National Association of Adult Survivors of Child Abuse

child abuse trauma prevention, intervention & recovery

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

October 2019 - Week 2
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.

Proliferating child pornography

Public outcry against online child sex abuse often misses the link to adult pornography

By Kiley Crossland

Tech companies, child protection advocates, and law enforcement agencies find themselves drowning in an ever-increasing number of child pornography cases. A New York Times investigation published late last month found reports of child porn have exploded in recent years—from 3,000 in 1998 to 1 million in 2014 to 18.4 million in 2018, which included more than 45 million images and videos.

About 1 in every 10 agents from the Department of Homeland Security's investigative unit works on child sexual exploitation cases, the Times reported, but an agent in Nashville, Tenn., told reporters, “We could double our numbers and still be getting crushed.” Officials also said offenders increasingly share images and videos of younger victims and more extreme abuse. The Times reported the FBI, overwhelmed by reports and with limited resources, has narrowed its focus to tips from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children related to the sexual abuse of infants and toddlers.

Technology has fostered an environment of anonymity for individuals who otherwise might not seek out child sex abuse imagery. At the same time, it has made it easier for offenders to access and transmit images and hide their tracks with encryption, masked locations, and dark web forums. “People who traffic in child exploitation materials are on the cutting edge of technology,” Susan Hennessey, a former lawyer at the National Security Agency who researches cybersecurity at the Brookings Institution, told the Times.

Efforts to fight the proliferation of this imagery have not kept up with the exponential growth. The federal government has not fully funded or implemented a landmark 2008 federal law allocating resources to fight online child sexual exploitation. Tech companies, under pressure to protect user privacy, do not always cooperate with investigations. In March, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the app Facebook Messenger, which accounted for nearly two-thirds of child abuse image reports last year, plans to start encrypting messages on its platform to provide users with more privacy. The change also means more privacy for abusers to send exploitative content undetected.

The Times' horrifying dive into the world of online child sexual abuse ignored the link between adult pornography and the growing demand for sexually exploitative images of children, according to the National Center on Sexual Exploitation. The group contends that mainstream pornography intentionally includes performers and storylines that mimic teen and childlike scenarios.

Research continues to find that porn use, like any other addiction, numbs the senses and leads to an escalating need for more. Put another way, child sexual abuse consumers don't always start as pedophiles. A 2018 study identified the most prevalent behavior pattern among 40 convicted child pornography users as “a progressive decrease in the age of the person depicted and a progressive increase in the severity of the sexual acts.”



Rapes and Killings of Children Haunt a Corner of Pakistan

Child sexual abuse cases keep surfacing in one eastern district, each more shocking. The police say a man has confessed to four recent killings.

By Salman Masood

CHUNIAN, Pakistan — When the 8-year-old Muhammad Faizan went missing on Sept. 16, he was the fourth child to mysteriously disappear in the eastern Pakistani city of Chunian since June. Three other boys had been missing for several weeks.

Muhammad's father, Qari Muhammad Ramzan, 39, braced for a long search. But devastating news came a day later.

Faizan's body was found in a deserted area about two miles from his house in a poor neighborhood of Chunian in the Kasur district of Punjab Province. The autopsy revealed Faizan had been raped before being killed.

The police also found two skulls, bones and pieces of clothing near the body. Ghazala Bibi, the mother of a 9-year-old boy who had also gone missing, Ali Husnain, recognized her son's shirt. The fathers of two other boys, ages 8 and 12, also learned their sons were victims.

The crimes have incited horror and outrage across Pakistan. Angry protests erupted in Chunian after the grisly discovery. People surrounded the local police station, blaming police neglect.

On Thursday, the police chief of Kasur, Sohail Habib Tajik, said in an interview that a 27-year-old man, Sohail Shahzad, had been arrested this week in connection with the four killings after an extensive manhunt.

“Sohail Shahzad has confessed of the killings,” Mr. Tajik said, adding that the suspect used to drive a rickshaw in Chunian and had lured the children by offering them money to collect firewood.

But the arrest and reported confession do not answer the question on parents' minds: Why does this keep happening in Kasur?

After years of disturbing attacks in the district, Kasur has become a byword for the rape and killings of children. Cases keep surfacing. And parents say they are afraid to let their children go outside.

“We tie our remaining three children with a rope in the night, just to make sure that they don't slip away from us,” said Ms. Bibi's husband, Muhammad Afzal.

The distraught parents of Kasur are bitter and angry at the police. The officials, they said, treated them with callous indifference, mostly urging them to search for the missing on their own.

Prime Minister Imran Khan even intervened, announcing on Twitter that the entire lineup of police officials in Kasur had been removed and an investigation ordered. “There will be accountability for all,” Mr. Khan said.

The streets of Chunian were deserted recently, even during daytime. Many children are now accompanied by an adult to and from school for safety.

For the parents, the stress was one more worry piled on already difficult lives.

“Should we worry about earning our livelihood or worry about children's whereabouts?” said Mr. Ramzan, a cleric in the local mosque. “It is not easy to earn a living these days.”

Inam Ghani, the additional inspector general of the Punjab police, said that Kasur is a peculiar case “because there have been serial pedophile murders.”

