Dee Dee Wanted Her Daughter To Be Sick, Gypsy Wanted Her Mom To Be Murdered Dee Dee Blancharde was a model parent: a tireless single mom taking care of her gravely ill child. But after Dee Dee was killed, it turned out things weren’t as they appeared — and her daughter Gypsy had never been sick at all.
After being forced to pay out millions in settlements to the victims of former coach and child molester Jerry Sandusky, Penn State University attempted to recover the money through their insurance coverage. But in a twist, their insurer, PMA, instead fought back in court, with a disturbing argument - Penn State officials, including Joe Paterno, had known since 1976 of Sandusky's abuses. Today, their risk assessment was unsealed by the court, including information from past sealed settlements. [more inside]
Former GOP House Speaker Dennis Hastert admitted to sexually abusing boys on his wrestling team. He was sentenced today to 15 months in prison for structuring bank withdrawals, after a hearing in which "Individual D" took the stand, identifying himself as 53 year old Scott Cross (brother of a former GOP political ally of Hastert), and described Hastert's abuse. These are the Chicago Tribune's live tweets from the sentencing hearing. [Trigger Warning]
The Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuses would very much like to speak to Catholic Archbishop George Pell about child abuse by the Ballarat Catholic Clergy and claims that Pell tried to bribe an abuse victim to keep quiet. Formerly the highest ranked Australian clergyman and now posted to the Vatican, Pell has declined to attend the Commission to give evidence, claiming that he's too unwell to fly. Amidst anger from survivors at Pell's continued delays and pro bono offers from doctors to transport Pell safely, musical comedian and Matilda composer Tim Minchin wades into the mix with an empassioned plea: COME HOME (CARDINAL PELL) [more inside]
"He was a schemer who used the courts for profit and revenge. He was a paranoid, angry meth addict who had been arrested for battery and domestic violence seven times. He had been involuntarily committed, by his family’s count. And yet, in its report on Phoebe’s death, the Florida Department of Children and Families concluded, “There was nothing in the preceding several years that could have reasonably been interpreted as predictive of such an event.”
Suffer the Children: A long and heart-rending essay in The Monthly magazine about the Australian Family Law system's ugly response to allegations of child abuse in custody disputes. [more inside]
"Child sex abuse victims face a dilemma. To be recognized as victims, they cannot remain silent, but they must be silent enough to seem authentically hurt." -- US Federal prosecutor Sarah Chang talks about how expectations about how child abuse victims should act hinders prosecution of their abusers. Note: there are no explicit descriptions of abuse mentioned in this story, but this is still about child abuse, so take care.
Georgia Tann was an influential adoption advocate who popularized adoption in the US from 1920s to the 1950s. She arranged adoptions for movie stars like Joan Crawford and Lana Turner and essentially devised the modern closed adoption. But Tann's babies were not necessarily unwanted, and in fact she frequently stole them from poor parents or told parents their children were dead. Worse, the children in her care were often neglected or abused, and Tann would adopt children to anyone with the money to pay her exorbitant fees. Remarkably, Tann's legacy of corruption, neglect, and child theft went unremarked until after her death.
"After surviving one of the most high-profile and long-running school sex abuse scandals in history, a group of 32 men and women banded together to seek solace and justice — only to find that public outrage, a star attorney, and overwhelming evidence are no match for a legal process stacked against even the most privileged or traumatized." - Sam Roudman
‘I shot against Daddy, all men, small men, tall men, big men, fat men, men, my brother, society, the church, the convent, school, my family, my mother, all men, daddy, myself, men. I shot because it was fun and made me feel great. I shot because I was fascinated watching the painting bleed and die…’— Niki de Saint Phalle. [more inside]
“All of those things play a part in who I am as a person. It all has equal weight. I want sexual abuse to sit happily alongside other topics like music and creativity, without this gut shudder, ‘Oh no, we can’t talk about that.’” The book is accompanied by a playlist that Rhodes put on Spotify – Mozart’s Jupiter Symphony, Bach’s Goldberg Variations, Chopin’s Etude in C Minor – a wonderfully simple, powerful idea, which at times makes it heartbreakingly difficult to read.For The Guardian Zoe Williams interviews pianist James Rhodes about his just released autobiography, finally available after the UK Supreme Court ruled in his favour in the lawsuit taken out against him by his ex-wife. Trigger warning: child abuse. [more inside]
Adam Crapser was adopted from Korea to abusive parents who were arrested on multiple counts of child abuse and rape. Over thirty years later, one last sting of neglect from his parents came back to bite him: he has been served deportation papers because his adoptive parents failed to complete his naturalization process.
