Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Encouraging survivors of sexual abuse

Penn State sex abuse case gives courage to victims across the United States. - Detroit Free Press
Since the child sex abuse scandal broke at Penn State University in November, victims of sexual abuse -- many of whom had remained silent about their suffering for years -- have been speaking up across the country, seeking counseling, calling hot lines and contacting attorneys.

An unprecedented increase in reports of abuse seems to have been inspired by the fall from grace of the university's revered football coach, Joe Paterno, and the school's president, Graham Spanier.

"If the powerful come down, the powerless really do feel they have a shot," said Marci A. Hamilton, a lawyer from Bucks County, Pa., and author of "Justice Denied: What America Must Do to Protect Its Children."

The Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP), based in Chicago, reported that in the last six weeks, it had been deluged with e-mails and phone calls from survivors.

"The real enemy in the child safety struggle is 'surely,' " said David Clohessy, SNAP's executive director. "Surely, after all those lawsuits, surely, after all those priests were ousted, no day care center or athletic program or school or church or scouting group would ignore or conceal child sex crimes anymore."

Penn State gave the lie to that assumption, which helped survivors in several ways.

"Whenever high-profile predators in a particular occupation or setting are exposed, especially in rapid succession, some victims abused in the same setting or by the same type of perpetrator come forward out of hope," Clohessy said.

One of the major reasons victims keep their abuse secret is fear, Clohessy said. Fear that they will not be believed. Fear that they will be seen as complicit. Fear that they will be judged harshly.

"While it's extraordinarily hard for any child sex abuse victim to come forward, there's another layer of complexity and shame when it's same-gender abuse," he said.

Since the Penn State scandal broke, disclosure has become easier. The scandal also seems to have tipped public opinion, Hamilton said: "There is this sense that something needs to be done."

During a recent TV appearance with CNN's Anderson Cooper, Hamilton was asked, "So what should we do?"

When she replied, "Get rid of the statute of limitations," she said, "the entire audience started applauding. I was amazed. ... We weren't seeing this kind of tone in the public before Penn State."

Dragging sexual abuse out into the open...
What was little understood years ago was the nature of the compulsion - that abusers were often unable to resist future temptation, especially if they were around kids (which they often were, partly because many pedophiles choose jobs that keep them near their targets).

In the Catholic Church, priests who confessed and said the required prayers were forgiven (forgiveness being, after all, the business the church is in). His superiors might transfer him to another parish without realizing that, penitent though the abuser may have been, they were only providing him with a new source of victims.
Sexual abuse is a real threat to children, and it deserves our attention. And sexual contact with children is a crime, so sweeping it under the rug is a crime, too.
Protecting children is everyone's job.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Prayer


They will call him Immanuel- which means, "God with us." Matthew 1:23



Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

If you were a victim of sexual abuse by John Langworthy at Prestonwood Baptist Church in Dallas

Sgt. Byron Fassett in the Dallas police department child exploitation unit is ready to take your call if you were abused by John Langworthy during his time in Dallas while on staff at Prestonwood Baptist Church in the mid to late 1980s or if you have information about these crimes. Langworthy was fired in the summer of 1989 by Prestonwood for the known sexual abuse of several boys. The staff heard directly from victims but failed to report the abuse to the police as required by mandatory reporting laws enacted in TX in 1971. Please call Byron at 214-671-4200. I have spoken with Byron. If you need to leave him a message, please do. He will call you back.

To report a case of abuse in Mississippi, contact Jamie McBride, Assistant District Attorney for Hinds County, who is handling the criminal case of John Langworthy there, at 601-968-6568. Langworthy is facing eight counts of gratification of lust. Two of the counts stem from Clinton cases and the other six were filed in Jackson, police said. 



Investigators said the incidents involved five male victims, who at the time were between 8 and 12 years old, and took place between 1980 and 1984 when Langworthy served as a volunteer for First Baptist Church of Jackson and Daniel Memorial Baptist Church in Jackson.  Langworthy is out of jail on $700,000 bond. He pleaded not guilty. He is scheduled to appear in court again on March 19. His trial has been set for April 2.


