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December 19, 2011

Despite Laws, There Are Few Penalties For Failing To Report Child Sex Abuse

Open Handcuffs croppedAcross the US, laws meant to 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.

 

Few penalties for keeping child abuse secret
By Brad Heath • USA TODAY

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.

USA TODAY research finds that adults often encounter few penalties from concealing abuse.

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.

Former Penn State vice president Gary Schultz, left, and former athletic director Tim Curley are charged with perjury and failing to properly report suspected child abuse.

Those two officials, Tim Curley and Gary Schultz, are scheduled to appear in a Harrisburg courtroom Friday for a preliminary hearing. It will be their lawyers' first opportunity to confront Mike McQueary, who testified to a grand jury that he told both officials in 2002, while working as a graduate assistant, that he had seen Sandusky having sex with a young boy in a Penn State locker room.

The scandal has prompted new attempts by lawmakers in at least six states and in Congress to expand the reach of mandatory reporting laws. It also has raised questions about whether those laws are effectively enforced.

In the years before the Penn State scandal erupted, for example, court records show three other cases were filed over failures to report abuse. None has so far led to more than a $375 fine.

"It was basically a traffic ticket," York, Pa., Detective Dana Ward said.

In the state of Washington, court records show just eight people were charged over the past decade, and only one was convicted —a high school coach who confessed to covering up another coach's sexual relationship with a student. He paid a $723 fine and was sentenced to probation.

States adopted those laws in the 1960s. In the following decades, hundreds of thousands of reports were made to child abuse hotlines, training for teachers and others became widespread, and police have investigated scores of cases of abuse and neglect they might never have discovered.

Scott Berkowitz, the head of RAINN, an advocacy group for abuse victims that runs a support hotline , said the laws have been "very effective in making people alert to signs of abuse and motivating people in positions of responsibility to do the right thing." But, he said, "if we want to solve the rest of the problem and deal with the segment of the population that doesn't take these laws seriously, then they're going to have to have beefed-up enforcement."

Because violations of mandatory abuse-reporting laws are almost always considered minor crimes, few states track how often people are charged with them. To find out, USA TODAY reviewed police arrest data and court records from 25 states and Washington, D.C. In other states, police and court officials said they were unable to determine how often charges of failing to report abuse had been filed.

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.

In a 1990 RAND Corp. survey, for example, 40% of professionals admitted they had not reported at least one instance of suspected abuse, even though the law required them to do so. In a 2008 study published in the journal Pediatrics, medical researchers found that doctors chose not to report more than a quarter of physical injuries they thought were "likely" or "very likely" caused by abuse. The studies found that workers weren't certain what they saw was abuse, and they worried that reporting their suspicions could do more harm than good.

"That really surprised us," said Emalee Flaherty, a pediatrician at Children's Memorial Hospital in Chicago, one of the study's authors. "The doctors told us that they didn't report because they weren't certain. The laws are written so that they don't have to be certain to report it. But they don't want to be wrong."

Beyond that, civil lawsuits by abuse victims regularly allege that workers failed to report abuse, but were never investigated or charged for breaking the law. "That happens all the time," said Jeffrey Herman, a Miami lawyer who specializes in abuse cases. "People should know abuse when they see it. But even if they don't, the laws are supposed to be broad enough that if you suspect it, then you report it and you let the experts make that decision."

Those reports, he said, could save kids from further abuse.

If the officials in the Penn State case had spoken up, other children might have been spared, said Slade McLaughlin, the attorney for another boy who was allegedly abused by Sandusky beginning in 2005 or 2006 — at least three years after the officials were told about Sandusky — according to the grand jury.

"Even apart from the laws, if you're a human being with some compassion, some sense of right and wrong, how do you not do something about this?" McLaughlin said. He said that if the earlier incident had been reported to the police, "there's no doubt in my mind he would have been stopped in his tracks."

Why so few charges

Although prosecutors have brought a few high-profile charges in recent years — including the cases tied to Penn State and one against a Catholic bishop in Kansas City, Mo. — records show they are uncommon.

Among the 25 states USA TODAY reviewed, 16 averaged fewer than two cases per year. In Nevada, for example, police charged a total of four people with failing to report abuse since 2001. Connecticut brought charges against 15 people, and all but two of the cases were dropped. Even in states where authorities have been more aggressive in enforcing the reporting laws, charges are infrequent: Police in Tennessee brought 61 reporting violations to court since 2007, according to court records; South Carolina brought 38.

Among reasons those cases are rare:

•Time limits: In 34 states, statutes of limitations require that prosecutors bring charges for failing to report abuse within two years of when someone became aware of potential abuse. Those limits make it nearly impossible for authorities to bring charges when abuse comes to light later.

