Los Angeles Archdiocese Is Accused of Failing to Release All Abuse Records, Kesgrave/Stowmarket: Inquiries into historic child abuse allegations at three former schools, Ireland finally admits state collusion in Magdalene Laundry system
February 6, 2013 Comments Off on Los Angeles Archdiocese Is Accused of Failing to Release All Abuse Records, Kesgrave/Stowmarket: Inquiries into historic child abuse allegations at three former schools, Ireland finally admits state collusion in Magdalene Laundry system
Los Angeles Archdiocese Is Accused of Failing to Release All Abuse Records
By LAURIE GOODSTEIN and JENNIFER MEDINA February 4, 2013
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles released 12,000 pages of internal files last Thursday on priests accused of sexually abusing children, saying that it was finally abiding by a settlement it signed with victims six years ago to make the painful history public.
But it now appears that the files the church released with much fanfare are incomplete and many are unaccounted for, according to the abuse victims’ lawyers. In addition, on many documents the names of church supervisors informed of abuse allegations were redacted by the archdiocese, in apparent violation of a judge’s order.
At issue is whether the survivors of abuse and the public will ever learn which church officials were responsible for mishandling or covering up allegations of sexual abuse.
Abuse victims had insisted that the Archdiocese of Los Angeles release the records as part of a settlement in 2007, which provided $660 million to more than 500 victims. Other Catholic dioceses that have settled with victims have released similar records.
“We know we have not gotten a complete disclosure,” said Jeff Anderson, who is among the lawyers representing the victims. “They have removed things that should not have been removed, some of which we have seen before, so we know that they exist. It’s more deception, deceit and secrecy.”
But J. Michael Hennigan, a lawyer for the Los Angeles Archdiocese, said in an interview that while there were probably a few errors, there was no intention to withhold information.
“I would be surprised if we did this job perfectly,” he said. “The team that worked on this worked under pressure sometimes late into the night.”
The Archdiocese of Los Angeles fought for six years all the way to the State Supreme Court to block the release of the documents. Early in January, Judge Emilie H. Elias overturned a previous decision, and ordered the archdiocese to lift the redactions of the names of certain kinds of officials: archbishops and bishops, vicars for clergy members and directors of treatment facilities, as well as pastors, “church agents” or employees who had supervisory responsibility over an accused priest and were made aware of complaints or suspicions about him.
But on many pages it appears that the names of supervisors, like pastors in parishes or the supervisors of religious orders, are missing.
For example, the file on Carlos Rodriguez, a priest serving in a parish in Central Los Angeles, includes a letter to him from his religious order, the Vincentian Fathers and Brothers, informing him that he is being sent to a treatment center in Maryland. Mr. Rodriguez was accused of molesting several teenage boys over the years. But while the letter makes clear that the writer is the priest’s religious superior, the name is redacted. Other documents in the file are similarly missing names of religious order supervisors….
Kesgrave/Stowmarket: Inquiries into historic child abuse allegations at three former schools
Colin Adwent Crime Correspondent Monday, February 4, 2013
THREE former Suffolk schools are now at the centre of criminal investigations into historic child abuse allegations.
The accusations, which relate to alleged physical and sexual assaults, are said to have occurred between the late 1970s and run through to the 1990s.
A solicitor representing ex-pupils of one of the schools – Oakwood School in Stowmarket – has said the number of claimants has reached three figures.
Andrew Grove, who is based in Cambridge, said: “We now have 100 complainants on the civil claim relating to Oakwood School.”
Last week detectives said they were re-opening the 1992 inquiry into alleged abuse at Kesgrave Hall independent school.
The investigation, codenamed Operation Garford, comes after former students’ calls for it to be re-opened were backed by Central Suffolk and North Ipswich MP Dr Dan Poulter.
Responding to the new inquiry, Dr Poulter said: “I am pleased that Suffolk Police are conducting a full and thorough investigation into the alleged child abuse at Kesgrave Hall school, following my intervention.
“A number of people have written to me raising concerns about abuse when they or their family members were pupils at the school, and I would again urge anyone who has been the victim of abuse to come forward and immediately contact Suffolk police.”