Hopefully others who have been harmed by John Langworthy will have the courage to come forward and contact the police.

Keep in mind your silence only hurts, and by speaking up there is a chance for healing, exposing the truth, and therefore protecting other kids.


Apathy: The Assistant Coach of Child Sexual Abuse by Child Help founders Sara O'Meara and Yvonne Fedderson published on December 13, 2011 on foxnews.com
It starts by recognizing that everyone has a responsibility to protect our children. Childhelp asks readers to get off the bench and report, educate and fight the epidemic of child abuse that exists in all of our communities. Many people see signs of abuse but refuse to come forward fearing they might be wrong.
We say "risk making a mistake for the love of a child."
According to a survey by Finkelhor & Dziuba-Leatherman, child sexual abuse is rarely identified. An estimated 3% of child sexual abuse cases are actually reported.
When in doubt, act for the child and contact proper authorities. Dial 911, contact CPS or call the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline (1-800-4-A-CHILD/1-800-422-4453).
In sex abuse cases, silence not so golden, after all.




Dale Hansen's Sports Special - sharing his story of abuse for the first time

                                   



The victim of a sexual crime is the only victim we don't talk about, and maybe it's time we do.
But who stands to cheer for the victim of a sexual assault? And much like cancer, we all know a victim.
It might be a child in your family... a cousin or a brother... the kid on the corner... a kid in your class. We all know somebody. You might not think you do, but I know you do.
Because you all know me. I was 10 years old in my little Iowa town.
It really was the Mayberry of the Midwest. Everybody knew everybody (at least we thought we did).
The only thing necessary for evil to flourish is for good men to do nothing.
The good men at Penn State University didn't, and the innocence of a child was lost forever.
Talk to your children, and — more importantly — make sure that your children aren't afraid to talk to you.
The innocence of a child is worth fighting for. The innocence of a child is worth the job of a coach. The innocence of a child is worth talking about. That's why I choose to talk about it tonight.
And it's why at this time of year, every year, I want the Oak Ridge Boys to remind us all: "Thank God for Kids."

BY MICHAEL O'KEEFFE


 When Jimmy Carlino first accused former Christ the King Regional High School basketball coach Bob Oliva of sexual abuse in 2008, Oliva and school officials tried to discredit him, writing him off as a crackpot looking for a quick payday. Carlino was vindicated in April, when Oliva pleaded guilty to sexual abuse charges in a Boston courtroom.

Carlino will talk about his experience at 2:30 pm on Friday on DeFoRadio.com, the web station run by South Florida radio personality Jeff De Forest. (Here is the link: http://www.deforadio.com/)

Carlino recently sent the Daily News an open letter to the alleged victims in the Penn State and Syracuse sex-abuse scandals about what he went through after he went public about the abuse, and what they can expect.

You may read or hear where people in the community show support of these manipulative predators. Don't let any of this hurt you.

I don't want you to feel alone. You're gonna hear he's innocent until proven guilty (he'll always be guilty in your heart and soul regardless of any outcome). You may hear, you're in it for the money. We know that's hogwash, because why would anyone admit that somebody violated them for a payday? Coming forward takes so much strength and courage. You're a hero to so many, including the many other victims who live in silence forever. It takes strength just to survive these atrocities and try to live a normal life.

Our healthy sexual curiosity was distorted through the workings of a sexual deviant. Our curiosity was normal. We did nothing wrong, they did. These feelings didn't make us different than our friends, it didn't mean we were homosexuals. Subconsciously, or consciously, we may consider all these things or other things. But, the biggest hurdle has been cleared or overcome. Admitting what happened was the hardest part. Now, you must get help by talking to professionals that will guide you through the next chapter of your life. It's vital to get all those hidden secrets out that have been haunting us.

