Missouri – The organization, Bikers Against Child Abuse is calling the decision to release admitted child rapist Aaron Fisher, a failure of the justice system.
The nationwide organization escorts abused children to court to face their victims, and they even pay for therapy if needed.
ABC 17 News talked to two local members from the Jefferson City area who say Judge Pat Joyce failed the victims, “absolute disbelief that there could be such a failure of this child”, Ratchet said.
For their security, the two men we interviewed go by the names Ratchet and Stache.
“Basically we are a bunch of volunteers who are tired of seeing kids go through this. We take calls from prosecuting attorneys, victim advocates, even the parent of an abused child can contact our organization, and if that child has to go through court or needs therapy, then we get involved in that child’s life”, Ratchet told ABC 17 News.
This past weekend their organization was devastated to hear the news that a child rapist walking the same streets as his victims, “After someone admits to something this heinous, and they have the testimony that he admitted to it, and then slowly but surely, the process gets skewed. Somebody starts asking for delays and continuances, we see this all the time with defense attorneys, it’s classic. They do it for a multitude of reasons. They hope the child forgets what the guy looks like, or they forget some details of the case. This one just drug on way to long. And like I’ve said, now there is a six-year-old child out there that has to live with these memories, and now not only is the child out there but so is his abuser, or her abuser”, Ratchet said.
DAVENPORT, Iowa – Local bikers gathered Saturday to help put a stop to child abuse.
It was all part of the Bikers Against Child Abuse’s Iowa Fall Ride. Bikers gathered at Wiebler’s Harley Davidson in Davenport and rode 140 miles, ending their ride in Bettendorf.
Bikers Against Child Abuse works directly with children to prevent physical, sexual, and emotional abuse by giving kids a positive role model to confide in; a cause that the bikers in Saturday’s ride say is easy to get behind.
“I don’t think any child should live in fear. I have grandkids and I would never want them to live in fear, so it’s just, it’s a good cause,” said Larry “Bear” Armstrong, who rode in the Iowa Fall Ride.
“Empowerment today meant them being able to walk and laugh and talk and smile on their way to school this morning,”
That’s the mission behind Bikers Against Child Abuse, or BACA, and the reason the Kanawha Valley chapter of roughly 10 motorcyclist is walking child abuse victims to school this week.
“To see them smile, to see them hold their head up, their chin up and look you in the eye because maybe they couldn’t do that before with others because they were afraid – it’s a blessing for us,” said BACA patch member “Bootsie.”
BACA members said thousands of children in West Virginia are abused physically and/or sexually. Some of those children are too scared to walk to class in fear the perpetrators will find and hurt them again, BACA members said.
Friday marked the second day the Kanawha Valley chapter walked two child abuse victims to Cabell County schools. 13 News is not releasing the names of those children or schools in order to protect their identities.
BACA also escorts children to court in child abuse cases. “Pipe,” president of the BACA Kanawha Valley chapter, said they will also go to parks with children or sleep on their front porches if they’re too scared to sleep at night – anything that helps the children feel safe.
“Empowerment today meant them being able to walk and laugh and talk and smile on their way to school this morning,” Bootsie said. “They’re the hero – they’re the strong one. We’re just the supporter.”
Each motorcyclist must go through a background check before becoming a part of BACA. Anyone who’d like to join the organization can find out more information at their monthly meetings, held on the second Sunday of each month at 2 p.m. at the Eleanor Fire Department.
BACA can be reached on their hotline at 304-760-9373 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.orgC
They’re not a gang, but they do wear black leather jackets and ride motorcycles in large groups.
“When they look at us [and] see all these big burly guys, they know that we’re there for them. That’s a lot of empowerment to them,” said William Hebert, whose road name is Wheels.
He is referring to the children that he and his biker friends watch over. Wheels is the president of the Calgary chapter of Bikers Against Child Abuse (BACA).
The not-for-profit organization is new to Calgary but has been around for more than 20 years in Canada and the U.S., as well as chapters across Europe and Australia.
