Posts tagged child sexual abuse

The silence! The shame! NO MORE!!

Three dirty little words “child sexual abuse”.  They make everyone so uncomfortable. No one likes to talk about it.

But we must talk about. It wasn’t comfortable for any of children who have been sexually abused – so frankly I don’t care about anyone else’s discomfort!

The recently launched lawsuit of Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett against the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) seeking to have all of the NCAA penalties against Penn State’s football program thrown out is beyond shameful and it’s a contradiction to his public statement this past summer where he stated: “We must repair the damage to this university. Part of that corrective process is to accept the serious penalties imposed by the NCAA on Penn State University and its football program.”

These sanctions brought about by the Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse case include a $60 million fine which is to be used for funding child sexual abuse prevention and treatment programming.

Corbett’s about face should make everyone feel uncomfortable! Once again, it’s the silence and shame! It’s the putting the profits of college football ahead of children’s rights … rights to be safe and not violated.

Let’s all get uncomfortable with Governor Corbett’s lawsuit! Let us fight so that no child is ever violated – so that no child is ever uncomfortable – so that no child ever has to live with silence and shame ever again!!

It’s up to all of us to talk about it! It’s up to all of us to fight for our children

Together we can give children a world where they are safe, nurtured, and loved …a world where their voices are not small, ignored and unheard. And together
we can listen …as we raise the volume, so that everyone hears their message.

Help prevent violence and neglect against children today!

Ross Ellis
Founder and Chief Executive Officer
Love Our Children USA

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Paterno and his powerful allies: Guilty of child sexual abuse

The release of the Freeh Report to Penn State University today documents years of secrecy and silence around child sexual abuse by Jerry Sandusky and a fundamental disregard for children’s safety and welfare by failing to report child abuse.

Their actions and inactions are egregious when we read the details of the report. It highlights leaders behave in ways that favor protecting themselves, their reputations and their institutions over protecting children.

By law anyone that works with children is a mandated reporter and must report the abuse to the authorities.

It is a message for every citizen in this country to not look the other like those who did at Penn State.

One of the many recommendations made to insure this does not happen again was increased training of staff on all levels about the responsibility that comes with being a mandated reporter. Stronger and more frequent background checks must also be mandatory.

Paterno was a mandated reporter and together with his powerful allies, committed a crime by covering up child sexual abuse.

When it comes to public reporting, whether you are a mandated reporter or not, we all have the responsibility and obligation to report all child abuse – even if it’s only suspected.

Louis Freeh, former federal judge and Director of the FBI oversaw the investigation and said: “Our most saddening and sobering finding is the total disregard for the safety and welfare of Sandusky’s child victims. The most powerful men at Penn State failed to take any steps for 14 years to protect the children who Sandusky victimized.”

The investigation which ran the course of seven months, involved more than 400 interviews and the review of more than 3.5 million documents … accusing Paterno, the university’s former president and several others of deliberately hiding facts about Sandusky’s sexually predatory behavior over the years.

“The facts are the facts,” Freeh said of Paterno. “He was an integral part of the act to conceal.”

All of us who work in child abuse prevention agree with Freeh’s Report and recommendations on policies and practices. Yet Penn State and other institutions must take even more steps such as compliance with mandatory reporting statutes, whistleblower policies and background checks on an annual basis.

In order for children to be safe, we as a society must to do more to keep children safe.

Learn the signs of child sexual abuse  If you see something, say something!

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Jerry Sandusky found guilty of child sex abuse: faces up to 442 years in prison

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June 22, 2012: Tonight a jury found Jerry Sandusky guilty on 45 of 48 counts of child sexual molestation and faces up to 442 years in prison.

The jury deliberated for almost 20 hours after an eight day trial at the Center County Courthouse in Bellefonte, PA.

Sandusky was escorted out of the courthouse in handcuffs and will be sentenced at a later date by Judge John Cleland.

This child sexual molestation case shook the Penn State college town last November when Sandusky was indicted. The sex abuse scandal led to the firing of noted head football coach Joe Paterno and school president Graham Spanier. Also facing criminal chargers are athletic director Tim Curley and vice president Gary Schultz (both university officials) for failure to report a crime and perjury. Paterno died of lung cancer in January and had he been well, he should have been tried for failure to report a crime and perjury as well.

