Who are the "trusted persons" we teach our children to rely upon?
We teach our children based upon our personal beliefs, i.e., family, friends, the church, teachers, policemen etc., what we learned earlier in life, but where do we get those beliefs, and are they correct?
Before we get into why "Trusted Folks" are the topic of discussion, lets review some "Myths & Facts About Sex Offenders."
The Center for Sex Offender Management, A Project of the Office of Justice Programs, US Department of Justice, has a Myths & Facts About Sex Offenders page.
Well thats not quite what I thought from listening to the media, or from listening to political speakers. (Both heavily influence our beliefs.)
OK, the State of Pennsylvania, has a wonderful quiz on Facts & Myths related to sex offenders. I'll try that quiz and learn more about sex offenders. Wait a minute, they are saying virtually the same thing as the Center for Sex Offender Management! Lets look at one more...
2001 The Institute for Psychological Therapies: Societal Myths about Sex Offending and Consequences for Prevention of Offending Behavior Against Children and Women.
Four myths are discussed:
OK, there are many myths out there about sex offenders, but, what is the relationship between registered sex offenders and trusted persons in our lives, our topic?
1) That sex offending behavior, especially that of a "sexual predator" or compulsive offender, represents a defective value system, amorality and/or volitional choice to engage in a deviant lifestyle, rather than an expression of an underlying sexual disorder of psychoneurological origin.
2) That the vast majority of sex offenses are committed by predators and that, indeed, most sex offenders are predators with extremely high rates of recidivism.
3) That the justice system is a revolving door for sex offenders with offenders receiving light sentences and easily gaining parole, therefore, necessitating extraordinary measures, such as civil commitment, to keep dangerous sexual predators of the street. Furthermore, that length of incarceration is correlated with a lower risk of reoffending.
4) That broad public notification of sex offenders' names, addresses and place of employment will help people protect their child and reduce offending behavior.
With laws as they are today, effectively registered sex offenders are "strangers" to children in society. However, even given that, we still hear about many sex offenses against children. Statistics are showing that most sex offenses against children are not committed by registered sex offenders, but are committed by trusted persons in our lives.
Hear the comments and opinions of professionals below, then review the cases in the right hand column. Decide for yourself, whether the registered sex offender is the one, YOU NEED TO BE MOST CONCERNED ABOUT??
Having said that, please do not interpret this to mean, never have concern over a registered sex offender. It is always important to evaluate the facts and circumstances of the moment (as the college student in this article learned), and act appropriately.
One final point, notice the dates of these articles. It appears that, as more and more stories are told, and newer statistics unfold, the truth is revealing itself!
Copyright ©2003 LAMP.
"There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one striking at the root." - Henry David Thoreau -
Typical Sex Offender, says the Media:
"The television flickers as a masked man crouches in the bushes, waiting. The sound of heels on the sidewalk grows closer and closer as a beautiful young woman in a tight dress approaches.
Iowa 4-30-2003: How Assaults Happen (4-30-2003 Iowa State Daily)
At the exact moment she passes, the man leaps from the bushes, grabs her from behind and pushes her into the back seat of his car. Half an hour later, the woman emerges crying, her dress torn. She runs for the nearest police station to seek help.
Although this scene is common in most media portrayals of sexual assault, Leigh Ebbesmeyer, director of training for the Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault, said only about 2 percent of sexual assaults involve an unknown attacker." (Iowa State Daily 4-30-2003)
There are red flags parents can watch for, says Maricopa County Prosecutor Cindy Nannetti.
A person who constantly flatters and showers attention upon young people is a person parents should pay attention to, she said. The most successful predators are brilliant manipulators.
"Think about a teacher, a coach, a priest, day care worker, slowly building a relationship so the child has a bond, an affection with that person," Nannetti said. "This teacher, or whoever, tells the young person how intelligent, how beautiful, how special he or she is and children-especially ones from dysfunctional homes - love to hear that. This person treats the child special and gives them time and attention, which we all crave. Then the kids are quite confused when hands-on sexual contact occurs."
