Friday, August 3, 2012

Carlson sexually abused several children, victims tell state police, Harrison grabs first U.S. Olympic judo gold - was sexually abused

Carlson sexually abused several children, victims tell state police By Nok-Noi Ricker, BDN Staff

Aug. 01, 2012

BANGOR, Maine — The Rev. Robert Carlson sexually abused several children over the last four decades and groomed them to be his victims, according to people interviewed by the Maine State Police during a now concluded investigation into allegations leveled against the late community leader.

“There clearly were victims of sexual abuse that indicated that Bob Carlson was their abuser,” Lt. Christopher Coleman, commander of the Maine State Police’s Major Crimes Unit for the northern part of the state, said Wednesday. “It appears that it occurred over many years and it caused a lot of trauma to many people.”....

Carlson was a longtime religious and civic leader who committed suicide by jumping from the Penobscot Narrows Bridge on Nov. 13, 2011, shortly after learning detectives were looking into allegations of sex abuse involving him and a boy....

The state police report includes interviews with at least 18 people, including Carlson’s victims. Also interviewed were the former president of Husson University, a Penobscot County sheriff’s deputy and detective, a Bangor police officer and a therapist who treated some of Carlson’s victims. They said they had either received information about or witnessed Carlson engage in criminal or inappropriate sexual behavior over the last four decades....

Carlson helped found and was president of Penobscot Community Health Care, leading the charge to provide those less fortunate with health care and dental services. He also was a founder of Hope House, a Bangor shelter for those with drug and alcohol addiction.

He “had full access” at the therapist’s treatment center, and after Carlson took part in a staff meeting one day, “administration told Bob that he was no longer welcome at the facility,” the report said. No dates are given to indicate when this happened.

The therapist “advised that monetary control or influence was part of Bob’s control over some of the victims” and “that there was a grooming process [that] occurred with the victims.”

Carlson was a longtime church leader in Orrington who had served as chaplain for the Bangor and Brewer police and fire departments, the Penobscot County Jail and Husson College, now Husson University....

The first person to report concerns about Carlson’s behavior said he was ignored by his superiors. Former Penobscot County Sheriff Timothy Richardson has said he questioned Carlson’s actions in the 1970s after seeing Carlson in the control room at the Penobscot County Jail in the middle of the night with young boys, sometimes rubbing them all over, including their buttocks.

Richardson, who was a young part-time deputy, said he reported his concerns to two superiors, both of whom are now deceased. He said they were concerned but didn’t take it anywhere.

“They didn’t want to take it anywhere,” the former sheriff told the Bangor Daily News in November. “Back then they [religious leaders] were above suspicion of child abuse.”

Harrison grabs first U.S. Olympic judo gold  August 2nd, 2012

Kayla Harrison says she almost quit judo because of sexual abuse by a coach. Instead, she’s now the first American to win Olympic gold in the sport....

She started judo at roughly age 7. But to get to this point, she has said, she needed to overcome sexual abuse – starting at age 13 – by the person who was then coaching her.

“When I was 16, I told a close friend of mine, who immediately told my mother, and she immediately went to the police and pressed charges. The FBI got involved, and he’s actually serving 10 years … in prison,” Harrison told CNN’s Ashleigh Banfield on July 9, weeks before the Olympics began.

“Every day was a lie. Inside, I was in constant turmoil, but on the outside I was supposed to be this golden girl and so happy,” Harrison said.

Harrison said she almost dropped judo because of the abuse. She said that it was not only “hard to deal with to be normal, but also to compete in the sport.”

But she decided to stick with judo, going on to win gold at the 2008 Junior World Championships and the 2010 World Championships.

“You get to the point where you decide that you don’t want to be a victim anymore and that you’re not going to live your life like that,” she said.

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