Five common characteristics of child sexual offenders: Eliminating the edge

June 13, 2014


Boz Tchividjian


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It is precisely our lack of knowledge and understanding that gives predators their edge. – Anna Salter, Psychologist


If child molesters depend upon our ignorance in order to hurt little ones, what steps can the faith community take to eliminate the edge and make sure that they don’t succeed?  Learning how offenders think and act is the first step in making our faith communities safe from those who pose a risk to our little ones.  This post will examine 5 common behavioral characteristics of child sexual offenders that we must understood if we are committed to eliminating their edge:

  1. Offenders have many victims: We need to understand that most child offenders have multiple victims. One study indicates that child molesters who sexually victimize females outside of the home averaged approximately 20 different victims. That same study found that child molesters who sexually victimize males outside of the home averaged approximately 150 different victims! The importance of knowing this gravely disturbing information is to understand that those who sexually victimize children will continue to do so as long as they have access to children. It is not just the “known” offenders that must keep us vigilant. The fact that most offenders have multiple victims means that most offenders in our midst have never been caught. Our faith communities eliminate the edge from offenders when we create environments that minimize the opportunities of any adult to access any child without strict supervision and ongoing accountability. We also eliminate the edge when we don’t get fooled by offenders who get “caught” and beg for “grace”, claiming that this was the only child they have ever victimized. Based upon objective statistics, the offender is likely lying, which means they are continuing to deceive in order to reestablish trust and access of our children.
  2. Offenders can be the most unsuspected people: Unfortunately, many Christians still believe that they can spot a child molester simply by appearance. We are most often on the lookout for the “creepy looking” guy who hangs out at the park or outside of the school. First, all adults should be concerned and take action to protect children when they see such a person. However, do not allow that limited stereotype to identify those in our community who may be a danger to our children. I heard a child protection expert once say, it’s not the guy sitting alone at the party that we should be most concerned about, it’s the one hosting the party. When I was a prosecutor, I illustrated this point by asking prospective jurors, Can you tell me what a burglar looks like? This question often helped jurors understand that child molesters cannot be identified by appearance or social status. In my years as a child sexual abuse prosecutor, I prosecuted physicians, computer programmers, financial advisors, teachers, and even a child sexual abuse investigator! Our faith communities eliminate the edge from offenders when we focus on behavior, not looks or economic status.
  3. Offenders are not strangers: Another unfortunate stereotype is that most offenders are strangers to the child. We must be vigilant in protecting our children from interacting with strangers. However, it is common knowledge that most children are not sexually victimized by strangers. In fact, one study found that only 10 percent of child molesters molest children that they don’t know. We must come to terms with the heartbreaking reality that those who pose the greatest risk to our children are within our families, churches, and circle of friends. Our faith communities eliminate the edge from offenders when we are always on alert, even when our children are around those that they know and trust.
  4. Offenders often prey upon trusting and vulnerable young people: In order to sexually victimize a child, an offender will first have to gain access to the child. As a result, offenders spend much time planning and executing what is commonly known as the “grooming” process. This is the process which the offender gains access to the child in order to develop a trusting and/or authoritative relationship. Once such a relationship has been created, the perpetrator is often free to abuse. Offenders often access children by, 1) exploiting the already existing position the offender has with the child or the child’s family (this can include family members, teachers, friends, coaches, youth pastors, etc.), or 2) intentionally placing themselves in a position where the offender is able to target a child and begin to lavish that child with attention, gifts, and “love”. This can include targeting a “troubled” child, a child lacking a positive adult role model, or even a child who has similar interests. Both categories of access allow offenders to openly target the vulnerabilities of children in gaining their trust and silence. Our faith communities eliminate the edge from offenders when we understand these dangerous dynamics and keep our antennas up to make sure that our children are carefully watched and protected. We must be vigilant in protecting ALL children.
  5. Offenders minimize their criminal actions: Just this past week, I recently read a very disturbing article by a former youth pastor and convicted child sexual offender. Not once did this person acknowledge that his grooming and subsequent sexual contact with a child in his youth group was criminal and reprehensible. In fact, he repeatedly referred to the sexual victimization of this minor as a “relationship” and compared his actions with the adultery of King David. It wasn’t until the end of the article that I even realized this person had sexually abused a child! This offender was so focused on himself that he seemed completely oblivious to how his crime will forever impact the victim in all aspect of her life. Perhaps he doesn’t really care. He ends the piece by writing, Sooner or later, all things come into the light (ie. Be careful because at some point you will get caught!). This article was a sobering reminder of another very disturbing statement from another offender that was recently published by a church. Our faith communities eliminate the edge from offenders when we don’t allow them to minimize their crimes and don’t publish their self-deceptive and hurtful words for the world to read.

