| Today's NAASCA news:
August 30, 2014
UK - Rotherham
(Video on site)
Rotherham child abuse scandal: 1,400 children exploited, report finds
At least 1,400 children were subjected to appalling sexual exploitation in Rotherham between 1997 and 2013, a report has found.
Children as young as 11 were raped by multiple perpetrators, abducted, trafficked to other cities in England, beaten and intimidated, it said.
The report , commissioned by Rotherham Borough Council, revealed there had been three previous inquiries.
Council leader Roger Stone said he would step down with immediate effect.
Mr Stone, who has been the leader since 2003, said: "I believe it is only right that as leader I take responsibility for the historic failings described so clearly."
The inquiry team noted fears among council staff of being labelled "racist" if they focused on victims' descriptions of the majority of abusers as "Asian" men.
'Doused in petrol'
Professor Alexis Jay, who wrote the latest report, said there had been "blatant" collective failures by the council's leadership, senior managers had "underplayed" the scale of the problem and South Yorkshire Police had failed to prioritise the issue.
Prof Jay said: "No-one knows the true scale of child sexual exploitation in Rotherham over the years. Our conservative estimate is that approximately 1,400 children were sexually exploited over the full inquiry period, from 1997 to 2013."
Revealing details of the inquiry's findings, Prof Jay said: "It is hard to describe the appalling nature of the abuse that child victims suffered."
The inquiry team found examples of "children who had been doused in petrol and threatened with being set alight, threatened with guns, made to witness brutally violent rapes and threatened they would be next if they told anyone".
Five men from the town were jailed for sexual offences against girls in 2010, but the report said police "regarded many child victims with contempt".
District Commander for Rotherham, Ch Supt Jason Harwin said: "Firstly I'd like to start by offering an unreserved apology to the victims of child sexual exploitation who did not receive the level of service they should be able to expect from their local police force.
"We fully acknowledge our previous failings."
Ch Supt Harwin said the force had "overhauled" the way it dealt with such cases and had successfully prosecuted a number of abusers.
But he admitted: "I accept that our recent successes... will not heal the pain of those victims who have been let down."
The report found: "Several staff described their nervousness about identifying the ethnic origins of perpetrators for fear of being thought as racist; others remembered clear direction from their managers not to do so."
Failures by those charged with protecting children happened despite three reports between 2002 and 2006 which both the council and police were aware of, and "which could not have been clearer in the description of the situation in Rotherham".
Prof Jay said the first of these reports was "effectively suppressed" because senior officers did not believe the data. The other two were ignored, she said.
The inquiry team found that in the early-2000s when a group of professionals attempted to monitor a number of children believed to be at risk, "managers gave little help or support to their efforts".
The report revealed some people at a senior level in the police and children's social care thought the extent of the problem was being "exaggerated".
Prof Jay said: "The authorities involved have a great deal to answer for."
A victim of abuse in Rotherham, who has been called "Isabel" to protect her identity, told BBC Panorama: "I was a child and they should have stepped in.
"No matter what's done now... it's not going to change that it was too late, it should have been stopped and prevented."
James Vincent, BBC Look North
The scale of this report is simply staggering and some of the detail extremely hard to read.
It lays out how Rotherham Council and the police knew about the level of child sexual exploitation in the town, but didn't do anything about it.
They either didn't believe what they were being told, played it down, or were too nervous to act. The failures, the report says, are blatant.
The report estimates 1,400 children were sexually exploited over 16 years, with one young person telling the report's author that gang rape was a usual part of growing up in Rotherham.
The processes for dealing with these crimes have got better in the last four years, but still improvements need to be made.
There were more apologies from the council today but the report's author says they are too late.
Speaking about her abuser, Isabel said: "I think because the police were aware and social services were aware and he knew that and they still didn't stop him it I think it encouraged him.
"It almost became like a game to him. He was untouchable."
Speaking after the publication of the report, Victims' Commissioner Baroness Newlove said: "I'm appalled by the extent of the horrific abuse endured by these vulnerable victims.
"It's deeply distressing how the authorities failed to protect these young people and their voices were not heard.
