If anything, rising anti-Muslim hate will probably make groomers stronger in their convictions, and drive ordinary young Muslim men towards fundamentalism, grooming gangs and terrorism. The camaraderie, protection, money, and kudos that these groups offer, makes them a strong pull for anyone. Worryingly, several young men I have spoken to joke that being a gangster and going to jail are their “life goals”.
Former Melbourne school principal Malka Leifer, who is accused of child sex crimes, will remain behind bars after a successful appeal against her release to home detention in an Israeli court.
An Israeli judge had said Leifer could be released to home detention earlier this month after a rabbi offered to take care of her while she awaited an extradition outcome. But he withdrew his support for Leifer to be released on house arrest days later.
Victorian police want to bring the 54-year-old, who was arrested in Israel in February, back to Australia to face 74 charges of child sexual abuse.
Leifer had been ordered to stay in police custody in a medical facility while the supreme court considered the prosecution’s appeal against her release to home detention.
Dassi Erlich, who has accused Leifer of abusing her, posted on her Facebook page that “Malka Leifer is to remain arrested and has not been granted bail” after the supreme court accepted the appeal.
“The supreme court’s ruling to keep Malka Leifer detained until the conclusion of extradition, is a positive step forward,” she said in a media statement.
“It addresses the concern of many that she is a flight risk and a possible danger to others. This ruling will also hopefully limit the stalling tactics of the defence because their client is now siting in prison awaiting a decision for extradition.
“We feel strengthened and encouraged by this successful appeal and await the next step in this lengthy road towards justice.”
Manny Waks, an advocate for Kol v’Oz, a Jewish organisation combating child sex abuse, said justice had prevailed and “sanity has been restored to both Malka Leifer and the Israeli judicial system”.
“Now that she is incarcerated, hopefully the extradition process will be swift, and we can finally see Leifer face justice in Australia,” he said in a statement on Monday.
“Today is a great day for many people, not least Leifer’s courageous alleged victims.”
Her extradition is the subject of a separate court case.
SAN MATEO, Calif.
After a St. Matthew's Episcopal Day School student complained to her parents about pre-kindergarten teacher Anthony Satriano, and after the resulting law enforcement investigation, Satriano was arrested, charged, and pled no contest to five felony counts of lewd and lascivious conduct, attempted lewd and lascivious conduct and using a child for sexual purposes. The victims ranged in age from 5 to 8 years old. On February 23, 2018, pre-kindergarten teacher Satriano was sentenced to 6 years in prison.
The childhood sexual abuse lawsuit alleges that prestigious private school St. Matthew's Episcopal Day School and Head of School Julie Galles failed to protect St. Matthew's School students. The lawsuit further alleges that St Matthew's School and its employees, including Head of School Galles, ignored Satriano's inappropriate physical contact with students and grooming conduct, failed to have child protection policies and procedures in place, and hired staff that did not meet legally-mandated minimum qualifications. The lawsuit alleges that St. Matthew's School and Head of School Galles received many complaints but elected to ignore them.
Exposing the truth about childhood sexual abuse and holding schools and churches accountable is the only way to force institutions to make changes to better protect children. Childhood sexual abuse causes traumatic harm that children often suffer for the rest of their lives, said psychologist and attorney Joseph George, Ph.D. of the Law Offices of Joseph C. George, Ph.D.
The Law Offices of Joseph C. George, Ph.D., has represented hundreds of survivors of childhood sexual abuse in cases against schools, religious institutions and youth service organizations. Dr. George is a licensed psychologist as well as a licensed attorney. The firm has offices in Sacramento, Los Angeles and Newport Beach, California.
TIM HYNDS, Sioux City Journal
SIOUX CENTER | After former elementary teacher Curtis Van Dam was arrested in October and charged with having sexual contact with an 11-year-old boy, emotions ran high in this Sioux County city.
Parents of children attending the private Sioux Center Christian School, where Van Dam taught, were upset. So were others in the community, Sioux Center police Chief Paul Adkins said.
Van Dam's arrest and ensuing flood of media coverage did more than cause emotional outbursts.
It led to more victims coming forward.
Through interviews with children, investigators had identified other potential victims and contacted them. But there were others, previously unknown to authorities, who came forward on their own. A total of 15 boys have reported incidents that occurred when they were under the age of 12 or 13 and stretch back to to 2013, courtroom testimony has revealed.
"Some came forward on their own, or their parents or relatives came forward. It just mushroomed from there," Adkins said. "In all my 40 years (in law enforcement), I've never experienced a case like this."
