Recent Child Abuse Crimes and Efforts to Unite Survivors
by Neil Brick
(originally from a conference presentation in 2012)
During the last year there have been some major developments in the child abuse prevention field. Several legal cases developed involving either cover ups or the networking of serial child abusers.
Probably the most famous case is the case of Jerry Sandusky and Penn State.
This case includes many media reports over the last few months. Sandusky faced 52 criminal counts for alleged abuse involving ten boys.
It was reported he wrote intimate letters to the victims. He had a charity, which tried to help children from disadvantaged families and broken homes. Sandusky kept a private list of boys the charity was helping. It is believed this list may have been a list of potential targets for him to abuse. Victims alleged that contact with Sandusky began with showering together and progress to abuse over time.
In June, Pennsylvania prosecutors considered bringing criminal charges against former top Penn State University officials for allegedly concealing what they knew about Sandusky’s conduct.
Sources stated, that former university President Graham Spanier and others discussed whether they were obligated to tell authorities about a 2001 allegation involving a late-night encounter in a Penn State shower room between Sandusky and a young boy, both of whom were naked. They decided not to inform social services agencies. Later it was found that they decided this after meeting with Joe Paterno. It was alleged that Sandusky threatened a victim that if he told, he would never see his family again. Descriptions during the trial included ways Sandusky “groomed” his victims, including giving them tickets to football games. Three people in the late 1990s or early 2000s saw Sandusky in the showers with boys, one alleged he saw behavior that could be seen as sexual. There were also allegations of abuse in Sandusky’s basement. One victim hesitated talking to legal authorities, stating “Who would believe kids?”
During an interesting interview with NBC’s Bob Costas before the trial, Sandusky stated,
“And I didn’t go around seeking out every young person for sexual needs that I’ve helped. There are many that I didn’t have – I hardly had any contact with who I have helped in many, many ways.”
In late June, Sandusky’s adopted son stated he was molested also. Sandusky was found guilty on dozens of child sex abuse charges. There were convictions related to all 10 sexual abuse victims on 45 counts of sexual abuse. Two former Penn State officials face charges of perjury and failure to report suspected abuse in an alleged cover-up of the incident.
This case has important ramifications for the child abuse protection field. It showed how institutions could cover up abuse for years. It shows how perpetrators find victims, groom them and threaten them so they don’t talk. It shows how many people didn’t believe that he was abusing children, even verbally attacking those that stated he did.
I want to read a quote from an article in Boston Magazine.
In the Wake of Jerry Sandusky – To prevent child abuse, something has to change. So why won’t it? By Barry Nolan 6/25/2012
After the verdict came down in the Jerry Sandusky case, Linda Kelly, the Pennsylvania State Attorney General, stood before the assembled press and said something very important. She said: “One of the recurring themes of the witness’ testimony was … ‘Who would believe a kid?’”
Yes indeed, who would take the word of a mere child over that of a beloved coach like Jerry Sandusky about sexual abuse? Even though we know that such terrible crimes are far too common and the numbers are staggering, we can’t believe it. So, from 2005 to 2006 about 135,300 children were sexually abused.
Who would take the word of a child against a respected adult even though we know that in up to 93 percent of the time, the child knows his abuser and as many as 47 percent of the perpetrators are family members.
Who would take the word of a child even though in the vast majority of cases the only witness to child sex abuse is the child?
The ugly truth about child sexual abuse is that we really don’t want to hear about it. And far too much of it happens after an initial complaint about a perpetrator has been made and it’s not investigated thoroughly.
Take the tragic sex abuse scandal in the Catholic Church, and just imagine how things could have been different if there had been real listening and forceful action early on. There were 10,667 complaints of sexual abuse against 4,392 priests and deacons between 1950 and 2002 and yet no serious or thorough investigation took place. And so the abuse was allowed to continue. Until the Globe’s Pulitzer Prize winning series compelled self-examination and change….
The first child to make a complaint in the Sandusky case came forward 14 years ago. But who was going to believe a kid over Jerry Sandusky? So the complaint was not thoroughly investigated and, tragically, the abuse continued….
Back in 1993, most people simply didn’t want to believe the awful things a kid had to say about what Jackson did behind closed doors. After all, Michael Jackson was a lavishly talented and beloved public figure. But Dimond, and a few others, listened carefully and pursued leads and looked at the evidence. And the awful truth began to come out. The boy in that case would eventually accept a settlement from Jackson that was widely reported to be in the range of $20 million.
I asked her for her thoughts on the bigger picture, the Sandusky case, the scandal in the church, and the Jackson matter. Here is part of what she sent me in an e-mail:
“Pedophiles are really the very person you think they could never be. They are the most charming, personable, charitable, and kid-friendly people you would ever want to meet. They pay their taxes, they go to church, they cloak themselves in acts of charity and they say they just want to help you raise your child by being a positive influence in their lives … Too often detectives believe the perpetrator’s version of events and they are freed to violate again.”