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Sweden's Queen wants a #MeToo movement for child abuse

By Associated Press

UNITED NATIONS — Queen Silvia of Sweden, an early campaigner against the exploitation and sexual abuse of children, said Tuesday she wishes there had been a #MeToo movement for children 25 years ago because in the 1990s nobody wanted to hear about violence against youngsters.

“It was too ugly,” she said Tuesday. “Nobody could believe that it really happened. It was taboo.”

The wife of King Carl XVI Gustaf said she became involved with the issue after being shocked by a 1993 case in Sweden involving a young man selling child pornography on the internet.

She became the patron of the First World Congress Against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children held in Stockholm in 1996. That spurred her to become a co-founder of the World Childhood Foundation, which she said has established more than 1,000 projects in 25 countries and reached hundreds of thousands of vulnerable children since it was started in 1999.

Silvia was at the United Nations on Tuesday speaking out about the growth of child sex abuse, exploitation and pornography on the internet — and the failure of many governments and tech companies to stop it.

In a speech and an interview afterward, she pointed to the World Health Organization's estimate that every year 200 million children are sexually abused and increasingly this either takes place online or is distributed online.

“And, of course, it's very hidden, so the figures are much, much bigger than we think,” Silvia said.

She mentioned 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, who addressed world leaders at the UN General Assembly last week and told them: “You have stolen my dreams and my childhood.”

Silvia said the dreams and childhoods of children who are victims of abuse, exploitation and trafficking have also had their dreams and childhoods stolen.

“Do we listen to them?” she asked. “Do we dare? How dare we NOT listen to them.”

Silvia said it's difficult to comprehend that 50 years after the first landing on the moon “we are still struggling to make progress on ending violence and sexual abuse and exploitation of children.”

Instead, she said, “we find new challenges, especially misuse of the internet,” which in the hands of “evil people” has become an enabler for child abuse and exploitation.

“We all have to work very hard to change the laws, to ensure children's rights,” she said and to get tech companies to take responsibility for what is on their platforms and makers of computer games that children are playing on the internet to take responsibility for their content.

Silvia said the #MeToo movement against sexual abuse and exploitation of women and girls “is extremely important and it's very good it happened. But I wish that also 25 years ago, that we would have #MeToo for children because nobody wanted to ask and nobody wanted to see.”

She said Tuesday's high-level U.N. meeting on child online safety will be followed by a round-table meeting that she and the king will host in November at the Royal Palace in Stockholm “to explore how we can use artificial intelligence as a catalyst for child safety online, inviting experts from both tech, business and child protection.”

The former Silvia Renate Sommerlath, who was born in Germany, met then Swedish Crown Prince Carl Gustav at the 1972 summer Olympics in Munich where she was working as a hostess. He succeeded to the throne after his father's death the following year and they were married in Stockholm Cathedral on June 19, 1976.

At a musical performance the night before, the Swedish pop group ABBA performed “Dancing Queen” for the first time in Silvia's honor. It became a global hit.

Does she still like the song and still dance to it?

“Yes, of course! Of course!” the queen replied, laughing. “It was a wonderful moment. It really was.”



Mercy Corps shaken by sexual abuse allegations against co-founder Ellsworth Culver

By Noelle Crombie

The Oregonian/OregonLive found that Mercy Corps executives knew co-founder Ellsworth Culver had been credibly accused by his daughter of serial sexual abuse in the early 1990s but allowed him to continue at Mercy Corps in a top role for more than a decade.

The $471-million-a-year charity twice rebuffed Culver's daughter, Tania Culver Humphrey -- 25 years ago when she first detailed her allegations to Mercy Corps officials and again last year when she asked them to reexamine how they conducted the initial review. That initial review was undertaken by board member Robert Newell, co-founder Dan O'Neill and then-board chairman Raymond Vath.

Mercy Corps CEO Neal Keny-Guyer confirmed Tuesday that Newell had resigned from the board after Mercy Corps was informed of the news organization's findings.

Newell, who Keny-Guyer once called “the heart and soul of Mercy Corps," served on the Mercy Corps board since its founding in 1981. He also serves as treasurer and is a partner at the Davis Wright Tremaine law firm in Portland.

Newell, 72, declined to answer questions about his interactions with Humphrey and his role in the review.

But in a written statement, Newell on Tuesday said the board took Humphrey's allegations “very seriously when they were brought to our attention.” He called the investigation challenging and said it was unclear at the time why state child welfare authorities had not intervened.

“But nothing changes the fact that no one should endure what she has described, especially not as a child at the hands of her father,” Newell wrote. “It is as troubling to me now as it was back then.”

The Portland-based relief agency on Monday also scrubbed warm tributes to Culver from its website. It took down photos and tributes to Culver from the walls of its headquarters.

After his daughter's original accusations, Culver remained a prominent figure within Mercy Corps and continued to serve as its public face, meeting with global leaders and spearheading efforts to expand into China until his death in 2005.

Humphrey, now 48, told The Oregonian/OregonLive her father sexually abused her from preschool into high school. She said she told Mercy Corps leaders that her father had masturbated on her, touched her inappropriately, kissed her in a sexualized manner and forced his penis into her mouth while showering with her.

After its initial review of Humphrey's allegations, Mercy Corps determined there was insufficient evidence to support her allegations.