His case may be an extreme example of a sexual abuse case, but the fallout from it is not so unusual.
It's not uncommon for a highly publicized case such as Van Dam's to lead children elsewhere to come forward and tell someone they've been sexually abused, law enforcement officers and social service providers said.
"When you have public cases, children realize they're not the only ones. They feel more empowered to report it," said Amy Scarmon, manager of Sioux City's Mercy Child Advocacy Center, which serves 35 counties in Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota.
That uptick isn't just a local happening. Statewide, reports of sexual abuse rise after sexual abuse cases hit the news, said Matt Highland, an Iowa Department of Human Services public information officer.
"When cases attract public attention such as those covered in the media, DHS tends to receive more reports of suspected abuse. It would be reasonable to believe that such cases lead to awareness," Highland said.
They often trigger repressed memories bringing them to the conscious mind.
Van Dam's arrest (11th story on link) and court proceedings or the nationally televised court proceedings of Larry Nassar, a former USA Gymnastics team doctor and Michigan State University physician who recently was sentenced to more than 100 years in prison for abusing dozens of girls and young women since 1992, local officials couldn't recall specific cases in which alleged victims mentioned the media coverage as a reason for reporting abuse.
Sioux County did see two other arrests of older men accused of sexual contact with young victims in the months after Van Dam's arrest.
Scott McAdam, 56, of Orange City, was arrested in November and charged with taking nude photos of a girl who was under age 14 and having sexual contact with her. He pleaded guilty to lascivious acts with a child and sexual exploitation of a child and was sentenced earlier this month to 20 years in prison.
In January, Lloyd Schlumbohm, 71, of Rock Valley, was arrested and charged with having sexual contact with a minor during an 11-year period. Schlumbohm has pleaded not guilty to three counts of third-degree sexual abuse and one count of indecent exposure.
The Sioux County Sheriff's Office investigated both cases. Chief Deputy Nate Huizenga said he wasn't aware that the victims came forward because they had heard about other cases in the news, but sexual abuse cases don't follow the norms of other criminal cases.
"We've always had these cases, and there isn't a pattern in these cases," Huizenga said.
That lack of a pattern makes it harder to detect when a child is being sexually abused. There's no list of warning signs or symptoms, Scarmon said.
Those who sexually abuse children work hard to keep it a secret. Most child sexual abuse victims have some type of relationship with their abuser and trust them and are perhaps scared to report abuse because they depend on the perpetrator to take care of them and provide for their overall well-being. Sexual abusers can be manipulative, threatening or shaming their victims while at the same time giving them gifts to maintain that trust.
"Sexual abuse generally is an isolation event in a child's life," Scarmon said.
Yet, more people appear to be speaking up. In the past three years, the Child Advocacy Center has seen an increase in referrals of children for interviews, medical exams and therapy.
The center had 403 sexual abuse referrals in 2015. That total increased to 493 in 2016 and grew to 592 in 2017. Scarmon said 2017 numbers may be skewed because the center, which also sees referrals involving child physical abuse and neglect, moved to 701 Jackson St. in July. The new location is larger and able to accommodate more referrals.
At the least, Scarmon said, those high-profile cases can raise public awareness of sexual abuse and lead to more people reporting questionable behavior.
"Anytime you've got big things like that, you're going to see more people aware of abuse happening," she said. "Anytime people have more awareness, it makes people think a little bit harder about what they're seeing and maybe that it is report-worthy."
A SURVIVOR of sexual abuse carried out by the disgraced former Bishop of Gloucester Peter Ball has criticised the Church for rejecting “open” and “frank” communication in favour of power and control.
The individual, known only as AN-A8, was giving evidence on Monday at the start of the third and final week of the public hearing conducted by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse (IICSA). The Inquiry is using the diocese of Chichester as a case-study to investigate the extent to which the Anglican Church has failed to protect children from sexual abuse.
The lead Counsel to the Anglican investigation, Fiona Scolding QC, focused her questions on safeguarding in religious communities rather than the nature of the abuse, which is described in detail in the independent report on the Ball case by Dame Moira Gibb (News, 22 June 2017).
The first witness had attended one of the monastic-community schemes for young people, “Give a Year to God”, which Ball had founded and run in Littlington, East Sussex, in the 1980s, when he was the Bishop of Lewes.
