Archive for CHILD ABUSE

Parents Should Be Charged Along With Kids in Bullying Cases

It’s always sad when we hear of a young child taking his or her life at the hands of bullies — other kids who have tortured and tormented the individual to the point where the child believes death is his best option. A recent story out of Central Florida received national attention when a 12-year-old girl allegedly jumped from an abandoned cement factory tower after enduring months of horrific cyberbullying.

Two girls were arrested in the case, ages 12 and 14, and both charged with felony aggravated stalking. Polk County Sherriff Grady Judd said the victim, Rebecca Sedwick, was “terrorized,” and put a lot of the blame on the suspect’s parents. Judd said, “The parents were not doing what parents are supposed to do.”

 

With October being National Bullying Prevention Month, here’s my critical thinking question: why weren’t the parents arrested? Yes, I agree, the 12-year-old and 14-year-olds didn’t seem the least disturbed by Sedwick’s death, but the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, and the parents should be held accountable as well.

It’s time to pressure educators, parents and politicians to work together to end bullying in American schools. They need to stop denying the problem and closing their doors, and start acting like leaders. Parents need to be more involved with their children, and stop bullying in its tracks. If not, parents need to be held accountable, too. There’s no excuse for roughly160,000 kids a day cowering in terror. The blame rests on the shoulders of the leaders we trust to keep our kids safe, and on all parents to be more involved and teach their kids to treat others like they would like to be treated. Anti-bullying laws need to carry severe punishments and be enforced. Bullies should be banished from schools and sent back to their parents.

 

Suicide is bullying’s quiet little secret. It’s picking off our kids one at a time. Kids like Jamey Rodemeyer, a 14-year old high school freshman from Buffalo, NY, are taking to the Internet in a cry for help. You can pull them up on Youtube. These kids plea for help. They cry, beg and even hold up signs screaming out for someone to listen. For Jamey Rodemeyer, much like Rebecca Sedwick, it was too late. He had been bullied since 5th grade and couldn’t take it anymore. In late 2011, he committed suicide.

 

Unfortunately, this is becoming all too common. The delusional thinking as it relates to bullying is how many teachers, school officials and religious leaders view this as a natural part of growing up. We have kids killing themselves, hiding out at home and even taking revenge in school shootings, yet it’s being reduced by some authorities as a normal part of growing up? Today’s bullies are more vicious than they were back in the 70s and 80s, and their victims are living a tortured existence with some even committing suicide. This is clearly not a rite of passage scenario. Bullying in the 21st century is a matter of life and death.

With 15-25 percent of U.S. students being bullied on a regular basis, how can we deny this is a serious problem? We’ve made progress in the fight against bullying, but we have a lot of work left to do. Bullying is no laughing matter, and the only way to put an end to the bullying epidemic is to take any and all bullying seriously. That means everyone from the teacher to the cafeteria worker to parents and police need to get involved and be proactive when bullying is suspected.

Bullying has been a problem since the beginning of time, and probably pre-dates humans beginning in the animal kingdom. Anytime there’s a perceived imbalance of power viewed through the eyes of a creature who derives pleasure from others’ misery, you will have bullying. While we may always have bullies, we don’t always have to have bullying. We owe it to our children to protect them and provide a school and community environment where they can successfully and fearlessly learn and grow.

 

From Priests to Boy Scout Leaders

It’s Time to Lock up Child Molesters for Good

 

According to confidential Boy Scouts of America files, hundreds of cases of alleged sex abuse by Scout leaders went unreported to police between 1970 and 1991. What makes the matter even worse is the position that the organization is taking now.

Boy Scouts Chief Executive Wayne Brock wrote in an open letter to parents that all scouting activities now require at least two adults present, and that all scout leaders and volunteers must submit to a criminal background check and take a mandatory training course on protecting youths from abuse.

That’s all fine and great, but what about the victims? What about all those innocent children who were abused during that 21 year period? Where is the justice for them? Not only was the abuse quietly swept under the table and never reported, but the Scouts have shown no remorse, no regret and don’t seem sorry for what happened.

Just like the Catholic Church that failed to report thousands of allegations of sex abuse against children and transferred church leaders accused of such crimes to new locations, the Boy Scouts promised these individuals who were caught up in an abuse scandal that the information would not be leaked to the public to protect their standing in the community.

It’s despicable behavior from an organization that claims to be “one of the nation’s most prominent values-based organizations.”  What values does this teach our kids, or anyone else for that matter? True leadership means standing up and taking responsibility when you make a mistake. Make no mistake about it, sexual abuse is a serious crime, and anyone caught committing such a heinous act should be locked away for good. Not only that, but a public display should be made of these pedophiles so they feel the same shame, embarrassment and hurt they inflicted on these innocent boys.

