Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Private Practice - ABC Makes TV History, Public Reading of SYBIL in her own words

Private Practice Partners with RAINN As ABC Makes TV History

ABC made television history this month when its hit drama, Private Practice, ran a storyline about a male survivor of sexual assault. The episode featured a character that had just returned from Afghanistan, who discloses that he was raped during his military service. This was the first time that a national network addressed sexual assault in the military.

The Private Practice team, led by the show's creator, Shonda Rhimes, partnered with RAINN for the second time in the last year. Experts on RAINN's staff were able to help the show's writers and producers understand what many men go through after an assault, and the challenges they face in their recovery process.

The Time Has Come - Full Episode - Private Practice - ABC

Press Release: Reading of "SYBIL in her own words: The Untold Story of Shirley Mason, Her Multiple Personalities and Paintings."

The public is invited to attend a reading of the book "SYBIL in her own words: The Untold Story of Shirley Mason, Her Multiple Personalities and Paintings." It is the follow up to the original book SYBIL. Being her friend, Shirley gave Dr. Suraci the materials for this book about her life after her cure. Paintings of 5 of her 16 alternate personalities will be projected on a screen and Dr. Suraci shall give interpretations of the various emotions each personality displayed.

A recording of her conversation with Dr. Suraci will be played so the audience will hear Sybil/Shirley's voice for the first time. Shirley maintained her anonymity until her death.

The event will be held on March 31, 2012 from 7pm to 9pm at the Bluestockings Bookstore, 172 Allen St. New York, NY 10002 - 212.777.6028

Sybil in her words - Facebook page

Sybil in Her Own Words - Patrick Suraci, Psychologist

Patrick Suraci, Ph.D. Biography

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Parents of teen accused of shootings faced charges, Satanic Ritual Abuse in Omaha, Brain Development Harmed in Mistreated Kids

- Parents of teen accused of shootings faced charges
- Brain Development Harmed in Mistreated Kids

Parents of teen accused of shootings faced charges
Tuesday, February 28, 2012, Rachel Dissell, The Plain Dealer

CHARDON, Ohio -- It appears that T.J. Lane had violence in his life from the beginning.

Geauga County court records show the father of the teen who authorities say shot five students at Chardon High School on Monday had been arrested many times for violent crimes against women in his life, including Lane's mother. More than once, police or courts warned him to stay away from the boy and his mother.

Authorities said the teen walked into the high school cafeteria early Monday morning, took out a gun and aimed it at several boys. In the end, three students were seriously wounded and one was killed. A fifth student died early Tuesday. T.J. Lane is to appear in Geauga County Juvenile Court Tuesday....

T.J. Lane attended Lake Academy, an alternative school in Willoughby for students in Lake and Geauga counties....

The teen had one prior case in Geauga County Juvenile court two years ago. Officials would not release information on the case. But several at the court said the family's troubles were known to social workers in the county.

The father, Thomas Lane Jr., was known to county authorities because of a series of arrests for abusing women in his life, court records show. It's not clear how much contact the father and son had.

But between 1995 and 1997, the boy's father and mother, Sara A. Nolan, were each charged with domestic violence against each other.

The father was later charged with assaulting a police officer and served time in prison after trying to suffocate another woman he married several years after his son was born, according to court records.

He held the woman's head under running water and bashed it into a wall, leaving a dent in the drywall, court records show....

Brain Development Harmed in Mistreated Kids
Study May Help Explain Why Child Abuse Often Leads to Mental Problems Like Depression, Post-Traumatic Stress
By Brenda Goodman, MA WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD

Feb. 13, 2012 -- A new study shows that the stress of child abuse appears to shrink a key region of the brain that regulates emotion, memory, and learning.

The finding may help explain why mistreated kids often experience lasting mental problems like depression and other psychiatric disorders.

The study is a counterpoint to recent research that found that children who were nurtured early in life were more likely to have larger brain centers for memory and emotion.

“Stress has a negative impact on brain development; support has a positive impact,” says Joan Luby, MD, a child psychiatrist at Washington University in St. Louis, Mo. Luby studies early emotional development, but she was not involved in the research.

The impact on brain development caused by child abuse may have lasting consequences.

“Having adverse life experiences clearly puts people at risk for mental disorders,” she says....

Researchers found that three key regions of the hippocampus were nearly 6% to 7% smaller in people who were significantly mistreated as kids compared to those who were not....

But he says people who had rough childhoods should also know that although early life experiences may be important for brain function, other studies have shown that some of the brain changes can be undone.

“Things like vigorous exercise will change it. Mental stimulation will influence it,” Teicher says. “Changes in the hippocampus are plastic and can be modified.”

Monday, February 27, 2012

Eighteenth Annual Child Sexual Abuse Conference

On April 28, 2012, there will be the Eighteenth Annual Child Sexual Abuse Conference at the Veterans Memorial Center, 203 East 14th Street, Davis, CA from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm. The presentation "Healing from Trauma: Clergy Abuse" with Keynote Speaker Jaime Romo will talk about the trauma healing process, particularly healing from clergy abuse. For more information, go to . The conference is at no cost.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Dad says Oscar-nominated film glorifies convicts

Dad says Oscar-nominated film glorifies convicts
Sunday, February 26, 2012

LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas — Todd Moore isn't sure whether he'll watch the Oscars this weekend, when a documentary about the murder of his son and two other Cub Scouts could win an Academy Award.

Moore and his ex-wife, Diana, believe "Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory" glorifies the three men convicted in the Arkansas boys' deaths and asked the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to bar it from consideration for an Oscar.

The academy refused, saying the film met the basic eligibility requirements and was being viewed and evaluated by members.

"It would not be possible for the Academy — its leadership, executives, or administration — to insert itself into this process without risking the integrity of this longstanding procedure and of the awards themselves," wrote Rob Epstein, who chairs the Documentary Branch Executive Committee, in the letter dated Dec. 13. The Associated Press obtained a copy of the letter this week.

Epstein thanked the family for writing with such candor and said he could only begin to imagine the anguish they've suffered.

"I would not trivialize your pain by asking for your understanding, but I do hope this has clarified the organization's role in the Awards process," he wrote.

The film, directed by Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky, is the third in a series of HBO documentaries about the killings of Michael Moore, Stevie Branch and Christopher Byers in West Memphis. The three men convicted in their 1993 deaths, Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley, entered a plea deal last year that cut their prison term to time served and let them still claim innocence.

Lawyers: Bevilacqua ordered memo on priests to be shredded

Lawyers: Bevilacqua ordered memo on priests to be shredded

February 24, 2012

Cardinal Anthony J. Bevilacqua ordered aides to shred a 1994 memo that identified 35 Archdiocese of Philadelphia priests suspected of sexually abusing children, according to a new court filing.

The order, outlined in a handwritten note locked away for years at the archdiocese's Center City offices, was disclosed Friday by lawyers for Msgr. William J. Lynn, the former church administrator facing trial next month.

They say the shredding directive proves what Lynn has long claimed: that a church conspiracy to conceal clergy sex abuse was orchestrated at levels far above him.

"It is beyond doubt that Msgr. Lynn was completely unaware of this act of obstruction," attorneys Jeffrey Lindy and Thomas Bergstrom wrote.

Their motion asks Common Pleas Court Judge M. Teresa Sarmina to dismiss the conspiracy and endangerment charges against Lynn, or to bar prosecutors from introducing Bevilacqua's videotaped testimony at trial....

The revelation is likely to further cloud Bevilacqua's complicated legacy in the handling of clergy sex abuse and could shape what happens at the historic trial, the first for a cleric accused of covering up sex abuse....

Prosecutors say that Lynn, as the secretary for clergy, recommended priests for assignments despite knowing or suspecting that they would sexually abuse children. Facing trial with him are two former parish priests accused of molesting a boy in the 1990s, the Rev. James J. Brennan and Edward Avery.

In their motion, Lynn's lawyers argue that the new documents show he was one of the few church officials trying to confront the issue of abuse.

After becoming secretary for clergy in 1992, they say, Lynn began combing the secret personnel files of hundreds of priests to gauge the scope of misconduct involving children. He did it, his lawyers said, because he "felt it was the right thing to do."

Friday, February 24, 2012

11 Children Found in Grim Conditions, victim of child sex abuse/MPD on TV

In a Texas Home, 11 Children Found in Grim Conditions
Investigators found 11 children last month in this house in Dayton, Tex. Eight were packed into a single 10-foot-by-10-foot room, some in restraints. By MANNY FERNANDEZ February 22, 2012

DAYTON, Tex. — A 2-year-old girl was tied up in a restraint attached to her bed. Nearby another 2-year-old child, a boy, was restrained to his bed, too. A third child, a blind 5-year-old girl who appeared to be in a daze, was tied up on a filthy mattress. An 11-year-old boy had a black eye and finger marks on his forearms, and one of his teeth had been knocked out....

