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Showing posts with label BEEMER. Show all posts
Showing posts with label BEEMER. Show all posts

Thursday, March 31, 2016


Recently, the media has reported on two high profile cases of child sexual abuse where the perpetrator was able to get away with his abuse for a matter of years.  

The first case reported by Karen Florin of "The Day" on December 26, 2015 "Beemer Children Reveal themselves As victims of Prolonged Sexual Assault" discussed the case in which Robert T. Beemer sexually abused all four of his children. Information regarding his abuse of the children first emerged in 1998 when the two older children--Timothy and Christina Beemer--then 13 and 14 respectively--spoke to a counselor at the Old Lyme, CT youth Services Bureau revealing all four of the Beemer children had been sexually abused.  In 2000, Mr. Beemer was given an eight year sentence; however, as soon as he was released in 2008, his abuse of children began all over again.  

The second case reported by Nestor Ramos and Evan Allen of "The Boston Globe" on January 30, 2016 "State fumbled For Answers While Girl was In Limbo" discussed the case in which a father, James Stanley, was accused of molesting his little girl for five years from the age of 3 to 8 while family court sat around and debated on whether to intervene or not. 

Upon reading these cases, the question most of us are left with is how were these clearly rotten individuals given the freedom to sexually molest these children at will for such lengthy periods of time?  

The answer to that question is more complex than it would initially appear.   The statistics on child sexual abuse are as follows.  When it comes to the worldwide prevalence of child sexual abuse in general, 18% of girls and 8% of boys experience abuse.  Yet perpetrators are rarely prosecuted.  The average pedophile molests approximately 260 children in his lifetime—they generally don’t stop unless they are forced to—and the majority of pedophiles are family members, acquaintances, or caretakers, not strangers.  90% of pedophiles who are caught will reoffend.  85-90% of pedophiles are males.  Only 3% of child sexual abuse and 12% of rapes involving children are ever reported to police, and of those reported only 1-2% of these cases are ever prosecuted and result in a conviction.  Then to go even further, the majority of child molesters who are convicted spend less than a year in jail.  

As Karen Beemer, the mother of child victims here in Connecticut stated, “The kids are messed up for the rest of their lives…The pedophile gets everything they want.”  

One of the reasons why child sexual abuse is so poorly prosecuted is because there is a high rate of false allegations.  So, you are talking about a horrific crime combined with the very real possibility that the accuser is lying about it.   Particularly in connection to custody matters in family court, there are a considerable number of false allegations.  Judges and prosecutors are aware that if they pursue allegations which turn out to be false, even if a man is later found innocent, it is likely his life will be destroyed. 

Of course, many child abuse advocates say that while the problem of false allegations is, indeed, serious and troubling, they only occur very rarely.  However, this is just not true. In the course of doing research for this article, when I typed into google “family court false allegations of sexual abuse.” among the results, I came up with is an article written by Hollida Wakefield entitled “Allegations of Child Abuse in Custody Disputes” While somewhat on the old side, citing studies from the 80s and 90s it provided the insight that in about half of the cases where sexual abuse was alleged, the allegations were false. Another more recent study put the number of false allegations at 33% which is still pretty high. 

In contrast, studies cited by advocates for protective mothers indicated a considerably lower level of false allegations of 8% and even 1%. What was the basis of this extreme difference, i.e. 50% vs. 1%, in the percentages which were reported here?  Apparently, the latter studies only included cases under false allegations when the allegations were intentionally false.  Of course, I would question that approach because false allegations are false, and intentional or not, result in prosecution and the resultant damage to a person's life which is grossly unjust if the person has been falsely accused. 

It is horrific to consider that thousands of innocent men, possibly up to 50% of those accused, could be hounded, harassed, bullied, incarcerated and their lives destroyed by such a high level of false allegations.  Talk about “The Children’s Hour!”  

What can be done?  How can we safeguard fathers who are wholly innocent of wrongdoing, while at the same time protect vulnerable children from the lifelong devastation of child sexual abuse by putting the perpetrators in jail?  

The answer to that question is:  only with a great deal of difficulty.  

Apparently, it is extremely hard to obtain definitive physical evidence, the kind that stands up in court, in cases of child sexual abuse.  For instance, I found on google a 2016 article entitled "Physical Evidence Uncommon in Child Abuse Cases.";  its operative comment was, "Over 90% of sexual assault exams completed in children result in no finding." Here is another article from Reuters dated August 3, 2009 entitled, "Physical Evidence Rare in Girls Reporting Sex Abuse."  It states, "girls who describe repetitive sexual abuse by genital penetration rarely have definitive physical evidence to prove it, according to the journal "Pediatrics."  A Pub Med entry in 1993 states, "Studies indicate that a normal physical exam is common in sexual abuse victims."  A Deutsches Arzteblatt article from October 10, 2014 states, "The great majority of sexually abused children do not have any abnormal physical findings." 

My next question then was, can't you tell whether a child is still a virgin by examining the state of her hymen? Apparently, not.  In the same way that it is impossible to tell whether sexual abuse has taken place, the variation in the state of a girl's hymen is so broad it is literally impossible to be sure who is a virgin and who is not.  I also wanted to mention just in case you were wondering, because I myself immediately asked the question:  does the existence of frequent urinary tract infections (UTI) in girls indicate there has been sexual abuse.  Again, the answer is no.  It turns out that many young girls end up with frequent urinary tract infections without any child sexual abuse involved and so frequently UTIs have no evidentiary value whatsoever.  Then, to make things more tough the ano-genital region has such a powerful ability to heal and regenerate that when there is damage to that area, it heals with great rapidity, again making it difficult to determine if any violence was done to that area. 

