TOWN OF ULSTER – Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the Catholic Archbishop of New York, held Mass at John A. Coleman Catholic High School on Monday as victims’ rights advocates protested outside.
The main purpose of Dolan’s visit was to bless the chapel, which was destroyed by a flood in February and has been rebuilt and renovated with more than $40,000 of improvements.
1 in 5 New York Kids Are Sexually Abused. Help Prevent That
The CDC reports that 1 in 5 children are sexually abused.
9 out of 10 of the perpetrators are never brought to justice and never appear on sex offender registries.
They are protected by New York State laws.
Sign this petition and change that. Protect NY Kids.
The Stop Abuse Campaign, Advocates urge Governor to Protect Kids
Read More in the Legislative Gazette Here
On Thursday the Stop Abuse Campaign and founder of Fight for Kids, Gary Greenberg, presented Governor Cuomo’s office with a petition with over 27,600 signatures supporting Statute of Limitations reform and letters from advocates expressing their displeasure with the fact that this important legislation didn’t pass this year.
The Child Victims Act is the “most important bill to protect children from sexual abuse,” said Blow, the chief operations officer of the Stop Abuse Campaign, an organization that tries to reduce adverse childhood experiences through public policy. “We need to take predators off the streets.”
The failure by the Legislature to pass the bill led the group to criticize lawmakers’ priorities. The advocates condemned the fact that, while the Child Victims Act bill dies in committee, a bill that would allow restaurants to sell alcohol before noon on Sundays was made an end-of-session priority.
“This whole place is dysfunctional,” said Gary Greenberg, an abuse victim who was in Albany Thursday to help deliver the petitions to the Governor’s Office. “Alcohol on Sundays is more important than helping child abuse victims. It’s unbelievable those priorities are more important than protecting kids and providing hope to people who have been through hell.”
“The failure to pass this reform ensures child molesters and rapists are still protected from the consequences of their crime, that they are free to abuse thousands of more children,” said Andrew Willis, CEO of the Stop Abuse Campaign, who notes that abuse victims are more likely to become alcohol or drug dependent as a result of their experiences.
Protect Kids, Not Predators
Your Voices Heard in Albany NY
New York is closer than ever to reforming its Statute of Limitations for child sexual abuse. Last Wednesday we presented our petition to reform the state’s Statute of Limitations.
We’re grateful to every one of the 27,276 of you that signed the petition. Your signatures showed not only that New Yorkers care about protecting children from the trauma of sexual abuse, but also that the rest of the world is watching.
Bernie Fine, Woody Allen and Cesar Gonzales-Mugaburu were not on a sex offender’s’ registry and nor are nine out of ten sex offenders. Most of us would hate to have a registered sex offender move in next door, but what we should really hate is legislators continue to protect child molesters from accountability rather than our children from child molesters.
Senator Flanagan was otherwise engaged and sent his senior policy adviser to see us. Presenting him with the petition Andrew Willis, chief executive officer of the The Stop Abuse Campaign said:
“New York State needs to do a better job protecting children and not their rapists,”
“We’d like you to have this so that you know the people of New York and wider don’t believe that you should be standing in the way of this bill because children are continuing to be molested and raped,” Willis then handed over a large looseleaf binder containing the 27,276 names to the member of Flanagan’s staff.
“I would hope that the senator would have met with us and talked about the reasons that they are blocking the bill,” Willis said afterward.
With your help this can be the year that New York passes the bill. Sign the petition, if you have not. If you have, get your friends and family to sign.
Every signature will count. Let’s show Senator Flanagan he should pay attention to public opinion which is overwhelmingly in favor of the Child Victims Act.
Read the full story in the Daily News who we thank for their outstanding journalism in support of Statute of Limitation reform.
Protect Kids Not their Rapists
Case Study of a TragedyA look at one family's tragedy shows the fault lines in Family Courts
By Barry Goldstein and Melanie Blow
Today the Boston Globe shared a story about one little girl’s tragically mishandled claim of child sexual abuse. An example of a problem faced by thousands of children across America, a problem that is easily solved through states passing the Safe Child Act. After all children deserve to be protected and our family courts need to prevent children from suffering trauma.
