Local rep sponsors bill to help victims of sexual abuse
by Kendra Gravelle
PROVIDENCE—Rep. Carol Hagan McEntee has joined with other advocates for victims of sexual abuse to fight to abolish the statute of limitations for pressing civil charges against alleged sexual abusers.
Introduced in the House by McEntee (D-Dist. 33, South Kingstown, Narragansett) and in the Senate by Sen. Donna M. Nesselbush (D-Dist. 15, Pawtucket, North Providence), the legislation proposed would eliminate the current seven-year civil statute of limitations (SOL) for injuries suffered as a result of sexual abuse.
“Basically, what happens to these people is when they get abused as a child they're silenced by their perpetrator,” McEntee said Monday. “Then once they get their voice as adults they're silenced again.”
The current SOL means victims of sexual abuse have just seven years from the time they experience the abuse—or from the time they turn 18—to file a claim.
Part of the problem with that, McEntee said, is often victims who were abused as children aren't equipped emotionally to deal with what has happened to them until well into adulthood.
“By then it's too late,” she added. “A 25-year-old is not equipped to deal with the shame and embarrassment of this. They just can't do it at that point.”
For McEntee, the fight to eliminate this SOL has roots that extend into the experience of her own sister.
Ann Hagan Webb came forward in the early 1990s about repeated sexual abuse between the ages of five and 12 by Monsignor Anthony DeAngelis while a student at a Catholic school in West Warwick.
“[DeAngelis, who died in 1990] baptized us, he gave us first communion, he confirmed us,” McEntee said. “And this is the same guy that the whole time was abusing my sister on a regular basis.”
Webb shared her story of childhood sexual abuse during a hearing last Thursday before the Senate Committee on Judiciary.
“Sexual abuse crimes are the only crimes I know that leave the victims with a profound sense of shame,” Webb said in her testimony. “That's true if you're five abused by a trusted adult or family member, or you're 35 raped by a stranger.”
Today, Webb is a licensed psychologist who for the last 16 years has specialized in adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse, focusing particularly on clergy abuse. She said survivors of childhood assault typically don't come forward publicly until at least their late-30s.
“The shame permeates all of it and makes it very, very difficult to come forward,” Webb said Monday.
While in Rhode Island there is no statute of limitations for first-degree sexual assault, proving criminal sexual assault is difficult, especially several years or decades after it occurred.
“You're talking about trying to prosecute many years later when the person comes forward and it's a very tough case to prove criminally at that point,” McEntee said. “Evidence gets old, there's no physical evidence at that point. But that shouldn't mean we can't allow them their day in court, civilly.”
And as criminal activity becomes more difficult to prove as years pass, seven years doesn't allow much time for victims of sexual abuse to bring a civil case, said Webb, who added in her testimony that the process can be “grueling” and “deeply triggering.”
“It can be traumatizing to go through the whole process of filing a lawsuit and testifying and all that if you aren't far enough beyond the intensity of initially dealing with your abuse,” said Webb, who said she began to deal her own abuse in 1992, nearly three decades after it happened.
“I had repressed the memory of it,” she continued. “It was when my kids were the same age I was when [the abuse] started that it really started to come forward for me.”
Webb was one of a few survivors to share powerful testimony Thursday. She was joined by Jim Scanlon, a Rhode Island native who in 2015 identified himself as one of the anonymous victims of Jesuit priest James Talbot in the case that inspired the movie “Spotlight.”
“We all speak for the people who can't,” Webb added Monday.
While no one testified in person against the legislation Thursday, Rhode Island Catholic Conference has come out in opposition.
According to its website, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence has in place one of the strongest anti-sexual abuse programs in the United States, which includes offices of compliance and education. But despite those efforts, Webb said she's witnessed survivors treated there “in an adversarial way.”
The proposed SOL elimination in RI comes a few years after then-governor of Massachusetts Deval Patrick signed into law a similar bill in his state.
Until recently the SOL in Massachusetts for injuries resulting from sexual abuse had been just three years. But in 2014—following years of advocacy by victims with stories similar to Webb's—the Massachusetts Legislature approved a bill extending that period to 35 years.
“This would be a huge step forward for Rhode Island. Rhode Island is really behind the times,” said Webb, who splits her time between Boston and Narragansett. “Really, I would be absolutely delighted if people in the future would be able to come forward to file lawsuits against their perpetrators and the people that enable them.”
In light of the Me Too and Time's Up movements—which have encouraged countless alleged victims to tell their stories of abuse at the hands of those in power—and with Massachusetts as an example, McEntee is hopeful.
“People feel more empowered to come forward,” she said. “And I would think this is not a heavy lift.”
Webb echoed that.
“I think the time is right,” she said. “I think people are finally starting to get how long it takes to recover from this.”
Under current Rhode Island state law, all civil claims “must be brought within seven years of the act alleged to have caused the injury or condition, or seven years of the time the victim discovered or reasonably should have discovered that the injury or condition was caused by the act, whichever period expires later.”
The proposed legislation seeks to erase that, writing in its place that claims may be brought “at any time.”
“So that would be the hope,” McEntee said. “But I don't see that as the reality.”
McEntee added that it's more likely a version of the legislation extending the SOL would pass. She said she would be pleased with an SOL similar to those in Massachusetts or Connecticut—in Connecticut, there's a 30-year SOL for injuries suffered as a result of sexual abuse.
“I'm fine with that,” McEntee added. “So long as we're moving in the right direction.”
“We're looking for this because it helps the kids,” she continued. “What I want to do is to give them their voices back.”
My View: Predator stole years from my life
by Margaret Milanovich George
I have written this because of a life-changing experience as a teenager growing up in Kenmore. Perhaps this missive will influence others to be more vigilant, preventing this from recurring, and holding perpetrators accountable for their actions.
Beginning at age 14 (1971), I was the victim of an adult sexual predator who “groomed” me for three years. The Predator did work that relied on great trust with adolescents.
The Predator targeted me because I was especially vulnerable. My father had died when I was 11. As a result, I avoided personal relationships and redirected my energy into tennis. The Predator listened to me open up regarding my father's death. I grew to trust him and saw him as a surrogate father/older brother.
Early on, when the Predator tried to coax me into kissing him, I reminded him that he was married and responded, "No." When he made repeated sexual innuendos, I ignored his comments. I made a concerted effort to never outwardly display any feelings for him and rarely made eye contact with him.