"Everyone involved needs to take responsibility for the shocking failings that this report has exposed. This must not happen again.
"I want to see every one of these victims getting the right support now and for as long as it takes them to help them on the path to recovery."
Maggie Atkinson, children's commissioner for England, said the number of identified child victims was "largely consistent" with the findings of their own national inquiry into "child sexual exploitation in gangs and groups".
Rotherham council's chief executive, Martin Kimber, said he accepted the report and the recommendations made and apologised to the victims of abuse.
He said: "The report does not make comfortable reading in its account of the horrific experiences of some young people in the past, and I would like to reiterate our sincere apology to those who were let down when they needed help.
"I commissioned this independent review to understand fully what went wrong, why it went wrong and to ensure that the lessons learned in Rotherham mean these mistakes can never happen again.
"The report confirms that our services have improved significantly over the last five years and are stronger today than ever before.
"This is important because it allows me to reassure young people and families that should anyone raise concerns we will take them seriously and provide them with the support they need.
"However, that must not overshadow - and certainly does not excuse - the finding that for a significant amount of time the council and its partners could and should have done more to protect young people from what must be one of the most horrific forms of abuse imaginable."
New group to support victims of childhood sexual abuse
by Anna Jeffries
NEWARK – Bethany Stanley was sexually abused by someone she knew when she was a child and never told anyone until she was 16.
Even then, she felt she was all alone and no one understood how much she was hurting.
She doesn't want anyone else to feel that isolated.
Stanley recently became the co-leader of a new support group, geared toward supporting adults who were abused by someone they knew when they were children.
"When this happens, you feel all alone, you feel shameful and disgusting," she said. "Being around other people who have been through it can help take that away."
Working closely with the group's other leaders, Pam Roberts and Shari Johnston, who also are abuse survivors, Stanley has spent the past few weeks preparing for the first meeting on Sept. 11.
The group will meet at 7 p.m. on the second and fourth Thursdays of the month at Mental Health America of Licking County, 65 Messimer Drive in Newark.
The meetings are open to anyone older than 16 who was abused by someone they knew and trusted when they were young, Stanley said.
"There is a need for it, and we want people to know that we are here," she said.
Stanley struggled with the pain of her abuse for many years before realizing she needed to work toward recovery.
As she read and talked more about child sex abuse, she was amazed by how many people she met who were victims just like her.
According to statistics from the U.S. Department of Justice, 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 7 boys will be abused at some point in his or her childhood. Only 30 percent of cases of abuse are reported to authorities.
In as many as 93 percent of abuse cases, the child knows the person who commits the abuse.
Many victims are too afraid to talk about their abuse, especially if it involves a family member. Even if they do come forward, that doesn't make the pain go away, Roberts said.
"Sometimes, it's a lifetime of trauma that affects everything you think and do," she said. "I felt like it was woven into my pores."
Stanley was inspired to tell her story after she found a Kickstarter campaign to fund an independent documentary called "Rewind to Fast Forward."
The piece tells the story of Sasha Neulinger, who was abused by his two uncles and his cousin when he was a boy. He used home movies of his childhood and interviews with family members to share his story.
"I thought, 'Look how brave this guy is,'" she said. "It gave me the courage to say, 'I'm a survivor.' "
She realized how important it was to speak out so she could help others.
"Let's get it out in the open so people are talking about it, so it loses its power," she said.
Stanley decided to look for a support group to share her experiences.
She contacted Roberts, who is associate director of MHA, and asked whether there were any groups she could connect with.
"Pam told me, 'We don't have one for adult survivors,' " Stanley said. "I thought, 'They need to have one.' "
Pam offered to be Stanley's mentor, but the two women decided they wanted to do more to help others.
"I had a longtime struggle with recovery," Pam said. "If you can get on the other side of it, it's good to help someone else."
Johnston, who was recently hired as MHA's Compeer coordinator, offered to be the art facilitator for the group. She plans to use her 25 years of experience helping teens to introduce art projects that can help with healing.