In Florida, investigators reviewing accusations of a former priest drugging and raping a series of young boys ultimately turned their attention to the church's leaders. Their probe left prosecutors convinced that church officials had been aware of allegations against the priest years earlier, but did not report them to the police, according to a 2003 memo by Dennis Siegel , the head of the Broward County State Attorney's child abuse unit. Siegel concluded "it is probable" that the officials "could be considered criminally culpable for failing to report the abuse."

By then it was too late. Florida has a one-year limit on pursuing failure-to-report charges. As a result, "no action can be taken by this Office," Siegel wrote.

• Important witnesses: Prosecutors often need people who knew about abuse to testify against the abusers - even if they didn't report it immediately, and don't want to risk scaring them with criminal charges. "Failure to report definitely is very significant, and if you can prosecute someone for that without affecting the actual sex crimes case, you do, but the sex crime case is more important," Siegel said in an interview. "You have to choose."

•Murky standards: Almost every state requires workers to alert the authorities if they even suspect abuse, not just if they know about it firsthand — but the line separating what has to be reported from what can be ignored is often unclear. As a result, prosecutors say, it's difficult to prove that someone's suspicions were strong enough that they should have made a report.

"If you actually see it and interrupt a sexual assault by an adult on a small child, you're on notice, everyone can agree that you have to report it," King County, Wash., Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg said. "But if you just hear about it or you hear rumors or you hear something that causes you concern … it's very hard to say that somebody actually had the duty."

Little punishment

Even when authorities bring criminal charges for not reporting abuse, court records show most of the cases are thrown out; those that aren't, seldom lead to jail time or significant fines.

Only three states have laws that make failing to report abuse a felony, and those laws generally apply only when the abuse is particularly severe or the person has been convicted before. Most of the rest make failure to report a misdemeanor or a civil infraction — the rough equivalent of a speeding ticket.

Of the 222 people whose cases USA TODAY was able to review in detail, 102 were convicted. The rest were acquitted or had the charges against them thrown out, according to court records. The review identified only 14 people who were sent to jail. More often, people who know about abuse and don't report it face probation or a fine.

That's what happened three years ago when prosecutors accused the volleyball coach at Mount Rainier High School in Des Moines, Wash., of trying to cover up a sexual relationship his assistant coach had with a 16-year-old student. According to court records, the coach, Bryan Harley, delivered a letter of apology to the girl from the assistant coach, but said she couldn't keep it for "legal reasons." Later, he sent the assistant coach an e-mail telling him that if the girl did come forward, "she will get no support or sympathy from me or anyone else."

Harley pleaded guilty. The judge ordered him to pay $723 and spend two years on probation.

The punishment was even smaller when police in York, Pa., accused the city school district of not reporting allegations that a middle-school gym teacher had inappropriately touched several of his students. The district spent several weeks conducting its own investigation instead of reporting the situation, as the law requires, York police Detective Ward said. He said investigators "never believed they were trying to sweep something under the rug," but by the time one of the alleged victims reported the abuse to police weeks later, "it was old."

The teacher, Edward Fullum, was found not guilty of abusing the girls. He was later charged with abusing a different girl and pleaded guilty to obstruction and hindering charges. A lawyer for the school district, Jeffrey Gettle, said he could not discuss the case but that the district did not admit to any wrongdoing. The school district pleaded no contest in 2005 to one charge of failing to report abuse — at the time, the violation wasn't even a misdemeanor in Pennsylvania.

It paid a $300 fine.

Comments

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If you find a large sum of cash or win big at a poker game YOU are expected to report it to the IRS or YOU get punished. If you hit someone while driving YOU had better stop and call the police or YOU will be punished. It may be time to create a law where if you or your child gets sexually abused that YOU have to report it. This crime must be stopped ASAP so to wait until someone decides to talk to someone else about it and have that person report it (and they should by law) may be too late to help others. Sometimes you hear that someone will come forward about their abuse years later.

Shmaya,
Sexual abuse is real and has to be dealt with. Unfortunatley you continue to fall in the trap that has made the accusation cloose to a joke in the secular world.
The 117 number is bandied about all over the place.
It's also false.
According to that study the real numbers are like this.
Up to 70% of perps' molest between 1 and 9 victims.
An additional 20% may molest between 10 and 40 victims.
The remainding 10% percent are what is known as "serial child molestors" and a serial molestor has, hold your breath,on average 400 victims.
So they take the number of total victims and divide it by the number of perps and voila you get 117. However it's simply not true.
A look at the hard facts tells you its not true and an understanding of how that number was twisted can allow you to better understand the rest of the fact.
A wise person would remain wary of stats bandied about by organizations which depend on grant money which in turn depend on showing things in the worst possible light.
Another thing to keep in mind
According to the stats children growing up in homes with both biological parents are 8 times less likely to be abused then children not growing up in such homes. (There are a number of obvious factors to explain this)

Sorry wrong thread but close enough.

This isn't a blog generally prone to intelligent discussion, but I shall make an attempt.