Eight of the children were found inside a 10-foot-by-10-foot back bedroom. Though it was about 2 p. m., the room was dark because the window was covered with plywood and there was no light fixture, according to the court filing. Three of the eight children in the room were restrained to their beds at the time the authorities visited. One child told the authorities that the children were placed in restraints while they slept at night and sometimes during the day when they were awake, and another child said they were kept in the room for up to three days at a time. The harness-style cloth restraints, tied around the chests of some of the children and attached to their small beds, were so tight that they had only about one or two feet to maneuver. None of the older children attended schools, the court papers said....

The court document states that none of the adults in the home thought there was anything wrong with restraining the children. “All adults in the home were interviewed, in which none of them felt like this was a problem, and stated that they tie the children up for safety,” the legal papers said.

A victim of child sex abuse shares her story on a TV News program. The abuse in her life led to a multiple personality disorder. deJoly now takes any opportunity to tell her story in hopes that others in similar experience may find healing, as well as teaching healthcare providers in understanding the devastating results of abuse.

Survivorship Ritual Abuse and Child Abuse 2012 Conference

Survivorship Ritual Abuse and Child Abuse 2012 Conference

Our Healing Journey: Past, Present, Future

May 19 - 20, 2012

Conference is at:
Executive Inn & Suite
1755 Embaracadero
Oakland, CA 94606

Keynote Speaker:

Caryn Stardancer was a pioneer in establishing a grassroots network for survivors of sadistic ritualistic abuse. She co-founded Survivorship with Catherine Raggazzi, and served at the helm of that organization for a decade.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

11 children, some tied to beds, removed from Texas home, some suffered abuse

Deputies: Children found tied up in Liberty County home
21 people were living in house Feb 21 2012

DAYTON, Texas -

Eleven children removed from a Liberty County home are in the custody of Children's Protective Services.

Investigators said 21 people were living in a home on Ford Avenue in Dayton.

The children, ages 5 months to 11 years, were removed from the home on Jan. 24. Detectives said some of them were found tied up to a bed. Some of them suffered physical abuse and physical and medical neglect, officials said. The children belonged to seven separate families, officials said.

11 children, some tied to beds, removed from Texas home

Eleven children, some of whom police say were tied to a bed, are removed from a Dayton, Texas, home north of of Houston where at least 21 people were discovered living. KPRC's Ryan Korsgard reports.

By NBC News, staff and news services 2/21/02

DAYTON, Texas -- Authorities said Tuesday they removed 11 children from a crowded home used as an address by a registered sex offender after they found eight confined in a small, dark bedroom with restraints tying some to their beds.

Along with the children, 10 adults were living in the one-story, 1,700-square-foot brick home in Dayton, about 30 miles northeast of Houston, Child Protective Services spokeswoman Gwen Carter said. One month after a raid on the house, authorities are still trying to determine how the children are related and why they were there, she said.

The children, belonging to seven separate families, ranged in age from 5 months to 11 years, said NBC station KPRC of Houston.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Sex abuse often not reported, Secret church files detail anguish, teacher abuse

- Sex abuse often not reported
- Secret church files detail anguish - Unprecedented look at struggle to manage a child sexual abuse crisis
- Don't Ask, Don't Tell - A local teacher who molested his charges was allowed to take a new job in West Virginia, where a student died in his care

Sex abuse often not reported 2/18/12

Officials and victim advocates say a silver lining in the high-profile child sex abuse scandal involving a former Penn State football coach is that more people are now coming forward about the historically underreported crime.

Cases often aren't investigated because victims are hesitant to report the offenses and adults who suspect a child is being abused don't know what to do, experts say.

"I think it is underreported, and I think it always will be," said Capt. Kathi Rhodes, director of the Montgomery County police's family crimes division. She said children are often pressured not to tell, or are too embarrassed.

Boys often believe they should have been able to fight off their abuser, said Curtis St. John, past president of Male Survivor.

Another difficulty is that cases require children to make reports about someone close to them. In Alexandria, 95 percent of alleged perpetrators "know the child, and know the child very well," said Giselle Pelaez, executive director of the Center for Alexandria's Children.

Secret church files detail anguish - Unprecedented look at struggle to manage a child sexual abuse crisis Feb. 19, 2012

It was March 4, 2009, and the bishop's right-hand man, Monsignor J. Thomas Cini, was sitting in a conference room in Bart Dalton's Wilmington law office.

Cini, vicar general of the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington and pastor of St. Ann's Catholic Church, was surrounded by lawyers, answering questions under oath about a priest who had sexually abused children while working as a teacher in two Catholic schools.

The priest in this case, Paul Daleo, was a Capuchin friar, not a diocesan priest. But he was under contract to teach in the diocese, and no priest can minister here without the bishop's permission. So attorney John Manly was pressing Cini to learn what the diocese knew about Daleo before granting that permission.

Manly zeroed in on a controversy that arose in 1979, when Daleo was teaching sex-education courses at St. Edmond's Academy and St. John the Beloved. "What in Father Paul's résumé stands out at you as making him qualified to teach kids about sex?" Manly asked Cini.

"Well, he did a lot of it," Cini replied.

"Well, you may think that's funny," Manly shot back. "I don't, and I'm sure Mr. Conaty doesn't."

Matthias Conaty, sitting nearby, was in fourth grade at St. Edmond's when Daleo first took an interest in him. For almost four years, Daleo raped and sexually assaulted him. Now a grown man with children of his own, Conaty was suing Daleo, the diocese, the school and the religious order.

He could file suit because he fought to change Delaware's statute of limitations. A 2007 law opened a two-year window for suits that would otherwise have been barred. As scores of lawsuits were filed, the Diocese of Wilmington filed for bankruptcy protection....

Last week, as those files reached the public for the first time, Conaty was among those calling for the resignation of Cini and two other top diocesan officials -- monsignors Joseph Rebman and Clement Lemon -- for their failure to report predatory priests to the authorities, to warn parents of their presence in the community, and their failure to place the safety of children above their concern about public scandal....

But, Krebs said, Cini did talk to him about that remark in the Daleo deposition and said he believes the attorney took his comment out of context. Cini told Krebs he wasn't saying Daleo had engaged in a lot of sexual activity, but that he had taught a lot of sex-education courses....

The files also reveal church authorities' ongoing struggle to contain the abuse, control information and rumors, negotiate payments and confidentiality agreements (no longer permitted) with those who said they were abused, remove priests from parishes where they had abused children and respond strategically whenever problems became public.

Among the church documents included in the files is a 1962 publication explaining how church officials must handle allegations of a sexual nature. Complete secrecy is demanded, under threat of excommunication -- which, in church terms, means eternal damnation.

Don't Ask, Don't Tell

A local teacher who molested his charges was allowed to take a new job in West Virginia, where a student died in his care. By Aina Hunter Sep. 22, 2004

Former elementary school principal Edgar Friedrichs Jr. was convicted on four felony counts of child sexual abuse in January 2002. Last year he was indicted for the 1997 murder of a 12-year-old West Virginia boy. He began his career more than 30 years ago in Prospect Park, Pa....

From the stories extracted from the children--particularly those who served as crossing guards--Friedrichs had not only molested a number of boys, but had engaged in statutory rape.

The police were never involved. The parents, most of them now in their 60s, say principal Robert Castle and his superintendent believed it better if things were handled quietly. (Castle could not be reached for comment. His former secretary told PW that he'd moved to an undisclosed address in Florida.) Mr. Friedrichs and his wife simply disappeared....

Charol Shakeshaft, co-author of the Shakeshaft-Cohan study, the most recent scholarly work on sexual abuse in the classroom, says it's not surprising that the Interboro superintendent in Prospect Park didn't try to have Friedrichs' teaching license revoked. In her 1995 study of 225 school districts across the country that had dealt with allegations of abuse by teachers, only 1 percent of the superintendents moved to have teachers' licenses revoked.

Further, in the Shakeshaft-Cohan study, none of the surveyed superintendents involved police. "There is no excuse or rationale for that," she says. "These are crimes, abuse and exploitation."

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Boy Scouts sued in sexual abuse case, Scouts to turn over files in case

Boy Scouts sued in sexual abuse case

A Santa Barbara County boy was sexually abused by his Scout leader in 2007. A judge overseeing the lawsuit brought by the boy's family has ordered the Boy Scouts to hand over confidential files detailing allegations of sexual abuse by Scout leaders around the nation.

By Kim Christensen, Los Angeles Times February 19, 2012

The mother of a Santa Barbara County teenager says he was wronged twice - once by the 450-pound Boy Scout leader who sexually abused him in 2007, and then by a local Scouts executive who she says told her not to call police.

"He said that wasn't necessary, because the Scouts do their own internal investigation," said the woman, whose name The Times is withholding to protect her son's identity. "I thought that was really weird.... I thought it was really important to call the sheriff right away."

So she did, triggering an investigation of volunteer Scout leader Al Steven Stein, then 29, who was charged with abusing her 92-pound son and two other boys. In 2009, he pleaded no contest to felony child endangerment. He was put on probation but later went to prison after authorities found pictures of nude children on his cellphone data card.

Stein's criminal case is closed....

Nor is it over for the Boy Scouts of America, which is being sued by the boy's family for negligence in a case whose ramifications could reach well beyond Santa Barbara.

