New International Effort to Stem Child Sexual Abuse a Positive Step, but a Small Victory Given the Suspected Number of Pedophiles

January 2, 2013

By TIM KOSNOFF

Those wishing an international alliance to help stop the scourge of child sexual abuse, may find hope in a Dec. 4 document released by the U.S. Department of Justice. Yet, while the prospect of the United States attorney general partnering with leaders in 48 other countries would seem to be encouraging, the “fine print” of the DOJ’s own official statement indicates just how futile such a broad effort may be.

The D.O.J. official statement notes that Attorney General Eric Holder and European Union (EU) Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmstrom launched the Global Alliance Against Child Sexual Abuse Online at a Dec. 5 conference in Brussels. The initiative is intended “to unite decision-makers all around the world to better identify and assist victims and to prosecute the perpetrators. Participants at the launch included ministers and high-level officials from 27 EU member states, who are also joined by 22 countries outside the EU.”

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After the Pope’s Butler Leaks Documents, the Vatican Tightens Security

 What Are the Implications for Continued Secrecy Amidst Clergy Sexual Abuse Scandals?

Posted on Dec. 10, 2012

By TIM KOSNOFF

Micro-chip tracking for human surveillance in the Vatican?

Monsignor 007?

Is this the contemporary Catholic Church or a new James Bond movie?

Truth be known, observers are never really sure about what to make of the deliberately arcane ways that have made the Catholic Church something of an ongoing mystery for two millennia.

The latest strange behavior by Vatican authorities would seem amusing in perhaps a satirical way were it not juxtaposed with the grim realities of an institution pressed with the necessities of dealing with decades of child sex abuse crimes, details of which are being revealed each week from around the globe.

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From India to Africa, Ireland to Australia, Child Sexual Abuse is a Global Problem

Posted on Dec. 3, 2012

By DAN FASY

Although the focus of our law firm is providing a service to American and Canadian survivors of sexual abuse, we are constantly reminded of the problem of child sexual abuse that is pervasive throughout the world.

The crime of pedophilia, of course, is scarcely restricted to the United States, even though such domestic abuses fittingly get the bulk of the attention in this country. Perhaps this gives some American news consumers the impression that the scourge of such abuses is more prevalent in this country. That being the case, perhaps we would do well to acknowledge the abundance of child-sexual-abuse news emanating from countries around the world.

A sampling of news items from the past month includes the following:

A recent report in The Herald Sun, a major newspaper in Australia found that a decision by Prime Minister Julia Gillard to establish a royal commission into child sexual abuse “has the backing of almost every Australian.”

A well-regarded pollster asked some 1,400 Australians about the prime minister’s initiative, and 95 percent said they support the move, with just 3 percent opposed to it.

The director of the poll later said he couldn’t remember any issue ever receiving such near-unanimous approval.

Beyond that, the news account observed that the royal commission, which will inquire into all institutions, not only churches, “has the support of all political parties, state and federal.”

In contrast to such enlightened poll numbers, a few weeks prior to the above the Daily Observer in Africa actually carried an opinion piece headlined: “Gambia: Say ‘No’ to Child-sex Tourism.” One wonders: as opposed to say “yes” to such an abomination?

Coincidentally, a few weeks ago The Times of India reported that a campaign under the banner of “say no to child abuse” would soon be launched by a group of non-government organizations. The campaign is the work of officials at an advocacy group called Childline.

One advocate, Dr. Jagmeet Chawla, said: “This should be made a mass movement and the issue should not be kept under wraps.”

Several days prior to the above dispatch, CNN carried a brief item with information similar to what tragically has become all too familiar to news consumers and criminal-justice officials:

“London (CNN) — A retired bishop and a retired priest have been arrested by British police on suspicion of sexual offenses against boys and young men — one as young as 12 — in the 1980s and 1990s.

“The 80-year-old former Church of England bishop, from Somerset in south-west England, was questioned in connection with eight alleged offenses before being released on medical advice.

“Police say the man — the highest-ranking church official to be arrested on abuse allegations — will be questioned again at a later date.

“His former colleague, a 67-year-old retired priest from West Sussex, in southern England, was questioned over two alleged offenses before being released on bail pending further inquiries.”

 

From the Nov. 6 edition of the Irish Examiner:

“The vast majority of sex-abuse survivors who sought help in rape-crisis centers last year were attacked as children, it was revealed today.

