Seely's age at the time of his birth as 51.
"Kill the Indian in order to save the Man"
The National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition, a nonprofit dedicated to educating the public about the history of Native American boarding schools, counts the Tekakwitha Indian Mission in Sisseton as one of 23 “American Indian boarding schools” in South Dakota, many of them Catholic.
These types of schools sprang up in the 19th century as part of a federal policy to forcibly assimilate Native American children into white society by kidnapping them from their families and erasing their religious, cultural and linguistic traditions. The National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition, says there were 351 such institutions nationwide , and 53 of them were still open as of 2017.
Richard Pratt, who in Pennsylvania in 1879 founded the first of these schools, infamously summed up the “civilizing” mission of the policy: “Kill the Indian in order to save the Man.”
After being abducted from their families, the children faced routine mistreatment and abuse including malnutrition, denial of medical treatment, and forced labor. Some were even killed using dangerous machinery without proper instruction, according to a United Nations report .
The search for justice
Michelle Dauphinais Echols, the attorney who first published Pohlen's letter to the Seelys, works with survivors of other boarding schools in the region. In particular, she has worked on the “ 9 Little Girls ” campaign on behalf of nine sisters who sued Catholic institutions for alleged sexual abuse by nuns, priests, and brothers at the St. Paul's Indian Mission on the Yankton Sioux Reservation at Marty, South Dakota.
In 2012, the South Dakota Supreme Court ruled against the women and other plaintiffs, finding that the Diocese of Sioux Falls was not liable for the actions of clergy employed at the mission and that a 2010 law meant nobody over the age of 40 could sue an institution for abuse perpetrated by specific individuals. Survivors of child sexual abuse often find it difficult to confront their trauma until later in life, which means many are well over 40 when they seek justice in the courts system. By then, their abusers are often dead, meaning they can only seek redress from the institutions where the abuse occurred. But HB 1104, the 2010 law passed in South Dakota makes this effectively impossible.
Dauphinais Echols tried to change the law, by writing Senate Bill 196 , which would have repealed the “40-year-old” rule on suing institutions, as well as temporarily suspending the three-year statute of limitations. On 13 February 2018, South Dakota's Senate Judiciary Committee voted 4-3 against forwarding SB 196 to the floor of the Senate, essentially killing the bill.
However, Dauphinais Echols plans to resurrect SB 196 in the future. Speaking to us by phone, she said she and the sisters would leverage the 2018 elections to galvanize support for the bill:
We're really going to be focusing on…supporting campaigns for those people who are with us and doing the right thing in the legislature. We're also going to be identifying candidates that have the courage to do the right thing, and supporting their campaigns.
In 1990, Seely went back to the reservation from where he had been kidnapped more than 40 years before. He told us:
I felt like an outsider. Everything was taken away from me — my language, my history, everything. I felt like a white person coming into the reservation.
On one occasion, he got into an argument with a tribal elder who told him to “go back where you came from.”
As a tribal police officer back in the 1990s, he came back to the site of the Tekakwitha mission, which was demolished in 2010. As he stood in the place he spent the first five years of his life, memories flooded back. He told us:
I can remember a lot of the kids looking for their parents to come and get them… Looking for someone to come down the driveway there, off the main highway there. No one ever came.
Too many children still exposed to family violence in their home
by the University of Auckland
New University of Auckland research has found uneven progress has been made in reducing the amount of violence teenagers have been exposed to in their homes.
Academics from the University's School of Population Health used data from the Youth 2000 series of cross-sectional surveys carried out on New Zealand high school students aged between 12- and 19 year's old.
They were asked questions about witnessing emotional and physical violence in three computer based surveys, one in 2001, and again in 2007 and 2012, with about 10,000 students interviewed each time.
For emotional violence , the children were asked two questions; During the past 12 months, how many times have you seen adults in your home yelling or swearing at a child (other than you)? And, During the past 12 months how many times have you seen adults in your home yelling or swearing at each other?
For physical violence, they were asked: During the past 12 months, how many times have you seen adults in your home hitting or physically hurting a child (other than you)? And, During the past 12 months how many times have you seen adults in your home hitting or physically hurting another adult?
Exploration of trends in young people's exposure to violence over the period 2001-2012 showed some changes, but those changes were not shared by all young people.
Four groups were identified in the study sample; these were characterised by the children's ethnicity, concerns about family relationships , food security and alcohol consumption. For two groups (characterised by food security, positive family relationships and lower exposure to physical violence), there was a reduction in the proportion of respondents who witnessed physical violence (from about 14 percent to about 10 percent) an increase in the proportion who witnessed emotional violence between 2001 and 2012 (from approximately 44 percent to 50 percent, for group two, and 58% to 62% for group one.
For the two groups characterised by poorer food security and higher exposure to physical violence, there were no changes in witnessing physical violence in the home.
Study lead author Dr. Janet Fanslow says that while family violence is a global problem, predominantly comprised of intimate partner violence, child abuse and maltreatment, and elder abuse, New Zealand has among the highest reported rates in the developed world for intimate partner violence (IPV), the most frequently reported form of family violence between adults in the home. This is distressing, because international evidence increasingly shows that violence is a preventable problem.
"The young people who came from families with poorer food security and higher exposure to physical violence between adults reported no changes in violence exposure over the decade under review, despite there being some initial national investment in violence prevention over this time," Dr. Fanslow says.
A review of the impact of childhood and adolescent exposure to IPV highlighted that exposure to IPV in childhood is associated with reduced parental attachment, increased risk of antisocial behaviour in adolescence, and increased risk of personal experience of violence.
"To get long-term changes in young people's exposure to violence, New Zealand needs sustained action and investment in violence prevention," Dr. Fanslow says.
"If we are serious about preventing the adverse effects of violence exposure among young people , we need to invest in prevention long-term, and work to address other social disparities, like financial stress."
The study has recently been published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health .
More information: Pauline Gulliver et al. Uneven progress in reducing exposure to violence at home for New Zealand adolescents 2001-2012: a nationally representative cross-sectional survey series, Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health (2018). DOI: 10.1111/1753-6405.12775
Arizona judge investigated over sex abuse claim
by Jacques Billeaud
PHOENIX (AP) - An Arizona judge is being investigated on allegations of sexually abusing a girl from when she was 13 until she reached adulthood, The Associated Press has learned.
The alleged victim, now 25, told investigators last year that Pinal County Superior Court Judge Steven Fuller touched her genitals and buttocks repeatedly and also showed her pornography, according to a police report obtained by The Associated Press.
The woman said she and the judge knew each other before the alleged abuse occurred but the Associated Press is not identifying her because it generally does not name alleged sexual assault victims.
Deputy James Allerton, the spokesman for the Pima County Sheriff's Department, confirmed that an investigation of the judge is underway but declined further comment on the probe and the allegations.
Fuller's lawyer, Dennis Wilenchik, vehemently denied the allegations against his client, a former prosecutor who has served as an elected judge for the last seven years in Pinal County just south of the Phoenix metropolitan area. Fuller, through an assistant, declined a request from the AP to comment.
Matt Long, a lawyer for the woman who made the allegations, said Fuller presided over criminal cases after the allegations were made against him, raising questions about whether the investigation would affect his judicial decisions.
"It's something I would want to know as a prosecutor or defense attorney," Long said.