Eight victims testified in horrific detail how Sandusky molested them in Penn State locker rooms, Sandusky’s basement and hotel rooms.

The testimony from former Penn State assistant coach Mike McQueary, who said he walked in on Sandusky and a boy in the locker room showers in 2001 was also used in court.

The jury did the right thing for these victims. Justice has been served!

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An Alarming Rate Of Teachers Are Sexually Abusing Students

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. Reports in the media of teachers who are sexually abusing students are increasingly alarming.  The majority of cases reported are in New York.

Child sexual molesters choose careers where they can be close to children. So it’s not surprising when we hear all of the stories about teachers sexually molesting students.

Below are just some of the reported cases of teachers who have been accused of or who admitted to sexually molesting their students in the U.S. from February 2012 – April, 2012.

There should not be one case, let alone all of these. We must do something to help our children NOW!

NY – February, 2012: For Fifth Time This Month A NYC Teacher Is Arrested For Alleged Child Sex Abuse

NY – February, 2012: Outraged parents demand answers over hiring of PS 87 school aide accused of sex abuse

NY -March, 2012: Queens teacher charged with assaulting 6-year-old

OH – March, 2012: Bengals cheerleader, ex-teacher charged with sexual abuse of a student

MO – March, 2012: A Missouri elementary school teacher charged with sexually abusing students is free on $250,000 bond after prosecutors brought new charges.

NY – March 2012: Yet Another NYC School Teacher Arrested On Sexual Abuse Charges

NY – March, 2012: Brooklyn Teacher Accused of Sexually Abusing Student

NC – March, 2012: Sex abuse charges pile up against former Clayton teacher

CA – March 2012: A Pacoima teacher’s arrest came to light four months after he was arrested on sexual abuse allegations

TX: March, 2012: Special education teacher in Texas is being accused of having an inappropriate relationship with two underage students.

CA – March, 2012: Four more school districts provide teacher misconduct record

NY – April, 2012: Sixteen teachers singled out for pervy conduct get to keep their jobs in New York City schools

NY – April, 2012: Six NY Teachers On Desk Duty For Years for perverted acts towards students, But Can’t Be Fired

NY – April, 2012: Bronx assistant principal arrested for sex abuse

CA – April, 2012 Christopher James Hooker, the Modesto, Calif., ex-teacher whose romance with a student drew attention from around the world, was arrested Friday after being charged with one count of oral copulation with a minor in an incident that police said happened 14 years ago

NE – April, 2012 Nebraska teacher arrested on sex-abuse allegations

TN – April, 2012 Mid South teacher charged with rape of student

OR – April, 2012 Molalla teacher arrested on sex-abuse charges in OC

What parents should do if a child tells them that he/she has been sexually abused

Children rarely report abuse during their victimization and nearly 80% will deny the abuse. Adults must be alert to signs of sexual abuse.

If a child does tell you they’ve been sexually abused, take the time to really listen to them when they want to talk. Believe what you are hearing no matter how impossible it sounds. Remember that 90% of abuse is done by someone the child knows, trusts and loves.  

Assure the child that they are doing the right thing by telling and you will get help. Never blame or punish the child or show anger.  It is difficult but you must control your emotions. Your reaction to the abuse might be viewed as directed toward the child.

Reassure them that you are not angry at them. Don’t take notes while the child is talking to you. Listen intently. Then quickly document the disclosure.

If you are an employee or volunteer and hear of the abuse, immediately report the incident to your supervisor, but keep in mind that you are a mandated reporter and you have an obligation to report the incident to the proper authorities. If you represent the organization at which the abuse occurred, you must report the child’s disclosure to law enforcement or child protective agency as specified by the laws in your particular state.

If you report the abuse to a higher authority, supervisor or report it to law enforcement make sure you follow up to see that the problem is being addressed.

If your child us being sexually abused by a teacher, principal or school employee, report it to the principal, the school board and law enforcement.

If the school takes the approach of complete denial, report it to the school board and law enforcement, create a paper trail and contact the District Attorney’s office where you live. You may even have to contact an attorney.

In the Naples, FL case where teacher Steven Noyes was accused of sexually molesting a 9 year-old student, the police dropped the ball on the case. Don’t let this happen to you.