Last fall, after Humphrey's husband contacted Mercy Corps and said his wife was suffering from the trauma of the abuse, the humanitarian organization eventually replied that it stood by its original assessment.

The news organization typically does not name victims of sexual abuse, but Humphrey requested that she be identified.

The Oregonian/OregonLive's 10-month investigation into Humphrey's allegations also identified eight friends from her childhood and teen years who confirmed that Humphrey told them about the abuse at the time. Three said they saw Culver grope or molest her in a car or during sleepovers. Two said they saw injuries on her legs and neck that Humphrey explained were from her father's use of force or restraints during the assaults. One of her friends from St. Mary's Academy in Portland came forward in the course of the investigation with her own account of sexual abuse by Culver.

On Tuesday, Keny-Guyer offered a forceful apology, taking full responsibility for Mercy Corps' mishandling of Humphrey's request last year to revisit her allegations and how she was treated. He called the news organization's findings “deeply shocking and troubling.”

“I'm reeling,” Keny-Guyer said in an emotional interview in Mercy Corps' Old Town offices. He said the findings “changed everything.”

“They are heartbreaking, they are horrifying,” he said. “My profound apology goes out to Tania and her family.”



Child Abuse and Climate Claims

By Thomas Tripp
W.C. Fields was right about kids and puppies: they will always upstage any adults in the room. We saw this recently with Greta Thunberg's emotional speech at the UN's Climate Action Summit. Her fellow students around the world are sharing the limelight with their weekly school "strikes." Their passion is understandable, but it is not based on a correct understanding of the science of climate change, and we owe these children the facts that will allow them to make rational decisions and choices now and in their future. We owe them the guidance of adults who have their interests at heart, but who employ rational thought rather than impassioned exhortations and demonstrations to achieve non-sensible goals. We need to effectively and continually counter the man-made climate catastrophe screamers.

We do not want to lose a generation to a faulty crusade that is based on the memetic predictions of self-serving and false climate prophets. We would be no better than the parents of the 13th century who sent 20,000 children to the Holy Land to regain Jerusalem for Christendom -- a task that four "professional" armies had failed to accomplish in the previous two centuries. If we don't take the passion of these children seriously by arming them with valid, correctly interpreted data, and sound strategies based on this science they will continue to shout simply ignorant memes of their own.

Kids are savvy, but they can be more gullible than adults when it comes to manipulation. Featuring them in marketing to impress consumers with a company's stance on climate change is pandering at best and, at worst, a shameless misuse of the passion and good intentions of our children. These kids being used in advertising or faux media events end up as unwitting cogs in an economic engine they scarcely understand. For that matter, most adults have little or no understanding of how the world economy functions, let alone how the proposed extreme, but false "solutions" to counteract climate change would affect it. Even if the political "world stage" has no overt marketing aim (but it does to the rent seekers who plan silly man-made solutions to natural phenomenon while manipulating both children and adults), using children in political action still amounts to exploitation of honest, youthful passion when we allow them to spread misinformation about the causes and solutions of climate change.


South Korea

South Korean child abuse, extreme school competition draw U.N. scrutiny

By Elizabeth Shim

(UPI) -- South Korea is under criticism from a United Nations committee for not doing enough to curb domestic child abuse and encouraging cutthroat competition among students that affects their mental health.

The U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child submitted its concluding observations this week after evaluating national reports from Seoul's health and welfare ministry, Newsis reported Friday.

The U.N. group gave high marks for South Korea's legislation affecting refugees, child abuse, and the state budget allocated toward victimized children. The committee also endorsed South Korea's strengthening of penalties for child-related sex offenses and expanding parental leave for fathers and single parents, according to the report.

But the U.N. committee also said South Korea's budget to address the needs of economically marginalized, disabled or migrant children is relatively low compared to its GDP. Korea is a member of the OECD group of developed countries.

The international agency said high rates of domestic child abuse, relatively high child suicide rates and "excessive competition" at school are sources of concern.
Former Jehovah's Witnesses speak out about childhood abuse, say it was 'covered up'

By Tara Cassidy

Diane Lynn was just a toddler when her mother was door-knocked by a Jehovah's Witness, offering the hope of a future of paradise on Earth.

And when she finally found the courage to speak out she was greeted with inaction and cover-ups, even as the abuse continued.

Ms. Lynn is one of more than 1,800 alleged victims of child sex abuse within the Jehovah's Witness organization in submissions to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

And yet despite findings by the commission that the organization failed to adequately protect children in its care, it has not joined the National Redress Scheme intended to compensate victims, or changed the practices that allowed abuse to flourish.

Told she was wearing 'improper clothing'

Ms. Lynn said she was abused by a male member of her congregation for years on end, but when she built the courage to speak up, her complaints fell on deaf ears.

"When I was about five we had a circuit overseer come to our house and I was brave enough to tell him what was happening. He said he would take care of it, to listen hard at his next talk," she said.

"That weekend he gave a public talk about David and Goliath and how David was just a little boy, but my oh my how he killed that giant, and that was it, that was how he handled it.

"I just cried my eyes out and I didn't understand why he didn't do anything, and it didn't stop, and the abuse continued."

Ms. Lynn said she was made to feel like she was to blame.