(1). Mandatory reporting laws don't just cover sexual abuse. They are equally applicable to neglect or physical abuse, as the article makes clear.

(2). A hard issue for professionals: The criminal justice system is generally fair (in my experience) to those facing allegations of child abuse. Community opinion and employers (not to mention bloggers) are often far less fair. And child protection departments are often simply far too overworked to do proper investigations of accusations of neglect. They will often order children removed "just to be on the safe side" with minimal or no investigation. If making a report of one's suspicions (in a case where one *suspects*, but is not certain) means that the reportee is going to have their life and career destroyed even if they turn out to be utterly innocent, this *will* deter people from making such reports. I'm not making a moral judgement in this last sentence, merely pointing out the situation. Note that those survey were pediatricians, and even they showed reluctance to report inconclusive suspicions. I suppose the best "solution" is for police to do such "suspicion" investigations as quietly as possible, and only go public once they are sure that the suspicions are true, and the case will involve charges.

(3) I'd say some laws have a major effect, even though enforcement is difficult. An obvious example is anti-discrimination laws. Proving in court that someone has discriminated against you for reasons of race or religion can be fiendishly difficult - yet the law has still had a massive effect in changing social behaviour. Ditto with mandatory-reporting laws. Of course, we should strive to improve the law as much as possible, but to a degree, enforcement will always be tricky.

(4) These "statute of limitation" rules are absurd. The clock should start ticking once the abuse is reported to the police, not from when the professional becomes aware of potential abuse. This is obvious, I would think!

(5) As to "important witnesses" problem, this should only be an issue if the professional agrees to testify, and is needed.

(6) As to penalties: At a basic minimum, anyone convicted of a failure-to-report offence should be banned from working with children in the future, I would think! Why isn't this already the case?!

To play devil's advocate, a sex crime against a minor should be reported long before the age of 23.

Should a victim be able to wait a hundred years before complaining about it and then volah, the accused is in jail? When the evidence for or against the claim has long since dissipated?

It seems to me making the statute of limitations too long leaves room for bull shit claims if someone wants to get back at someone.

centrist, I have my thoughts, but I think you've unintentionally posted in the wrong thread.

>even if they turn out to be utterly
>innocent, this *will* deter people
>from making such reports. I'm not
>making a moral judgement in this last
>sentence, merely pointing out the
>situation.

So I assume that when you require brain surgery you will pick a regular person out of the phonebook rather than one of those "overworked" brain specialist? Seriously, the police and child ptotection are trained and experienced they are the ones who know how to conduct a forensic investigation, not you.

Moreover, you repeat a common myth that "Myth 6: Hundreds of innocent men and women have been falsely accused and sent to prison for molesting children." See: http://www.leadershipcouncil.org/1/res/csa_myths.html

i think you've got to cut the professionals some slack here. it's a judgement call, and quite a few things that look like abuse are simply kids injuring themselves.

that said, was the hollywood scandal ever mentioned here? when i heard about it, the first thing i thought about was Derschowitz sticking his nose in this Penn State scandal.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2070474/Does-Hollywood-paedophilia-epidemic-Abuse-revealed-child-actors.html

>Up to 70% of perps' molest between 1
>and 9 victims.

"A 1994 survey of 453 pedophiles, revealed they were collectively responsible for the molestation
of over 67,000 children. That's an average of 148 children per individual pedophile. Abel, G. (1994). National Institute of Health survey"

So, if we get 453 pedophiles off the streets and protect 67,000 children what do I care if several of them would have "only" molested 1 or 2 more children each? On average we save 148 children every time a pedophile is taken off the streets at an early stage.

Even if we take your numbers we save on average 4 children by taking each pedophile off the streets after the first incident.

>(6) As to penalties: At a basic
>minimum, anyone convicted of a failure-
>to-report offence should be banned
>from working with children in the
>future, I would think! Why isn't this
>already the case?!

Because if this were the case several decades ago, or there was no statute of limitations and people who have passed away were still with us, then Rabbi Moshe Feinstein would have been subject to such penalties as he failed to report such a pedophile to the police and prevented such reporting.

But unfortunately, his undeserved kavod, is more important to many in our community than our children. This was true then and unfortunately still is true. It is also true of many in our leadership today who continue failing our children.

We think we are better then Hollywood, Penn State and the Catholic Church but we aren't. We are the same.

Rabbi Moshe Feinstein knew about a "Jerry Sandusky" who preyed on children and he behaved just like Penn State. He didn't report it to the police and he prevented others from reporting.

When I referred to *convictions* for failure-to-report, I was talking about those (very few) individuals who had actually been convicted. They obviously should be banned from working with children in the future. I wasn't referring to those who had escaped the net.

