Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Sex offenders in the Church like John Langworthy: Who they are and how they operate

Silence allows abuse to continue. It only helps the offender and hurts the victims.
The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.
                                               ~ Albert Einstein
 Prevent, recognize, report and respond to abuse.
You can never determine whether someone is a danger to your children simply by their appearance or the things that they do, the good deeds they do. In fact, oftentimes it is those appearances and good deeds that are the necessary deception techniques for these individuals to access our children.
                                                          ~ Basyle ’Boz’ Tchividjian, J.D

Offenders in the Church: Who are they and how do they operate? from GRACE on Vimeo.

Minimizing the Opportunities: Effective Child Protection Policies from GRACE on Vimeo.

When Faith Hurts: How the Christian Community Can Serve Survivors of Sexual Abuse from GRACE on Vimeo.

Worship: The act of loving and caring for children from GRACE on Vimeo.

Wall of Silence: Protecting the institution over the individual

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Dr. Anna Salter, Ph.D. in clinical psychology on prevention of sexual abuse: Sandusky, Langworthy and predators like them

What makes child molesters so successful in going undetected?
Dr. Salter: Deception. They are master deceivers, both in deceiving themselves and others. I have found that there are two characteristics of sex offenders:
  • It is in their best interest to lie.
  • It is something they can lie about and not get caught.
Sexual offenders look for opportunities in which they can minimize the risk of getting caught, and part of doing so is to create an environment in which they are liked, trusted and accepted without question. This is why religious institutions are particularly vulnerable.
 Why don't more victims come forward?
Dr. Salter: This is a very difficult question. In the case of child molestation, often the victim feels as if he/she has done something wrong or won't be believed when compared to a respected adult. In other situations there are direct threats that force silence, and often the child is just confused by conflicting emotions and chooses silence rather than confronting someone their parents trust.

Regarding Jerry Sandusky

Many evangelical organizations have also done so—ignoring the victimized, the oppressed and the silenced but making certain the institution lived on, though it be rotten at its core. In every case, the silence screamed for resolution and healing. In response to abuse, we need to stand with Elie Wiesel who said this: “I swore never to be silent wherever and whenever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”
Keeping the Antennas Up: 5 basic characteristics of child sexual offenders within the faith community

Predators: Pedophiles, Rapists, and Other Sex Offenders: book by Dr. Anna Salter, Ph.D.

Silent No More: Victim 1's Fight for Justice Against Jerry Sandusky

Anyone abused by John Langworthy in Texas or who has information about this case is asked to call the Dallas police child exploitation unit at 214-671-4211. 

A victim of Langworthy's child sex crimes at Prestonwood has come forward and made a report to the Dallas police. We hope others will also come forward, call the police, get help, begin to heal and protect other kids. It is critical that the whole truth is known.

Anyone abused by John Langworthy in Mississippi or who has information about this case is asked to call detective Josh Frazier in the Clinton police department at 601-925-6106.

The light of truth and knowledge is our greatest tool to protect kids.

Friday, February 8, 2013

I had to get someone to listen

Yesterday, the Clarion Ledger ran the first of 2 stories about my journey to justice for the child sexual abuse victims of John Langworthy, those who came forward there to the police in August 2011. We are grateful that these victims have had their chance at justice. There may be others that he has harmed but have not come forward yet. 

Langworthy is now a lifetime registered sex offender. That does not mean that anyone should get complacent. He is not in jail. He still poses a threat to kids. As of today, he still is working as a licensed pharmacy tech at Medicap Pharmacy in Clinton, Mississippi. Our Jackson SNAP leader addressed the Board with our concerns months ago at a board meeting. He was told then by a board member that if there was a conviction, the board would take action. I wrote to the Mississippi Pharmacy Board inquiring about the status of his license since his conviction of a felony. I received this reply.
Ms. Smith,
According to Section 73-21-97, paragraph (1), (c), (i), of the Mississippi Code of 1972, “the Board may refuse to issue or renew, or may suspend, reprimand, revoke or restrict the license, registration or permit of any person after being found guilty by a court of competent jurisdiction of a felony”.
Wyatt Smith
Acting Director of Compliance
Mississippi Board of Pharmacy
I replied asking if Langworthy's license would be revoked. He stated that decision would be made by the Board.

