Putting our children at risk

David Webb
The Rare Reporter

Child sexual abuse a concern for everyone, especially LGBT parents

Most people would probably agree there is no resource that a society cherishes more than its children. So it is hard to fathom how sexual predators manage with such apparent ease to carry out horrendous, undetected assaults on children practically under the noses of their families and others who are charged with their protection.

As horrific as the crime of child sexual abuse is, there are no firm estimates of its prevalence because it often goes undetected and is seriously underreported, according to agencies that study child abuse.

Less than 100,000 crimes of sexual abuse are reported each year because children fear telling anyone, and adults who become aware of the activity are often reluctant to contact law enforcement agencies, even though there is usually a legal requirement to do so.

With so many LGBT households now raising children, it is obviously vital that all parents be aware of the tactics used by sexual predators to seduce children without arousing the suspicion of their families, and aware of the symptoms victims of child sexual abuse exhibit.

The critical need for sustained intervention into child sexual abuse recently gained national attention following a grand jury’s indictment of retired Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky on 40 counts of child sex abuse involving eight victims over a 15-year period. The victims reportedly came into contact with the now 67-year-old, married Sandusky in connection with the Second Mile, a children’s charity the former football coach founded.

Although Sandusky denied, this week in an NBC interview, engaging in any type of sexual activity with the pre-pubescent boys, he acknowledged showering and “horsing around” with them after exercise. He also admitted hugging young boys and putting his hand on their legs when they sat next to him.

His admissions shocked viewers and confirmed in many minds what was already suspected — Sandusky is most likely a pedophile that has taken advantage of young boys with the unwitting complicity of their families.

It is a devastating scandal that will likely rival the one that rocked the Catholic Church a decade ago when it became known that untold numbers of Catholic Church priests sexually abused young boys and violated the trust of their families.

If the charges against Sandusky are true, the accounts by the victims portray a classic pattern of enticement and betrayal practiced by the former football coach in his pursuit of the young boys. Likewise, the lack of action by those who knew about Sandusky’s alleged criminal activity parallel what often happens when the abuser commands power and respect in a community.

Much of the difficulty in combating child sexual abuse can be attributed to its relative youth in terms of public awareness about the crime. The first studies on the molestation of children began in the 1920s, and the first estimate of the prevalence of the crime was reported in 1948.

In 1974 the National Center for Child Abuse and Neglect was founded, and the Child Abuse and Treatment Act was created. Since then, awareness about the problem has grown dramatically, and much more is known about deterring the crime and assisting victims of it.

Children’s advocates have identified “red flags” to help parents and others protect children from sexual predators. They warn parents to be wary of someone who wants to spend more time with their children than they do, who attempts to be alone with a child, who frequently seeks physical closeness to a child such as hugging or touching, who is overly interested in the sexuality of a child, who seems to prefer the company of children to people their own age, who lacks boundaries, who regularly offers to babysit,who often gives presents or  money to children, who frequently walks in on children in bathrooms or locker rooms, who frequents parks where children gather, who makes inappropriate comments about a child’s appearance or who likes to photograph children.

Signs of possible sexual abuse in children include a fear of people, places or activities, reluctance to undress, disturbed sleep, mood swings, excessive crying, fear of being touched, loss of appetite, a drastic change in school performance, bizarre themes in drawing, sexually acting out on other children, advanced sexual knowledge, use of new words for private body parts and a reversion to old behavior such as bedwetting or thumb sucking.

Aside from the moral responsibility to protect children and other weaker members of society that all people share, it is essential to intervene in child sexual abuse because of the long-lasting psychological damage it usually causes. The problems can include feelings of worthlessness, depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts and distorted views of sexuality.

Also, victims of child sexual abuse tend to become sexual predators as adults, making it a crime that begets more crime.

The Sandusky scandal will undoubtedly lead to devastating repercussions for Penn State, for the Second Mile charity with which the former football coach is no longer affiliated and for law enforcement and university officials who became aware of concerns about the former football coach’s activities and failed to act on them.

But the real tragedy — if the allegations are true — will be the lasting impact upon the victims.

David Webb is a veteran journalist who has covered LGBT issues for the mainstream and alternative media for three decades. E-mail him at davidwaynewebb@yahoo.com.        

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 18, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

NJ: Murder of trans woman Victoria Carmen White – disrespected by law enforcement

From Pam Spaulding:

People are mourning the tragic suicide of 18-year-old Rutgers University freshman Tyler Clementi; over in Maplewood, NJ, the young life of another person was taken from this earth as the result of a fatal shooting that should also receive your attention. (Maplewood Patch):

The Essex County Prosecutor’s Office reported today that the victim of a fatal shooting in Maplewood on Sunday was Victoria Carmen White, formerly James White. White had legally changed her name to Victoria Carmen following sex reassignment surgery.

The Prosecutor’s Office and Maplewood Police had originally identified the victim as James White. However, as stated in a release from the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office this afternoon: “Following an examination by the Medical Examiner and further investigation, it has been confirmed that the victim was a post-operative transgender female having undergone sex reassignment surgery.”

Looking at the numerous photos of Victoria, I have to agree with Monica Roberts of Transgriot.

Take a look at the photos of Victoria interspersed throughout this post. Does she look like a ‘man’? When are you peeps going to get it through your heads, especially in the law enforcement and criminal justice communities that genitalia does not necessarily equal gender?

There is nothing indicating that IDing her in that manner is relevant to the shooting.

Fair point. Why mention it if it’s not relevant to the case?