Because of my age, his work and his marital status, it never crossed my mind that he would be interested in me sexually. I was totally unprepared when he lured me into an indoor swimming pool under false pretenses and molested me. I watched helplessly as he diverted away a male custodian who had walked in on us. Unfortunately, this one witness to his act is now deceased. After three years of grooming me, the Predator invited me to see land he owned, gave me beer, and then stole my virginity.
Clearly a narcissist, he took advantage of his position of power and never considered the destruction he was causing in the lives of adolescent females whom he manipulated and seduced throughout the years.
In high school, it was nearly impossible for me to concentrate on academics. (Studies reveal that abused children do less well in school.) Because of him, I was robbed of a normal high school experience that I could look back on with any semblance of fond memories. The guilt and shame I felt were overpowering at times. I suffered from headaches. (Studies show that sexually abused children suffer more frequent physical ailments and lowered immune systems.)
I engaged in risky behavior when entering college out-of-state in an attempt to forget my high school years. I did not find "Mr. Right" until age 50. (Victims of childhood sexual abuse often suffer in abusive and dysfunctional adult relationships.)
I made sure my mother never knew. I did not want her to feel that she had let me down as a single parent. As is typical of childhood sex abuse victims, I spent years blaming myself for the abuse, feeling guilty and ashamed, and viewing myself negatively.
As a child abuse (including sexual abuse) investigator, I identified with the victims. When I worked with a group of sexual predators, I came to the conclusion that these predators are pathological. They typically repeat their offenses until they are caught. Predators have one unifying trait: They do their best to appear "normal" in both appearance and behavior, so parents: Be vigilant of who is spending time with your children. Studies have shown that social media and text messaging have caused sexual abuse of children by trusted adults to be on the rise.
For fellow survivors, may you find peace and comfort knowing that it was not our fault … we were just children.
Special report: State investigated abuse involving 460 Tennessee schools. Was your child's one of them?
by Dave Boucher and Anita Wadhwani
At Booker T. Washington High School in Memphis last year, a male teaching aide reportedly touched the bottom of an 18-year-old female student as she waited in a school lunch line. He also showed her pictures of his private parts, she said.
The allegation became public after the aide, who resigned amid an investigation, was indicted.
In East Tennessee, a Lenoir City High School teacher's assistant was accused of inappropriate sexual conduct with two students — a 17-year-old and his 21-year-old sister, who has intellectual disabilities.
School officials learned of the April 2017 encounters after reviewing pictures of the female teacher kissing the boy and placing her hands on the young woman's breasts.
Those allegations about the former teacher also emerged in a criminal indictment.
In Middle Tennessee, a Maury County girl at Joseph Brown Elementary School was injured in January 2016 after an educator grabbed her right arm and then tried to restrain her, leaving scratches and contusions on her leg and chest — allegations revealed after the parents filed a lawsuit.
The three cases represent a fraction of investigations by child welfare officials into abuse at schools in Tennessee.
A USA TODAY NETWORK - Tennessee analysis found the Department of Children's Services investigated 647 allegations of child abuse or neglect involving students in Tennessee schools during a recent 20-month period.
Between January 2016 and August 2017 DCS investigated allegations at more than 460 Tennessee public and private schools, including public charter schools, according to data obtained by the Network. These cases encompass possible abuse or neglect during school hours, at school events or off-site when school employees were involved.
That's an average of more than one investigation initiated per day during that time frame, including summer months when students are not in school.
State education officials did not know how frequently child welfare workers were called to investigate allegations of abuse or neglect of the nearly 1 million students in elementary, middle and high schools across the state.
As a result, parents had no way of knowing how often state social workers have investigated reports of abuse at their child's school.
Reporters gave state education officials an overview of the data findings.
After reporters shared the information, a state education spokeswoman said “school officials generally err on the side of caution when reporting any suspicion for which they are concerned about a student's safety.”
“The department would have to defer to DCS on the actual number of confirmed cases of child abuse,” said Sara Gast, the spokeswoman. “Because we do not have any additional knowledge, I would not be able to share anything further.”
DCS responded to reports of child abuse or neglect involving schools that serve 74 of 95 Tennessee counties.
“It shows the wide variety, the different type of schools we work in every day,” said Rob Johnson, a DCS spokesman.
“This happens all over the state. It's in the cities. It's in the small communities. These occur in all types of communities, and DCS investigators are spread across the state to look into them.”
DCS did not provide details about the investigations or whether the allegations involved abuse by teachers, staff or peers. The agency did not provide information about the outcomes of their investigations, including which investigations resulted in a finding that abuse had occurred or whether a criminal case was opened.
The data provided reflects only those cases that DCS officials know about. Court records and investigations by the Network revealed instances in which school officials did not report abuse allegations to DCS — although they are required to do so by state law.
The total number of school-related abuse cases in Tennessee is unknown.
Physical, psychological and sexual abuse
At the request of the Network, DCS analysts combed through data to provide a school-by-school report of their investigations. It is the first time DCS has compiled statewide data on investigations of child abuse involving schools.
A Network analysis of the data during the 20-month period found that DCS investigated:
373 allegations of physical abuse
130 allegations of sexual abuse or exploitation
97 allegations of children lacking supervision
33 allegations of psychological abuse
More than 215 of the investigations stem from allegations at schools in Shelby County. That's more than the combined number of cases from Davidson, Hamilton, Knox and Montgomery counties.
Almost all of the Shelby County allegations involve Shelby County Schools, the largest school district in the area. Media representatives did not respond to repeated requests for comment.
There were more than 50 DCS investigations at Knox County Schools, and the district was aware of each, said spokeswoman Carly Harrington.
“It is the expectation of the district that if there is a report of or the suspicion of alleged abuse or neglect that school officials contact DCS immediately. We would rather have a DCS investigation that results in no findings versus not reporting a potential situation,” Harrington said.
Abuse should be reported but isn't always
Schools in Tennessee are required by law to report suspected child abuse to DCS or local law enforcement.
That doesn't always happen.
A 2017 case study funded by the Department of Justice states “only an estimated 5 percent of school employee sexual misconduct incidents known to school employees are reported to law enforcement or child welfare personnel.”
The DCS data analyzed by the Network contains no record of December 2016 allegations involving a then-13-year-old girl at Stewart County Middle School in Dover, Tennessee.
The girl said she was forcibly held down and groped by three male students in an empty classroom.
The girl was able to break free and reported the allegation to a school counselor, who told her to return to class, according to a lawsuit filed by her parents.