And NYS Arbitrator Paul Zonderman said he is neutral, and that he stands behind his decisions to not fire city teachers for various offenses. “Sometimes you go with the union. Sometimes you go with management.

Schools are culpable. Hopefully they’ve done their due diligence with background checks. Yet more needs to be done.

 Sign our petition to have stronger and more frequent background checks on teachers so we can keep our children safe at school.

Lastly, if you are or were a victim of child sexual molestation and didn’t tell – PLEASE TELL! It is so important to report it.

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Demanding Extensive Background Checks on Teachers To Keep Children Safe At School

The rash of teachers and school employees across the country who have been arrested for the alleged sexual abuse of children is more than alarming.

For the fifth time this month, a New York City teacher has been charged with a sex crime against a student.

Brett Picou, 30, an art teacher at P.S. 52, is accused of fondling an 11-year-old girl, which took place at school.  News sources report that at least six other students all girls, may be victims. One child told the school principal a week ago, triggering the investigation.

The New York City Department of Education said Picou has been suspended without pay since the student made the accusation on February 15.

Picou joins Chukwuma Duru, Tyleek Brooks, Gregory Atkins and Wilbert Cortez. Duru is a substitute teacher. Brooks and Atkins worked as teacher’s aides. Cortez is a computer teacher.

And it’s not just in New York City. At the beginning of February, the Los Angeles Times reported that teacher Mark Berndt of the Miramonte Elementary School in Los Angeles was arrested for the most despicable acts against children. Berndt is deservedly looking at multiple potential life sentences.

In 1994, the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office decided not to press charges against veteran Los Angeles teacher Mark Berndt for fondling a girl because prosecutors determined there was “insufficient evidence.”

Now 18 years later, Berndt the teacher everyone loved has finally been arrested after a one-year investigation for the photographing children in class while he sexually relieved himself under his desk, spoon-fed his own semen to blindfolded elementary school children and photographed them with a giant live cockroach on their faces.  Berndt’s 23 counts of lewd acts against children took place between 2005 and 2010. The victims were both girls and boys between the ages of 7 and 10.

And last April teacher Steven Noyes of the Village School in Naples, Fl., a private school affiliated with the North Naples United Methodist Church, was accused of sexual abuse against one of his 9 year old female students at the school. The police investigated the case, but when the teacher in question didn’t cooperate, they dropped the ball.  The teacher was not willing to talk to police or take a polygraph test, returned to school. The head of the school Ginger Sauter was heard saying “This is all my fault, I shouldn’t have let him hug the children” and now the little girl, the innocent victim has been expelled from school.

What are our schools missing when hiring teachers? How extensive are their background checks?

While we would never want our innocent teachers to suffer, we may have to! It’s time to demand that our schools have more extensive background checks and do these annually to check for any discrepancies, arrests, or any negative information.

Child molesters choose to work where they can be close to children. As a country, we must insist that our children are kept safe from these predators at school.

Please sign our PETITION and urge legislators to hold extensive background checks before hiring teachers and school administrators and to run extensive mandatory annual background checks on all teachers and school administrators.

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The Silent Story: Child Molesters And Predators In Our Schools

Yesterday the Los Angeles Times reported that teacher Mark Berndt of the Miramonte Elementary School in Los Angeles was arrested for the most despicable acts against children. Berndt is deservedly looking at multiple potential life sentences.

And it could have been prevented!

In 1994, the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office decided not to press charges against veteran Los Angeles teacher Mark Berndt for fondling a girl because prosecutors determined there was “insufficient evidence.”

Now 18 years later, Berndt the teacher everyone loved has finally been arrested after a one-year investigation for the photographing children in class while he sexually relieved himself under his desk, spoon-fed his own semen to blindfolded elementary school children and photographed them with a giant live cockroach on their faces.  Berndt’s 23 counts of lewd acts against children took place between 2005 and 2010. The victims were both girls and boys between the ages of 7 and 10.

Hundreds of photos were recovered from Berndt’s home, showing Berndt with his arms around children or with his hands over their lips. Some allegedly show children with tape over their mouths. Several girls were photographed with a blue plastic spoon filled with an unknown clear white liquid held up to their mouths as if they were going to ingest the substance. The substance tested positive for Berndt’s semen according to law enforcement, who also found adult pornography in Berndt’s apartment that “mirrored” the bondage-type photos of the children. More than 26 children were identified in the 390 total photos. Ten of the children have not yet been formally identified.