Police, social services and therapists connect motorcycle enthusiasts with kids who have experienced abuse.
The tough-guy guardian angels provide friendship, moral and physical support for the children, whether that be parking their bikes outside their home or escorting them to and from the courthouse to testify.
“At a glance out of their eye they know that they’ve got all their friends standing, waiting for them, cheering them on,” said BACA Calgary member Brian (Woody) Woodhouse.
“Just giving them the strength that they need within themselves to be able to carry on and work the steps through the justice system in order to begin the healing process,” adds Woodhouse.
Woodhouse joined BACA after his six-year-old stepdaughter, Meika Jordan, was killed.
The girl’s biological father Spencer Jordan and his girlfriend Marie Magoon have been charged with first-degree murder.
The trial for the couple starts March 23 in Calgary. That day BACA members from across Alberta and Saskatchewan are planning a rally in the city.
BACA Calgary is still training and educating new members and doing criminal record checks. The chapter expects to be fully up and running by the fall of 2015
When you’re feeling scared and intimidated, it helps to have someone in your corner, especially if you’re a child and that ‘someone’ is a tough-looking biker.
Bikers Against Child Abuse is helping children who have been abused to feel safe and protected by standing on guard for them. While, big, burly bikers aren’t the first group you’d think of as a safety net, for children in their care, they are the perfect group to empower the victims.
“We want the child to feel safe and know that they are part of our family,” said Safety, a member of the local chapter, who goes by his road name to protect his identity.
BACA started in 1995 by a clinical child therapist in Utah and has grown to provide services in eight countries around the world. Locally, 14 members of the Brandon chapter include individuals from Dauphin, Brandon, Virden, Miniota, Souris and Shilo who have spent the past year and a half in training to provide the service. Both Brandon and Winnipeg are in the process of setting up BACA chapters. As a temporary chapter, the local group will continue training to reach a full chapter status in the future.
“Once a perpetrator has been charged, the guardian of the child will contact our hotline and a meeting will be set up with our child liaison,” explained Safety. “We find out the needs of the child and two members are assigned as primary contacts for that child.”
Each child is given a road name and a vest complete with the BACA patch depicting a closed fist with a skull and crossbones surrounded by chains. The logo holds a lot of significance for the group. The colour red is for the blood shed by wounded children, white represents their innocence and black refers to the dark times they go through. The fist represents BACA’s commitment to stop child abuse and the skull and crossbones is the symbol of the death of that abuse. The chains meanwhile, represent the united organization.
When the child is welcomed into the BACA family they are also given a teddy bear that has been hugged by each member, filling it with love and courage that is passed to the child.
“We let them know that we are there for them no matter what and that they are part of our family,” said Safety.
The bottom line for the group is to make the children feel safe.
“If there is a child who isn’t sleeping we will station members outside their home 24/7 until they feel safe,” he said. “We will take them to and from school and we’ll go to court with them so they feel empowered.”
Each member has been given extensive background checks and training to handle any type of situation that may arise.
“We are there for the child and don’t care about the perpetrator,” he said, explaining that the group will avoid confrontations with the perpetrators and would never do anything to jeopardize the court case for the child.
While each member of the group has joined for their own personal reasons, Safety said past experiences often encourage people to step up. Safety and his wife have eight children and several grandchildren of their own and BACA gives them the opportunity to give back.
“Kids should have fun, not be put through hell,” he said. “There are children who are sleeping with their clothes on and who don’t feel safe and that’s not right. This is our way to help.”
While the tough exterior of long beards and tattoos can be intimidating, the focus of the group is the safety and well-being of the children.
“People wonder about us but we are not vigilantes,” said Safety. “We have gone through extensive training and we promise to do anything in our power to keep the children safe.”
For more information on BACA visit the group’s website at www.bacaworld.org or call the local hotline at 204-724-8351. An information meeting is scheduled for Feb. 21 at 2 p.m. at Future Features, located at 436 Seventh Avenue in Virden.