Four people were suspended in 1992 during the Kesgrave Hall inquiry. No charges were ever brought. The school closed in 1993.
However, a woodwork teacher Alan Stancliffe, was convicted and jailed in 1999 and again in 2007 for indecent assaults on three ex-pupils….
Ireland finally admits state collusion in Magdalene Laundry system
Taoiseach Enda Kenny fails to formally apologise for involvement over female enslavement causing more outrage
Henry McDonald in Dublin The Guardian, Tuesday 5 February 2013
After more than seven decades of exploitation and a 10-year struggle for justice, Ireland on Tuesday admitted its role in the enslavement of thousands of women and girls in the notorious Magdalene Laundry system, but stopped short of issuing a formal apology from the government.
A long-awaited report headed by Senator Martin McAleese said there was “significant state involvement” in how the laundries were run – a reversal of the official state line for years, which insisted the institutions were privately controlled and run by nuns.
But the Irish Premier Enda Kenny’s failure to give the women and their supporters a full, formal, public apology in the Dail on Tuesday afternoon has infuriated the victims and their supporters, who said such an approach risked undermining Ireland’s attempt to right a historic wrong. Instead Kenny stated his “regret” about the stigma hanging over the women.
“The stigma that the branding together of all the residents, all 10,000, in the Magdalene Laundries, needs to be removed, and should have been removed long before this,” Kenny said. “And I really am sorry that that never happened, and I regret that it never happened.”
Claire McGetterick of the Justice For Magdalenes group said last night: “Frankly their country has failed them again”.
Labelled the “Maggies”, the women and girls were stripped of their names and dumped in Irish Catholic church-run laundries where nuns treated them as slaves, simply because they were unmarried mothers, orphans or regarded as somehow morally wayward.
Over 74 years, 30,000 women were put to work in de facto detention, mostly in laundries run by nuns. At least 988 of the women who were buried in laundry grounds are thought to have spent most of their lives inside the institutions….
December 21, 2012 Comments Off on School abuse victim $23m damages, Savile 450 alleged victims, Epigenetics and Stress
School abuse victim wins $23 million in damages
By Melissa Pamer, NBCLosAngeles.com
LOS ANGELES — A former student in Los Angeles was awarded $23 million in damages Tuesday for sexual abuse he endured at the hands of his elementary school teacher.
A Los Angeles Superior Court jury deliberated for less than five hours before finding in favor of the teen.
The lawsuit, filed on his behalf in October 2009, concerned abuse by Forrest Stobbe, the boy’s fifth-grade teacher at Queen Anne Elementary School in the Mid-Wilshire area.
Stobbe was sentenced to 16 years in prison after pleading no contest to criminal charges in the case in 2011. He had been arrested in 2010, when he was 39….
Stobbe abused the boy 10 to 15 times in the classroom during the 2008-9 school years, and another five times during the summer of 2009, according to Estey.
Jimmy Savile abuse: Number of alleged victims reaches 450 12 December 2012
Police have confirmed that the number of alleged sex abuse victims of the late Jimmy Savile has reached 450.
The Operation Yewtree team said 589 alleged victims have come forward during their investigation of offences committed by Savile and others.
Of the alleged victims, 82% were female and 80% were children or young people.
Meanwhile, police have set up Operation Fairbank to investigate allegations by Labour MP Tom Watson of a paedophile ring in high places.
Mr Watson said in October that police should investigate claims of a “powerful paedophile ring” linked to a previous prime minister’s “senior adviser” and Parliament.
‘Exploited his position’
Savile, who died last year aged 84, was a Radio 1 DJ and the presenter of the Jim’ll Fix It show on BBC One.
Operation Yewtree, which launched 10 weeks ago, has a team of 30 officers and has so far cost about £2m.
Police said on Wednesday they have recorded 199 alleged crimes in 17 police force areas against Savile.
They said they had recorded 31 allegations of rape against Savile in seven force areas.
Met Police Commander Peter Spindler, head of Operation Yewtree, said: “Savile’s offending peaked in the 70s and what we can show, or will be showing in the New Year, is how he used his position in society across the country – the crimes relate to 17 different police force areas – how he exploited this position to get his sexual gratification.”
