School abuse victim $23m damages, Savile 450 alleged victims, Epigenetics and Stress

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.

http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/12/19/16014572-school-abuse-victim-wins-23-million-in-damages

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….

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-20697738

‘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….

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2217149/Im-staying-Esther-Rantzen-claims-remain-child-abuse-charity-patron-claims-ignored-warnings-Jimmy-Savile.html

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.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-19921658

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.”….

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121018123052.htm

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

http://www.pnas.org/content/109/suppl.2/17253

 

A Critic at Large – In Plain View How child molesters get away with it

September 19, 2012 Comments Off on A Critic at Large – In Plain View How child molesters get away with it

A Critic at Large – In Plain View
How child molesters get away with it.
by Malcolm Gladwell September 24, 2012

In a 2001 book, “Identifying Child Molesters,” the psychologist Carla van Dam tells the story of a young Canadian elementary-school teacher she calls Jeffrey Clay. Clay taught physical education. He was well liked by his students, and often he asked boys in his class to stay after school, to do homework and help him with chores. One day, just before winter break, three of the boys made a confession to their parents. Mr. Clay had touched them under their pants. The parents went to the principal. He confronted Clay, who denied everything. The principal knew Clay and was convinced by him…..

“We weren’t really prepared to call the police and make it into a police investigation,” one of the mothers told van Dam. “It was an indiscretion, as far as we were concerned at this point. It was all vague: ‘Well, he put his hands down there.’ And, ‘Well, it was inside the pants, but fingers went to here.’ We were all still trying to protect Mr. Clay’s reputation, and the possibility this was all blown up out of proportion and there was a mistake.”

The families then learned that there had been a previous complaint by a child against Clay, and they took their case to the school superintendent….

The allegations against Clay, he thought, were simply the result of the fact that he was “young and energetic.” Clay threatened to sue. The parents dropped their case. Clay was a man repeatedly accused of putting his hands down the pants of young boys. Parents complained. Superiors investigated. And what happened? The school psychologist called him a victim of hysteria…..

We now know what Sandusky was really doing with the Second Mile. He was setting up a pipeline of young troubled boys. Just as important, though, he was establishing his bona fides. Psychologists call this “grooming”—the process by which child molesters ingratiate themselves into the communities they wish to exploit. “Many molesters confirmed that they would spend anywhere from two to three years getting established in a new community before molesting any children,” van Dam writes. One pedophile she interviewed would hang out in bars, looking for adults who seemed to be having difficulties at home. He would lend a comforting ear, and then start to help out….

The pedophile is often imagined as the dishevelled old man baldly offering candy to preschoolers. But the truth is that most of the time we have no clue what we are dealing with. A fellow-teacher at Mr. Clay’s school, whose son was one of those who complained of being fondled, went directly to Clay after she heard the allegations. “I didn’t do anything to those little boys,” Clay responded. “I’m innocent. . . . Would you and your husband stand beside me if it goes to court?” Of course, they said. People didn’t believe that Clay was a pedophile because people liked Clay—without realizing that Clay was in the business of being likable….

This is standard child-molester tradecraft. The successful pedophile does not select his targets arbitrarily. He culls them from a larger pool, testing and probing until he finds the most vulnerable. Clay, for example, first put himself in a place with easy access to children—an elementary school. Then he worked his way through his class. He began by simply asking boys if they wanted to stay after school. “Those who could not do so without parental permission were screened out,” van Dam writes. Children with vigilant parents are too risky. Those who remained were then caressed on the back, first over the shirt and then, if there was no objection from the child, under the shirt. “The child’s response was evaluated by waiting to see what was reported to the parents,” she goes on. “Parents inquiring about this behavior were told by Mr. Clay that he had simply been checking their child for signs of chicken pox. Those children were not targeted further.” The rest were “selected for more contact,” gradually moving below the belt and then to the genitals….

Sandusky started with wrestling, to make physical touch seem normal. In the shower, the boy initially turned on a showerhead a few feet from Sandusky. Sandusky told him to use the shower next to him. This was a test. The boy complied. Then came the bear hug. The boy’s back was touching Sandusky’s chest and his feet touched Sandusky’s thigh. Sandusky wanted to see how the boy would react. Was this too much too soon? The boy felt “weird” and “uncomfortable.” Sandusky retreated. The following week, Sandusky showed up at the boy’s home, circling back to test the waters once again. How did the boy feel? Had he told his mother? Was he a promising lead, or too risky?….

Horsing around in the shower? That was Jerry being Jerry. It did not occur to them that the goofy, horseplaying Sandusky they thought they knew was another of Sandusky’s deceptions. Those who put all their ingenuity and energy into fooling us usually succeed. That is the lesson of a world-class swindler like Bernard Madoff, and of Donald Silva, in his parents’ bed with a ten-year-old boy and the woman he later married—not to mention Jeffrey Clay. Clay, van Dam writes, got his teaching certificate reactivated. He went on to teach the handicapped and take foster children into his home. “Needless to say,” she adds, “his expertise, enthusiasm, and exceptional generosity to those who are needy has been very much appreciated by the community in which he now lives.” Tim Curley and Gary Schultz currently face criminal charges. Graham Spanier was forced out of office last November, a few days after the grand-jury indictment of Sandusky was released…. http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/atlarge/2012/09/24/120924crat_atlarge_gladwell

Child Abuse Concerns Spur Federal Takeover at North Dakota Indian Reservation
September 17, 2012 by Sarah Childress

The Bureau of Indian Affairs said Monday that it will take control of social services on a North Dakota reservation, amid concerns from federal officials that the tribe’s mismanagement of the agency led to the abuse of children on the reservation.

The reservation, home to the Spirit Lake tribe, a group of roughly 6,600 people living in a remote area of the northern United States, has been under scrutiny since August 2011, when federal officials from the bureau began working with tribal authorities to improve child safety after the local BIA office reported “serious deficiencies” at the agency. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/biographies/kind-hearted-woman/child-abuse-concerns-spur-federal-takeover-at-north-dakota-indian-reservation/

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