Author Archives: Randy
I belong to a group in Southern Oregon called CAN, Child Abuse Network. We meet monthly to discuss child abuse, the work each of us are doing and what we can do together to help end this horrific epidemic.
An outcome of one of our meetings was to take a public stand on community responsibility to monitor offenders and support victims. We wrote an op-ed based on local cases and what we saw as past failures and how we can change our own attitudes and behaviors to create more equitable results that will help us heal the wounds caused by child abuse.
The other 1-3 percent (not the rich ones)
If someone lies to you 97 times out of a 100, will you continue to believe them? In the children’s tale “The Boy Who Cried Wolf,” no one believed the boy after he lied just two times.
Fact: Ninety-seven to 99 times out of 100, children tell the truth about being sexually abused.
There are many examples of high-profile people who are defended even in the face of conviction and prison or probation. Witness Jerry Sandusky.
This summer in Woodburn, The Rev. Angel Perez was seen running down the street at 1 am in his underwear chasing a 12-year-old boy. According to police, Father Perez had the parents’ permission for the boy to spend the night with him. The report also states that the priest gave alcohol to the boy. The boy woke up to the priest holding on to the boy’s genitals taking pictures with his phone. The report concludes with fact that the priest went to the boy’s home in the wee hours to say that he made a mistake and asked for forgiveness.
The following week at Father Perez’s arraignment, more than 40 parishioners showed up in support. They wore yellow-and-white ribbons that read, “Estamos Contigo (We support you) P. Angel A. Perez.” The judge pointed out that no one showed up in support of the victim.
Now eight months into Dan Goyette’s probation for a sex crime against a minor, the front page headline in the Talent News and Review says “Downtowne Coffee House Expansion Nears Completion”, complete with a half-page picture of owners Sarah and Dan Goyette.
Why is this important? Because former Talent Councilman Dan Goyette was arrested at the Medford airport in September 2011 for attempting to use a child in a display of sexually explicit conduct. Goyette was returning to the area after he was tipped off that he was being investigated. Again, community members came rushing to his defense.
Dan Goyette entered an Alford plea. In this plea, the defendant doesn’t admit to the crime, but admits that the prosecution could prove the charge. His sentence is three years of supervised probation, undergoing sex offender evaluation and treatment if ordered by a probation officer, and serving 120 hours of community service for attempting to take nude photographs of a 17-year-old girl. The judge repeated what the victim said, “I think creepy about sums it up.” Following sentencing, Goyette thanked his wife, thanked his attorney and turned to his victim and said, “I’m sorry. I want you to know I am not mad at you.”
In the recent article, there’s no mention of his past, just Goyette talking about the city of Talent’s “strong sense of community.”
Why do we still stand beside the offenders and leave the victims to fend for themselves? The answer is complicated. If the offender is a well-thought-of citizen (preacher, teacher, coach, Scout leader), it does not fit what we think we know to be true, so we dismiss it. And in dismissing the information, we dismiss the victim. It is easier to believe what fits into our perceptions than to believe a new set of facts, just as most people once believed the earth to be flat.
The community does not lose if we believe the victim. What we lose is the false perception that good people cannot do terrible things. We lose the grace and talent of the victim who, often, enters a life of pain and hiding.
So here is a new reality check: We must find a way to accept that people who do offend are more than the crime. The result becomes one where both the perpetrator and the victim can be held within the community.
Offenders should always be held accountable for their behavior while still being part of the community with safe parameters. The victim can be supported and held in love for the maximum opportunity for a return to health. If we can accomplish this, healing becomes possible for everyone, including the community itself.
Child victims of sexual abuse rarely lie about what happened to them — the other 1 percent. Most perpetrators are not demons and have at least the appearance of normalcy and, yes, even goodness in their lives. Our job is to find a way to incorporate both into our reality and shift our understanding. The earth is not flat and the continents actually shift over time and so must we.
