The Sins of the Fathers

“Shipwreck: the sun breaking through the clouds after a storm” by William Joy (1859), Photographer/Source Christie’s Auctions, (PD-Art, PD-Age)

WARNING:  Graphic Images

We close 2020 on a tragic note:  the sexual assault and battery of a newborn by a 14 y.o. boy living in the same Florida foster home [1A].

Assailant Sexualized as a Toddler

The teenage assailant is thought to have been sexualized as a toddler, when his biological mother exposed him to pornography and engaged in sexual activity in his presence.

History of Prior Assaults

“If someone is predatory, they are going to focus in on someone that is vulnerable.  Putting a young child in a situation like that is beyond shocking.”

-Pediatric Neuropsychologist, Thomas Dikel [1B]

The couple who fostered then adopted this boy (the Kleins); the non-profit responsible for overseeing child welfare locally (Kids Central); and the entity providing case management services (The Center) were all aware of the boy’s dangerous proclivities, since he had sexually assaulted other children.

Nonetheless, Kids Central and The Center continued to send foster children to the Kleins’ home.

Behavioral Issues

The teenage assailant was, also, diagnosed with Oppositional Defiance Disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and anxiety.

His behavioral issues included lying, stealing, hoarding food, and visiting pornographic websites.  He had destroyed property around the home, and run away.

Impact of Early Trauma

It would be comforting to believe that the memory of this assault will be forgotten, once the newborn has been adopted into a loving home.  Unfortunately, that is not likely to be the case.

Violence has an impact on the developing brain.  Though the newborn was still non-verbal, it is probable that she experienced severe pain during the assault, not to mention fear and confusion.

These emotions are not trivial.  Triggers later in life could evoke the same intense fear response.  The brain has difficulty processing traumatic memories, so that they can fade.  This is believed to be the mechanism underlying PTSD.

Nor is it a mitigating factor that the assault lasted less than an hour. Infants do not perceive time in the same way as adults [2][3].

Foster Care Privatization

Sadly, this situation is not an isolated one.  Florida has privatized its child welfare system, in an effort to improve foster care [4].  This has only given rise to new problems.  Multiple private agencies now exist, poorly regulated by the Dept. of Children and Families.

Blame

We can blame this tragedy on the teenage assailant, his birth mother, his adoptive parents, the Dept. of Children and Families, Kids Central, and The Center.  There are enough targets to go around.

But a lawsuit alone will not remedy the situation.  The law has inherent limitations.

Whom can the teenage assailant blame?  Would it help if he sued his mother for the damage she did to him as a toddler?  And what was the cause of her perverse behavior – self-absorption, drug or alcohol addiction?  Perhaps childhood sexual abuse on her own part?

Sins of the Fathers

This is a flawed and broken world where the sins of the fathers (and mothers) are often passed on to the sons.

We can rage at tragedies like this one.  We can grieve.  We can assign blame, and strive to make improvements.

But we cannot redeem ourselves without God’s intervention.

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace…” (Eph. 1: 7).

He offers us such intervention freely.  On that rests the hope of the world.

[1A and 1B]  USA Today, “3-week-old baby sexually assaulted in Marion County foster home, lawsuit says” by Michael Braga, 10/15/20, https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2020/10/15/infant-sexually-assaulted-marion-county-florida-foster-home/5966368002/.

[2]  New York Magazine, “Babies Aren’t Born With a Sense of Time – Here’s How They Learn How It Works” by Sarah Watts, 5/22/17, https://www.thecut.com/2017/05/heres-how-babies-develop-a-sense-of-time.html.

[3]  Wiley Online Library, “Stereotype Temporal Conditioning in Infants” by Yvonne Brackbill and Hiram Fitzgerald c/o Psychophysiology (https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-8986.1972.tb00766.x), 11/72, https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1469-8986.1972.tb00766.x.

[4]  The Children’s Campaign, “The Elephant in Florida’s Child Welfare” by Tiffany McGlinchey, 5/18/16, https://iamforkids.org/the-elephant-in-floridas-child-welfare/.

Wishing You All A Happy New Year!

FOR MORE OF MY ARTICLES ON POVERTY, POLITICS, AND MATTERS OF CONSCIENCE CHECK OUT MY BLOG A LAWYER’S PRAYERS AT: https://alawyersprayers.com

20 Comments

Filed under Child Abuse, Child Molestation, Christianity, Emotional Abuse, Justice, Law, Neglect, Physical Abuse, Rape, Religion, Sexual Abuse, Sexual Assault

20 responses to “The Sins of the Fathers

  1. Dear Anna, let’s not even start on Florida Department of Children and Families privatized foster care centers. I’ve had so much dealing with the system and so many nights I cried into my pillow because of those poor kids!

    • You have a loving heart, Dolly. The dedicated social workers, psychiatrists, psychologists, and law enforcement personnel who work in this challenging field are, in my view, genuine heroes. Many sustain secondary trauma, as a consequence.

      • You are absolutely right, dear Anna, and every teacher and therapist who worked for me when I was running the school is a hero. It’s dealing with Florida DC&F that brings bitter memories.

  2. So very sad! So many lives affected by the choice of the one who began the first act of abuse that led to this cycle. 😦 Praying for each one.

  3. This is so distressing to read about this but the sins of the parents are all too often carried forward down the ancestral lines. When releasing pain and issues from the past we have to go back into the ancestral houses of both mother and father to clear the stains of life which have been inherited.

    Bless you Anna your work is great.

  4. Francisco Bravo Cabrera

    Unfortunately I have seen cases like this one in Miami and not necessarily in foster homes or in children in the custody of the State. It is, lamentably, a symptom of how far society has strayed from what we should be. I was literally sick of seeing cases where it was obvious that the “evil” (and yes, I know it is not a legal term) had come from the parents. The pattern repeated itself ad nausaum but blame is not important. It does not really matter where the deviancy was learned from, it is now pernicious. And I agree with you Anna, if religion, which is the transmission of ideas of love, acceptance, understanding, is, or has been eradicated from schools and homes, what hope is there? This is a very valuable post with much needed information.
    F

  5. Another good work. Keep it up! Blessings to you for the coming year.

  6. This is so tragic. What I also find distressing is how often those committing the crimes have suffered abuse, abandonment, serious mistreatment and a lack of love in early childhood themselves. And so the cycle repeats itself. Not always. But often. If we have been loved well there is a protection element built into our lives, even though evil resides in the heart of all of us.

  7. So powerful this story, and the plea to truly see it. More powerful your solution in God. I don’t know the stats as you do, re cause and effect, whether public or private, in following regulations, but some public have let us down, too. We do know there are caretakers without a care, in so many institutions, whether numbed to conditions, or replaying a youth. Regulations must improve. More so, must proof of their earnest application. On that, we must insist. Dear Anna, you are a wonderful educator, who stirs our hearts. We must find a way to go about day to day life, more aware – more in line with “if you see something say something” – then do something. This has left me feeling ashamed. And I thank you for that, sincerely.

  8. Petrina

    So sad. So terrible. May God bring healing and restoration to all who have been harmed by such deplorable savagery. May the generational curses be broken forever, in Jesus name.

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