Authorities also say to be watchful for the teacher who is in constant contact with children and seldom seeks out the company of adults.
"Be suspicious of a person who spends too much time with kids," Nannetti said. "Healthy adults who supervise children crave adult time too," she said. "When we prosecute a sex offender often the defense will call character witnesses who say, 'Why, he's a wonderful man and just loves being with kids."'
Characteristics of sexual predators:
(4-30-2003 The Arizona Republic)
1. Refusal to take responsibility for his or her actions and blames others or circumstances for failures;
2. A sense of entitlement;
3. Low self-esteem;
4. A need for power and control;
5. A lack of empathy;
6. An inability to form intimate relationships with adults;
7. A history of abuse;
8. A troubled childhood;
9. Deviant sexual behaviors and attitudes;
10. Drug and/or alcohol abuse;
(Source: Protecting Your Children From Sexual Predators by Colorado psychologist Leigh Baker.)
Nassau Bahamas 4-3-2003: Strangers can abuse children; these incidents are more likely to involve force and usually occur only once. However most offenders are not strangers.
The child knows more than 85% of the offenders, it may be a father, uncle, brother, grandfather, stepfather, neighbour, family, friend, or the baby sitter. Typically child sexual abuse will occur repeatedly within a long-term relationship, because the offender abuses his position of power. (4-2-2003 The Nassau Guardian)
Connecticut 5-02-2003: Sex Abuse Stats:
More than half of abusers were the child's biological parent; 53.6 percent of abusers were male. - Nearly 90 percent of convicted sex offenders knew or were related to the victim. (5-2-2003 The Hartford Courant CtNow.com)
Ohio 4-10-2003: Like most victims of sex offenses, the girl knew Brown. "Lots of times people want to believe it is a stranger who has done this to their children. But, it seems like (for) all of them it is someone the victim knows, loves or trusts," said Shirley Swallow, who retired at year's end as director of the Miami County Victim Witness program.
A number of offenders are stepfathers, or men living with or dating single mothers, he said. "Your true pedophiles are drawn to single women with kids. And, then you have stepdads where the kids are a little older. He may not be by definition a pedophile, but he views a 16-year-old as somebody who is willing and able, and then there's nothing wrong with it."
"If you have a relative, a neighbor, an acquaintance, somebody who is spending an extraordinary amount of interest in your child, that should send up a red flag. It doesn't necessarily mean they are up to something, but it should be a red flag," Duchak said.
Nasal attributed the growth in sex offenses to "first and foremost the breakdown in the nuclear family." He, too, referred to the number of stepparent offenders along with "a general coarsening of society;" children raising children, causing a lack of maturity and understanding; and the information age where "children are bombarded with information beyond their years."
Swallow said one of the most important things parents can do is talk to their kids about the difference between appropriate and inappropriate touches. If someone touches them in a way that causes discomfort, they should tell their parents or another responsible adult. For older children, Swallow said, "Parents should be parents, tell their kids they can't dress like rock singers, et cetera." (4-10-2003: Dayton Ohio, Daily News)
Washington 4-9-2003: Meeting Goes Beyond Sterotypes: The panelists said that known sex offenders are only a piece of the problem. They emphasized that only about 2 percent of sexual assaults involve strangers.
The vast majority of crimes are committed by persons who are known and trusted, such as family members, friends, neighbors or babysitters.
Prosecuting attorney Robin Webb-Lakey said it is important to listen to children. She said that after being assaulted they may only say something vague, such as "He was mean to me" or "He hurt me." "They may believe that they told you and you didn't listen," she said. (4-9-2003 Anacortes American)
California 5-21-2003: County seeks funds to track sex offenders: There has been no upsurge in crimes by registered sex offenders, and many do not re-offend, a Sheriff's Department spokesman said.
And the most recent sex-related killings in Southern California, including the kidnap-murder of Samantha Runnion whose body was found near Lake Elsinore, and the murder of Poway resident Danielle Van Dam, were committed by men with no prior convictions.