“Of the 2,308 people who went for counseling, 53 percent of the women and 84 percent of the men reported the violence occurred when they were children only. Some 65 percent of survivors said they were abused aged younger than 12.

“The Rape Crisis Network of Ireland (RCNI) revealed that those who came forward last year had waited on average 25 years to access its services.”

 

From BBC News, Nov. 5:

“The prime minister is appointing a ‘senior independent figure’ to look into the way allegations of sexual abuse at north Wales children’s homes in the 1970s and ’80s were dealt with.

“Victim Steve Messham has said that the Waterhouse inquiry of 2,000 only covered a fraction of the alleged assaults.

“Another of the homes’ residents says [officials] did not hear all of the abuse claims.”

Tragically, such also could be observed by those of us in many other parts of the world.

Our attorneys are highly experienced in childhood sexual abuse law and offer free initial consultations to potential clients. We are also willing to assist other attorneys in sexual abuse cases. Please call 206-257-3590, or email us directly. Conversations will be kept confidential, and even if you are unsure about a lawsuit, often we can direct you to the assistance you need. You will be treated with compassion and respect.

 

Toll free: 855-529-4274
Tim Kosnoff, direct: 425-837-9690
Dan Fasy, direct: 206-462-4338
Kosnoff Fasy, Seattle office: 206-257-3590

Hint for Boy Scout Officials: When Attempting Damage Control, Excluding the Press and Public from a ‘Safety’ Conference Doesn’t Help

By TIM KOSNOFF

As this is written a gathering is underway in Atlanta, where the Boy Scouts of America is convening other youth-oriented groups at a symposium concerning child sex-abuse prevention

I wish the event signaled enlightenment on the part of the host organization. Alas, the one-day gathering is, in effect, being held in the dark. BSA officials have made it a closed-door event, meaning members of the press won’t be directly privy to what is — and isn’t — discussed by participants.

BSA is still in denial and is trying to deceive the public once again. The secret symposium, then, would seem to be a (the reader will pardon the expression) perversion of the spirit of openness that is supposed to be prevailing at an organization excoriated near and far by the millions who have read the sordid details of the BSA’s so-called “perversion files.” The organization’s leaders, of course, characterize the Atlanta gathering as a chance to bring together interested parties such as YMCA and Big Brothers Big Sisters officials to address the pressing need for oversight where children’s safety and well-being are concerned. Would it have occurred to BSA leaders that, in the wake of the tsunami of the bad publicity with which the organization has been deluged, we all have become interested parties?

At the very least we know that the Nov. 1 event had been in planning stages for nearly a year. Such becomes something of a tacit acknowledgement (or admission) by BSA officials that the organization would need to be in high crisis-management mode nearly immediately after what would be the Oct. 18 release of the once-secret files.

A report from the Huffington Post observes:

“The Boy Scouts have been criticized for a lack of transparency in the ways they deal with sex abuse allegations. They have fought to keep their so-called “perversion files” confidential, and those files reveal many cases where the Scouts failed to protect youths from pedophiles.

“The public is excluded from the Thursday symposium, but the organization says that will encourage candid discussion among participants.

“Michael Johnson, a former police detective hired by the Scouts in 2010 as national director of youth protection, has been the key organizer of the symposium, calling it a ‘groundbreaking opportunity’ for groups serving more than 17 million youngsters to discuss their shared challenges and anti-abuse strategies.

“‘Crazy as it sounds, this hasn’t been done before,’ Johnson said.’”

“Crazy” would indeed seem to be the operative term here. Indeed, much of the discussion at the event is supposed to be about how information about known or suspected pedophiles can be shared by youth-group officials. Wouldn’t it logically follow, then, in the spirit of sharing, that the information discussed at the symposium be shared with the press and, hence, the public?

“‘This information is an incredible tool that might be helpful to other organizations, but where is the legislation that allows this to be shared amongst us?’ Johnson is quoted by the HuffPost. ‘We want kids to be safe. We don’t mean to be defensive. But it is complicated.’”

It’s further complicated by the absence of public scrutiny, much less public input to the proceedings.

Suzanna Tiapula, director of the National District Attorneys Association’s National Center for Prosecution of Child Abuse, was named to lead a discussion about information-sharing. She said she finds the BSA effort to be praiseworthy.

Other officials said the press exclusion for the event was intended to encourage frank discussion. But how soon will aspects of this candid gathering become known to a broader audience? A similar gathering at Penn State earlier this week was widely covered by media so we know what was said and done at the event.