Since the posting of this blog, the above article has been removed by the Leadership Journal with an apology.  It is encouraging that a Christian publication listened and decided to help eliminate the edge!

These general characteristics are just a starting point as we seek greater knowledge and understanding on how best to eliminate the edge from the predators who have tragically infiltrated all aspects of our faith culture. Ultimately, our objective is not merely to eliminate the edge, but to make it impossible for child sexual offenders to continue hiding and offending in the communities that should be the safest for all God’s children.

This necessary objective will be achieved only If the Church is willing to listen and learn.  Are we?

RETRIEVED https://religionnews.com/2014/06/13/five-basic-characteristics-child-sexual-offenders-eliminating-edge/

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Wider effects of CSA …

Despite the gradual acceptance that children are not of blame, rather the victim of the horrendous CSA events, often in Institutions of immense deception the (‘responsible’) adults are trained en-masse to deflect + defend the reputation of their Institutions, often ahead of their own relations’ ‘care and wellbeing’. Unfortunately, it appears that the importance/priority of the same places behind the (hidden) occurrence of most of these CSA Events are actually practicing what they preach against:

“In his steps, what would Jesus do?” – … (see image)

This is where #victimisation steps in as yet another layer of avoidable impacts, which should also be avoided. At an extreme level, is that levels of family of the Abused CSA Survivour add to the ripple-effect by defending their wrongdoing over the often-delayed truthfulness of the CSA victim. Often taking decades (if that) to reveal these CSA occurrences – fear of family/friends, social + institutional exclusion (ostracism) may often outweigh an individual’s chance to become who they could ultimately become. This is but one frequent area, where the determined/brave amongst us are calling out to those who are still in their early phases of resolving their past.

Ganesh, Jesus, Buddha + Confucius (SouthPark) <presumed>

The reuse of the character of ‘Jesus’ has been used, due to the frequency of SM usage. Others that may be relevant, are as provided in the SouthPark cartoon picture above. Each religion/deity share similar ideals, yet differ slightly to the others (often outdoing/replacing earlier ones).

Also related is the wider effect of CSA on Family & Friends, Female Survivors, Male Survivors, Students, Teachers and Workers. These will be dealt with in future postings over 2020 + so forth. Due to RCbbc being initially of male/‘Boys’ relevance, most information has been related that way, yet an increasing amount of conversations + messages have been had with the females (partners, children, sisters + relations) in their lives, offering a wider POV in this growing field. Even Counselling has grown + specialised over the last few decades, from a ‘there-there, we believe you’ to a genuine-scientific-community related Industry. Hats off, to those who are waiting urgently for their Redress/Compensation. We’d be willing to offer our Support, where needed.

‘Corruption, abuse, deception AND obstruction …’

Does the mention of any of the terms of ‘corruption, abuse, deception, obstruction’ cause a creepy feeling, the hairs on the back of your neck stand, or a chill run down your spine? You may have been effected by any of inappropriate issues, that are still becoming prevalent today. Most of us are familiar with the saying of “Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts, absolutely”. (Lord Acton)

Translations of this are often made into areas of vulnerability: Teacher-Students (pedophilia), Church Leader-Youth (child sexual abuser), Sports Coach-Player (privatelessons), Disability Carer-disabled (manipulation), Government-Indigenous (stolen generations), Caretaker-Retiree (aged care abuse) and Banks-Customers (coercion). Thankfully, there’s been many Royal Commissions called, with more to come. Our ‘RoyalCommBBC’ is only a small example of what can be possible, when the Sharing of beneficial Information-News-Experiences-Solutions are made.

A great part of any Institution, is that like members typically stick together. It’s been found that when ‘reality hits home’, many of us acknowledge that they’re not alone AND there is a simple solution available. This is where RCbbc can help, in supporting past Students, Parents and Friends in contacting experts in their fields.