"Your chance of your kids being molested by a registered sex offender are tiny compared to the danger of them being molested by Uncle Joe, by their coaches and neighbors," said Capt. Lori Bird, of the Family Protection Division of the Sheriff's Department. "And not all the registered sex offenders are child molesters. (5-21-2003 North County Times)
New Hampshire 5-26-2003: All of the 338 people Keene, N.H., police have charged with sex crimes against children have been convicted, according to the detective whose Internet patrols led to their arrests. McLaughlin has arrested more than one coach, according to a list on the Keene Police Department Web site. A 28-year-old track coach from Massachusetts who worked as a chemical engineer and a 35-year-old athletic coach from Germany have also been caught by McLaughlin.
The list includes nine other teachers, 68 students ages 13 to 29, 25 computer programmers and technicians, five current of former members of the military, four current or former police officers, two firefighters, two Catholic priests, vice president of a Canadian political party, an AIDS activist, a sex offender counselor and a psychologist. (5-26-2003 The Daily News Transcript)
» 8-12-03 Taiwan:Child sexual abuse myths need revision!
In order to protect children from being sexually mistreated, society's prevailing views on the nature of sex crimes must be re-evaluated, said Hong Su-tseng, a professor at National Kaohsiung Normal University's Institute of Gender Education.
The perpetrator of a sex crime is not necessarily a stranger, for sexual abuse often occurs within the family, which may be confusing for a child to comprehend, said Hong. Because children believe families and friends to be innately good, parents should re-evaluate how to make their kids distinguish "right" from "wrong." "Sexual abuse can't be portrayed as just violent attacks, because, for little kids, it could come in the form of playful enticement," pointed out Hong.
Another problem is that the responsibility for sexual abuse has often been entirely attributed to the perpetrator and the victim is relieved of any wrongdoing.
Huang Pi-hsia, director of the Children's Bureau of the Ministry of Interior (MOI), announced that beginning in September, laws governing child sex crimes will define "children" as all those 18 years old and younger, in accordance with the United Nations' custom regarding children's rights. MOI has for many years kept "children" (12 years and younger) and "juveniles" (12-18 years) separate to prevent confusion.
(by The China Post)
10 Myths about Priestly Pedophilia: The media, egged on by a small group of dissenting Catholics, have been having a field day over the tragedy of priests involved in sexual abuse. And the reporting has been littered with falsehoods and outright fabrications. So CRISIS has put together a list of the ten most common false media claims — along with their fact-filled responses to them. (Crisis Magazine © 2001 Washington DC, USA)
News Articles Showing Who Is Committing Sex Offenses:
Many Are Public Servants!
New Jersey 12-17-2003: Retired judge indicted on federal child pornography charges. A retired Superior Court judge whose duties included reviewing community registration by convicted sex offenders was indicted Tuesday by a federal grand jury on charges of producing and possessing child pornography. The indictment also charges Stephen W. Thompson, 57, of Haddon Township, with traveling to Russia in September 2002, where he made a 40-minute videotape of himself engaged in sex with a teenage boy. (RENEE WINKLER, Courier-Post Staff)
New Jersey 5-2-2003: High-tech crime unit led to judge's arrest: A state police high-tech crimes unit used the Internet to investigate a Superior Court judge who was arrested Wednesday on charges of possessing child pornography. (Courier Post Online)
California 6-19-2003: The Langley computer hacker whose work led to child-pornography charges against a California judge has had his evidence thrown out of court. Willman (Hacker) -- then 20 and on a personal campaign against pedophiles -- wrote a "Trojan Horse" computer program disguised as an image. Once downloaded, the program gave Willman access to a person's computer. Willman used the program to download diary entries from Kline's computer, which he passed on to police, resulting in seven charges against Kline. This week's ruling leaves Kline, 62, facing just one charge of possession of child pornography, relating to evidence found on his office computer.(Canada.com)