Once she did, one of the boys groped her again, the lawsuit states.
In response to the lawsuit, the school district admitted a student reported the allegation to school officials. The district said it launched its own investigation, but there is no reference of reporting the allegations to DCS in the legal response.
In Nashville, public school officials and police failed to tell DCS about allegations a female teacher engaged in sexual conduct with a then-14-year-old student at Maplewood High School.
Although the alleged misconduct reportedly occurred during much of the 2015-16 school year, a police spokesman said the department "inadvertently" delayed providing the entire case file to the prosecutor's office until mid-2017.
The teacher, Janai Smothers, was arrested in late 2017. She was working as a teacher in Fresno, California, at the time.
A former Nashville prosecutor and an East Tennessee prosecutor previously said there are ongoing instances of educators not reporting abuse.
Nashville District Attorney Glenn Funk and Nashville Schools Director Shawn Joseph disputed there is a widespread problem of abuse not being reported.
After a Tennessean investigation into schools not reporting abuse, Nashville schools changed its internal policy in an effort to cut down on teachers conducting their own investigations instead of following the law to report suspected abuse immediately and directly to DCS.
What the state does report
Education and child welfare officials contacted for this story said they work together to prevent and respond to abuse in schools.
The law requires school officials to report suspected abuse to law enforcement or DCS.
A federal rule known as Title IX requires schools to report to federal officials allegations of sexual harassment and assault.
A state law known as the Schools Against Violence in Education requires the commissioner of education to issue an annual report on the prevalence of violence in public schools.
Last month, Gov. Bill Haslam signed into law a requirement that public schools report to the state Department of Education on their use of corporal punishment.
No one is required to inform parents of schoolchildren or the public about any case.
New horrifying research reveals 98% of online child abuse victims are under 13
UK charity Internet Watch Foundation reveals youngest victim of child sex abuse live-streaming was just three-years-old
by Lee Bell
A SHOCKING 98% of the victims of online child abuse are under the age of 13, a new study has shown.
The data, which comes from UK charity the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), revealed that the youngest victim of child sex abuse live-streaming was just three-years-old.
Livestreaming sites present some of the biggest risks for online child abuse, mainly because they provide new ways for groomers to abuse children and produce child abuse images of the very worst kind.
According to the research, the majority of children targeted are 11-13 years old, and often will be abused by people they trust.
As a result, the IWF is calling for greater awareness and more action to stomp out such vile acts online.
The NSPCC's Associate Head of Child Safety Online, Andy Burrows, said:
“This research is truly alarming. It is horrifying to imagine that children are being coerced and manipulated to live-stream their own sexual abuse.
“It's time for tech firms to finally be held accountable. Too many children are abused on social media platforms, and it is time for industry to take responsibility and do more to tackle abuse at its source.
“That's why the Culture Secretary Matt Hancock must urgently step in to regulate social media giants, and force them to take steps to keep children safe.”
Last month, the IWF revealed that one in three images of child abuse are selfies that were taken by the victims themselves.
In the charity's damning report, it was revealed the number of child abuse websites online has grown by 37% since 2016.
The report also showed that the number of confirmed child sexual abuse URLs (or web pages) numbered 78,589 in 2017.
That's a huge leap upwards from the 57,335 pages tracked in 2016.
If any of the issues mentioned in this article affect you or someone you know, please contact the NSPCC helpline on 0808 800 5000 or fill in the charity's online reporting form. If you're worried that a child is in immediate danger, please call the police on 999.
‘If you stumble upon child sexual abuse images or videos online, you can report it at www.iwf.org.uk
Special Report: Protection From Child Abuse
by Alejandra Palacios
Child abuse continues to be something that unfortunately affects more and more families. First Witness Child Advocacy Center, a local organization in Duluth, has made it a priority to help those struggling from abuse and raising awareness on the issue.
"Up to 1 in 10 kids have experienced sexual abuse before the age of 18," said Ina Newton, a First Witness advocate.
When that happens, child abuse victims need to be supported and guided through a process that no family should have to go through.
"What First Witness does is helps to bring some comfort to this very difficult trauma scenario," said Wade Rasch, a St. Louis Sheriff's Office investigator.
Gathering evidence to prosecute in a child abuse case is crucial to bring justice to the victim, but it doesn't end there. Getting the child help to move forward is just as important. First Witness works as a support group, providing a multidisciplinary team for every step of the way.
"It just goes deeper than a jail door slamming and that's where this team approach is really helpful," Rasch said.
The primary tool in a child abuse case is what's called the forensic interview, the attempt to find out exactly what happened. The key is to make sure the interview is done in a way that makes the child comfortable to speak up, while also making sure the information is accurate.
"Forensically sound is following a protocol that has been researched based and tested to get past any types of blocks that might be there," Rasch said.
"Our interviews are a neutral fact-finding interview," Tracie Clanaugh, the executive director of First Witness, said.
Child abuse victims need to feel protected and safe throughout the investigation.
"The children are in the center of what we do, it's child-friendly," Clanaugh said.
The interview is conducted in a designated room while in another room investigators are monitoring and recording the interview. Those asking the questions are trained to put the child's needs first.
"The inflections, your body positioning, the way you ask questions are important," Rasch said.
"That's the reason there's a protocol for interviewing children and ultimately it's to get to the truth," Rasch said.
First Witness also trains other professionals in how to interact and interview with children for investigations.
"Bringing it back to a neutral safe ending so it's not just a trauma filled interview," Rasch said.
Over the past six months, First Witness has interviewed 91 children.
Adding to the sensitivity of the matter, is the nature of the abuser. Rarely is it a stranger.
"When it comes to sexual abuse, 90 percent of the time it's usually someone that the child knows or the family knows," Newton said.
Perpetrators use grooming tactics like building trust with children and their families before the abuse occurs.
"Crossing a boundary to see how people might respond, but really the goal is to maintain secrecy and isolation of that child. Through different tactics they'll find ways to do that," Newton said.
To help kids ahead of time, prevention education is taught through First Witness's 'Safe and Strong' program, providing age appropriate lessons in schools.
Since October, First Witness has made over 100 presentations to almost 3,000 children from kindergarten through fifth grade.
"That program helps kids build language skills around boundaries," Clanaugh said.
Children learn the difference between safe and unsafe touches.
"The rules are that no one should touch your private parts unless they're keeping you clean, healthy, and safe," Newton said.
Appropriate examples parents can use is potty training, a doctor's appointment, or even explaining why you have to hold their hand to cross the street.