The lawsuit contends the Scouts knew or should have known that Stein had put the boy at risk and cites the executive's reluctance to call police as evidence of an effort to conceal widespread sexual abuse....

In January, after reviewing some of the files, a Santa Barbara Superior Court judge rejected the Scouts' argument that the documents are irrelevant to the lawsuit and ordered the organization to turn over the most recent 20 years' worth of records to the boy's lawyers by Feb. 24, with victims' names removed. The judge ordered the lawyers not to disclose the files publicly.

Known as "ineligible volunteer files," the documents have been maintained since the 1920s and are intended to keep suspected molesters and others accused of misconduct out of Scouting. Scouts officials have steadfastly resisted releasing them and won't discuss their contents, citing the privacy rights of victims and the fact that many files are based on unproven allegations.

They strenuously dispute that the files have been used to conceal sexual abuse....

According to the lawsuit, Stein had a history of inappropriate behavior with children he'd met through Scouting, including "making sexual jokes and comments" in front of Scouts and in some cases pulling down their pants. In November 2007, he abused the Santa Barbara County boy, who was 13 at the time....

In early 2008, Stein was charged with a felony, committing a lewd act upon a child, and two misdemeanors including child pornography for photographs he took of a boy's genitals. Two of the victims were Scouts; the third was the son of a family friend.

Stein struck a deal to plead no contest to felony child endangerment and one misdemeanor. He was placed on five years' probation but violated it by having the photos of nude children on his cellphone card. He was sentenced to two years in prison but was paroled early and has been in no trouble since, said Steven Balash, his attorney in the criminal case and the lawsuit....

But the boy's mother said her son has been deeply affected, in part because other families from the troop accused him of lying or "hallucinating" about the abuse. He refuses to go out in public and is now tutored at home, she said....,0,5265678.story

Scouts to turn over files in Calif. sex abuse case
Associated Press 2/19/12

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. (AP) — A judge overseeing a lawsuit brought by the family of a California boy molested by his troop leader in 2007 has ordered the Boy Scouts of America to hand over confidential files detailing allegations of sexual abuse by Scout leaders around the nation....

The trial is scheduled for April, nearly five years after the boy, then 13, was molested by volunteer troop leader Al Stein at a Boy Scouts Christmas tree sale in Goleta. Stein pleaded no contest to felony child endangerment in 2009....

The lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages, contends the Scouts knew or should have known that Stein had put the boy at risk and cites Tate's reluctance to call police as evidence of an effort to conceal widespread sexual abuse....

The boy's lawyers contend the files will expose the Scouts' "culture of hidden sexual abuse" and its failure to warn boys, their parents and others about pedophiles in the ranks of one of the nation's oldest youth organizations....

Some of the estimated 5,000 files have surfaced in recent years as a result of lawsuits by former Scouts accusing the organization of failing to exclude known pedophiles, detect abuses and report offenders to police, and allowing predators to remain at large.

Josh Powell had cartoon sex, incest images on computer

Murder-suicide dad Josh Powell had cartoon sex, incest images on computer February 18, 2012 | Associated Press

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Three weeks before Josh Powell killed himself and kids in a violent inferno, Utah authorities disclosed to social workers for the first time that his computer once contained some 400 images of cartoon sex and incest.

Investigators had initially told Washington state officials that there were only a half-dozen images, seized in 2009, but the social worker tasked with keeping the kids safe sent off a note to a psychologist saying "it is now clear there are many more images than initially indicated."

The psychologist who had previously praised Powell's strong parenting skills found the images to be a "great concern" and quickly suggested a more intense evaluation of the father.
Powell killed himself before that assessment took place.

Many of the approximately 400 images described in documents released under Washington state public records laws Friday included sexual depictions of popular cartoons, including child-focused characters such as Rugrats, Dennis the Menace and SpongeBob SquarePants. Another 15 images showed 3-D depictions of sex involving parents and their children.

Powell had initially told the psychologist that he visited only pornography sites featuring adults.

"Given the gaps of information about Mr. Powell there seems reason to conclude he may not presently be a stable and appropriate resource for his children," wrote Dr. James Manley in a follow-up report dated Jan. 31.

Marilyn Van Derbur Atler - Lifetime Achievement Award 2011 - child abuse survivor speaks about her activism to stop child abuse

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Selective memory does exist, say scientists

Selective memory does exist, say scientists

Selective memory really exists and we can train our mind to forget embarrassing moments completely, research claims. 06 Jul 2011

A study found that repressing these memories for long enough can lead to us erasing them completely.

Using EEG scans, scientists noted the parts of volunteers' brains which became active when actively trying to forget something.

They were also able to pinpoint the exact moment a memory is 'forgotten', and claim that long-term suppression of a memory is a sure fire way of permanently erasing it.

The study authors, led by Gerd Thomas Waldhauser, from Lund University in Sweden, say that mastering the technique could be useful for people who suffer from depression or post traumatic stress disorder.

Mr Waldhauser, a researcher at Lund University, said "We know that 'forgotten' or repressed feelings often manifest themselves as physiological reactions.

Mother of Jerry Sandusky’s grandchildren aims to bar him from visitation

Mother of Jerry Sandusky’s grandchildren aims to bar him from visitation

By Jeremy Roebuck The Philadelphia Inquirer
Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The mother of three of Jerry Sandusky’s grandchildren is vowing to fight to bar the former Penn State assistant football coach from having access to her children while he awaits trial on child sex abuse charges.

In a statement sent to reporters hours after a judge approved visits between Sandusky and his 11 other grandchildren on Monday, former daughter-in-law Jill Thomas said psychologists who had treated her 5-year-old son "could not rule out that Jerry Sandusky was grooming him for sexual abuse."

Thomas, 29, is currently involved in a custody dispute with her former husband, Sandusky’s son, Matt.

Judge John M. Cleland, who issued the pretrial order involving the other children, opted to leave any decisions involving Thomas’ youngsters to the judge presiding over her custody case.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Few penalties for keeping child abuse secret

Few penalties for keeping child abuse secret
By Brad Heath, USA TODAY 12/16/2011

Laws that could punish doctors, teachers and other adults for keeping silent when they suspect a child has been abused have gone largely unenforced over the past decade.

Those state laws require people who work closely with children to alert police or child-welfare investigators anytime they so much as suspect a child has been abused.

Yet a USA TODAY examination of police and court records from across the USA found that a combination of infrequent enforcement and small penalties means adults often have little to fear from concealing abuse.

In most of the states that could provide records, local police and prosecutors typically charged no more than one or two people each year. Michigan police made just five arrests over the past decade. In Hawaii and Minnesota, court officials said they couldn't find a single case.

Fewer than half of the cases USA TODAY reviewed in detail ended in convictions, and the penalty was usually a fine of less than $1,000.

"If you're not going to make the moral choice, at least you have to have a law with some teeth that makes somebody do it for the legal reason that you're afraid you're going to be charged," said Sean McCormack, the chief child abuse prosecutor in Harrisburg, Pa.

States' mandatory abuse-reporting laws are getting new scrutiny in the aftermath of a sexual abuse scandal at Penn State University, where longtime assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky is accused of having molested 10 boys over 15 years. He has pleaded not guilty. Two Penn State officials are charged with failing to report the abuse to police....

Abuse frequently unreported

Child welfare agencies estimate that 695,000 children were abused or neglected last year, but studies have repeatedly found that even more abuse goes unreported.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Correlations between dissociation, DID and child abuse in different parts of the world

Epidemiology of Dissociative Disorders: An Overview
Epidemiology Research International
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 404538, 8 pages
Vedat Sar Department of Psychiatry, Istanbul Faculty of Medicine, Istanbul University, 34390 Capa, Istanbul, Turkey


....screening studies using diagnostic tools designed to assess dissociative disorders yielded lifetime prevalence rates around 10% in clinical populations and in the community. Special populations such as psychiatric emergency ward applicants, drug addicts, and women in prostitution demonstrated the highest rates. Data derived from epidemiological studies also support clinical findings about the relationship between childhood adverse experiences and dissociative disorders.

.... Data collected in diverse geographic locations such as North America [2], Puerto Rico [3], Western Europe [4], Turkey [5], and Australia [6] underline the consistency in clinical symptoms of dissociative disorders. These clinical case series have also documented that dissociative patients report highest frequencies of childhood psychological trauma among all psychiatric disorders. Childhood sexual (57.1%–90.2%), emotional (57.1%), and physical (62.9%–82.4%) abuse and neglect (62.9%) are among them.

....Two studies in North America demonstrated that 13.0–20.7 % of psychiatric inpatients had a dissociative disorder [22, 23]. Studies on dissociative disorders in Istanbul, Turkey, yielded a prevalence slightly above 10% among psychiatric inpatients and outpatients [8, 24, 25]. Although still considerable, these rates were lower in the Netherlands [26], Germany [18], and Switzerland [27] among inpatients, that is, between 4.3%–8.0%. A Finnish study [28] reported higher rates for psychiatric outpatients (14.0%) and inpatients (21.0%). Emergency admissions of a university psychiatric clinic in Istanbul, Turkey yielded the highest rate in the country: 35.7% [29]. In a study from Zurich, Switzerland, among severely impaired psychiatric outpatients, prevalence of all dissociative disorders were 25.0% [30].

