Ignorance Of Chemicals Is No Excuse

.jpg photo of Intermediate School in Prairie du Chien, WI
Bluff View Intermediate School in Prairie du Chien, WI

PDC community divided as principal charged with Child Abuse makes first court appearance

Prairie du Chien, WI  –  On Wednesday, Aaron Amundson, a Prairie du Chien principal for Bluff View Intermediate School charged with physical abuse of a child, appeared in court for the first time.

According to a criminal complaint, Amundson used chemical cleaners to scrub off two letters on a student’s hand.  According to the victim’s mom, her son’s hand was chemically burned from Amundson’s actions.

Before Wednesday’s hearing, Amundson’s defense filed a motion to dismiss the charge, but the prosecution was not ready to argue that motion.

However, the prosecution did ask the judge for a $1,000 bond and a strict no contact order between Amundson and the victim.

In response, the defense asked for the no contact order to have exceptions for Amundson to accidentally run into the student at Bluff View.  The defense argued a strict no contact order would prevent Amundson from going back to work at the school as long as the victim attends the same school.

The judge granted the no contact order with exceptions for incidental contact at the school.

Critics of Amundson say this case highlights the deeper divide in the Prairie du Chien community.

“Since the recession, our community got divided.  It’s either you have money or you don’t,” Darlene Natwick, a mother with a son in the PDC School District, said.

She said Amundson’s supporters, “want to protect him.”

An Amundson supporter said Amundson did not intentionally chemically burn a student.

“It’s a tragedy what occurred.  It was a mistake,” Kurt Kravchuk, who had a child in the PDC School District, said. “Aaron freely admits he made a mistake and didn’t look at the directions.  He was just trying to help out a child that came to him in need.”

Amundson has been on paid, non-disciplinary leave, but some women say they’ve seen him at the school.

District Administrator Bob Smudde said that’s because he has allowed Amundson back.

“He’s been going to administrative meetings at the bookends of the day, no student contact,” Smudde said.  “Since he is on paid leave we are trying to get him to be as involved in the administrative process with meetings with adults as possible, but he is doing nothing with students at this time.”

Smudde said the District Attorney did ask him to not allow Amundson back on campus, and Smudde said Amundson has not been back since.  He added that there has not yet been a decision made as to if Amundson will be allowed on school grounds after the judge created a no contact order with exceptions allowing for Amundson to be on school grounds.

Smudde said that no decision has been made in regards to Amundson’s employment because of the ongoing court proceedings.

In the meantime, Amundson’s supporters and critics both hope for different outcomes.

“I really think it’s time for a new principal.  I would like to see a new principal,” Natwick said.

Kravchuk said, “I just hope justice is carried out in a proper manner.”

A motion hearing and preliminary hearing are set for May 31 at 2:30 at the Crawford County Courthouse.

OK Getting Serious About Child Abuse

.jpg photo of Oklahoma Capitol Building
Oklahoma Capitol

Oklahoma Senate approves bill which would
require ‘immediate’ reporting of Child Abuse

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK  –  The Oklahoma Senate on Thursday approved a bill Thursday which would modify the requirements for reporting child abuse.

House Bill 2259 which would require individuals, especially educators, to report suspected child abuse or neglect of those 17 years old and younger “immediately” to the DHS Child Abuse Hotline and those 18 years or older to law enforcement.

The bill modifies the current law, which says suspected abuse must be reported “promptly.”

“Current law advises people to report suspected abuse and neglect ‘promptly’ but this term is obviously getting misinterpreted as many cases aren’t being reported for several days or weeks after it’s discovered,” said Ron Sharp, R-Shawnee.  “As a former educator, I’m glad that the bill specifically requires teachers to report suspected abuse and neglect as these are the people who spend the most time with these kids and can recognize changes in behavior or see evidence of abuse.  For most kids, schools are safe zones and they trust their teachers and often open up about violence in their home.  Hopefully, this change will help protect more of Oklahomans children and get them away from bad situations.”

HB 2259 now goes to Gov. Mary Fallin.

Time To Do The Time

.jpg photo of Washington HHS employee accused of Child Sexual Abuse
Rodolfo DeLeon makes a first appearance in Yakima County Superior Court Friday, May 4, 2018.