The three co-leaders plan to use "The Courage to Heal Workbook" to guide the group's discussion. Because it's peer led, participants will be encouraged to talk about their experiences but could simply listen if they feel more comfortable, Roberts said.
If the support group goes well, the three co-leaders are hoping to start a support group for the loved ones of sexual abuse victims. They are also planning several educational events for April, which is both Child Abuse Prevention and Sexual Assault Awareness month.
The more information is out there, the more victims will realize they aren't powerless and they can take steps to break the cycle of abuse, Stanley said.
"So many people are dealing with this on their own, and we want them to know they don't have to," she said. "Let's all help each other to deal with it."
If you go
• What: Survivors of Sex Abuse Support Group
• When: 7 p.m. on the second and fourth Thursdays of every month
• Where: Mental Health America of Licking County, 65 Messimer Drive, Newark
• Cost: Free and open to any survivor older than 16
• FYI: For more information about the group, call Pam Roberts at 740-788-0301 or email: email@example.com
How 13-year-old Marta fell prey to human traffickers
by Chris Ann Kehner
Abandoned by her parents at 13, Marta fell prey to human traffickers in her native Guatemala.
Forced to work in the sex industry for two years, she fled, undertaking a long, arduous journey in search of safety.
Marta – who is real – was found by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol and transferred into the care of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
During her several-month stay in HHS custody, trained child welfare experts screened her. They identified her as a human trafficking survivor and connected her to appropriate social services.
Marta is currently applying for a Special Immigrant Juvenile visa, a special protection visa for children who have been abused, neglected or abandoned by their parents.
Marta received the help and services she needed because of important due process protections provided in a 2008 law: the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act. This law recognizes that children from non-contiguous countries who arrive at our borders without adults require specialized screening to assess their protection needs. Many of them are victims of sexual abuse, severe maltreatment or human trafficking. In 2008, Congress unanimously agreed to support this screening process so that children like Marta would not fall back into the hands of their abusers. After its passage, President George W. Bush signed this bill into law without hesitation.
With the enactment of federal laws like the TVPRA, the United States has made great strides in combating modern slavery and aiding victims like Marta. Not only is human trafficking now a federal crime, but state governments have also enacted laws to fight this crime and help victims. Delaware has helped lead the way: In June, Gov. Jack Markell signed Senate Bill 197 into law, which provides increased safeguards for victims, toughens penalties for traffickers and raises awareness of this crime.
Unfortunately, as we praise legislative victories in states like Delaware, the U.S. Congress is considering rolling back the important 2008 protections for vulnerable children like Marta. Overwhelmed by the arrival of large numbers of unaccompanied children from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, some members of Congress want children like Marta to be processed within 72 hours, before facing deportation. This proposed policy change would eliminate the key screening Marta underwent, undermine due process and further penalize children who already have limited access to legal counsel. If these changes take hold, children like Marta will face uncertain and dangerous futures.
The influx of so many unaccompanied children is a reflection of the serious humanitarian crisis in which Central American countries are currently consumed. According to a recent United Nations report, no less than 58 percent of unaccompanied children from these countries indicated they were displaced because of abuses that warrant international protection. This number has steadily increased over the last several years and is indicative of a greater need for regional humanitarian intervention. And while the increase of unaccompanied minors arriving at our border in recent months might seem overwhelming, they actually comprise only 0.35 percent of the world's 17.9 million refugees, a disproportionately small percentage when compared to the collective ability of the United States to protect these vulnerable children.
Marta's initial screening while in HHS custody was critical in identifying her as a trafficking survivor, and providing her with the help she needed. If Congress removes these essential protections next month when it reconvenes, children like Marta will fall through the cracks and are at risk of being trafficked again.
Delaware has shown its solidarity with trafficking victims. Now, it can do so on a national scale. Join me in calling on Congress to protect the provisions in the TVPRA. Eliminating such minimal protections for expediency's sake is shortsighted and puts already vulnerable children in increased danger. Congress can and should uphold current policy, and fulfill the promise it made to these children in 2008.
Chris Ann Kehner is the Director of Policy for Polaris, a leader in the global fight to eradicate modern slavery. Polaris equips communities to identify, report and prevent human trafficking.