....Overall, the prevalence of dissociative disorders in inpatient and outpatient psychiatric settings seems to be around 10%, while approximately half of them (5%) has DID, the most severe type of dissociative disorders.

.... A screening study on a representative Manitoba, Canada, using the DDIS yielded 11.2% prevalence for all DSM-III-R dissociative disorders [36]. Two large-scale studies were conducted in the general population of Sivas City, Turkey, supported these findings gathered in North America. The first one was conducted on a representative sample of 994 participants from both genders [37]. Approximately 3/4 of the probands dropped-out who were selected for a second and third diagnostic interview due to their elevated DES scores. Despite of this high loss in data, 0.4% of the original sample was diagnosed as having clinically confirmed DID. The second study in Sivas City, Turkey was conducted on a representative female sample of 648 participants in the same city using a structured diagnostic interview, that is, the DDIS [38]. The overall prevalence of dissociative disorders was 18.3%. 1.1% of the population had DID. However, the largest group was DDNOS (8.3%). Conditions based primarily on the presence of distinct personality states (i.e., DID and DDNOS-1) built up a prevalence of 5.2% for chronic complex dissociative disorders.

....In a recent North American study conducted in the community (New York,...the prevalence was 8.6% for all DSM-IV dissociative disorders observed in the past year [39]....A further study [42] documented that 6.3% of the general population suffered from three or more frequently occurring dissociative symptoms possibly representing a dissociative disorder. In The Netherlands, 378 subjects from a non-clinical population were screened using the dissociation questionnaire (DIS-Q), a self-rating scale of European origin [43, 44]. 2.1% of the participants had a score above the cutoff point (score of 2.5), and 0.5 % had a score comparable to those of patients with dissociative disorders (scores of 3.0 or higher).

....Among consecutive inpatients admitted to a dependency treatment unit of a large state mental hospital in Istanbul, Turkey, the lifetime prevalence of DSM-IV dissociative disorders was 17.2% [45]. These rates were 9.0% for alcohol dependency only [46] and 26.0% for patients with chemical dependency [47]. Those rates were between 15.0% and 39.0% [48–50] for patients with chemical dependency in North America.

....In Germany, a screening study was conducted on 51 male criminal offenders admitted to a medicolegal institution by the court so as to understand diminished or lack of responsibility for the offence due to psychiatric disorder, including a large group of persons with substance-use disorders [56]. Using the SCID-D, a high prevalence of dissociative symptoms and disorders (23.5%), mostly DDNOS, was demonstrated. 22.6% of the group had a DES score 20.0 or higher. In Turkey [57], 26.8% of 108 male prisoners in a regular correctional center had a DES score 20 or above. This rate was 18.5% for DES scores 30 or above which is known to be the cut-off level for chronic dissociative disorders [58]. Nevertheless, according to the SCID-D, 15.7% of the subjects had a dissociative disorder, that is, either DDNOS or dissociative amnesia. Exotic dancers and women in prostitution have also been demonstrated as risk groups for dissociative disorders [52–55, 59]. This seem to be due to the highly traumatic background of the probands.

....Epidemiological studies also documented the relationship between dissociative disorders and childhood trauma, an association clinicians and researchers are familiar with [32, 71, 72]. A screening study conducted on consecutively admitted psychiatric outpatients yielded elevated rates for sexual (27.8%), physical (50.0%,), and emotional (72.2%) abuse and neglect (83.3%) among dissociative patients in comparison to nondissociative controls [24]. In the inpatient psychiatric unit of the same institution, these rates were 58.8%, 82.4%, 70.6%, and 58.8%, respectively [25]. Apparently, patients with childhood sexual and/or physical abuse were hospitalized more readily pointing to a more crisis-prone and severe general condition. On the other hand, dissociative outpatients and dissociative subjects identified in non-clinical settings report emotional abuse and neglect predominantly [24, 38]. Nevertheless, in a Turkish study in the community, subjects with dissociative or conversion disorder (somatic dissociation) reported significantly higher levels of childhood traumata than the remaining participants [38, 69]. In a case series and also in the community, conversion disorder patients with a concurrent dissociative disorder reported childhood traumata more frequently than those without.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Teacher Abuse, Secrecy in Child Sexual Abuse Allegations Orthodox Jewish Cases

Teacher Abuse Cases – Miramonte Elementary School, Tender Care Learning Center

Recently, several school teachers have been either charged or convicted of sexual crimes committed against children. Here are two cases, one from Los Angeles and one from Pittsburgh.

Public Secrecy About Child Sexual Abuse - The Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism

Attorney and author Michael Lesher will make oral arguments on February 14 before New York State’s Court of Appeals in his longstanding Freedom of Information (FOIL) lawsuit against Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes. If Lesher prevails, the district attorney may be forced to provide some much needed transparency regarding cases of child sexual abuse in fervently Orthodox (sometimes referred to in media reports as the “Haredi” or “ultra-Orthodox”) communities....

Hella Winston's Reporting

Winston has reported for several years—primarily in the New York Jewish Week, the nation’s largest Jewish weekly—about allegations of secrecy and cover-ups involving child sexual abuse in fervently Orthodox Jewish communities. Despite many roadblocks, including community members’ fears of speaking out and a lack of transparency from both the communal leadership and law enforcement authorities (similar to the resistance Lesher has experienced), Winston, perhaps more than any other journalist, has reported relentlessly and extensively about this issue....

Michael Lesher's Freedom of Information Lawsuit

Lesher is suing to compel the Brooklyn district attorney to release, under FOIL, documents related to efforts to extradite alleged serial child molester, Avrohom Mondrowitz. Mondrowitz, a member of the fervently Orthodox community, fled from New York to Israel in 1984—likely mere hours before a warrant for his arrest could be executed, law enforcement sources told Winston. Mondrowitz was indicted in absentia by a Brooklyn grand jury in 1985 on 14 counts, including five counts of sodomy in the first degree. After two failed attempts to extradite him, Mondrowitz remains in Israel to this day.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Child Abuse Leaves Mark on Brain

Child Abuse Leaves Mark on Brain
Jennifer Welsh Live Science Mon, 13 Feb 2012

Childhood abuse and maltreatment can shrink important parts of the brain, a new study of adults suggests.

Reduced brain volume in parts of the hippocampus could help to explain why childhood problems often lead to later psychiatric disorders, such as depression, drug addiction and other mental health problems, the researchers say. This link could help researchers find better ways to treat survivors of childhood abuse.

"These results may provide one explanation for why childhood abuse has been identified with an increased risk for drug abuse or psychosis," study researcher Martin Teicher, of Harvard University, told LiveScience. "Now that one can look at these sub-regions [in the brain], we can get a better idea of what treatments are helping."

The researchers used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to scan the brains of 193 individuals between 18 and 25 years old, who had already undergone several rounds of testing to be qualified. They then analyzed the size of areas in the hippocampus and compared the results with the patient's history. They saw that those who had been abused, neglected or maltreated (based on well-established questionnaires) as children had reduced volume in certain areas of the hippocampus by about 6 percent, compared with kids who hadn't experienced child abuse.

They also had size reductions in a related brain area called the subiculum, which relays the signals from the hippocampus to other areas of the brain, including the dopamine system, also known as the brain's "reward center." Volume reduction in the subiculum has been associated with drug abuse and schizophrenia, as well....

The study was published today (Feb. 13) in the journal Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences.

Quanitta Underwood - abuse story, sexual abuse racket suspected at orphanage

- The Living Nightmare - Quanitta Underwood: A Contender for Olympic Gold and a Survivor
- Big sexual abuse racket suspected at orphanage
- Orphanage management denies sexual abuse charge

The Living Nightmare - Quanitta Underwood: A Contender for Olympic Gold and a Survivor By BARRY BEARAK February 11, 2012

THE TWO SISTERS shared a bed, and each night, with their hearts hammering, they would listen for the turn of the knob and the push of the door. Quanitta Underwood was 10, her sister Hazzauna, 12. The walls of the house were thin, and the girls could hear every move their father made. Hear him sit up, hear him get out of bed, hear him walking their way.

Quanitta pinched her eyes shut when her father entered the room, but she could imagine the presence of his familiar silhouette. She felt his weight sink into the bed while his hands traveled beneath the covers. As Quanitta feigned sleep, her father groped her sister and often rolled on top.

Azzad Underwood was a forceful man, not so much in size as in manner. He was a welder by trade but gave way to few men in self-importance. He could be charming. He had been president of the parents association at the girls’ school and was among the most active members at a local Church of God in Christ....

The most important thing, Quanitta told herself, was never to let on that she knew, for this was a secret surely meant to be hidden in the dark. So she lay motionless in the bed, breathing gently through a sleeping face. Sometimes, her father pushed her aside, and she drowsily flopped over....

“I remember the first time ever; he held me down,” Hazzauna said. “It was rape. There’s no other word for it. Every time after that, it seemed he purposely did it in the room with my sister, because he knew that if I moved or screamed, she was right there and it would wake her up.”....