According to the HuffPost, BSA “conference organizers plan to summarize the conclusions of the meeting for a report that will be made available to other youth-serving organizations that did not participate.”

As to when the information would be forthcoming so one imagines it’s anybody’s guess. Knowing how long the BSA stalled the release of the perversion files, the symposium reports could be weeks, months or years from now.

If someone you know needs help, you can contact us:

Our attorneys are highly experienced in childhood sexual abuse law and offer free initial consultations to potential clients. We are also willing to assist other attorneys in sexual abuse cases. Please call 206-257-3590, or email us directly. Conversations will be kept confidential, and even if you are unsure about a lawsuit, often we can direct you to the assistance you need. You will be treated with compassion and respect.

 

Toll free: 855-529-4274
Tim Kosnoff, direct: 425-837-9690
Dan Fasy, direct: 206-462-4338
Kosnoff Fasy, Seattle office: 206-257-3590

Interest in the Boy Scout ‘Perversion’ Files Won’t Go Away Anytime Soon: Coast to Coast, Reporters Continue to Uncover Hidden Details of Abuse Cases

By: TIM KOSNOFF

We obviously knew a lot of publicity would ensue from the mid-October release of what have become known as the Boy Scout “perversion files.” But the press response has been even more astonishing than many may have imagined.

This is only too appropriate given the equally astonishing volume of sexual-abuse documents long held by the Boy Scouts of America. After a week of reading and viewing BSA-related news reports, the public is becoming familiar with the grim figures: more than 20,000 alleged pedophile crimes by nearly 2,000 scout “leaders” and volunteers.

Such numbers would be staggering even if they represented investigations from the entire century since scout officials surreptitiously began keeping records of child sexual abuse committed by those within the BSA ranks.

But the 6,000 files merely span 1965-1985 released via court order of the Oregon State Supreme Court. (Two weeks ago, I made available to the public on this web site my index of the same records spanning 1971-1991, a project that represents a decade of my time, analyzing and creating annotated notes on alleged perpetrators.

The response to the release of the documents has been somewhat predictable. Those personally unaffected by the crimes committed by adult scout volunteers are nonetheless appalled and infuriated by the reports and sickened once they read of the horrifying details.

Imagine, then, that you actually are a victim of scouting-related pedophilia. Imagine you’re one young scout mentioned in an Oct. 18 CNN news story posted online. This boy joined scouts at age 12 and was sexually abused by his scout leader while helping build a Boy Scout camp on a 42-acre ranch.

What I see in this young man, I see in so many of our clients: The abuse inflicted on these boys has a corrosive effect in which trust, relationship and sexuality issues develop with adulthood. This young man succinctly summarized what so many of our clients tell us: “‘I felt like I was all alone. … Just thinking about it makes me angry … because how could you do that to somebody? How could you bring yourself to do that to somebody who is so innocent and has done nothing wrong?’”

The details of what the public is reading in these files have been magnified by the fact that scout leaders have been aware of these cases for so long without many members of the public being privy to the information.

That obviously has changed. During the week since these stories have aired and been published, countless news stories have continued to pour forth. Coast to coast, victims are demanding answers as they look to find their abuser’s name on the list. News organizations from San Diego to Oklahoma City, Atlanta to Cape Cod, New York to New Orleans, are digging into local cases and asking questions.

Indeed, an NBC-2 report went on line from Florida the day after the Oct. 18 release of files from Portland, Ore. Reporter Dave Elias noted that he discovered six additional cases in Fort Meyers, Florida after I shared with him records from the “ineligible volunteer” files. Elias referenced a trend that’s bothered me:
“The most troubling thing in the files: In over 500 cases where the information came to the scouts first, they didn’t report it to police in 80 percent of the cases,” Kosnoff said.

Wayne Perry, Boy Scouts of America National President, has predictably tried to spin the story, even suggesting that safety concerns are a thing of the past.

“There’s no question that there are times in the past – and these go back to 40-50 years old – where we did not do the job that we should have. For that, and for people hurt, we are profoundly sorry.”

Elias closed his report by noting that victims’ attorneys collectively are calling on Congress to audit whether the BSA’s protections are working.

Given the darkening storm of reporting, it’s doubtful that even — perhaps especially — during a frenetic election season, the reality of the crimes long kept out of view by the Boy Scouts of America will have escaped the attention of many elected officials.