Given these facts, when a medical report comes back stating that the results of a child sexual abuse evaluation are inconclusive or unsubstantiated, that actually doesn't mean much, does it. 

Some ways in which authorities have been able to overcome these barriers are when the child reports to authorities so quickly after the incident that it is possible to obtain physical evidence such as tearing, bruising, and/or the presence of sperm or semen.  It is also possible to test the child's clothing, comforter or sheets for DNA evidence, but incidents where investigators find anything there is for the better part quite unusual.  Of course, in cases where there are STD's or a resulting pregnancy, that makes it irrefutable that sexual intercourse took place, although in the case of STDs, it would be harder to identify who was involved.  

But again, keep in mind what I stated at the beginning of this article that such definitive physical and DNA evidence is only available in 10% of cases.  

So how are child sexual abuse cases prosecuted for the better part? What evidence are they left with?  

According to the American Humane Association, "The central issue becomes whether the child's statements can be trusted", and according to Attorney John E.B. Myers, "In many cases, the most important evidence is the child's testimony."  

In the case I mentioned earlier where Mr. James Stanley had been accused of child sexual abuse, the daughter who accused him was 3 years old at the time of the initial accusation. Can you imagine putting a man in jail for say 20 years, or say cutting him off entirely from his parental rights to his child solely based upon the testimony of a 3 year old and nothing else?  If that troubles you, imagine how a judge feels!  That's why, according to Nestor Ramos and Even Allen of "The Boston Globe" "Lawyers and judges call the cases that involve allegations of sexual abuse atomic bombs: Everything around them becomes radioactive.  Claims and counterclaims pile up.  Alleged victims are often too young to testify."  

Of course, it would be helpful if Court personnel were knowledgeable about the nature of child sexual abuse cases. For instance, in the Boston case, the judge allowed unsupervised visitation because the judge took into consideration the fact that Mr. Stanley had not "been criminally charged with abusing the girl..."--but as I've said, only 1-2% of cases ever are--and "other than the girl's testimony there was no other "corroborating evidence".  Well, as you have seen from this article, there rarely is anything more than a girl's testimony in cases of sexual abuse and so that is a fairly meaningless observation.  

Another interesting comment that the Judge made in the Boston case was that when it came to another of Mr. Stanley's alleged child victims, the Judge stated, "Even if it happened, it happened when she was 11?...I don't know how it's relevant."  Of course, it is relevant because it is an indication that Mr. Stanley was a repeat offender--he'd molested children before.

I also find the judges comment interesting because she expresses a viewpoint I've heard from Judges before, that somehow as time passes, victims of child sexual abuse should just get over it. In fact, the reality is that these victims do not "just get over it."  This is true of the victims of domestic violence as well as victims of child sexual abuse.  The idea that victims should just bounce back and agree to a complete restoration of the relationship and a reinstatement of full visitation with the children etc. simply because time has gone by, while a very common attitude found in many family court systems, remains a completely ridiculous concept, at least to me.  

So yes, difficulties in obtaining definitive evidence play a major role in the lack of consequences for perpetrators in these cases, but also mistaken, misguided, and just plain erroneous assumptions on the part of court personnel plays a major role as well, even to the point of absurdity.  

So what are we left with?  

What we have are situations such as the McMartin pre-school case (1984-1990), where 48 children credibly claimed that the owners of the pre-school and an employee--Virginia McMartin, Peggy McMartin Buckey and Ray Buckey--sexually abused them.  However, Dr. Michael Maloney, a British clinical psychologist called upon to evaluate the children's testimony, stated that the children's testimony was only obtained via highly coercive interviews. Plus, the jury concluded that claims of underground tunnels and ritual satanic abuse could not have occurred as reported and, therefore, the case ended in acquittal. 

In contrast, there is the case of Dr. George Reardon who successfully evaded the claims of several victims during his lifetime that he had sexually abused them, from 1956 at the start of his career until his retirement in the 90s. Dr. Reardon's guilt was only brought to light after his death when the man who purchased his former home discovered a cache of pornographic photographs in the basement. Currently, there are 135 known victims of Dr. George Reardon's criminal activities. 

Meanwhile, there is a small but influential group of psychiatrists and other mental health professionals, some associated with the organization B4U-ACT, who are working very hard to destigmatize and decriminalize pedophilia stating that minors aren't harmed by exposure to early sexual activity, and are only harmed by society's stigmatizing response to it. Considering that legal professionals are generally known to have an inordinate respect for mental health professionals, psychiatry's push to normalize pedophilia can only have the effect of making Judges and attorneys even less willing to hold pedophiles responsible for their behavior.   

Ultimately, I can see why in the face of the immense complications presented by child sexual abuse cases in family court, most judges have the knee jerk reaction to just tell mothers to shut up.  It isn't in any way right, but given the complexity involved in adjudicating these cases, it is understandable. Faced with unclear and conflicting evidence, Judges truly must find it easier to conclude mothers have coached their children rather than take the testimony of a 6 year old seriously. So I would not say that we can simply yell that the courts are corrupt and be done with it.  Sometimes Judges can be truly well intentioned, but simply find themselves in a position where it isn't possible for them to make decisions with the kind of certainty they'd like to have when it comes to the truly vulnerable such as young children. I personally do not envy the position they are in.

I also want to say that I am not on board with women's rights groups or government authorities that urge parents to report immediately if they think their child is a victim of sexual abuse, particularly if you have a custody case going on in family court.  You just do not know what the impact will be on your child if you expose him or her to the legal system.  So any step you take as a parent must be carefully considered. Bottom line is we need to depoliticize the issue so that we can deal with accurate data and best practices rather than propaganda from those who have an axe to grind.