This Friday, at 2:30PM on deforadio.com, Father Bob and myself will be talking about childhood sexual abuse and the survivors. We will focus on what to expect when going into the early stages of a criminal trial against a pedophile. Please tune in if you can.
If you want to reach us immediately, you can email Father Bob at Road to Recovery or myself, Jim Carlino, at stop.running1221@yahoo.com or call us at 862-368-8200.
Your calling us or contacting us will be held in the strictest confidence. We will be honored and proud to help you in any way possible. We mean that from one victim to another to another. There are no hidden agendas. We only want you to know you're not alone and there are people out there who love you, support you and admire you.

It's time to stop running and enjoy your life...

Monday, December 19, 2011

Penn State's Culture of Loyalty

by R.M. Schneiderman in The Daily Beast

The accusations against Curley and Schultz reveal an undeniable repugnance. And while it is easy to understand why Paterno—who has since been fired—and McQueary would initially report the incident in the shower to their superiors, it is mind-boggling to think that they would remain silent when they realized that nothing was being done about it.

Like the Catholic Church and other institutions beset by scandals, Penn State appears to have been plagued by a culture that valued loyalty over justice.

Preserving the image of the institution—an economic juggernaut, whose vaunted football team pumped an estimated $59 million into the local economy every home game—seems to have been more important than protecting yet another child from an alleged serial predator.

Did the culture of loyalty also allow abuse to flourish when Dr. Jack Graham, Neal Jeffrey and others at Prestonwood Baptist Church fired a confessed child molester but failed to report him to the police as required by law? They allowed John Langworthy to quietly move on to other unsuspecting schools and churches to immerse himself in a career teaching music to kids of all ages...for 22 years until his arrest and indictment in September of 2011 in Mississippi on 8 counts of felony gratification of lust with 5 victims, boys between the ages of 10-13.

Did the culture of loyalty also allow abuse to flourish at Second Baptist Church in Houston with Chad Foster? with Eddie Struble?

Police know of the names of 7 other victims of Chad Foster. Detectives said, so far, all of the tips have been tied to girls at Second Baptist Church. "There's some people we've heard want to come forward, but haven't done so yet," Spurger of the Precinct 4 Constable's office said.  If you need to report a case, call 281-401-6228.

Never forget the lessons learned from Penn State.

Our love for children and our desire to protect them, to help them to grow into healthy adults, are the primary reasons why all of us were so shaken and saddened by the recent allegations of sexual abuse and molestation at Penn State University.

Many of us in the Lehigh Valley have long-standing ties to Penn State as alumni or parents of attending students, as fans of the football team, or as admirers of the revered coach who has been a champion of integrity and educational values for so many years.
 We are incredulous as to how so many in positions of authority could turn a blind eye to the alleged, unimaginable actions of a former football coach who has been accused of being a sexual predator of innocent children, while at the same time funding and being the face of an organization to help at-risk children.
 Was the priority at Penn State to win football games above protecting vulnerable, innocent children?

As Christmas decorations are going up, as radio stations play the music of the season, as plans are being made, and as children prepare Christmas lists with joy and anticipation, what is the lesson for us adults to learn from this incomprehensible tragedy? Let me offer some suggestions:

If you are ever in a situation where you witness or suspect sexual abuse of a child, step up to protect that child (even, God forbid, in the very confines of the church). Intervene aggressively at the moment, if necessary, to separate the child from the abuser.
Do not pass the information up the chain of command and to someone else; call the police immediately!

Many at Penn State proclaim they did "the right thing" legally, informing their superior.
But no one ever stood up for a child victim by alerting police with a single phone call over the course of many years. They clearly did not do enough. No one took the moral responsibility to do what was necessary to protect the children who, authorities say, were so brutally victimized.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Vigilance: the only protection against child sexual abuse


Add the Scouts to the list of bodies — including but not limited to the church and some minor sports associations — that admit to fumbling the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of one of society's greatest ills. In a bid for transparency, Scouts Canada has initiated a third-party review of its handling of past sex abuse cases and its current volunteer screening practices.

