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Children there for the picking
Posted By Barbara Simpson On 07/01/2012 @ 4:33 pm In Commentary | No Comments
The barrage of news reports of adults raping children never ends. What did they do, why, where, when and how did they get away with it for so long before someone blew the whistle?
The most egregious case recently is that of Jerry Sandusky, the ex-Penn State assistant football coach.
He was a man known and liked by many for years, ostensibly happily married, who donated time and effort to needy kids.
Everybody loved him, at least until the picture of innocence came apart at the seams.
Jerry did WHAT? To whom? Where?
Then the whole house of cards collapsed. Witnesses came forward, the university froze in terror from the PR fallout and possible liability, people were fired or resigned and the case was made.
The jury decided – Mr. Innocent became Mr. Guilty of 45 of 48 counts against him. He’s in the Centre County correctional facility near the campus.
His first few nights there probably proved more frightening than what he faces after sentencing. In solitary, in a jail wing for sex offenders and mentally troubled prisoners, Sandusky was serenaded by other prisoners singing Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” – with the telling line, “Hey! Teacher! Leave the kids alone.”
Child abusers do not easily survive in prison – the cons have their own justice, considering molesters the lowest of the low.
After two years behind bars in Massachusetts for child molestation, defrocked priest, John Geoghan, was strangled in his cell by another prisoner.
The Boston Globe reported that when an inmate asked a guard “what happened?” his reply was, “Put it this way. The diddler’s dead.”
Good luck, Jerry.
On June 22, Monsignor William Lynn of Philadelphia was found guilty of one count of child endangerment – covering up child sex abuse by other priests. He faces up to seven years in prison.
On June 21, a former San Jose police officer, 44-year-old Patrick D’Arrigo, was sentenced to eight months of home arrest and three years of probation following conviction for sex with two teenaged boys.
As I write, a trial is underway in San Jose. Will Lynch is accused of beating Rev. Jerold Lindner in 2010 at a priest’s retirement home. Lynch admits the attack.
He says Lindner raped him in 1975 when he was 7 on a camping trip and that Lindner also raped Lynch’s 4-year-old brother. The children never told anyone because of threats against their family.
Lynch’s life spiraled into self-destruction and estrangement from his brother, but then the brother told their parents. Lynch was relieved and wanted justice. He learned of at least 12 other abused children but nothing could be done because the statute of limitations had run out.
He and his brother sued the Jesuits and were awarded $187,000 after legal fees.
Lindner went to the retirement center. He continually denied the accusations, even after San Jose Mercury News reported his own mother said she’d once caught him molesting his own little sister.
Over time, Lynch learned there were cases of sex abuse at the center where the priest lived.
He wanted justice and believed that forcing a trial, with himself as the accused for beating Lindner, would force the priest to be cross examined about the abuse.
This week, Lindner denied any molestations and then took the Fifth – avoiding self-incrimination. He can’t be questioned, other victims of his abuse can’t testify and Judge David A. Cena struck all of his testimony.
The newspaper reported that included Lindner’s statement to a sheriff that he thought his own brother set up the beating because of his belief that Lindner molested his brothers’ sons and daughters.
Lynch refuses a plea bargain and faces four years in prison if found guilty.
In early June, a northern California girl’s softball coach was charged with sex crime felonies and misdemeanors against at least one young girl. The accused is 37-year-old Ryan Frits, father of seven.
On June 19, a Walnut Creek resident and former middle-school teacher was sentenced to nine years in prison. Forty-two-year-old Andrew Bruce Cottrell faced 22 felony counts involving unlawful sex with a minor and having child porn on work and home computers. He pleaded guilty to four counts.
Cottrell was arrested in school in December and fired soon after. The school district attorney said the California Commission on Teaching Credentials was notified.
The victim’s mother said her daughter suffers from depression and school struggles and can’t develop close relationships.
In mid-June, in Alameda County, 26-year-old Candace Conti, was awarded $28 million in compensatory and punitive damages resulting from molestation by a member of the North Fremont Jehovah Witness congregation.
Her attorney, Rick Simons, told the Associated Press, “This is the largest jury verdict for a single victim in a religious child abuse case in the country.”
Conti asserted Jonathan Kendrick repeatedly abused her in 1995 and 1996, when she was 9 and 10 years old.
She also claimed the organization had a national policy to keep abuse accusations secret. In two other instances, Kendrick was convicted of child molestation in 1994 and of lewd acts on a child in 2004.
Kendrick was ordered to pay 60 percent of Conti’s judgment but has no money. The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society is responsible for 40 percent.
Conti said she lost her childhood, but she went public because she wants other sex-abuse victims to come forward.
In neighboring Contra Costa County, in the town of Moraga, Kristen Cunnane went public for the same reason and wanted justice. Abused and stalked by her female middle-school coach for years, Kristen managed to break away but later developed depression and contemplated suicide. She’d never told anyone.
Last year, she contacted the police, and the molester was finally brought to court, confessed and is serving eight years.
Unfortunately, the school district also kept Kristen’s secret – protecting faculty and school board members for 16 years. It continues.
A Contra Costa Times investigation revealed the district knew of allegations against one teacher for two years before his suicide and never pursued abuse reports by at least eight students, including Kristen.
The principal at the time, Bill Walters, was legally required to report the incidents but didn’t. And the district did nothing. Walters stayed on the job. As soon as the newspaper investigation became known weeks ago, he retired.
It appears he and the district are off the legal hook – maybe.
Walters gets his pension and benefits; the union says nothing publicly, and the district says it will investigate itself.
Will Lynch, Candace Conti and Kristen Cunnane are real heroes. More victims need to speak out.
Next, those who covered up the crimes need to face the law.
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