Fuller was reassigned to handle civil cases in an order signed Tuesday by Judge Stephen McCarville, the presiding judge for Pinal County. Todd D. Zweig, the administrator for Pinal County Superior Court, said in a statement that Fuller requested the reassignment while the allegations are pending. He did not say when Fuller made the request.
The alleged abuse occurred years ago and was reported in late September to police in the Phoenix suburb of Mesa by a lawyer for the Mormon church who said the alleged victim revealed the alleged abuse to her bishop. She spoke with investigators several weeks later, saying she was coming forward after being encouraged to do by Paul Babeu, a family friend who was the Pinal County Sheriff from 2009 through 2016.
The woman told investigators that she first told her mother when she was around age 13 that Fuller had touched her inappropriately but that her mother told her making those kind of claims could ruin others' lives. The woman in an interview and through emails with the investigator said the abuse continued on an almost weekly basis for years with Fuller touching her genitals and rubbing against her, the police report said. She told police Fuller separately showed her pornography.
The lawyer for the Mormon church went to police in Mesa, thinking that was where some of the alleged abuse occurred. Mesa police initially investigated but turned over the case to Pinal County authorities after discovering the alleged abuse happened in Pinal County. Pinal County officials seeking to avoid a conflict of interest handed the case to Pima County Sheriff's Department. The Mesa police report obtained by the AP does not state in what years the alleged abuse happened, but said it stopped when she became an adult.
The alleged victim made a "confrontation call" to Fuller in early February in an attempt to get him to admit wrongdoing, Long and Wilencheck said.
Fuller denied the allegations and hung up, said Wilenchik, who characterized the allegations as a smear tactic aimed at damaging Fuller's career.
"She is not the victim of anything," Wilenchick said. "Steve Fuller didn't do anything to make her into a victim. Steve is the victim."
Long said his client stands by what she has told authorities.
Heather Murphy, a spokeswoman for the Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct, which investigates allegations of misconduct against judges, declined to say whether complaints stemming from the sexual abuse allegations have been filed against Fuller or whether the agency is conducting an investigation of the judge.
McCarville did not respond to an email and phone message seeking comment on Fuller's status as a judge.
Zweig said the court is prepared to take steps to maintain public confidence in Pinal County's court system.
"While the allegations are under investigation, measures will be taken as necessary or appropriate to minimize any potential for compromising the public's confidence in the Court or the administration of justice," he said.
Michigan Senate passes legislation inspired by Nassar trials
by Jordyn Baker
Wednesday evening, the Michigan State Senate approved bipartisan legislation to provide more resources and support to survivors of sexual assault and harassment with a vote of 28-7. The bills will now go to the Michigan House of Representatives.
Led by the victims of Larry Nassar, disgraced former U.S.A. Gymnastics and Michigan State University doctor, the legislation came in a package of bills that works to change how universities and state institutions respond to sexual assault reports. Under the legislation, penalties for possessing child pornography are increased to four years . The individuals legally required to report sexual abuse complaints also increased to include coaches, athletic trainers, physical therapists with a penalty of $1,000 for not reporting. In addition, the law clarifies government entities, universities and colleges do not have immunity from cases of sexual assault.
Additionally, legislation would change the statute of limitations on reporting sexual assault. Under previous Michigan law, survivors who were abused as children generally can file lawsuits against their abusers until they turn 19 years old. The Associated Press reports the newly passed legislation gives survivors of child abuse a one-year timeframe to file lawsuit for claims from as early 1997. Those sexually assaulted during adult years cannot sue retroactively.
Earlier in the week, the bills were feared to be stuck in limbo as the Michigan Association of State Universities, which includes the University of Michigan, requested the Senate delay voting, claiming the legislation would have a “profound impact” on public Michigan universities. MASU's CEO Daniel Hurley wrote in a letter to lawmakers and Gov. Rick Snyder it would be crucial to take more time to consider potential effects of the legislation.
“We ask that decisions on these bills be delayed to allow for more analysis and discussion to ascertain their full impact,” Hurley wrote.
State Sen. Margaret O'Brien, R-Kalamazoo, pushed back on these claims in a statement , saying criticism “is not surprising but very disappointing … I don't understand what a delay would do except delay justice, or maybe the hope is to stop it entirely.”
The legislation also received criticism from governments, businesses, the Michigan Catholic Conference and others.
Democrats criticized the possibility of delaying voting on legislation. In a statement , State Sen. Curtis Hertel Jr., D-East Lansing, stated drawing the line between support for survivors and support for institutions is critical.
“At the end of the day, we have to decide whether we want to stand with the survivors or whether we want to stand with the big institutions on this,” he said. “I think it's fairly simple where we should be morally and that's where I'm going to be.”
State Sen. Mike Shirkey, R-Clarklake, voted against many of the bills, calling them “precedent-setting and very dangerous — things that we don't have any clue what the unintended consequences are.”
For those in support of legislation, the vote in the Senate signaled an advancement in providing justice to survivors. State Sen. David Knezek, D-Dearborn Heights, sponsored the bill that extends the statute of limitations, and stated this particular bill can elevate the voices of those abused in the past and those who report such abuse.
“(The bill) allows every single individual who was a victim of Dr. Nassar's to seek justice,” Knezek said. “We have a really unique opportunity to take Michigan out of the dark ages when it comes to our laws surrounding sexual assault, to give a voice to the victims who have been denied that voice for decades in some cases.”
"Time's up on serial rapists': Maryland sexual offense evidence bill nears passing
by Michael Dresser
A bill that would allow judges to admit evidence of other, similar sex offenses by a suspect accused of rape is poised to pass the Maryland Senate and receive a committee vote in the House of Delegates.
The Senate gave the legislation preliminary approval Wednesday and is expected to pass it by the end of the week. It would then go to the House Judiciary Committee, which is expected to take a long-awaited vote on the measure
Committee Chairman Joseph F. Vallario Jr. told The Baltimore Sun that he intends to advance the House version of the bill before a critical Monday deadline.
The progress pleased Baltimore State's Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby , one of the bill's chief advocates.
Previous versions of the bill have failed in the House committee. This year, Mosby said, “the dynamics are different.”
“In the year of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movement, time's up on serial rapists getting away with it,” Mosby said.
Republican Gov. Larry Hogan also supports the legislation.
It would give prosecutors a new tool for trying cases against serial sex offenders by letting them present to juries evidence of past incidents not directly related to defendants' pending charges. Such evidence is currently not admissible.
Mosby said the measure would help level the playing field between victims and defendants while still protecting the rights of the accused.
“The constitutional safeguards that are in place in the legislation are unparalleled,” she said.
Ricardo A. Flores, government relations director for the Office of the Public Defender, said he'd rather not see the legislature act on the legislation. He said the proper place for discussing such changes is in the Rules Committee of the Court of Appeals. But he said the Senate bill had been “significantly improved” since he testified against it early in the session.
Mosby has said her support for the legislation was driven in part by the case of Nelson Bernard Clifford, the Baltimore man who was acquitted in four separate rape cases after claiming his alleged victims in each consented to have sex with him. The juries in each of those trials never heard about the other alleged incidents.
In 2015, Mosby's office won a conviction of Clifford of third-degree sexual assault charges and theft in a fifth case. Prosecutors said he broke into a woman's home in the Barclay neighborhood and assaulted her. With a previous sexual assault conviction on his record, he received a 30-year prison sentence.
Maryland law currently allows criminal cases to proceed solely on evidence related to the specific charges. It does not allow evidence of past offenses to be admitted.