BBC home affairs correspondent Matt Prodger says the level of allegations against Savile – 450 in total – is unprecedented – never before have police received that number of allegations against a single person.
Our correspondent says he believes the police have a total of 20 suspects whom they wish to interview. They have interviewed seven people in total – six of whom were arrested.
Police are looking at three strands within their inquiry – claims against Savile, those against Savile and others, and those against others only….
‘I’m staying put’: Esther Rantzen claims she will remain child abuse charity patron after claims she ignored warnings over Jimmy Savile
Rantzen is a patron of the National Association for People Abused in Childhood
Child abuse campaigner Shy Keenan says she warned Rantzen about paedophile rumours but Rantzen strenuously denies this
Television presenter faces accusations that she failed to act on information
ChildLine founder says she cannot remember the incident and denies that Jimmy Savile’s name was ever mentioned
Department of Health launches inquiry about why Savile was appointed to ‘taskforce’ overseeing management of Broadmoor hospital
Rantzen said today she would remain as patron of child abuse charity, despite founder claiming trustees would discuss if she was still appropriate
By Anna Edwards, Alex Ward and Larisa Brown
15 October 2012
Esther Rantzen has strenuously denied rumours she is facing the sack as patron of a child abuse charity after she failed to act on allegations that Jimmy Savile molested youngsters….
Jimmy Savile abuse allegations: Timeline
2 November 2012 Allegations of sexual abuse by Sir Jimmy Savile continue to emerge after ITV broadcasts an investigation on 3 October. This timeline charts the presenter’s rise to fame, the claims against him and subsequent action by police and broadcasters.
Genes and Immune System Shaped by Childhood Poverty, Stress
Oct. 18, 2012 — A University of British Columbia and Centre for Molecular Medicine and Therapeutics (CMMT) study has revealed that childhood poverty, stress as an adult, and demographics such as age, sex and ethnicity, all leave an imprint on a person’s genes. And, that this imprint could play a role in our immune response.
The study was published last week in a special volume of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that looks at how experiences beginning before birth and in the years after can affect the course of a person’s life.
Known as epigenetics, or the study of changes in gene expression, this research examined a process called DNA methylation where a chemical molecule is added to DNA and acts like a dimmer on a light bulb switch, turning genes on or off or setting them somewhere in between. Research has shown that a person’s life experiences play a role in shaping DNA methylation patterns.
The research team discovered that childhood poverty, but not socioeconomic status as an adult, was correlated with the marks or methylation patterns left on genes.
“We found biological residue of early life poverty,” said Michael Kobor, an associate professor of medical genetics at UBC, whose CMMT lab at the Child & Family Research Institute (CFRI) led the research. “This was based on clear evidence that environmental influences correlate with epigenetic patterns.”….
L. L. Lam, E. Emberly, H. B. Fraser, S. M. Neumann, E. Chen, G. E. Miller, M. S. Kobor. Factors underlying variable DNA methylation in a human community cohort. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2012; 109 (Supplement_2): 17253 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1121249109
Elmo actor faces sex abuse claim from fourth accuser, Abuses at infamous Florida boys reform school even more widespread, report says, Merzbacher victim: Archdiocese has much to answer for
December 12, 2012 Comments Off on Elmo actor faces sex abuse claim from fourth accuser, Abuses at infamous Florida boys reform school even more widespread, report says, Merzbacher victim: Archdiocese has much to answer for
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….
August 24, 2012 Comments Off on Former Pacoima teacher pleads no contest to molesting 13 students
Former Pacoima teacher pleads no contest to molesting 13 students
Paul Chapel III, a former third-grade teacher at Pacoima’s Telfair Elementary, faces 25 years to life in prison, the L.A. County district attorney’s office says.
By Richard Winton, Los Angeles Times
August 21, 2012
A former Telfair Elementary teacher pleaded no contest Monday to molesting 13 students at the Pacoima school and faces 25 years to life in prison, the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office said.
As a preliminary hearing was to begin for Paul Chapel III, he pleaded no contest to 13 counts of lewd acts on a child, said Deputy Dist. Atty. Elena Abramson.