I absolutely agree that "the police and child ptotection are trained and experienced they are the ones who know how to conduct a forensic investigation, not (me). I'm not suggesting that the *police* or the *courts* are in any way unfair. I'm NOT suggesting that innocent people are often being sent to jail. (Although innocent people DO find their kids taken away by child protection workers at times!). I explicitly said that criminal courts and juries are usually fair! I AM suggesting that those accused and subsequently acquitted can find it *impossible* to rebuild their careers and reputations, (and regain custody of their children). This reality has the effect of giving people pause - even pediatricians, who, one would assume, are generally highly trained and experienced individuals.

If we help those who are *ACQUITTED* rebuild their lives, I believe this problem will be reduced.

> I AM suggesting that those accused
>and subsequently acquitted can find it
>*impossible* to rebuild their careers
>and reputations, (and regain custody
>of their children).

1) Acquitted/not guilty does not mean innocent. Review the website setup to document the child sex abuse problem in the Catholic Church. http://www.bishop-accountability.org/db_overview.htm There are 5,600 people named, very few have been convicted. It is extremely hard to get a conviction in a crimial proceeding, the lack of a conviction does not mean that someone should have access to children. For example, the public NY school board does their own investigations (when criminal charges are not an issue) and will reassign/ remove staff during those proceedings and if it is found that they pose a danger they are removed and such staff cannot work in the public system. No such protections exist in the private system.

2) Moreover, you repeat a common myth that there are many false allegations

http://www.leadershipcouncil.org/1/res/csa-acc.html
"How often do children’s reports of abuse turn out to be false?
Research has consistently shown that false allegations of child sexual abuse by children are rare."

3) An acquittal/not guilty finding does not mean someone will not still lose custody of their children. It is a different investigation and a different standard of evidence.

The best protection for false allegations is to immediately call the police/child protection and report the allegations. They are best able to perform forensic investigations and preserve evidence. The failure to do so will compromise that evidence and any future investigation that may have even led to an exoneration. It is more likely that your attitude towards reporting will lead to more false allegations/false convictions (and more abuse of children by unreported pedophiles) that could have been prevented had there been prompt reporting to the properly trained authorities and preventing evidence/investigations from being compromised.

I am aware of very few false allegations in the Orthodox community in fact just about all of them involved convicted NY Judge Garson who was taking bribes for fixing cases.

Can you name any other false cases in the Orthodox community? Can you tell me how many people have been charged and convicted for the crimes you are alleging (perjury, false police reports etc.)? I suspect that you can't.

JWB –

Eliyahu has does not let facts get in the way of his opinions.

He's disingenuous at minimum and much worse than that otherwise.

Go back and look at his previous comments.

And then ask yourself what motivates him to do this.

check out
http://www.jstandard.com/content/item/former_teacher_accused_of_inappropriate_sexual_contact_with_torah_academy_s/21174#

sorry - I could not find the email address to send a tip to but I didnt see this story on FM.

Posted by: njprincess | December 19, 2011 at 02:50 PM

I did a post on it last week.

When it rains it pours.

I would have gone to sleep already (I keep a crazy schedule) but I felt the need to reply.

(1) You are correct that "Acquitted/not guilty does not mean innocent". I do wonder, though, once one falls under suspicion for whatever reason, is there ever such a thing as being cleared and allowed to return to the job?

will reassign/ remove staff during those proceedings and if it is found that they pose a danger they are removed and such staff cannot work in the public system.

Great! Does that mean that if they conclude that someone is NOT a risk, they will honestly, truly be allowed to return to the job as before?! There IS such a thing as a full and real acquittal, even if rare? I'd LOVE you to be able to say that's the case! (is it?) It may well be, but I'd be pleasantly surprised, knowing how these things often work. Generally, once you fall under suspicion, it's kafka-time.

(2) Malicious false allegations are indeed quite rare - as are children making false reports. The possible exception is bitter ex-wives occasionally making spurious allegations of this sort against their ex-husbands in custody disputes. Aside from this, you rarely hear of malicious false reports.

More common are people acting in good faith making honest reports of suspicions that turn out to be innocent. The police will usually be fair, and such matters rarely even result in charges - but good luck keeping your job, as I said above.

When it comes to child pornography possession charges, on the other hand, acquittals are in fact quite common. Hacked wi-fi networks. Images of teenagers of indeterminate age. Questions of who actually downloaded the material, in the case of shared computers. All these can (rightfully) kill a case. I'm not blaming the police, I'm just saying that many accused do in fact turn out to be innocent. (The police do, at times, abuse the law in this area, in my experience, to push unjust cases).

See http://news.ninemsn.com.au/national/792607/child-porn-convictions-low-jail-terms-high

(3) Child protection workers try their best, usually. They truly do. (The department heads who write the sometimes-stupid rules in their ivory towers can be a different kettle of fish). I don't know how things work in the U.S. However, I know that here where I live, the poor workers struggle desperately to keep their heads above water. They are forced to cut every possible corner to avoid drowning in overwork. 25% of child protection workers quit per year, on average - they get burnt out. With all this corner-cutting, proper investigations and considerations can fall by the wayside. The result can mean children wrongly removed through the inevitable botching which occasionally results. However, the recent training in New York of Child Protection workers who are taught about orthodox life is hopefully a positive step.