Louis J. Freeh, the former federal judge and director of the F.B.I. spent seven months invesitgating the Sandusky scandal at Penn State. (from Abuse Inquiry Faults Paterno and Others at Penn State By KEN BELSON July 12, 2012 NYT)
His report stated:
The most senior officials at Penn State had shown a “total and consistent disregard” for the welfare of children, had worked together to actively conceal Mr. Sandusky’s assaults, and had done so for one central reason: fear of bad publicity. That publicity, Mr. Freeh said Thursday, would have hurt the nationally ranked football program, Mr. Paterno’s reputation as a coach of high principles, the Penn State “brand” and the university’s ability to raise money as one of the most respected public institutions in the country….
In 2000, a janitor at the football building saw Mr. Sandusky assaulting a boy in the showers. Horrified, he consulted with his colleagues, but decided not to do anything. They were all, Mr. Freeh said, afraid to “take on the football program.” “They said the university would circle around it,” Mr. Freeh said of the employees. “It was like going against the president of the United States. If that’s the culture on the bottom, then God help the culture at the top.”
….One new and central finding of the Freeh investigation is that Mr. Paterno, who died in January, knew as far back as 1998 that there were concerns Mr. Sandusky might be behaving inappropriately with children. It was then that the campus police investigated a claim by a mother that her son had been molested by Mr. Sandusky in a shower at Penn State. Mr. Paterno, through his family, had insisted after Mr. Sandusky’s arrest that he never knew anything about the 1998 case. In fact, he had testified under oath before the grand jury hearing evidence against Mr. Sandusky that he was not aware of the 1998 investigation.
But Mr. Freeh’s report asserts that Mr. Paterno not only knew of the investigation, but followed it closely. Local prosecutors ultimately decided not to charge Mr. Sandusky, and Mr. Paterno did nothing. Mr. Paterno failed to take any action, the investigation found, “even though Sandusky had been a key member of his coaching staff for almost 30 years and had an office just steps away from Mr. Paterno’s.” “In order to avoid the consequences of bad publicity,” the most powerful leaders of Penn State, Mr. Freeh’s group said, “repeatedly concealed critical facts relating to Sandusky’s child abuse from the authorities, the board of trustees, the Penn State community and the public at large.”….
Freeh Report on The Pennsylvania State University
The independent report by Louis Freeh and his law firm, Freeh Sporkin & Sullivan, LLP, into the facts and circumstances of the actions of The Pennsylvania State University surrounding the child abuse committed by a former employee, Gerald A. Sandusky
In mid July it was found that Penn State did not fully cooperate in the Sandusky prob, according to the state’s governor. Coach Joe Paterno (the long time coach and football icon at Penn Sate had his statue removed.
In July, the NCAA levied unprecedented sanctions against the program for its role in the sexual abuse scandal involving former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky, fining the school $60 million, imposing a four-year postseason ban on Penn State football, significantly reducing the number of scholarship players the team can field over the next four years and placing the program on probation for five years. All of Penn State’s football program wins from 1998 to 2011 were vacated.
Another large international child-porn network was uncovered this year.
….Authorities have identified more than 140 young victims so far and say there is no end in sight as they pore through hundreds of thousands of images found on the suspects’ computers. They are also trying to determine whether the men who talked about murder and cannibalism actually committed such acts or were just sharing twisted fantasies….
Robert Mikelsons, a 27-year-old day care worker who baby-sat the boy, was arrested. On his computer were thousands and thousands of images of children being molested and raped….
Photos and online chats found on computers owned by Diduca and Mikelsons led to more than three dozen other suspects in seven countries, including Canada, Britain, Germany, Sweden and Mexico. The oldest victim in the Netherlands was 4, the youngest just 19 days old….
Mikelsons also received an 18-year sentence, followed by indefinite psychiatric commitment, after confessing to sexually abusing more than 80 children….
Vast international child-porn network uncovered By DENISE LAVOIE AP Legal Affairs Writer Aug 4, 2012 BOSTON (AP)
Another large case was Operation Ore – the UK wing of a huge FBI operation.
(50 police officers arrested in child porn raids Wednesday, Aug 01 2012)
Operation Ore is the UK wing of a huge FBI operation which traced 250,000 paedophiles worldwide last year through credit card details used to pay for downloading child porn. The names of British suspects were passed on by US investigators. Suspects were traced through the Landslide web site – a gateway to an international collection of child pornography sites. Thomas Reedy, who ran the web site and earned millions from it, is now serving several life sentences in the US. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-151784/50-police-officers-arrested-child-porn-raids.html
The Boy Scout case is also a large case revealing repeat child abuse allegations.
Boy Scout files reveal repeat child abuse by sexual predators
Los Angeles Times review of Boy Scout documents shows that a blacklist meant to protect boys from sexual predators too often failed in its mission.
By Jason Felch and Kim Christensen, Los Angeles Times August 5, 2012
For nearly a century, the Boy Scouts of America has relied on a confidential blacklist known as the “perversion files” as a crucial line of defense against sexual predators….
Scouting officials say they’ve used the files to prevent hundreds of men who had been expelled for alleged sexual abuse from returning to the ranks. They’ve fought hard in court to keep the records from public view, saying confidentiality was needed to protect victims, witnesses and anyone falsely accused….