Qld + Catholic CSA Contacts …

Queensland Police Service

Policelink 131 444

policelink@police.qld.gov.au

Crime Stoppers 1800 333 000

Safeguarding & Professional Standards Service (Archdiocese of Brisbane) 07 3324 3324

safeguarding@bne.catholic.net.au

StopLine – External Whistleblower Service (Archdiocese of Brisbane) 1300 304 550

AOB@stopline.com.au

Professional Standards Office (Catholic Church) Queensland 1800 337 928

psoqld@catholic.net.au

Recent progress and institutions that joined the National Redress Scheme

This newsletter gives an update on the National Redress Scheme, including recent progress and institutions that joined.

For more information or to find support services, go to the National Redress Scheme website or call 1800 737 377 Monday to Friday, 8am to 5pm (local time), excluding public holidays.

Application progress

As of 4 October 2019, the National Redress Scheme:

  • had received over 5,040 applications
  • made around 750 decisions — including 638 payments, totalling over $51.3 million
  • made over 100 offers of redress, and applicants have six months to consider their offer of redress.
  • was processing over 3,300 applications, with 618 applications on hold because one or more institution named in the application had not yet joined and about 300 applications requiring additional information from the applicant.

As of 4 October, the average payment was $80,019.

In July, August and September of this year more people received redress than in the first year of the Scheme. From 1 July 2019 to 4 October 2019, 405 applications were finalised, resulting in 399 payments.

Participating institutions update

All institutions where child sexual abuse has occurred are encouraged to sign up to the Scheme as soon as possible.

As of 4 October, there were 61 non-government institutions participating in the National Redress Scheme, covering over 41,300 individual sites, such as churches, schools and clubs.

In September, a number of new institutions, organisations and religious orders completed the necessary steps to join the Scheme.

The following institutions have completed the steps to join the Scheme:

  • Ballarat and Queen’s Anglican Grammar School
  • The Carmelite Fathers Incorporated (Vic)
  • Legacy Australia Incorporated*
  • Parkerville Children and Youth Care Inc
  • The Trustees of the Passionist Fathers

The additions to the Anglican Church of Australia participating group are:

  • All Saints’ College Inc
  • Arden Anglican School
  • Barker Barang
  • Blue Mountains Grammar School Limited
  • Campbelltown Anglican Schools Council
  • The Corporate Trustees of the Diocese of Armidale
  • The Corporate Trustees of the Diocese of Grafton
  • Governors of Hale School
  • Launceston Church Grammar School
  • The Society of the Sacred Advent Schools Pty Ltd as trustee for The Society of the Sacred Advent – St Aidan’s Trust (St Aidan’s Anglican Girls School)
  • The Society of the Sacred Advent Schools Pty Ltd as trustee for The Society of the Sacred Advent – St Margaret’s Trust (St Margaret’s Anglican Girls School)
  • The Synod of the Diocese of The Murray of the Anglican Church of Australia Incorporated
  • Trinity College Gawler Inc

The addition to the Baptist Churches of Victoria participating group is
Warracknabeal Baptist Church.

The addition to the Salesian Society (Vic) participating group is
Boys’ Town Engadine.

The additions to the Uniting Church in Australia participating group are:

  • Aitken College Limited (Vic)
  • Billanook College Limited (Vic)
  • Blackheath Home, Oxley (Qld)
  • Fahan School (Tas)
  • The Geelong College (Vic)
  • Haileybury (Vic)
  • Kingswood College Limited (Vic)
  • Methodist Ladies’ College (Vic)
  • Penleigh and Essendon Grammar School (Vic)
  • Pilgrim School Inc (SA)
  • Prince Alfred College (SA)
  • Scotch College (Vic)
  • The Scots School Albury (Vic)
  • UnitingCare Wesley Bowden (SA)
  • Uniting Communities Incorporated (SA)
  • Uniting Country SA Ltd
  • UnitingSA Ltd

*Legacy Australia Incorporated has joined the National Redress Scheme. Legacy Australia Inc. does not include all Legacy clubs. Legacy Australia Inc. is actively working with Legacy clubs to encourage and support them to join the National Redress Scheme.

For more information about the sites covered by these institutions and a full list of institutions that have joined, go to the Scheme’s website.