‘The Wolfpack’ Tells of One New York Apartment With Seven Children Locked Inside (NYT). Crystal Moselle's documentary "The Wolfpack," premieres this Sunday at the Sundance Film Festival. A video interview with Crystal Moselle. [more inside]
Boing Boing looks back on the truth behind the D&D Steam Tunnel tragedy Jason Louv writes for BoingBoing and outlines the truth behind the tabloid sensationalism of the D&D Steam Tunnel tragedy and what really happened to James Dallas. Note - it's far more complicated and tragic than was reported at the time. [more inside]
The Shame of Borough Park by Rachel Aviv [The New Yorker] After a child-molestation case, many leaders of the Hasidic community turned against the whistle-blower.
Arlena Lindley’s boyfriend Alonzo Turner beat her for months and murdered her child — so why was she sent to prison for 45 years? "...looking back over the past decade, BuzzFeed News identified 28 mothers in 11 states sentenced to at least 10 years in prison for failing to prevent their partners from harming their children. In every one of these cases, there was evidence the mother herself had been battered by the man." [article contains graphic descriptions of abuse]
Betrayed by Silence — In a four part investigation, MPR News details the cover up of child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church in Minneapolis and St. Paul. [more inside]
Marion Zimmer Bradley, award-winning author (The Mists of Avalon, Darkover, amongst others) not only aided and abetted her husband in child abuse (Walter Breen, a man who was first convicted in 1954), she also took part in it, according to an email from her daughter published yesterday.
His Career Will Be Absolutely Fine: On Telling People About Being Molested
People who have no vested interest in your father’s job, other than as citizens of a country where he pays taxes, will suddenly be very interested in your father figure’s job. Your sister’s friend will say, “She’s going to ruin your dad’s career.” You’re not even sure she knows what he does. Other things people will say. “These are very serious accusations. This kind of thing can ruin a person’s career.” “You should be very careful what you say because stuff like this can end a person’s career.” “You know this could hurt his career?” It will hurt you, because none of these people give a shit about your career.A devastating and beautifully written article.
"After Florida cut down on protections for children in troubled homes, deaths soared. The children died in ways cruel, outlandish, predictable and preventable." [more inside]
Everyone old enough remembers the moral panic during the 1980s surrounding Satanic Child Abuse--a memory refreshed most recently by HBOs hit, True Detective. The most famous case, of course, was the McMartin Preschool trial, which exemplified the panic surrounding satanic child abuse in day cares. As time passed, many felt that the allegations of abuse constituted a modern day witch-hunt. However, scholar Ross Cheit's new work (“The Witch-Hunt Narrative: Politics, Psychology, and the Sexual Abuse of Children,”) dispels many of the myths surrounding the events which still loom large in the American memory. [more inside]
So He Drew This Instead. (TW: child abuse)
Foreign adoptions by large, evangelical families may begin happily, but patterns of neglect and dysfunction have Seattle area communities questioning their benefits. (SLSlate) [more inside]
From the Dallas Morning News, an 8-part profile of Lauren Kavanaugh, who was kept in a closet for six years before being rescued at age 8 weighing 26 lbs, and of the remarkable people and recovery that has followed. [Warning: this story and the accompanying photos and videos are immensely hard to read, watch and listen to, and this piece is a trigger for every possible kind of abuse.]
As his wife, how do I respond? That he survived? That he’s brave? That he’s a hero for letting me talk about it? That I will stand beside him with a personal mission and public vow that nobody will ever hurt him, physically or emotionally, again, the way they did during his 30 months as a choirboy from 1988 to 1990?