While this may offer closure for some victims, it is foolhardy to suppose it will make the Scouts a safer place for children. There is no safe place. Like most youth groups, the Scouts follow a process of vetting volunteers that includes a criminal record check.

While sounding impressive, a criminal record check is worth approximately the paper it's printed on.

This procedure identifies only individuals who have been apprehended and charged; the vast majority of abusers never encounter the law. Again, like other groups, Scouts Canada adheres to a "two-deep" rule, requiring at least two screened leaders to be present with a child at any time. In most cases, this policy is as much for the protection of adults as it is for children.

Moreover, it does nothing to prevent the cunning manipulation that is so often the precursor of abuse. Scout leaders aren't molesting little boys around the campfire and coaches aren't abusing kids during the pre-game talk in the dressing room.

Successful sexual predators are adults who use positions of authority to gain positions of trust of a child and child's parents and create their opportunities for gratification.

Any adult who initiates a unique relationship with a child — treatment or affection preferential to others — should be regarded with caution. Red flags include unwarranted praise, small gifts and private jokes.

Go ahead and be paranoid.

The only real protections a child has against the threat of sexual abuse are knowledge, empowerment and guardians who listen, believe what a child tells them and are eagle-eyed for signs of distress.

We learned last week that a confessed and recently indicted child molester in Clinton, Mississippi, John Langworthy, has obtained a new pharmacy tech license, issued on Nov. 28, 2011. He was indicted by a grand jury in September, 2011 on 8 counts of felony child sexual abuse and is out on a $700,000 bond. His trial is set for April 2, 2012 in Hinds County, Jackson, Mississippi. He has been seen working at a Medicap pharmacy in Clinton, MS. 



C.  Be of good moral character as evidenced by having undergone and successfully passed a criminal background check conducted by the Board.

Mississippi Board of Pharmacy
204 Key Dr, Suite D Madison, MS 39110
Phone: 601/605-5388 Fax: 601/605-9546

To the Mississippi Board of Pharmacy,

We urge you to revoke the pharmacy technician license recently issued to an admitted child molesting minister, John Langworthy, of Clinton, Mississippi, indicted in September 2011 on 8 counts of felony child sexual abuse of 5 victims, and out of jail on a $700,000 bond. It is disturbing that this confessed criminal behavior meets the standard of  “Be of good moral character as evidenced by having undergone and successfully passed a criminal background check conducted by the Board” as listed on your website as requirements for certification. Bestowing the privilege of a license to practice professionally in a pharmacy  to someone with a background of an arrest, charges and indictment of sex crimes against children further places kids at risk in the community and deters other victims of this man’s crimes from coming forward.




Chad Foster, former Second Baptist Church youth pastor arrested again on new charges

UPDATE 4/1/2013: Chad Foster sentenced to 5 years for sexual assault of a child

MSNBC:
Investigators said Chad Foster, 33, first met the 14-year-old girl when he worked as a youth minister at Second Baptist Church in Houston. The communications continued as Foster later became a youth minister at The Community of Faith Church in far northwest Harris County, authorities said.
 
 "If you're a person who does a lot of fishing, where do you go?  You go to the water where the fish are. Same with predators," said Sgt. Gary Spurger of the Precinct 4 Constable's Office.  He said there are more victims in this case that he's heard want to come forward but haven't done so yet.
Investigators believe there could be other victims.  If you need to report a case, call 281-401-6228.


KHOU: Youth minister accused of raping teen now charged with online solicitation of a minor

KPRC: Chad Foster charged with soliciting a teenager online
Police say that they have the names of  7 other girls who are possible victims.
Investigators believe there could be other victims.  Detectives said, so far, all of the tips have been tied to girls at Second Baptist Church.

In October, I posted details about serious concerns raised by parents who contacted me about another former Second Baptist minister, Eddie Struble. I have a copy of a police report from October 2009 citing his stalking of a teenage boy that he met and befriended while he was the music minister at Second Baptist Church. There is also an incident number filed with the Houston police department juvenile sex crimes division. Please, if you or anyone you know, saw, suspected, or suffered sex crimes by Chad Foster, Eddie Struble or anyone else, come forward, call the police, get help and start healing. You are not to blame. You did nothing wrong. Do not go to church authorities. Go to the police. Call 911. 

