Footprints in the Snow

Jackson Park, Chicago, Field Museum Library, Source Flickr (No known copyright restrictions)

WARNING:  Graphic Images

The Maryland Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC) has arrested 69 y.o. James Morris, Jr. on charges of sodomy, second and third degree sex offenses, child abuse, and perverted practice [1].  Further charges are possible.

ICAC investigators received a tip that Morris was sexually abusing young teens.  An investigation disclosed multiple victims over some 27 years.  A search warrant at Morris’ home revealed computer and other electronic equipment believed related to the production of child pornography.

Terror and Seduction

Maryland Criminal Law, Section 3-306 prohibits sexual acts without the consent of another by force or threat of force; where the victim is mentally incapacitated or physically helpless; and where the victim is under 14 y.o.  Criminal Law, Section 3-307 explains that threats may involve death, suffocation, strangulation, disfigurement, serious physical injury, and kidnapping.

These statutes give us some idea of the terror children who are sexually exploited can experience.  Children can, also, be lured and seduced by a “friendly” predator.

Inadequate Community Response

This travesty was ongoing for decades.  Some in the community, it seems, suspected.  Until now, no one took it upon themselves to register a complaint.

Footprints in the Snow

Pedophiles do not send up smoke signals.  They cannot be identified by the grimy raincoats they wear.  Like footprints in the snow, however, the evidence of their passing is the imprint left on the lives of the children with whom such predators have come into contact.

How many children were violated over 27 years, we can only guess.  There could easily have been dozens.  What we can say with certainty is that the lives of those children changed.

Their behavior changed – visibly – and not for the better.  Some would have become withdrawn.  Some would have sought refuge in drugs and alcohol.  Some would have become sexually promiscuous.  Some may have begun cutting.  A few are likely to have attempted suicide.

Where were the teachers when school work was abandoned and grades fell?  Where were the doctors when teen pregnancies occurred…or were those all neatly disposed of at abortion clinics?  Were the changes attributed to teen rebellion?  Were they simply overlooked?

Above all, where were the parents?

Unless we remain actively involved in our children’s lives, travesties like this one will continue to take place.  Until we pay attention to those footprints in the snow, predators will be allowed free rein to operate.

[1]  47 ABC, “Alleged pedophile charged in Talbot Co. child sex abuse case” by Tahja Cropper, 11/20/17,



Filed under Child Abuse, Child Molestation, Community, Emotional Abuse, Neglect, Physical Abuse, Sexual Abuse

4 responses to “Footprints in the Snow

  1. I believe, Anna, that many of these predators could be stopped if people would just slow down and take notice of the subtle changes that occur in their child’s behavior. Obviously, something triggered the behavioral change, thus we need to press the issue to uncover its source. The question I think that needs to be answered is why we don’t care enough to try?

    • I don’t’ know how to answer that, Ron. Predators like this deliberately target children who appear lonely or left out, especially those who ache for parental love and attention.

      Unfortunately, even a good home is no guarantee children will not be molested. Consider the scandal involving former Olympics physician, Larry Nassar. He has now pleaded guilty to multiple counts of criminal sexual conduct. Those young gymnasts were by no means outcasts. They were considered the cream of the crop. Every aspect of their lives was closely scrutinized.

      Evil is pervasive. We must remain ever on guard, yet not create an atmosphere of fear that cripples our children. That is quite a challenge.

      Wishing you and yours a blessed New Year!

  2. Hapy new year dear Anna
    Thank you for this great post
    Have a Nice day

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