The legislation would create an exception to that rule in cases in which the victim is a child or when the defendant's defense is that the act was consensual.
Backers say the current law reduces the number of cases in which suspects have shown a pattern of behavior to “he said, she said” disputes around single incidents.
State Sen. James Brochin , the bill's Senate sponsor, said recent high-profile cases demonstrate the need for the legislation. The Baltimore County Democrat pointed to Dr. Larry Nassar, the team doctor of the U.S. women's national gymnastics team who was accused of molesting more than 250 girls and women over more than 20 years. He was convicted of 10 charges of sexual assault this year and sent to prison for what is expected to be the rest of his life.
“This is the Nassar case. This is the Bill Cosby case,” Brochin said. “This is giving victims a chance to have their say in court so the jury and a judge learns the whole story.”
Brochin said the bill would give defense attorneys ample opportunity to ask judges to exclude evidence of other alleged assaults by giving them 90 days to raise objections. Prosecutors would have to present “clear and convincing evidence” that the other behavior is relevant, and that its value as evidence outweighs its prejudicial impact on judges or juries.
At least 37 states and the federal government allow the admission of evidence of a pattern of behavior in sexual assault cases, Brochin said.
State Sen. Bobby Zirkin , the chairman of the Judicial Proceedings Committee, said the Senate has sent the proposal to the House in various forms over the years only to see it bottled up in the Judiciary Committee.
The Baltimore County Democrat said he's basing this year's bill on the legal doctrine of chances, which allows prosecutors to admit evidence of previous actions if they can show that it is extremely unlikely that those behaviors were not part of a pattern.
“A number of states have this position,” Zirkin said.
Flores questioned the doctrine of chances.
“We continue to be concerned with our justice system replacing proof with probability,” he said. “Nonetheless, we look forward to working with the House Judiciary Committee to ensure the existing balance in our current evidentiary laws aren't unnecessarily changed.”
Lisae C. Jordan, executive director of the Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault, said her group has been seeking the legislation for more than 20 years. She's concerned that the House might find “the Senate strayed so far from the Maryland rules of evidence.”
Jordan and Mosby both said they hope delegates write their own version and take it to a conference committee with the Senate.
That's what Vallario said Wednesday that he intends to do. He said he expects to move a bill sponsored by Del. Vanessa E. Atterbeary, a Howard County Democrat, in time for Monday's “crossover” deadline, when House bills are due in the Senate and vice versa.
With his support and strong bipartisan co-sponsorship, the legislation is virtually certain to pass the House.
Passage by both houses are no guarantee the bill will go to the governor's desk. Complicated bills have frequently become hung up in conferences between House and Senate committees.
Zirkin said he understands why the House has been wary in the past.
“When you start letting other victims in it, it's starting to mess around in rules that have been very carefully crafted,” he said.
Educational success curbs effects of child abuse, neglect
by the University of Michigan
The emotional and sexual abuse that some children endure can lead them to commit crimes later in life.
But when children achieve good grades and don't skip school, the likelihood of self-reported, chronic criminal behaviors declines significantly, according to researchers at the University of Michigan and University of Washington.
This new ongoing study is one of the few in the nation to follow the same individuals over several decades to learn about how child maltreatment -- described as physical, emotional and sexual abuse, as well as neglect -- impacts development and how some are resilient.
"Child abuse is a risk factor for later antisocial behavior," said study co-author Todd Herrenkohl, the Marion Elizabeth Blue Professor of Child and Family at the U-M School of Social Work. "Education and academic achievement can lessen the risk of crime for all youth, including those who have been abused (encountered stress and adversity)."
In addition to crime/antisocial behavior, the researchers also investigated effects on physical and mental health, drug and alcohol abuse, intergenerational transmission of violence, and socioeconomic disadvantage.
Previous studies about child maltreatment have not distinguished youth and adult chronic offenders from non-offenders and those who perpetrate antisocial behavior in adolescence only, who are called desisters.
"Given that offending in adolescence can persist into adulthood if left unaddressed, it is important to identify and act on factors that predispose individuals to ongoing patterns of antisocial behavior," said Hyunzee Jung, the study's lead author and a U-W researcher.
Data involved 356 people from childhood (ages 18 months to 6 years) in 1976-1977, school-age (8 years) in 1980-1982, adolescent (18 years) in 1990-1992 and adulthood (36 years) in 2010.
Parent reports, self-reports -- which included crime/antisocial behavior -- and parent-child interactions measured various types of abuse and neglect, and responses also factored educational experiences and criminal behavior against others or property.
The abuse led to people more likely to commit crimes, but this was not the case for those who had been neglected in their early years, the study shows.
Successful school experiences kept teens from both committing crimes and having antisocial behaviors. But for youths suspended in grades 7 to 9, the chronic offending habits and antisocial behaviors continued later in life, the researchers said.
Herrenkohl said the primary prevention of child abuse is a critical first step to reducing antisocial behavior at the transition from adolescence into adulthood.
"Strategies focused on helping school professionals become aware of the impacts of child abuse and neglect are critical to building supportive environments that promote resilience and lessen risk for antisocial behavior," he said.
The study, whose other authors are U-W researchers Martie Skinner and Ashley Rousson, appears in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence .
Police support National Child Sexual Exploitation Awareness Day
by the Suffolk Constabulary
'Think, spot and speak out against abuse' is the key message of National Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) Awareness Day which takes places on Sunday 18 March.
The campaign aims to highlight the issues surrounding CSE and encourage everyone, from members of the public to professionals, to speak out and adopt a zero tolerance approach.
Child sexual exploitation is sexual abuse that involves children under the age of 18 being coerced or manipulated into sexual activity with adults or older children. It happens both in the real world and online.
Offenders target vulnerable children and use emotional, financial or physical power over the child to sexually abuse them. Violence and intimidation are often part of the picture. Children can be given gifts, money, alcohol or drugs in exchange for sexual activity with the abuser.
In an initiative to raise awareness of CSE and human trafficking, Suffolk Police and the Local Safeguarding Children's Board will be working with hotel staff in the county to encourage greater understanding of the complex issues involved. Staff working in hotels may witness relevant suspicious behaviour on their premises and are being encouraged to look for the signs of abuse and criminal activity. The aim is to make Suffolk a hostile environment for those that want to abuse children, asking staff to ‘think, spot and speak out' and report any concerns to the police.
NWG (formerly The National Working Group for Sexually Exploited Children and Young People), a charitable organisation formed as a UK network of over 10,000 practitioners, is behind the Awareness Day. They are committed to the fight against CSE and support victims and their families who are have been subjected to child sexual exploitation.
Suffolk Constabulary is supporting this day of awareness raising and is taking to social media to bring home the message using the hashtags #HelpingHands and #CESDay18.
Detective Superintendent Eamonn Bridger of Suffolk Constabulary's Protecting Vulnerable People Directorate said,
"Like nearly every police force in the country we have seen the number of reports of both child abuse and sexual exploitation increase significantly over the last five or so years. These reports are of recent allegations but also of those that occurred many, many years ago. There are two really important messages I would want to communicate:
"The first is that it doesn't matter when the abuse or exploitation took place. The important thing is to take that really big first step and to tell someone. I would encourage those who have been abused and exploited to come to us but I do know that this can be very hard and that it may not be the right thing for everyone. There are other organisations across the County and nationally who you can also tell. Telling someone is the start of the process for victims of these crimes to get the help that they rightly deserve. The police are just one part of the help that is available and I have seen how lives can be changed for the better as a result of taking that step.
