Friday, February 24, 2012

Houston TX: Spring Branch ISD teacher charged with sexual assault of a child

HOUSTON – A Spring Branch ISD middle-school teacher is facing criminal charges after allegations surfaced about an inappropriate relationship with an eighth-grade student. 
A fellow faculty member at Memorial Middle School reported the alleged relationship between Kathryn "Camille" Murray and the boy to the principal on February 13.
The school relieved Murray of duty shortly afterward.
After an investigation, the district alerted Child Protective Services, the Spring Branch ISD Police Department and the Texas Board for Educator Certification about the accusations.
Charges of sexual assault of a child were filed against Murray Thursday and she was arrested several hours later.
Murray’s bond was set at $250,000.

Kids will now be safer thanks to the faculty member who did the right thing by reporting this pedophile teacher to the principal who obeyed the mandatory reporting law and reported this abuse to law enforcement. It also took great courage for this boy to tell his mother and police on Feb. 20. Predators need secrecy to harm children. The light of truth and knowledge is our most important tool in protecting kids.

This action should serve as a model to churches, schools and other institutions charged with overseeing the well-being of kids. This immediate action should have been taken by Prestonwood Baptist Church head pastor Dr. Jack Graham, then youth pastor Neal Jeffrey and other adults in Dallas in 1989 when they heard from not just one child, but several that  had been sexually abused by my former minister John Langworthy. My father even heard Langworthy confess to this sexual abuse of children, but he also did not report these crimes to law enforcement and still defends these actions today.

To this day, Dr. Graham and Prestonwood have yet to admit wrongdoing to the church congregation, report Langworthy's crimes while on staff at Prestonwood to the police, express remorse to all harmed and reach out to these victims to come forward, go to the police, get help, start healing, to protect other kids.

I do know that Langworthy is not the only former minister from Prestonwood who left after the staff heard credible accusations from victims about child sexual abuse. I know of 2 others. Prestonwood also did not report these men to law enforcement as required by law.

If anyone has seen, suspected or suffered child sex crimes by clergy or others in positions of trust and authority, please call law enforcement and report the abuse, no matter how long ago or how recent the abuse occurred. Keep in mind your silence only hurts. In some states like in TX, anyone who suspects child abuse or neglect is required to report.

Contact your local child protective services office or law enforcement agency so professionals can assess the situation. Many states have a toll-free number to call to report suspected child abuse or neglect. To find out where to call: 


1.800.4.A.CHILD (1.800.422.4453) Child Help National Child Abuse Hotline

See what Mel Robbins has to say about protecting our kids:

"#1: Always believe your child."

"This is serious. You can't cure it. You've got to believe your kids."

"This is not a one time thing that someone does by mistake."

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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Inside the mindset of sex offenders: on the Anderson Cooper show

 Mel Robbins, host of the hit A&E show "Monster In-Laws" and a former criminal defense attorney, talked backstage about sex offenders -- and keeping your children safe.
 Her number one rule to all moms: always believe your child. If your child comes to you, take it seriously -- and that includes when the perpetrator is your own husband.
 See what else Mel has to say about protecting your children...
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What parents should know about sex offenders
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How to Protect Yourself and Your Family from Sex Offenders Online

A family's home computer gets hacked
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Friday, February 17, 2012

You've got to read and obey the bill: Philip Gunn and the Mississippi Child Protection Act

JACKSON -- The House wrangled for hours Thursday before passing the “Child Protection Act and Child Rape Protection Act,” which would enact stricter, mandatory reporting by people charged with overseeing children any abuse of a minor.
The bill is authored by Philip Gunn (R-Clinton), the new speaker of the 122 member Mississippi House of Representatives. While it is all well and good to stiffen mandatory reporting laws, unless these laws are enforced, kids will not be any safer. The politicians who write and pass legislation stiffening these laws must be held accountable when they personally do the very thing these laws make illegal, not reporting child sexual abuse to law enforcement.

Last year, a minister, John Langworthy, at Gunn's church, Morrison Heights Baptist in Clinton, confessed to pastor Greg Belser and the six elders, which includes Gunn, that he had sexually abused young boys in the early to late 1980s while serving at churches in Mississippi and Texas. This confession came after my attempts to warn Greg Belser in an email and after he had received a phone call from a past victim in February 2011. Belser and the elders then began their own investigation into this abuse, never reporting Langworthy's crimes to the police. Langworthy was also working at Clinton High School as a choir teacher. I also warned school superintendent Phil Burchfield who kept him on staff the entire school year after my phone call and after he heard Langworthy admit the past abuse. Burchfield also did not report Langworthy to the police.