"I was told I was wearing improper clothing, I was giving the brothers improper thoughts, it was my fault," she said.

"They'd say, 'You can't bring reproach on Jehovah's name', 'The congregation is meant to be seen as clean', 'We're God's chosen people'.

"My father would repeat teachings about how, unless the girl screamed, it was consensual."

At 35 years old Ms. Lynn eventually left the religion, leaving many family members and friends behind.

"It's hard for people to understand why you would stay in a religion like that, but you think you're doing the right thing. You know nothing else," she said.

"You're taught to believe the world is wicked. You don't trust anyone else.

"And if you leave, you have to leave your family and friends behind and go through it all alone. That's really hard to face.

"But I just had to. I couldn't raise my kids in something like that … if one child is hurt that's one child too many."

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China accused of genocide over forced abortions of Uighur Muslim women as escapees reveal widespread sexual torture

Such abuses aimed at curbing women's ability to reproduce are common in Xinjiang, experts say

By Amie Ferris-Rotman,

The women have found refuge from Chinese authorities across the border in Kazakhstan, their ancestral homeland. But they remain haunted by the stories of abuse they carry with them.

Some said they were forced to undergo abortions in China's Muslim-majority province of Xinjiang, others that they had contraceptive devices implanted against their will while in detention.

One reported being raped. Many said they were subjected to sexual humiliation, from being filmed in the shower to having their intimate parts rubbed with chili paste.

The allegations come as China expands a years-long crackdown on its Muslim minority, which includes not only Uighurs but also Kazakhs and other ethnic groups.

While the experiences described could not be independently verified, local rights groups and lawyers say they are common and reveal a wider pattern of abuse directed specifically against women, aimed at curbing their ability to reproduce.

In December 2017, Gulzira Mogdyn, a 38-year-old ethnic Kazakh and Chinese citizen, was detained in Xinjiang after a visit to Kazakhstan because WhatsApp was found on her phone.

She was placed under house arrest and examined by doctors at a nearby clinic, who discovered she was 10 weeks pregnant.

Officials told her she was not allowed to have what would be her fourth child. The following month, Ms. Mogdyn said, doctors “cut my foetus out” without using anesthesia. She still suffers from complications.

“Two humans were lost in this tragedy – my baby and me,” Ms. Mogdyn said during an interview on the outskirts of Almaty, Kazakhstan's largest city.

She received her Kazakh citizenship in July and says that has emboldened her to speak out. She is also pressing Beijing for a response: either financial compensation or, at least, an apology.

Others are still constrained. A Kazakh woman with close relatives remaining in China was forced to undergo two abortions, in 2016 and 2017, while living in Xinjiang, her lawyer said.

Aiman Umarova, a Kazakh human rights advocate and US State Department honoree, said her client is seeking refuge in a Kazakh city and does not wish to be identified for fear of retribution.

Ms. Umarova sees the women's stories as forming a pattern.

“Sexually violating women, including stopping them from reproducing, has become a weapon for China against its Muslim population,” she said.

The US government and human rights groups estimate that between one million and three million Muslims have been detained in Chinese “re-education camps” since 2017, most of them Uighurs.

The Washington Post spoke with two men, including an Australian citizen named Almas Nizamidin, who suspect that their wives, both Uighurs still in detention in Xinjiang, were forced to terminate their pregnancies at a camp in 2017.

Under China's one-child policy, abortions and contraceptives were encouraged – and often enforced – by officials tasked with keeping the population down. Exceptions were granted for ethnic minorities, who were allowed one more child than Han Chinese.

The policy was abandoned three years ago, but that has not prevented the recent move to curb ethnic populations, said Leta Hong Fincher, a scholar and expert on gender equality in China. “There is a clear tightening of control over the reproductive rights of ethnic minorities,” she said.

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Castro touts a ‘Children First' plan to improve foster care

By Bill Lambrecht

WASHINGTON - Julián Castro today proposed spending billions for foster care, continuing his recent advocacy on behalf of the most vulnerable as he and the rest of the 2020 Democratic field prepare for another debate.

In his Children First plan, Castro, a former San Antonio mayor, spotlights the nearly half-million children in foster care and suffering neglect or bias, promising to revamp federal programs in a fashion that would establish a 21st century safety net for youth in desperate straits.

As Castro often does in his presidential quest, he tied policy to family in relating the experience of his late grandmother, Victoria, who moved to Texas at age 7 after her parents died.

“She was raised by relatives that took her in and loved her as their own daughter. My grandmother worked her entire life as a maid, a cook, a babysitter so that we could help others through public service,” Castro said, writing in the online platform Medium.

Castro says he would use the White House to prevent child abuse and neglect. He also would promote family unity, funneling $10 billion into federal efforts to keep families together and another $2 billion toward child abuse prevention and treatment.

His plan extends federal support for foster care from age 18 to 21, seeks more care capacity and restores Obama administration rules that bar federal funding for organizations that discriminate against LGBT families.

Castro said he wants to revamp the foster system “so fewer vulnerable children enter foster care in the first place and those that do are more likely to lead successful lives.”

Castro will get an opportunity to talk about his plan when 12 Democrats gather in Ohio for a candidate debate on Tuesday - two more than in Houston last month.