The witness had left the religious life in 1989 to pursue ordination, but left the priesthood for several years from 1996. He confirmed that he had later made a claim for damages against the Church in respect of the grooming and sexual abuse that he had suffered there at the hands of Ball during this time.
“I was still anxious to have open lines of communication with the church hierarchy,” he said. “I don’t think that they are very good at communication. I don’t think they want communication. The impression that I get is that I don’t think they actually want me to exist.
“I forgive everybody, and always have done, because it is absolutely essential in having open lines of communication with other members of the Church. As far as the church hierarchy is concerned, I don’t think they like frankness, openness.”
AN-A8 said in his witness statement that the Church needed to create a “culture of challenge”. He described this to IICSA as “a place where Christians can challenge everybody around them in order to not quite be so infantilised.
“One of the things the Church does, the church hierarchy and bishops, is to make sure that people, Christians, are as infantilised as possible, so that they can be controlled. If you are going to be saved, you have to have a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach. That is to say, go to church and don’t say anything.”
“You should also have a thorough grounding and understanding of what sex actually is: you should appreciate it, nurture it, and even encourage it — at least positive expressions of it.”
This had not been the case at time of the abuse, and was not the case today, he said. “The matter is not about sex: it is about control — the lust for control. What bishops, in particular, need to do is to examine why they have a lust for control. There is a psychology behind it, a sociology behind it — also, a very long history. These are the things that need to be homed in on and checked out.”
Asked what practical steps the Church should take to avoid repeating its failures over safeguarding, the witness said: “It needs to stop squelching discussion. It has a way of doing things where it tries to crush people when they try to speak. It needs to stop doing that, and treat people as adults rather than children. . .
“The institution itself doesn’t need to be defended; it will look after itself in so far as it is informed by, and filled with, the Holy Spirit. Anything beyond that is irrelevant. There is a larger thing at stake here, which is about the physical and psychological health of Christians. When that sort of thing is put to one side or not taken account of, it more or less amounts to spiritual or psychological abuse.”
Ms Scolding pointed to the apology issued by Ball, through his legal team, at the start of the hearing, to everyone whom Ball had hurt or harmed through his actions.
A SURVIVOR of clerical abuse, Professor Julie Macfarlane, who brought a civil suit against the diocese in which she was abused, has said that an article that she wrote in the Church Times “galvanised” the Ecclesiastical Insurance Group (EIG) into meeting to discuss settlement and change their civil-claims policy
The witness responded that apologies were “far from” a helpful way of healing: “Apologies are very often used as weapons. It is a way of saying: ‘We have now taken account of you; you are in our sights; you are our enemy: you are not part of our team. We have now discharged our responsibilities with regard to you with this apology; so you can now go away and never darken our doors again.’
“It is a way of saying goodbye. . . They have gone through the ringer of being looked at by lawyers and insurers. You wonder how genuine these things are, or whether they are done just for the look of the thing. Hypocrisy is the problem here.”
The second anonymous witness on Monday, AN-A7, had been less enamoured by the religious life, but had been attracted to the scheme in Littlington after Ball had delivered an assembly at the school that the witness had attended, in 1981.
The witness had been groomed and sexually abused by Ball between April and August 1985. He had been asked by Ball to be naked with him and to massage him. The witness said that believed that these “sessions” were “innocent” at the time.
He had been aware that Ball had a simultaneous, similarly “odd” relationship with Neil Todd, whose case led to a police investigation and the eventual arrest of Ball in 1993. Mr Todd later took his own life in 2012.
The scheme, AN-A7 said, had attracted young boys who, like himself, he had considered, were mentally unwell or “on the edge”.
“There was a strain that ran through Littlington which was explicitly designed to appeal to people whose outlook on life was morbid and self-loathing, and very receptive to ideas of Original Sin: that we are all dreadful sinners, and that while we didn’t nail Christ to the cross personally, we might as well have done. . . There is a kind of masochistic thrill about that train of thought.”
The Bishop of Manchester, Dr David Walker, later gave evidence to IICSA on the current practices, guidance, regulation, and forthcoming canon on religious communities in relation to safeguarding (News, 16 February).
In a Twitter post on Friday, the Bishop of Buckingham, Dr Alan Wilson, lent support to demands from other clergy and abuse survivors for an independent body to hold the Church of England to account over safeguarding.
He wrote: “Yes. A terrible week with evidence of religious exceptionalism, stupidity, incompetence, lying, dumping responsibility at every level including the highest, and folie de grandeur. Bishops must be acccountable. This means not just to themselves. End of story.”