National Association of Adult Survivors of Child Abuse

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"News of the Week"  

April 2019 - Week 4
Terri Lanahan
Many thanks to NAASCA's Terri Lanahan, Butte, Montana,
for her research into the news that appears on
the LACP & NAASCA web sites.


Washington State

Sexual abuse laws poised for massive changes in Washington state

by Sydney Brownstone and Paige Browning

There will be no statute of limitations for people who survived sexual abuse when they were under 16.

The same bill extends the statute of limitations for adult survivors to 10 or 20 years, depending on the severity of the crime. It also makes a significant change to how rape in the third degree is prosecuted — removing a small but crucial piece of language that advocates say ignored trauma research and prevented cases from being tried in court.

Speaking after the passage of the original Senate bill in February, Mary Ellen Stone, executive director of King County Sexual Assault Resource Center, said the bill was the organization's biggest win in at least five years.

"I think we all realize attitudes are changing — the culture is changing on this issue." Stone said. "Everybody knows so many more people who've been impacted by sexual assault. And there was a collective recognition that it's time to make this change."

Andrea Piper-Wentland of Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs said this means that survivors will have more time to process what happened to them.

She said the law would allow survivors "to get out of a situation that they were in, that was prohibitive for them to report."

"There's a myriad of reasons survivors have for delayed reporting," she said.

Lifting the statute of limitations

Before the bill is signed into law, Washington state's statute of limitations dictates that childhood survivors of sexual abuse have until their 30th birthdays to pursue a case. Adult survivors of rape must report their rapes to police within a year, after which they have 10 years to prosecute their cases. If adult survivors of rape don't report the crime to police, they have just a three-year window to bring a case forward.

As of last summer, 15 states had removed statutes of limitations for child sex crimes.

Mary Dispenza of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) said she was excited for a change she and fellow survivors had been fighting for since the 1990s.

That said, the bill, once signed into law is not retroactive; it doesn't apply to cases in which the statute of limitations has already expired.

"Going forward, it will indeed and help survivors of childhood priest abuse," Dispenza said. "But it won't do much to allow the thousands in the past who have been harmed by sexual violence on the part of clergy to to have their day in court."

Dispenza said she hoped Washington lawmakers might consider an additional change to account for the survivors of clergy abuse who come forward when they're adults. In Washington state, survivors of childhood sex abuse have three years after their 18th birthday, or after their discovery of the harms of their abuse, to bring a civil case.

Since the Boston Globe's investigation of clergy abuse in 2002, however, nine states have passed laws that open short windows during which survivors with previously expired civil claims could pursue cases against their abusers, according to Child USA. Dispenza said she hopes Washington lawmakers would do the same.

A crucial change around consent

The bill passed by the state Senate on Tuesday would also change the state's definition of rape in the third degree. Washington's third-degree rape language says a victim must demonstrate a lack of consent "clearly expressed by the victim's words or conduct."

This standard, advocates say, doesn't account for one of the body's biological responses to trauma: the "freeze" impulse to lay still, not say anything, or shut down. In the absence of third-party witnesses who observe a clear lack of consent, prosecutors are often reluctant to bring cases, according to advocates.

"Often when talking to prosecutors about these cases, the response that we get as to why they can't move forward on these charges is the victim didn't express or say 'no' enough times or didn't fight back hard enough to meet that standard of clear conduct through words and actions to express non-consent," said Riddhi Mukhopadhyay, legal director of YWCA's Sexual Violence Legal Services.

If the bill passed by the Legislature is signed into law, that "clearly expressed" lack of consent language would be removed. Instead, the law would read that a person is guilty of rape in the third degree "where the victim did not consent to sexual intercourse with the perpetrator" or "where there is threat of substantial unlawful harm to the property rights of the victim."

"It is much more responsive and realistic to what sexual assault looks like for many survivors, where many people physically are in a position where they can't fight back, they can't say anything out loud," Mukhopadhyay said. "It's not just because of surrounding circumstances — it's also based on the neurobiology of how we physically deal with trauma."

If Gov. Jay Inslee signs Senate Bill 5649 into law, it would take effect 90 days after the end of the legislative session.

King County Sexual Assault Resource Center
Hotline for therapy, legal advocates and family services: (888) 998-6423
UW Medicine Center for Sexual Assault and Traumatic Stress
Hotline, resources including counseling and medical care: (206) 744-1600
Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs
List of providers across the state that offer free services.
Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network (RAINN)
Hotline and/or online chat with trained staff: (800) 656-4673
YWCA Sexual Violence Legal Services
Legal line for sexual assault survivors to speak to an attorney to discuss legal options and rights in Washington: 844-999-7857


Kansas City

This Kansas City Author Channeled Stories Of Sexual Abuse Into A Novel To Help Victims


After being asked to create a program to help the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph recognize signs of sexual abuse, Cathy Morrison found herself doing much more than teaching – she began listening.

A consultant specializing in leadership development, strategic planning and executive coaching, Morrison had already developed a program to help adults identify and report signs of suspected sexual abuse of minors. And as she presented her program to various organizations, survivors inundated her with stories of their own sexual assault.    

"Often, I was the first person people spoke with," Morrison says.

These conversations inspired her young adult novel, "Say Something."

Though "Say Something" is fiction, Morrison incorporates aspects of people's real experiences into the story of one main character coping with life as a sexual assault survivor, and the often difficult decision of reporting the crime.

One in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually assaulted before the age of 18, according to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, and only 12% of the crimes will be reported.

Sexual predators often take calculated steps before assaulting their victim. The steps, which experts on sexual assault refer to as "grooming," are when a perpetrator works to gain the trust of the victim, family or community, making themselves appear to be unlikely culprits.

In Morrison's book, the victim — a girl named Maggie — reports her crime but is convinced to recant her story. Morrison says this commonly occurs in real life.

"This is something that happens fairly often," Morrison says. "A child will report and be convinced by an adult to say, 'Oh no, I made a mistake.'"

Other times a child may float a "trial balloon," an inexplicit way of telling an adult that they're uncomfortable with someone. When the listener rejects the gesture, she says, "you lessen the chances of them speaking up again."

Morrison says she wants more people to recognize the signs of sexual abuse and grooming, and for communities to be prepared to respond.

Signs of an inappropriate relationship can vary depending on each child and their age. One child may display subtle signs of discomfort with the perpetrator, while another might have a drastic change in behavior.

A person doesn't have to be the victim to report signs of abuse, Morrison says, and any person reporting can remain anonymous. (More information is available at the Metropolitan Organization to Counter Sexual Assault or the Missiouri or Kansas child abuse hotline.)

Although "Say Something" is fiction, Morrison strives to create a realistic depiction without using graphic details of what might occur leading up to a sexual assault. She also portrays the state of mind of a victim and how they can receive help.

In order to protect another child from falling prey to her abuser, the heroine in "Say Something" decides to report her assault again, this time calling an abuse hotline. Morrison depicts that call as comforting and helpful.

"I think it's important for people to know that when you make the call, it starts a process to ensure that a child is safe," she says. "It doesn't send a SWAT team knocking on someone's door. And I think some people have that impression."


Cathy Morrison and MOCSA Counseling Coordinator Kristin Mills-Trowbridge spoke with Steve Kraske on a recent episode of KCUR's Up to Date. Listen to the entire conversation here.

Elizabeth Ruiz is an intern for KCUR's Up To Date. Contact her at


Rochester, NY

Gymnast Aly Raisman: Stand between an abuser and victim, 'You'll save lives'

by Victoria E. Freile

Olympic gymnast and sexual abuse survivor Aly Raisman said it was hard to speak out about the years of abuse she endured at the hands of USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar.

"But it was even harder to keep quiet," she said Wednesday morning as the keynote speaker at the 11th annual Bivona Child Advocacy Center's Child Abuse Summit.

More than 1,000 people have gathered for the two-day conference at the Rochester Riverside Convention Center.

Raisman, 24, has become a symbol of strength for survivors after she spoke out about her abuser. A three-time Olympic gold medalist and former world champion, Raisman last year delivered a powerful statement in court last year, condemning the former Olympic team doctor.

While she continues to heal, and under go therapy, she says she will not allow the abuse to define her.

Instead, she advocates for accountability and change in USA Gymnastics, and encourages other sex abuse survivors to "share their truth."

A self-described "underdog," Raisman said she is regularly approached by women and men who share their own experiences as sexual abuse survivors. Some of those people disclose to her for the first time, even decades after the abuse occurred, she said.

"They inspire me so much, and it's part of what keeps me going," Raisman said. "So many people speak up and aren't heard or believed. And that's not right."

But there's so much more work that needs to be done, she said. She continues to press for additional changes to USA Gymnastics, because people who enabled Nassar's behavior remain employed. She also advocates to help to eliminate sexual abuse in youth sports.

She wasn't the best gymnast as a kid but worked hard. Today that work ethic was on display as @ Aly_Raisman shared her story at the @ BivonaCAC Child Abuse Summit about surviving abuse at the hands of her team doctor. It was an honor to interview her.

Raisman said she feels there needs to be more education and conversation about all sorts of abuse — sexual, mental, physical. Children also need to understand what their private parts are and that no one should be permitted to touch them. If an adult's behavior raises red flags, say something, she said.

The ripple effect of our actions can be enormous.

"I always said just one adult is needed to stand between an abuser and a victim," Raisman said. "Be that one adult. Report it, stop it. You'll save lives."

Raisman competed in the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Summer Games and has authored a memoir, Fierce.


West Virginia

CAC works to change stigma around child abuse

by Kelsie LeRose

MARTINSBURG — The Safe Haven Child Advocacy Center — which provides services to Jefferson, Berkeley and Morgan counties — continues to work and change the stigma around child abuse, especially during National Child Abuse Awareness Month.

“Awareness is so important today because in order to prevent abuse, we have to break through the stigma and shame, and talk about how the abuse of children happens, especially sexual abuse,” said Jenna Hott, supervisor of the Safe Haven Child Advocacy Center.