Report:  State employee who investigates
Child Abuse tells police he has sexually abused several kids

YAKIMA, WA  –  A state Child and Family Services employee whose job involved investigating child abuse and neglect walked into a Yakima police station and said that he had sexually abused five kids during the past eight years, the Yakima Herald reported Friday.

The 50-year-old state employee told police he knew the alleged victims, but that they were not children that he came into contact with as part of his job, the newspaper reported.

Child and Family Services is a division of the state Department of Social and Health Service (DSHS).

According to court documents, the man came into the police station Thursday and said he had sexually abused five children over a period of years, from 2010 to as recently as April 2018.

Police said the victims were believed to be under the age of 12 when the alleged sexual abuse first occurred, the newspaper said.

The man had his first appearance in court on Friday.  The investigation is continuing.

Q13 News typically does not name a suspect until he or she has been formally charged.

Who Is Lobbying Against NY Extending The SOL

.jpg photo of court room graphic for opening the statute of limitations for child sex abuse
The New York State Legislature is considering extending the statute of limitations on child sex crimes.

NYS Exposed: Who’s opposed to giving
Child Sex Abuse victims more time to
file lawsuits?

Rochester, NY  –  Should victims of child sex abuse be able to sue their abusers decades later?

The New York State Legislature is considering extending the statute of limitations on child sex crimes but there are some big organizations spending thousands of dollars to fight it.

Currently, someone who is sexually abused as a child has until the age of 23 to press criminal charges against his or her abuser.  Under the proposed legislation, a victim would have until his 28th birthday to file criminal charges and his 50th birthday to file civil charges.

At the age of 13, a family member shattered Melanie Blow’s trust, “one day he pulled me aside, he sexually assaulted me and I mean… inside my world changed, outside, I didn’t dare tell anybody,” she recalled.  The abuse continued and so did her silence until a decade later when she realized her abuser had done the same thing to other children.

“It never occurred to me that he was going to do this to someone else,” she said.

Since then, she’s been pushing for changes that would allow victims more time to come to terms with their abuse and seek justice.

“When children are victimized sexually in their early years, they very often don’t have the ability to intellectually or developmentally understand what’s happened to them,” said Deb Rosen, the Executive Director of the Bivona Child Advocacy Center.

That’s why many states have done away with statutes of limitations or have significantly extended them.

“New York State is truly out-of-step with the rest of the country in this area,” Rosen added.

It seems there is widespread support in Albany when it comes to giving victims more time to press criminal charges and file civil suits but the legislation also includes a one-year “look-back” for civil cases and that is the sticking point. During that window, anyone, abused at any time could sue.

“You go generations, somebody could stake a claim from something that happened 30, 40, 50 years ago and there’s no one to defend against those particular allegations,” said New York State Senator Patrick Gallivan of Elma.

Who seems most concerned about that?  Not the alleged abusers but their possible former places of employment.  News10NBC pulled lobbying records that show some of the very groups who are supposed to protect children, have spent money urging lawmakers not to pass this legislation.  The list includes public and private schools and teachers, the Boy Scouts of America, the Catholic Church and insurance companies.

“At this point, I feel that it only right to explain one very important point, and give you, Our Readers, the stats.  When a Child says they have been molested, you had better listen, because it is unsubstantiated less than 2% of the time. However, when The Clergy has been named, it is unsubstantiated over 60% of the time, although these men’s testimony is ruined forever.  Just so everyone knows, Law Enforcement does all of this type investigations.”
Robert StrongBow

In fact, following a meeting with Governor Andrew Cuomo about the Child Victims Act in March, the Archbishop of New York, Cardinal Timothy Dolan is quoted as saying “a look-back would be toxic for us….  We find it to be very strangling because we, unfortunately, have a precedent when that happens, the only organization that is targeted is the Catholic church.”

There’s also some concern from lawmakers that a look-back could flood the court system with thousands of civil cases.  The State of California recently passed legislation that included a look-back window; so far, about 1,200 claims have been filed.

When asked if he thought the legislation would pass if the look-back window wasn’t included, Senator Gallivan told News10NBC, “the best way that I can say is this is now being talked about more than I’ve ever heard it talked about in the past and I think the momentum is there for something to get done.”