>Generally,
>once you fall under suspicion, it's
>kafka-time.

Can you give any examples in the Orthodox Jewish community? Virtually every case I've seen that the pedophiles have no problem moving to new shuls and have no problem getting access to children. I do not know where you get this idea that there are any significant false allegations of abuse. I simply don't see such cases in the orthodox community. So I'm basically saying you are wrong.

>(2) Malicious false allegations are
>indeed quite rare - as are children
>making false reports. The possible
>exception is bitter ex-wives
>occasionally making spurious
>allegations of this sort against their
>ex-husbands in custody disputes.

Not quite. See: http://www.leadershipcouncil.org/1/res/cust_myths.html

"Myth 1. Allegations of sexual abuse are common during custody disputes and the vast majority of allegations are false, unfounded or unsubstantiated.
Many people believe abuse allegations are rampant in custody and divorce litigation where they are used primary by mothers to gain a tactical advantage. When antagonistic parents are locked in legal disputes it is reasonable to be concerned about their motives when abuse allegations are raised. However, research has consistently shown that sexual abuse allegations are not common during custody litigation and when thoroughly investigated are no more likely to be false than allegations raised when at other points in time. This matter was investigated by the Denver-based Research Unit of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts which performed a 2-year study which explored the incidence and validity of sexual abuse allegations in custody cases. Contrary to the popular myth that sexual allegations in custody cases are relatively common, the study found that, in the 12 states participating in the study, only 6% of custody cases involved allegations of sexual abuse. The belief that these allegations are typically false was also challenged by the study findings. Half of the allegations were believed by the investigators to be true, and in another 17% determination of the validity could not be made with any degree of certainty. The remaining third of the cases were not believed to involve abuse. However, in most of the cases where abuse was not substantiated, the allegations were believed to have been made in good faith and based on genuine suspicions."

You are clearly not very familiar with the subject and believe too many myths.

I don't assume there are many false allegations, as opposed to (reasonable) suspicions which, upon investigation) turn out to be innocent. To use a classic line from judge shendlin "it wasn't VD, it was diaper rash".

You are correct that the sad situation in the orthodox community is that it is usually only too easy to find a new community in which to hide.

Of the custody allegations, some aren't malicious per se, as much as made by paranoid individuals who genuinely believe they are correct in their suspicions that their partner is a pedophile. But I may well stand corrected. I'll take a more in-depth look at the study later.

I'm just curious - to your knowledge, how do things work in practice in the NY public school system? Do those acquitted of the criminal charges *and* found not to be a risk (by the schools board investigators) get reinstated to their former positions? Or are they, in practice, forced to give up their teaching careers notwithstanding their being cleared in all the investigations?

And BTW, I think Ben-Levi has a point. Removing the "average" molester from the street will save 4 victims. Removing the most dangerous will save 400. So obviously, the former will likely get "investigated", whereas the latter will be aggressively sought, as they pose an extreme risk.

For an example of the "serial molester" kind, see http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/nation/how-predator-john-zimmerman-lured-teenage-girls-online/story-e6frg6nf-1226223983820

This guy had 55(!) known victims, and an additional 28+ unidentifiable or un-cooperative victims. Not to mention many more who likely remain unknown.

I live and practice law not in New York, but in an area that has, to my mind, far too many reports of teachers molesting students at any given time.

I am frequently shocked at how many public school teachers who are arrested here for unlawful activities with minors seem to have been "rumored" to have problems in prior school districts, to have been "under investigation", etc. when the news of the arrests comes out.

Apparently until one child comes forward finally, if there was not an actual prior arrest and conviction, schools will take their chances with their students regardless of some degree of warning.

Posted by: Shmarya | December 19, 2011 at 01:50 PM
Go back and look at his previous comments.

And then ask yourself what motivates him to do this.

I hope what motivates Eliyohu isn't what I fear it is, but I think he protests way, way too much. ::shudder::

Flatbush Girl, I'll take jewishwistleblower's advice here and be direct... if you think I'm hiding some kids in my closet, do what Shmarya and his ilk keep nagging people to do, and inform the police. I'll even make it easier for you: http://crimestoppers.com.au is probably the address you're looking for.

Yes, I would probably be considered what is colloquially known as a "protester". You'd only need to look at my email outbox if you want proof. The difference, I suppose, is my individualist form of activism... I don't usually join in group protests, I do my own instead. Among the classics: An email to cricket Australia regarding "promoting the female side of the game". Or, more interestingly, an email to (and, more surprisingly, a long response from) the U.K. Ministry of Justice regarding freedom-of-information laws and the Royal Family.

(No, I don't have a blog of my own yet, sorry. Maybe someday, if there's ever enough interest).

