Magazine article USA TODAY

Child Sexual Abuse's Second Shame

Magazine article USA TODAY

Child Sexual Abuse's Second Shame

Article excerpt

THE RECENT scandals at Penn State and Syracuse universities, Brooklyn's Poly Prep Country Day School, Fenway Park, and now the Amateur Athletic Union, along with the intimations of possible cover-ups of child sexual abuse, have citizens shocked and outraged. However, these recent allegations only are the latest variations on a theme of abuse by churches and respected organizations like the Boy Scouts.

Pedophilia seems to exist in a distant parallel universe that is antithetical to the universe of Little League, Disneyland, and the other hallmarks of wholesome, youthful Americana, but the current allegations of pedophilia and the possibility of its cover-up just may be waking up Americans to the reality that this universe may not be as distant as they once thought.

I have shared the outrage at the reports of sexual abuse but, unlike most people, I have not been shocked, because of my research over the last decade. Prior to 2002, I had written extensively on children's issues, and then I stumbled across a 1987 U.S. Customs report on a "child abuse investigation" that that the agency was conducting, and it described child abuse of the most horrific nature.

Two men connected to the investigation had been arrested and charged with multiple counts of child abuse, and six children, whose ages ranged from two to six years old, had been placed in Florida's child protective services. The investigation ultimately was quashed by Federal authorities (who should not have had jurisdiction in this situation), and the two men were released from jail and the charges dropped. I was stunned by the report, and it triggered my prolonged odyssey into the depths of child trafficking in America.

Although witch-hunt hysteria is to be avoided when these accusations come to fight, it is important to consider that the cover-up of child abuse may be fife in our society. Sexual-abuse victims often are very reluctant to come forward because they frequently me branded as liars, opportunists, and gold diggers. Such denunciations already have been leveled against the alleged victims of Penn State's Jerry Sandusky and Syracuse University's Bernie Fine.

Many specialists in the field of child sexual abuse have concluded that it is rare for individuals to fabricate accusations of these crimes. In 2002, The New York Tunes interviewed Patrick Schiltz, former associate dean of the University of St. Thomas law school in Minnesota and now a Federal judge, who had defended Catholic dioceses against sexual-abuse lawsuits in more than 500 cases. Judge Schiltz expressed the belief that "fewer than 10" of those cases were based on false accusations.

Likewise, I have spoken with scores of men and women who claim to have been sexually abused. I also have concluded that the overwhelming majority are telling the truth and, of all the victims I have interviewed, I am not aware of a single abuser who has been indicted for his or her alleged abuse.

After determining the authenticity of that Customs report, I started to investigate a second pedophile network that reportedly had been sheltered by entities within Federal law enforcement. It was then that I truly entered a parallel universe that encompasses the refined destruction of children along with its cover-up by the very state and Federal authorities who have pledged to protect them from the depravity of evil men--a universe where lies masquerade as truth, shadows reflect light, and innocence is condemned.

I spent the next seven years researching and writing a book documenting a nationwide pedophile ring that pandered children to a cabal of men with power and prestige. The ring's pimps were a pair of political powerbrokers who used a distinguished orphanage as a pedophilic reservoir. With access to thousands of documents that were sealed by two grand juries, as well as the sealed testimony of one, I demonstrated that state and Federal grand jury processes in Nebraska played an integral role in the cover-up. …

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