First Witness encourages parents to talk with children about body safety and identifying safe people in their lives.The organization says it's important for the conversation to be ongoing in the child's life.
"As young as two you can start introducing words, you can start introducing skills to even get yourself as a parent or a caregiver in the habit of giving that to your child, and that can progress, because the goal is that it's a progressive conversation," Newton said.
As the child and the family go through a stressful and difficult time of prosecuting the perpetrator, it's important no one feels attacked, overwhelmed, or judged.
"We all need to take a step back and listen. Listen to the voices and the needs of those affected," Newton said.
Asking for details and specific information about the abuse is something that should be avoided.
"The best advice I could give for a potential parent or caregiver is to simply listen to your children if they're making a disclosure about sexual abuse or neglect," Rasch said.
After listening, contacting professionals is essential. Getting help to get through the traumatic experience is crucial for the victim's health.
Family service programs at First Witness's include crisis counseling, help rebuilding boundaries, teaching resiliency skills, and developing a safety plan to minimize chances of future abuse.
"A successful resolution doesn't just mean throwing a child molester in prison, because what we do have is a child that needs services, family that's struggling with it," Rasch said.
"Our advocates really work hard to walk the family through those processes that come ahead of them and be there for them both emotionally and just logistically," Clanaugh said.
Helping the affected heal and move forward.
If a child discloses abuse and is in immediate danger, call 911. If a child is safe from the alleged perpetrator, make a report to a child protection agency. First Witness can help you in making a report to social services.
Contact First Witness at:
NC bill would expand statue of limitations for child sex abuse victims
GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) - A bill making its way through the North Carolina General Assembly aims to expand the statue of limitations for child victims of sexual abuse.
House Bill 585 has already passed through the House with a vote of 112 to 3. It now moves on to the Senate for a vote there.
Under current North Carolina law, child victims of sexual abuse have until they turn 21-years-old to file a civil case. HB 585 would give children victims until they turned 40-years-old to file a civil suit.
"That's so people have the opportunity to work through any problems they might have with emotional issues because of the sexual assault," said Rep. Jean Farmer-Butterfiled (D-Dist. 24).
Rep. Farmer-Butterfield is one of the sponsors of HB 585.
"If it occurred, it shouldn't have occurred," she said. "Either way, people should have an extended period of time to address it."
An estimated two out of three sexual assaults in the United States go unreported. It's why some feel it's so important to give children victims more time to determine how to handle the incident.
"The vast majority of sexual assaults are committed by either an intimate partner or an acquaintance," said Sgt. John Guard with the Pitt County Sheriff's Major Crimes Division.
Statistics show 25 percent of girls and 16 percent of boys are sexually assaulted before they turn 18-years-old.
Children advocacy groups in the state have already planned a lobbying day on May 23 at the Legislative Building to encourage the Senate to vote yes for the bill.
Deborah Diener with the group Children Matter released a statement saying, "Other states have found that unknown child predators and inadequate organizational policies were exposed making children safer when they enacted similar laws.
And since experts have found that one perpetrator in their lifetime will abuse an average of 175 children, it is imperative for the safety of North Carolina's children that HB 585 becomes law."
To read the full bill, click here.
Surge in child abuse, neglect cases as opioid epidemic worsens
by Whitney Wetzel
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WCHS/WVAH) — There are many effects that trickle down as a result of the opioid crisis, which has only gotten worse in West Virginia in recent years. But one that is not often talked about is what happens to the children of those struggling with addiction.
The Eyewitness News iTeam looked into the numbers and found a disturbing rise in child abuse and neglect cases over the years and talked to officials who work closely with these cases.
"In July, we got our youngest," said Jennifer Price, a foster parent. "He came home to us from the hospital at 2 weeks old, and he's been with us ever since."
Ben Price, also a foster parent, said they then also received his brother, who was staying with a grandmother.
The Prices adopted 6-year-old Evander and 22-month-old Theo after becoming foster parents two years ago. They have taken in four other foster children during that time, all with one thing in common.
"Each has been affected in some way by the drug epidemic that's in our state," Jennifer said.
Little Theo was born exposed to drugs and his brother Evander was brought into the Prices' home at 4 years old. They said his behavior showed what kind of lifestyle he had been exposed to during his young life.
"The things that they've seen or heard, they remember,” Jennifer said. “That's what's been surprising to me, what a 2 or 3 year old can repeat to you what they've seen or that they've heard."
The Prices are called on frequently to take in children whose parents have lost their parental rights, until either they can regain them or the child can be placed with other family members. Often, there are more children in need of a home than available foster families. But they are not the only ones feeling this strain.
"In the last two years alone, the number of children who we have served through CASA has doubled, and we have a waiting list of hundreds of children who are waiting for a volunteer advocate," said Kim Runyon Wilds, program coordinator at Western Regional at Court Appointed Special Advocates.
CASA advocates for the best interest of abused and neglected children and serves as a child's voice in court. Wilds has seen an increased need for advocates as the number of child abuse and neglect cases has risen.
"It's been a dramatic increase for the counties that my program serves. In Kanawha County alone, we've had in the last two years alone, a 35 percent increase in petitions filed," Wilds said.
This has resulted in an increased demand and a shift in the type of workload for those who work in the court system such as Kanawha County Circuit Court Judge Duke Bloom.
"I used to spend probably, say three years ago, a day or a day and a half a week on abuse and neglect cases," Bloom said. "Now, it's easily 40 to 50 percent of my time are abuse and neglect cases."
In Kanawha County, there were 44 juvenile neglect cases in 1995. Ten years later, in 2005, the number of cases more than tripled to 165. By 2015, that number more than doubled to 367. Just one year later in 2016, that number again almost doubled to 656. So far in 2018, there have already been 240 juvenile neglect cases, which is almost the total number of cases for all of 2010.
"We're on track now, if the numbers remain consistent, I think will surpass 700 abuse and neglect cases this year," Bloom said. "In my view, there's a direct relationship between the increased drug epidemic that I think we're having now and the epidemic of these children who are being neglected and abused."
Wilds said at least 85 to 90 percent of the cases that they work on have a drug component.
"It's usually one or both of the parents having a drug addiction so severe that their parenting has been impacted and their children are not safe in the home anymore," she said.
That leaves foster parents, such as Ben and Jennifer, doing their best to provide a stable environment, whether it's for a week, a few months or a lifetime.