Philip Gunn worked as legal counsel on behalf of Langworthy by attempting to speak with me to "discuss a resolution." I replied to him in an email saying, "No." He also called and spoke with my friend Sherry LeFils in Dallas in May 2011 while making attempts to speak with me. Sherry is familiar with the Langworthy case and worked in the Dallas County sex offender unit for 10 years as a probation officer. Gunn inquired of Sherry what it would take to satisfy her and me about the Langworthy situation. In earlier emails to pastor Greg Belser I kept urging him to report the abuse to the police, remove Langworthy from his position, and publicly warn the entire church and parents of kids in the church about this confessed child molester. Langworthy remained on staff until he resigned at the end of May 2011. He publicly confessed from the pulpit in August. Several victims came forward after that, and he was arrested and indicted in September on 8 counts of felony gratification of lust for 5 victims, boys between the ages of 8 and 12 years old.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Inside the mind of a child sexual predator

KPRC story with video here:

There is no clear-cut description for sexual predators. They come in all ages, races and both genders. They can be anyone from the straight-A student to handyman to the president of the parent-teacher association to the stay-at-home mom to the man next door.

Many pedophiles are master manipulators who work hard to be accepted as trustworthy, and they will work hard to find ways to naturally be around children. They can be very charming, which makes it tougher on a community when the secret life comes out.

Harvey Duncan was clean-cut, married for 30 years, the father of a son and an electrician. He was also molesting girls in his neighborhood.

"My wife says sometimes I'm more of a kid than the kids are," Duncan said.

He said he used that child-like nature to get close to a handful of girls between the ages of 4 and 10.

"How a normal parent, especially fathers, will wrestle with kids and horse around," he said. "Nothing sexual or anything else."

Duncan said that horseplay turned into something more.

"Something fell over, something that was more delicate, and I turned around and swatted her bare bottom," Duncan said.

He said that when the girls came over, the spanking became a game.

"Molesting and stuff was never really the goal," he said. "I would actually be able to just talk to them like you and I are. Drawing pictures and playing games and stuff like this. The sexual activities was actually a very minor portion of it."

Duncan said questions from the girls about their bodies created an opening for the molestation.

"I wouldn't lie to put them off or get angry when they bring up oddball questions. They just started to trust me," he said.

Duncan has served 10 years of a 25-year sentence in a Florida prison.

"I am very sorry that things happened the way things did," he said.

Duncan said he never forced the girls to participate and never told them to lie about what was going on.

Experts said it is not uncommon for some pedophiles to use charm and seduction instead of force to create an atmosphere of trust before molesting their victims.

 They also said it is not uncommon for victims to keep the secret without understanding the damage that is being done to them.

FBI: Beware of online child predators 

Associated Baptist Press: The former pastor of a Southern Baptist church in Maryland pleaded guilty Feb. 7 to sexually abusing a girl in his congregation.
After hearing the story the girl’s mother called police, who arranged a monitored phone call between the girl and Ivey. When the 11-year-old asked him if she should tell anyone, he replied “this is between you, me and God," according to the arresting document.
SNAP responds:
We are grateful to this brave victim, her mother, and law enforcement for pursuing this predator. Kids are safer now that he’ll be locked up.

This painful story is a reminder of why it’s crucial that victims speak up promptly, that adults believe them, and that police are quickly called. Secular authorities, not church officials, should deal with child sex crimes and cover ups.

Let’s hope that Southern Baptist officials – in Maryland and at this church – aggressively seek out and offer help to others who saw, suspected or suffered Pastor Joe’s crimes.
It’s irresponsible for church staff and members to do little or nothing to reach out to others who may be suffering in shame, silence and self blame.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Texas teacher, top two school administrators charged with failure to report child abuse

KHOU 11 News -Houston

The top two administrators and a teacher at a Galveston County school are charged with failure to report child abuse after leaving a student’s concerns unheard for nearly three weeks, officials said.
Mainland Preparatory Academy is used to making history, as it was the first charter school in Galveston County. Now the La Marque charter school is first again—but this time it is no honor—this is the first time that school officials have been charged under a Texas Law which requires teachers, school officials, doctors and other professional to report evidence of abuse within 48 hours.
It started in December when a 10-year-old student told her teacher that she had been sexually assaulted by a family member.  After she told her teacher, no one from the school told anyone else, until 20 days later.
School Superintendent Diane Merchant, Principal Wilma Green, and the teacher Rayshonda Ashton turned themselves in on Friday to Galveston County officials, and all were released on $1,000 bonds.
If convicted all three could face up to 180 days in jail and or a $2,000 fine.
“I think that they should have been arrested, that is their responsibility. I mean, as a parent, if my child comes to you and says someone is doing this I would definitely want it reported,” said Tiffany Profitt, a parent at Mainland.
The school officials aren’t the only ones in trouble.
Derrrick Wayne Reed, 29, is charged with sexual assault.  He said the charges are bogus and he is planning to turn himself in Tuesday morning.

KPRC- Child sex assault suspect expected to surrender to police

School staff ignored child sex abuse report- SNAP responds