Give children a sporting chance
By Andrew Willis
This picture accompanied an opinion piece in the Daily News written by Kelley Hasson Blanchet , Karen Healey-lange , Christine Giusti AND Dale Elsa Norley where they add their own perspective of Bill Conlin…
We knew him as a serial pedophile predator who abused both boys and girls over the course of at least three decades. He sought out his innocent, trust-filled victims on and around the beaches of Margate City, N.J., where his nickname was “Slick Willie,” and in his close-knit neighborhood of Whitman Square, N.J.
His targets were not strangers. They were family members, his friends’ children and his children’s friends.
We were among them. At the time Conlin abused us, we were between 7 and 11 years old. His crimes ranged from aggravated sexual assault through digital genital penetration to criminal sexual contact via inappropriate sexual touching.
How this man got away with his disgusting crimes over the course of so many years is a cautionary tale for families and communities seeking to root out the scourge of sexual predators in their midst.
As with so many stories about childhood sexual abuse something had to change for the silence to be broken. As adults the victims found power in discovering they were not the only one. That it was not their fault. They were not the only one.
Research shows they are not alone in not talking about their abuse earlier. Most survivors, myself included, take over 20 years to report childhood sexual abuse. And most survivors in New York and many other states then find they are barred from justice.
The rules of the game had changed completely. We were no longer vulnerable kids. We were now well-educated, successful, determined adults, and we had numbers.
Justice demanded that Conlin rot in jail for the rest of his life. So, in 2010, we took a leap of faith: We reported our abuse to law enforcement officials.
We were devastated when the Gloucester County prosecutor’s office investigation confessed to us via email: “We would love to find justice in this case. So many people have been victimized by this man, but our hands are tied by the law, which does not allow us to prosecute. ”
The statute of limitations had expired. We had waited too long to report Conlin’s crimes.
We didn’t want money. We wanted him exposed for what he was. We wanted his facade of fame and fortune to crumble in the face of what he had done to the young and most innocent of our society.
Preventing children from being sexually abused means identifying their abusers and preventing them from harming other children. And that means allowing adult survivors of child sexual abuse entry to court. As abusers tend to continue abusing, identifying them is the first step to preventing further children from being harmed.
So we call for Statutes of Limitations to be overturned too. Statutes of limitations silence victims, protect pedophiles and prevent the police from doing their job of protecting our most vulnerable citizens, our children.
That’s why most abusers get away with it. Between 90-97%, according to experts. The only thing remarkable about this story is the courageous adults who told it.
But here in New York most politicians are sitting on the fence. Click here to read about what is silencing them and help us get New York’s politicians off the fence!
Child rape is too serious a business for our elected leaders not to have an opinion.