Research shows one in 10 children will be the victim of sexual abuse before their 18th birthday.

“Despite this staggering statistic, it's a silent epidemic that people are afraid to talk about,” Hott said.

Hott said it is important for adults, who are responsible for safety of children, to know how to react responsibly to child abuse and take proactive steps to protect them.

According to the CAC, if a child reports abuse, the adult should show concern but remain calm; never blame the child for the abuse; listen and receive the information in a non-judgmental way; let the child know that everything can be talked about; let the child know you believe and support her/him; do not assume anything; tell the child you are glad they told you and that you will help her/him get help; and do not make promises that you cannot keep.

Earlier this month, Hott said, a national campaign was launched with West Virginia Roots called SHINE.

“SHINE's goal is to change the conversation of childhood sexual abuse — bringing it out of the shadows and into the light — and to build a universe of support so survivors can find hope, healing and justice,” she said.

Since opening its doors in 2006, the Safe Haven CAC has served more than 2,000 children.

“Last fiscal year, the CAC served 204 new children; 49 males and 155 females. Of the 204 new children served, 26 percent were under 6 years old, 32 percent were between the ages of 7 and 12 and 42 percent were 13 to 18 years of age,” Hott said. “Approximately 60 percent of new children served were children who reside in Berkeley County.”

The CAC promotes a child-focused approach to the investigation, prosecution and treatment of child abuse by providing a safe, child-friendly facility, a multidisciplinary team response to abuse allegations and professional support education and advocacy services.

“Safe Haven Child Advocacy Center is a child-friendly facility that provides a warm and safe environment for child victims of abuse,” Hott said. “Our services are child-appropriate, culturally competent and legally sound.”

Services offered include: coordinated investigations and legally sound interviews; referral services for therapy, medical evaluations and victim support and advocacy; case review; case tracking, minimizing the possibility of children “falling through the cracks;” referral and linkage to other services; information about child abuse; and community education and awareness.

Hott said the CAC is a grant-funded program through a nonprofit organization.

“We rely on the help of others to support our vision — restoring the lives of children who have been abused,” she said. “All donations go towards helping provide direct services to children and their non-offending caregivers in our community.”

Throughout the month of April, a Children's Memorial Flag has flown in front of the Berkeley County Courthouse in Martinsburg in honor of April being Child Abuse Awareness Month.

The flag, created by the Child Welfare League of America, honors each lost child, and serves as a symbol for the protection of children and young people from all forms of violence.

It also raises public awareness about the continuing problem of violence against children.

Other local organizations fighting daily against child abuse are the Biker's Against Child Abuse, Family Resource Network of the Panhandle, the Berkeley County Department of Health and Human Resources and CASA of the Eastern Panhandle.

Individuals can contact the Safe Haven CAC for more information on how to prevent child abuse or for resources available in the community to address the needs of families and children who have experienced abuse, Hott said.



Child abuse images still online six years after victim's rescue

Olivia was sexually abused as a child but, even though her abuser was jailed, images of her abuse are still being shared.

Photos of a child's sexual abuse are still being shared online, six years after she was rescued from her abuser.

The Internet Watch Foundation's report Once Upon A Year chronicles the experience of a child referred to as Olivia, who was raped and sexually tortured as a child.

Her abuse began at the age of three and she was rescued from her abuser in 2013 at the age of eight, according to the IWF.

The abuser was jailed but that has not stopped images of the abuse being shared online.

IWF is a charity which tries to stop the spread of child abuse images online. Team members search for abuse images and then try to get them removed from the internet.

In the report, a team member said Olivia was abused by "someone she trusted".

The IWF does not know the case details for legal reasons but they are told when their work results in someone being protected.

They said that the availability of images of Olivia's abuse, however, were allowing "heartless offenders to share and probably profit from Olivia's misery".

"To show exactly what 'repeat victimisation' means, we counted the number of times we saw Olivia's image online during a three-month period.

"We saw her at least 347 times. On average, that's five times each and every working day.

"In three out of five times she was being raped, or sexually tortured. Some of her images were found on commercial sites. This means that in these cases, the site operator was profiting from this child's abuse," the IWF said.

"We simply don't know if Olivia was aware that images of her abuse were being shared online. If she was, it's difficult to imagine how traumatic that knowledge must be, particularly for someone so young.

"However, we do know, from talking to adults who have suffered re-victimisation, that it's a mental torture that can blight lives and have an impact on their ability to leave the abuse in the past.

"Knowing an image of your suffering is being shared or sold online is hard enough. But for survivors, fearing that they could be identified, or even recognised as an adult is terrifying."

Olivia's story was released alongside a report showing that the charity found a record 105,047 URLs last year containing images of sexual abuse, much of it being shared on a commercial basis.

Only 0.04% of these were hosted in the UK and almost half of the imagery was discovered in the Netherlands.

Earlier this year, Home Secretary Sajid Javid vowed to do more to stop child abuse online, but IWF chief executive Susie Hargreaves OBE said the problem was "far from being solved".

She added: "The cause of the problem is the demand. Unfortunately, and as the police tell us often, there are 100,000 people sitting in the UK right now demanding images of the abuse of children like Olivia."

Vinous Ali, the head of policy for industry body techUK, told Sky News: "At first-glance the fact that the IWF processed 73% more reports of CSE material this year compared to last year is horrifying.

"However, this means more of this material is now being identified, assessed and removed than ever before. This has been a joint effort between the IWF, industry actors and law enforcement who are developing new ways of working and new technologies to speed up detections and take downs.

"While it is a step in the right direction to hear that the amount of child sexual abuse imagery hosted in the UK is at its lowest level ever, there is still much more to do and industry remains committed to continue working with the IWF and others to rid the internet of this criminal material."


Boy Scouts

(video on site)

The list of Boy Scouts leaders accused of sexual abuse has nearly 3,000 more names than previously known

by Jason Hanna, Elizabeth Joseph and Kristina Sgueglia, CNN

(CNN) The Boy Scouts of America believed more than 7,800 of its former leaders were involved in sexually abusing children over the course of 72 years, according to newly exposed court testimony -- about 2,800 more leaders than previously known publicly.

The Boy Scouts identified more than 12,000 alleged victims in that time period, from 1944 through 2016, according to the testimony, which was publicized Tuesday by attorney Jeff Anderson, who specializes in representing sexual abuse victims. The numbers, Anderson said, come from what the BSA calls its volunteer screening database -- a list of volunteers and others that the Boy Scouts removed and banned from its organization over accusations of policy violations, including allegations of sexual abuse. That 7,800 includes scout leaders and masters across the country accused of sexually assaulting "children under their charge," Anderson said Tuesday at a news conference in New York.

"What hadn't been known to us is the real scope of this," Anderson said. "We care deeply about all victims of child abuse and sincerely apologize to anyone who was harmed during their time in scouting," the BSA said Wednesday in a statement. "At no time have we ever knowingly allowed a perpetrator to work with youth, and we mandate that all leaders, volunteers and staff members nationwide immediately report any abuse allegation to law enforcement," the statement said. The Boy Scouts emphasized that when someone is added to its volunteer screening database, "they are removed entirely from any scouting program" and prohibited from rejoining anywhere. Anderson said the latest numbers were revealed in court testimony on January 30, in the course of a Minnesota child sex rape trial unrelated to the Boy Scouts.

Janet Warren
, professor of psychiatry and neurobehavioral sciences at the University of Virginia, testified in that trial as an expert who knew about policies regarding protection of children from sexual abuse. Besides her work as a professor, the BSA retained her in 2013 to research its ineligible volunteer database and to recommend how to make it more effective, according to BSA. Earlier, BSA had her review and write a 2012 report on 1,200 ineligible-volunteer files that were introduced in a 2010 lawsuit in Oregon. In this year's Minnesota trial, an attorney asked Warren about her involvement with the Boy Scouts. In her answer, she said her review of the group's database showed the BSA revoked the registrations of 7,819 people from 1944 through 2016 on the belief that they were involved in sexually abusing a child, and that it had identified 12,254 victims. Warren told reporters on Wednesday she expects to present her review in a more detailed manner this summer. She said there is no evidence of a cover-up by the organization.

Parts of the BSA's ineligible volunteer list have been published before

In 2012, attorneys involved in a case against the Boy Scouts released some of the ineligible volunteer files -- involving allegations against more than 1,000 people -- with the approval of the Oregon Supreme Court. Those attorneys had won an $18.5 million judgment against the Boy Scouts two years earlier in a case where a Scoutmaster sexually abused a boy. Also in 2012, the Los Angeles Times reported that BSA was reviewing about 5,000 cases from the 1950s onwards, in which employees or volunteers were suspected of molesting children and were removed from the organization. The Boy Scouts announced the review days after a Times investigation based on an extensive review of files. Later that year, the Los Angeles Times published a list of about 5,000 people expelled from the Boy Scouts between 1947 and January 2005 on suspicion of sexual abuse, having gathered the files from court cases in which they were submitted as evidence. Partly at issue, Anderson said, is whether police were immediately told of all of the allegations. After the initial release of the 1,000-plus cases, the BSA said in 2012 that it was reviewing files to ensure "all good-faith suspicion of abuse" had been reported to police." The group enacted a mandatory policy in 2011 requiring all members to tell police of possible child abuse.

Boy Scouts of America says it believes and supports victims

On Wednesday, the BSA said that "every instance of suspected abuse is reported to law enforcement." "The organization went back decades and reported ... instances of abuse to law enforcement when it may have been unclear whether prior incidences had been reported," the BSA said. It's not clear how many of those cases were prosecuted. "We believe victims, we support them, and we have paid for unlimited counseling by a provider of their choice," the BSA said. "Nothing is more important than the safety and protection of children in scouting, and we are outraged that there have been times when individuals took advantage of our programs to abuse innocent children. "Throughout our history, we have enacted strong youth protection policies to prevent future abuse, including mandatory youth protection trainings and a formal leader-selection process that includes criminal background checks," the statement said. "Since the 1920s, we have maintained a Volunteer Screening Database to prevent individuals accused of abuse or inappropriate conduct from joining or re-entering our programs, a practice recommended in 2007 by the Centers for Disease Control for all youth-serving organizations." The BSA noted that:

• Youth protection training is mandatory for all registered leaders.