"The second is that it is really important for all of us to know what the possible signs are that a child is being abused or exploited. Do have a look at our website www.suffolk.police.uk/advice for some easy to access guides that assist with what to look for. Unless we recognise the signs it is really hard to put in the right interventions and the right support. This responsibility is on the police, on other professionals, on teachers and on parents; it is a responsibility on all of us. If we have concerns then we must make sure these are brought to the attention of the appropriate person. Again our web-site gives some guidance on this. The Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) reviews these concerns and ensures that the very best decisions are made that provide the necessary safeguarding for children.
"Suffolk Police treats the abuse and exploitation of children as one of its highest priorities. We take every allegation seriously regardless of when it occurred. We have skilled and dedicated staff who work with a wide range of other professionals across the public and voluntary sector to ensure we can, together, provide the very highest possible level of service to victims of these offences.”
Tim Passmore, Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner, said; "Protecting young victims of sexual exploitation has got to be an absolute priority for us all so I wholly endorse this campaign.
"It is imperative that we work together with other child support agencies to support and protect victims of this terrible, terrible crime. It is beyond my comprehension that vulnerable young people can be subjected to such horrific abuse. It is so malicious and can have a devastating and lasting impact on young lives.
"I am totally committed to zero tolerance to Child Sexual Exploitation, and would ask anyone who has any suspicion to please speak up.”
Important: If you think a child is in immediate danger; contact us straight away by calling 999.
Warning signs to look out for
|· Staying out late or periods of going missing overnight or longer
· Older ‘boyfriend/girlfriend' or relationship with a controlling adult
· Physical injury without plausible explanation
· Entering or leaving vehicles driven by unknown adults
· Unexplained amounts of money, expensive clothing or other items
· Lack of engagement with education
· Drugs or alcohol misuse
· Unusual or increased use of mobile phone and/or the internet that causes concern
Help and support
Whether you are an adult concerned about the welfare of a child you know, or if you are a child who is upset about something that is happening to you, there is help and support available.
Parents can visit http://www.suffolk.police.uk/advice/child-protection/child-sexual-exploitation for further information and links to support and advice services, including videos etc
Parents can visit the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre's (CEOP) 'Thinkuknow' website at: https://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/parents/ for more information.
Childnet is an organisation working to make the internet a safe place for children and has useful information for parents and schools http://www.childnet.com/
If you are concerned about someone's behaviour towards your child, you can report this directly to CEOP via www.ceop.police.uk/safety-centre .
If you are a child or young person worried or upset talk to an adult you know well and trust.
If you don't have anyone you can talk to, you can call ChildLine for free. You can talk about any problem and there will always be someone there to help you.
0800 1111 www.childline.org.uk
Suffolk's Children Services
Tel: 0808 800 4005.
Customer First is a specialist call centre with trained staff who know about the services that are available to offer and who can help.
Other helplines include:
NWG Network -
If you're not sure who the best organisation is to contact then call NWG on 01332 585371 and they will put you in touch with the right people to help you.
For more information on the awareness day visit: www.stop-cse.org/national-child-exploitation-awareness-day/
Parents Against Child Sexual Exploitation (Pace) helpline 0113 240 3040. http://paceuk.info/
State looks to extend rights of child sex abuse
by Jessica Hartman
KWWL - Following national headlines of child sex abuse cases like the one involving the U.S. Gymnastics Olympic doctor, Larry Nassar, Iowa lawmakers are taking steps to make sure Iowa gives survivors the time they need.
"The most important work we do in Iowa is raising kids. It should include keeping them safe and protecting them from child sex abusers," said State Senator Jeff Danielson.
Tuesday, the Iowa Senate voted unanimously to extend the civil statute of limitations for child sex abuse cases from four years to 25 years after the survivor turns 18.
For the team at the Family and Children's Council of Black Hawk County, the proposed change is a message to survivors.
"That we hear you. We hear you and we value . . . I am going to get emotional, I am sorry. We hear you and we value you," said Glenda Husome, the council's Sexual Abuse Prevention Coordinator.
Husome dedicates her time to educating children in schools and working to prevent child sexual abuse, but when it does happen, she says survivors need time to come forward.
"When trauma happens to a child, often times it is so suppressed that they aren't even aware that it happened because they have pushed it down so far," explains Husome.
Survivors may not realize what they went through until well into adulthood.
That is why when an Iowa House bill reached the Senate floor to extend the statute of limitation for landlords, state senators used the opportunity to extend the state's child sexual abuse laws.
"I think most Iowans would be shocked to learn that we were going to let landlords have a longer period of time to recover money from derelict renters and yet, we can't change a law so that if a child was abused there was a longer period of time to bring the perpetrator to justice," said Danielson.
The bill now goes back to the House with the amendment for another vote. If passed by the house, survivors of child sex abuse would have 25 years from the time they turn 18 to file a civil lawsuit against the person responsible.
The statute of limitations for criminal action in a child sex abuse case is currently 10 years from the time the survivor turns 18.
Survivor hopeful Child Victims Act will be passed this year
by Richard Moody
NEW BALTIMORE — A local man championing legislation that would extend the statute of limitations for sexual crimes committed against children is hopeful the issue will be addressed this year.
The deadline for each house of the state legislature to submit resolutions for the 2018-2019 budget was Wednesday. Both houses included derivatives of a provision Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed in his 2019 executive budget that would eliminate the statute of limitations on sexual crimes against children, which is a good sign local advocate Gary Greenberg said.
Greenberg, who was sexually assaulted as a child, has advocated for the Child Victims Act for years, but did not see much support for it until the Assembly passed a version of the bill last year.
The Senate never brought the bill up for a vote on the floor.
The governor proposed eliminating the statute of limitations in both criminal and civil cases with a one-year look-back period for adult survivors who cannot seek civil reparations.
“This is the proposal I am supporting,” Greenberg said. “New York has the worst laws on child sexual abuse in the country. It's intolerable that has gone on for so long.”
Greenberg has strong support in the Assembly, but what Assembly members are is proposing is lacking, he said.
The Assembly proposed the same bill in its budget resolutions that it passed last year, which would count down the statute of limitations in criminal cases starting when the survivor turns 23 years old. The bill would also extend the statute of limitations in civil cases to when the survivor turns 50 years old with a one-year look-back window.
“We definitely need the look-back window,” Greenberg said. “Many of the cases we have seen in the last six to eight months, they do not have a criminal case. I would have liked to see stronger language in the Assembly's proposal, but it is a start.
“Hopefully they will negotiate to pass the governor's proposal, which is the best one on the table.”
The average survivor of child sexual crimes do not come forward until they are adults — 49 years old for women and 41 years old for men — Greenberg said.
The Senate included a declaration of support for similar provisions being proposed in the Child Victims Act.
“The resolution reaffirms the Senate's strong support for amendments to both the civil and criminal statutes of limitations to further protect children from dangerous sexual predators,” according to the Senate's resolution.
“They did not specifically mention the Child Victims Act, but it is in there, so it is negotiable,” Greenberg said.
The deadline for the state to pass its budget is April 1, under penalty of losing federal funding. Traditionally, the process under Cuomo's administration involves a negotiation behind closed doors between leaders in both houses of the Legislature, including Senate President John Flanagan, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Independent Democratic Conference Leader Jeffrey Klein.
The fate of the Child Victims Act will ultimately fall on their shoulders.