The website also includes a map where you can find institutions that have joined in your state or territory.

Where do I get support?

Redress Support Services are available to help people understand the Scheme, provide emotional support and guide people through the application process.

A list of support services is available on the website.
If you need immediate assistance from a counsellor, please contact:

Find out more

To find out more about the National Redress Scheme call 1800 737 377 Monday to Friday, 8amto 5pm (local time), excluding public holidays.

You can also go to the website: www.nationalredress.gov.au

You are receiving this email because you opted in via our website.

Our mailing address is:
Australian GovernmentGPO Box 9820Canberra, ACT2601Australia
Add us to your address book

Website: https://www.nationalredress.gov.au

Silence the outbursts … 🤫

With regard to any attacker/predator, even in ‘friendly’ games (tactical & sports) it becomes essential to take advantage of the target. As survivours of CSA are often placed in a vulnerable situation, having a valid portal to seek help from is essential. Parents/Guardians need to be aware of these vulnerabilities, otherwise via their ‘blind faith’ may inherently be like ‘feeding lambs to the slaughter’.

#childsexualabuse

@jbwn86Brown, Joe

Perpetrators in hunting ground … ?!

As to the rites of any Student, the following copies were taken of some of BBC’s Predators: (Buchanan (Butch) & Dutton to be added; BBC Portal 1990)

Michael Golding, Music

Murre-Alan, Music

Delay, delay, delay …

Parallels

REF https://sdbcrc.wordpress.com/2019/10/13/delay-delay-delay/

Media Statement | SDBC_RC Blog

Queensland Baptists joins the National Redress Scheme
— Read on sdbcrc.wordpress.com/2019/08/04/media-statement/

Spotting anything similar, between Churches & Schools, of different names … yet the same ‘wolf in sheep’s clothing?! ††˜ https://twitter.com/hashtag/ChildSexualAbuse

The Secret Jehovah’s Witness Database of Child Molesters – The Atlantic

In what is becoming all- too-often a common thread, here’s Jehovah’s Witness (hidden) darkside:


PHOTOGRAPHY BY LEXEY SWALL

A former Jehovah’s Witness is using stolen documents to expose allegations that the religion has kept hidden for decades.

In March 1997, the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, the nonprofit organization that oversees the Jehovah’s Witnesses, sent a letter to each of its 10,883 U.S. congregations, and to many more congregations worldwide. The organization was concerned about the legal risk posed by possible child molesters within its ranks. The letter laid out instructions on how to deal with a known predator: Write a detailed report answering 12 questions—Was this a onetime occurrence, or did the accused have a history of child molestation? How is the accused viewed within the community? Does anyone else know about the abuse?—and mail it to Watchtower’s headquarters in a special blue envelope. Keep a copy of the report in your congregation’s confidential file, the instructions continued, and do not share it with anyone.

Thus did the Jehovah’s Witnesses build what might be the world’s largest database of undocumented child molesters: at least two decades’ worth of names and addresses—likely numbering in the tens of thousands—and detailed acts of alleged abuse, most of which have never been shared with law enforcement, all scanned and searchable in a Microsoft SharePoint file. In recent decades, much of the world’s attention to allegations of abuse has focused on the Catholic Church and other religious groups. Less notice has been paid to the abuse among the Jehovah’s Witnesses, a Christian sect with more than 8.5 million members. Yet all this time, Watchtower has refused to comply with multiple court orders to release the information contained in its database and has paid millions of dollars over the years to keep it secret, even from the survivors whose stories are contained within.

That effort has been remarkably successful—until recently.

A white Priority Mail box filled with manila envelopes sits on the floor of Mark O’Donnell’s wood-paneled home office, on the outskirts of Baltimore, Maryland. Mark, 51, is the owner of an exercise-equipment repair business and a longtime Jehovah’s Witness who quietly left the religion in late 2013. Soon after, he became known to ex–Jehovah’s Witnesses as John Redwood, an activist and a blogger who reports on the various controversies, including cases of child abuse, surrounding Watchtower. (Recently, he has begun using his own name.)