• The BSA requires that a youth is never alone with an adult leader during scouting activities and says that no youth is permitted to sleep in the tent of an adult other than his or her own parent or guardian.

• The BSA prohibits one-on-one texts and social media communications between adult and youth members

Attorney urges victims to come forward

Anderson on Tuesday followed his revelation of the BSA database numbers with a call for victims of child sex abuse to come forward and seek justice, even if the abuse happened long ago. Reporting childhood sexual abuse decades after the fact may not lead to criminal prosecution or civil lawsuits, depending on states' varying statute of limitations laws. Even in states that are expanding their statutes of limitations for current and future crimes, Supreme Court precedent says criminal charges cannot be filed in an old case if a reporting time limit for that case ever expired. But some states are allowing one-time "lookback" windows that would allow victims to file civil lawsuits even if the statute of limitations did lapse. That will be the case in New York when a "Child Victims Act" goes into effect on August 14.

"Survivors now have a chance to have (their) voice heard, acknowledged, affirmed, believed, supported," Anderson said of the New York law. This story has been updated to more fully reflect Janet Warren's history of reviewing ineligible volunteer files on the BSA's behalf.


Cost of Sexual Violence

The multi-trillion-dollar cost of sexual violence: Research roundup

by Clark Merrefield

The U.S. has a sexual violence problem. Look at the numbers:

  • More than one-third of women and one-quarter of men in the U.S. will experience sexual violence during their lives, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  • More than one-third of women in the U.S. frequently or occasionally worry about becoming a victim of sexual assault, according to Gallup's 2018 Crime Poll.

  • The U.S. and the Syrian Arab Republic tied for third-worst for perceived threat of sexual violence against women – out of United Nations member states – in a recent Thomson Reuters poll of 548 experts on women's issues.

  • The U.S. falls roughly in the top quarter globally for the percentage of women who have experienced physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Sexual violence perpetrators often leave victims and survivors with a raft of physical and mental health consequences, including post-traumatic stress disorder. Sexual violence survivors, victims and society also face economic costs. Rape and attempted rape can cost survivors more than $120,000 over their lifetimes, according to CDC research explained below. Society loses out in the form of lost productivity and through criminal justice and medical costs. More than 25 million adults have been raped in the U.S. and the crime carries a total economic burden of almost $3.1 trillion, according to the CDC research.

“Reasons one, two and three why one should look at the economics: money matters,” says Liz Karns, a senior lecturer at Cornell University who integrates research on the economic consequences of sexual violence into legal arguments. “Once we attach a financial cost to any kind of wrong or injury we can start discussing who should pay for that.”

Below is some of the most recent research on the economic costs of sexual violence – but first, a quick note: In this article, JR follows recommendations from the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network on whether to use sexual violence “victim” or “survivor.” RAINN uses “victim” to refer to people recently affected by sexual violence, and “survivor” after a victim has gone through recovery.

Recently, people affected by sexual violence have written about their experiences, while #MeToo has heightened public awareness of sexual violence and harassment. Some prefer “victim.” The choice is the individual's. When covering someone affected by sexual violence, “the best way to be respectful is to ask for their preference,” according to RAINN's website.

Now, the research:

Lifetime Economic Burden of Rape Among U.S. Adults
Peterson, Cora; et al. American Journal of Preventive Medicine. June 2017.

This landmark CDC study is among the first to include a range of long-term economic consequences of rape beyond criminal justice costs, according to the authors. They find that individuals and taxpayers bear massive lifetime economic costs that total more than the annual Gross Domestic Product of all but four of the world's largest economies.

  • Individual rape victims encounter an estimated lifetime economic cost of $122,461.

  • The lifetime economic cost of rape across all U.S. victims is nearly $3.1 trillion.

  • “This value represents costs already incurred (for example, among older adults who were victimized in their youth) and costs yet to come (for example, among younger adults with recent victimization) across the U.S. adult population,” author Cora Peterson explains in an email.

  • It includes $1.2 trillion in medical costs, $1.6 trillion in lost productivity at work for victims and perpetrators, and $234 billion in criminal justice costs.

  • Governments pay about $1 trillion of the lifetime economic burden of rape. Government spending includes criminal justice, adoption and medical costs. The authors cite a small sample of 34 rape-related pregnancies that found about 6% of women placed the baby for adoption.

Short-term Lost Productivity per Victim: Intimate Partner Violence, Sexual Violence, or Stalking
Peterson, Cora; et al. American Journal of Preventive Medicine. July 2018.

A follow-up to the previous CDC study, this research quantifies the number of productive days people lose when they experience intimate partner violence, sexual violence or stalking. In this research, productive days lost means lost school or work days.

  • Each victim was victimized by an average of 2.5 perpetrators, and victims lost 741 million productive days with nearly five days lost per victim, on average.

  • Each victim, on average, lost the equivalent of $730 in short-term productivity, and there was $110 billion in lost short-term productivity across all victims' lifetimes.

  • Most victims — 79 percent of women, 90 percent of men — reported no lost days.

  • The authors calculated short-term lost productivity as the number of days lost multiplied by daily production value estimates from other academic research and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

The Economic Burden of Child Sexual Abuse in the United States
Letourneau, Elizabeth J.; et al. Child Abuse & Neglect. May 2018.

The researchers tabulate the economic costs of child sexual abuse nationally, including costs related to health care, productivity loss, child welfare, violence and crime, special education and suicide. For this research, productivity loss means a victim or survivor's potential loss of earnings stemming from sexual abuse that occurred during childhood.

  • The authors estimate there were more than 40,000 new, nonfatal cases of child sexual abuse and 20 new fatal cases in 2015.

  • The average lifetime cost for female and male victims of nonfatal child sexual abuse tops $282,000 — though most of this total is due to productivity loss and information on productivity loss for males was insufficient, according to the authors.

  • The lifetime economic burden of fatal and nonfatal child sexual abuse is $9.3 billion.

Long-term Impacts of College Sexual Assaults on Women Survivors' Educational and Career Attainments
Potter, Sharyn; et al. Journal of American College Health. March 2018.

In this exploratory study, 81 women who said they were sexually assaulted in college provide insight on how sexual violence affected their lifetime education trajectory and career attainment.

  • Two-thirds of participants reported a negative impact on their academic goals, while about 14 percent reported no impact.

  • One-third completed their college degree on schedule, while nearly a quarter did not complete their degree and were no longer enrolled.

  • Some reported their interrupted education path also hindered their career goals. Some also drew a direct line from the sexual violence they experienced to underemployment and workforce performance issues.

Economic Insecurity and Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Victimization
Breiding, Matthew J.; et al. American Journal of Preventive Medicine. October 2017

People in poverty experience higher rates of intimate partner and sexual violence. The authors focus specifically on how food and housing insecurity relate to intimate partner and sexual violence rates.

  • Controlling for age, family income, race and ethnicity, education and marital status, this research finds strong associations between food and housing insecurity and intimate partner and sexual violence.

  • The researchers note that this work does not indicate whether violence leads to economic insecurity or vice versa — and there could be another variable that explains the association.

Rape as an Economic Crime: The Impact of Sexual Violence on Survivors' Employment and Economic Well-Being
Loya, Rebecca M. Journal of Interpersonal Violence. November 2014.

The author conducted in-depth interviews with service providers from 18 rape crisis centers in two metropolitan areas in the Northeast, and 9 sexual violence survivors — 8 of whom had been raped at least once. In addition to the findings below, this research includes narratives on the economic costs survivors encountered.

  • Seven survivors needed to take time off work after violence occurred, while 15 providers reported their clients needed time off work during recovery.

  • Four survivors reported that their work suffered due to sexual violence — several were also fired or quit — and 13 providers reported their clients experienced declines in work performance.

  • Participants suggested that counseling and support services may help survivors reduce economic hardship.

  • “They are in jobs where if they don't show up, they don't get paid,” according to one provider speaking about her clients and quoted in this research. “Maybe they can take two weeks off, but that means they're not going to get paid those two weeks. So that pretty quickly affects someone's ability to pay their rent and pay their utility bills and buy food and take care of their kids. And then that also affects them emotionally and their ability to continue to function.”

Tips and ideas for journalists covering sexual violence

  • For reporters exploring solutions to stopping sexual violence, the CDC offers an extensive report on prevention strategies for communities and states. One angle to explore is the cost-effectiveness of prevention, according to Peterson, whereby the economic costs of preventing sexual violence may be well-offset by long-term economic societal savings.

  • Don't overlook the opportunity to share the victim's or survivor's experience. “There tends to be this focus on the accused and his cost and how his life has changed and we need to stop saying the accused is the focus,” Karns says. “We need to continually go back to the victim and say, ‘We know this person has been injured, how does that play out?'”

  • Most lawyers are not trained to incorporate victims' rights in their defense strategies — examine the effects that lack of training has on how lawyers represent sexual violence clients. “If they were to put questions on the bar exam about victims' rights, we would start to see training around victims' rights and better practice around victims' rights,” Karns says. “Say there were another tort case, malpractice or a car accident, [lawyers] know exactly how to value that. They don't do that in this area.”

  • The Dart Center for Journalism & Trauma at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and RAINN offer tips for journalists interviewing survivors and victims of sexual violence. The Society of Professional Journalists offers a case study on naming victims of sexual violence.

There are numerous legal and other support services for victims and survivors of sexual violence, including SurvJustice, the National Sexual Violence Resource Center and RAINN.

For more information on covering sexual violence, read about a study that links journalists' coverage of sexual assault with the prevalence of rape in society and how seriously police take reports when victims come forward.