Florida 1-22-03: Prosecutor faces Web sex charges: WEST PALM BEACH - A highly respected prosecutor was taken out of a courtroom during a trial Tuesday and arrested on charges that he stripped and masturbated in front of a Web cam for someone he believed to be a 13-year-old girl, police said. Karmelin, 38, a top prosecutor in Palm Beach County, has been in the state attorney's office for more than 10 years. He publicly has said he had hopes to become a judge. (PolkOnline.com)
Oregon 1-29-2002: The suit was filed Monday in Portland by an attorney for the two men, who were 18 and 17 when the acts were alleged to have taken place. Named as defendants are Lance Cole Kirk, an officer before leaving The Dalles force last year, Police Chief Jay Waterbury and the city. According to the lawsuit, one youth was 18 in October 1999 when he agreed to act as an undercover drug informant for The Dalles police. In exchange, pending criminal charges against him were dropped. (KATU.com) 5-4-2004 Lawsuit settled: Plaintiff awarded $245,000 in sex abuse case:A former Explorer Scout's suit sought $5.5 million from The Dalles and a former police officer
Oregon 5-21-2003: A Wasco County sheriff's deputy arraigned Monday is the third law enforcement officer in the county in two years to be charged with the sexual abuse of teenage boys. Randell Hooper, 42, a 15-year veteran of the department, is charged with three felony counts of sexual abuse and sodomy and misdemeanor charges of attempted sodomy and sexual abuse. (KATU.com)
Florida 5-24-2003: Teen to Sue Dundee Over Officer Incident: DUNDEE -- The town of Dundee has received notice that a Haines City teenager who claims she suffered "injuries and damages" as a result of having sex with a former Dundee police officer intends to sue. The incident involves Leeah Nikole Bowman, 18, and former officer Mack Simpkins, who in March was sentenced to eight years' probation for having sex with a teenager. The incident happened two years ago, according to the claim. Bowman, who was 16 at the time, and Simpkins, who was then 24, met while he was conducting a traffic investigation involving Bowman, according to the claim. (The Ledger.com)
Ohio 6-5-2003: A drill instructor at a Bremen youth boot camp has been charged with having sex with a 14-year-old girl. Christopher J. Toops, 32, Logan, was indicted Friday by a Fairfield County grand jury on three counts of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor and three counts of sexual battery, all third degree felonies, said Detective Al Hildinger of the Fairfield County Sheriff's Office. COBRA currently has 24 cadets housed at the center, said Col. Larry Cunningham, camp director. The camp takes in youths from across the state who are sent from juvenile court. (Lancaster Eagle-Gazatte)
Pennsylvania 6-16-2003: GOV. Rendell's now considering ordering an independent investigation of the state police sex scandal. There should have been one last year after the Daily News reported supervisors of convicted sex offender ex-Trooper Michael Evans were aware of his predatory prowlings long before he was charged with sex crimes by six women, three in their teens. He's now in prison, but a promised follow-up internal investigation never was completed. . (Philadelphia Daily News)
Florida 6-16-2003: WEST PALM BEACH -- Alarmed by rampant sexual misconduct between guards and juvenile inmates, Palm Beach County State Attorney Barry Krischer on Monday announced a grand jury investigation into Florida's only maximum-security prison for girls.. (Orlando Sentinel.com)
Montana 6-8-2003: HELENA - A former Jefferson County jailer who pleaded guilty last year to having sex with two female inmates will be under state supervision for the next three years. (Billings-Gazette)
Kentucky 6-21-2003: Kit Carson Elementary School Principal Delbert Wayne Newman, 48, was arrested at 4:30 p.m. June 12 for indecent exposure at Jacobson Park on Athens Boonesboro Road, according to a Lexington police citation. Newman “intentionally exposed his penis and masturbated in front of (an) undercover officer in (the) public restroom at Jacobson Park,” according to the citation. “Subject knew or should know his conduct would cause ... alarm.” .(RichmondRegister.com)
Minnesota 6-12-2003: A former Detroit Lakes elementary school principal has been fined one-thousand dollars and placed on probation for 25 years after being found guilty of fondling an eleven-year-old boy.(KARE 11)