"It's really kind of sad and scary,” Ben said. “Sad for those who are being affected, but particularly for the kids who we see because we see them and they're innocent and they just want a normal life. They just want their mommies and daddies, and it doesn't matter what's going on with them, they just want their family. It's just really a terrible thing."
The Prices became foster parents through the organization NECCO. For more information on becoming a foster parent, visit necco.org.
3 men found not guilty of raping girl, 9, as mom smoked meth
by Julian Hattem and Lindsay Whitehurst
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Three men accused of raping a 9-year-old Utah girl while her mother was smoking methamphetamine in a garage were found not guilty Wednesday after their lawyers argued they couldn't be convicted without physical evidence.
Prosecutors said the girl's clear, harrowing testimony that the three grabbed and assaulted her after a 2016 Easter-egg hunt in rural Utah should be enough to convict them. Uintah County attorney Mark Thomas pointed to testimony that helped convict comedian Bill Cosby in his sexual-assault case.
But the defense argued that without any blood, hair or serious injuries, the jury couldn't be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt. Attorneys said the child, now 11, was copying a story fabricated by her paranoid mother, who was angry at a former boyfriend who was a defendant.
"If everything that she was saying was true, there should be some kind of physical evidence or injury to her," said defense attorney Bryan Sidwell.
The jury of five men and three women deliberated for about three hours before reaching the verdict.
Defendants Larson RonDeau, 38, Randall Flatlip, 28 and Jerry Flatlip, 31, were held in custody to face additional charges, though some may be thrown out after the acquittal on rape and sodomy counts.
The case provoked outrage in the town of Vernal, about 170 miles (274 kilometers) east of Salt Lake City.
The girl testified that she went with her mother, who wanted to visit a friend from jail, to the house where the three men were staying in 2016.
She said the three men brought her to a back bedroom and assaulted her after she fell asleep on a couch, and returned her there after it was over. When her mother got back from the garage, she found the girl upset with her Easter dress askew. She insisted on going home.
She didn't initially tell her mother about the assault because the men threatened to kill her, prosecutors said. The mother called police when she confided in her about two days later.
Thomas said Wednesday that prosecutors went to court with the best evidence available.
"We present cases to the jury that we believe that we have sufficient evidence. Then it's up to the jury," he said.
"There was a case against Bill Cosby where there was no physical evidence and the jury there found (him guilty) solely on the testimony of somebody who was there," Thomas said. "Obviously we still believe that a person's testimony can be weighed and considered by the jury."
The Associated Press generally does not identity people who say they were victims of sexual assault, and is not naming the mother to avoid identifying the girl.
The mother subsequently pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor child abuse charge and was sentenced to jail and drug treatment.
The girl is now in the care of her Native American tribe, authorities have said.
Charges were initially filed against a fourth man but dropped when the mother could not be found to testify at a 2016 evidence hearing.
The defendants remained calm throughout much of the five-day trial, but Jerry Flatlip seemed to become emotional as defense attorneys implored the jury to acquit the men.
"He said, 'This is the first time in two years that somebody's actually stood up and told my side of the story to someone,'" his lawyer, Sidwell, said.
Germany charges 4 over darknet child abuse site Elysium
by the Associated Press
BERLIN (AP) — German prosecutors are charging four men with the organized distribution of images of child sexual abuse over their involvement in a darknet site called Elysium.
The men from Germany and Austria, aged 40 to 62, are accused of operating the site until it was switched off by authorities in June 2017.
In a statement Tuesday, Frankfurt prosecutors said the material hosted on the site included pictures and videos of grave sexual abuse of very young children. Some of the material was created specifically for the site and at least one suspect is accused of participating in the sexual abuse of two children under 7.
Prosecutors said their investigation into the 111,000 registered users of the site is ongoing.
Darknet sites can be visited only by using special software.
DA: Ten kids were strangled, shot with crossbow, waterboarded
by the Associated Press
FAIRFIELD, Calif. (AP) — The ten children rescued from a filthy, abusive California home were strangled, punched, shot with crossbows and subjected to waterboarding by their father and their mother did nothing to stop it, prosecutors said.
The details of alleged abuse were included in a motion to increase the bail of Ina Rogers, 31, who was charged with nine counts of felony child abuse Wednesday in Solano Superior Court. Rogers did not enter a plea, but has previously denied allegations her children were harmed.
"On a continuous basis the children were getting punched, strangled, bitten, shot with weapons such as crossbows and bb guns, hit with weapons such as sticks and bats, subjected to 'waterboarding' and having scalding water poured on them," Solano County Deputy District Attorney Veronica Juarez wrote.
Prosecutors have refused to discuss details of the allegations against Rogers and her husband Jonathan Allen, 29, who has pleaded not guilty to multiple counts of torture and felony child abuse. He is in Solano County Jail on $5.2 million bail.
The motion states that when Fairfield Police arrived at the two-story house in a suburb 46 miles (74 kilometers) northeast of San Francisco on March 31, they found the children "huddled together on the living room floor" in a home littered with feces and trash.
"The children appeared to be skittish and spoke with speech impediments," she said.
Officers removed the 10 children, ages 12 years to 4 months, from the house.
Juarez alleges Rogers assisted in the abuse and "dissuaded the children" from reporting their injuries, which include broken arms. Prosecutors would not elaborate on the accusations or children's injuries.
On Wednesday, Judge William J. Pendergast set bail at $495,000 for Rogers, saying she "may not be a danger to the public at large, but these charges make clear she is a danger to the children."
It's unclear whether any California government agencies had an opportunity to intervene sooner or knew of the turmoil in the household.
Solano County court records show that Allen was charged with four felonies in 2011, including corporal injury, assault with a firearm and criminal threats in a case involving his wife, identified by her initials, I.R.
Prosecutors alleged Allen used a .22 caliber revolver in some of the crimes.
He pleaded no contest to corporal injury as part of a deal with prosecutors. He was sentenced to 180 days and three years of probation. Prosecutors dropped the other charges.
Rogers told reporters that she had one prior interaction with child welfare officials when her mother "had mentioned something" that prompted a home visit. Officials took pictures of the children and interviewed them individually, she said.
"Nothing was founded, my kids were placed back with me," she said.
Solano County's Child Welfare Services department officials did not immediately provide information on details about the visit or other interactions they may have had with members of the household.
Rogers says she home-schooled the children, but the two-story Fairfield, California, home was not registered as a private school and neither were three prior addresses where the family lived in Fairfield and Vallejo, according to the California Department of Education.