New York

NY Archdiocese releases list of clergy accused of sex abuse

by Lana Bellamy

NEW YORK - “I write today as someone who himself realizes the shame that has come upon our Church due to the sexual abuse of minors,” Cardinal Timothy Dolan wrote in a statement on Friday that accompanied a list of 120 Archdiocese of New York clergy credibly accused of sexual abuse. (See list below)

“I write to ask forgiveness again for the failings of those clergy and bishops who should have provided for the safety of our young people, but instead betrayed the trust placed in them by God and by the faithful.”

Dolan noted he published the comprehensive list after hearing from many victim-survivors, lay people and priests.

Those named on the list have been credibly accused of sexually abusing a minor or possessing child pornography, or were the subject of a claim made to the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program that was deemed eligible for compensation, according to the archdiocese's web site.

Church abuse watchdogs and lawyers for abuse accusers said the release of the list was a positive step, but some of them saw it as incomplete.

It doesn't include accused members of religious orders who worked in the archdiocese's churches and schools, though some orders have released their own lists. Nor does it list priests who were ordained elsewhere and later served in New York.

And there are no details on accused priests' past assignments or the allegations against them, although some have emerged in news accounts, lawsuits and criminal cases.

“It's certainly a good thing that they've come out with the list,” said Terry McKiernan of Bishop Accountability, a watchdog group. But “do they still not see that this very, very reluctant way of offering information about the crisis is the wrong way for them?”

The list includes priests ordained between 1908 and 1988. Many have died, and the archdiocese said none is currently working in the ministry.

Most of the alleged abuse happened in the 1970s, '80s and early '90s, but there have been two credible allegations of sex abuse by active clergy since 2002, according to the archdiocese. It said authorities were alerted about both those cases.

At least seven clergy with ties to Orange and Ulster counties are included on the list:

? Kevin Gallagher was ordained in 1998 at age 48 and served as a priest for 17 years. He is the former pastor of Pine Bush's Church of the Infant Saviour. Gallagher voluntarily stepped down as a priest, and was officially removed from clergy in March 2017, after an adult man accused him of sexual abuse.

? Gennaro “Jerry” Gentile is accused of abusing three Hudson Valley boys while at Holy Name of Mary church in Croton-on-Hudson. Gentile was the pastor there from 1987 to 2000. Gentile served at nine local parishes, including St. Mary's Church in Marlboro, from 1970 to 2002. The boys said they were between the ages of nine and 15 when the abuse occurred.

? John J. Lynch, a Newburgh native, was permanently removed earlier this year from ministry at the Immaculate Conception church in Woodbourne after the Lay Review Board found that decades-old abuse allegations against him were credible.

? Donald T. Malone, ordained in 1960 and now dead, was assigned to three parishes between 1989 and 1992, according to a 2002 story in the Journal News. Malone was picked up by police in 1988 for soliciting sex from a minor on a White Plains street, according to the story. He was later moved to St. Patrick's church in Highland Mills. The archdiocese put him on a permanent leave of absence in 1993.

? Edward A. Pipala spent seven years in federal prison after he was convicted of abusing dozens of local boys. Pipala, who was removed from the ministry by the Vatican, abused about 50 boys while serving at Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church in Monroe and St. John the Evangelist in Goshen in the 1980s and early '90s. He was released from prison in 2000 and is now dead.

? Francis Stinner worked at St. Mary's Parish in Port Jervis and John S. Burke High School in Goshen, where he was also a soccer coach. He was moved around to different parishes in the area until he was finally defrocked in 2005, 17 years after the first claim of child sex abuse was brought forward.

? Donald Timone was suspended by the archdiocese in December while it re-investigated a 15-year-old allegation of sexual abuse against him. Timone, ordained in 1960, is a retired priest who lived at the Church of St. Joseph in Middletown. A recently-made claim of abuse brought about the investigation.


The following archdiocesan clergy have been credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor. For purposes of this list, “credibly accused” means that archdiocesan officials have determined, following a review of available and accessible files, that one or more of the following exists:

No. Last Name First Name Year of Ordination DOD Status
1 Adamo Joseph 1942 2003 Removed from ministry; deceased
2 Albino John 1990 N/A Removed from ministry; laicized
3 Barjacoba Peter 1960 2012 Removed from ministry; deceased
4 Betances-Torres Martin 1987 N/A Removed from ministry
5 Boyle Francis V. 1955 N/A Removed from ministry
6 Brennan Robert J. 1949 2008 Removed from ministry; deceased
7 Calabrese Daniel 1987 N/A Removed from ministry; laicized
8 Carbo Richard 1975 N/A Removed from ministry; laicized
9 Carden Robert 1957 2008 Removed from ministry; deceased
10 Carson David 1984 N/A Removed from ministry; laicized
11 Carson John F. 1964 2011 Deceased
12 Colleran Kevin 1972 2016 Removed from ministry; laicized; deceased
13 Dickson Donald (Deacon) 1979 2005 Removed from ministry
14 Duenas Jaime 1950 2014 Removed from ministry; deceased; laicization process pending at death
15 Eremito Anthony J. 1967 N/A Removed from ministry; laicized
16 Fennessy Keith 1984 N/A Removed from ministry
17 Flanagan John D. 1973 N/A Removed from ministry; laicized
18 Gallagher Kevin 1998 N/A Removed from ministry; laicized
19 Gallant Alfred 1962 N/A Removed from ministry; laicized
20 Gallant John P. 1960 N/A Removed from ministry; laicized
21 Gentile Gennaro 1971 N/A Removed from ministry; laicized
22 Giuliano Anthony 1984 N/A Removed from ministry; laicized
23 Gorman Richard 1982 2018 Removed from ministry; deceased; laicization process pending at death
24 Harris Wallace 1972 N/A Removed from ministry
25 Hyland Raymond 1947 1995 Deceased
26 Inzeo Lawrence 1978 N/A Removed from ministry; laicized
27 Jesselli Kenneth 1984 N/A Removed from ministry; laicized
28 Kavanagh Charles 1963 N/A Removed from ministry; laicized
29 Kihm Peter 1981 N/A Removed from ministry; laicized
30 Kuhl Morgan 1993 N/A Removed from ministry; laicized
31 LaBelle Ralph 1978 N/A Removed from ministry; laicized
32 Lennon John W. 1955 2012 Removed from ministry; laicized; deceased
33 Leone Arthur 1956 2018 Removed from ministry; deceased; laicization process pending at death
34 Lynch John J. 1965 N/A Removed from ministry
35 Maguire Stephen 1987 N/A Removed from ministry; laicization process pending
36 Malone Donald T. 1960 2012 Removed from ministry; laicized; deceased
37 Manzione Arthur (Deacon) 1979 N/A Removed from ministry; laicized
38 Mazza Albert (Deacon) 1996 N/A Removed from ministry; laicized
39 McCarrick Theodore (Cardinal) 1958 N/A Laicized
40 Mills Henry 1988 N/A Removed from ministry; laicized
41 O'Herlihy Michael 1961 2013 Removed from ministry; laicized; deceased
42 O'Keefe John 1972 N/A Removed from ministry; laicized
43 Parrakow Edmond 1968 N/A Removed from ministry; laicized
44 Pfeiffer James 1970 2002 Removed from ministry; deceased
45 Pipala Edward A. 1966 2013 Removed from ministry; laicized; deceased
46 Quigley Patrick 1981 2010 Removed from ministry; laicized; deceased
47 Sardy John 1980 N/A Removed from ministry; laicized
48 Stinner Francis 1967 2017 Removed from ministry; laicized; deceased
49 Theisen Joseph 1959 2013 Removed from ministry; laicized; deceased
50 Tos Aldo 1953 2014 Removed from ministry; deceased; laicization process pending at death
51 Voglio John 1987 N/A Removed from ministry; laicized
52 Walsh James 1936 1998 Deceased
53 White William T. 1958 N/A Removed from ministry; laicized

The following archdiocesan clergy are awaiting final canonical or archdiocesan disposition of allegations against them.

    No. Last Name First Name Year of Ordination DOD Status
    54 Coen Charles 1968 N/A Removed from ministry; allegation found credible and substantiated by archdiocesan Review Board; canonical process pending
    55 Jeffers Robert 1954 N/A Removed from ministry; allegation found credible and substantiated by archdiocesan Review Board; canonical process pending
    56 Jenik John (Bishop) 1970 N/A Removed from ministry; allegation found credible and substantiated by archdiocesan Review Board; canonical process pending
    57 McCarthy James F. (Bishop) 1968 N/A Removed from ministry; canonical process pending
    58 Meehan John 1964 N/A Removed from ministry; allegation found credible and substantiated by archdiocesan Review Board; canonical process pending
    59 Taylor Samuel 1982 N/A Removed from ministry; allegation found credible and substantiated by archdiocesan Review Board; laicized; appeal of laicization pending
    60 Timone Donald 1960 N/A Removed from ministry; archdiocesan Review Board process pending
    61 Williams William 1959 N/A Removed from ministry; allegation found credible and substantiated by archdiocesan Review Board; canonical process pending

The following archdiocesan clergy do not meet the criteria set forth above, but the IRCP's independent administrators have determined that claims against them were eligible for compensation. In reviewing this list, it is important to note:

    No. Last Name First Name Year of Ordination DOD Status
    62 Ansaldi Joseph 1962 2015 Deceased
    63 Brady John J. 1908 1950 Deceased
    64 Carroll Maurice 1956 1998 Deceased
    65 Cassiero Daniel 1968 2009 Deceased
    66 Clyne Vincent 1945 2013 Deceased
    67 Connolly Eugene 1954 1995 Deceased
    68 Croston Daniel 1968 1994 Deceased
    69 Cullen Bernard 1930 1960 Deceased
    70 Cunningham Thomas 1935 1956 Deceased
    71 D'Argenio Herbert 1959 1996 Deceased
    72 Dobransky Edward 1959 2017 Left ministry; deceased
    73 Dougherty Daniel M. 1927 1978 Deceased
    74 Fitzgerald Joseph 1923 1977 Deceased
    75 Flaherty John 1945 1971 Deceased
    76 Fox Vincent 1954 1994 Deceased
    77 Gaffney Thomas 1950 2004 Deceased
    78 Gerathy Kenneth 1954 2013 Deceased
    79 Gibbons Thomas 1955 2017 Left ministry; deceased
    80 Golden Matthew 1936 1987 Deceased
    81 Greene William 1929 1976 Deceased
    82 Harrington John M. 1945 2009 Deceased
    83 Haverty John 1936 1980 Deceased
    84 Heide Herman 1941 1997 Deceased
    85 Hickey Joseph 1956 2014 Deceased
    86 Hicks Eugene 1952 1986 Deceased
    87 Kearns Walter 1961 1985 Deceased
    88 Kelly Kevin 1956 2008 Left ministry; deceased
    89 Kelly Stephen 1977 1993 Deceased
    90 LeBar James 1962 2008 Deceased
    91 Logue Francis 1968 1981 Deceased
    92 Lott Robert 1965 2002 Deceased
    93 Mangan Eugene 1958 1997 Deceased
    94 Marino Umberto 1954 2004 Deceased
    95 Martin Patrick H. 1937 1983 Deceased
    96 Mathews Stanley 1946 1993 Deceased
    97 McDonagh Charles 1963 1999 Deceased
    98 McGirr Charles 1930 1949 Deceased
    99 McNeill Lawrence (Deacon) 1973 2006 Deceased
    100 Melican Mortimer 1951 2002 Left ministry; deceased
    101 Murphy Arthur E. 1919 1959 Deceased
    102 Netter Edmund 1951 1998 Deceased
    103 O'Brien Edward J. 1962 2002 Deceased
    104 O'Brien William B. 1951 2014 Deceased
    105 O'Connell Kenneth 1956 1984 Deceased
    106 Parsons Harold 1929 2002 Deceased
    107 Phillips Thomas 1942 2000 Deceased
    108 Quinn Lawrence T. 1967 2004 Deceased
    109 Reinheimer George 1950 2010 Deceased
    110 Roos Edward 1966 2015 Deceased
    111 Ryan Joseph 1938 1968 Deceased
    112 Shine Raymond 1953 1991 Deceased
    113 Sullivan Daniel J. L. 1933 1977 Deceased
    114 Sullivan Paul 1950 2005 Deceased
    115 Taglienti Vincent 1953 1990 Deceased
    116 Weckbach Joseph (Deacon) 1977 1995 Deceased
    117 Welby James 1962 N/A Left ministry
    118 Whelan Donald 1957 1987 Deceased
    119 Wilkinson John 1948 2005 Deceased
    120 Wolf Casper 1938 1972 Deceased




It's time to support adult male survivors of childhood sexual abuse


Our thanks to the author of the op-ed on male victims of female sexual abuse. What extraordinary courage it took for you to write about your terrible experiences.

Like 95 per cent of survivors, the writer knew and trusted his abuser, making this a double tragedy — a rape and a betrayal. He talked about his abuse being a secret, which most pedophiles demand of their victims, a demand usually accompanied by threats.

As a result, he explains why most male survivors “kill themselves figuratively and literally to escape a reality they can scarcely describe because men aren't taught to communicate or to be open.”

This resilient survivor describes his life of agony, which robbed him “of safety, security, self-worth, meaningful connections, intimacy and even cognitive abilities. It steals fathers from children, husbands from partners, children from childhood and men from themselves.”

His words sadly match the experiences of many adult male survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Their pain, their shame and their guilt often drive them to self-medicate. The Calgary and Area Child Advocacy Centre (which helps survivors up to the age of 18) reports that 72 per cent of addicts in recovery centres have unresolved childhood abuses. In addition to a high addiction rate, unemployment or workaholism, dysfunctional personal relationships, depression and anger, there's suicide.

Of the 500 suicides in Alberta last year, 75 per cent were men between the ages of 30 and 69.

National and international studies state that one in six men have been sexually abused before the age of 18. This could translate into approximately 70,000 survivors in Calgary. Yet the writer of the article feels alone. He feels ashamed about being abused as a child by a female.

He is not alone and he should not be ashamed.

As he says, healing is possible. There are four dedicated treatment centres in Canada — including in Montreal, Vancouver and Victoria. In Calgary, the Canadian Centre for Male Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse (cc4ms) is working hard to provide treatment and support.

So what can you do? Begin by talking about the issue. Tell survivors you believe them. Use the hashtag #IBelieveThemToo to bring greater awareness to this issue. Discuss it with all candidates in the upcoming provincial election.

Without a mandate from the public, both municipal and provincial levels of government have declined to fund us. The need is there but the commitment is not. However, imagine the savings to our health-care and justice systems if these survivors heal.

Help survivors directly by making a donation to cc4ms or by encouraging others to do so. Attend our May 9 Magnificent Men! Fundraising Lunch honouring George Brookman, an accomplished Calgarian who is not a survivor but who supports us:


Please bring hope, healing and happiness to adult male survivors of child sexual abuse — to your father or brother or son or husband, or yourself.

And to the eloquent writer of the opinion piece, thank you. Please contact us. We need you.

Frances Wright is the volunteer CEO of



Vermont Requires Child Sexual Abuse Prevention. Could Wyoming, Too?


NOTE: This is the second in a two-part series on this issue. To hear WPR Reporter Melodie Edward's story, click here.

Last year, Wyoming enacted legislation authorizing school districts to teach child sexual abuse prevention. Schools have a unique power to stop sexual abuse because kids spend so much time there. But the bill is not a mandate. It merely says school districts may do prevention work.

Jody Sanborn dreams about the day when all Wyoming communities work to keep kids safe from sexual abuse. But the prevention specialist for the Wyoming Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault said Wyoming isn't there yet.

"Wyoming is at a stage of what we call denial or resistance that the issue even exists in the first place," said Sanborn.

National statistics estimate 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will experience sexual abuse before age 18. Both adults and other kids are perpetrators, and Wyoming is no exception.

"For the most part, there's a lot of education and basic knowledge and awareness that has to happen before communities are willing to accept that there is something they can do about it," said Sanborn.

Eventually, she'd like to see something in place to guarantee schools are doing prevention statewide. But she knows Wyoming's strong culture of local control makes that hard.

Vermont State Senator Richard Sears said his state faced something similar. Vermont has a population of around 600,000 with remote towns like Wyoming but on a much smaller scale.

"The last thing anybody wants to do is tell the local school board you shall do this and you shall do that," said Sears. "But I think the state also understood that we had a big problem."

Vermont was forced to confront its problems because of a tragedy. In 2008, a 12-year girl named Brooke Bennett was raped and murdered by her uncle, a known sex offender. That's when this bucolic state known for its close-knit communities was left tormented by the question: How could this happen here?

In the year that followed, Senator Sears and a group of lawmakers set out to prevent it from happening again. They started by hosting public hearings across the state.

"We heard from people and communities," said Sears. "What did they want, and what did they expect?"

The lawmakers gathered a diverse set of solutions, and in 2009, Vermont became the first state to implement comprehensive legislation to address child sexual abuse. That bill-commonly referred to as Act One- includes a requirement that prevention education happens in pre-school through 12th grade.

For Linda Johnson, that was a big win.

"I've never seen anything quite like it in my life. And I'm 72 at this point, " said Johnson.

For the last 33 years, she's been the executive director of Prevent Child Abuse Vermont. After Act One passed, her organization stepped in to help schools get on board with the new mandate.

"It's not rocket science, but it is science. And you have to really do it well," said Johnson.

Vermont's law requires that prevention education happens, but it's up to local school boards to pick the curriculum they'd like to use. Johnson strongly encourages schools to adopt the evidence-based model that's been developed by her organization. It's called the Healthy Relationships Project.

"While many programs insist that children tell, tell, tell," said Johnson, "we talk about telling as an option."

Johnson said there's an important difference between teaching a kid they should tell versus teaching a kid that they can tell.

"We don't want to add guilt and sense of responsibility to children who have been victimized," said Johnson.

The curriculum teaches kids to pay attention to their own boundaries and how they can turn to adults for help. But another big piece of the curriculum is teaching kids to hear and accept "no" from their peers.

"That is the foundation of consent," said Johnson. "And we can teach this to two-year-olds and then again at three and four and five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, until there they are in that situation in the car and one wants to and one doesn't want to. And they have to be able to accept no for an answer."

Those lessons start simple for little kids and get more complex as they get older.

Two-hours south of Johnson's office in Vermont's state capital Montpelier, preschoolers in Bennington are working with the program.

Joy Kitchell sits on the floor with a group of 3 and 4-year-olds and reads a book about feelings. It's the first lesson out of six, and it lays the foundation that it's important to pay attention to how you feel.

She asks them to make their happy face and sad face and sleepy face and mad face. Then she prompts them to think about feeling mixed up or confused. She tells them when that happens they can ask an adult for help. She then reassures them that if they talk to one adult and they still feel confused, that's ok. They can go to another adult they trust.

Kitchell is the executive director of the Bennington County Child Advocacy Center and a Healthy Relationships Project trainer. Before taking this job, she spent 16 years as a teacher and 9 years as a principal.

"Because I saw firsthand as a teacher I had a lot of great tools and a great skill set, but I wasn't helping the kids who were the most traumatized in my classroom because I didn't recognize it," said Kitchell.

That realization inspired her to start providing training to educators in her area.

It's estimated that in Vermont about two-thirds of schools are using the curriculum. The rest use something else, and some still aren't doing anything at all.

Kitchell said it's sad to think there isn't child abuse prevention happening everywhere in the United States.

"Why would you not want your kid safe?" said Kitchell. "I just can't imagine not wanting to make things better for your kids."

Kitchell said she's grateful to live in Vermont.



She was 10. The man she says abused her was no stranger. He was like family.

by Sarah Fowler

Warning: This story contains graphic details of sexual abuse accusations.