We urge anyone who may have seen, suspected, or suffered child sex crimes by Langworthy, whether in Texas or Mississippi, or in other states while on choir trips, to please come forward and contact the police and help protect kids today.

Part one: Amy Smith's persistence brings justice in John Langworthy abuse case

Part two: Justice quest begins with phone call, ends with conviction

The light of truth and knowledge is our greatest tool to protect kids.

Protect the vulnerable. Heal the wounded. Prevent the abuse.

Special thanks to Ruth Ingram at the Clarion Ledger who did just that.

I received an email from a lady from Mississippi in response to the Clarion Ledger coverage who is a survivor of child sexual abuse. She writes:
Reading Langworthy's story has brought back so many of the painful feelings and memories I've experienced related to my own abuse at the hands of my grandfather. For whatever reason, I just really wanted to write you and let you know a little about me.

Reading about your parents turning against you broke my heart for you. It's so hard to be brave. Please just know that you have probably prevented many others from being harmed, and your efforts have not been in vain. I pray that your parents will have their hearts softened, and their eyes opened to the truth.

Again, I want to say thank you for standing up for victims and for taking a hard, brave stand against evil. The pain never really completely goes away, and healing is a process. I'm always surprised when something triggers the sadness. Reading this story surely did, but that's okay. The cycle of abuse can only be broken when the truth is told.

Update: Langworthy loses pharmacy tech license

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

A survivor speaks in a Mississippi courtroom to Langworthy: It's about bringing darkness to light

On a cold, overcast January morning in Jackson, Mississippi, I witnessed this brave survivor speak, shining the light of truth brightly on the darkness, lies and deceit of child sexual abuse that keeps victims silent. Not on this day. He shattered the silence. I hope and pray his courage to speak will help others find their voice, victims of convicted child sex offender John Langworthy as well as other offenders. Now is not the time to become complacent. Langworthy is not in jail. We hope others abused by him will find the courage to come forward, call police, get help, begin healing and protect others. We hope others who saw or suspected abuse by John will also come forward. You may have information than can help. 

John Langworthy (listed here on the MS sex offender registry) throughout his career as a music minister and school choir teacher frequently took kids on trips across the country. If you or someone you know was abused by him at any time on one of these trips, please contact the police. Abuse across state lines would be a federal case exempt from any statute of limitations.

The light of truth and knowledge is our greatest tool to protect kids. Contact me at if I can by of any assistance.

January 22, 2013 Hinds County Courthouse:

Today has been a long time in coming – over 30 years ago.  I didn’t ever think I would see this day, and really didn’t want it to come to this in many ways, but it has.  Some would say that is simply too long ago, we must simply forgive and forget. And in some ways that is true.  We must forgive.  And I want you to know John that I did a long time ago.  Why we are here is not because of vengeance or retribution, it is not to get even or get payback.  It is simply about bringing the darkness to the light.  And that is not easy for victims to do.  It takes a long time to process what happened to them and why and how people they trusted would betray them and harm them and then process all the mess that it makes inside a child who becomes an adult.  It’s a lot to process. People who speak about the ridiculousness of it taking so long for this to happen simply weren’t victims.  They can’t understand. 

Let’s be honest though, that today was not of your choosing, but due to the diligence and hard work of 2 ladies in Texas and a victim from Texas to bring to light what had occurred and what we believe has still been occurring.  Let it be clear that though it was said you were repentant and had confessed, you only confessed to those 2 victims, me and one other from TX, who had come forward at that time to let people know what had happened.  You did not confess to the other 4 victims that came forward in Jackson until today!   You confessed to sexual indiscretions with younger males in a church in MS and a church in TX, when in fact it was not sexual indiscretions, but you molested and sexually abused at least 5 children here and 3 were from another church.  Even in your public confession and in private to those holding you accountable to put it in your words, you still didn’t tell the whole truth.  Only to that which you got caught doing.  There are many who support you who do not know the fact that you still haven’t told the truth until today.  They believe that because it was a long time ago that we should forgive and forget.  Forgive yes, and forget to some extent, however it never justifies what you did and that you should never be allowed to around children ever again and thankfully after today that will be very difficult for you. 