*The light of truth and knowledge is our most important tool in protecting kids.


                             




*The Guardians of Silence: Penn State's Tim Curley and Gary Schultz on trial

So why did two such powerful men - Curley and Schultz - walk away from investigating what was clearly a case of child sex abuse? The answer is a combination of ignorance, fear and ego.
The Penn State Scandal has torn down the wall of silence and like the fractured Germany, a new union has emerged and the marriage of the victim to their voice will not be shaken.
We have to let the Penn State Scandal be our call to action and leave our place on the sidelines for a better view on the world.
Speaking up about what we know is wrong is a matter of facing our own fears and realizing that our conscience thrives on the truth.
We have to educate ourselves to recognize the signs of child sexual abuse and work as a community to end the tragedy of stolen childhoods and vandalized happiness.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

After Penn State & Syracuse, Congress Examines Child Abuse Prevention | C-SPAN

Shining the light on child sexual abuse: C-SPAN: Subcommittee Hearing - Breaking the Silence on Child Abuse: Protection, Prevention, Intervention, and Deterrence

Kids are not only victimized by the perpetrators but also by the institutions that are filled with adults who do not stand up for the victims [and report the abuse.] -Mr. Sheldon Kennedy , Former NHL player and Co-Founder, Respect Group Inc., Alberta, Canada, testifying before the United States Senate Education subcommittee on children and families on December 13, 2011...his full remarks are powerful and they are documented here.
From Kennedy's website:
 Sheldon Kennedy skated for three teams in his eight-year NHL career (Detroit Red Wings, Calgary Flames and Boston Bruins) and played for Canada’s gold-medal winning team in the 1988 World Junior Hockey Championship. He was also Captain of the Memorial Cup winning Swift Current Broncos in 1989.
He is best known for his courageous decision to charge his Major Junior Hockey league coach with sexual assault for the abuse he suffered over a five year period while a teenager under his care. Sheldon’s subsequent decision to go public with the charges brought these issues to the social forefront. Sheldon has become an unofficial spokesperson for millions of abuse survivors around the world.
His life story was made into an award winning television movie and he has appeared on Oprah, ABC’s Nightline, nominated as Peter Jennings’ Man of the Week, W-5 and The Fifth Estate. After retiring from the NHL, Sheldon in-line skated across Canada to raise awareness of abuse issues. In 2006, Sheldon wrote “Why I Didn’t Say Anything” a riveting account of the many psychological impacts of abuse. Sheldon’s personal experience and continued work “in the trenches” has lead to his passion to make change.
 Having transformed a negative situation into proactive programming he continues to carry his message through Respect Group Inc., the company he co-founded. Respect Group Inc. provides empowering on-line education for the prevention of abuse, bullying and harassment.
In Kennedy's testimony today:
 Empower the bystanders and you’ll be taking an important first step in breaking the silence on child abuse.
 One of the expert witnesses on the panel today that testified before the Senate subcommittee was Dr. Robert W. Block, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics and expert in the sub-specialty of child abuse pediatrics. He relayed a story of being asked by people, "Why do you do what you do?" His reply:
"How could you not."
In his testimony Dr. Block makes an important point about reporting child abuse:
What many fail to realize is that a report is NOT an accusation; but rather is a request for further investigation.
 Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. ~ Proverbs 31:8

Monday, December 12, 2011

Shattering the Silence

Silence is common in child sexual abuse cases.

As police investigate allegations of child molestation by coaches at Penn State and Syracuse, nagging questions linger about signs that may have been missed — or ignored

"It's not that it's so invisible. It's that it remains a silent crime. People worry if they say anything they could ruin someone's life," said Maia Christopher, executive director of the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers in Beaverton, Ore. "Now everyone is asking what did you see and who did what (at Penn State). We know that people did see things and did not respond in a way that could help."