"One parental right that is coming under attack more and more is the right to administer reasonable corporal punishment." Blogger Libby Anne of Love, Joy, Feminism (who was homeschooled) has written a detailed three-part series (1, 2, 3) describing how the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA)'s mission to insure the rights of homeschooling parents has come to include making it harder for CPS or other agencies to receive or act on reports of child abuse. [more inside]
Last June, the New York Times published an exposé of New York's exclusive Horace Mann School, detailing decades of sexual abuse of students by their teachers. The revelations prompted additional accusations and lawsuits from former students, an all-but-useless investigation, an admission by one of the school's former teachers, and a response by the school to parents (pdf). But one person who escaped the Times' notice was former English teacher Robert Berman.
Following recent revelations about apparently systematic cover-ups and a deep failure to cooperate with police by the Roman Catholic Church, the Australian Prime Minister last night announced the establishment of a Royal Commission into institutional responses to child abuse to investigate the matter.
Report finds Penn State president, Paterno concealed facts about Sandusky sex abuse: "Penn State football coach Joe Paterno and other university leaders 'repeatedly concealed critical facts' relating to assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky’s child sex abuse from authorities, according to Louis Freeh, the former FBI director who conducted an investigation [PDF] for the university in the Sandusky scandal." [more inside]
Is breastfeeding while using marijuana child abuse? The (warning: graphic) audio recording of Daisy Bram's pleas to police taking her (15-month- and 4-week-old) children away from her likely affected Butte County, California (Chico) voters' decision to soundly reject Measure A, a proposed new law to restrict marijuana cultivation. Today, Bram faces charges of felony child abuse and misdemeanor child endangerment for breastfeeding while using cannabis.
"One of the deep, dark secrets of America's past has finally come to light. Starting in the early 1900s, hundreds of thousands of American children were warehoused in institutions by state governments." An early part of the American experiment with Eugenics, the Walter E. Fernald State School inspired scores of similar institutions across the country, and more recently, one of the definitive histories of the era. [more inside]
The Beardslee, Shellrude and Darr families left North America for West Africa during the 1950s. They followed what they believed to be “God’s Calling” – to spread Christianity throughout the world. Their children however - starting at the age of 6 – were required to attend the boarding school in Mamou, Guinea, run by the Christian and Missionary Alliance. Cut off from their families for 9 months out of the year and without any reliable means of communication, the children quietly suffered emotional, spiritual, physical and/or sexual abuse at the hands of the all-missionary staff. All God’s Children tells the personal story of the first boarding school for children of missionaries to be investigated for abuse at the hands of the parents’ missionary colleagues. The survivors and parents share their journey of seeking justice, redemption and healing. [more inside]
Bill Conlin, a Philadelphia Daily News sports columnist, retired abruptly yesterday after word leaked the the Philadelphia Inquirer was set to run a story in the next day's paper detailing allegations against him of child sexual abuse dating from the 1970s. (Trigger warning; graphic and very sad accounts of familial abuse, shame, and silence.) [more inside]
In 2006, Hannah Overton was charged with the death of her 4-year-old foster son, Andrew Burd. Media accounts at the time claimed that Overton had force-fed her misbehaving son a mixture of water and creole seasoning, leading to death by salt poisoning. Convicted of capital murder and sentenced to life without parole in 2008, Overton's case led angry bloggers to call her "the ultimate evil," part of a cult of "child abuse groupies," a murderer that "church cronies" are working to free.
This month's issue of Texas Monthly paints a fuller picture of the short life of Andrew Burd and the conviction of the mother who was working towards adopting him.
This month's issue of Texas Monthly paints a fuller picture of the short life of Andrew Burd and the conviction of the mother who was working towards adopting him.
Judge William Adams beat his 16-year old daughter with a belt for downloading music and computer games
In 2004, Texas Judge William Adams beat his 16-year old daughter with a belt for downloading music and computer games. Unbeknownst to him, she filmed the whole thing. Seven years later, fed up with the continued harassment and abuse from her father, she uploaded it to YouTube (warning: graphic language and violence, NSFW). Less than 24 hours after hitting Reddit, the video is all over the news. Hillary Adams says on Twitter that she hopes her father will receive help, not condemnation.