I am reposting this article I first published over a year ago. It was written by someone I know only as Benny who posted this on a site called Rape is Never Justified. It has brought more comments from people in similar circumstances who just have no guide in navigating the complexities of having feelings for someone who could rape you. As a result this will be the subject of my next post. May all of you who are struggling with this issue find some small solace in that fact that you are far from alone! rse
Maintaining a Relationship With One’s Rapist
by Benny – RNJ Peer Advocate on Monday, September 19, 2011 at 6:17pm
In my last blog, I shared my story with you all and so this week I feel more confident in talking about maintaining a relationship with one’s rapist. In my case, my rapist was my boyfriend and so I continued my relationship with him, for quite some time actually. As odd as this may seem to certain people, it does happen pretty frequently. There are plenty of cases (85% of rapes) where the perpetrator is a boyfriend, or a date, or any version of an acquaintance and so there is some relationship established already. So after such an awful, traumatic experience, why would anyone choose to continue the relationship with the perpetrator? Many reasons actually.
Here is a one minute window into the Oregon Abuse Advocates and Survivors in Service which I am very proud to be part of. They can be found online at http://oaasisoregon.org/ and on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/oaasisoregon.
Find a place to plug into the fight against child sex abuse and help us end this epidemic.
This photo draws me in
Immediately I see the crocodile
As my predator
The frog is me, you see
Then my mind travels with imagery
The power differential is obvious
Big fierce carnivore
His powers draw you in.
All his talents
Befitting a true predator
Keep you there
The lens of betrayal
I can dull the pain
Make it seem
Like it’s not so bad
Somewhere I know
It ain’t right
I keep the secret
That’s not a croc I’m holding onto
Cling to the source
Of pain and betrayal
I risk to trust
In the power
Of my leap
by Randy Ellison
Listen to Randy read some passages and poems from his book.
I cannot count the number of times I have written about self-care. It is the one place we must all go at some point if we are to fully recover from child sexual abuse and heal from a multitude of other missing pieces as well. Most of us face the abuse and our pain and then move into a zone we like to call thriver and even warrior to help others. We are determined to do what we can to help others heal and deal with their problems. The pain of others is as obvious to us as is the weather outside.
We are extremely passionate about rescuing other victims as we can feel their pain, because we have experienced it ourselves. Or in some cases we don’t even admit the pain inside us and only tell ourselves we help because the need is so great. This selfless act comes from the heart and often feels like a mission or calling. Without this commitment we would never make the progress as a society that we do. We pour out compassion and empathy by the bucket load. Others admire us or ask how we can do this day in and day out. We tell them we do it because we are driven to make a difference and we can’t stand seeing all the pain in the world.
What we don’t recognize is that often our “motivation to help others may be an extension of a deep desire to heal a wounded part of ourselves.” We may not recognize that we are “starving for the kind of love and attention we dole out to those around us on a daily basis.” For any number of reasons, we are unable to admit that we still have a missing piece, a void inside of us. As healed as we think we are, we are still unable to love ourselves enough to share our most basic needs with our loved ones. Our tremendous need to be loved unconditionally and to be fully accepted stays buried. Instead of going deep and repairing our foundation that was broken as a child we build up and out. Good does indeed come from this, but it leaves us on a weak footing. We may end up collapsing over time or we may go to our graves unfulfilled regardless of how much good we have done for others.
As a survivor of child sexual abuse I have lived my life holding my true feelings in and rejecting the love of others, because of course I was not worthy. Since that is the pattern I have set with my family and friends, as I heal I will never get from them the love I need unless I tell them. I first need to admit to myself what I need and then I have to risk asking for it. And in the end demanding it of any relationship I choose to stay in, otherwise I am choosing to remain a victim for life.
Please read and share the article that stimulated this train of thought on The Daily Om.
Last September I wrote a couple of articles about a local business owner and City Councilman from Talent Oregon who was indicted for attempting to take sexually explicit photos of a minor. Rumors at the time indicated the victim was a teenage relative and that it had been going on for some time.
Also at the time many of Mr. Goyette’s friends came running to his defense being that he is known to be such a swell and upstanding citizen. One of his friends questioned the statements of the “alleged” victim and what her “motivation” might actually be. She might be making this up you know, because we all know how special it is to be known as a victim of child sex abuse.