It could be the final debate for Castro and several others on the stage - fellow Texan Beto O'Rourke among them. Candidates must register 3 percent showings in four qualifying polls as part of criteria to make the next debate, on Nov. 20. under Democratic National Committee rules aimed at winnowing the field. Castro has been polling at 1 percent.

Castro, while pressing donors for wherewithal for ads in hopes of driving up his poll numbers, has stepped up his focus on behalf of populations enduring difficult challenge and often trauma.

On Monday, he drew wide coverage as he escorted asylum-seekers across the border bridge from Matamoros, where they'd landed under the Trump administration's “Remain in Mexico” policy requiring people to remain in northern Mexico while they pursue claims.

He condemned the policy, which he says has placed people in squalid conditions.

“It's a disaster. People should not live like this,” he said.

On Sept. 25, Castro toured a homeless encampment in Oakland, Calif., touting his multibillion-dollar plan to create 3 million more housing units across the country in a decade's time.

Castro's policy overtures often focus on discrimination. His new plan for distressed children aims to chip away at the disproportionate share of children of color in foster care, he said.

“We must acknowledge the legacy of oppression theses disparities perpetuate, recognizing the long history of family separation among communities of color,” Castro wrote.

Castro said he would use the White House to pressure states toward ending what he called “the child welfare to juvenile justice pipeline.”

“Our punitive approach to justice victimizes at-risk youth the most,” he wrote in support of requiring state strategies “to prevent youth from entering the juvenile justice system.


How the child protection system failed to keep Maggie safe

By Claire Campbell

To remove or not to remove? Knowing when to take a child out of a toxic environment is a fraught question.

Maggie~ was just 13 when authorities removed her from her family and took her to a motel room.

She left with a single plastic bag containing a change of clothes.

She was scared, lonely and unsure about what would happen next.

Separated from her mother, grandmother and siblings for the first time, hugging a soft pillow was the only thing that brought comfort.

Child protection authorities believed they were removing Maggie for her own good.

But over the next four years as a ward of the state, she spiraled into a world of alcohol, drugs and sexual abuse in a system that was meant to protect her.

'The days went forever'

Maggie, who is now 17, still cries when she recounts the day she was taken.

She said she knew she was living in a "broken home" at the time — her mum was addicted to drugs, her siblings had already been removed by child protection authorities.

However, when Maggie was eventually taken away, she didn't go to live with her siblings.

Instead, she was taken to stay in a motel room.

"The weekend, it felt like years, the days went forever, the nights went longer," she said.

"I used to put the two single beds together and put pillows around me and cuddle up."

As a ward of the state, she never ended up in a permanent home with a loving foster family.

Instead, she was moved from motel to motel and eventually into one of Adelaide's biggest residential care facilities where she lived with eight other children.

She was reunited with her siblings briefly, but then separated again and moved to another residential care facility because workers told her she was too disruptive.

"You can tell it's a welfare home, the government cars … kids' rooms with security screens on it and a big security door to get let in," she said.

"It didn't even look like home, it was ugly.

"The first couple of months it was hectic.

"I was innocent, I was still sweet me."

'It was easier … under the influence'

Life in residential care taught Maggie to appear tough, but inside she said she felt helpless and her mental health was suffering.

Staff would change regularly, and she said she was never really sure who she could trust.

Maggie started being teased at school and soon dropped out. She was in Year 8.

Within months of moving to a residential care facility, she said she started using drugs and alcohol to cope.

That was made easier by the location of the group home — on a main road next to a pub.

"It was easier going through the world of welfare under the influence instead of being sober," she said.

"The alcohol and drugs gave me freedom.

"[The workers] would take all the things that we could use to hurt ourselves out of the room and leave us in the room with a bucket."

Maggie says staff knew she was taking drugs and one afternoon tipped her room upside down.

In the process, she said they broke several of her few possessions.

Another teenager living in the house walked into her room and ripped up the only photo she had of her family — a picture of them celebrating Christmas.

She cries as she retells that moment, and how staff tried to laminate the image back together.

Losing her innocence

With no school to attend and no other activities to keep her occupied, she started spending time with older men.

On weekends, she would go to what she called "trap houses" — drug and alcohol-fueled parties of up to 80 people in abandoned houses.

"If you've got a man, you go hook-up with your man at that house, if you're there for the drinks, go drink, if you're there to smoke dope, smoke dope — it's just a big party house," she said.

"You'd go with a group so you know your friends have your back, if you go by yourself, then you're not going to come back out of the trap."

She would often miss the 9:00pm curfew at the group home and staff would not let her back in, so she said she would find somewhere else to sleep — generally with the men who were at the party.

She said one night, she was raped in a car park near her group home by a boy living in the same house.

Maggie said she had to live with her attacker for five days before the Department for Child Protection moved him to another home.

"When he got me on the ground, I was that whacked, I couldn't move and he done that to me," she said.

"I walked up to my room and I sat there, I just smoked the rest of the night away, tried to suppress the feeling.

"I was ashamed."

SA Police confirmed Maggie did report a sexual assault and an investigation was launched, but would not give any further information as both children were wards of the state.

"What made my trust go down even more was when my worker said: 'I don't believe you, everybody knows that you lie, you're just going to be the same for the rest of your life, nothing but a slut'," Maggie said.