This groundbreaking story marks one of the first times that a major national media outlet has exposed the custody court scandal that has placed millions of children in jeopardy. Although the reporters focus on one tragic story, they included research and statements from national experts that showed how the lack of training, bias and flawed practices create widespread failures in protecting children.
In 2005 a PBS documentary film produced by Catherine Tatge and Dominique Lasseur exposed the widespread failure of custody courts to protect children. PBS caved to the pressure from abuser groups and limited the availability of the film thus undermining its ability to encourage needed reforms. In 2006, reporter Sarah Childress used the notorious Shockome case to illustrate how courts allowed abusers to use the bogus Parental Alienation Syndrome to win custody from good mothers. The Stop Abuse Campaign is hopeful that the Boston Globe story written by investigative reporters Nestor Ramos and Evan Allen will mark the beginning of the end to widespread failed practices that undermine the ability of court professionals to recognize true reports of domestic violence and child abuse. The case exposed in the Boston Globe is not the exception. Only the use of standard outdated and discredited practices by unqualified professionals could have exposed the young girl to an additional five years of sexual torture.
“The case’s disturbing details provide a window into a system that one recently retired judge described as broken. The state’s family courts are overrun with volatile, complex claims, dozens of judges, lawyers, and advocates said in interviews with the Globe — but woefully short on tools to resolve them.”
The nation’s rising divorce rates in the 1970s and 80s roughly coincided with the rise of awareness about child abuse and the laws to minimize it. This could have created synergistic learning for both fields, but instead lead to the development of a huge family court industry with little knowledge about child abuse and domestic violence, and the development of a Child Protective Services with little knowledge of the complexities of divorce and custody litigation.
“The court system in which the girl’s case lingered for years was never intended to bear the responsibility for her safety.”
“It is very common for courts to punish and retaliate against mothers,” said (former)lawyer, author, and Research Director of the Stop Abuse Campaign Barry Goldstein, who also trains family court judges, “not realizing what they’re really doing is punishing the child.”
Child sexual abuse went from taboo to sensational to controversial in that same timeframe. Meanwhile, experts gained substantial knowledge about sexual and non-sexual child abuse, but it was slow to disseminate to either the masses or the courts. Judge Blake, the Judge responsible for the case in the Boston Globe demonstrated this lack of knowledge.
“Allegations of sexual abuse have trailed Stanley [the man accused of sexually abusing his daughter] for nearly 20 years, starting in his childhood…’ Even if it happened, it happened when she was 11? [and he was 12]’ Blake said, referring to the sister, according to the trial transcript. ‘I don’t know how it’s relevant.’”
Someone with adequate training in child sexual abuse would understand that adults who sexually abuse children should never be considered “safe” around children. Experts may talk about “successfully treating” sex offenders, but such an offender is still considered unsafe to be left alone with children.
Most of us, including judges, struggle to understand the emotional complexities that accompany child sexual abuse. Put simply, when a parent sexually abuses a child, it doesn’t undo the rest of their relationship with their child. As such, children will frequently recant their stories, change their stories, and often are happy to spend time with their abuser. Properly trained judges who understand that and don’t say things like “Bernson had acknowledged in her testimony that the girl loved her father and liked seeing him; a social worker testified that their supervised visits had gone well.”. Nor would statements like this lead to the conclusion that it is safe for the father to have unsupervised time with, or custody of, his daughter.
The Adverse Childhood Experience study shows us that ten identified Adverse Childhood Experiences are harmful to children. That doesn’t mean that everyone who increases a child’s ACE score is at equal risk for continuing such harmful behavior. People who sexually abuse children should not be considered “safe” around children. However, both physical abuse of children and drug addiction can often be stopped completely with the right interventions. In this case, the girl’s mother “had marijuana in her system when the girl was born, according to a DCF report” and “she [the daughter] also said her mother had hit her and her stepfather had threatened her.”
The judge concluded that both parents were “bad”, but there was more documentation of the mother’s “badness”, and she was “bad” in more ways. The judge’s decision to remove the girl from the mother and award her to the father, rather than mandate the mother receive therapy, substance abuse treatment, parenting classes and consent to monitoring was a mistake that harmed the child. When faced with the near certainty of her daughter experiencing more sexual abuse from her father, helping the mother would have been a better decision.