I think the police are well aware of my unusual political opinions, but they don't particularly care. That would be the Security Intelligence Group which handles such matters, in my experience.

(The guy in the Drug Squad A.K.A Major Drug Investigation Division no doubt thinks I'm unusual, but we got along great the one time I called. His response to my question, when I called him out of the blue: "wow, that's a big question before I've even had my morning coffee").

This is all rather off-topic, but I felt the need to respond to your innuendo.

More on topic for this post:

In a 2008 study published in the journal Pediatrics, medical researchers found that doctors chose not to report more than a quarter of physical injuries they thought were "likely" or "very likely" caused by abuse. The studies found that workers weren't certain what they saw was abuse, and they worried that reporting their suspicions could do more harm than good.

"That really surprised us," said Emalee Flaherty, a pediatrician at Children's Memorial Hospital in Chicago, one of the study's authors. "The doctors told us that they didn't report because they weren't certain. The laws are written so that they don't have to be certain to report it. But they don't want to be wrong."

Note: The individuals surveyed were *not* rabbis or priests. They were all Doctors, and many likely were Pediatricians. If THEY, who are highly trained, were reluctant, what hope is there for the rest of us?

My question, to which I'd like some opinions: What can be done to make such people more comfortable to report "suspicions" of abuse? How do we change the way things are done, to mitigate their fears of "doing more harm than good"? Any suggestions? I'd love to get some practical ideas I can take up with my local MP.

Please note, I am not referring specifically to the orthodox community here. I'm interested in the general question. And I think the problem would be more effectively solved by addressing the doctors' concerns, rather than merely making the law more threatening. Penny for your thoughts, noble crusaders?

Posted by: Eliyohu | December 20, 2011 at 03:45 AM

Certainly the best thing they or anyone else could do is to stay far away from you.

Past that, people almost always fear making reports like this, because the accusation is, to say the least, horrific.

And they look for ways to avoid reporting.

They may do that consciously or unconsciously, but they do it.

People even have trouble calling 911 when they see normal non-sexual suspicious activity like someone lurking outside a closed liquor store at 3 am or reporting a single transient scream.

But people who do not report are in reality choosing to protect the suspicious person's reputation over saving, in this case, a kid's life.

The way to deal with that fear of reporting is, of course, education – but it also has to be serious penalties for not reporting.

When doctors know they don't face any significant penalty for failure to report, many will not report no matter how educated in this issue they may be.

I think you'll also probably see a greater reporting from lower paid professionals like teachers than you would from higher paid professionals like doctors for two reasons – the miniscule fine a doctor might be given is chump change for him while that same fine is a devastating blow for a teacher and, secondly, failure to report is punished more severely, I'd guess, by school systems than it is by doctors policing other doctors or policing themselves.

But past all this, the best way to make things better for kids is to keep people like Eliyohu out of the discussion.

You have time and time and time again proven yourself to be either a troll trying to sabotage the good work done by others or person try to protect a particular pedophile (or protect an institution that enabled pedophiles – like Chabad in Melbourne, for example).

You are, I think, a very sick person.

I should also point out, little man, that the article you quote but do not cite was posted here a day or two ago.

It's entire focus is that when there is no real fear of penalties for not reporting, people will fail to report many cases which legally should have been reported.

But in your typical, troll fashion, doing as you always do, you take one quote out of context and try to turn it around so that it becomes doctors do not report when they legally should because they are smarter and know the damage false reports cause.

You are a sick, sick little man.

Shmarya, I can't help feeling that you throw accusations that reflect on yourself. Am I the only one to sense that you do plenty of twisting yourself?

It's true that the lack of fear of penalties is a factor - as is the fear, rightly or wrongly, of doing more harm than good. The problem is obviously not confined to doctors - my point is that EVEN doctors engage in this behaviour. You, on the other hand, seem to think that haredim are uniquely vile. (A rare case when I have resorted to a personal attack).

I absolutely agree there need to be penalties. I myself suggested that, at a minimum, they be banned from any future child-related work.

I agree education is a critical part of any scheme, as is enforcement (difficult as it is). I DO think that covert investigation techniques need to be developed to ensure that doctors (and others) can report questionable cases with fearing destroying innocent people. This would make children *safer* by making people (be they doctors, teachers or the common man) more willing to report suspicions which they aren't 100% sure about.

Imagine, as a professional, you see an injury on a child. The injury could be malicious, or it could be innocent (common situation). Now, imagine that reporting the matter will result in police kicking the guy's door in and raiding his home. It'll give many a professional pause.

No, imagine a different world - where the police will respond by, in the first instance, making covert and discreet enquiries / surveillance to get more clarity on the matter, and weed out the "innocent" reports. NOW professionals will be much more likely to report such matters, I would think. The chance of destroying the innocent is greatly reduced. Ergo, if the police use the second approach, they will get more co-operation from professionals and the public. Does this make sense to you (/your small mind - to use shmarya-type terms)?