—  John Wright

Log Cabin asks court to bar further DADT enforcement

It’s only been a week since a federal court declared DADT unconstitutional in the case brought forward by the Log Cabin Republicans. Now attorney Earle Miller has filed a document requesting that the ban be permanently lifted. (The Advocate):

In a three-page proposed judgment filed to the court on Thursday, attorney Earle Miller representing the gay Republican group asked U.S. district judge Virginia A. Phillips to permanently enjoin the Defense Department “from enforcing or applying the statute and policy known as ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ including any implementing regulations, against any person under their jurisdiction or command, and from taking any actions whatsoever, or permitting any person or entity to take any action whatsoever, against gay or lesbian servicemembers, or prospective servicemembers, that in any way affects, impedes, interferes with, or influences their military status, advancement, evaluation, duty assignment, duty location, promotion, enlistment or reenlistment based upon their sexual orientation[.]”

Miller further requested that all current investigations or discharges of gay service members under DADT be immediately suspended and discontinued.

In a Thursday interview with NPR, Dan Woods, lead attorney in the Log Cabin Republicans case, said, “We want [Phillips] to block any further enforcement or application of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ wherever we have military operations – not just in California, not just in this country, but wherever we have military bases anywhere in the world.”

Karen Ocamb has more on this story.

In other, less promising news on the DADT front, Sen. Holy Joe Lieberman is rumbling that breaking a filibuster may not be possible. Kerry Eleveld:

“The question is whether the Senate leadership can negotiate an agreement with the Republicans that will allow the bill to come up and get them to feel that they can introduce amendments that they want to introduce as well,” Lieberman told The Advocate. “But until that happens, I don’t think the votes are there to break the filibuster, which would be a shame.”

Democrats must find 60 votes to break the filibuster the GOP is threatening to mount, meaning they will likely need to sway at least one or two Republicans to vote against their party. But Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell are playing a game of chicken over how many amendments Republicans will be allowed to offer once the Defense authorization bill reaches the floor, putting moderate GOP senators like Sen. Susan Collins in a bind.

…”Senator Collins would like the Senate to proceed to a full and open debate on the defense Authorization bill, with members able to offer amendments on all relevant issues,” said Kevin Kelley. “She has spoken to Senator Reid and encouraged him to work with Republican leaders to negotiate such an agreement so that the bill could be brought to the floor.”

Today was also Servicemembers United’s Lobby Day and meeting of military partners with the Pentagon Working Group, and we’ll have an on-site report from Keori.
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright

NC Law Enforcement wants warrantless access to your prescription records.

Please note: I couldn’t quite find a category for this item, but I feel it is very relevant to EVERYONE’S privacy, but especially the LGBT community due to the abuse potential by law enforcement. “Rogue” cops and prosecutors could use such access to specifically target people on HIV meds, hormone treatments, etc. or just go fishing for dirt because they don’t like gay people, and want to punish them under “legal cover”

Sheriffs want lists of patients using painkillers Raleigh News & Observer

Sheriffs in North Carolina want access to state computer records identifying anyone with prescriptions for powerful painkillers and other controlled substances.

The state sheriff's association pushed the idea Tuesday, saying the move would help them make drug arrests and curb a growing problem of prescription drug abuse. But patient advocates say opening up people's medicine cabinets to law enforcement would deal a devastating blow to privacy rights.

Allowing sheriffs' offices and other law enforcement officials to use the state's computerized list would vastly widen the circle of people with access to information on prescriptions written for millions of people. As it stands now, doctors and pharmacists are the main users.

Sheriffs made their pitch Tuesday to a legislative health care committee looking for ways to confront prescription drug abuse. Local sheriffs said that more people in their counties die of accidental overdoses than from homicides. For years, sheriffs have been trying to convince legislators that the state's prescription records should be open to them.

"We can better go after those who are abusing the system," said Lee County Sheriff Tracy L. Carter.

Hey Sheriff Carter? Here's a thought. If you suspect that a person is abusing prescription drugs, or may be involved in an organized effort to obtain them for re-sale, try this little know tool: Appear before a judge or magistrate and present evidence that you have "probable cause" to believe a crime is being committed. If the judge finds your evidence credible, he will issue you a piece of paper called a "search warrant", and you can then take this piece of paper to the house, car or other residence of the person you suspect, and perform a meticulous search for evidence of drug law contravention. Things that you discover that do, in fact, contravene the law may allow you to return to the judge and get other pieces of paper to search other things, like a pharmacist's records.

This little know law is found in an equally obscure document called "The Constitution", in the Fourth Amendment to the "Bill of Rights" section.

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Apparently Civics is no longer taught in our schools.
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright

Maddow: “If DADT is going to end, the President could stop enforcement of that policy, pending that change. Why isn’t he?”

Rachel Maddow closed her show last night with a rather strong broadside against Robert Gibbs and President Obama, over DADT, but more generally, over everything. Rachel says this White House refuses to spend political capital, refuses to show guts. She says the White House won’t stop the DADT discharges now because “it would be hard.” She concludes:

“If DADT is going to end, the President could stop enforcement of that policy, pending that change. Why isn’t he?”

Why isn’t he? Because either the policy isn’t ending, or the President is afraid of something. Afraid of standing up to the Pentagon (remember, THEY work for HIM), afraid of spending political capital, afraid of making Republicans angry, afraid of doing anything that in any way might seem “controversial.”

It’s interesting that Rachel did this, since the White House made quite a big deal recently over her recent broadcast in which she praised Obama and his accomplishments. I’m guessing the White House won’t be sharing this video with anyone. It’s spot on.


—  John Wright