Courts and CPS both generally have a poor understanding of domestic violence. Domestic violence is drastically under-reported, but is behind most contested custody cases. In this case, when the judge sees that a mother “objected to Stanley’s visitation with the girl even before the sexual abuse allegations surfaced.”, one must ask “why?” Most parents, even imperfect ones, want their child to have a relationship with both parents if they feel that is safe.
Many, many things went wrong in this case. The good news is that a single piece of legislation, the Safe Child Act, stands to make cases like this rare. By insisting judges get training based on significant, modern research such as the ACE study and the Saunder’s Study (which documents that judicial belief in false reports is common but the reports themselves are very rare), many of the errors documented here could be prevented. Changing the judicial standard for family court judges from the “best interests” of a child to the “health and safety” of a child ensures that the prevention of ACEs becomes a higher priority than other details that often get in the way- including the desire to punish mothers viewed as “uncooperative”. It will also ensure that genuine experts are used to evaluate claims of child abuse and domestic violence.
Hawaii became the first state to introduce the Safe Child Act when Vice Speaker John Mizuno recently introduced the bill into the Hawaii House of Representatives. Other states need to pass the Safe Child Act to protect their children and prevent trauma being caused by custody courts.
The Boston Globe presented readers with a look at how complex the systems children depend on for protection can be, and just how many ways they can fail. The good news is that there are solutions out there. We just need to put them in place.
Pass the Safe Child Act in Connecticut
Scarsdale Homicide Follows Familiar PatternThe murder of Robin Goldman proves domestic violence happens everywhere
Thank you to Barry Goldstein for shining some light on this sad subject.
First printed in Armonk Daily Voice
By Zak Failla
SCARSDALE, N.Y. – Scarsdale remains stunned following last week’s shocking murder, where a popular financier stabbed his wife nearly two dozen times in their affluent Heathcote neighborhood home.
Last week , family, friends and well-wishers said goodbye to Robin Goldman, a prominent pediatrician in the Bronx that was allegedly murdered by her soon-to-be estranged husband, Julius Reich, who is being held without bail at Westchester County Jail.
Barry Goldstein , a former Eastchester attorney who now lives in Teaneck, N.J., has been “working for the domestic violence movement since 1983.” For more than 30 years, he was a board member for My Sister’s Place, serving four of those as chairman. He has written five books on the subject, and is currently the research director for the Stop Abuse Campaign .
“There’s a popular misconception that this doesn’t happen in wealthy communities, and that just isn’t true. It just gets hidden better there, so it’s not shocking that this would happen in Scarsdale,” he said. “When you’re dealing with an abuser that is wealthy and powerful, it’s much harder to leave or to protect yourself.”
The couple had been going through a divorce that Reich filed for last year. According to reports, Goldman had recently changed the locks on the pair’s home. Reich reportedly stabbed his wife 21 times before smoking cigarette and making an emergency 911 call and alerted authorities that “a woman was badly injured.”
Goldstein noted that 75 percent of domestic violence homicides are the result of the conclusion of relationships, citing the Hochman murder-suicide in Harrison last year.
“The most dangerous abusers are not the ones that have committed the most serious assaults in the past, but the ones that believe the woman has no right to leave,” he said. “Three out of four domestic violence homicides are women murdered in the process of leaving.”
Shortly after 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 20, first-responders from the police department and Scarsdale Volunteer Ambulance Corps rushed to 50 Lincoln Road when Reich, 61, alerted the police of the incident.
Police arrested Reich immediately, and the paramedics found Goldman, 58, “in a lifeless state” after suffering stab wounds. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
Reich was taken into custody, and transported to White Plains Hospital, where he was treated for injuries to his hand. He was then returned to Scarsdale Police Headquarters before being arraigned at Scarsdale Justice Court by Judge Joaquin Alemany. He is remanded to the Westchester County Jail without bail.
Last week, Scarsdale Police Capt. Thomas Altizio said that Reich may face additional charges as the department continues its investigation into Scarsdale’s first homicide in four decades, along with the Westchester County District Attorney’s offie and the Department of Public Safety Investigation Unit.
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