Posted by: Eliyohu | December 20, 2011 at 04:55 AM

You're a sick, disgusting little man and I am by no means the first person reading your comments to notice that or to say something about it.

Past that, the "different world - where the police will respond by, in the first instance, making covert and discreet enquiries / surveillance to get more clarity on the matter, and weed out the "innocent" reports" you pine for endangers children.

What police do, you sick little man, is a FORENSIC investigation.

In most cases, the suspected pedophile is not immediately arrested – but evidence and the chain of evidence is protected, as is the alleged victim.

But to a sick little man like you, a man who cares overmuch about protecting alleged pedophile and undermuch about protecting their alleged victims, nothing factual and obvious matters.

Now why don't you tell us all your full legal name.

Shmarya, your personal abuse is MOST unpleasant. I hate responding in kind, but I shall FINALLY let loose a spray. I don't know if anything I have to say will be new.

I don't believe you give a hoot at seeing problems solved. You don't want to see child abuse in the charedi community actually go down. You'd be *disappointed* if women got better treated. And if shibabnikim and sicarii thugs could actually be seriously curbed I think you'd be downright miserable! Why? Because you'd have nothing to write.

I respect Nochum Rosenberg wnd people like him, who actually try to SOLVE problems! You, on the other hand, are what is referred to as a "misery merchant".

These "misery merchants" exist to take advantage of victims. They exist in *all* areas - be it womens' rights, gay rights, human rights or minorities rights.

How do you identify a "misery merchant"? This is the simple test:
Someone who really *cares* about helping blacks, women, gays, or whatever will be THRILLED when their services are no longer required. An example was a (rare) woman who used to work for NOW (the national organization for women). As womens' situation improved, her organization's battles and prominence diminished. Was she disappointed? Hell no! She was thrilled! (She's something of an exception - she said that the organization was chock full of these misery-peddling characters, and she found all her time taken up fighting internal battles rather than helping women).

Nathan Sharansky (the famous refusenik) started a party to help immigrants. Was he disappointed after his party was over? No way! He simply said "my job is done! Immigrants are now so integrated that they no longer feel the need for a political party of their own! Great - I'm retiring from politics".

Misery merchants, on the other hand, get more gloomy as the problems they leverage off diminish. They're losing their power base! So, whilst *pretending* to try to help (blacks, gays, secular jews, women, child abuse victims, victims of anti-semitism, whatever - name your victimised group of choice) they actually work to "rub salt in wounds" rather than treat them.

Tell me: I long for a day when there will be nothing bad to blog about. Or at least less bad news to blog about. When that day comes, will you cheer? Or will you sigh?

(and to the others on this site: am I alone in my feelings about Shmarya?)

Posted by: Eliyohu | December 20, 2011 at 07:07 AM

I asked you for your legal name and instead you respond with a screed.

Process, little man.

Your continued behavior seems suspicious to several anti-abuse activists who have seen your comments, and also to other readers.

The way to solve this little dilemma is for you to tell us your legal name.

So?

What is it, little man?

No probs. I'm not willing to give my name here (trial by law, not by lynch-mob, thanks), but you can invite the police to have a look at my posts on this blog Don't think they'll find it too interesting.

My learners' permit recently expired (I was lazy to renew it... cue some cynical comment), but it should still be on the system, if the police deem it worthy of looking up. The permit number is 60481687 (Victoria). My working-with-children check number is 01996125-01 (issued by the justice department of Victoria). (No, I don't have a child-related job at the moment, but I thought I might be pursuing one, so I went through the clearance process). Go invite the police to read my blog posts, and decide if further action is warranted... silly. Just don't make spurious claims to the police (or I may sue you for defamation shall I ever be rich enough). Invite them to read my blog posts - that's what concerns you, doesn't it? See what they say... I'll be interested. They can probably easily find other posts I've made on other blogs / forums etc, (or my wikipedia contributions, for that matter) in case they care. Does this help? Happy now?

Anyways, your reply to my "screed"? And others' thoughts on my views on Shmarya's misery-peddling?

No need to make anything up, little man. You've written enough BS here to expose what you are.

Now it's time to answer *my* question: Do you really want these problems solved? Or do you want them perpetuated, so you can blog about them to an adoring audience, whilst pretending to be some great moral crusader? If it's not the former, perhaps a change of mentality is in order? You'd do so much more good for jews (and humanity) working to fix problems (or at least reduce them) than spewing about them. There is a lot of work to be done. Work which *can* and *must* be done, if only you could show some respect for people, rather than cursing and abusing them. Telling people "I hope you suffer", even to abusers, isn't going to make our world a place of less suffering. Not even for the victims, I'm sorry to say.

Your answer to my question? Do you truly hope for these problems to be curbed? Will you be happy if arrests were to go down as a result of abuse rates going down? Or would you be disappointed?