When I first met Mark, in May of last year, he appeared at the front door of his modest home in the same outfit he nearly always wears: khaki cargo shorts, a short-sleeved shirt, white sneakers, and sweat socks pulled up over his calves. He invited me into his densely furnished office, where a fan barely dispelled the wafting smell of cat food. He pulled an envelope from the Priority Mail box and passed me its contents, a mixture of typed and handwritten letters discussing various sins allegedly committed by members of a Jehovah’s Witness congregation in Massachusetts. All the letters in the box had been stolen by an anonymous source inside the religion and shared with Mark. The sins described in the letters ranged from the mundane—smoking pot, marital infidelity, drunkenness—to the horrifying. Slowly, over the past couple of years, Mark has been leaking the most damning contents of the box, much of which is still secret.

Mark’s eyebrows are permanently arched, and when he makes an important point, he peers out above his rimless glasses, eyes widened, which lends him a conspiratorial air.

“Start with these,” he said.

Among the papers Mark showed me that day was a series of letters about a man from Springfield, Massachusetts, who had been disfellowshipped—a form of excommunication—three times. When the man was once again reinstated, in 2008, someone working in a division of Watchtower wrote to his congregation, noting that in 1989 he was said to have “allowed his 11-year-old stepdaughter to touch his penis … on at least two occasions.”

I was struck by the oddness of the language. It insinuated that the man had agreed to, rather than initiated, the sexual contact with his stepdaughter.                 

After I left Mark’s house, I tracked down the stepdaughter, now 40. In fact, she told me, she had been only 8 when her stepfather had molested her. “He was the adult and I was the kid, so I thought I didn’t have any choice,” she said. She was terrified, she told me. “It took me two years to go to my mom about it.”

Her mother immediately went to the congregation’s elders, who later called the girl and her stepfather in to pray with them. She remembers it as a humiliating experience.

Her stepfather was eventually disfellowshipped for instances that involved “fornication,” “drunkenness,” and “lying,” according to the letters. But according to the stepdaughter, his alleged molestation of her resulted only in his being “privately reproved,” a closed-door reprimand that is usually accompanied by a temporary loss of privileges, such as not being allowed to offer comments during Bible study or lead a prayer. The letters make no reference to police being notified; the stepdaughter said her mother was encouraged to keep the matter private, and no attempt was made to keep the stepfather away from other children. (Calls to the congregation’s Kingdom Hall—the Witness version of a church—for comment went unanswered.)

By the time the letters were written, the man was attending a different congregation and had married another woman with children; he is still part of that family today. Near the end of the final letter in Mark’s possession is a question: “Is there any responsibility on the part of either body of elders … to inform his current wife of his past history of child molestation?”

Mark O’Donnell’s childhood was an isolated one. His parents, Jerry and Susan, had started attending Jehovah’s Witness meetings in the mid-1960s. Another couple from Baltimore had told them of Watchtower’s prediction that the world would end in 1975, bringing death to all non-Witnesses and transforming Earth into a paradise for the faithful. In 1968, just after Mark was born, Jerry and Susan were group-baptized in a swimming pool in Washington, D.C. Mark was an only child, and he inherited his father’s peculiar love of record-keeping. Mark would show up to meetings at the Kingdom Hall with a briefcase full of religious texts.

As in any religion, there’s some variation among Jehovah’s Witnesses in how strictly they interpret the teachings that govern their faith; Mark’s upbringing seems to have been especially stringent. As a child, he attended at least five meetings a week, plus several hours of private Bible study. On Saturday mornings, he joined his parents in “field service,” knocking on doors in search of converts. He was taught that most people outside the organization were corrupted by Satan and, given the chance, would try to steal from him, drug him, or rape him. Mainstream books and magazines were considered the work of Satan. If he broke any of the religion’s main rules, he could be disfellowshipped, meaning even his own family would have to shun him.

Throughout Mark’s childhood, he heard elders cite Proverbs 13:24: “Whoever holds back his rod hates his son.” Mark’s parents took the lesson to heart and beat him frequently. The religion forbids celebrating birthdays, voting, serving in the military, and accepting blood transfusions, even in life-and-death situations. Witnesses were encouraged to devote themselves to bringing more converts into the religion before the end of the world arrived. “Reports are heard of brothers selling their homes and property” to spend their last days proselytizing, said a Watchtower publication in 1974. “Certainly this is a fine way to spend the short time remaining before the wicked world’s end.” Some Witnesses stopped going to the doctor, quit their jobs, or ran up debt.