Wisconsin 5-21-2003: and 5-22-2003: Carla Paulsrud, the infamous West Bend high school teacher caught giving sex ed lessons just about everyplace other than the classroom, has been given permission to serve her sentence up in the Chippewa County Jail. If she can get in. Washington County Judge Patrick Faragher sentenced Paulsrud the other day to a year of jail time and 10 years of probation for sleeping with a teenage student some 50 times. Faragher told the teacher that her student "may have loved you, in his very immature way, but you cannot, may not, meet your emotional needs in the arms of a student. You are not a child abuser as much as a trust abuser. This is an offense about betrayed trust, not sex and not love." (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
Ohio 5-22-2003: Teacher sentenced for sex with student....(ToledoBlade.com)
Long Island, New York 5-22-2003: Teacher pleads guilty to sending suggestive e-mails to student. (Herald Community News)
New Jersey 5-24-2003: MAYS LANDING - A former band director at Pleasantville High School was sentenced Friday to five years in prison in connection with a sexual relationship he had with a former student. Richard Bellamy Jr., 29, of Philadelphia, said in court last month that between Jan. 1 and April 4, 2002, he dated a 17-year-old student from Pleasantville High School and had sex with her. The defendant said in court Friday that he did not understand why he was getting prison time. He said he used poor judgment but he didn't feel that he deserved such a severe sentence, Assistant Prosecutor Curt Baker said. (Press of AtlanticCity.com)
Ohio 6-5-2003: A former Oak Hills High teacher's aide admitted Wednesday she twice performed oral sex on a male student. Teresa Poplis, 45, pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual battery -- charges carrying a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. Assistant Hamilton County prosecutor Jim Butler dismissed two other similar charges. (CincinnatiPost)
Washington DC 6-6-2003:Predators in the D.C. Public Schools: The D.C. school system is no stranger to sex offenders. Next month Reginald Robinson Jr. will be sentenced in Superior Court. He pleaded guilty in March to one count of attempted second-degree child sexual abuse. The victim was a 14-year-old female student at Ronald H. Brown Middle School, where Robinson worked as a coach. At the time he committed the offense with this child in his car on Jan. 21, Robinson was a registered sex offender in Maryland for a 1998 sexual assault on another 14-year-old girl. How many others are in the system? (Washington Post -Must Register-)
Ohio 5-31-03: Celina - Convicted sex offender Marc P. Boznango, 36, was in Mercer County Common Pleas Court yesterday to be sentenced on two counts of sexual battery. Boznango pleaded guilty earlier this year after an investigation by the Van Wert County Sheriff's Department revealed Boznango had engaged in a sexual relationship with one of his female students - the girl was 14 at the time the relationship began. At 34 years of age, Boznango was 20 years her senior. According to reports, the relationship continued for two years. (Times Bulletin)
Michigan 6-26-2003:A six-year-old boy is in fair condition tonight at Spectrum Butterworth Hospital, after being in critical condition for much of his two-week stay there so far. the boy was sexually abused by a family member, 24-year-old Benjamin Shoffner. The Children's Assessment Center in Kent County reports that out of the 810 child sex abuse cases it reviewed last year, only six were committed by strangers. Ninety-nine percent of the sexual abuse were perpetrated by a child's parent, relative or friend. (WZZM13.com)
Arkansas 6-9-2003: Investigators recently went to the home of a man accused of sexually abusing his grandson, looking for subtle clues that could support the allegation. They did not have to look long. "When we went to his home, the grandfather had a child pornography picture as the screen saver on his computer," said Capt. Darrell Stayton, head of the Arkansas State Police’s Crimes Against Children division. "Not everyone is that helpful." (NWANews.com)
Oklahoma 5-23-2003: From the quiet slumber of her bed, Jennifer’s childhood was forever torn away from her. She was awakened by a breathing nightmare. Like most children, she trusted that her parents would always protect her. But who in the shadows could Jennifer cry out for, since it was her father’s hands upon her? (The EdmondSun)