“They were all students at Telfair, aged 8 and 9…. Some of them were students in his class and others he met outside the classroom in breaks or after school,” Abramson said. The molestations of seven females and six males occurred from September 2006 to April 2011.
Prosecutors last fall charged Chapel, 51, with molesting four students. Los Angeles Unified school officials waited until February to tell parents about the third-grade teacher’s arrest, however, doing so after two teachers at Miramonte Elementary School accused of molestation were arrested and reporters questioned the district about other teachers removed for similar accusations.
The school district fired Chapel in March. In May prosecutors charged him with molesting nine additional students. Some of the victims were in San Fernando Superior Court on Monday, prepared to testify.
Lawsuits filed by two of the victims against the school district say Chapel kissed the children and fondled their genitals.
Court documents alleged that the district ignored repeated complaints about Chapel and allowed him to return to work despite several red flags in his history. He had previously left a private school after allegedly making inappropriate remarks during a sex education class. He was tried but not convicted in a 1997 alleged molestation….
Luis Walker, Air Force Staff Sgt., Faces Sentencing For Rape, Assault, Chile investigating 61 schools for child sex abuse
July 21, 2012 Comments Off on Luis Walker, Air Force Staff Sgt., Faces Sentencing For Rape, Assault, Chile investigating 61 schools for child sex abuse
Luis Walker, Air Force Staff Sgt., Faces Sentencing For Rape, Assault
By WILL WEISSERT 07/21/12
SAN ANTONIO — An Air Force instructor convicted of raping a female recruit and sexually assaulting several others cried Saturday as he asked a military jury not to sentence him to life in prison.
Staff Sgt. Luis Walker is among 12 Lackland Air Force Base instructors investigated for sexual misconduct toward at least 31 female trainees, and he faced the most serious counts among the six instructors charged in a sex scandal that rocked one of the nation’s busiest training bases.
A military jury convicted Walker on Friday on all 28 counts including rape, aggravated sexual contact and multiple counts of aggravated sexual assault. Trial judge Col. Wesley Moore consolidated those charges into 20 on Saturday morning, saying some counts duplicated others, but the change did not affect Walker’s maximum sentence….
Five of the women testified Saturday at Walker’s sentencing, saying they couldn’t sleep or maintain relationships with men after the assaults. They said Walker’s actions eroded their trust in authority and affected their performance at work.
“It’s gotten to where I had anger issues even at work,” said one, who had left the military. “If anyone makes even the slightest sexual reference, I go off. I have zero self-control.”….
The women told jurors during the trial that Walker gained their trust to get them alone in his office or an empty dormitory, where he then forced them into kissing, touching or intercourse. The alleged sexual misconduct among instructors at the base apparently began in 2009, but the first woman didn’t come forward until last year. The women who testified against Walker said they didn’t tell anybody at first because they feared being booted from the Air Force…..
According to prosecutors, Walker had sexual intercourse with four of the 10 female recruits. He was also accused of making flirtatious or sexually suggestive comments, sending inappropriate text messages and sometimes groping his recruits.
Prosecutors also accused Walker of forcing five recruits to engage in sexual acts with him by threatening their military careers, and they said he intimidated two of the women into lying about his alleged misconduct. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/21/luis-walker-air-force-sta_n_1691690.html
Chile investigating 61 schools for child sex abuse July 20, 2012
SANTIAGO, Chile — Chile’s attorney general is investigating 61 schools in the country’s capital for possible child sex abuse….
Attorney general Sabas Chahuan said Friday that his office will look at 49 schools in eastern Santiago and 12 on the capital’s west side. Several teachers have recently been accused of sexually molesting children at day care centers and schools in affluent neighborhoods on the city’s eastern side.
