U of G Law Alumnus Funds New CSA Legal Clinic

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Atlanta Attorney Marlan Wilbanks. Photo by John Disney/Daily Report.

The University of Georgia School of Law is launching the first legal clinic in the nation to assist victims of child sexual abuse, thanks to a gift from an alumnus, Atlanta plaintiffs lawyer Marlan Wilbanks.

Wilbanks declined to say how much he is donating, but he said it’s a “substantial gift” that will be ongoing.  He also plans to be personally involved in the clinic.  “This is going to be a lifelong commitment for me,” he said.

The clinic, called the Wilbanks Center for Child Sexual Assault and Exploitation Survivors, will both assist adult survivors of child sexual abuse in filing civil suits and help children to gain protection from their abusers, he said.

Wilbanks is a longtime advocate for preventing child sexual abuse and helping survivors because his mother is a survivor of sexual abuse by her father.  He said she was able to disclose her abuse only when she was well into adulthood, in her late 40s, which is common for many survivors.

“She has gone from being a victim to being an unbelievable advocate,” Wilbanks said.  “She is my hero, and I want to continue her legacy.”

His mother, Marilyn Motz, helped to start the Habersham County chapter of Prevent Child Abuse and Wilbanks is on the board of an Atlanta advocacy group, VOICE Today.

Both pushed for new Georgia legislation that went into effect July 1 extending the statute of limitations for survivors of child sexual abuse to file civil suits—an impetus for the new clinic, which will open in the spring semester.

Wilbanks said the clinic will also help children gain injunctive relief—for instance, by helping victims secure protective orders to get abusers out of their home.

“This is not just helping people bring lawsuits for dollars,” Wilbanks said.  “I want to create a system that creates safety for people—and make sure predators get prosecuted.”

The dean of UGA’s law school, Peter “Bo” Rutledge, said the new law, HB 17, known as the Hidden Predators Act, makes it particularly appropriate for a public law school to step in.  “The General Assembly wants to open the courthouse doors to these type of claims,” he said.

The new legislation allows victims to file civil claims at a much older age.  Before, they only had until they turned 23.  “The average median age of victims for when they are psychologically able to deal with what happened to them, like my mother, is over 40 years old,” Wilbanks said.

HB 17 initially eliminates the statute of limitations until July 1, 2017, creating an open window in which victims may file claims. After that it allows two years from when “the plaintiff knew or had reason to know of such abuse and that such abuse resulted in injury to the plaintiff as established by competent medical or psychological evidence.”

Wilbanks’ initial gift, Rutledge said, will help fund a clinic director’s salary and fellowships, which could be summer jobs for law students or term-time jobs for law graduates.

The law school is conducting a search for a clinic director. Rutledge said the initial goal is to have six to eight students working in the clinic per term.

The clinic will add to the law school’s experiential learning offerings, he said, giving students the chance to serve as advocates for Georgians without adequate legal resources.

Wilbanks said it’s insufficient to rely on police, government prosecutors and the state child protective agency to protect children from sexual abuse.  “Calling the cops does not immediately get the father or other family member out of the house.  You do not get the injunctive relief,” he said, and intervention from the Division of Family and Child Services may not be effective.

“Nobody is advocating for the child,” Wilbanks said, adding that abuse victims often have very little money to hire lawyers.  “Private attorneys need to get involved.”

Besides offering legal services, the clinic could serve as a liaison with the private bar, he said.

A child being abused in the home is often afraid to say anything, Wilbanks added.  For this reason he envisions the UGA legal clinic partnering with medical providers and social services groups that assist sexual abuse victims.

“We want to connect the victims to their legal rights and identify their sexual predators,” he said.  “They are falling through the safety net.”

The other impetus for Wilbanks’ gift was a big win in a whistleblower case.  Wilbanks and other lawyers brought a Medicare fraud case against a dialysis chain, Da Vita Healthcare Partners, which resulted in a $495 million settlement earlier this year, including $45 million for legal fees and costs.

Another plaintiffs lawyer on the DaVita case, UGA Law graduate Stacey Godfrey Evans, also used some of her fee to make a big gift to the law school. Evans donated $500,000 in July to fund a scholarship for law students who, like herself, are first-generation college graduates.