Hazzauna has a family of her own now, and she too works as a nurse in Las Cruces. In college, she studied child abuse, the methodologies of molesters and the horrid frequency with which molestation occurs. And while she said she now found it “empowering” to talk of what happened, tears seeped from her eyes as she revisited the memories: Azzad was her demon and her father, a man callously conniving and yet strangely pitiable.

She recalled, “On multiple occasions, he would cry like a baby, saying, ‘I’m sorry. I want to stop but just give me an amount of time.’ ”

Her father bribed her with clothes and other gifts. He threw her an expensive birthday party at a skating rink. He persuaded her to take up modeling, escorting her to competitions, where they shared a room in a hotel....

Quanitta said she was in the seventh grade when Azzad began to molest her, always taking advantage of a time when neither his wife nor Hazzauna was at home. “I would lock my arms and squeeze my legs tight,” she said, describing efforts to constrain what her father could do.

Both sisters fantasized about escape. Hazzauna hoped to one day go to college in Washington. Quanitta had darker ideas. She thought about hurting Azzad — “using a knife or something” — then running away.

What neither did was confide in the other. But that changed in January 1998. The sisters were 13 and 15. Quanitta was terribly upset about something. Hazzauna already had suspicions. She finally asked the question. “Has he been touching you?” she said, and the scalding truth poured out. By then, the sisters were seldom in contact with their mother in Seattle. But they did have a number for the hospital where she worked. The things Hazzauna told Alonna were dumfounding. “How long has he been doing this?” the girls’ mother recalled asking.

“Forever,” Hazzauna answered. The police arrived at the Underwood home within an hour. This time, the girls were willing to tell the truth....

Azzad pleaded guilty to “criminal sexual conduct with a minor.” He was sentenced to seven years in prison and five years of probation. The penalty could have been stiffer. The judge asked various people to speak in court. Hazzauna and Quanitta said they did not want their dad to go to jail....

Azzad’s sentence was cut to six years, and he left prison in August 2005....interviewed....His answers were often spare, a nod followed by “O.K.” or “no comment.” He refused to discuss the molesting of his daughters but made no effort to deny it. Being arrested was a relief, he said: “I was struggling between two forces. I wanted to do right but instead I did wrong. That’s it in a nutshell.”

Then Azzad amended the thought. It’s more complicated than that, he said. The counselors in prison made him aware of how the mind creates justifications to tolerate its own misdeeds. “When you do things for a long time that you know to be wrong, you come to think that it’s right,” he said....

Aberrant behavior may have detectable roots. When he was a boy, Azzad said, he delivered newspapers, and a man on his route abused him, “sexually, repeatedly.” A second cousin had also molested him.

But he said he was not mentioning these traumas as an excuse: “Whether that was a contributing factor, I still need to be held accountable.”

Big sexual abuse racket suspected at orphanage
Staff Reporter NEW DELHI, February 13, 2012

The boy apprehended a couple of days ago for allegedly sexually abusing a girl inmate of an orphanage in Darya Ganj here, who died under mysterious circumstances last December, has also been booked for purportedly sodomising a boy inmate inside the orphanage premises about six months ago. Several other inmates of the orphanage too are suspected to have been sexually abused in the past....

Stating that the orphanage staff seemed to have threatened the boys and girls against revealing anything to the police or the NGO members, the officer said they did not cooperate and later even prevented the NGO representatives from interviewing the children claiming that they could do so as they were not registered under the Juvenile Justice Act.

....Alleging that sexual abuse of boys was rampant, the report quoted a boy as saying that those living in the hostel were sodomised by older boys and the warden. Himself a victim, the boy disclosed names of some others who were being sodomised.

The victim alleged that once when he complained to the chief warden that the warden had been sexually abusing a boy, he was beaten up badly. The NGO team met some other boys who made shocking revelations of sexual abuse.

The team recorded several other instances of physical torture, molestation and eve-teasing of children, who lived under the constant terror of being victimised by certain orphanage staffers.

Orphanage management denies sexual abuse charge
Staff Reporter NEW DELHI, February 14, 2012

The Arya Orphanage, in which several small children are suspected to have been sexually abused and sodomised by boys and even the staff members, have denied all allegations of sexual abuse and alleged that the entire issue is a conspiracy being perpetuated by local politicians....

He also termed the entire incident a conspiracy of two MLAs whom he had refused favours. “There is this MLA who asked us to give the front portion of the orphanage land, we refused that is why he is doing this,” said Viresh Pratap Chaudhry, president of the Foundation that runs the orphanage, refusing to reveal the name of the MLA....

The incident first came to light when an 11-year-old girl in the orphanage died under mysterious circumstances and the post-mortem report revealed that she had been raped and sodomised. A 14-year old boy in the same orphanage was apprehended by the police for the crime along with charges of sodomising another minor boy.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Josh Powell Update: Documents report Powell killed pets, threatened mother with knife as a teen

By Crimesider Staff February 13, 2012

(CBS) PUYALLUP, Wash. - New information about Josh Powell's past came to light last week when the Salt Lake Tribune newspaper reported that documents from Powell's parents' divorce two decades ago portray the then-16-year-old as seriously troubled.

According to the Tribune, the documents state that a teenage Powell had tried to commit suicide, threatened his mother with a butcher knife, and killed pet gerbils.

Powell and his two sons were found dead in his home on Feb. 5. Powell reportedly attacked the boys with a hatchet then set the home on fire.

Powell had been a suspect in the disappearance of his wife, Susan, who has been missing since December 2009.

On Friday, police found a comforter stained with blood in a storage unit rented by Powell, reported CBS affiliate KIRO.

Physically Abused Children Report Higher Levels of Psychosomatic Symptoms

Physically Abused Children Report Higher Levels of Psychosomatic Symptoms - ScienceDaily (Feb. 9, 2012)

Children who display multiple psychosomatic symptoms, such as regular aches and pains and sleep and appetite problems, are more than twice as likely to be experiencing physical abuse at home than children who do not display symptoms, according to a study in the March edition of Acta Paediatrica.

Swedish researchers who studied 2,510 children aged 10, 12 and 15 from 44 schools found a strong association between reported physical abuse and three or more psychosomatic symptoms. The association was highest in children who were physically abused and also witnessed intimate partner violence (IPV). However, there was no significant association between IPV on its own and multiple symptoms....

"Our study demonstrates a clear association between high levels of psychosomatic symptoms and an increased risk of physical abuse" says Professor Janson. "The association was even stronger in abused children who also witnessed intimate partner violence at home.

Carolina Jernbro, Birgitta Svensson, Ylva Tindberg, Staffan Janson. Multiple psychosomatic symptoms can indicate child physical abuse - results from a study of Swedish schoolchildren. Acta Paediatrica, 2012; 101 (3): 324 DOI: 10.1111/j.1651-2227.2011.02518.x

Multiple psychosomatic symptoms can indicate child physical abuse – results from a study of Swedish schoolchildren
Carolina Jernbro, Birgitta Svensson, Ylva Tindberg, Staffan Janson
Acta Paediatrica Volume 101, Issue 3, pages 324–329, March 2012
DOI: 10.1111/j.1651-2227.2011.02518.

Methods: A national cross-sectional study of 2771 pupils in grades 4, 6 and 9 from 44 schools in Sweden was carried out in 2006 (91% response rate)....

Results: There was a strong association between reported physical abuse and multiple (three or more) psychosomatic symptoms among schoolchildren (AOR 2.12). Chronic condition was the only determinant that had an obvious enhancing effect on the association between physical abuse and psychosomatic symptoms in childhood.

Conclusion: This study shows that multiple psychosomatic symptoms are associated with child physical abuse. Health professionals therefore need to pay special attention to schoolchildren who complain about the co-occurrence of psychosomatic symptoms and pattern of symptoms, which could not be easily explained by other causes.;jsessionid=534C549FE6A2CD

full article

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Powell's story:cruelty, abuse at early age, Father dragged deeper in Powell saga

- Powell's story: cruelty, abuse from an early age
- Father-in-law dragged deeper into Powell saga
- Charlie and Braden Powell: Family, Teachers Remember Powell Boys At Tacoma Funeral

Powell's story: cruelty, abuse from an early age - A look at the divorce file of Josh Powell's parents shows extreme discord between the parents over everything from religion to pornography. And both parents had concerns about Josh. The Salt Lake Tribune; and The Associated Press February 10, 2012

Long before Josh Powell killed himself and his sons, the pages of his parents' divorce file portrayed him as a seriously troubled teen who attempted suicide, killed pet gerbils, once threatened his mother with a butcher knife and early on adopted his father's allegedly disparaging view of women.

As an adult, Powell appears to have repeated in his own marriage to Susan Cox Powell some of the same emotionally abusive behavior he witnessed growing up, according to a story in The Salt Lake Tribune....

Court files show the divorce of Steve and Terrica Powell involved not only serious conflicts over parenting and religion, but allegations of mental unfitness, pornography, polygamy and even witchcraft, The Tribune reported.