How many more children will be raped and abused before we begin punishing these criminals like the child molesters they are? With hundreds of alleged cases coming to light from the Boy Scouts, coupled with the depth and breadth of abuse in the Catholic Church around the world, it is truly unbelievable.  Until we stand up and start putting these criminals away for good, it’s never going to stop. Until that happens, the message being sent is literally condoning this kind of behavior.

Monsignor William Lynn was found guilty in June of one count of child endangerment, and is serving a sentence of three to six years at a minimum-security facility. He is the first member of the Catholic Church to be found guilty and to be punished for failing to report abuse.

The revelations that have come to the public’s attention over the past 10 years have effectively wiped out the good deeds of the Catholic Church and demolished its credibility. The sad fact is, the Catholic Church has been guilty of sexual impropriety among its clergy for 2,000 years, and all the leadership, right up to the Papacy, has known about it.

The Associated Press estimates the cost of the sexual abuse scandal to the church has been well over 3 billion dollars, and those are just the costs we know about. How many billions of dollars have been secretly paid out to victims and covered up by the church? No one knows for sure, but we do know the church leaders were far more interested in protecting their child molesting priests than they were in the children who trusted them.

After this hurricane of abuse was discovered, and church leaders were confronted with new victims every day, you’d think they would hang their heads in shame. After all, wouldn’t this be befitting to the earthly representatives of Christ? You’d think so, but Catholic leaders aren’t used to having their authority questioned.

The worst example of this is when Pope Benedict XVI, the current Pope, formerly known as Joseph Ratzinger, was discovered to have covered up sexual abuses by a priest in Germany, and his defense was: “I will not be intimidated,” and he advised a billion Catholics around the world to “Ignore petty gossip.” Some people called for his arrest, but the power of the church is unparalleled in both politics and money, and Pope Benedict escaped unscathed by the scandal. The man the church calls the “Vicar of Christ on Earth” is forever linked to the sexual abuse of little boys.

It’s like a horror movie where evil wins. It’s sad, pathetic and criminal. But how dare we question or criticize the Catholic Church, the direct representatives of God. After all, they’ve been getting away with this for 2,000 years. Who are we to stop them now?

Going back to the Boy Scouts, the irony in all of this is not too long ago, the organization made headlines for refusing to change its policy on allowing gays into the organization. This was after more than 275,000 people signed an online petition calling for the organization to reverse the ban. The organization feared gays could teach the wrong kind of values to our children and there could be potential for abuse, all the time while this was taking place anyway – and Scout executives knew all about it.

Critical thinking says it’s time we start cracking down on child molesters, whether you are the Boy Scouts, the Catholic Church or affiliated with any other organization. Until we get tough and prosecute to the full extent of the law, more and more horrifying stories are going to come to light, and more innocent young children will continue to needlessly suffer.

As always, I look forward to your comments.

Steve Siebold, CSP

 

 

 

 

Catholic Church Philly Trial

Still no verdict in the child sex abuse trial of a Roman Catholic monsignor, the highest-ranking U.S. clergyman to stand trial in the church’s wide-ranging pedophilia scandal.

As the world watches and waits for the jury to comeback, critical thinking says:

  • If and fact Monsignor William Lynn, who supervised hundreds of priests in the Philadelphia Archdiocese for 12 years as secretary of the clergy, is not found guilty on conspiracy and child endangerment, it will be a travesty of justice like never before and will send the message that we the people condone this despicable behavior.
  • The delusional thinking is that the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Office of Child and Youth Protection says, “It’s shocking what a HANDFUL of priest have done.”  Handful?  6,100 priests have been accused of abusing 16,000 teenage boys since 1950 and they call that a handful?
  • The power of the church is unparalleled in both politics and money.  How is it that the Catholic Church can get away with this after all the years and allegations of abuse, yet the late Joe Paterno, former head coach of Penn State, was fired immediately for his “failure of leadership” in the child sex abuse scandal surrounding his former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky, who was charged with 52 counts of sexual abuse on young boys?  That kind of punishment should have been implemented in the Catholic Church years ago, instead of the conspiracy of silence which has covered it up.
  • How many more children will be raped and abused by priests before we begin punishing them like the child molesters they are?  The depth and breadth of abuse in the Catholic Church around the world is unbelievable, but until we stand up and start putting these criminals away for good, it’s never going to stop.

The revelations of the past 10 years have effectively wiped out the good deeds of the Catholic Church and demolished its credibility – leaving an open wound on the Body of Christ.

I look forward to your comments.

Steve Siebold