California law requires children to be enrolled in public school unless they meet specific exemptions, such as documented attendance at a private school. Parents who teach their own children are required to register with the state, but the state does not approve, monitor or inspect them.
The Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District had no record that the students attended any school in the district, said Tim Goree, a district spokesman.
Police responding to a missing juvenile report found a home filled with rotted food and human and animal waste, Fairfield Lt. Greg Hurlbut said. Police removed the children and arrested Rogers on suspicion of neglect. She was released after posting $10,000 bail.
Stories about the alleged abuse came out gradually in interviews with the children over the past six weeks and eight of the children told professionals about incidents dating back several years, authorities said.
Rogers was taken into custody after the hearing. Her court-appointed attorney, Barry Newman, declined comment.
Child abuse: What more can we do together?
by Larry Marx and Deb Rosen
Yes, as the Editorial Board recently said, when it comes to children, we need to ask ourselves what more we can do. As leaders of child-serving organizations, we ask ourselves that question all the time. That question isn't limited to children's advocacy organizations, or Monroe County's Department of Human Services. It's also a question for other leaders in government, business, philanthropy, education, health care, faith groups, and families.
And the question should include another word: together. What more can we do together ?
Child Protective Service workers are heroes. We need to increase their numbers, support them, and lower their caseloads. And the most effective way to do that is to prevent child abuse and neglect in the first place.
All of the children seen by CPS are at great risk. Research demonstrates that any child who is the subject of an abuse or neglect allegation — whether “proven” or not — is at grave risk of terrible life outcomes, and therefore concerns of child safety ought to be thoroughly investigated and services offered to alleviate stressors.Significant data shows that certain programs can reduce the risk of child abuse by addressing factors such as parental stress, maternal depression, and food insecurity. Data tells us what programs work best, and we want to see this community redouble its commitment to cross-sector partnerships to deliver primary prevention and education about prevention. Both of these models are available on a small scale in this community (the Nurse Family Partnership is funded to serve 300 families per year, leaving another 800 eligible families unserved), but we must ask why we are not doing more, together, to expand the availability of these programs?
Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, a model of child welfare practice, relies on the resources and skills present in the greater Pittsburgh community. The colleges and universities in that region are longtime partners of DHS and have developed trusting and collaborative relationships with the county through ongoing task forces and stakeholder committees.
For years, the Allegheny County Department of Human Services has shared data and internal reports on its website, making an effort to be transparent with the community. That history allowed the county and local partners to collaborate to develop a powerful predictive algorithm that identifies those children at greatest risk of abuse.
We believe such partnerships are possible in this community and could lead to tremendous impact on child well-being.
What more can we do together to prevent child abuse? We have examples of what's possible, but won't know locally unless we try.
Larry Marx is CEO of Children's Agenda and Deb Rosen is executive director of Bivona Child Avocacy Center.
Keller: APD must 'take a fresh look' at child abuse
by Ryan Boetel
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller is calling on police to examine how they investigate possible child abuse or children's safety issues in the wake of a case of suspected sex trafficking of a young girl with whom police had prior contacts.
Keller's office sent out a news release on Thursday, saying that Albuquerque police should take the following steps:
• Review child abuse cases for patterns that raise red flags;
• Work on trauma-informed interviewing techniques;
• Use the Real Time Crime Center to identify people with repeat interactions with law enforcement or child welfare agencies;
• Work with a state Children, Youth and Families Department task force to review prior cases;
• Prioritize recruitment and funding for civilian and sworn positions that work on children's cases;
• Reach out to other law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, the courts, CYFD and child advocates to coordinate crimes against children cases; and
• Evaluate policies on evidence collection.
“I think it's calling on APD to take a fresh look at all the various ways that they interact with families and children, whether it's a welfare call or child abuse call or an investigation,” said Gilbert Gallegos, a police spokesman. “I think we could use more work on maybe when there's not an obvious crime or allegation, are there ways to backtrack and interact (with potential victims).”
Keller said in a statement that the city has seen horrible things happen when children “fall through the cracks.”
“We're going to do everything we can to try to prevent this from happening. It's going to take all of us – law enforcement agencies, child advocates, prosecutors and the courts,” Keller said in a prepared statement. “Today we're stepping up ourselves, and we're reaching out to all of these partners to address coordination for cases impacting children's safety. We're asking all of these partners to review how they interact on child abuse, sexual assault and human trafficking cases, including the handling of evidence. We've got to figure out a way to build a system that protects our kids.”
Keller's announcement comes after a criminal case was brought against a man and woman who have been charged with crimes related to sex trafficking a young girl.
Police had been tipped off that the girl was being abused months before the Attorney General's Office brought charges against James Stewart and Teri Sanchez. Stewart faces 14 counts of promoting prostitution and criminal sexual contact of a minor and trafficking a child. Sanchez has been indicted on child abuse charges.
After being tipped off about possible abuse, an Albuquerque Public Schools teacher showed police blood-stained underwear she found while changing the 7-year-old girl while she was at school in November.
The teacher said in a hearing this week that the officer threw the underwear in a Dumpster, because it would be inadmissible in court.
Albuquerque Police Chief Michael Geier in an interview this week didn't say exactly what the officer did with the underwear, but defended the officer's investigation.
Signs to look for if you suspect child abuse
by Stephanie Stanavich
The Seneca Falls police chief is weighing in Thursday on how important it is to notify authorities if you suspect abuse.
"It's obviously extremely vital in this case, it could have saved a little boy's life," Chief Stuart Peenstra said.
Maureen Foran-Mocete, who works at the McMahon/Ryan Child Advocacy Center, says people are hesitant to call because they fear they may be ruining someone's reputation, disturbing a family, or that the abuse may not actually be happening.
However, if they are in trouble, children may need help from the outside.
"I think if we have a gut feeling, we have a legitimate concern that something is happening, it's upon us to make those phone calls especially with child abuse," Foran-Mocete said.
Signs may be obvious, such as bruising or red marks, but other times it's about trusting instincts or noticing subtle changes.
"With people that see the child every day whether it's daycare or in school where they notice changes in the behavior of the child, a child that used to be very outgoing is not outgoing anymore, or vice versa," Foran-Mocete said.
If you do know the child well but see something wrong, the center stresses how important it is to take action and call the police instead of waiting until it is too late.
"We know in a lot of these cases we hear about them after the fact, community members, neighbors or family even have said, well I kind of wondered about that," Foran-Mocete said.