Have you noticed the cartoon characters overtaking Facebook? Well, you're not alone because the national media sure has. This new Facebook meme is supposedly all about raising awareness for child abuse. But is this meme really accomplishing anything? Maybe not. And for good measure, some links for those who would REALLY like to help.
Last night Dan Rather reports presented on child sex trafficking in Portland, Oregon. The Oregonian newspaper briefly covered the Dan Rather report and also had a longer article in January about the same issue. Dan Rather wrote a short piece in the Huffington Post yesterday, saying that Portland is second in the nation for child prostitution. The organization ECTAP-USA (End Child Prostitution and Trafficking) published this 2005 (PDF) report about child prostitution in the US, linking it, in part, to the strip club industry.
"What if the boy didn’t stop? Would you spank him forever, or would you stop when it bordered on abuse, in which case the child would win?" On February 6, seven-year-old Lydia Schatz was murdered by her parents. Her eleven-year-old sister Zariah was hospitalized for kidney failure, among other injuries. Both girls had repeatedly been beaten with quarter-inch plastic plumbing supply line, a punishment instrument recommended by Michael and Debi Pearl of No Greater Joy ministries. [more inside]
At 14 months, Spanish infant Osel Hita Torres was brought by his parents to Dharamsala, where the Dalai Lama decreed him to be the reincarnation of the recently deceased Lama Yeshe. Torres became Lama Tenzin Osel Rinpoche, and spent most of his life growing up in a gilded cage in the Tibetan exile capital, venerated as a living deity and isolated from the corrupting influences of the world. But then he escaped. [more inside]
The Irish Comission to Inquire into Child Abuse published their full report documenting systematic abuses by Catholic-run industrial schools and schools for the disabled. Collecting data from over 1,500 witnesses, including survivors, government officials, and school staff, the report includes more than 70 years of incidents. It also documents the history of the laws that supported the schools. The executive summary damns both Church organizations and government for the abuse, but gives no names and falls short of recommending criminal proceedings. [more inside]
Johnny Rico, lead character in the hit movie Starship Troopers, is suiting up once again to fight back against the evils of the galaxy. Hollywood actor Casper Van Dien has reprised the combat savvy character for Childhelp to talk about fighting a different war – the war against child abuse. (via Ain't It Cool News, embarrassingly enough.) [more inside]
Russell Tongay cheerfully dropped his preschoolers into the Mississippi River. Two-year-old Kathy made it five miles before he pulled her out. Her five-year-old brother Bubba finally staggered to shore after 22 miles. Merely a warmup, their beaming father told the media gathered on the St. Louis riverbank, for what would be his children's crowning achievement: to swim the English Channel, England to France, a crossing that in 1950 had been completed only four times. And so began the short, sad celebrity of the Aquatots, another chapter in America's morbid fascination with children pushed by parents and coaches beyond overachievement into the realm of abuse and endangerment. [more inside]
Auroville Funded by Governments all over the world, the city of Auroville is an ongoing experiment 'whose stated purpose is to realize human unity in diversity' through yoga. Unfortunately, it seems the 'rule free' society has attracted some of the least welcome of humanity's outliers, namely child sex tourists. [more inside]
Australian Prime Minister John Howard has declared that the sexual abuse of Aboriginal children in the Northern Territory is a national emergency. He has announced a sweeping takeover of powers from the Territory Government in response to the crisis outlined in the Little Children are Sacred” report [6mb PDF] Some say knee-jerk and ill thought through, some say return to the bad old days of white paternalism, yet say there are many other issues confronting Aboriginal people. Why act now after 10 years in power, and a host of similar reports? Could it be an approaching federal election?
Arrest in real-time abuse case. "An undercover police officer in Toronto's child exploitation unit, who says he's seldom surprised what he sees any more, was shaken to the core Sunday when a suspected pedophile he was chatting with on-line allegedly began sexually assaulting a preschooler and sending images of the attack over the internet to him in real time." Detective Constable Paul Krawczyk: "My heart just started going, sweating, and I felt like throwing up." Police tracked down and arrested the man within an hour and a half.
Jill Greenberg is a Sick Woman Who Should Be Arrested and Charged With Child Abuse. The "End Times" exhibit in question. And then there is Ms. Greenberg and her husband's response(s). Somebody's over-reacting.
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