“I have been in contact with the leaders in both houses and the governor's office,” Greenberg said. “They know what I want. I am hopeful the Republican leadership in the Senate will allow the Child Victims Act in the budget and pass it. I do not see why they would not.”
Greenberg learned how to flex his political muscle over time by creating a Public Action Committee, which provides campaign funding to candidates in elections who will support the Child Victims Act. He also hired Republican Consultant Justin McCarthy — someone Greenberg said has extensive history working in Albany and with the Legislature on criminal justice issues.
“I hired him to speak to senators and Assembly members to help generate support for the bill,” Greenberg said. “There are predators who need to be taken off the street, but are still out there because of New York's lax laws. If the Senate leaders don't want to do what's right, they will face the wrath of victims and advocates in the election.”
Greenberg's Fighting for Children PAC is supporting Assemblywoman Shelley Mayer, D-90, who is running to fill the 37th Senate District seat in a special election April 24. The PAC is also supporting Assemblyman Luis Sepulveda, D-87, who is running for the 32nd Senate District seat next month.
The Child Victims Act had the support of both former local Assemblymen Pete Lopez, R-102, and Steve McLaughlin, R-107, Greenberg said.
“[State Sen. George Amedore Jr., R-46] has to step up and support the Child Victims Act,” Greenberg said. “There is no excuse for Amedore or [state Sen. Kathleen Marchione, R-43] to not support this.”
Seventy-nine percent of voters support the Child Victims Act as the governor proposed, and 14 percent of voters opposed the bill, according to a Siena College Poll that surveyed 823 registered voters in the state.
The support crossed party lines with 83 percent of registered Democrats and 70 percent of registered Republicans.
“I strongly support public safety measures that protect children from dangerous sexual predators and ensure that victims of sexual abuse see justice,” Marchione said. “I believe it's critical that victims see justice and sexual predators receive the severe criminal and civil punishments that their evil crimes warrant.”
Marchione sponsors a bill, the state Child Protection Act of 2018, which would remove the statute of limitations and allow for criminal prosecution of a sexual offense committed against a child to be commenced at any time.
Marchione's bill differs from the Child Victims Act because it would allow civil proceedings against an offender within five years of an individual turning 23 years old for a crime committed when they were less than 18 years of age.
The bill would also create an obligation by members of the clergy to report sexual abuse if they have reasonable suspicion and mandates all corporations in the state conduct criminal history searches when filling positions in which an employee or volunteer may have unsupervised contact with a child.
Several requests for comment from Amedore were not answered by press time Thursday.
Facebook apologises for search suggestions of child abuse videos
Searches starting 'video of' returned autocomplete suggestions of sexual videos and child abuse content
by Alex Hern
Facebook has been forced to apologise after it spent hours suggesting bizarre, vulgar and upsetting searches to users on Thursday night.
The social network's search suggestions, which are supposed to automatically offer the most popular search terms to users, apparently broke around 4am in the UK, and started to suggest unpleasant results for those who typed in “video of”.
Multiple users posted examples on Twitter, with the site proposing searches including “video of girl sucking dick under water”, “videos of sexuals” and “video of little girl giving oral”. Others reported similar results in other languages.
Even after the offensive search terms stopped being displayed, users still reported odd algorithmic suggestions, seemingly far from what Facebook would normally offer, such as “zodwa wabantu videos and pics” (a South African celebrity) and “cristiano ronaldo hala madrid king video call”.
In a statement, Facebook apologised and said it was investigating the issue: “As soon as we became aware of these offensive predictions we removed them. Facebook search predictions are representative of what people may be searching for on Facebook and are not necessarily reflective of actual content on the platform.
“We do not allow sexually explicit imagery, and we are committed to keeping such content off of our site.”
Search engine autocompletions are a regular source of concern for Silicon Valley. Google has repeatedly faced criticism over the questions it proposes for users, with suggested searches over time including “are jews evil”, “are women evil” and “are muslims bad”.
Last week, Facebook faced international criticism after the Guardian found it running a survey that asked users whether paedophiles should be allowed to proposition children for sexual pictures on the site. Facebook admitted the surveys were a mistake, adding that it has “no intention” of allowing the behaviour.
“We run surveys to understand how the community thinks about how we set policies,” the company's vice president of product, Guy Rosen, said . “But this kind of activity is and will always be completely unacceptable on FB. We regularly work with authorities if identified. It shouldn't have been part of this survey. That was a mistake.”
Assembly OKs private school child abuse reporting bill
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - The Democrat-controlled state Assembly has passed legislation that would mandate New York private schools to require employees and volunteers to report allegations of staff members abusing students.
Private schools currently aren't included in the state law requiring public schools to immediately report any allegations that a student has been sexually abused by a staff member or volunteer "in an educational setting."
The measure, sponsored by Queens Democrat Catherine Nolan, would include private schools in the statutory reporting requirements.
Although the legislation passed earlier this week doesn't specifically mention sexual abuse, the measure was prompted by recent reports of decades of alleged inappropriate behavior by faculty at two prestigious private high schools in upstate New York.
The measure now goes to the Republican-led Senate, where a similar bill sponsored by Sen. Patrick Gallivan, R-Elma, has support.
Child exploitation: How the system failed
by Bethan Bell
There were so many opportunities - in Rotherham, in Rochdale, in Oxford - to step in and help. No-one did. The exploitation continued.
Not only did the cycle of abuse grind on, but the message given to the victims must have been that "we don't care about you".
One 13-year-old girl, "with disrupted clothing", was found by police in a house in the early hours with a group of men who had given her vodka. A neighbour had called the police after hearing the girl scream. The teenager was arrested for being drunk and disorderly. The men were not questioned.
A 12-year-old girl was found, being plied with alcohol, in a car with a 22-year-old man. He had indecent images of her on his phone. No action was taken.
Rather than being offered protection, teenagers groomed and coerced into having sex faced criminal charges of prostitution .
A major factor was the public - and professional - perception of the abused girls, who were often dismissed as troublemakers.
As the Children's Society 1995 Game's Up report asked: "Is it acceptable that a child abused at home is protected, whereas a child abused on the street is criminalised?"
And the media unwittingly helped to obscure the scale of the abuse, referring to children as the "girlfriends" of adult men. When in 2001, Lucy Lowe was murdered in Telford - along with her mother and sister - by the 26-year-old man who had groomed and abused her, news outlets - including the BBC - described the adult killer as Lucy's "boyfriend" .
She was 16 and pregnant with her second child by Azhar Ali Mehmood, who set fire to the Lowe family home. The infant was also in the house.
In court, the prosecution barrister Adrian Redgrave QC said: "There had also been occasions when he had been, in one way or another, humiliated in front of others by things that Lucy had said or done. He was jealous and possessive."
The court heard they had a "stormy relationship and argued frequently, sometimes about her relationships with other men".
It makes for difficult reading.
At no point is a suggestion made that this was not a "relationship" and that Lucy was a victim of rape. Targeted by Mehmood aged 12 and giving birth to her first child at 14, she was legally incapable of consent.
It was later to emerge that Lucy's situation was far from unusual. Operation Chalice, launched by West Mercia Police, led to the jailing of a group of Asian men, mostly of Pakistani origin, whom police said may have targeted more than 100 girls.
"Even five years ago, people were talking about the 'lifestyle choices' these young people were making," says Adele Gladman, the Home Office researcher who reported the scale of abuse in Rotherham .