On Saturday nights during the 1970s, LeAnne Kay's family had a routine. Her mom and dad would each sit in their respective chairs and Kay would lie on the couch situated between them. Together, they would watch "Saturday Night Live." But Kay wasn't on the couch alone. At the other end sat the youth minister from the local Methodist church. 

A frequent guest in their north Mississippi home, the 25-year-old quickly became like part of Kay's family. The physical abuse started when he moved in, Kay said, but the grooming began before that. She was 10 years old.

She didn't tell her parents at the time, only telling her mother a decade later. Over the years, she confided in multiple people, beginning in the 1980s. The Clarion Ledger spoke with three people who each confirmed Kay's story and shared intimate details of the allegations.

The Clarion Ledger also reached out to the man Kay said abused her. He has not been charged with any crime relating to the accusations and is not being named in this story. 

Now 71, he denies the allegations but acknowledges something happened "one time," though he describes that one time as both an accident and the actions of a "curious" child.

In talking with the Clarion Ledger, parts of his story kept changing. Some details he provided from that time matched Kay's, nearly word for word.

"I can't prove I didn't, but I didn't," he said. "There's no Bill Clinton dress that I did but, god, what a horrible thing to have to say or reference."

While Kay has been trying to press charges against him for years, she's run into roadblocks and charges have never been filed. In March, she shared her account with a blog, naming him, and the news quickly spread in Iuka via social media. 

In the wake of the recent public accusations, he said, he attempted to take his own life.

"Hey, if I was dead, then, hey, she's got the payment," he said. 

Today, Kay is 54 years old and living in West Virginia. She's had a full, successful life, but what she says happened in her house all those years ago still haunts her. By telling her story, she's hoping to help parents recognize the warning signs of grooming and abuse.

'He really groomed my mother into feeling sorry for him'

In the summer of 1974, Kay was living with her parents and older brother in Iuka. Her grandparents had a grocery store in town, and her grandfather was a state park commissioner. Every Sunday, the family went to First United Methodist Church. For a time, Kay's mother served as interim youth director. 

Then, a new guy showed up. In his mid-20s, he looked more like the kids he was ministering to. He wore bell bottoms and had long hair. He liked to be called by a nickname. He talked about his life before he became a Christian — stories filled with the life he led as a musician on the road, playing with famous bands. He told the kids he had given up a gig playing with the Rolling Stones to become a youth minister.

"He tried to make it like it's such an honor he chose us, that was the angle," Kay said. "That was always the story, that he chose us over the Rolling Stones. He came in like a hippie rocker. 

"His conversations weren't your typical person trying to be squeaky clean, he was the opposite: 'I'm everything but squeaky clean, but I'm cool because I'm Christian.'"

He started a band with the church youth. Kay's brother sang in the band. Kay, a self-described "wallflower," was too young to join the youth group but would often tag along with her brother. Pretty soon, Kay's mother invited the youth minister to move in with the family in an effort to help him save money. 

He wanted to go to seminary, but with the cost of his education plus rent, it would have been tight financially. 

"He really groomed my mother into feeling sorry for him," Kay said. "He'd had a horrible life. ... She became like a mother figure to him."

The youth minister left the church and enrolled in seminary in Georgia, but when he came back to Iuka on the weekends, he was given Kay's room. She slept on a couch in a hallway that doubled as a TV room outside of her bedroom.

Her brother's bedroom was down the hall. Her mother slept in a chair in the living room, while her father's bedroom was on the other side of the wall of the hall. Her father was a functioning alcoholic, Kay said, and her parents never shared a bedroom.

The family's home became the man's "home base." He would go to seminary during the week, but on weekends and holidays he was at Kay's house. When he was there, kids were constantly coming and going from the house.

My mother 'had no idea what he was doing'

As part of his shtick, Kay said, the man would would make inappropriate jokes and comments. Soon, she was the target. He would tell her she would have to "use a stick to beat the boys away" and began to regularly comment on the 10-year-old's breast development — even doing so in front of her mother.

"That was not unusual for his type of conversation, and he was so slick at it," Kay said. "It would happen in front of my mother, and she was going along with it.

"She was duped. She had no idea what he was doing."

Neither did Kay. The comments made her uncomfortable, she said, but since her mom laughed and went along with the jokes, she thought, "it's pretty awkward, but it must be OK."

The comments progressed, but Kay's mother was no longer in the room when they were happening. She recalls he would walk by and brush against her breasts or place his hand on her waist, "just heavy ... not in a ‘you're a little girl' way.'"

Still living with the family, he would ask her to come out to his car and listen to music. He would sit in the driver's seat with the door open, she said, legs splayed out of the car. Kay would sit between them on the running board.

The touching, and the frequency, intensified, she said.

"It just got more aggressive, basically, and more routine, more as if that's just what we do," she said. "I would sit there, frozen, be real still because I don't know what I'm supposed to say or do."

Kay provided the Clarion Ledger with a photo of her, her brother and the man from that time period. While her brother and the man are smiling, Kay is not. Her left foot is turned. 

His hand sits on Kay's waist. The tips of two of his fingers are visible, but the rest of his hand is hidden by her shirt. His hand and her arm were partially under her shirt, against her skin, Kay said. 

Kay said she sees the picture as "powerful." 

"My body language speaks volumes," she said. "I wanted to run away as far as I could because he had pulled me in so tightly. ... My foot tells the direction I want to go."

'I just froze'

One night, like usual, Kay's mother fell asleep in the chair in the living room. Her father and brother both closed the doors to their respective bedrooms. Kay was on the couch in the hallway, dressed for bed in her nightgown, watching TV. It was likely the weekend, she said, and the man went to the hall bathroom and took a long bath.

When he came out, he sat on the edge of the couch with Kay. He put her head in his lap. 

That's when the fondling started. 

"He did that for a few nights just to get a routine and, I guess, feel out the environment," Kay said.

Looking back on those first few nights, she said “he was very patient. He would do this for hours. It wasn't a short thing."

Then one night, while he was taking a bath, Kay fell asleep on the hallway couch. 

She said she awoke to his penis in her mouth. 

"I just froze and pretended like I was asleep," she said. "There was no other choice."

She said she was forced to perform oral sex on him night after night, always on the hallway couch after his bath.

‘I felt powerless'

Then, Kay said, he became emboldened. 

One night when the family was watching TV together, Kay says he fondled her while her parents were in the same room. She was on one end of the couch and he was on the other, their feet stretching between them in the middle and covered by a blanket. Her parents were mere feet away. While he fondled her under the blanket, she said, he talked to her parents. They were oblivious, she said. 

"He was always working his feet, fondling me, while carrying on conversation with my parents," she said. "He even ran his toe in and out under the blankets. That's what frightened the most, when he was doing that."

The abuse continued for a year, Kay said.

"I was basically his puppet, that's what it felt like," she said. "Whatever he wanted me to do, I felt powerless to not do it."

Then, one night, she said, the abuse abruptly stopped. Kay said she was being forced to perform oral sex when her father's bedroom door opened on the other side of the house. 

"You've never seen anybody move faster than he moved getting his penis in his pajamas and my head out of his lap," she said. 

Her father burst into the hallway and the two men stared at each other for what seemed like minutes, Kay said. Eventually her father turned around and walked away. 

The man left the hallway and went to sleep in Kay's room, she said. He packed his things and left the next day, she added.

'I'm not saying she's lying'  

In speaking with the Clarion Ledger, the man said, "it only happened once," before offering an initial description of the events. 

"I woke up with the feeling of warm breath in my very private area because that will wake you up and, when I woke up, I realized that she had her head down there and there did not appear to be anything happening but I could feel the breath," he said.

"So I reached down and got both of her shoulders and I lifted her to eye level and I said, 'LeAnne, you know, that can't be done. You can't do that, we can't do that but when you get a little older, like 17, 18, whatever, you're going to start dating and you'll find a guy —you guys might do that and you'll have a lot of fun with it and enjoy it but that's not something we can do."

He first said it may have happened on "accident." Then, he said, it may have happened because the child was "curious."

While he initially denied intimate physical contact, as he talked, he said it was possible his penis was in the child's mouth that night.

"It's a possibility that it may have touched her mouth, I can't deny that," he said. The child also may have touched his penis, he said, but he does not remember. 

"It could have happened, that's the thing," he said. "I'm not saying she's lying...I'm not calling her a liar, I can't say that. All I can say is it was not my intention, ever to have that happen as a volitional choice on my part. I did not chose to do that. It was that one time."

What parents need to know about child sexual abuse

One in three girls and one in seven boys will be sexually abused by the age of 18, according to Amy Walker with the Mississippi Attorney General's Office. Only one in 10 of those children will report the abuse, she said. While children are taught "stranger danger," the majority of abuse is at the hands of someone the child already knows and trusts, Walker said. 

Jay Houston, commander of the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, said it's important that parents do not assume a person in authority is someone you can automatically trust. 

What's important to realize, Walker said, is that it's not just the children that are being manipulated — the parents are as well. 

"The thing with manipulation, you don't realize you're being manipulated until it's done and over," she said. 


Contact Sarah Fowler at 601-961-7303 or Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.



‘You don't realize you're being manipulated:' Child predators often groom parents first

by Sarah Fowler

One in three girls and one in seven boys will be sexually abused by the age of 18, according to Amy Walker with the Mississippi Attorney General's Office. Only one in 10 of those children will report the abuse, she said.

But before they begin grooming a child, many sexual predators first groom the parents. 

"Perhaps they know that to get access to these children, they have to go through the parents, and the best way to get through the parents is to get their permission," Walker said. 

That's why the majority of cases of sexual abuse come at the hands of someone the child already knows, she said.

A predator will integrate themselves into family life and may make themselves become indispensable by offering to help. For example, they may offer to run errands or pick the kids up from school.

An inordinate amount of attention focused on the child or a "high degree of flattery" toward the child happening in front of the parent sends a signal to the child that what's happening is OK. 