>I DO think that covert investigation
>techniques need to be developed to
>ensure that doctors (and others) can
>report questionable cases with fearing
>destroying innocent people. This would
>make children *safer* by making people
>(be they doctors, teachers or the
>common man) more willing to report
>suspicions which they aren't 100% sure
>about.

It's called reporting to the police/child protection immediately any suspicion. They, not you, are trained and experienced forensic investigators and are best suited to preserving any evidence and preserving the integrity of any investigation. That is how you protect the many, many children in our community that our abused and frankly it also protects the very few people that face false allegations, again by preserving the integrity of evidence.

I note that you have never addressed any evidence of your claims of false allegations or lives ruined by same, which in my experience and research, I have not seen (other then the Judge Garson case which was very unusual). That is of course beacause you either are ignorant of the subject or your intent is to simply move your agenda which just facilitates abuse in our community by discouraging people to report same based on your false belief in myths that are without factual basis.

Your smears against Shmarya are beyond pale as are your ontrageous allegations as to his motives, that you cannot possibly claim to know.

I have reviewed your Wikipedia account and am frankly disturbed by your interest in sex offender registries and volunteer work. Your postings indicate that you have some awareness that people may be disturbed by what you are writing.

Examples:
1) Other than giving Judges discretion in deciding who gets put on the register, have any approaches been tried in fine-tuning registration laws? Who goes on? Who doesn't? For how long? Or is this politically impossible?

Note: I hope this question doesn't raise a storm, or make people accuse me of trolling, or sympathy with child-molesters and rapists. Child molestation and sex crimes have a way of doing that. I'm not making any moral judgments here, or discussing civil-liberties concerns. I'm merely seeking studies on how sex-offender registration laws can be best written and used. And for the sake of this particular question, I'm not focusing on whether such registration schemes should even exist at all. That's a separate issue. Eliyohub (talk) 13:56, 19 May 2011 (UTC)

2) (from the original asker) I'm not sure about ViSOR, but firstly, I don't see how you could "list people based only on the output from a tool" without any conviction. Simple reason being, Static 99 (and presumably OAS) are considered pretty useless at measuring future risk on non-offenders. They were simply not designed with this population in mind. If you wanted to measure the chance of someone who is not known to have sexually offended starting to do so, you would need other tools or methods. And indeed, such a list would be highly problematic. I do know that the U.K. has List 99, and you can get on that for "sexual misconduct" in the course of one's profession or volunteer duties. These individuals do not need to register - they may, however, not work in child-related fields. Eliyohub (talk) 15:08, 19 May 2011 (UTC)

I have actually checked with the Department of Justice in Victoria and have confirmed your identity Mr. B....... and that you have a valid Assessment Notice. I remind you of your legal obligations should you take on any role in which you would become a mandated reporter. Your posts here will be forwarded to the appropriate authorities should it ever come to my attention that you have not met those legal obligations (as you note above cases of other mandated reporters not meeting such obligations and your comments seem to tolerate same).

It appears that you have posted on this blog before using your full name and your avitar here was a bearded picture of you in a white shirt holding an infant.

jwb - that pretty much confirms my view of Eliyohu. He's a creep, one of those typical "Men's Rights Activists" who spend all their free time claiming that rape and child abuse are merely smokescreens thrown up by women, that the majority of allegations of such crimes are false. They're often found bleating that the idea of an 'Age of Consent' is a bad thing, because children should be allowed to be targeted by creeps, that sex with adult men does not harm them, and that children and women alike should not have the right to refuse their advances.

They're filth. Rapists, molesters, batterers and generally disgusting men who are frightened and alarmed by any notion that women and children have the absolute right to say "No", terrified by any strides made to stop rape and molestation, and thrown into a panic whenever people like you and Shmarya tell the truth about the sick perverts out there.

Eliyohu - your word salad, your deliberate obfuscation of facts, your false flags, your little mind games - these all enhance your reputation as a creep, and either as a predator or one of their sympathisers, they're hiding nothing.

I hope that you are never in any official role where you have power over anyone vulnerable.

(and to the others on this site: am I alone in my feelings about Shmarya?)

Posted by: Eliyohu | December 20, 2011 at 07:07 AM

Very well said! If the "haredi" problem goes away then Shmarya becomes truly unemployed (if you call this being employed).

However Shmarya will always be employed since unlike other movements like NOW, Shmarya is feeding on the simple fact that in any statistically significant sample size there will *always* be good and bad people. By only focusing on the bad, and if there are people interesting in hearing the bad on that particular group (haredi in this case), he will always be "employed".

Face it, if Shmarya changes his name to Shamo and only focuses on the criminal activities of black people, he will be "employed". Maybe he can go by Smarcho and focuses on crimes committed by Hispanics he too will be "employed"

There is no goal here, it is simply a form of entertainment, like boxing.

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