Dear Child Advocate:
Mr. Sandusky is not a Monster as the public and media are labeling him! He is a human being who had/has many good qualities and has become a SICK Opportunist who has been allowed to repeat his behavior because of current laws and Society has once again turned their back on a man who needed treatment fourteen years ago. There are Opportunists and there are Predators who sexually abuse children.
Congress supplied the weapon to allow Mr. Sandusky (and many others) to commit these crimes; “If you tell, bad things will happen and I will have to go to jail.” Congress has the power to change the law so the perpetrator would have to tell their victim: “If you tell I will have to go to the hospital and change my behavior OR go to jail.” A qualified Sex Therapist could have made the determination fourteen years ago if Mr. Sandusky was treatable or if he should be incarcerated to protect others. Many children would have been saved and thousands, perhaps millions of taxpayer dollars would be saved on prosecution and incarceration, and twelve unqualified jurors would not have to make a determination that one Sex Therapist could made fourteen years ago.
A child should be allowed to report to STOP (not immediately incarcerate) the abuser, change the behavior and protect other children from becoming victims. There is much needed change in regard to Sex Offenders; treatment versus punishment is the only way WE can protect children. If Mandatory treatment was required when Victim One told this could have turned out to be such a different outcome. Think of the many children that would not have had to go through the physical abuse, embarrassment, and spend fourteen years “waiting” before they were heard!
I would like to ask for your support, advice, assistance, endorsement, and backing to advocate for treatment, resources, education, and laws that protect victims and their families. From our personal family experience, we found that the law offers no assistance to the “family” and legally divides families caught in the injustice in our legal system. The John Walsh Law is too stiff and needs to be challenged for the benefit of “the family” structure and especially the victims.
I was active in PTSA on the local and council levels in Seattle, Washington for twenty-five (25) years. On the local unit level, I received a Golden Acorn award from Cedarhurst Elementary PTA. On the Highline Council level I received a Golden Acorn Award in 1984, Council President’s Award in 1990, Outstanding Service Award in 1991, and an Honorary National Life Membership in 1994.
I was an active member of Valley Mothers of Multiples Club in Renton, Washington, for thirty (30) years. I have held many offices and chairmanships at the local and Northwest level. I was the 1974 Mother of The Year for Valley MOMC and had the honor and privilege to serve as one of the National Convention Greeters when Valley hosted the National convention, A Little Bit of Heaven, Seattle 77.
I was a member of NAYEC while getting my Early Childhood degree in Seattle, Washington, graduated with honors in 1996, and attended many conferences.
I worked for the Highline School District for twenty-five years. In 1984, I was working in a 5/6 grade Special Education class and following the Family Living discussion regarding appropriate and inappropriate touching, a very troubled female 5th grader came to me and asked, “Mrs. Schaff, what would happen to my Dad, … I mean,…ah, someone who is touching you in the wrong places?” I replied, “He would be put in jail and you would never have to worry about him ever touching you again.” She stood silent for a long time and I asked, “Is there something you would like to share?” She thought awhile longer and said, “No, I was just wondering.”
Because of the law, I let this child down! If I would have been able to say, “The law states that person would have to go to the hospital and change his behavior OR go to jail” there is no doubt in my mind that she would have shared with me. She displayed all the symptoms of an abused child but I sincerely feel she chose to endure the physical/sexual abuse rather than lose her Dad. I failed her and have thought about her for many years. Children want the behavior to change; not the loss and breakup of family.
My last position in the School District was working in the teen parent lab at Satellite High School, teaching parenting skills to teen Moms who were still in school. They brought their babies to school and had to attend an hour class each day working in the Family Living class. I left to take a position at Childhaven in Burien where I worked in the infant room for five years, working with at risk families, who were in the court system. My husband retired from Boeing in 2003 and we moved back to Lemmon, South Dakota, and I worked as a Headstart teacher until my retirement in 2005. I have been a mandated reporter most of my life.
Our personal experience has been very traumatic for our whole family. My son has been found guilty on one count of receiving child porn and is currently serving a ten year jail sentence and will have to register as a SO for life. The computer was confiscated in 2007 and it took a computer expert two attempts with special software and a year and a half, to find child porn that had been deleted in 2005, but the jury considered my son to have received and still be in possession although it had been deleted. The Prosecutor retrieved, copied, and distributed it to 12 jurors and all others in court who were just as guilty of “receiving child porn.”
I didn’t think it could ever happen to “our family!” We were the perfect family of six during their growing up years. With our current laws – tomorrow it could be your family. Do not allow that to happen to your family! Educate yourself on the law and advocate for change BEFORE your family is affected by these unjust laws.
I now belong to the National RSOL, W.A.R. (Women Against The Registry), Caution Click, FAMM, ACLU, Prison Pal Project, and “the other side” deserves the right to live with HOPE and dignity while confronting these issues which have been avoided and shoved into the closet for way too long while more prisons are being built.
I can’t stop thinking about the many other families who are going through the same emotions. I wonder, just how many other children are out there remaining silent for fear of losing their families? There is no attempt to keep the family intact and the laws regarding these children needs to be changed for the protection of all children.
I know I cannot change this law by myself but children and families have been my whole life and I refuse to quit when there is such a need to protect other children and families.
Please help us begin to end child molestation, provide positive resources, abolish the “family” registry, and educate the taxpayers who are paying for all these laws that may give a false feeling of safety but are still failing to protect children.
Children are crying and we must hear those cries!
Dakota RSOL State Affiliate Organizer