As recently as 2012, when 24-year-old Ahdel Ali was convicted of raping a 13-year-old girl and jailed for 18 years, his barrister asked the judge to be lenient because " this type of rape is not like other horrible types of rapes" .
It now seems astonishing, but lawyer Tayyab Khan stood up in court and said the child "had loved" Ali, who had been "pleasant to her" and it had been "a consensual relationship". A message both damaging and dangerous.
But the language used to describe young people in abusive situations is slowly changing. A significant factor was the abolishment of the term "child prostitution" in favour of the term child sexual exploitation, first used in 2009 in a Department for Education document.
A small change, perhaps, but it shifted the focus and clarified that the children involved were victims, not perpetrators, of crimes.
According to research carried out by Barnardo's, describing victims as a "girlfriend" or "boyfriend" can make it more difficult for them to realise they are in an abusive situation.
The Jay Report cites cases in which abusers targeted children when they knew there was a chance the victim might be especially vulnerable, such as those living in local authority residential units, and who have "a desperate need for attention and affection".
Those in local authority care are often deliberately targeted for exploitation as they may not have the same support in their lives, with adults who can spot that they are at risk.
The Barnardo's research indicates "perpetrators of this type of CSE will particularly draw on children's feelings of loneliness, their need for care, and their desire to be loved".
A girl starved of attention and kindness is more likely to believe she is in a caring relationship, leaving the perpetrator free to coerce her to have sex with friends or associates. As a result, children will often protect the perpetrator, even when they recognise their behaviour as exploitative and abusive.
"I know he loves me. He has other girlfriends, but I'm special," was a sentiment often uttered in the investigation into what happened in Rotherham. Many victims do not want to co-operate with the criminal justice system.
A care worker, who was employed at children's homes from 2003-2007, spoke anonymously to the BBC in 2014 . He said men would arrive almost "every night" to collect girls, who escaped using a range of methods and were then usually driven off in taxis.
"Children who have been abused do not blame their attacker simply because they "are struggling for love".
"But you cannot provide love in a children's unit. It's one thing that you can't provide, and as a corporate parent it's where we fail.
"And if [the abusers] are providing that, plus drugs, and alcohol and freedoms, or perceived freedoms, then we're never going to be able to keep them safe."
Dr Helen Beckett, director at the University of Bedfordshire centre of researching CSE says: "What is common across all forms of CSE is the rarity with which young people disclose what is happening to them.
"There are many different reasons for this - many young people don't even realise the abusive nature of what is happening. Some may even feel in some way complicit in the abuse because there has been some kind of 'reward' or receipt of something."
That can be gifts, alcohol, drugs, or affection. In some cases victims are so traumatised they use drink or drugs to cope. But they then need the means to get the drink or drugs. It's a vicious circle.
Ms Gladman says this is one area in which "nothing has changed".
"The grooming is so good, so targeted and tailored that the girls - and boys - involved don't understand they are being exploited. They don't listen to warnings. They're desperate for love and attention and it's up to the experts to recognise that, to spot who is vulnerable, and almost follow the grooming process themselves.
"We have to engage with the young people and make them feel worthwhile, give them life skills."
There is, however, a danger in thinking the only people at risk are those with difficult histories. As Ms Gladman points out: "Parents tend to believe it's kids from troubled families who are at risk.
"Any child can be vulnerable if not protected."
While some of the most high-profile cases of CSE have involved gangs of men with Pakistani heritage abusing white girls, Dr Beckett points out that there is "no typical CSE case".
"It exists across every ethnic grouping, both in terms of those perpetrating and in terms of those experiencing the abuse. Research tells us that both males and females are abused through CSE. Similarly, both males and females perpetrate the abuse.
"Whilst most of our focus historically has been on adults abusing children, we are increasingly learning about peer-on-peer abuse and the risk that young people face within their own social settings."
One example is that of Laura Wilson, a 17-year-old murdered by Ashtiaq Asghar - also 17 - in Rotherham in 2010. He stabbed her multiple times and pushed her into a canal to die.
Once again, the press described the killer as her "boyfriend" at the same time as reporting that Laura had a four-month-old daughter with Asghar's friend, and that they "treated white girls as 'sexual targets' and not like human beings".
Peter Grigg from the Children's Society says there has been a gradual change in attitudes towards the nature of exploitation, and the exposure of the abuse in Rotherham, Rochdale and other places "has certainly ensured decision-makers and the public pay attention to issues".
But how is the issue tackled?
Everybody involved in child protection agrees there is no single solution. No one agency holds the answers.
According to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse , systematic grooming and sexual abuse of children by groups of offenders in cities and towns of England and Wales is "widespread".
Adele Gladman says that over the past 12 years in which she has been working in the field, there is no geographical location where it is not a problem.
Peter Grigg says it's "very likely that many other victims exist that haven't yet felt able to speak out".
The charity's Old Enough to Know better? report showed that 50,000 females aged 16 and 17 experienced sexual offences against them but only around 5,000 of them were reported to the police.
The actual figures are impossible to accurately predict, says Cassi Harrison, director of the Centre of Expertise on Child Sexual Abuse.
"Due to data limitations, we are making decisions in a fog. We just can't say if more children are being sexually abused. We know we are identifying more of it, but this the tip of the iceberg.
"Reported numbers are increasing, but that could be because of increased willingness of victims to report linked to confidence they will be taken seriously, increased professional awareness of the signs of abuse and commitment to take action - or because recording has improved."
'Nobody asked any questions'
Holly - not her real name - was a victim of a group of men in Telford. She told the BBC what happened to her
"He started violently raping me, he would beat me with his belt if I didn't let him rape me. Afterwards he would try to make me feel better - or make himself feel better - by giving me money or topping up my mobile phone.
"It quickly moved on to being sold to men maybe two or three times a night. I was taken to a place I can only describe as a 'rape house' which was set up for the purpose of young girls being sold to men.
"The reason I kept going back was that they kept threatening me with burning my house down, which was a real threat in Telford as that had actually happened previously. They said they'd rape my mum and rape my sisters. They knew all about my family. There was just no escape at all.
"I was gang-raped just after I turned 16 and that was probably the worst thing that has ever happened to me. After that I tried to commit suicide. People would say to me 'was that a cry for help?' and I would say 'no - I genuinely wanted to die' because I thought that was the only way out.
"I was in cars that were stopped and searched by police with older men and it was never questioned why I was in there or who I was. My name was never asked. I just think if they had been more proactive at points like that, things could have changed earlier.
"I was also going to the doctor and the youth sexual health clinic a couple of times a week for three years and getting the morning-after pill.
"Nobody asked any questions.
"I had two abortions and again, no questions were asked as to what was going on in my life."
Identifying at-risk children is done by various organisations - charities, social workers, and police all have child welfare personnel who are out on the streets at night. Outreach sessions are held in parks and other areas popular with children.
Some children are already in contact with social services, for example those who are in local authority care. Workers use methods including regular texting, calls and cards, as well as by arranging to meet on the young person's "home ground" or at venues where they feel comfortable.
Ms Gladman, now an independent safeguarding children trainer and consultant, says legislation has been made more sophisticated in order to deal with the impact of grooming - and importantly, every local authority now has a protocol to identify and prevent CSE.
"We've become more aware of abuse and better at spotting it. In some ways, we've made huge strides. We're reaching out to parents and communities - we're engaging with what's called the 'night-time economy', taxi drivers, takeaways, off licences, places like that."