Sex Offenders From A Psychological Viewpoint

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Psychologists would have you believe these people molests only 1 Child.

Grand Forks, ND  –  Many cringe at the though of people finding pleasure in child pornography and sexually abusing children.

But there are people who not only work to help sex offenders but like doing it.

Many people question why Dr. Stacey Benson enjoys her job.
Benson said, “My original plan was to work with children and I think that I’m still doing that indirect way by working with offenders.  I’m not putting out the fire. I’m taking away the match.”

Benson has been helping keep kids safe for about 20 years by treating sex offenders.  In that time she’s learned many misconceptions.  She tells us that people re-offend at a lower rate than many think.  Research shows that about 12 percent of sex offenders end up committing another sexual crime.  She also says that a stable life and relationships can help reduce the chance of them re-offending and that being labeled a ‘sex offender’ does not define her patients.  Something that she feels is an issue with the label itself.

Benson said, “It’s a present tense term. It implies that this is who I am now.  And individual can have 15 years since they’ve committed a sexual offense, but we still use the present tense when we refer to them as a sex offender.”

Experts say sex offenders come from all different backgrounds and there is no way to tell if someone will commit a sexual offense.
Benson said, “A lot of the research is suggesting that for individuals who have a primary sexual interest in children, that is real similar to a sexual orientation.”

So instead of changing the person, psychologists like Dr. Benson help them learn how to live without acting on their sexual urges.

Benson said, “For individuals who have a particular interest in children, treatment doesn’t necessarily change that, but it teaches them tools.”

Things like how to identify dangerous situations, recognize risky emotions, and intervention techniques.  And when people follow-up after a year or two of treatment, the part the makes the job worth it is when…

Benson said, “They get it and can look back, stop blaming other people or their childhood or using excuses of drinking and they own it and are able to acknowledge that they made those choices and they never want to make those choices again, and that’s incredibly rewarding.”

Not all sex related crimes are reported.

Experts say if you’re a victim you should never blame yourself or feel ashamed and should contact authorities immediately.

I Am My Brother’s Keeper

Good afternoon, I wanted to prepare you for my next post, which I would not have taken seriously a year ago, but as things stand now Our Circle must be vigilant.

I want to urge everyone of you to please focus on every post and article that deals with Child Maltreatment in any form from this point on.  The media will sugar-coat out-and-out LIES, and unless you are totally focused on what is being conveyed, they will cloak the real dirt to the point that a major percentage of the readers will miss what is most important.

“Normal” human beings do not cross certain lines, and I am talking about people who have committed crimes also.  There are only a select few that are truly “DARK”, and I mean individuals that like to inflict pain and suffering.

Do NOT be mislead, people who are sympathetic to Child Predators, and especially Child Predators themselves would have you believe that it was a one time thing if they are caught.

A sex offender will molest an average of 120 victims.

Psychologists would have you believe that they, through their work, have been helping keep kids safe for years by treating sex offenders.

To this I would have to ask if they just treated “these poor SUB-HUMANS” that just finished with their 120th CHILD VICTIM.

There are 3,000,000 reports of Child Maltreatment every year, yet far less than 25% of the incidents are ever reported.  This translates to over 12,000,000 incidents of Child Maltreatment per year.

This year alone, 10,000,000 Children, ages 13 and up, will contract at least one or more STI or STD.  This number is not included in those 3,000,000 reports.

I have yet to locate a compiled list for the number of Children, ages Birth to 12, that will contract an STI or STD.

This year alone there will be at least 2,000,000 runaways.  At least 1 in 6 runaways will fall into Child Sex Traffickers hands.  This translates into 333,340 Children that will fall into Child Sex Traffickers hands, AND BE RAPED.

The average victims age is 11 to 14, and the average life span of a victim is 3 to 7 years.

Incidentally, the 333,340 Children are not included in the initial 3,000,000 reports of Child Maltreatment.

So I want you to think about how many of these Children are being protected by a Psychologist, and I believe you are like me in one respect, and that is I DO NOT WANT ANY CHILD PREDATORS OR SEX OFFENDERS NEAR A CHILD.