There are other victims in Texas that you still have not admitted to molesting there and I believe some still here in MS, but I believe that one day it will come.  I would encourage you to go ahead and come completely clean and name all your victims both here in MS and Texas and make a true confession and be truly repentant. 

Let me also say that what you meant for evil to fulfill your sick, demented desires, God meant for good. The book of Genesis reminds us through the words of Joseph to his brothers after they had sold him for a slave into Egypt.  I have seen God bring great good from great harm! God had done many things in my life, and has brought countless victims my way that I have been able to help, encourage, pray, and help them find their way and say those magical words, I know how you feel.  I have spoken with teenagers, children, adults, mothers and fathers of children who were molested, and even visited just a few weeks ago with someone who was still struggling from abuse that happened to them 60 years earlier!  You and perpetrators like you have left behind carnage on a battlefield that is indescribable. 

What you did was evil, disgusting, reprehensible, degrading, manipulation at its worse and using people to get access to that which your depraved and sick mind wanted.  Many of said and asked, well what about all the good? – I have spoken to many people in your past over these last 2 years – and so many are troubled by what you have done and wondering what about the good that you did?  I am reminded that God uses all of us in spite of us and as the old saying goes, God can hit with a crooked stick.  The only problem is that the good you did was only to hide the bad, to have access to fulfill your evil desires. 
I am sorry for your family and your 2 daughters and what they have had to endure through these last 2 years.  They are innocent just like I was and the rest of your victims – but God can turn it into good in their lives too.  I will be praying for them as well.

I am glad that your Mother didn’t live to see this day and have to endure the pain that my mother has had to endure for these past 22 years when I was finally able to tell her what happened.  You have caused more pain and agony in my family than any situation in our live outside of my Dad passing away this year.  I am sad that my Dad wasn’t alive to see you brought to justice because he would have liked to have been here, to look you in the face and you know that he knew what you did.  How you took advantage of my family’s care and concern for you, taking you in as another son in our home (which you did with many other families too), and you took advantage of that trust and twisted it to take advantage of helpless innocent children who loved you and trusted you. 

But let me also say, I am not a victim, but I am a survivor by the grace of God!  You do not and have not controlled my life or even the life of my family.  I don’t hate you, I have forgiven you, in fact my heart is sad for you in many ways.  That is why I am a survivor – victims are those who are still living in darkness, in shame, in fear, in hatred, in agony, but survivors are those who refuse to hate, are able to forgive, and not only their perpetrator to control them as a result.  I plan to spend the rest of the days that the Lord gives me on this earth helping other victims and their families (in particular your other victims) find help, healing, and hope.  That is what they need and what they deserve. 

I pray that your will find healing for your soul and find a way forward from here.  I have prayed for you and will continue to do so.  The only way you will ever find peace and rest for your soul is when you come completely clean and confess to all of your victims so that they too can find the help, hope, and healing that they so desperately need and deserve.

Let me say in closing thanks to the Clinton Police Department and their 2 detectives, the Jackson Police Department, and most of all Jamie McBride and Shaunte’ Washington and those in the DA’s office for their pursuit in this case and helping all of us get this point.   I don’t know how they do their job and deal with the people that they have to deal with on a daily basis, but I am grateful for them and their hard work to bring this case to a close.  I am thankful for their compassion towards us and their determination to see this to the end.

Shining a Legislative Light on Sexual Abuse Cases
The fact is that child molesters, pedophiles and sexual abusers are rarely ever violent, low-income individuals -- something many people are led to believe in movies and on television shows. In fact, research suggests that they are your neighbor, your co-worker, your friend or even your spouse. These abusers come from all walks of life, various income levels and are often regarded as "upstanding" members of their communities. Yet, no one wants to talk about sexual abuse or talk about sex abusers. However, not talking about it is the worst thing that we can do for the abused and for their families.
Clarion Ledger: Victims should see help