Staff at such premises have proved a valuable - if unofficial - resource when it comes to safeguarding children. Last year, taxi driver Satbir Arora raised the alarm after he drove a teenager alone to a railway station .
"Often, people let their guard down when they're out and about or in shops. Children talk to each other, and they may be overheard by the shopkeeper who can get in touch with the police about what they suspect," says Ms Gladman.
Cassi Harrison agrees public awareness is changing for the better.
"Over the past few years, we've seen an increased understanding of CSE; the complexity of the relationships between the abuser and the victim, and the way the abuser can control and manipulate the victim.
"Our ambition should be to prevent abuse before it happens, not wait until a child has been abused. There are many ways we can do this. For example, we should support young people to have expectations of healthy relationships and provide support for children when they display harmful sexual behaviour.
"It is never the responsibility of a child to keep themselves safe; the blame lies with the perpetrator.
"As adults, it's our responsibility to spot the signs and take action to safeguard children, not rely on children to tell us they are being abused."
How to report CSE
If you're worried that a child or young person is at risk or is being abused you can contact the children's social care team at their local council. You can choose not to give your details.
You can report it online to the Child Exploitation and Online Protection command (CEOP).
Or you can call the NSPCC 24-hour helpline on 0808 800 5000 for expert advice and support.
If a child is at immediate risk call 999, or call the police on 101 if you think a crime has been committed.
Children and young people can call Childline free on 0800 1111 where trained counsellors are available 24 hours a day, every day.
Bill protecting Tennessee teachers who warn about sexual abuse passes Senate
by Jordan Buie
A bill that offers legal protection for teachers who warn students about child sex abuse passed in the Senate on Thursday.
Lawmakers have frequently discussed how teachers who spend hours with students each day can be additional eyes on the lookout for children who might be victims.
But some Tennessee lawmakers have been cautious to avoid legislation that opens children up to what they view as unwanted sex education.
The bill , brought forward by Sen. Becky Massey, R-Knoxville, says a parent whose child receives instruction promoting "gateway sexual activity or demonstrating sexual activity" may take legal action against the school, and have their legal fees paid.
But teachers whose instruction specifically pertains to the detection, intervention, prevention and treatment of child abuse would be protected from such lawsuits, under the legislation.
This includes instruction that deals with abuse in the home, which could anger some parents in households where abuse is happening.
"What this bill does is requires the family life education to include the instruction on detection, intervention, prevention and treatment of child sex abuse," Massey said.
Schools are not allowed to use an individual or group to provide this instruction if the individual or group's curriculum does not promote abstinence, she said.
The measure passed 26-2 in the Senate, and has placed on the calendar for the Monday House Floor Session at 4 p.m.
Every Scouter must complete updated Youth Protection training by Oct. 1, 2018
by Bryan Wendell
The BSA has announced bold, wide-ranging updates to its Youth Protection program as part of an ongoing effort to protect young people from child abuse.
This starts with an enhanced online Youth Protection training course all volunteers and professionals must complete.
Even those Scout leaders who took the previous version of Youth Protection training must log into My.Scouting.org and complete the updated Youth Protection course. You have until Oct. 1, 2018, to do so.
The updated course will take about an hour to complete. It includes cutting-edge research from the top experts in the field of child abuse prevention. It covers topics like bullying, neglect, exposure to violence, physical and emotional abuse, and child sexual abuse.
“There is no substitute for hearing directly from experts who have spent their careers studying child predators and abusers,” said Michael Johnson, the BSA's director of Youth Protection. “They shine a new light on the challenge we all face in protecting kids and how parents and volunteers can put barriers in place to keep them away.”
Next, the BSA has made it impossible for an individual to register as a new volunteer without first completing Youth Protection training. Unit rechartering is affected, too. Packs, troops, posts, ships and crews cannot recharter until all leaders — 100 percent of them — are current on their Youth Protection training.
Finally, beginning June 1, 2018, all adults who will be present at a Scouting activity for 72 hours or more must register as volunteers and complete a background check and Youth Protection training. This includes parents, merit badge counselors and any other adult who will be there for an extended time.
The BSA is serious about fighting child abuse, and you're an important part of that fight. Thanks for your vigilance and dedication.
Who must complete the updated Youth Protection course?
All registered Scouters (volunteers and professionals), including any adult who will be present at a Scouting activity for 72 total hours or more.
The updated course debuted in February 2018; if you took Youth Protection training prior to that, you'll need to complete the updated course by Oct. 1, 2018.
How do I take the updated Youth Protection course?
Here's a PDF that outlines the steps.
What's updated in this Youth Protection course?
Videos from survivors of abuse . “In developing this training, we discussed whether or not to include survivor videos,” Johnson said. “It was the right decision. Their testimony is powerful and highlights how predators work and the tragic impact like nothing else.”
Video interviews with psychologists and law enforcement professionals who discuss the root causes of abuse, how to recognize it and how to respond.
Three all-new training modules and a test .
What are the latest Youth Protection training requirements?
Youth Protection training must be taken every two years.
Effective Sept. 1, 2017 :
No unit may recharter without all leaders being current on their Youth Protection training.
Effective Jan. 1, 2018 :
No new adult volunteer can be registered without first completing Youth Protection training.
No council, region or national leader will be allowed to renew his or her registration if their Youth Protection training is not current.
Effective June 1, 2018 :
Adults accompanying a Scouting unit who are present at the activity for 72 total hours or more must be registered as leaders. This includes completing a criminal background check and Youth Protection training. The 72 hours need not be consecutive.
Sex trafficking survivors say even in #MeToo era they struggle to be heard
by Megan Cerullo
Nikki Bell was 16 years old the first time she had sex for money. Her mother had recently died, she became addicted to drugs and alcohol, and soon thereafter, wound up in the arms of a pimp.
For 10 years, she was paid to be sexually assaulted multiple times a day in an industry that normalizes and thrives on exploitation.
“You are trying to survive at this point in your life, which is why most people enter into prostitution. Because they are at an economic disadvantage,” Bell, 37, told the Daily News.
She disputes the notion that choices existed for people like her.
“It wasn't empowering. It was, if I don't engage in oral sex, I am going to get my head kicked in, I am going to starve,” she said. “It's only a choice if you have choices.”
Advocates and survivors of commercial sexual exploitation say the industry is fueled by the same sense of entitlement Hollywood producers use to coerce aspiring actresses into sex. Yet victims do not feel like they are included in or represented by the #MeToo and Time's Up movements targeting abuse and sexism.
“In the midst of the #MeToo movement, sex trafficking seems to stay in the shadows,” said Shandra Woworuntu, who became a victim at 25.
Survivors are speaking out ahead of an expected Senate vote Monday on a bill that holds websites accountable for facilitating the illicit trade.
Online advertising has contributed to the explosion of domestic sex trafficking — making buying sex as easy as finding a roommate or selling furniture. More than 60% percent of survivors have at some point been advertised online, according to a 2015 report from Thorn, a non-profit that fights child sexual abuse.
While advocates say the legislation — known as FOSTA-SESTA — would allow victims to pursue legal action against culpable websites, critics argue it would stymie free speech on the Internet.
Under federal law, “sex trafficking” is defined as “the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, obtaining, patronizing, or soliciting of a person for the purpose of a commercial sex act, in which the commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such an act has not attained 18 years of age.”
The #MeToo movement has helped oust longtime perpetrators of sexual exploitation from positions of power. But sex traffickers continue to lurk in the shadows as their victims struggle to be heard.