"The sad thing about it is it's happened to some girls so much, it's practically normal to them."

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Church accused of covering up priest's abuse, and paternity

By Nicole Winfield and Rodney Muhumuza

SAMBURU, Kenya — The Vatican is investigating a Kenyan man's claim that his father is an Italian missionary priest who impregnated his mother when she was 16, a case that highlights how the Catholic Church is reckoning with Africa's legacy of sexual abuse and priests fathering children.

Gerald Erebon has been an outcast of sorts for all of his 30 years: Tall and light-skinned with wavy hair, Erebon looks nothing like the dark-skinned Kenyan man listed as his father on his birth certificate, or like his black mother and siblings.

Erebon, his family and villagers in remote Archer's Post, Kenya say that's because he is the son of the Rev. Mario Lacchin, an 83-year-old Italian priest of the Consolata Missionaries religious order who ministered in Archer's Post in the 1980s.

“According to my birth certificate, it is like I am living a wrong life, a lie,” Erebon told The Associated Press in a series of interviews in Nairobi and Archer's Post. “I just want to have my identity, my history.”

Lacchin denies he is Erebon's father, and has refused to take a paternity test. His religious superiors haven't forced him, but arranged a series of three meetings this year between Erebon and Lacchin in hopes of establishing a dialogue between them.

The Vatican stepped in and opened an investigation after Erebon's claim was brought to its attention in May by an advocate for children of priests, Vincent Doyle.

Doyle did so after obtaining the birth certificates of Erebon and his late mother, Sabina Losirkale, which showed she had just turned 16 when she conceived in 1988. In Kenya, the legal age of consent was and is 18.

Amid the torrent of sex abuse accusations that have rocked the Catholic priesthood, little attention has been paid to the pregnancies resulting from those illicit acts. And nowhere is this a more glaring issue than in Africa, where the flouting of celibacy by priests is a known, long-standing problem.

The continent has long lagged behind the United States, Europe and Australia in confronting the problem of priests having sex with children, given the church's priorities here have focused on fighting poverty, conflict and traffickers who sell children off to war or work.

Recently, East African bishops established regional child protection standards and guidelines to prevent child sexual abuse. And in parts of Francophone West Africa, the Catholic Church has launched safeguarding programs for society at large.

Those initiatives, though, are relatively new, scattershot and underfunded.

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These Women Say a Trusted Pediatrician Abused Them as Girls. Now They Plan to Sue.

State officials stripped Stuart Copperman of his medical license almost 20 years ago. Armed with a new law, his former patients hope to file civil lawsuits.

By Roni Caryn Rabin

Stuart Copperman was, to all appearances, an old-fashioned pediatrician. For 35 years, he ran a bustling practice in Merrick, Long Island, where he was revered by parents as an authority on everything from colic to chickenpox. Well-dressed, affable and tan year-round, he was always available in an emergency, and even made house calls.

When he told mothers that their daughters were old enough to see him alone — without a parent in the room, so the girls could speak freely — they accepted it as sound medical practice. Girls who told their mothers that the pediatrician had rubbed their genitals or inserted his fingers into their vaginas were often met with disbelief.

“He was such a charming, affectionate, involved man — we all thought he was a god,” said Dina Ribaudo, 43, who lives in Arizona. “You just couldn't imagine this bright, shining light ever hurting anyone.” Mr. Copperman started molesting her when she was 8, she said.

The state Office of Professional Medical Conduct received a steady stream of sexual abuse complaints about Mr. Copperman for nearly two decades, but did not strip him of his medical license until December 2000. By then, he was 65 years old and ready to retire. No criminal charges were ever filed.

Mr. Copperman, 84, declined to comment for this story but in the past has denied any wrongdoing. His exams were thorough, he has said, and performed in accordance with standard medical practice.

But Ms. Ribaudo and about 50 other former patients now hope to sue him for monetary damages under a new law in New York State, the Child Victims Act. The law opened a one-year window, beginning in August, during which victims of childhood sex abuse may file civil lawsuits against abusers even decades after the crimes occurred.

Kristen Gibbons Feden, a lawyer who prosecuted Bill Cosby for sexual assault and is now with the firm Stradley Ronon in Philadelphia, has agreed to represent the women. But even if they win in court, they are unlikely to reap significant compensation.

Their dilemma highlights a major weakness in the new state law. Though Mr. Copperman is by all indications wealthy, he was a solo practitioner who ran his practice out of his basement. He lacks the assets of an institution like the Boy Scouts or a large hospital.

Law firms that have eagerly taken on clients targeting such well-insured and deep-pocketed institutions — anticipating a healthy cut of any jury award or settlement — have shied away from cases against individuals like Mr. Copperman. Most of the more than 500 civil suits filed under the new law so far have targeted the Catholic Church.

But doctors in particular can be uniquely positioned to abuse young patients, as some notorious cases recently have shown. Larry Nassar, the team doctor at U.S.A. Gymnastics, was sentenced to up to 175 years for sexually abusing gymnasts in his charge.

Earlier this year, Johnnie Barto, a pediatrician in Johnstown, Penn., was sentenced to up to 158 years in prison for sexual abuse. Earl Bradley, a pediatrician in Lewes, Del., was sentenced to 14 life terms in 2011.