But piety, Mark noticed, did not always translate to morality. When he was 12, Mark became suspicious of a local Witness named Louis Ongsingco, a flight attendant who would bring home Toblerone bars for the local Witness kids and invite them to his apartment to act out religious plays. Mark noticed Ongsingco touching young girls in a way that made him uncomfortable. He told an elder about his concerns. But rather than take action against Ongsingco, the elder told him what Mark had said. Days later, Ongsingco pulled Mark aside and scolded him.

Mark’s instincts seem to have been right. In 2001, one of Mark’s childhood friends, Erin Michelle Shifflett, along with four other women, sued Ongsingco for sexual assault. The cases were settled out of court for an undisclosed sum. Ongsingco died in 2016.

To Mark, the lesson was that for all the emphasis the elders placed on moral purity, there was no greater sin than speaking out against other Witnesses.

By the time Mark was in high school, in the early 1980s, 1975 had come and gone, but Watchtower had a new prediction for the apocalypse. It said that the world would end before the passing of the generation that was alive in 1914. At the time, the youngest members of that generation were 70, so the new prediction created a sense of urgency.

“My parents basically told me, ‘You’re not even going to live to graduate from college,’” Mark said. At 17, despite having a year of college credit and a guidance counselor imploring him to apply, he decided to settle for a high-school diploma. He was baptized and later started his exercise-equipment repair company. The business provided enough flexibility for him to perform 50 hours of field service for the Witnesses a month, which qualified him for the rank of auxiliary pioneer.

Though many Witnesses left the religion after 1975, membership was on the upswing by the 1990s, and the organization was building new Kingdom Halls. Mark was installing a sound system in a new hall in Baltimore in the fall of 1997 when a young woman named Kimmy Weber asked to borrow his ladder.

At 20, Kimmy was putting in more than 90 hours of field service a month, making her a full-fledged pioneer. She had completed a two-year program at a community college on a scholarship, and would later get permission from the local elders to get her bachelor’s degree. Mark was drawn to her drive and intensity. He tracked down her email address; they flirted over AOL Instant Messenger and were married within eight months. They wanted to start a family, but decided to wait until after the arrival of paradise on Earth, when they, and their children, would be perfect. In the meantime, Kimmy began opening their home to abused and abandoned cats.

As Mark’s business grew, he brought on employees, mostly other Witnesses. When he and Kimmy had saved enough money to buy the house across the street as a rental property, they filled its three units with other Witnesses. There were ski vacations, softball games, dinner parties, and game nights—always with friends who shared their faith.

But as much as Mark enjoyed his friends’ company, he started to chafe at the insularity of their social life. It felt less like intimacy and more like a self-imposed bubble. These frustrations eventually grew into suspicions about Watchtower itself. He’d heard rumors that the organization was covering up cases of pedophilia and child abuse. But Watchtower always dismissed such criticism as “apostate-driven lies.”

A few years after he and Kimmy married, he saw a protester outside a Witness convention holding a sign that read a jw elder molested me. “I looked at that sign,” Mark told me, “and I locked it in my brain. I’ll never forget it. I said to myself, There’s no way he’s lying. Nobody would stand out there and hold a sign that says an elder molested me unless it really happened. No way. He’s telling the truth.

Watchtower adjusted its estimates for the apocalypse several more times. In 2010, it introduced the Overlapping Generations theory, which claims that the end will come before the death of everyone who was alive at the same time as anyone who was alive in 1914. Mark found these revised predictions difficult to accept.

In late 2013, Mark had an extreme reaction to an antibiotic and was confined to his couch for several weeks, away from the meetings and Bible studies. Left alone with his thoughts, he began to admit to himself that he no longer believed Armageddon was imminent. The Jehovah’s Witnesses he knew were no more deserving of God’s mercy than the nonbelievers he’d met. And here he was, 45 years old and facing a health crisis. How much more of his life was he willing to waste inside the bubble?

That November, as he and Kimmy were preparing to spend the weekend at a friend’s house, Mark suddenly stopped packing and told Kimmy he couldn’t maintain the facade anymore. He never attended another meeting.

/ . . . Continued . . . /

RETRIEVED https://www.theatlantic.com/family/archive/2019/03/the-secret-jehovahs-witness-database-of-child-molesters/584311/