According to official estimates, reports of sexual abuse of children under age 14 jumped 22 percent in the first half of the year, compared to the same period in 2011. http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-501715_162-57477114/chile-investigating-61-schools-for-child-sex-abuse/
Sandusky Sex Abuse Report: Investigation Into Penn State University’s Role In Child Molestation Case To Be Published Thursday, 14 moms sue LA schools in child abuse case
July 12, 2012 Comments Off on Sandusky Sex Abuse Report: Investigation Into Penn State University’s Role In Child Molestation Case To Be Published Thursday, 14 moms sue LA schools in child abuse case
Sandusky Sex Abuse Report: Investigation Into Penn State University’s Role In Child Molestation Case To Be Published Thursday
Reuters By Ian Simpson 07/10/2012
WASHINGTON, July 10 (Reuters) – An investigation into Penn State University’s role in the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal will be published on Thursday, and the family of late football coach Joe Paterno has questioned its fairness and confidentiality.
The head of the eight-month probe, former FBI Director Louis Freeh, said on Tuesday its report would be published online at 9 a.m. EDT (1300 GMT) on Thursday. He will hold a news briefing at 10 a.m. EDT (1400 GMT) in Philadelphia.
Pennsylvania State University’s trustees hired Freeh and his law firm to investigate the school’s handling of explosive allegations involving Sandusky, a former assistant coach in the high-powered football program, and university officials.
Sandusky, 68, was convicted last month of 45 counts of child molestation involving 10 boys. Some of the sexual abuse took place at Penn State football facilities.
The charges involving Sandusky prompted the firing in November of university President Graham Spanier and head coach Paterno, who won more games than any other major college football coach. Paterno died of lung cancer in January at age 85.
At the heart of the Freeh probe is how Paterno and other Penn State officials reacted to allegations by Mike McQueary, a graduate assistant. McQueary told them in 2001 he had seen Sandusky in a sexual position with a boy in a football locker room, but neither police nor children’s services were informed.
Former Athletic Director Tim Curley and Gary Schultz, a former university vice president, face charges of perjury and failure to report suspected abuse stemming from the alleged cover-up. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/11/sandusky-sex-abuse-report-penn-state_n_1663691.html
14 moms sue LA schools in child abuse case By Jonathan Lloyd, NBCLosAngeles.com 7/11/12
Attorneys representing 14 mothers of students at Miramonte Elementary School announced Tuesday the filing of a lawsuit that alleges the school district did not protect their children from a teacher accused of lewd acts involving children.
The lawsuit claims the Los Angeles Unified School District was negligent in the case of former teacher Mark Berndt, charged with lewd acts involving at least 20 children at the school.
Berndt was arrested in January.
The lawsuit, filed Tuesday morning, claims the children were sexually abused by Berndt between 2002 and 2011, and that the LAUSD “was negligent and did not protect their children from sexual abuses; and that the Los Angeles Unified School District completely ignored previous complaints,” according to a statement from attorney Luis A. Carrillo.
The charges against Berndt involve 23 children who were 7 to 10 years old. His arrest stemmed from an investigation that began after a film processor — mandated by state law to report child abuse — provided photos to sheriff’s deputies….
Deputies recovered more than 100 similar photos at Berndt’s home, according to investigators. The film processor later discovered more photos….
Berndt pleaded not guilty.
His arrest was followed by another Miramonte Elementary teacher and the dismissal of the entire school staff. Martin Bernard Springer is charged with three felony counts of lewd acts upon a child under the age of 14. http://usnews.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/07/11/12684038-14-moms-sue-la-schools-in-child-abuse-case
Prep-School Predators – The Horace Mann School’s Secret History of Sexual Abuse Allegations, ‘No Way Out But One’ Domestic Violence
June 10, 2012 Comments Off on Prep-School Predators – The Horace Mann School’s Secret History of Sexual Abuse Allegations, ‘No Way Out But One’ Domestic Violence
Prep-School Predators – The Horace Mann School’s Secret History of Sexual Abuse
By AMOS KAMIL June 6, 2012
….When the Penn State scandal came out last year, I kept getting tangled in the questions everyone else was getting tangled in: How does an institutional culture arise to condone, or at least ignore, something that, individually, every member knows is wrong? Andrew’s story came back to me in a rush. The questions of Penn State, I realized, are the questions of Horace Mann and perhaps every place that has been haunted by a similar history.
….I spoke with nearly 100 people for this article, including 60 former students and 15 former or current faculty members. Some of them implored me not to pursue the subject, insisting that no good could come of opening old wounds. Others said that Horace Mann today is a very different place than it was back then — eagerly responsive to the concerns of students and parents. Some said they were unaware of these rumors. Some said nothing had happened to them but that they had heard similar stories from classmates. Many said they were surprised it took this long for these stories to come out.