Scores of men are using the new law to seek damages from Rockefeller University Hospital over sexual abuse allegedly committed by Dr. Reginald Archibald, who passed away in 2007.

In Ohio, Gov. Mike DeWine has urged legislators to review 25 years of sex abuse complaints made to the state medical board after finding it failed to take action against an Ohio State University physician, Dr. Richard H. Strauss, despite evidence he had assaulted male students.

Doctors, and pediatricians in particular, “are the next wave,” said Marci A. Hamilton, chief executive of Child U.S.A., an advocacy group based at the University of Pennsylvania focused on child protection.

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Liz Warren, CNN Cheer the Abuse of 9-Year-Old Children Paraded as Transgender

By Tyler O'Neil

At the LGBT Democratic town hall Thursday night, CNN celebrated two mothers who paraded their 9-year-old gender-confused children. These children are barely old enough to understand what gender is, much less whether or not they will regret the transgender hormones and surgery that will be foisted upon them by an unscrupulous medical establishment. Yet the moderators, candidates, and audience cheered as two little girls were presented as little boys.

"My name is Jacob and I'm a 9-year-old transgender American," one girl began in a question to Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), now the frontrunner in the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. Before she could ask her question, the crowd erupted in cheers and applause. Warren clapped, saying, "All right, Jacob!" To her credit, she tried to hush the crowd to let the girl ask her question.

The young lady asked a question about schools, and Warren went so far as to promise that when Warren named a secretary of Education, she would give this young lady a say on whether or not to choose that particular nominee.

The exchange looked and sounded cute, but it illustrated yet again the left's instrumentalization of children to push its radical worldview. Like Greta Thunberg, this young lady is being paraded as an example of the need for a radical change in American society. Thunberg has been convinced the world will end unless governments act against climate change — by effectively destroying the free market engine of growth that created a prosperity never before imagined in human history. This young lady has been convinced she is a boy, and that the world's unwillingness to consider her a boy is horrific and violent.

This young lady asked about safety in schools because she is scared, and she's scared of the wrong people. "Jacob" is scared of the people who will tell her that because she was born female and remains biologically female, down to every cell in her body, she cannot become a boy.

"Jacob" trusts the people who tell her she can become a boy. But these people support pumping her young body with testosterone and "puberty-blocking" hormones that could give her a disease — hypogonadotropic hypogonadism. If the human body does not produce enough of the right sex hormones, the brain and other organs do not develop normally. Even if "Jacob" decides not to get irreversible surgery to remove her female organs, these hormones will cause her long-term damage.

Hundreds of formerly transgender people — many of whom received hormones and surgery and deeply regret their decisions to harm their own bodies — have come forward, and one brave young woman is setting up a network for them in Britain. Detransitioners like Walt Heyer have set up websites to help those struggling with rejecting their transgender identity.

Just as the transgender movement celebrates gender-confused girls like "Jacob," it seeks to deny the existence of people like Walt Heyer, Cari Stella, Carey Callahan, and Monreea Bailey.

Worse, the movement pushes young children — who cannot understand the long-term consequences of hormones, surgery, and the pressure of a social transition — to follow a very dangerous path. Many of the "affirming" treatments presented come with long-term side effects, such as lower bone density, scars, infertility, and other risks that are not yet fully known.

Ironically, "Jacob" was actually the second gender-confused 9-year-old girl presented to the audience as a boy. When a mother tried to introduce her young daughter to ask former Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-Texas) a question, a black man who identifies as transgender and goes by the name "Blossom" seized the microphone from the mother, attempting to dominate the conversation.

Hilariously, CNN's Don Lemon repeatedly gave the microphone back to the disruptive man complaining about "the erasure of black trans people."

For this heckler, honored by CNN, weaponizing children for the transgender agenda wasn't enough — he had to upstage a child as well.



If only we'd listened to our young athletes

By Abigail Pesta

(CNN) Fifteen years ago, Brianne Randall-Gay might have stopped one of the most prolific sexual predators the world of sports has ever known -- if anyone had listened. She was a 17-year-old soccer and tennis player when she and her mother went to the Meridian Township Police Department in Michigan to report that Larry Nassar had sexually abused her. The police interviewed Brianne, then Nassar. They listened to him, and dismissed her. Case closed.

Nassar went on to abuse hundreds of young women and girls.

When Nassar got sentenced to prison last year, the police publicly apologized to Brianne for their profound failure. She told me about it in an interview for my book "The Girls: An All-American Town, a Predatory Doctor, and the Untold Story of the Gymnasts Who Brought Him Down," saying the apology left her with "complicated" feelings. While she appreciated the gesture, she wrestled with the fact that if the police had listened, years of abuse could have been stopped.

That has all changed now in the #MeToo era, right?

That's what we may tell ourselves, but it's not true. Despite the fact that we know the tremendous risks that women take to speak out -- exposing themselves to harassment, abuse, gaslighting, and even death threats in some cases -- society is still failing to listen.

In Bartow, Florida, a 13-year girl who reported a rape was deemed a liar and prosecuted for filing a false report in 2017. Then the accused man sexually abused her again. Now he is in jail.