Now here we are six months later and we find that Dan Goyette has entered an Alford plea with the court. I read the news a lot and I have never heard of an Alford plea, so I looked it up. An Alford plea is where a defendant does not admit guilt but acknowledges that there is enough evidence for a conviction. Nice, parselmouth much? What a deal, victims are called accusers and predators can legally say I didn’t do it, but I s’pose you could prove I did.
The plea was accepted because the victim and her family did not want the strain and publicity of going on with a trial. The victim was quoted as saying “I don’t want any part of this. It’s creepy.” It sure is. Now Mr. Goyette did not get off completely. He must serve three years supervised probation and serve three weeks community service. He also has to move more than three miles from the victim and can have no contact with minors except for incidental, work related contact (at his coffee house!). He will also be required to undergo sex offender evaluation, and possible searches and polygraph testing. If Mr. Goyette follows all the rules he can actually apply to get this removed from his record after five years.
The judge counseled the victim to not let this rob her of her ability to trust. “It would be a very difficult life for you if you decide not to trust anyone.” Hm. Victims vs. trust. Nice advice, but believe me it will take a ton of work and even then you will never recover the lost innocence. Here is the last thing parselmouth said to the victim, “I’m sorry, I want you to know I am not mad at you.” I guess he is not mad at her for telling he tried to take her out to the woods, take her clothes off and take pictures of her to sexually stimulate himself and maybe share with his friends. I feel better knowing he isn’t mad at her for that. Actually, I want to punch him in the mouth just for saying that!
Now I have to say with all the reports I read this is actually a pretty comprehensive sentence. It is actually a rarity for a case like this to first be reported and then actually make it to a courtroom, so kudos to the victim, the police and DA’s office. My main complaint is that it seems naïve and risky to other kids to allow this man to have this removed from his record. If my teenage daughter applied for work at this mans coffee shop six years from now, you can damn well bet I would want to know his history. As a community we deserve to know, it’s called accountability. How can we hold him accountable if we don’t know what he is capable of doing?
What this means to me is that we all, parents, grandparents, teachers, neighbors, citizens need to watch and be aware enough to question adult behavior around kids. If somebody acts creepy or inappropriate around a child don’t turn away! Say something! Talk to the child, their parents, or if you think something has already happened call the authorities. It is up to each of us, you and me, to see that our children are protected from unscrupulous adults, so please join me stopping this epidemic called Child Sexual Abuse.
I’ve been reading a lot of articles lately on how much the Catholic Church is doing to repair the damage to it’s public image. They wish to show us how repentant they are over what they have been doing to our children. There are conferences in Rome where bishops listen to survivors and a really great press release by Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin who actually seems to “get it”.
Now, this morning , there is a particularly nauseating press release out of New York by His Excellency Archbishop Timothy Dolan. Mr. Dolan reports on his conversation with NY Governor Cuomo regarding a bill to extend the statute of limitations on child sex abuse five years until age 28: “And the governor listens. He’s a good lawyer. He reminded us of his allegiance to classical jurisprudence that would see a great benefit in the protection of the statute of limitations to see that the innocent of protected and that justice is done.”
Dolan also said the bishops have been “contrite” in admitting the church has handled molestation scandals poorly, but is trying to do more now — and isn’t getting credit for that: So it does bother us that the church continues to be a “whipping boy”…
Really? In arguing against a five year extension of the statute of limitations for victims of child sexual abuse Mr. Dolan describes The Church as needing protection and justice because as hard as they try, they are still just a “whipping boy”? Interesting turn of a phrase if you ask me, and very skillful use of vocabulary to make The Church out to be the victim, in all the child sex abuse claims. Are you serious? After decades of child rape, deviant torture, beatings and destruction of human dignity, life and the theft of souls of helpless children “His Excellency” wants us to view The Church as the victim? And just to top it off he ends the press conference with “Last year when I was here, there were some refreshments up on that shelf, what happened to them?” aka; what happened to the booze?
The next news item on the Catholic Church involves the oldest group I know of working to support survivors is Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, SNAP. Here is who SNAP is. They offer support in person, (via monthly self-help group meetings in chapters across the country), over the phone, online, and twice-a-year at national meetings.