A tug of war ensued over the children, who at the time ranged in age from 18 to 7. Josh, the second-oldest child, was 16.

In 1992 court filings, Steve claimed his wife, who studied herbs and natural healing, had mixed a New Age mysticism with Mormon beliefs in a way that amounted to practicing "witch craft and devil worship."

Terrica responded that Steve's interest in pornography, which he shared with their sons, had corrupted him, the newspaper said, quoting court files....

In the divorce case, Terrica told the court her husband's parenting was offensive.

He subjected Josh in particular to overly harsh discipline, she said.

"For years, he pointedly attacked Josh very frequently, nearly every day for a time," she wrote.

Steve acknowledged Josh was a challenge.

Father-in-law dragged deeper into Powell saga
Associated Press

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) - In a folder on his work computer labeled "Personal Pics," Steve Powell maintained a peculiar collection of photos: 55 depicting his daughter-in-law Susan but few if any showing his son.

Thousands of images and emails on his Washington state government-issued laptop provide a small glimpse into his increasingly scrutinized world. Authorities said this week that he is a person of interest in her 2009 disappearance in Utah.

The files, obtained by The Associated Press as part of a public records request, portray Steve Powell as a meticulous worker who gathered photos by the thousands and had his life upended by the constant inquiries that ensued after Susan vanished.

He is now in jail on voyeurism and child pornography charges - and on suicide watch.

Powell's son and Susan's husband, Josh, killed himself and the couple's two young sons in a gas-fueled inferno Sunday that a prosecutor considers an admission that he killed his wife....

Until this week, authorities have only publicly discussed Steve Powell in relation to the charges he now faces. But a warrant and emails indicate that he has been dragged deeply into the Utah investigation surrounding his son, and police say they want to interview him to see if he knows anything about his daughter-in-law's disappearance....

Steve Powell said last year that he had a flirtatious and somewhat sexual relationship with Susan Powell. Her parents said she thought he was a creep and moved to Utah in part to get away from him.

In a search of Steve Powell's Washington state home last year, authorities found explicit images on his computers and images of people being photographed without their knowledge. Among them were pictures of Susan Powell.

Those findings led to the voyeurism and child porn charges, to which he has pleaded not guilty. The state took custody of Josh Powell's boys and turned them over to Susan's parents, Chuck and Judy Cox.

Charlie and Braden Powell: Family, Teachers Remember Powell Boys At Tacoma Funeral By RACHEL LA CORTE 02/12/12

TACOMA, Wash. -- More than a thousand people mourned the deaths of Charlie and Braden Powell at a public funeral Saturday, nearly a week after the young boys' father killed them and himself in a gas-fueled blaze....

The boys' father, Josh Powell, was in the middle of a custody battle with Cox when he torched his rental home in Graham last Sunday.

Josh Powell was a person of interest in his wife's disappearance in Utah two years ago, and prosecutors consider the fire an admission that he killed her.

Cox gained custody of the children more than five months ago after police arrested Josh Powell's father, Steve, on voyeurism and child pornography charges.

The kids were arriving for a supervised visit when Josh Powell blocked a social worker from entering the home. He then attacked the boys with a hatchet and torched the house, authorities said.

Abusers Target Impoverished Schools - Miramonte Elementary School

Abusers Target Impoverished Schools Feb 10, 2012
LOS ANGELES - The charges are shocking, but the choice of victims comes as little surprise.

The horrors alleged at Miramonte Elementary School echo previous cases of sexual abuse: vulnerable children, plied with attention and gifts and groomed to trust adult predators.

The abuses claimed here may be different - children blindfolded, gagged and fed a substance investigators say was semen. But the setting follows a pattern alleged at Penn State University, where former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky is accused of using a charity he founded to target vulnerable boys from single-parent homes or troubled families, people unlikely to speak out.

At Miramonte, the victims could hardly have been more disadvantaged: The 1,400 students are virtually all from poor Latino homes....

A former teacher's aide, Ricardo Guevara, is serving a 15-year sentence in state prison after being convicted in 2004 of sexually abusing three kindergarten girls at Miramonte. The Los Angeles school system was ordered to pay $1.6 million to his three victims' families.

Beverly Hills lawyer Keith represents four children, three boys and one girl, ages 9 to 13, who were students of accused teacher Mark Berndt, the man at the center of the scandal.

Berndt, 61, who was removed from his third-grade class a year ago, was charged last month with 23 counts of committing lewd acts on children ages 6 to 10 from 2005 through 2010.

Investigators say they have found 600 photographs Berndt took of the children, many performing what he told them was a game....

While investigating claims against Berndt, the Los Angeles sheriff's department brought charges against another Miramonte teacher. Martin Springer, 49, pleaded not guilty this week to charges he fondled a second-grade girl.

Springer taught at Miramonte for 26 years. Berndt taught there 32 years, a span that saw the neighborhood transform from a heavily African-American population to almost uniformly Latino.

Berndt had been the subject of complaints before. The sheriff's department investigated a September 1993 incident at the school, but prosecutors decided they didn't have enough evidence to charge him, said Sandi Gibbons, spokeswoman for District Attorney Steve Cooley....

In a separate incident, school system officials said they fired a female teacher's aide at the school in 2009, after a mother reported finding love letters the aide wrote to her 11-year-old son....

Ellen Greenwald, a University of Texas-Dallas psychologist, says kids who are victims of sex abuse often fear that going to adults will get them in more trouble and that no one will believe them, or that adults will blame them.

"That's what really creates the silence that continues," she says.

Lisa Aronson Fontes, a psychology professor at the University of Massachusetts who wrote Child Abuse and Culture: Working with Diverse Families, says, "There's a culture of silence at most schools ... and a culture of disbelief and denial."

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Miramonte teacher paid to drop charges, Gacy had accomplices - lawyers say, West Memphis 3 judge speaks, Healing from Trauma

- Miramonte teacher was paid $40,000 to drop dismissal challenge
- Serial killer John Wayne Gacy had accomplices, lawyers say
- West Memphis 3 judge speaks after 18 years
- Wellspring of Compassion- Self-Care for Sensitive People Healing from Trauma

Miramonte teacher was paid $40,000 to drop dismissal challenge

LAUSD says it paid Mark Berndt to settle his challenge because it was blocked from investigating and defending its firing of the Miramonte Elementary teacher accused of sexually abusing students.
By Howard Blume, Angel Jennings and Richard Winton, Los Angeles Times

February 10, 2012
The Los Angeles Unified School District paid Mark Berndt, the teacher at the center of the Miramonte Elementary child abuse scandal, $40,000 to drop the challenge to his dismissal last year.

The payout consisted of four months of back salary plus reimbursement for the cost of health benefits. Berndt was fired by the Board of Education in February 2011 after officials learned that the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department was investigating him for alleged lewd acts against students. He was arrested last week.

The firing took Berndt off the district payroll. But he fought to keep his job through an appeal process that lasted until he settled with the school system and resigned in June.

The settlement with Berndt came in the face of a dilemma, said L.A. Unified general counsel David Holmquist. A hearing on the dismissal was pending and the district didn't have evidence to justify the firing because the Sheriff's Department investigation was ongoing....

Berndt was charged last week with 23 counts of lewd conduct against children; another teacher, Martin Springer, was charged this week with three counts of lewd conduct. Berndt is alleged to have taken photographs of blindfolded children being spoon-fed his semen. Springer is accused of fondling a girl in his class. The Berndt and Springer cases are believed to be unrelated.,0,91877.story

Serial killer John Wayne Gacy had accomplices, lawyers say
By James Eng, 2/10/12

Nearly two decades after Chicago serial killer John Wayne Gacy was executed for torturing, raping and murdering 33 men and boys in the 1970s, two lawyers say they’ve unearthed evidence that indicates he didn’t act alone in some of the slayings.

Criminal defense attorneys Robert Stephenson and Steven Becker, who are partners in a Chicago law practice, said they re-examined the circumstances surrounding the disappearances of some of the victims. Their conclusion: the so-called “Killer Clown” had at least three accomplices.

The Chicago Sun-Times and WGN-TV first reported on the lawyers’ claims on Thursday and Friday.

“There is significant evidence out there that suggests that not only did John Wayne Gacy not operate alone, he may not have been involved in some of the murders, and the fact that he was largely a copycat killer,” Stephenson told WGN....

The sheriff said investigators will follow up on the information and, if it proves solid, will try to locate the potential accomplices -- two of whom are believed to be still alive. The case has had so many twists and loose ends – seven Gacy victims remain unidentified, for example – that Dart is keeping an open mind....

Gacy, a building contractor who performed as an amateur clown at fundraising events and children’s parties, was tried in Chicago in 1980 and convicted of 33 murders. He was executed in 1994

West Memphis 3 judge speaks after 18 years
Feb 10, 2012 By Janice Broach

MEMPHIS, TN - (WMC-TV) – For 18 years the West Memphis Three appealed their case and every time Judge David Burnett denied those appeals and he refused to speak about the case or the men. outside of the courtroom. "Frankly, everything I did was affirmed by the Arkansas Supreme Court," Burnett said.