A Los Angeles Times review of more than 1,200 files dating from 1970 to 1991 found more than 125 cases across the country in which men allegedly continued to molest Scouts after the organization was first presented with detailed allegations of abusive behavior….
In at least 50 cases, the Boy Scouts expelled suspected abusers, only to discover later that they had reentered the program and were accused of molesting again.
One scoutmaster was expelled in 1970 for sexually assaulting a 14-year-old boy in Indiana. Even after being convicted of the crime, he went on to join two troops in Illinois between 1971 and 1988. He later admitted to molesting more than 100 boys, was convicted of the sexual assault of a Scout in 1989 and was sentenced to 100 years in prison, according to his file and court records.
A landmark Philadelphia priest sex-abuse trial occurred this year.
Allegations were made Msgr. William J. Lynn moved accused priests around to different parishes, enabling them to prey upon other children.
“Prosecutors say Lynn, 61, covered up child sex abuse allegations, often by transferring priests to unsuspecting parishes. Lynn’s motive was to avoid scandal and any potential loss of money for the church, they argued. His job was to supervise 800 priests, which included investigating sex abuse claims, from 1992 to 2004. The defense said Lynn tried to handle documented cases of pedophile priests, making a list in 1994 of 35 accused predators and writing memos to suggest treatment and suspensions.”
Jury breaks without verdict in Philadelphia church abuse case June 7, 2012 PHILADELPHIA (Reuters)
Philadelphia Priest Trial: Jury Reaches Split Verdict In Case Of Monsignor William Lynn By MARYCLAIRE DALE 06/22/12 PHILADELPHIA
“A Roman Catholic church official was convicted of child endangerment but acquitted of conspiracy Friday in a landmark clergy-abuse trial, making him the first U.S. church official branded a felon for covering up abuse claims. Monsignor William Lynn helped the archdiocese keep predators in ministry, and the public in the dark, by telling parishes their priests were being removed for health reasons and then sending the men to unsuspecting churches, prosecutors said. Lynn, 61, served as secretary for clergy from 1992 to 2004, mostly under Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua….He was convicted of only a single endangerment count, which carries a possible 3 1/2- to seven-year prison term. The jury could not reach a verdict for Lynn’s co-defendant, the Rev. James Brennan, who was accused of sexually abusing a 14-year-old boy in 1999….
The jury, however, did find that Lynn endangered the victim of defrocked priest Edward Avery, who pleaded guilty before trial to a 1999 sexual assault.
As many people know, the West Memphis Three were released from prison last year after spending 18 years there. One of them was on death row before he was released.
The three entered what are known as Alford pleas, which in essence is that they admit there is enough evidence to possibly convict them, but at the same time they don’t have to admit guilt. The court then pronounced them guilty. This event revived interested in the West Memphis Three case. Many believe that the murders of the three eight year old boys were occult crimes. These murders occurred on a full moon and court testimony stated that the three murders belonged to a teenage cult. A great deal of information has been written about the case from the perspectives of those that believe they were innocent and those that believe they were guilty.
The movies that have been or are being produced about the case are from the perspective of those that think they are innocent.
Most of the easily accessible information on the case on the Internet is from the perspective of those that think they are innocent. I will list some resources for the perspective of those that think they are guilty below.
One good webpage for information on this case is http://wm3truth.com
Our webpage with information on the day care cases from the perspectives of the alleged victims has an article titled “West Memphis 3 confession, witness corroboration and physical evidence” http://ritualabuse.us/ritualabuse/articles/day-care-and-child-abuse-cases/
Another good page with information is http://callahan.8k.com
This is the most extensive web page on the case on the Internet, with information from both sides of the case, including many documents.
Dale Griffis, the longtime cult researcher, also has information on his perspective of the case, at:
Dale Griffis – West Memphis Three Case Information http://ritualabuse.us/ritualabuse/articles/dale-griffis-west-memphis-three-case-information/
Todd Moore wrote the below article in response to an editorial published in the Jonesboro Sun by Chris Wessel. He is the father of one of the West Memphis Three murder victims. Father of WM3 murder victim certain who killed 3 boys By Todd Moore
Guest Columnist Opinion Section of the Jonesboro Sun on Tuesday, June 12, 2012
These many cases show the repeated cover ups of child abuse crimes and how child abuse exists worldwide. The cover ups of these crimes are similar to the techniques used to cover up ritual abuse crimes today.
As survivors, we should educate ourselves about these cases and learn from them. For many years, clergy abuse crimes were covered up. The Sandusky case was not investigated. Many of the techniques used against survivors in these cases are being used against ritual abuse survivors today. Abused children were not believed. Through hard work, some are now being believed.
Often times, what is missing from our side of the story is the research, which can help unify the survivor movement. This research strengthens our stories, and shows patterns across all areas of child abuse. Some of those on the other side want to divide us up. Don’t let them. Make sure everyone hears our story and the stories of other abused survivors. Continue to speak out.
The most important thing is to help others. By speaking out, we do this.
Remember “Your silence will not protect you.” Please continue to speak out. Thank you.