“It's all part of the same deeply rooted societal problem in gender inequality. It stems from the same place. To try to section off commercial sexual exploitation from these other issues is a really big mistake,” said Lauren Hersh, the national director of non-profit World Without Exploitation.
“When you pull a lot of stuff away, you are dealing with the privileged and entitled who are doing whatever they want to women and girls who are fearful of reporting it, or feel like they will not be believed,” Hersh told the Daily News.
Woworuntu, now 41, recalls being “treated like a rag doll” while being forced to perform sexual acts.
“I wasn't treated like a human being. They could do whatever they wanted with my body because they bought me,” she said Thursday at a United Nations conference on gender and trafficking.
She believes that the #MeToo movement “should be extended from the workplace to every place.”
Human trafficking survivors say that in some ways, celebrities' experiences — accounts that have garnered major attention and turned hashtags into worldwide social movements — resonate with them.
Jennifer Gaines said she can “definitely relate to the feeling of being used to get your own needs met” that has been chronicled by everyone from farmworkers to actresses in harrowing tales of sexual abuse.
Gaines entered “the life” as a teenager and says she was one of the first to advertise herself for sex on Backpage.com in the late 1990s.
The website, which features classified listings for a variety of services, allows buyers to shop for sex online, effectively enabling human trafficking to flourish. The Washington state Supreme Court ruled in 2016 that Backpage.com edited ads to conceal the underlying criminal activity.
The bill package the Senate is expected to vote on Monday, titled “Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act” and “Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act,” would close a loophole that shields websites like Backpage.com from criminal liability for content published by third parties. It would only target sites that “knowingly” facilitate sex trafficking.
“The term ‘knowingly,' from the legal perspective, is a pretty serious threshold. You have to show significant evidence to prove that knowingly standard, it's not haphazard,” Hersh said.
Hersh noted that the bill seeks to protect one of society's most vulnerable populations.
“We are mostly talking about the faces of women and girls at the intersection of racial inequality, gender inequality and income inequality.”
The House of Representatives passed a version of the bill late last month with a 388-25 vote.
Supporters of the bill note that the Internet has evolved tremendously since the CDA was created.
“It was never designed to shield criminal activity, and that's exactly what it's doing right now and we need a fix there,” Hersh said.
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, speaking at a press conference Wednesday, said FOSTA-SESTA “would finally enable action against what are essentially online, open-air bazaars.”
Opponents — including some survivors — contend that the bill would make the industry more dangerous by removing advertisements that allow victims to communicate with each other about potential clients.
But Bell argues that it's the industry, not the legislation, that is dangerous.
“The work is not empowering. If that were true then you wouldn't need an online mechanism to be able to share with other sex workers that a potential customer tried to kill you,” Bell said. “I have yet to find a catering company that needed to warn another catering service that a customer was going to assault them.”
Yasmeen Hassan, the global executive director of Equality Now, said FOSTA-SESTA is essential to ending sexual exploitation.
“We have to attack the business of sex-trafficking and disrupt the demand for commercial sex,” she said at the UN conference.
It would be a mistake to exclude its victims from the #MeToo movement, Hassan added.
“Everything that happens to women is rooted in gender equality so sex-trafficking cannot be attacked from outside of that,” she said.
Data shows more human trafficking cases reported to helplines in 2017
by Haley Bull
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.-- New data shows people reported more cases to helplines in 2017 across the country and in Indiana.
Polaris, an organization which operates the National Human Trafficking Hotline, reports a 13 percent increase in human trafficking cases reported in 2017 to the hotline and BeFree Textline when compared to 2016. In Indiana, there were 95 cases reported to hotlines in 2017 compared to 85 in 2016.
"I think people just have this idea that a lot of times it's this foreign born issue, but really it's our kids in our own backyard that are being sold for sex in our city," Tracy McDaniel, the CEO and founder of Restored Inc., said.
The organization works with sex trafficking victims in Indiana and also works to train those in law enforcement on the issue.
"One of my biggest counties is Hamilton County. I get a lot of trafficking and sexual exploitation, Delaware County, Muncie, you know, there's a lot of drugs moving in and out. We've done stuff out in South Bend, Fort Wayne, I've just started seeing some stuff towards the east so really all over. I mean there's not an area I haven't seen a case come out of," McDaniel said.
She said last year they served 85 kids up to the age of 18. In total, though, they served more than 150 individuals. McDaniel said their case load has tripled each year, though they also see cases of sexual exploitation. She points to increased awareness and education about it and demand for the crime. One example she used as an example was a reversal sting with a law enforcement agency.
"Within 24 hours we had over 400 men trying to purchase sex from our investigator that was posing as a 15 year old girl. So when we think about the supply and demand there's such a demand for sex. So these traffickers and these perpetrators are often going out, it's a $150 billion industry, so they're going out they're making a lot of money, a lot of times these cases aren't being prosecuted, these cases are extremely hard to work," McDaniel said.
In Indianapolis police are working to combat the crime.
"Our investigators do what we can, we act on our tips, we actively seek individuals involved in that type of behavior," IMPD Sgt. Christopher Wilburn said.
Wilburn said it is a priority for police.
"It also is a very, very challenging as it relates to getting enough information to push forward without victimizing the individual involved in the particular activity," Wilburn.
According to Polaris, its data showed risk factors included recent relocation, substance use, runaway and homeless youth, mental health concerns and involvement in the child welfare system.
McDaniel said if you see something and it doesn't feel right, call law enforcement. You can also call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or text to 233733.
from Dept of Justice (Central District of California)
Los Angeles Woman Known on Social Media as ‘Pretty Hoe' Indicted by Federal Grand Jury on Sex Trafficking Charges
LOS ANGELES – A South Los Angeles woman who describes herself on social media as “The Most Hated Hoe in LA” was indicted today on federal sex trafficking charges that include allegations that she used the internet to solicit two minor victims to engage in prostitution.
Melanie Denae Williams, 22, who uses the moniker “Pretty Hoe” on several social media platforms, was named in a five-count indictment returned today by a federal grand jury.
The indictment specifically alleges one count of sex trafficking an adult by force, fraud, or coercion; two counts of sex trafficking of a minor; and two counts of enticement of a minor to engage in prostitution.
Williams has been held without bond in a federal jail since she was taken into custody on February 7 pursuant to a criminal complaint (she was initially arrested by local authorities on December 24). The affidavit in support of the complaint outlines allegations that Williams abused a woman she had recruited through social media to work as a prostitute. In one incident, Williams allegedly ordered the victim to strip off her clothes, and then Williams threw bleach on the woman and beat her with her hands and a broomstick, according to the affidavit.
The indictment makes new allegations of sex trafficking involving two minor females.
Williams is scheduled to be arraigned on the indictment on Friday in United States District Court.
An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.
If convicted of any of the charges in the indictment, Williams would face a potential life sentence. Each of the five charges carries a mandatory minimum sentence. The charge of sex trafficking by force, fraud or coercion carries a mandatory minimum penalty of 15 years in federal, and each of the four counts related to minors carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years.
The investigation into Williams is being conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department as part of the Los Angeles Regional Human Trafficking Task Force, as well as the Los Angeles Police Department, South Bureau.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Lana Morton-Owens and Joseph Axelrad of the Violent and Organized Crime Section.
from: Thom Mrozek, Public Affairs Officer
US Dept of Justice,
Central District of California