Eventually a sexual predator will move on to physical means of grooming — touching, hugging, patting, kissing on the cheek. And even when the child feels uncomfortable, if there's not a negative reaction from the parents, that sends a message to the child that what's happening is OK.

All of this is the sexual predator desensitizing the child — and the parents — to the physical contact and closeness. This intimacy likely will increase when the parents are not around.

"The thing with manipulation, you don't realize you're being manipulated until it's done and over," she said. 

What are other signs a sexual predator is grooming a child?

  • Telling off color or dirty jokes.

  • Taking the child to fun activities alone.

  • Becoming a listening ear, especially to teenagers. Sexual predators will use the "natural friction" between teens and parents to drive a wedge there, making the predator the confidante.

  • They treat teens like an adult, letting them curse, drink or watch pornography.

Grooming can also happen online

Not all grooming occurs from someone a child knows or has even met. If your child is on social media or plays games on the internet, pay attention to names that come up repeatedly, Jay Houston, commander of the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, said.

Predators will create fake social media accounts and pose as someone else. 

"Before long, they have them taking inappropriate photos," he said. "They pretty much have their claws in them then."

Why children don't report sexual abuse

  • They know the offender. As a trusted friend or family member, the child could have feelings for the person abusing them. They also may not realize what is happening to them is abuse. 

  • They feel shame and guilt.

  • They fear the consequences of telling because they feel like they've participated in what happened.

  • They're scared they won't be believed.

  • They don't want to burden their family.

  • Depending on their age, some children lack the vocabulary to explain the abuse.

Warning signs a child may be being abused

  • A "red flag" to watch out for is if a child becomes "sullen" or "depressed" when a certain person is around. That may be a sign they've been conditioned to keep quiet about the abuse. 

  • A change in behavior. A child that used to be outgoing may become reclusive or depressed.

  • Their grades may change. For example, if a child goes from a "straight A student to a straight D student."

  • Behavioral problems in school.

  • If they begin to change their appearance or stop caring about how they look.

  • Increasing spending time alone in their room, isolating themselves.

How to get help or to report suspicious behavior

If you suspect a child is being abused in Mississippi, call the Mississippi Department of Human Services at  1-800-222-8000 or 601-432-4570.

You can also visit

Nationally, contact the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-422-4453. 


Contact Sarah Fowler at 601-961-7303 or Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.


Washington DC

Washington's New Archbishop Has A History Of Fighting Child Sexual Abuse

by Esther Ciammachilli

Archbishop Wilton Gregory has been working to combat child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church since the early 1990s – long before the church was forced to reckon with decades-old allegations and cover-ups.

“This is obviously a moment fraught with challenges,” Gregory said at a press conference Thursday at the Archdiocese of Washington after he was appointed the new archbishop. “Throughout our entire Catholic Church, certainly, but nowhere more so than in this local faith community.”

The challenges Gregory references are those left by his predecessors.

The former archbishop, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, became the first U.S. cardinal to resign last fall after a Pennsylvania grand jury criticized him over his handling of child sex abuse cases when he was bishop of Pittsburgh. Another blow came in February when Wuerl's predecessor, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick was defrocked after the church found him guilty of sexually abusing children and adults for decades. Gregory says his job will consist of helping the community to heal and cope with the church's past.

“As in any family, challenges can only be overcome by a firmly articulated resolve and commitment to do better,” Gregory said. “I want to offer you hope. I will rebuild your trust.”

Gregory found Catholicism as a teenager growing up in Chicago. He was ordained a priest at age 25 and became an auxiliary bishop under the late Cardinal Joseph Bernardin.

Gregory became bishop of Belleville, Illinois, in 1994. He was tasked with handling a child sexual abuse scandal after he took over. At the time, clergy sexual abuse wasn't in the news the way it is today, said Joshua McElwee, Vatican correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter.

“There hasn't been a lot of scrutiny of Archbishop Gregory's record in the 1990s,” McElwee said. “It is known that he laicized several priests. He brought their cases to the Vatican when abuse claims came forward.”

The practice of laicizing priests means to remove priests from the clerical state. This is short of a defrocking.

When Gregory took over Belleville, priests in the diocese were facing allegations of sexual assault from more than 30 people. Gregory was instrumental in calling attention to the matter. But not much else was done until 2002, following revelations of decades of sexual abuse and assault by Catholic priests in Boston. Gregory was serving as president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops at the time.

“He was a quite young bishop,” McElwee said. “He was lower in the hierarchy. He wasn't an archbishop or a cardinal. And he faced some difficulty in bringing the bishops together eventually passing what would become the charter that would commit them to zero tolerance for abuse and to removing abusive priests from ministry.”

Gregory fought and eventually secured a unanimous vote of support for the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, which provides guidance for addressing allegations of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy. Gregory's unwavering stance against child sexual abuse and his steadfast determination to face the issue head-on makes him very popular and gives young Catholics like 21-year-old Victoria Abril hope that Washington can heal.

“If he's really prepared to take on what might come forth and he's really able to speak directly to what's currently occurring in the church, I think that that'll be a big positive for the community members,” Abril said.

Abril said the Catholic community in Washington mostly needs transparency right now. And, she adds, the people want to know that their fears and concerns are being heard and that the archbishop will create positive change.


Long Island, NY

LI Corrections Officer Indicted On Child Sexual Abuse Charges


Suffolk County District Attorney Tim Sini announced this week the indictment of a county corrections officer who is charged with child sexual abuse.

Southampton Town Police and the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office began their investigation in March when a man alleged Robert Weis had sexually abused him from ages 7 to 16. A second victim also came forward.

Police seized from his home three illegal handguns, 32 rifles and more than 50,000 rounds of ammunition. They also found bulletproof vests and EMT equipment, which were stolen from the county sheriff's office.

Weis was arrested in South Carolina in 2016 for alleged sexual abuse of a 13-year-old boy. Those charges are pending.

Weis is suspended and due in court April 30.


Show Biz

How an Abuse Victim's Nerve and a Hidden iPhone Led to the Arrest of a Sundance Founder

by Elizabeth A. Harris

Sean Escobar had been waiting for the moment for more than a quarter-century.

Over the course of an hour in September, Mr. Escobar sat at a dining room table with Sterling Van Wagenen, a founder of the Sundance Film Festival and a respected figure in the Mormon community, and asked him about a moment that had bothered Mr. Escobar since he was 13.

Why, he asked, had Mr. Van Wagenen touched his genitals?

Mr. Van Wagenen apologized and said that he had been going through difficulties in his career and his marriage, that he struggles with depression. He sounded sincere and penitent. He pledged, again and again, that he had never done anything like that before or since.

Mr. Escobar thanked him and showed him out. Then he walked over to a potted plant, retrieved the iPhone he had hidden there, and tapped the red button to stop the recording.

It is rare for a sex abuse victim to have the chance to directly confront an abuser, even in a court of law. But Mr. Escobar's remarkable confrontation did not quiet his nagging questions:

Had the abuse, which was reported at the time to a local church official and the sheriff's office, been appropriately dealt with? Mr. Van Wagenen admitted to a detective that he had touched the boy inappropriately, according to sheriff's records, but he was not charged.

And could Mr. Escobar really have been the only victim?

"All my life this has bothered me about Sterling,” Mr. Escobar, 38, said in an interview this month. “It would haunt me.”

So he released his recording to the Truth & Transparency Foundation, an investigative website focused on religion, thinking it would encourage any other victims to come forward. It was published in February, and for the next few weeks, Mr. Escobar agonized over his decision.

“Oh my God, what have I done?” he said he thought to himself. “I've ruined this guy's life.”

This month, Mr. Van Wagenen was charged with two counts of aggravated sexual abuse of a child, though not for anything he had done to Mr. Escobar. Prosecutors in Utah said he molested a girl younger than 10 on two occasions between 2013 and 2015.

A Nightmare Sleepover

Mr. Van Wagenen, 71, who declined to comment, has not entered a plea. He was released on $75,000 bail.

Though he never attained Hollywood prestige — one film he produced, “The Trip to Bountiful,” delivered a best actress Oscar in 1986 — he practically put Utah on the filmmaking map when he, along with others including the actor Robert Redford, began what became the Sundance Film Festival. (Mr. Redford's wife at the time, Lola Van Wagenen, is a cousin of Mr. Van Wagenen's.) A spokesman for the Sundance Institute said Mr. Van Wagenen has not had a role at the festival since 1993.

Mr. Escobar, the youngest of four children, lived three doors down from Mr. Van Wagenen in the Salt Lake City suburb of Holladay. He became friends with the two youngest Van Wagenen boys.

Mr. Escobar said he was sleeping over at the Van Wagenens' house when the abuse happened. He was on a couch in the basement, with one of Mr. Van Wagenen's sons on a different sofa. Another son slept on the floor.

In the middle of the night, Mr. Escobar said, he woke up to find Mr. Van Wagenen's hand down his pants, stroking his genitals. Mr. Escobar stirred, hoping Mr. Van Wagenen would leave. Mr. Van Wagenen pulled his hand away, but a few minutes later, he resumed. The boy stirred again.

When Mr. Van Wagenen touched Mr. Escobar a third time, the boy jumped off the couch, ran to the bathroom and locked the door. Mr. Van Wagenen tried repeatedly to get the boy to come out, but he refused, saying he did not feel well.

Mr. Escobar stayed in that bathroom all night.

“There was this big orange cat that got locked in the bathroom with me,” Mr. Escobar said. “I just pet the cat all night.”

In the morning, he left the bathroom and went straight to the phone. He called his mother and asked her to pick him up right away. She took him to a drive-through for a breakfast sandwich. With his mother behind the wheel and his sister in the front seat, he told them what happened.

“I just remember my mom,” he said, “it just looked like she'd seen a ghost. She just turned white.”

Mr. Van Wagenen told a therapist what he had done, and because the therapist was mandated to report it to the authorities, Mr. Van Wagenen went to the sheriff's office himself. According to a Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office report, he told a detective that he had touched Mr. Escobar “sexually, inappropriately,” though he added that he had not gone under the boy's clothes. (Mr. Escobar said he had.)