Wellspring of Compassion- Self-Care for Sensitive People Healing from Trauma by Sonia Connolly - Whether you are new to healing or an old hand, whether your trauma is long past or ongoing, this book offers validation, support, and tools for healing. With this guide, uncover your wellspring of compassion, understand your reactions to trauma, rebuild self-trust, and respond to your inner voices with kindness. Reconnect with your body and respect your internal NO and YES. Nourished by compassion, grow into a shape defined by your history and desires, like a tree becoming more intricately itself every year. Sundown Healing Arts ISBN: 9780983903802 2012

Sonia Connolly, LMT helps sensitive trauma survivors regain self-trust and peace through intuitive, compassionate bodywork in Portland, Oregon. Her writing about trauma is inspired by twelve years of client sessions and twenty years of self-observation while healing from abuse.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Powell Family Tragedy, murder, voyeurism and child p_rn allegations

- Josh Powell Told Sons He Had 'Surprise' For Them, Social Worker
- Josh Powell Threatened His Mother With Knife, '90s-Era Court Documents Allege
- Powell Family Tragedy: A Timeline of Events

Josh Powell Told Sons He Had 'Surprise' For Them, Social Worker By CHRIS CUOMO, HARRY PHILLIPS and COLLEEN CURRY
TACOMA, Wash. Feb. 9, 2012

Josh Powell told his sons he had a "big surprise" for them as they ran toward his home Sunday, just moments before he attacked them with a hatchet and then blew them up, social worker Elizabeth Griffin-Hall told ABC News today.

"He caught my eye, his shoulders were slumped. He had a sheepish look," Griffin-Hall told "20/20" in an exclusive interview. "He just shrugged his shoulders and slammed the door."

Griffin-Hall said she had been taking the boys, Charles, 7, and Braden, 5, on supervised visits to Powell's house for three months.

Powell, who was the sole suspect in his wife Susan Cox's disappearance in 2009, had lost custody of the children in September and lost an appeal to get his children back just four days before he decided to kill them.

Josh Powell Threatened His Mother With Knife, '90s-Era Court Documents Allege
Feb. 9, 2012

Josh Powell, the husband of a missing Utah woman who killed himself and his two young sons last week, was a disturbed adolescent who threatened and hit his mother, according to 1992 court documents obtained by ABC News.

The documents, filed during the divorce of Josh Powell's parents in Washington state, Steven and Terrica Powell, include several statements by Terrica Powell describing her son's disturbing behavior.

Terrica Powell wrote that her son once tried to commit suicide and also threatened her with a butcher knife. On other occasions, he and one of his brothers pushed and hit her, she wrote....

Josh Powell was the only named person-of-interest in Susan Powell's disappearance, but he was never charged. He continually denied involvement in his wife's disappearance and later moved himself and his sons to live with his father, Steven Powell -- Terrica Powell's ex-husband -- in Washington state.

The couple's two sons were placed in the custody of Susan Powell's parents after Steven Powell was arrested on charges of voyeurism and child pornography in September 2011. Steven Powell has denied the charges.
A judge ruled earlier this month that Josh Powell could not have custody of his sons until he underwent a psycho-sexual evaluation.

Powell Family Tragedy: A Timeline of Events

....In an interview with "Good Morning America" Steven Powell (father of Josh Powell) makes new claims that he had a flirtatious relationship with his daughter-in-law that was "a little beyond the pale."

"Father-in-law - daughter-in-law flirting with each other, maybe some sexual touching or whatever," Steven Powell said of the relationship that he developed with his son's wife, adding that he started to fall in love with her, and stated, "there's no question in my mind that the feelings were mutual."....

Sept. 22, 2011: Steven Powell is charged with using a telephoto lens to take photos of two young girls in the bathroom of a neighboring house. The photos, which were found during the August search of his home, are among thousands he secretly took of women's buttocks and breasts, according to charges filed against him. Powell was charged with 14 counts of voyeurism and one count of child pornography and held on $200,000 bail.

Josh Powell is named a "subject" in the child porn investigation, according to assistant Attorney General for Washington John Long.

Susan Powell's parents file to gain custody of the two boys in court the following day.....

Sept. 28, 2011: Josh and Susan Powell's two boys are ordered by a Washington court to remain in the custody of her parents Chuck and Judy Cox, because they had been living in a dangerous home environment with sexually explicit material, and because of the possibility that Josh Powell participated in the voyeurism and child pornography charges against his father. He is, however, granted visitation rights with his boys.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Second Miramonte Elementary Teacher Remains in Custody

Second Miramonte Elementary Teacher Remains in Custody
Investigators have found an additional 200 bondage-type photos of children allegedly taken by a teacher.
KTLA News February 9, 2012 LOS ANGELES

Miramonte Elementary School reopened on Thursday with completely new staff, in the wake of the arrests of two teachers last week on child sex abuse charges.

LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy said the idea behind the "clean sweep" is to re-build confidence among the many families who have lost faith in the school in the wake of the sex scandal.....

Meantime, at least two dozen students at Miramonte Elementary have retained attorneys so far.

The children allege they were victimized by teacher Mark Berndt, who was arrested last week and charged with 23 counts of lewd conduct.

Investigators have uncovered an additional 200 bondage-type photos of children allegedly taken by Berndt, who worked at the school for more than 30 years.

The pictures were found inside a computer at the Redondo Beach CVS store where the original photos implicating Berndt were found, Sgt. Dan Scott told KTLA.

Scott says the photos show about 25 victims that haven't been identified yet....

The new pictures bring the total number of photos to roughly 600.

Authorities said the Berndt case could involve more than 100 children over five years.

Berndt is being held on $23 million bail and is due in court for an arraignment on Feb. 21.

KTLA spoke to a 10-year-old girl who said she was sexually abused by Berndt.

The girl said Berndt -- who was not her teacher -- would contact her female teacher and ask for the her to be sent to his classroom to "get cookies during class."

"Mr. Berndt, he called my teacher and (asked) if he could borrow some students," the girl said in the interview.

The girl said Berndt would always pick the same group of students. He gave her cookies, she said, and told her female teacher the girl had "been helping a lot."....

Scott told KTLA that investigators have interviewed the female teacher and that, "we are satisfied with her answers she's provided us. She is definitely not a suspect. I can't predict what will happen in the future."....

The Berndt case in particular has raised questions about whether the school properly handled misconduct issues in the past.

Authorities have acknowledged that a 10-year-old girl claimed Berndt tried to fondle her in 1994.

Sheriff's detectives investigated the allegation, but the district attorney's office rejected the case, saying there was not enough evidence to prosecute.

Additionally, two women, who are now adults, said school officials investigated rumors about Berndt back in 1990.

One of the girls told the Los Angeles Times that a counselor told her and two other girls to stop inventing stories after a complaint that Berndt appeared to be masturbating behind his desk.

In another instance, a woman who discovered love-letters written by a Miramonte teacher's aide to her 11-year-old son was not taken seriously....

And in 2005, Richard Guevara, a former teacher's aide at Miramonte Early Education Center, was convicted of committing lewd acts with children.

He had been investigated for improper behavior as far back as 1995, but it was a case from 2003 that led to his conviction.

In that case, Guevara received a sentenced of 15 years to life in prison.,0,7913135.story

Survivorship Ritual Abuse Webinar: Resourcefulness as a survival tool - Feb 25

Upcoming Webinar. Please note change of date. Spaces still available:

Saturday, February 25
12 pm Pacific Time
Presenter: Alison
"Resourcefulness as a survival tool. Drawing on both internal and external resources"

Alison grew up within an inter-generational cult in Eastern Ontario, Canada rooted in the Knights of Columbus and the 18th century Catholic Church. To pay for disappointing her family of not carrying on the tradition of the firstborn son, Alison bore three children by members of her family and was forced to sacrifice them. She did her University studies from 1993-2004 during which time she struggled with unmanaged dissociation, anorexia and bulimia.

Her healing began in a treatment program in the USA, and continues at home in Canada. Alison has two published articles and now speaks out about SRA. She has been recently diagnosed with a terminal illness and still continues her endeavors to bring light to the issue of SRA. She has worked as an HIV counselor and a rep on the LGBTQ Caucus of the Ontario NDP. Alison is a part time music theory teacher and Artist Manager.

Having the ability to be resourceful has kept Alison alive for the past 36 years. She believes that all human beings have basic human rights as outlined in the Canadian Human Rights Code, and she has drawn on resources, both internal as well as external. She will be talking about how this resourcefulness has saved her life and will offer suggestions on how other survivors can find and draw on their own many resources.


Registration closes Thursday evening February 23, 2012

To reserve a space in the webinar, e-mail Shamai at and give her this information:

1. Your name
2. The webinar you wish to attend: " Resourcefulness as a survival tool. Drawing on both internal and external resources
3. Amount and method of payment (check, PayPal, money order)
4. Your preferred e-mail address (so we can send you instructions)
5. The name you will be using for the webinar. (This does not have to be your real name or your message board screen name.)