Associate pastor breaks silence on abuse
by TK Barger
Kristopher Schondelmeyer, 30, is the associate pastor at Christ Presbyterian Church in Toledo, responsible for youth and small-group ministry and adult education. When he was a teenager, a minister touched him sexually, he alleges, but even so, he became a minister. And though he serves the Presbyterian Church, he is suing it. He claims that repressed memory kept him from realizing until November 2012 that he was a victim of clergy sexual abuse in July 2000.
His attorneys filed a legal petition in Fulton, Mo., on April 14, and an initial hearing was held in Columbia, Mo., Aug. 18, for a lawsuit against Fulton's First Presbyterian Church and the larger bodies that Fulton's church is a part of, including the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). The Presbyterian Foundation, which holds church funds, is also a defendant. And Jack Wayne Rogers, 69, at the time an ordained Presbyterian lay minister, now a federal prison inmate convicted in 2004 of child pornography and obscenity, is named as the abuser and is also being sued. The Rev. Schondelmeyer is asking for “compensatory and punitive damages” and “other and further relief,” the lawsuit says.
Rev. Schondelmeyer's allegations include that Rogers and the Presbyterian Church established a ”trust relationship” with him and, exploiting that, Rogers “engaged in non-consensual sex acts with the plaintiff” on a church trip to a youth conference in Maryland. Rogers had been convicted of child pornography in 1992, and the lawsuit alleges the church knew, yet made him a chaperone for youth, and also that the church was “encouraging [Rogers] to commit the abuse and battery” and “actively concealing the abuse after it occurred.” The Church also violated its own policies and procedures regarding sex abusers, the lawsuit says.
His Toledo congregation is very supportive of Rev. Schondelmeyer, said its pastor, the Rev. Tom Schwartz. “Our governing body, or session, had talked with Kris about it,” and a letter was sent to all members. The alleged abuse, cover-up, and lack of accountability, response, and help by the Church is “out of line. It's why we would agree that his desire to litigate would be something we would be in support of.”
Attorneys Sarah Brown and Rebecca Randles of Kansas City, Mo., are representing Rev. Schondelmeyer. “Our firm for many, many years has handled cases for victims of childhood sexual abuse” and focuses on both clergy and psychiatric sex abuse, Ms. Brown said. “We thought he had a compelling case.”
Rev. Schondelmeyer would not comment and referred The Blade to David Clohessy, executive director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), as his spokesman. Mr. Clohessy, of St. Louis, is also a sex abuse survivor. He said that Rev. Schondelmeyer “is a wonderful, brave man who is deeply and justifiably concerned about others who may have been hurt by this awful predator, and he tried very hard to get church officials to do outreach to others who are suffering, with little success. So he felt almost morally compelled to take legal action for the sake of others.”
In a SNAP press release, Rev. Schondelmeyer is quoted, “My biggest fear isn‘?t whether or not Presbyterian Church officials will do what is good, and right, and just. It'?s that there might be other victims who are suffering in silence.”
Mr. Clohessy said, “If anybody has been or is affected or suffered Rogers's crimes, we want them to know that they are not alone, it's not their fault, and recovery is possible. But it's crucial that they share their burdens with someone they trust and not try to bear this pain alone.”
A victim of clergy abuse might become a minister because “a lot of people go into ministry in order to heal their own wounds,” said the Rev. Barbara Lee of Grand Haven, Mich., who calls herself “the sex minister” and wrote a book on sexual ethics. “Sometimes that's not very conscious.”
Rev. Lee, a survivor of sexual abuse, said, “A lot of that need for healing comes from that sense of how we've broken our interpersonal bridge to ourself, and so we don't have that awareness—which is probably where some of [Rev. Schondelmeyer‘?s] memory lapse comes from. And our culture is so shame-based around sexuality, so then we don't have those healthy outlets to explore that, to share it openly, and so we repress.”
“Repressed memory happens in a minority of cases, but far more than most people expect,” Mr. Clohessy said. “It's a common, though often misunderstood, psychological coping mechanism.”