In this case in Seneca Falls, help from others may have raised concern prior to the child's death.
Chief Peenstra said he along with other officials are filled with frustration, sadness, and anger.
McMahon Ryan Child Advocacy Center also wants people to be aware that in most cases, child abuse is often from someone they know, trust and love.
If the abuse has been reported, but changes haven't been made, the center suggests calling authorities again until the child is safe.
Every bishop in Chile just resigned over the child sex abuse scandal
The move comes days after Pope Francis met with bishops to discuss the crisis.
by Tara Isabella Burton
Thirty-four Chilean bishops have resigned together over the Catholic child sex abuse scandals.
The unprecedented move — which saw the entire Chilean church leadership offer to step down — came shortly after a meeting with Pope Francis over the scale of sexual abuse and its cover-up in Chile. It is to date the most significant formal acceptance of responsibility for abuse by members of the church hierarchy anywhere in the world.
While child sex abuse scandals have dogged the Catholic Church worldwide, the scandal in Chile centers on the figure of Rev. Fernando Karadima. In 2011, a Vatican investigation found Karadima guilty of a series of child sexual abuse that took place throughout the 1970s and '80s. (The case was never prosecuted under criminal law, and Karadima, now 87, lives in a nursing home in Chile.) A number of critics have accused Karadima's protégé, Bishop Juan Barros, of being complicit in the abuse by covering for Karadima and allowing his behavior to go unpunished.
The mass resignation appears to be an acknowledgment that the Chilean church — which has consistently defended Barros and maintained his innocence — is accepting responsibility for wrongdoing.
In their resignation letter, the bishops, including Barros, expressed contrition for their behavior, saying they “especially ask for forgiveness for the pain caused to the victims, the pope, the People of God and the country for our grave errors and omissions.” They continued, “Thank you to the victims, for their perseverance and their bravery, despite the enormous personal spiritual, social, and family difficulties they've had to face so many times, amidst the incomprehension and the attacks from the ecclesial community itself. ... Once again, we implore their forgiveness and help to continue moving forward in the path of healing and cauterization of the wounds.”
This expression of responsibility is an about-face for the Vatican. Last year, Francis appeared to dismiss the accusations against Barros, garnering worldwide criticism for discounting them as “slander.” Since then, however, Francis has apologized — both for his remarks and for the church's inaction more generally — and has met with survivors of Karadima's abuse.
Earlier this week, Francis met with several Chilean bishops at the Vatican and reportedly expressed his displeasure with how the case was being handled. In a document circulated to attendees, and later leaked to the press, he accused the bishops of downplaying the gravity of Karadima's crimes and transferring Karadima and other priests to other parishes in order to minimize the scandal. The church had an obligation, he said, to “help find the light to adequately treat an open wound, one which hurts and is complex, and which for a long time hasn't stopped bleeding in the lives of so many people, and as such, in the life of the People of God.”
The pope has not yet formally accepted the bishops' resignations.
It's not just priests who sexually abuse children; families should be alert to anyone watching kids
by Ivey DeJesus
It's not just a Catholic problem
The clergy sex abuse scandal has focused attention on the widespread and systemic sexual abuse of children by priests.
But child sexual abuse is not just a Catholic problem.
The Catholic Church - with scandals out of the Boston and Philadelphia archdioceses, to name just two - has been at the center of child sexual abuse, but in recent years a number of horrific cases of child sex abuse has served to focus attention that it is a non-discriminating scourge.
Studies show that one in 10 children are sexually abused before their 18th birthday. It ranks the second most costly victim crime - second only to murder.
The arrest last week of Father David Poulson, of the Diocese of Erie, once again focused attention on pedophilia in the Catholic Church.
More than 10,000 Catholic priests have been credibly accused of child molestation and rape - an average of 228 cases per year since the 1950s.
But the Catholic Church, in fact, is not an outlier.
Abuse across Protestant churches
Child sex abuse happens across Protestant and evangelical churches - and, at times, at a higher rate.
An investigation by The Associated Press recently found three insurance companies in the United States that provide liability coverage for 165,000 Protestant churches typically receive 260 reports every year of children being sexually abused by Protestant clergy or other staff.
In 2013, Boz Tchividjian, a Liberty University law professor, said the Christian mission field is a "magnet" for sexual abusers.
Tchividjian, a grandson of the late evangelist the Rev. Billy Graham, excoriated evangelicals for turning a blind eye to abuse among their ranks.
The Presbyterian Church
In recent years, the Presbyterian Church, one of the most progressive mainline denominations, has been rocked by child sexual abuse cases. The majority of cases involved the children of missionaries serving overseas from the 1950s to 1990.
In the wake of mounting allegations, the church commissioned an independent panel to investigate the reports. The panel found that at least nine individuals, including ministers ordained with the denomination, had abused children.
A similar investigation in 2002 found "overwhelming" evidence that at least 22 girls and women had been sexually abused by a Presbyterian minister and missionary over a 40-year period.
The abuse took place in Africa and the United States.
A survey by the Journal of Pastoral Care in 1993 found that 14 percent of Southern Baptist ministers said they had engaged in "inappropriate sexual behavior."
By 2000, a report to the Baptist General Convention found the incidence of sexual abuse by clergy had reached "horrific proportions." Victims advocates have derided church leadership for protecting predators and covering up crimes.
In 2016 the Southern Baptist Convention elected Steve Gaines as its president. A few years earlier, Gaines, at the time head of a Memphis, Tennessee, church was implicated in clergy child molestation case. Investigators said Gaines knew for years that one of his ministers had sexually molested a child. Gaines neither reported the crime to police or his congregation, police said.
Leaked internal documents this year catapulted the Jehovah's Witnesses church unto the child sex crimes roster.
The insular church discouraged victims of sexual abuse from reporting the abuse, the documents showed.
The leaked documents exposed sexual abuse accusations from three accusers against a member of the church. The documents outline the efforts by the church to cover up the scandal and keep it from the "worldly court of law."
Since the news broke, hundreds of church members have come forward with their own accounts of abuse. Attorneys believe there are thousands of victims involved.
Predators: not so much pastors but volunteers
The majority of accused predators in faith settings are not clergy or staff but church volunteers.
That is according to the Christian Ministry Resources, which serves more than 75,000 congregations and 1,000 denominational agencies nationwide.
Annual surveys from the organization suggest that in recent years, the pace of child-abuse allegations against American churches has averaged 70 a week.