If someone you know needs help, you can contact us:

Our attorneys are highly experienced in childhood sexual abuse law and offer free initial consultations to potential clients. We are also willing to assist other attorneys in sexual abuse cases. Please call 206-257-3590, or email us directly. Conversations will be kept confidential, and even if you are unsure about a lawsuit, often we can direct you to the assistance you need. You will be treated with compassion and respect.

Toll free: 855-529-4274
Tim Kosnoff, direct: 425-837-9690
Dan Fasy, direct: 206-462-4338
Kosnoff Fasy, Seattle office: 206-257-3590

US – Scouts Abuse Scandal-Where’s The Action?

Editor’s note: The following is a statement published by Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP).

BY BARBARA DORRIS

It’s been a week since BSA abuse and cover up files were released. It’s been more than a week since BSA officials pledged to “notify law enforcement of any allegations that have not already been disclosed.”

So is this happening? If so, where’s the proof?

And if not, why not?

Every day that information about known and suspected child sex crimes stays hidden, kids are needlessly and recklessly and callously put at risk. Every day this information stays hidden enables child molesters to destroy evidence, intimidate victims, threaten witnesses, discredit whistleblowers, fabricate alibis, and flee elsewhere. Every day this information stays hidden, the chances increase that statute of limitations.

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Boy Scouts’ Hidden Files: Documents Highlight The Horrors Of Sexual Abuse Of Children

Editor’s note: This editorial, written by the Anniston Star in Anniston, Alabama, is one of the best editorials we’ve seen on the need for safety reforms in the Boy Scouts of America.

by The Anniston Star Editorial Board

Oct 22, 2012

The Boy Scouts of America own a quality reputation forged by decades of teaching, mentoring and training young American males.

Last week’s shocking news — that Scout leaders kept thousands of pages of “perversion files” about accusations of sexual abuse of young Scouts — has sullied the BSA’s reputation and forced BSA leaders to address nearly a century of inexcusable actions.

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The Boy Scout ‘Perversion’ Files: They’re About Combatting Pedophilia, Not Bashing Gays

By TIM KOSNOFF

Claims that pedophiles are predominantly homosexual or that homosexuality leads to child molestation are scarcely new. They continue courtesy of, among others, the hierarchy of the Boy Scouts of America, an organization with rampant documentation of pedophilia among its past and present leadership.

Contradicting a relationship between homosexuality and pedophilia also is nothing new. Indeed, one of the most compelling studies debunking a causal relationship between same-sex preference and sex crimes against children is from oft-cited scientific research published in 1994 in “Pediatrics.” The latter is the official journal of the American Society of Pediatrics.

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A Big Thanks to Reporters Covering Stories on Childhood Sexual Abuse: You Help Make Change Happen

By TIM KOSNOFF

Members of my law firm would be less than candid if we said we aren’t pleased with the publicity our work has recently won. This isn’t so much because of any benefit the media coverage has brought to us. It’s about the nature of the work we do: defending child victims of sexual predators.

From years of representing abuse victims, I’ve learned that the media spotlight is nearly always welcome. That’s because the press spells out the horrors of sexual abuse and the often egregious enabling on the part of institutions. And the court of public opinion demands change. We saw it in 2002 when the Boston Globe uncovered wide-spread sexual abuse by priests within the Archdiocese of Boston. In the ensuing decade, similar cases came to light nationwide. We saw it this year with Penn State. And now we’re likely to see the public demanding improved safety measures from the Boy Scouts of America. The media interest in recent days promises to give victims ever greater impetus to come forward and join the battle against pedophiles, so many of whom continue to function undiscovered and unpunished.

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Seattle attorney releases list of 1,900 alleged Boy Scout child sex-abusers

For immediate release:  Oct. 8, 2012

Seattle attorney releases list of 1,900 alleged Boy Scout child sex-abusers in advance of upcoming Oregon court-ordered release of records

Attorney Tim Kosnoff: ‘The Public Will Demand Better Safety Measures When They See What’s in These Files’

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(SEATTLE, WA)  – For nearly a century, the Boy Scouts of America has quietly compiled the names of thousands of accused child molesters within its ranks. The Scouts says it has maintained the records, known as the “perversion files,” as part of a decades-long effort to keep tabs on bad leaders and prevent abuse.  Victims’ advocates, however, say the Scouts has done little to warn youngsters about the risks of encountering predators. Continue reading