Back in 1994, a girl, who was 10 or 11 years old at the time, reported Berndt fondling her over her clothing near her genital area. If prosecutors had probed deeper or another one of Berndt’ s victims had come forward, Berndt would not have been teaching and the children at Miramonte Elementary and they would not have endured such disgusting and despicable acts.

Today another teacher at Miramonte Elementary was arrested and charged with acts of lewd conduct involving 23 students earlier this week – unrelated to Berndt.

These two teachers are not the first to be arrested for lewd sexual acts against children.

Many teachers across the country have been involved in child molestation. Some have been arrested and some have gotten away with their crimes against children because of insufficient evidence, because of cover ups, because no one was courageous enough to step forward and report their own abuse.

Take beloved teacher Steven Noyes of the Village School in Naples, Fl., a private school affiliated with the North Naples United Methodist Church, who has been accused of sexual abuse against one of his 9 year old female students at the school. The police investigated the case, but when the teacher in question didn’t cooperate, they dropped the ball.  The teacher was not willing to talk to police or take a polygraph test, returned to school, the head of the school Ginger Sauter was heard saying “This is all my fault, I shouldn’t have let him hug the children” and now the little girl, the innocent victim has been expelled from school.

So because the police dropped the ball, and no one has been brave enough to come forward to report other abuse by Noyes, could we be looking at Noyes  and other teachers who harm children becoming another Berndt in 18 years?

We must stop teachers from hurting our children NOW! We cannot wait 18 years to have them arrested.

Schools across the country must be more diligent in background checks. Perhaps teachers need to go through annual background checks. It would be unfair to the good teachers, but it would certainly take care of the bad ones.

We can no longer protect our teachers who commit these horrible acts against children. We should be protecting our most innocent – our children.

If you know of a teacher who is harming you, has harmed you in the past or who is harming other children it is your duty to report it. It is law enforcement’s duty to not let these cases get buried as a result of insufficient evidence or teachers not willing to cooperate. It is the school’s duty to ensure that their students are taught by teachers whose only agenda is to educate – not violate!

You can report child abuse here

 

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Did Joe Paterno Really Break His Silence?

As  Appeared In Psychology Today
Published on January 17, 2012

Co-Authored by Robin Sax, Ross Ellis and Angela Rose

How shattering the silence stops abuse

Joe Paterno “broke his silence on the Sandusky case since being fired from Penn State University.” Clearly not a tell-all nor a hard ball interview, Sally Jenkins of the Washington Post portrayed Paterno as a sympathetic, sick, frail old man who simply did the best he could.  Do you feel sorry for him?  Do you think he deserves a pass? Do you think his age, notoriety and illness is justification to the many victims who would not have been abused had Joe-Pa cared about him as much as he cared about himself, his team, and the school.

Denial, minimization, blame are the tenets of sexual abuse cover-ups and misunderstanding.  While Joe-Pa may not have known what to do then, he should be able to say I know what to do now.  The missing parts of the interview were the noticeably absent questions of:

  1. Did you ever confront Sandusky? If so, what did he say?  What did you say?
  2. What would you do if this happened today?
  3. When you saw Sandusky as recently as September 2011 did you think it was strange that he was still courting kids on campus?

A hundred more questions come to mind.

The value of Paterno’s silence breaker is that this gives us an opportunity to talk about sexual abuse– a subject that despite how progressed people think we are– is one that many would prefer to remain a silent subject. 

On Tuesday, January 17 on Fox 11 KTTV’s Good Day LA, Angela Rose shattered the silence of sexual violence by sharing her own story of overcoming being kidnapped when she was 17 years old and sexually assaulted by a repeat sexual offender who was on parole for murder. Although her case was perpetrated by a stranger, Angela stresses that sexual abuse is typically committed by someone who is known to the victim. The offenders prey on their victims using trust as well as silence and fear as a tool to continue to offend. Angela Rose founded the nonprofit PAVE: Promoting Awareness, Victim Empowerment and she is partnering with other groups to tackle this societal problem.