Melanie said, the least state lawmakers can do is let victims have their day in court.

“It’s really hard to take a case forward when it’s happening right now.  It’s much harder to take it forward when it happened decades ago but it can happen and all victims are asking for is the right to try,” she told News10NBC.

NXIVM Leader And Actress In Custody

.jpg photo of actress arrested for recruiting women as sex slavess
Allison Mack accused of recruiting women for sex-cult leader

‘Smallville’ actress Allison Mack accused of
recruiting women for sex-cult leader

Actress Allison Mack, best known for her decade on TV’s “Smallville,” and Keith Raniere, the leader of what authorities allege is a sex cult, were indicted Friday in New York on federal charges of sex trafficking and conspiracy to commit forced labor, the Albany Times-Union reported.

Raniere and Mack are each charged with multiple counts, and could face a minimum of 15 years in prison.  Mack was arrested in New York City on Friday and will be held pending a bail hearing Monday.  Raniere has been in custody since he was arrested in Mexico in March.

Raniere is the founder of NXIVM, which bills itself as a self-help and empowerment organization, but is described by authorities as a cultlike group whose members recruited women to be sex slaves, and branded their pubic regions with Raniere’s initials.

The Rochester Democrat & Chronicle said Mack was indicted “for her role in DOS, a group … that purported to be a women’s empowerment sorority. Prosecutors, however, say DOS was actually a sex-slave ring led by Raniere, with women known as ‘slaves’ who reported to ‘masters’ who ultimately reported to Raniere himself.  Mack is an alleged co-conspirator, reporting directly to Raniere.”

Mack, 35, is alleged by prosecutors to have recruited slaves for pay, forcing the women to have sex with Raniere, and using explicit photos and damaging information to ensure their compliance.

According to the Associated Press, prosecutors said Mack told recruits that they were joining a female mentorship group.

“Mack and other … masters recruited … slaves by telling them that they were joining a women-only organization that would empower them and eradicate purported weaknesses the NVIVM curriculum taught were common in women,” prosecutors said.

But “the victims were then exploited, both sexually and for their labor to the defendants’ benefit,” said U.S. Attorney Richard P. Donoghue of the Eastern District of New York in Brooklyn.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Moira Kim Penza also said in court that “under the guise of female empowerment,” Mack “starved women until they fit her co-defendant’s sexual ideal,” the AP wrote.

Mack starred in the CW Network series about Clark Kent’s youth in Smallville, Kan. before he became Superman, playing Clark Kent’s friend Chloe Sullivan from 2001 to 2011.  She has also been in a handful of television series roles since, according to her IMDB page.

According to CBS News:

Former NXIVM publicist Frank Parlato told Inside Edition that Mack is “completely enamored with Raniere and completely under his thrall.”  He also said that Mack and her “Smallville” co-star, Kristin Kreuk, were used as “poster girls for normalizing the group.”  Kreuk says she left NXIVM years ago and commended the women who exposed DOS.

Raniere, 57, known to his followers as ‘the Vanguard’ — was living in a villa in Puerto Vallarta with several women, according to federal prosecutors, before he was apprehended in March.  Mexican authorities took him into custody and delivered him to Texas; he’s now in federal custody in Brooklyn.  As Raniere was taken from the villa,  The Post’s Kyle Swenson wrote, citing prosecutors, the women chased after authorities in their own car at high-speed.

“In my opinion, NXIVM is one of the most extreme groups I have ever dealt with in the sense of how tightly wound it is around the leader,” cult expert Rick Ross told the Times-Union in 2012.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Brooklyn last week wrote in court documents that Rainere has “a decades-long history of abusing women and girls,” and accused him of having sex with minors.

In a statement attributed to Raniere on NXIVM’s website, he proclaimed his innocence and said he believed the justice system would prevail.  He also denied affiliation with DOS, the sorority.

The Times-Union, however, wrote that “federal court records indicate emails seized from Raniere’s private messaging accounts support the conclusion that Raniere created the club, which was known as ‘Dominus Obsequious Sororium,’ which means ‘Master Over the Slave Women.’ ”