Mr. Clohessy said that abuse is not a faith killer. “Kris is like a number of clergy sex abuse victims who are able to separate the actions of one or a few men from the rest of the belief system. ... He really very much loves the Presbyterian Church and faith.”
“There is so much compassion and mercy in my heart, and I would rather stand with church leaders, than against them, to work together to create safe and sacred space for children and youth,” Rev. Schondelmeyer said in the SNAP press release.
The Presbyterian Foundation “does not have any comment at this time,” Rob Bullock, its vice president for marketing and communications, stated in an email.
Rogers has not responded to a written request for comments.
Dover schools' child-abuse awareness, reporting policy to get update
Officials said the review is unrelated to ex-teacher Matthew Puterbaugh's arrest earlier this year
by Angie Mason
The Dover Area School Board will be updating its child and student abuse policy, but school officials said that's unrelated to the arrest of a former teacher accused of sexually assaulting a student.
The agenda for the board's safe and supportive schools committee meeting Tuesday includes the item "child/student abuse policy #806."
According to Dover's online policy manual, that policy relates to district employees' obligation to help identify possible child abuse or victimization of students and procedures for reporting such abuse.
Former teacher Matthew Puterbaugh was charged earlier this year with sexual assault, possession of child pornography and other crimes. Court records show the district investigated Puterbaugh for inappropriate conduct with students on at least three occasions, and that he was reprimanded as recently as 2010, but police and the state department of education say they were not notified of any incidents.
Supt. Kenneth Cherry, who joined the district in July, was asked if, in light of the Puterbaugh case, the policy was something the district particularly wanted to have up to date. "I'd think all jurisdictions would want to have this up to date," he said.
Terry Emig, school board president, said some district policies need to be updated, so the board is doing that.
"We want to make sure everything is up to date, everything is the way it should be," he said.
He said updating that particular policy is not a result of what happened with Puterbaugh.
"It's just that some of our policies haven't been looked at for a while, so now we're going to look at them," Emig said.
The online policy manual indicates the current policy was adopted in 1996 and updated in 2003. Cherry said the district wants to make sure the policy matches law coming into effect.
The current policy says employees should make reports to their supervisor or to the superintendent, he said. It would be changed to say that they should make a report to ChildLine first, then contact their supervisor or the superintendent.
In April, Gov. Tom Corbett signed laws expanding and further defining the mandatory reporting process, including immediate reporting to the Department of Public Welfare, and expanding those required to be mandatory reporters, among other things. Some of those laws took effect in June while others take effect in December.
How to protect your child with special needs from sexual abuse
Sexual abuse is every parent's nightmare, exceeded only by the idea of losing a child completely. The vulnerability of children with special needs makes them the ideal predator target.
A mother of a child with Down syndrome — who we will call Jane — chose to share with SheKnows her family's experience. Jane's son was sexually abused by a friend when the boys were 16 years old.
Months passed before he found a way to tell his parents. The predator had groomed him to believe that if he told his parents, they would think he was a "bad boy" and they wouldn't love him anymore.
On the night the truth emerged, Jane clutched her frightened child and promised him again and again that he was absolutely a good boy, and Mommy and Daddy would never stop loving him.
Jane's disbelief was as overwhelming as her confusion. This was a family she trusted — a boy her family knew, loved and trusted. Yet, he had committed the ultimate betrayal. Why? How? Hadn't she done everything right?
Who is at risk?
Children with special needs are perfect prey because they may not understand what is happening, know to speak up or have the communication skills to do so.
"I've learned a lot about this dark world," Jane says. "Our kids with special needs are the most vulnerable and the most abused. This is something that we should want to talk about and learn about."
More on risk
According to a 2012 report for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, a risk factor is if "the parent is unaware his or her child with disabilities is at greater risk of maltreatment and may be unprepared to identify and protect the child from risky situations."
Boys with disabilities or children with disabilities who are in preschool or younger are more likely than children without disabilities to be abused.
Children who rely on their caretakers may not understand inappropriate touching.