You will receive a confirmation email immediately and an invitation link and instructions after the registration closes


Webinars are on a sliding scale from $50.00 to full scholarship (while we offer full scholarships for webinars please consider paying whatever you are able to. Even $5 will help to cover the cost of the webinar provider). Please remember to factor in the cost of the telephone call if you don’t have a computer headset. The PayPal button is near the bottom of the page at

If you wish to pay by check please send it to: Survivorship, Family Justice Center, 470 27th Street, Oakland, CA 94612.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

200 New Photos Found in Miramonte Child Sex Probe

200 New Photos Found in Miramonte Child Sex Probe
Alleged victim describes Miramonte abuse.
February 8, 2012

SOUTH LOS ANGELES, Calif. (KTLA) -- Investigators have uncovered an additional 200 bondage-type photos of children allegedly taken by Miramonte School teacher Mark Berdt

The pictures were found inside a computer at the Redondo Beach CVS store where the original photos implicating Berdt were found, Sgt. Dan Scott told KTLA.

Scott says the photos show about 25 victims that haven't been identified yet.

The new pictures bring the total number of photos to roughly 600.

Berndt, who worked at Miramonte Elementary for more than 30 years, has been charged with 23 felony counts of lewd acts on a child.

A student who says she was sexually abused by Berndt says a female teacher at the school ushered her into Berndt's classroom, where the alleged abuse took place.

In an exclusive interview with KTLA, the 10-year-old girl said Berndt -- who was not her teacher -- would contact her female teacher and ask for the her to be sent to his classroom to "get cookies during class."

"Mr. Berndt, he called my teacher and (asked) if he could borrow some students," the girl said in the interview....

Attorney Brian Claypool, who represents five of Berndt's alleged victims, including the 10-year-old girl, said he has forwarded the female teacher's name and address to law enforcement officials.

Scott told KTLA that investigators have interviewed the female teacher and that, "we are satisfied with her answers she's provided us. She is definitely not a suspect. I can't predict what will happen in the future....

A second Miramonte teacher, Martin Springer, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to three counts of lewd acts on a child.

However according to authorities one of the girls dropped her case on Wednesday.

They said they are not pursuing that case because she and her family did not want to get involved in the investigation....

Additionally, two women, who are now adults, said school officials investigated rumors about Berndt back in 1990.

One of the women was called before a school counselor with two other girls, but the counselor chalked it up to the girls' vivid imaginations and the subject was dropped.

In another instance, a woman who discovered love-letters written by a Miramonte teacher's aide to her 11-year-old son was not taken seriously.

The Los Angeles Times reports that in June 2009, the mother of a fourth-grade boy discovered love letters from the aide, identified as Areceli Luisjuan....

In 2005, Richard Guevara, a former teacher's aide at Miramonte Early Education Center, was convicted in 2005 of committing lewd acts with children.

He had been investigated for improper behavior as far back as 1995, but it was a case from 2003 that led to his conviction.

In that case, Guevara received a sentenced of 15 years to life in prison.,0,7913135.story

When the Devil Knocks - Storyville - One woman's gripping struggle with multiple personality

When the Devil Knocks - Storyville - One woman's gripping struggle with multiple personality is captured on camera as she goes public with her private therapy tapes.

When the Devil Knocks is the intimate story of a woman suffering from Dissociative Identity Disorder, formerly known as Multiple Personality. The film premiered at the 2010 Vancouver International Film Festival and will have its World Broadcast Premiere on CBC News Network's The Passionate Eye on Wednesday, January 26, 2011 at 10 pm ET/PT.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Child abuse and neglect cost US $124 billion, Scouts Canada, school staff replaced

- Child abuse and neglect cost the United States $124 billion
- The economic burden of child maltreatment in the United States and implications for prevention
- Study: Child abuse bigger threat than SIDS
- Convicted leader continued with Scouts movement
- Entire staff to be replaced at LA school where 2 teachers were arrested

Child abuse and neglect cost the United States $124 billion
Rivals cost of other high profile public health problems

Press Release
For Immediate Release: February 1, 2012
Contact :CDC Division of News and Electronic Media

The total lifetime estimated financial costs associated with just one year of confirmed cases of child maltreatment (physical abuse, sexual abuse, psychological abuse and neglect) is approximately $124 billion, according to a report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, published in Child Abuse and Neglect, The International Journal.

This study looked at confirmed child maltreatment cases, 1,740 fatal and 579,000 non–fatal, for a 12–month period. The lifetime cost for each victim of child maltreatment who lived was $210,012, which is comparable to other costly health conditions, such as stroke with a lifetime cost per person estimated at $159,846 or type 2 diabetes, which is estimated between $181,000 and $253,000. The costs of each death due to child maltreatment are even higher....

Child maltreatment has been shown to have many negative effects on survivors, including poorer health, social and emotional difficulties, and decreased economic productivity. This CDC study found these negative effects over a survivor's lifetime generate many costs that impact the nation's health care, education, criminal justice and welfare systems.

Key findings:

The estimated average lifetime cost per victim of nonfatal child maltreatment includes:
$32,648 in childhood health care costs
$10,530 in adult medical costs
$144,360 in productivity losses
$7,728 in child welfare costs
$6,747 in criminal justice costs
$7,999 in special education costs

....Child maltreatment can also be linked to many emotional, behavioral, and physical health problems. Associated emotional and behavioral problems include aggression, conduct disorder, delinquency, antisocial behavior, substance abuse, intimate partner violence, teenage pregnancy, anxiety, depression, and suicide.

The economic burden of child maltreatment in the United States and implications for prevention Xiangming Fanga, Derek S. Brownb,
Curtis S. Florencea, James A. Mercya


The estimated average lifetime cost per victim of nonfatal child maltreatment is $210,012 in 2010 dollars, including $32,648 in childhood health care costs; $10,530 in adult medical costs; $144,360 in productivity losses; $7,728 in child welfare costs; $6,747 in criminal justice costs; and $7,999 in special education costs. The estimated average lifetime cost per death is $1,272,900, including $14,100 in medical costs and $1,258,800 in productivity losses. The total lifetime economic burden resulting from new cases of fatal and nonfatal child maltreatment in the United States in 2008 is approximately $124 billion. In sensitivity analysis, the total burden is estimated to be as large as $585 billion.

Compared with other health problems, the burden of child maltreatment is substantial, indicating the importance of prevention efforts to address the high prevalence of child maltreatment.

Study: Child abuse bigger threat than SIDS
4,600 children hospitalized with serious injuries
By Frederik Joelving 2/6/2012

Nearly 4,600 U.S. children were hospitalized with broken bones, traumatic brain injury and other serious damage caused by physical abuse in 2006, according to a new report.

Babies younger than one were the most common victims, with 58 cases per 100,000 infants. That makes serious abuse a bigger threat to infant safety than SIDS, or sudden infant death syndrome, researchers say in the report....

Based on data from the 2006 Kids' Inpatient Database, the last such numbers available, Leventhal's team found that six out of every 100,000 children under 18 were hospitalized with injuries ranging from burns to wounds to brain injuries and bone fractures.

Convicted leader continued with Scouts movement
CBC 2/7/12 A man who was twice-convicted of sex offences against children was welcomed as a member of a Scouts alumni association for decades, even after officials became aware of at least one of his convictions, a CBC News investigation has found.

Even though the organization says there was no contact with youth, Scouts Canada, in a recent interview with the CBC, now admits it was a mistake.

But a Lillooet, B.C., family that suffered damage caused by the abuse, says the acknowledgement gives them little solace.

"I ended up doing nine prison sentences, and having drinking and drug and all those other problems," Christopher Jones told CBC News.

Decades ago, in 1976, his Grade 4 teacher and Scout leader, Michael David Henley, began molesting him....

It took Jones, who was known as Christopher Aaron as a child, 10 years to tell anyone what Henley did to him....

Henley eventually pleaded guilty to indecent assault and received a year's probation. In 1994, Moore wrote to Scouts officials to be certain they were aware of what happened.

Moore says the letter she got back made her sick. Henley was still involved in Scouting as part of an adult alumni group for leaders called the Baden Powell Guild. The provincial commissioner wrote that Henley had no direct contact with youth, was undergoing counselling, and appeared determined to stay clear of situations that could result in a recurrence of his crime.

After Henley was convicted of sex assaults against six boys in 1999, he stepped down from his position as editor of the Baden Powell Guild's newsletter, but returned as editor until 2005.

Entire staff to be replaced at LA school where 2 teachers were arrested
By staff and news services

2/7/12 The Los Angeles Unified School District is replacing the entire staff of Miramonte Elementary following the arrest of two teachers on lewd conduct charges last week, Superintendent John Deasy told parents at a meeting Monday night, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Positions will be filled by qualified teachers and other workers already on a placement or rehiring list, the Times report stated. But the displacement of the current staff could be temporary, according to the report.

Teacher Mark Berndt was charged last week with committing lewd acts on 23 children. Another teacher, Martin Springer, was arrested Friday on suspicion of fondling two girls in his classroom.

Deasy said staffers are being replaced because a full investigation of allegations is disruptive, and staffers require support to get through the scandal.