The former students who chose to share their stories with me are all men, but if their classmates are to be believed, the situation was far more complex. People who haven’t set foot in the school in 30 years still rattle off the names of male teachers who were said to be sleeping with their female students. A couple of female faculty members were said to be sleeping with male students. Once I started asking around, these stories continued to bubble up — from friends I thought I knew well and from other schools, public and private, each with their own elaborate histories of which teachers you ought to steer clear of, which students seemed too old for their years. In just the past couple of years, among just the tiny fraternity of elite New York City private schools, two allegations made the news. A male math teacher at Riverdale Country School pleaded not guilty to charges that he had oral sex with a 16-year-old female student. And Poly Prep was named as a defendant in a lawsuit in which 10 former students and two day-campers say the school covered up for a football coach who was molesting boys. In New York City public schools, during the first three months of 2012, reports of sexual misconduct involving school employees were up 35 percent compared with the same period last year.
I have several friends who confided in me, back in high school, about their own sexual encounters with teachers, but who are now unwilling to talk about it. I can’t say I blame them. Victims rarely speak out, said Paul Mones, a lawyer who represents people who have been sexually abused by authority figures. “The whole goal of the grooming process is to wrap the child close,” he told me. “The affection and trust is to make the kid complicit in the act. Make them feel like it was their fault, so it won’t even occur to them to talk.” Even if they do, New York State’s statute of limitations, which says people who were victimized as minors cannot take civil action against an abuser after they turn 23, makes it unlikely that they would find justice.
….Stories like theirs point to why sexual abuse by teachers — or religious leaders or relatives, for that matter — is so especially damaging. As Mones said: “It’s counterintuitive, but sexual abuse emotionally binds the child closer to the person who has harmed him, setting him up for a life plagued by suspicion and confusion, because he will never be sure who he can really trust. And in my experience, this is by far the worst consequence of sexual abuse.” That’s one reason, he said, why those few victims who ever speak out at all tend to do so only after the abuser is dead or dying: telling the truth while the other person is still strong enough to deny it, or to blame the accuser, is just too terrifying.
….I have similarly conflicted feelings about Horace Mann. It was in many ways an amazing place filled with inspiring teachers and smart, funny students, with a sense of enthusiasm and possibility. Despite all I’ve since learned about it, I still look back on my years there with affection and gratitude, as do so many former students, even some who shared their harrowing stories with me. But that gratitude is part of what makes these stories so painful. We were at such a vulnerable moment in our lives — just beginning to make the transition from childhood into early adulthood, struggling to come to terms with the responsibilities of sexuality and trying to decide what we were willing to stand up for. We needed strong and consistent role models. In many cases we got them. But in too many other cases, we got models of how to abuse authority, how to manipulate trust, how to keep silent, how to fix your eyes forward.
Amos Kamil is a screenwriter, playwright and brand strategist. He graduated from Horace Mann in 1982.http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/10/magazine/the-horace-mann-schools-secret-history-of-sexual-abuse.html
Prep-School Predators: Report Alleges Sex Abuse at Elite New York City School
A scathing exposé alleges that decades of sexual abuse by teachers at the elite Horace Mann school went unreported and unpunished.
By Catherine Traywick June 9, 2012
The world of elite New York City private schools was rocked this week by allegations in a special New York Times Magazine report alleging decades of sexual abuse at one of the most well-respected institutions in the country.
For decades, a handful of teachers at the Horace Mann school, an elite prep school in the Bronx, sexually abused both their male and female students with various levels of impunity, according to the exposé by screenwriter Amos Kamil. In the article, Kamil, a Horace Mann alumnus, recalls his friends and classmates privately confiding in him the abuse that they endured at the hands of their teachers….http://newsfeed.time.com/2012/06/09/prep-school-predators-report-alleges-sex-abuse-at-elite-new-york-city-school
‘No Way Out But One’ Wednesday, June 6, 2012
California Judge Michael Nash this year ruled to open child welfare hearings in Los Angeles County unless there’s proof that doing so will harm the child.