Emotional dependence on caregivers may stop a child with special needs from speaking up.
Protect your child
Jenny Thompson has a daughter with Down syndrome and supports a nonprofit called Step Up, Speak Out.
"A big key… is creating a community of freedom where victims can tell their story and not feel guilt, shame, persecution," Thompson explains. "[Then] perpetrators are more likely to get convicted."
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends:
Help others see children with disabilities as valued and unique individuals.
Promote inclusion of children with disabilities into everyday life.
Develop leadership skills in parents and family members of children with disabilities.
For more information on how to create a safer community, access the report.
Risk at school
Nearly one in 10 typical students (not just those with a disability) experienced unacceptable sexual behavior by a school employee while in school, according to a 2004 report for the U. S. Department of Education.
Which educators are likely to molest?
Any employee or volunteer
Well-liked and respected teachers
Those with access to students before or after school or one-on-one (e.g., coaches, physical therapists)
What should I look for?
Physical signs include:
Difficulty walking or sitting
Torn clothing, stained or bloodied underwear
Pain or itching in the genital area
Venereal disease, pregnancy and changes in weight
Behavior red flags:
Age-inappropriate sexual behavior (e.g., Jane's son had taken a picture of his penis)
Changes in personality
Increased time at school with one adult
What might the molester do?
Develop close relationships with students
Spend time alone together
Spend time before or after school together
Spend time in a private space together
If you suspect abuse, the nonprofit Committee for Children provides information on next steps.
See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil
An utterly shocking—and distinctively British—child sex abuse scandal
by The Economist
OVER the past few years it has sometimes seemed as though no news bulletin goes by without an awful account of child sex abuse. Celebrities and children's entertainers, including Rolf Harris and the late Jimmy Savile, have been revealed as molesters; so have some teachers and clerics. The latest horror was laid bare on August 26th, in a report into the sexual exploitation of children in Rotherham, a poor northern English town. The report is also painful for what it suggests about race relations in Britain.
The investigation by Alexis Jay, a former chief inspector of social work, uncovers a catalogue of offences, mostly by Pakistani men against white girls. Children as young as 11 were plied with drink and drugs, raped, beaten and trafficked to be abused by men in other cities. One was doused in petrol and threatened with being set alight. Another told the investigation that gang rape was a usual part of growing up in her district. The report estimates that some 1,400 children—some from fragile family backgrounds, some in the care of the state—were abused between 1997 and 2013.
All of which is grim enough. But the local council knew at least ten years ago of widespread abuse and yet appears to have downplayed the problem. Nor did the police pay much attention to it. On one occasion, officers attended a derelict house and found an intoxicated girl with several adult men. They arrested the girl for being drunk and disorderly but detained none of the men. Some fathers tracked down their daughters and tried to remove them from houses where they were being abused, only to be arrested themselves.
Three reports had been commissioned in 2002, 2003 and 2006 to investigate early allegations. These found that some of the Pakistani men who were exploiting girls were also involved in gun crime and drug-dealing. Ms Jay noted that the reports “could not have been clearer” about the sexual abuse, yet the first one was suppressed because senior officers disbelieved the data it contained and the other two were ignored. As the council belatedly got to grips with the situation, five men were convicted in 2010 of sexual offences against girls, the only convictions to date.
Roger Stone, the leader of Rotherham council since 2003, resigned as soon as the report was released. Others, such as the man responsible for the regional police force—and formerly for children, as a council officer—are under great pressure to go. More than a dozen victims announced plans to sue the council and the police.
Ms Jay's report also suggests, rather tentatively, that one reason the abuse was downplayed for so long was the fear that local officials might be fingered as racist. Rotherham is largely white (Pakistanis are only 3% of the population) but other northern towns have been torn by fights between whites and Pakistanis. Several local councillors suggested opening up the issue of race could “damage community cohesion”. Staff described their nervousness about identifying the ethnic origins of perpetrators. Others remembered clear direction from their managers not to do so.