Child sexual abuse is a worldwide pandemic and prevalence rates are known to be as high as 60 percent. Sexual abusers tend to choose occupations that put them in close contact with children. They can be found in every profession. They are heterosexual and homosexual — they don’t discriminate.

While Penn State and Syracuse are now institutions that have been exposed, there are hundreds of other schools that work harder to cover up the abuse than simply expose it and deal with it.  In all of these cases, the pattern is the same when a child reports sexual abuse and when confronted with the investigation process— a process designed to be a fact finding process—the child is the one who is disbelieved, penalized, and blamed.  The children get victimized twice – once by the people they look up to and admire, and then again through the cover-ups of the perpetrators, and their colleagues.

Take a case that as not received the same attention as Sandusky or Fine.  It is the case of Steven Noyes of Naples Florida.  In April 2011, nine-year old Jane Doe reported that she was sexually and inappropriately touched by her fourth grade teacher Steven Noyes.  Not surprisingly, he denied all allegations and hid in the joy of being the “beloved teacher.”  While the school  initially suspended Noyes, it came out that he was doing report cards, continued official duties and even  communicated with children  and parents during his time on “admin leave.” It smelled of a BS admin leave with no real intention of looking objectively into the facts of the allegations.  The smell got worse when the school seemed to have conducted a shoddy (at best) internal investigation that  resulted not only in Noyes returning to school but culminated in the ultimate blow when principal Ginger Sauter suggested that the child leave the school with zero justification. So, like these other high profile cases the school seemed to practice their same protection for themselves instead of saying “mea cupla, we screwed up, and we are sorry.”

School and institutions have choices.  They can choose to pick denial, minimization and blame and live being more concerned about the institution, the school, and the teacher – or they can stop blaming the victim and protect the victim.

When the institutions protect abusers, they not only are allowing for rampant prolific abuse to continue but are sending the message for victims to stay silent because the adult and institution will always win.  Children are being taught that  horrific,  vile, and abusive behavior is acceptable  and that their words do not matter.

We are here to say victim’s words DO matter.  Their disclosures are critical.  The victim’s voices must be heard and we the growns up cannot be silent.  The fact that we even have to have laws of mandated reporting to order people in positions of trust to report is telling even and of itself.  The fact that those who work with children have to be mandated to tell is just troubling.   Do we really need a law to say “tell.”  Do we need to have laws to say do the right thing and don’t kick the victim out of school too?

We can no longer be silent.  We all have a responsibility to tell whether mandated by  the law or not.  We are the adults – and kids count on us to be vocal and stand up for our victims who will live with this pain for the rest of their lives.   In New York City, buses and subways are covered with billboards that say “When you see something, Say something!” We urge you to REPORT IT!  In workplaces and in the armed services there are hotlines given for anonymous reporting.  Whether duty bound by mandated reporting laws, we the adults should retrain our default to tell and to tell until someone does something.   The more silent you stay, the more children are hurt.

You can make a difference. Report! Advocate! Get involved and most importantly, tell.

Love Our Children USA: Love Our Children USATM is the leading national nonprofit and ‘Go-To’ prevention organization fighting all forms of violence and neglect against children in the U.S. Since 1999, Love Our Children USA has broken ground in preventing violence against children and eliminating behaviors that keep them from reaching their full potential. Love Our Children USA teaches effective parenting solutions and fosters kid success by creating valuable programs that empower positive changes in parenting and family attitudes, bullying and cyberbullying prevention, Internet safety and school violence prevention through public education.    The goal of Love Our Children USA is Keeping Children Safe® and strengthening families. www.loveourchildrenusa.org

PAVE: Promoting Awareness, Victim Empowerment is a multinational nonprofit that uses art, education and grassroots action to shatter the silence of sexual violence. www.ShatteringTheSilence.org

Robin Sax is a Fox 11 legal analyst,  California-based attorney and former sex crimes prosecutor, who has authored six books including It Happens Everyday Inside the Life of a Sex Crimes DA and Predators and Child Molesters:  A Sex Crimes DA Answers 100 of the Most Asked Questions.  http://robinsax.com/.  Robin Sax is a former deputy district attorney for Los Angeles County who specialized in child sexual assault cases. She is the author of Predators and Child Molesters.

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