Advocates in favor of more transparency in family courts applauded the decision, because they believe the secrecy can lead to decisions that hurt children.
Gail Helms was behind the push for more transparency in California. In 1995, her 2-year-old grandson was beaten to death by his father, who had been awarded custody despite a history of drug abuse.
Around that same time, Holly Collins of Minnesota was on her way to the Netherlands with her children, 11-year-old Zachary and 9-year-old Jennifer. They had been placed in their father’s custody, and she says she fled to protect them from abuse and a court system that ignored her pleas for help. http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2012/06/06/domestic-violence-out
Jerry Sandusky trial: Former coach allegedly wrote intimate letters to victims, Child sex-abuse cases under-reported, often ignored
June 6, 2012 Comments Off on Jerry Sandusky trial: Former coach allegedly wrote intimate letters to victims, Child sex-abuse cases under-reported, often ignored
Jerry Sandusky trial: Former coach allegedly wrote intimate letters to victims
Tuesday, Jun 5, 2012 Associated Press and Sporting News staff
Former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky allegedly sent love letters and gifts to his victims, ABC News reported on the first day of jury selection in Sandusky’s child molestation case.
Known only as Victim 4, one of Sandusky’s eight accusers said he received intimate letters from the former coach. The letters will be read into testimony during the trial, which begins on Monday. Victim 4, who is expected to be the first person to testify, will also show gifts Sandusky gave him during the course of their relationship.
The letters, said to be in Sandusky’s handwriting, are expected to corroborate the accusations of Victim 4, who met Sandusky through the former coach’s Second Mile charity. Victim 4, now 28 years old, is one of seven alleged victims who will testify against Sandusky in the three-week trial.
Ben Andreozzi, Victim 4’s attorney, says the letters will play a key part in the case against Sandusky. “They have evidence to support his allegations, and there’s other evidence that has not been released to the public yet that I think will really resonate with the jury,” Andreozzi told ABC News….
Sandusky, 68, faces 52 criminal counts and potential penalties that could result in an effective life prison sentence for alleged abuse involving 10 boys. He has denied the allegations.
Child sex-abuse cases under-reported, often ignored Saturday, June 2, 2012 Sat Jun 2, 2012 By Bill Heltzel and Halle Stockton
….David Scott Zimmerman’s case is a cautionary tale about what happens when certain patterns of behavior are not recognized and reported. Another boy described abusive sexual conduct by Zimmerman to school officials — three years after the 1995 incident involving the first boy. Vincentian officials immediately suspended Zimmerman, notified police and the county prosecutor, and started their own investigation. Ultimately, 13 boys told police of sexual behavior by Zimmerman. This time, a public scandal engulfed the Catholic high school. Court proceedings show that the school made a deal with Zimmerman to keep quiet about his dismissal if he absolved the school of liability. He also kept his teaching license.
A proposed Pennsylvania law would make confidential deals like the one between Zimmerman and Vincentian impossible. Other states have already acted. Oregon recently passed a law that could make it easier to recognize sexual misconduct. The law, cited as a model, could stop abuse in its early stages. Recent changes in Oregon law were made because of the Sandusky case, officials said. As policymakers consider a response, teachers, parents and students can be alert to recognize classic “grooming” patterns that are precursors to the sexual abuse of children. Another effective step, experts say, is to ban the practice of “passing the trash,” a phrase that describes when a suspected school employee is allowed to resign quietly and without consequences.
“You can stop a lot of this behavior,” said Charol Shakeshaft, an education professor at Virginia Commonwealth University who studies sexual abuse. One of every 10 students becomes a target of sexual misconduct that includes such behavior as unwanted sexual comments, inappropriate touching, and even rape, Shakeshaft said. Yet only about 6 percent of child sexual-abuse cases are reported to authorities, and teachers….
Coaches or teachers suspected of abuse tend to single out students for special treatment, lavishing them with attention and rewards. They become unusually close to children, finding ways to spend time with them privately in school and on trips outside of school.
Recognizing these techniques and reporting them are the keys to stopping predators from abusing children, experts say.