Her story echoes one from a decade ago, when an 18-year-old rape survivor in Lynnwood, Washington, was also labeled a liar and charged with filing a false report. Her attacker went on to rape other women. Now he is in jail too. That case is at the heart of the new Netflix series "Unbelievable."

In August, the National Women's Law Center filed a lawsuit against the Fayette County Board of Education in Georgia on behalf of a teenager who said she was expelled from high school after reporting a sexual assault on campus in 2017. She reported an assault, yet was accused of sexual impropriety herself. The school district reportedly said it expects to prevail.

Her experience mirrors that of a young woman I interviewed six years ago: She was kicked out of high school in Henderson, Texas, after reporting a rape in the band room. Accused of public indecency, she fought back, sparking a Department of Education probe that found the school in violation of Title IX, the federal law that prohibits sex discrimination in federally funded schools.

Under the law, schools must investigate reports of sexual violence, but her school failed to do so, relying solely on a police investigation that deemed the sex consensual. The school declined to comment on the case, but said it revised its policies to comply with the law.

In all of these cases, past and present, the women were not only disbelieved, but punished.

Survivors are often dismissed in more subtle ways as well. Many women in the Nassar case told me that they continue to feel unheard, despite sending their abuser to jail. One reason, they said, is that many in the media seem more interested in the famous survivors, not them. Nassar is known for working with Olympic gymnasts, but he preyed on young women and girls from across the community in his hometown of Lansing, Michigan -- aspiring young gymnasts, dancers, runners, volleyball players, and many others.

In reporting my book, I spoke with 25 courageous Nassar survivors, spanning nearly three decades, from the very first of his known victims to the very last. Many told me their surprising stories for the first time. Most had grown up with him in Michigan, some from the time they were toddlers. Since the book's publication, I've spoken with people from around the country about how we as a society treat survivors of sexual trauma, and about where we go from here. I've noticed a disturbing trend.

Many people believe that this story ended in the courtroom. But that was just the beginning. Some women didn't realize they had been abused until they saw other women stand up in court. And all of the women have to navigate a lifetime of emotional fallout -- nightmares, flashbacks, feelings of self-doubt.

As a society, we remain too quick to dismiss survivors. We find it too easy to simply move on. We need to put survivors and their stories front and center -- not just once, not just when the victims are famous, but always. Every single time.

It takes guts to publicly identify yourself as a survivor of sexual abuse. When you do so, people you meet -- at a job interview, on a first date -- know something deeply personal about you before you say hello. All it takes is a Google search. If you have kids, you have to figure out when and how to tell them before they inevitably encounter the details online.

The brave women who spoke with me provide crucial new accounts -- of rape, brainwashing, gaslighting, physical and mental abuse, and collusion among the enablers -- that significantly advance what we know about this scandal. Their knowledge of Nassar's evolution from doctor to predator can stop future predators.

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Judy actor Rufus Sewell calls on sexual abuse in Hollywood to be exposed

New movie Judy shines a light on how late singer Judy Garland, played by Renée Zellweger, suffered at the hands of Hollywood.


“It was a terrible thing to happen to a child,” Rufus Sewell tells PinkNews.

But has Hollywood changed since Garland's time in the spotlight?

“I think people don't change,” he says. “And I think one of the things about people is that the more you cover up, the less light you shine on that stuff and the more it controls you.

“I like to think that what's happening now is that things are more exposed, they're easier to talk about, it's easier to say out loud.

“It's easier to shine light on what's festering so it dies in the light.

What was going on in the hotels and what was going on backstage, and the abuse, the hands creeping up skirts, the pills – it was a very, very dark, incredibly damaging world.

“At the time the Wizard of Oz was being made, it's not just coincidence that that is the most innocent-seeming time in Hollywood where there doesn't seem to be any pain or color or, you know.

“It was covering a festering world. If you read about the making of the Wizard of Oz – what was going on in the hotels and what was going on backstage, and the abuse, the hands creeping up skirts, the pills – it was a very, very dark, incredibly damaging world.

“I just think the more that that's out in the open, the more the stigma about talking about it is taken away – the same with mental illness and issues like that – then the healthier it is.

“So I have to think it's getting better. It doesn't mean that people change, it just means that people need to be exposed to the light.”

Sewell plays Judy Garland's husband alongside Renée Zellweger in new movie Judy.

“What's great about the film is that you do see her at that stage – this young, impressionable girl.

“Her mum's hawking her out. As the studio heads said in this film, you have a mother who cares more what I think of you.”

Reflecting on the impact of growing up in Hollywood had on Judy Garland, Sewell adds: “This is just a person who's been damaged, who needs help, who needs love, who's got addiction issues.

“So it's about [how] we need to take care of people.”

Inspired by his childhood hero, gay icon Quentin Crisp, Sewell says he “absolutely” calls himself a LGBT+ ally.

“I saw the Naked Civil Servant when I was very young and, for me, I identified hugely with him because I felt, in a way, like an outsider,” he explains.

“So that's how I identified with him and I always had that sense – turns out I grew up straight but it could have been another way.

“And I certainly just experimented with – I looked very Quentin Crisp like – I had dyed hair and painted finger nail varnish, you know.

“Some of the best people in the world are – it's the world's made up.

“You lose a lot of really great stuff if you waste time thinking about b~~~~~~~ like that.”


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