What the report does not spell out, but which is true, is that the horrors in Rotherham fit into a pattern. In other northern towns such as Oldham and Rochdale, as well as in southern cities such as Oxford, gangs of Asian men have been convicted of grooming and abusing young, mostly white girls. This is a specific ethnic issue more than a religious one, says a community worker in a city near Rotherham. Young Pakistani men are increasingly alienated from their conservative parents, who want them to marry girls from back home (often the Mirpur district in Kashmir) and also from religious leaders, who often cannot speak English. Discussions of sex are taboo at home and in the mosque, so some learn about it from pornography, about misogyny from rap music and come to view white women as fair game (though the report also suggests Pakistani girls were abused, and that this was hushed up).
In Rotherham, this ethnic misogyny then ran up against the institutional misogyny of the police and the mostly white council. Ms Jay writes of one female employee at the council being told that if she wore shorter skirts to meetings “she'd get on better” and other senior male officials making explicit sexual remarks to female workers. Some senior police officers clearly saw the abused girls simply as sexually precocious young women.
In apologising to the victims, Rotherham council's chief executive, Martin Kimber, said he had commissioned the review to understand what went wrong so that it could never happen again. But there is probably much more to come, from other cities. The sound of accusations flying in Rotherham could just be the sound of the floodgates opening.
State police arrest sex offender for sexually abusing a child
by Sussex County Post
MILLSBORO – Delaware State Police on Wednesday arrested a Tier 2 sex offender after an investigation reveals he sexually abused a child in his care.
According to state police spokesman Cpl. Gary Fournier, detectives with the Troop 4 Criminal Investigations Unit in Georgetown arrested John T. King, 65, of Millsboro, Aug. 27 after an investigation into the sexual abuse of a three-year old female ensued after she was examined at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital on Friday, Aug. 22 due to some complaints of soreness to her lower region.
The examination and investigation revealed the three-year-old child had been sexually active for a period of time and that she had been under the periodic care of John King, who is a non-familial friend of the victim's mother, when these sexual encounters occurred, Cpl. Fournier said.
Mr. King, who is a medium risk Tier 2 sex offender, responded to Troop 4 on his own accord and was charged with unlawful sexual contact by a sex offender, and three counts of sexual abuse by a person of trust. He was arraigned and committed to Sussex Correctional Institution on $220,000 cash bond.
Celebrity child molesters: Is their fame a factor?
by Leora Arnowitz, Sasha Bogursky
“Sons of Guns” star Will Hayden was arrested on Wednesday on charges of aggravated rape for allegedly sexually abusing a minor “almost daily.”
Former “Cake Boss” cast member Remy Gonzales is currently serving 9 years in prison for sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl.
Lostprophets rocker Ian Watkins was recently sentenced to 35 years in prison after he was found guilty of multiple child sex abuse charges, including trying to rape a baby.
Of course only a tiny fraction of those committing this kind of heinous crimes are famous, but experts say fame can be a factor with celebrities who prey on children.
“Of course every situation is unique, but today when we look at the stars… we hear it all the time, that they begin to abuse their positions,” said Dr. Wendy James, who focuses on the early diagnosis and treatment of psychological issues. “As a society we tend to glorify stars...and society sees them as doing no wrong and a lot of time I see the frequency of narcissistic behavior in stars.”
She said that can lead to stars acting out in sexually inappropriate ways, with child molestation being an extreme situation.
“We allow stars to start to feel like they are above the law or above certain behavior,” she added.
Dr. Fred Berlin, the director of the Johns Hopkins Sexual Behavior Consultation Unit, said there is no definitive statistic that shows pedophiles are more prevalent among Hollywood's elite.
“I don't know of any evidence that it's more common among celebrity than others,” he told FOX411. “I think we pay more attention to it and are sort of more surprised in many ways because we think [we know these people based on what we see on TV].”
So does their a celebrity's status simply bring their awful behavior into the limelight?
“They are scrutinized if something is found out,” said James, while Berlin noted that celebrity abuse cases get much more attention than the average sex crime.
“Most of these cases get a certain amount of attention, and the public is rightfully concerned and when people are arrested in their local community,” he said. “It becomes a bigger, national story when someone is arrested who is a celebrity.”