"We don't like to think that these things go on and are done to people we know and love," Donovan Rice said. "I think people recognize it more than we are willing to admit. We're not honest with ourselves about how many times we have felt uncomfortable about what another adult is doing. It's time we get honest with ourselves."

Reaching out to shatter the silence:

 The Penn State sex abuse scandal has drawn important national attention, but victims and advocates are working to shine light on the local reality of child abuse.
 Zoie Brown is one such victim, and she launched her website, Victims Get Vocal, last month to encourage others to share their stories and direct them to the help they need.
Zoie hopes she can help others find the support they need before it is too late, she said. She pointed out that many who are abused go down the same avenue of self medication, and some even turn to suicide. She was inspired to launch the site by the story of victim Ashley Billasano, a Texas teen who committed suicide in November.

“If you find that good support system and you can be heard, you can get help,” Zoie Brown said. Through her website and Facebook page, she says she receives about three messages a day. She responds to each of them and encourages them to report their case and seek therapy, which she said is the only real way to handle the trauma.

“It doesn’t go away,” she said, “until you deal with it.”

Penn State culture explained away Sandusky. (Associated Press)


At Penn State, a school whose sports programs vow "success with honor," the circle of knowledge about assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was kept very limited. And those in the know explained the allegations away — or looked away.

The warning signs were there for more than a decade, disturbing indicators that Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was breaching boundaries with young boys - or maybe worse.

Year after year, Penn State missed opportunity after opportunity to stop Sandusky. Secrecy ruled, and reaction to complaints of improper sexual behavior was to remain silent, minimize or explain away - all part of a deep-rooted reflex to protect the sacred football program.

The fact that so few say they knew is all anyone needs to know about the insular culture that surrounds Penn State - a remote and isolated community in a central Pennsylvania valley, a university cloaked in so much secrecy, in large part, because it is exempt from the state's open records law, and a football program that has prided itself on handling its indiscretions internally and quietly, without outside interference.

Institutions such as churches and schools that make up the moral fabric of our society that are charged with the safety and well-being of children must lead the way in shattering the silence of child sexual abuse. Until they do, the status quo of silence will rule the day and kids will be in danger, while the predators these institutions protect lurk freely among them.  There are churches that I know of personally that have remained quiet and  looked the other way about a confessed child molester, Prestonwood Baptist Church and Morrison Heights Baptist Church. When will they and others understand what's at stake and shatter the silence?

Friday, December 2, 2011

A Facade of Goodness: response to Penn State on Focus on the Family

Best-selling author Dannah Gresh and her husband, Bob — who reside near Penn State and have a son attending the university — offer an inside perspective on the response of local Christians to the allegations of sexual misconduct levied against former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky in a recent Focus on the Family broadcast.




That children should be protected is a transcendent truth.

If it happens in your school, don't go to the school. Go to the police. If it happens in your church, don't go to the church. Go to the police!

Prestonwood Baptist Church did not even do what was LEGALLY necessary in reporting child sexual abuse.

Just one person would have had to stand up...ring the bell.
The media is doing what we should have done a long time ago. The media is holding accountable those leaders that we did not.
Stand up for what is right and let God handle the rest. 

Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed. Rescue the weak and needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked. Psalm 82: 3-4


The Swimsuit Lesson is a powerful family resource -
introducing a simple, yet effective way for parents to educate their children about the danger of sexual abuse. This beautifully illustrated story book includes a separate step-by-step parents' guide. Author Jon Holsten provides a realistic view of the danger facing children today - and what parents can do to reduce chances of being victimized.
 Jon Holsten is a veteran police sergeant in Fort Collins, Colorado. As a detective in his agency’s Crimes Against Persons Unit, Jon investigated and helped successfully prosecute dozens of child sexual assault cases. Jon is a recognized authority on the topics of child sexual abuse education and prevention.
 
"A unique and passionate book!"
Diane Sawyer - ABC's World News Tonight
 
"A simple, easy to understand formula."
Charlie Gibson - ABC News