Tag Archives: sexual predators

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. Continue reading

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

A Dangerous Thing

Traditional millstone used to crush olives in making oil, Sardinia, Italy, Author Giancarlo Dessi (CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported)

But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea” (Matt. 18: 6 Berean Study Bible).

Sexuality is a dangerous thing.  The Weinstein scandal has reminded us of that [1].  A power differential allows those with power to exploit those without it – sexually and otherwise.

But the exploited are not always women.  An account in Vulture by a man who alleges he was sexually involved with actor Kevin Spacey at age 14 (and that Spacey, 10 years his senior, attempted to rape him) sheds light on the confusion in a child’s mind, where sex is concerned [2].  Raw though that account is, I recommend it to you.

The Vulture account makes the following points:

  • Children are trusting. They do not question the motives of adults who appear to care for them.  For that reason alone, children can be easily manipulated.  They believe the promises made to them (and lies told them) by loved ones…however farfetched.
  • Immaturity can expose children to dangers of which they are unaware. It is the reason we have statutory rape laws in place.  Immaturity can, also, cause children to assume responsibility for circumstances over which they had little or no control…circumstances in which they were, in fact, victimized.
  • Children who have been victimized once are often victimized again.  Those who are emotionally needy are most vulnerable.
  • Children may mistakenly view themselves as adults long before they possess the capacities of an adult.  But judgment and perspective require life experience.  “Sophistication” on a child’s part is no substitute.
  • Homosexuality and pedophilia are not one and the same.

Christ, Himself, condemned those who would abuse children.  One way or another, in this world or the next, those who violate that prohibition will find doing so is a dangerous thing.

[1]  According to Entertainment Weekly, 56 women had accused producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment as of October 28, 2017.  Included in that number are Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie.  See, Entertainment Weekly, “56 Women Who Have Accused Harvey Weinstein of Sexual Harassment”; 10/28/17, http://ew.com/movies/women-accused-harvey-weinstein-sexual-misconduct/harvey-weinsteins-accusers.  High profile men similarly accused include James Tobak, Oliver Stone, Ben Affleck, Roy Price, and Bill O’Reilly.

[2]  Vulture, “Man Comes Forward to Describe an Alleged Extended Sexual Relationship He Had at Age 14 With Kevin Spacey” by E. Alex Jung, 11/2/17, http://www.vulture.com/2017/11/kevin-spacey-alleged-sexual-relationship.html.

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

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Filed under Abuse of Power, Child Abuse, Child Molestation, Christianity, Emotional Abuse, Law, Rape, Religion, Sexual Abuse, Sexual Assault

Fate of the Predator

“Well, I was there and I saw what you did.
I saw it with my own two eyes.
So you can wipe off the grin. I know where you’ve been.
It’s all been a pack of lies…
Well, I remember. I remember, don’t worry.
How could I ever forget?…
The hurt doesn’t show; but the pain still grows.
It’s no stranger to you or me.”

In the Air Tonight by Phil Collins

Justice demands that predators – those who harm children for their own pleasure – be punished for their crimes, and prevented from harming additional victims. But the justice system necessarily has limitations.

Proof can be difficult to come by.  A child may not survive the abuse or may not be able to speak of a violation for years.  Parents may choose that their child not undergo the rigors of a trial. Predators may be institutionally shielded (as by the Roman Catholic Church), may relocate, assume a new identity, or even pass away, in the intervening years.  Supportive evidence can be lost.

This does NOT warrant vigilantism. Whatever the temptation, we cannot ally with evil. The end does not justify the means.

What then is the fate of pedophiles? Recidivism is a grave concern.  There are predators whose conscience is seared to such an extent that it no longer functions. One study, however, found that suicide among non-violent child sex offenders is 183 times more common than in the general public [1].  There are, of course, victims who commit suicide, as well.

In the end, our fate is not dependent on the fate of the predator.  That bears repeating.  Justice matters.  But our fate is not dependent on the fate of the predator.

Whatever the outcome in a particular case, we can trust that there will be perfect justice in the next world, if not in this. “He is the Rock, His work is perfect; for all His ways are justice…” (Deut. 32: 4).

[1] Differential Suicide Rates in Sex Offenders, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16040578.

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

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Filed under Child Abuse, Christianity, Emotional Abuse, Justice, Law, Physical Abuse, Religion, Sexual Abuse

Headlines

The supply of child abuse cases seems endless. Here are just a few examples, from recent headlines:

• In September of this year, Fr. Jeffrey Paulish, was caught in the act of molesting a 15 year old boy in a vehicle on the campus of Penn State University. Paulish first attempted to say the undressed boy had sought counseling from him. The abuser met the teen through the “casual encounters” section on Craigslist.

• In October, one of Fr. Robert Brennan’s victims died of an overdose. Brennan, age 75, is alleged to have molested more than 20 children during the 15 years he was transferred from parish to parish, when complaints of abuse were made to Catholic Church officials.

• The same month, a Pennsylvania school bus driver acknowledged having repeatedly molested an 8 year old boy from 2002 – 2004. The driver had passed a criminal check prior to being hired. Only a small percentage of predators ever fail criminal background checks.

• In November, Leon Watson, a Philadelphia youth football coach was charged with having raped two boys.  Neighbors were stunned.

Some abuse survivors will feel re-victimized on hearing such reports. The past rises up like a spectre, and we feel the familiar shame wash over us. Taste again the bile in our throats. Other abuse survivors will respond with anger that this depravity should persist.

The majority of us will instinctively pity the victims, even if reminded of our own pain. Chances are that those who remain unmoved are still so close to their trauma that identifying with other abuse victims poses too great a “threat” to their emotional stability. Distance feels safer.

A small number of abuse survivors will feel contempt for other victims, viewing them as “weak” and blaming them for the abuse inflicted. Rather than being an accurate assessment of other victims, this criticism betrays the feelings of helplessness the critics, themselves, experienced and are now desperate to deny.

There are few hard and fast rules for recovery from abuse. There is no timetable. We move forward a little, then fall back. Some lessons have to be re-learned, over and over, particularly those about the right of self-defense.

However far along we may (or may not) be toward healing, let us strive to keep faith with one another, and to bear witness to the truth of our ordeal.

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

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Filed under Child Abuse, Justice, Sexual Abuse