And the stars mentioned above are not the first to be accused of sexual misconduct against children. Here are five more celebrities slammed with sex abuse allegations:
Peter Yarrow of the musical group Peter, Paul and Mary was convicted of taking "improper liberties" with a 14-year-old girl in 1970. Yarrow, who served 3 months in jail was later granted a presidential pardon in 1981 from former President Jimmy Carter.
A mother who appeared on TLC's "Cheer Perfection pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree sexual assault and engaging a child in sexually explicit conduct. Andrew Clevenger received a two 10-year prison sentence and two 10-year suspended sentences for her sexual encounters with a 13-year-old boy.
Comedienne Paula Poundstone was charged with three counts of committing a lewd and lascivious act on a girl under the age of 14 in 2001. She was found guilty of a felony child endangerment charge for driving while intoxicated with children in the car. She pleaded no contest to avoid jail time as part of a plea that placed her on probation for 5 years.
Once a judge on "America's Best Dance Crew" and a choreographer on "So You Think You Can Dance," Shane Sparks was charged with six counts of a lewd act on a child and two counts of oral copulation of a person under 16. His attorney called the claims "extortion" and claimed Sparks' accuser of only coming forward due to Sparks' fame. He pleaded not guilty in 2010 and again in 2011 on a single felony count of having unlawful sex with a minor. He eventually accepted a plea deal which sentenced him to 270 days in the country jail, five years of provation and 52 sessions of sex-offender counseling.
MTV's “Jackass” spin-off “Viva La Bam” star Vincent “Don Vito” Margera was found guilty on two counts of sexual assault on a child in 2007. Margera had been accused inappropriately touching one 14-year-old and two 12-year-olds at an autograph signing at a Colorado mall in August 2006.
Sanctuary Outreach a ministry for sexual abuse survivors
by Dawn Baumgartner Vaughan
DURHAM — Sanctuary Outreach Ministry tries to provide just that – a sanctuary, a safe place for women to come who are survivors of sexual abuse. Almost a year old, the nonprofit operates out of Shepherd's House United Methodist Church on Driver Street. The Rev. Tammy White Rodman, founder and director, talked about her ministry this week at the Religious Coalition for a Nonviolent Durham's roundtable, which also meets at Shepherd's House.
Sanctuary Outreach Ministry is a Christian-based ministry, she said, but does not exclude anyone. There are events like Saturday morning prayers, Friday night social gatherings and Thursday night Bible studies. The ministry evolved from Rodman's doctoral dissertation at Union Theological Seminary and from her own experience as a survivor of child sexual abuse.
Rodman calls Sanctuary's program “Walking Wounded Willing Witness” and references 2 Samuel 13, in which Tamar is raped and out of that lived a desolate life because of the abuse. Rodman also references Luke 8:1-3 and the many women who were followers of Jesus.
Sexual abuse is a subject a lot of people don't want to talk about, Rodman said. One moment of abuse could be a lifetime of desolation for that child, she said. Millions of women never say a word about it, she said.
If trauma and abuse is not acknowledged, she said, it manifests in different ways including anger and addiction. She put up a façade for long time, too, Rodman said.
“If we do not address it, it will take over a person's life,” she said. Sanctuary Outreach uses four elements of Jesus' ministry to address it: prayer, teaching, preaching and healing.
“Jesus loves you no matter what,” she said. “There's healing in just being able to acknowledge your pain.”
Women in the group share their lives through multiple activities and eventually talk about the abuse, and at that point she begins to minister to their specific needs.
“Part of the healing process also is testimony,” Rodman said. Gatherings also include just talking, and “you come into a safe place, you feel comfortable and can breathe.”
Rodman said that she appeared successful on the outside, but inside was hurting.
“It's going to come out eventually, one way or another. If you've been hurt, it's going to come out,” she said. “Thank God, he accepted me in the middle of my mess … and turned me around.”
Sexual abuse of children is a major issue, she said, and, “we need to stop the silence.”
For information about Sanctuary Outreach Ministry, call 919-638-5163, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit: www.wwwwministry.com