A trusted coach
The case of Larry Nassar serves as a tragic reminder that child sex crimes perpetrators can come under the guise of a child's most trusted coach.
Nassar, the former doctor for USA Gymnastics, represents the latest chapter of serial pedophilia in this country.
A member of Michigan State's sports medicine staff, Nassar, 54, admitted to molesting hundreds of athletes under his care. More than 300 women and girls have accused him of molestation. The abuse happened as far back as the late 1990s.
Nassar was convicted and sentenced to up to 175 years in prison.
Sexual Abuse in hockey
Former NHL hockey player Sheldon Kennedy (pictured above) in 1997 revealed he had been sexually abused by Canadian youth coach Graham James beginning when he was 14. Six other players eventually came forward as well.
Graham was a prominent coach in the Western Hockey League and was named Man of the Year by The Hockey News. The publication eventually rescinded.
Kennedy, formerly a Boston Bruins forward, is shown here testifying before Congress in 2011. He has become an advocate for victims rights.
Boy Scouts of America scandal
Child sexual abuse occurs most readily in systems cloaked in secrecy. One of the most stunning examples of this has played out across the Boys Scouts of America.
In recent years, a myriad of reports and probes have shown that the youth organization long kept confidential files on suspected sexual abusers among its ranks.
In 2012, those newly opened files showed that authorities - from police chiefs, prosecutors, pastors and local Boy Scouts leaders - had shielded scoutmasters and others accused of molesting children.
The files included thousands of cases of child sex crimes among scouting ranks spanning decades.
Scout Files Abuse
Under a court order, the Boy Scouts of America had to make public more than 1,200 files on suspected sexual molesters.
The order lifted the veil on decades of alleged abuse identifying hundreds of suspected abusers from all over the country. Among the names of predators were doctors, lawyers, politicians and policemen.
Bucks County-based Solebury School last year came under grand jury investigation into the sexual abuse of students spanning a half century.
Investigators found that prior administrators concealed the abuse and fostered a school environment that lacked appropriate boundaries between students and faculty.
The statute of limitations bars prosecution in all but one case, and the victim in that case declines to pursue charges.
The grand jury heard from six other former students who described sexual activity with faculty and staff members.
In 2016, Dennis Hastert, the longest-serving Republican Speaker of the House in U.S. history, was sentenced to 15 months in federal prison for structuring payouts in order to cover up the sexual abuses he perpetrated as a wrestling coach in Illinois decades ago.
"The thing I want to do is say I'm sorry to those I've hurt and misled. They looked at me and I took advantage of them," Hastert told a judge.
U.S. District Judge Thomas Durkin called Hastert "a serial child molester."
Hastert was released last year from a federal prison in Minnesota after serving nearly 13 months.
The former Republican powerhouse was ordered to serve two years of court-ordered supervised release.
Former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky is serving up to 60 years in prison for sexually abusing 10 boys between 1994 and 2009.
Sandusky targeted his victims from among the boys who attended his Second Mile camp, a charity that he ran for at-risk youth. He was convicted of 45 of 48 counts of child sexual abuse against young boys from the charity
Banned swimming coaches
Approximately 150 youth swimming coaches have been banned for life as a result of credible child sex crimes allegations against them.
In 2010, Andy King, a coach with a California aquatics club, was charged with 20 counts of lewd acts with girls 15 and younger. He was sentenced to 40 years in prison for molesting girls training with the San Jose Aquatics Club. King was alleged to have impregnated one of his victims when she was 14.
In 2008, Central Indiana Aquatics coach Brian Hindson was accused of setting up hidden cameras in locker rooms. He pleaded guilty to charges including distribution, production and possession of child pornography and was sentenced to 33 years in prison.
A coach who failed to step up
Chuch Wielgus, who served as executive director of USA Swimming for nearly 20 years, came under fire for his handling of sex abuse cases.
In 2014, more than four years after rebuking culpability, Wielgus apologized to victims and acknowledged that he should have done more to protect athletes.
He wrote in a blog post: "I wish my eyes had been more open to the individual stories of the horrors of sexual abuse. I wish I had known more so perhaps I could have done more."
Wielgus died in 2017.
Millions of children abused by teachers
Schools are supposed to be a safe environment for children, but they can actually be one of the most dangerous places for children with regards to sexual abuse.
A study commissioned by the U.S. Department of Education found that up to 7 percent of all middle and high school students were the targets of physical sexual abuse by teachers, coaches and other adults working in the school system.
That statistic puts the number of young teens sexually abused by teachers and other school adults in the millions.
A 2015 report found that just under 500 educators were arrested in connection to child sex crimes:
3.5 million students (grades 8th-11th) reported having had physical sexual contact from an adult (most often a teacher or coach).
4.5 million children reported being shown pornography or being subjected to sexually explicit language or exhibitionism.
According to a report by The Washington Post, 35 percent of educators convicted or accused of sexual misconduct with children had used social media to gain access to their victims.
The New York community of ultra-Orthodox Jews has faced a backlash for asking observant Jews to consult a rabbi instead of going immediately to police with evidence of child sexual abuse.
Similar cases have sprung in other cities, including Baltimore and Miami, involving allegations of sexual misconduct by orthodox Jewish leaders.
The case involving Rabbi Shmuel Krawatsky, formerly of the Beth Tfiloh Dahan Community School in Baltimore, involves the alleged abuse of at least three boys at a summer camp.
According to a report by The Jewish Week, the rabbi, who was naked and alone in a pool changing room with two alleged victims, touched the boys inappropriately before asking them to touch his "private parts" in exchange for $100."
The report also states that the rabbi threatened the young boys not to tell their parents.
Given the faith's shroud of secrecy there is no hard data regarding the number of potential abuse victims in the Orthodox Jewish community. Experts estimate that there could be thousands of victims dating back decades.
The principle of mesirah forbids reporting a Jewish practitioner to secular authorities. Issues are supposed to be handled internally within the greater faith community.
Neighbor, friend or family
Young children have long been taught about "stranger danger," but, in fact, most perpetrators are individuals close to a child, including a day care worker or volunteer. According to federal health authorities, pedophiles and child molesters, in general:
tend to be male
can be heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual
range in age from teens to midlife
are usually a relative, friend, or neighbor of the child
carry the abuse out in the home of the victim
often claim that they themselves were victims of childhood sexual abuse.
The majority of victims are girls. When boys are victims, the sexual abuse tends to take place outside the home, and the perpetrator may be a stranger.