But the case was dropped after Mr. Escobar's father told the detective that the family did not want to pursue the complaint and that it was “supportive of Mr. Van Wagenen in working out this problem.”

The Greater Salt Lake Unified Police Department, which has absorbed the sheriff's office, said sex crimes involving children “are handled very differently” today. A spokeswoman said such a case would now be submitted to the district attorney regardless of the parents' wishes.

Mr. Escobar's parents, Randi and Tony Escobar, said this month that they had been trying to protect their son from the stress of a trial, exposure in the news media and teasing at school.

“The only thing we could think about was, ‘We can't drag our son through all this,'” they wrote in an email. “Today is a very different era, where the victims' identities are somewhat protected.”

Mr. Escobar said he understood his parents' decision, and they remain close. But he wishes they had let the sheriff's office continue the case so Mr. Van Wagenen perhaps could have been stopped.

Instead, his life moved on. After Mr. Escobar's parents reported what had happened to a local leader in the Mormon Church, where they were members, the church disciplined Mr. Van Wagenen with a two-year “disfellowship,” a partial exclusion from church life that is short of an excommunication.

But in 1993, the same year he went to the police, Mr. Van Wagenen went to work as an adjunct professor of film at Brigham Young University, which is closely affiliated with the church. He would later work as director of content for BYU Broadcasting, and then as an instructor at the University of Utah.

Mr. Van Wagenen also directed movies for the church, according to his Facebook page and other biographical materials. The church produces a variety of official films, used for educational purposes or in sacred ceremonies.

A spokesman for the church, formally known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said it had taken “appropriate disciplinary action in this case,” but he did not directly respond to a question about why Mr. Van Wagenen was permitted to have roles in the church after he was disciplined.

The spokesman, Eric Hawkins, said that at the time of the report, the church's practice was to provide spiritual counseling to individuals, and that it was offered. (Both Mr. Escobar and Mr. Van Wagenen said during the recorded conversation that they recalled no counseling.) Mr. Hawkins added that two years later, the church enacted several new safeguards against child sexual abuse, including a 24-hour help line and rules requiring “annotation of the membership record of any individual who has confessed to or been found guilty of abusing a child.”

‘I Don't Lie Very Well'

Today, Mr. Escobar lives in Salt Lake City and St. George, in southern Utah, with his wife, Crystal, and their four young children. He and his wife have done well selling nutritional supplements with a company called Isagenix. She has written a book on motherhood, and the couple host a self-help podcast.

The abuse did not derail his life, he said. But its effects have never gone away.

He started sleeping with a hunting knife underneath his pillow, and having dreams that adults were hurting him. He got in fights at school. He became distrustful of adults and church leaders.

As an adult, he said, he is compulsively protective of his children. He will not allow them to be alone with other men. He said that when his children were assigned male teachers, he demanded they be moved to different classes. When they had play dates, he called ahead to make sure a woman would be present at all times. After decades as a “rock-solid” Mormon, he said, he left the church last year.

And he could not shake the questions: What if there were other victims out there? What if the abuse was still going on? So in January of last year, he reached out to Mr. Van Wagenen's wife on Facebook.

“I only want to make sure that there are strict provisions in place to keep something like that from ever happening again with grandchildren and so forth,” he wrote.

She did not respond.

Eight months later, he texted each of Mr. Van Wagenen's children. He told them that their father had molested him. It was like ripping out his own heart.

“I'm so sorry,” said Mr. Escobar, wiping tears from his eyes, in a video message he sent to one of Mr. Van Wagenen's children. “I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry.”

One of Mr. Van Wagenen's daughters suggested that Mr. Escobar and her father meet. He could offer assurances that he had never inappropriately touched another child. Maybe, she said, it could bring Mr. Escobar some peace.

For days leading up to the meeting, Mr. Escobar said, he could barely eat, sleep or function.

“I kept telling my wife, ‘I don't think I can do this,'” he said. “It was like sending me back to my childhood. I was terrified.”

Mr. Escobar did not want Mr. Van Wagenen to know where he lived, so they met at someone else's home. He said he recorded the conversation in case Mr. Van Wagenen threatened him. He attached a microphone to his iPhone and stashed it in a plant. His wife sat on the stairs just outside the room where the two men spoke.

After Mr. Van Wagenen sat down, Mr. Escobar ran through an excruciating list of questions, which he had written in a red spiral notebook.

Have you ever watched child pornography? He said he had not.

How would you have felt if this happened to your own son? “Awful.”

“How can I be the only one?” Mr. Escobar asked.

“I've never considered myself a pedophile,” Mr. Van Wagenen said. “That one instance was so horrifying to me. And I've carried the awareness of that — not to the degree that you have, for sure — but I've carried the awareness of that.”

“I don't lie very well,” he added later. “I don't.”

Afterward, Mr. Escobar said, he thought Mr. Van Wagenen was probably telling the truth. But probably was not good enough.

Through a friend, he connected with Ryan McKnight at the Truth & Transparency Foundation and handed over the recording. In the article that accompanied the recording, he went by a pseudonym, David. He is identifying himself publicly for the first time in this article.

Mr. Escobar said he heard from the parents of the girl Mr. Van Wagenen is accused of abusing that the recording had motivated her to come forward. The girl is someone Mr. Van Wagenen knew.

“This young girl, the other victim, is a hero to me,” Mr. Escobar said. “I helped her, and she helped me.”

He has not heard from Mr. Van Wagenen since he was charged. But after the recording went public in February, Mr. Van Wagenen's wife, Marilee, sent Mr. Escobar a message on Facebook.

“It is all public now,” she wrote. “We are not angry and understand. I still love you and wish healing for you and all the best for your family.”



(video on site)

WhatsApp is failing to stop the spread of child abuse videos


Facebook-owned WhatsApp continues to be a hotbed for sharing sexual abuse videos in India, according to fresh findings from Cyber Peace Foundation (CPF), a New Delhi-based cyber security and policy think tank that fights against online crimes and warfare.

Despite Facebook's attempts to clamp down on inappropriate content, the two-week long investigation conducted in March found dozens of WhatsApp chat groups with hundreds of members that share child sexual abuse material.

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Check out the video above to see if we got to the core of the matter and revealed some pure, true meaning.

The groups were identified through a third-party WhatsApp public group discovery app that Google recently banned from Play Store, but can still be sideloaded using the installation files that are available online elsewhere.

Nitish Chandan, a cybersecurity specialist who is also the project manager of CPF, found that members are being solicited using invite links , who are then called on to join a more private group using virtual numbers so as to evade detection.

This is not the first time WhatsApp has come under the scanner for circulation of child sexual abuse material. Late last December, a TechCrunch investigation detailed “how third-party apps for discovering WhatsApp groups include ‘Adult' sections that offer invite links to join rings of users trading images of child exploitation.”

What's more, CPF, in a preliminary investigation conducted earlier this year, found at least 50 WhatsApp groups to which hundreds of Indian users are subscribed and used to share child sexual abuse material.

Although WhatsApp has repeatedly reiterated its commitment to users' safety and zero tolerance for child sexual abuse, the messaging app remains an actively exploited platform for spreading malicious information, hate speech, fake news, and other forms of sexually explicit content.

Complicating the matter further is WhatsApp's end-to-end encryption of all communications, which makes it harder for law enforcement agencies to monitor such illegal activities.

But there may be some solutions. WhatsApp already leverages Microsoft's PhotoDNA technology to proactively scan user profile photos for matches to ban both the uploader and all group members.

Yet evidence points that more could be done. In a report that was published in Columbia Journalism Review last August, Himanshu Gupta and Harsh Taneja proposed a metadata-based approach to identify accounts that could be spreading fake news on the platform without giving law enforcement agencies the capability to eavesdrop on all conversations.

By using a mix of metadata information, the cryptographic hash of the multimedia content (which WhatsApp uses for instant forwarding), and phone numbers shared with Facebook, they suggested that WhatApp can track “fake news” even if it can't actually read the contents of the message.

While content related to child sexual abuse is different from fake news and is another complex engineering problem, it should be no less a priority for a company that runs a messaging app used by over 1.5 billion people across India and the world.



(statistical charts on site)

Netherlands 'hosts most child sex abuse images'

Almost half of the child sexual abuse images reported to the Internet Watch Foundation last year were hosted in the Netherlands, the organisation says.

It confirmed more than 105,000 web addresses were connected to illegal images in 2018, with 47% of the content hosted in the Netherlands.

It warned that the country was becoming a "safe haven for child sexual abuse".

The Dutch government has acknowledged an increase in reports of child abuse images and has pledged to tackle it.

Such material should be "expunged from the internet," it said in a report early in 2018.

What was in the report?

The IWF is an independent organisation that lets people report illegal child sex abuse images that they spot online.

The organisation works with websites, social networks and law enforcement to have the images taken down and investigated. Since 1996, it has assessed more than a million reports.

In its annual report, the IWF said 105,047 web addresses were hosting child sexual abuse images in 2018.

That is a large increase compared with 2017. The IWF said that improvements in its technology had helped it detect more illegal images.

Susan Hargreaves, chief executive of the IWF, said the UK had created a "hostile environment" for people wanting to share illegal images.

Just 0.04% of the images reported in 2018 were hosted in the UK, the report said.

But Ms Hargreaves said the Netherlands needed to "stand up and do what's right".

A majority of the reported photographs - 82% - were found on image-hosting services, rather than on social networks or private websites.

Some of these services are based in the Netherlands due to the low cost of web-hosting there.

The IWF declined to name any of the image-sharing sites that had been found hosting child abuse images. It told the BBC it works with companies to make sure that content is removed.

It said it had also offered its support to the Dutch organisation responsible for dealing with illegal images in the country.

One of the reasons the number of images hosted in the United States was lower is because US tech giants such as Facebook are quick to remove them before reports reach the IWF.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid welcomed the IWF's report. He said tackling child sexual abuse imagery was one of his "personal missions".