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Sexual Predators


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I just found out that the father in a family that often baby-sat for Annie was arrested for being an Habitual Sexual Predator. His first offense was more than three years before we met them. He did his grooming well enough to get access. I don't know if there was inappropriate contact between him and my daughter. Do background checks on everyone who might have access alone with your children.

 

Dutch

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Dutch, I know that has to be terribly troubling to you. Yes, many, maybe even most, of us, really don't realize how prevalent this is, and just how careful we need to be.

 

In college, I took a senior honors level course on child maltreatment for Psychology and Social work majors only, it deal with a lot of very sensitive stuff. The instructor brought in many amazing guest speakers..the area of sexualy abuse is ENTIRELY a different matter than any other form of neglect and abuse. Yes, predators "groom" both their victims AND the parents and other adults around the victom to gain access through trust. It is extremely hard for anyone, at least without specialized training, to spot the average sexual predator. While statistics indicate that the average number of offenses committed BEFORE the predator is arrested and convicted the FIRST time, is around 100, and that other adults that know the offender are almost alwayys totally shocked, hadn't suspected a thing! Unfortunately, even then, people in the offender's family and friends refuse to believe it, and the victim actually gets mistreated even further because they are either accused of lying, or of having been an active and willing participant. Sometimes, when the offender is a family member, others dependent on him for support (wife, other children) have a lot to lose by acknowledging the abuse, becasue if he is convected and sent to prison, they are left unsupported. That was, to me, perhaps the scariest part of it.

 

Another fact few realize, way over 95% of sexual abuse involves an abuser that is well known and trusted by parents and other adults, and the largest percentage of those, are family members to the victim.

 

Some people assume sexual abuse by a trusted family member or friend of the family is less traumatic for the victim than a stranger abduction and rape...wrong! It is easier for the victim and their supporting family to recover from a stranger asdsault, even if violent, than from an abuse by someone trusted...in the latter case, it is not only the actual assault that must be dealt with, but the shattering of the trust the victim experiences, often not only trust in the offender, but also in other family members that are torn by which 'side' to believe, how to adapt their own ways of seeing and feeling about the offender.

 

One of the most important things I brought out of my experience in that class as well as in some personal incidents I know of, it the importance of trusting our "gut feel" about someone....If you feel something isn't just right about someone in contact or potential contact with a child, always risk erring on the side of caution.

 

I actually know personally of incidents within my own extended family, in which there have been very emotionnal 'splits' between family members over a child report of sexual abuse, some steadfastly refusing to accept it as true. This is a very emotionally loaded issue in more ways than one would initially think.

 

Jenell

Edited by JenellYB
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This is complicated. My daughter is dead so I can't worry about harm she experienced. If someone else felt they were harmed because of a role he played in a youth activity at church, as directors of Christian Ed, my wife and I could be sued. Although it would have been impossible to find out in this case because the law requiring sex offender registration did not go into effect until 1991. Apparently his only other arrest was in 1984.

 

So - I know 3 convicted sex offenders. All involved incest: step-daughter, cousin, perhaps grand children or their cousins. A fourth was discovered doing grooming behaviors but no probable cause for an arrest on inappropriate contact charges. The grooming behavior case made me the angriest because no-one could see it. I knew if a man sent someone's daughter a secret gift, the leaders would get it, but because the recipient was a boy they brushed it off.

 

We wrote a Child safety policy but leaders resisted it and no one in group thought we should run background checks on volunteers.

I know of two false accusations. Everyone expect one target thought the anti-bullying policy was unnecessary because their children were not at risk. The other target withdrew because he was afraid of of ostracism.

 

Thanks for listening. I probably crossed confidentiality rules and I appreciate you expressions of concern.

 

Dutch

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Dutch, you need to be able to vent these thoughts and feelings...

 

As for any church or other group allowing 'volunteers' or anyone else access to children without requiring a back ground check, I think their action (non-action!) is despicable! Abusers of any kind are ALWAYS going to gravitate toward and attempt to infiltrate situations in which they have easy access to their targeted victims!

 

Btw, children are not the only ones that can be targets of habitual sex offenders...I have a neice, young, pretty, but very timid, meek, non-assetive, and naive, that was sexually abused by a guest "revival evangelist" preaching a week of revival services at her non-denominational, charismatic church. This "evangelist" focused each evening on various areas Christians might have problems, and also made himself available for "private counseling sessions" for church members while he was there. One was on marital problems...this young woman, hurting over problems in her marriage, sought his counsel...from what I understand, he persuaded her the 'problem' was her lack of sexual knowledge and proceeded to 'teach her', ended up with intercourse. She openly confessed this to her church, and after the fact, it was learned this man had been 'banned' at other churches for similar behavior, and there were multiple convictions for sex offenses on his criminal record!

 

You have very right to your discomforting thoughts and feelings..anyone whose trust has been violated does.

 

Jenell

Edited by JenellYB
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