Elmo actor faces sex abuse claim from fourth accuser
By Courtney Hazlett, TODAY 12/10/12
A fourth man is accusing Kevin Clash, the puppeteer and actor who for many years portrayed “Sesame Street” character Elmo, of sexual abuse.
In a lawsuit filed Monday in Miami, the accuser — using the name John Doe — claims that Clash befriended him in late 1995 or early 1996, when Doe was 16 or 17. In 1996, he says, Clash flew him from Miami to New York at Clash’s expense. It was during Doe’s stay in New York that the abuse allegedly happened.
In a statement, the victim’s attorney Jeff Herman said, “According to our lawsuit, Kevin Clash knowingly paid to transport a minor across state lines for the purpose of satisfying his sexual interests.”
Herman also represents two other men who’ve accused Clash of sexual abuse: second accuser Cecil Singleton and the third accuser, who is also using the name John Doe.
Abuses at infamous Florida boys reform school even more widespread, report says
By M. Alex Johnson, NBC News 12/10/12
Scientists have found 19 previously unknown grave shafts on the grounds of a notorious Florida reform school, suggesting that many more boys died there amid brutal conditions than had previously been known, the researchers said Monday.
The Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys in Marianna, which was also known as the Florida State Reform School, closed in June 2011 after state investigators and the U.S. Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division confirmed widespread abuse over many decades.
The state attributed its decision to close the school to budgetary reasons. Yet long before then, the institution had been the target of investigations and lawsuits alleging not only physical and mental abuse but also forced labor, rape and even murder of the young charges sent to its care since it opened in 1900.
The prominent writer Roger Dean Kiser, author of “The White House Boys — An American Tragedy,” about the horrors he experienced while incarcerated there in the 1950s as a child, has called the school a “concentration camp for little boys.”….
They’re called the White House Boys because much of the abuse occurred in an 11-room building on the school grounds known as the White House, where former students say they were beaten with leather straps. A group of the former students sued the state in 2010, but the case was dismissed because the statute of limitations had expired….
Documentation of the Boot Hill Cemetary (8JA1860), at the former Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys, Marianna, Florida
Merzbacher victim: Archdiocese has much to answer for
December 6, 2012
Regarding Baltimore Archdiocese Vice-Chancellor Sean Caine’s recent letter justifying the church’s response to allegations of child sexual abuse, I am glad that in 1993 Maryland’s attorney general made it clear that all abuse cases should be reported (“Archdiocese acted responsibly,” Dec. 2). So much for the Catholic Church being a moral leader.
When I returned to the archdiocese in 1993 to again report the abuse I had suffered, it was through Fr. William Mannion. At that point I had been in touch with 17 other victims of John Merzbacher.
I was never contacted directly by the diocese. Instead I was sent a message from the diocese through Fr. Mannion: “The diocese is going to contact the police and give them your name only.” Eventually I and the other victims reached out to an attorney, who contacted the Baltimore City police. They reported the crimes to the state’s attorney’s office.
The archdiocese knew full well of my fear of contacting the police on my own after the death threats I had received at gunpoint from Mr. Merzbacher. Nor did the diocese contact any other former Catholic Community Middle School students during this time.
For seven years after the trial of Mr. Merzbacher I wrote repeatedly to Cardinal William Keeler and the superintendent of Catholic Schools asking that Eileen Weisman be removed from her position as principal of the Cathedral School. It was only after I contacted the head of the lay board that action was finally taken to remove Ms. Weisman from her position. It wasn’t until seven years after the Merzbacher trial that she was forced to resign, and not only did the diocese allow her to retire but stood by while the parents at the school collected money to dedicate a playground in her name….