New Mexico 5-29-03:Girl's Journal Uncovers On-Going Sex Abuse: A young girl’s journal left behind in an Albuquerque classroom has alerted school officials and police into a series of sexual assaults by the girl’s uncle. Police say the actions of the victim’s mother were nearly as troubling as the alleged abuse. Police claim the woman allowed her brother to spend hours --or even stay overnight--in the girl's bedroom behind a locked door. (KRQE.com)
Ireland 6-7-03: A FATHER-of-three has been sent to jail for seven-and-a-half years after he systematically abused his children "in turn". Earlier, prosecution lawyer Ms Christine Smith had told the court that the father-of-three had abused his daughter and two sons over a 14-year period from around September 1984 until around February 1998. Ms Smith said that he started to abuse his children from when they were around six or seven years old until they were around 11 years of age. (The Belfast Telegram)
STATE EMPLOYEES & OTHERS IN TRUSTED POSITIONS:
Ohio 7-19-2003: Ex-mentor convicted in sex case! NEWARK, Ohio - A former volunteer for Big Brothers Big Sisters of America has been convicted of 89 sex charges involving 11 boys. Scott Wagner, 35, faces more than 536 years in prison if he receives consecutive sentences on the convictions reached Thursday by a Licking County jury. (Associated Press)
California 6-30-2003: Former Group Home Counselor To Be Evaluated For Having Sex With Teen! Trisha Watkins, 32, pleaded guilty before Orange County Superior Court Judge Richard Toohey on Friday to five counts each of oral copulation and unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor, said Deputy District Attorney Christine Simmons. (NBC SanDiego.com)
Mississippi 5-24-2003: Children's Home Worker Accused Of Sexual Relations With Teenager: Ruddell has been accused of having sex with a 15-year-old girl at Sunnybrook Children's Home, harboring the child when she ran away and writing four love letters to her. (The Clarion Ledger)
Michigan 6-7-2003: ADRIAN -- Saying there is no place for him in society, a judge sentenced a Tipton man with nursing and counseling credentials to as much as 30 years in prison for sexually abusing a mentally disabled man. (Daily Telegram)
California 6-16-2003: VISTA – A former Escondido dental hygienist was sentenced today to 30 years in prison for molesting three young female patients last summer (ages 5-7), as well as a young female relative. . (SIGNON SANDIEGO NEWS SERVICES)
ILLINOIS 6-7-2003: PEORIA - A Creve Coeur man who is a registered sex offender was sentenced to nine years in prison for having simulated sex with an 8-year-old girl last fall. James D. Woods, 49, of 136 Marquette St. pleaded guilty in June in Peoria County court to aggravated criminal sexual abuse.
Last fall, Woods baby-sat the girl and at least once laid on top of her and simulated sex while the two were clothed. The abuse came to light after the girl told her mother, court records indicated. Woods is a registered sex offender who spent nearly five years in prison for a 1989 conviction of molesting a girl who was between the ages of 8 and 10. (PJStar.com)
We have purposely omitted examples of these cases because they have been so much in the news that folks know of many.
FEMALE SEX OFFENDERS:
10-15-2001: The Unusual Suspects: Female Sex Offenders Are Rare, Driven by More Than Sex. According to the Justice Department's most recent statistics, sex offenses are still very much a man's crime. Female sex offenders are very rare: 96 percent of the sex assaults reported in 1999 involved male perpetrators.
Women were most commonly involved in sex abuse cases involving victims under age 6, making up 12 percent of those offenders. Women were involved in 3 percent of the sex cases involving victims age 6 through 12, and 3 percent for victims ages 13 through 17. (ABC News.com)
10-15-2001: Forbidden Love: Social Worker Goes on Trial for Raping the Father of Her Children. On the surface, 29-year-old Kristina Magnuson's love affair with a 19-year-old man did not appear to be a crime. But that was before Wisconsin prosecutors found out she allegedly began the affair when he was 9 years old. (She was his babysitter!) (ABC News.com)
6-5-2003: Missouri: A woman sued a former Catholic nun Thursday, accusing her of sexual abuse during the 1970s when the plaintiff was a student at a parochial school. The suit says the sexual encounters took place at the school and adjacent convent, other places in St. Louis, and during a trip to Colorado. The suit says the nun misrepresented herself as providing "emotional and spiritual counseling" to the girl. (StarTribune.com)