They also provide a safe and productive outlet for the passion many survivors feel toward preventing future abuse. Their website exists to provide support and knowledge to all victims of clergy abuse, to help educate the public, and to help ensure that in future generations, children will be safe. They help the survivor know that they are not alone and recovery is possible. In 2010 their total revenue was $353,000.
What is the leadership of the Catholic Church doing to help these people who are trying to help victims of abuse by their priests and The Church? They are dragging them into court and trying to force them to produce documents. A subpoena asked SNAP Executive Director David Clohessy turn over all documents for the last 23 years that mentions repressed memory, any current or former priest in Kansas City, or the diocese. Although The Church claims they are not working together in this attack, a nearly identical subpoena was served in another case in another city. Not a corporate strategy by The Church? Hm, I wonder?
Director Clohessy was deposed for over six hours and most of the questions were not about the case but about the network — its budget, board of directors, staff members, donors and operating procedures. “The real motive is to harass and discredit and bankrupt SNAP, while discouraging victims, witnesses, whistle-blowers, police, prosecutors and journalists from seeking our help” says Clohessy.
As an individual I have been here. When I sued The Church over my abuse, their attorneys tried to subpoena anything I had ever written, diaries, all correspondence, or articles I had read on abuse for the last forty years. They also wanted a mirror copy of the hard drive of my computer. Information gathering or harassment, you decide.
Is this the behavior of an innocent religious organization who is being targeted as a “whipping boy”? Or is it the behavior of a club of self-serving elitist men who give each other titles like “His Excellency” and go around bullying kids and then acting the innocent when they get caught?
If the Catholic leadership wants to show me how Christian they are and how much they care, they can start by testifying in favor of victim/survivor legislation and include organizations like SNAP for support with Catholic Charities. That’s when I’m going to know they are serious about their faith, healing for victims and safety of our children.
Most of us have this image that our State Legislature writes bills, takes testimony from interested parties, then discusses them and votes on them. If both the House and the Senate pass a bill, then the Governor signs it into law. If any of these steps don’t happen the bills do not become law. A process by the people for the people, right?
Well, that’s the way it is supposed to happen. There is one little piece I left out. Committee Chairmen have the duty (?), power to schedule a hearing and work session on each bill. If either is not completed by a certain date then the bills “die in committee”. So in other words, if I am a committee chairman and I don’t like you or your bill, I can stop the democratic process and see that it is neither discussed nor voted on.
For the last two sessions of the Oregon State Legislature Representative Wayne Krieger has used his position and power as co-chairman of the House Judiciary Committee in just such a way; first with HB 3057 in 2011 and just last week with HB 4100. What are these devious bills that have been kept from due process? Both bills dealt with the elimination of the criminal statute of limitations of certain sex crimes perpetrated on children.
Now I can understand wanting to change wording in a bill like this or even to modify which crimes it should apply to, but to not allow the discussion in today’s climate of awareness of the frequent and heinous crimes committed against children I cannot fathom. The scientific data shows most victims do not reveal abuse when it happens and the few that ever do, tend to do so much later in life. It seems logical that we would allow an indefinite time to report and bring to justice any perpetrators when we have sufficient evidence. Why would we as a culture be willing to forgive sexually abusing a child just because twelve years has passed (from the date of first report or the victim turns age 30 whichever comes first)?
Besides the destruction of human life, which becomes a life sentence for victims, child sex abuse costs society an estimated 35 billion dollars per year. It is said that eliminating child sex abuse is the number one thing we could do to improve the human condition. To me that means we must find every way we can to impact this epidemic.
Representative Krieger seems to think that people will lie and file false claims, memories fade, and not enough evidence will remain. Studies tell us that rarely do people lie about child sex abuse. If there is not substantial evidence, there would be no prosecution. In fact I doubt there would be more than a handful of cases based on this law, but it does make a statement. We as a society will no longer allow or forgive, without accountability, sexually abusing our children. There are 23 states that have no statute of limitations on certain sex crimes against children. There are 13 states that have no statute of limitations at all on sex crimes committed against children. Is this really such a stretch?
I can’t understand for the life of me why Mr. Krieger would not at least allow the discussion and vote? Is protecting children just not that important to you Mr. Krieger? You can either stand up for supporting children and their safety or your inaction will support the perpetrators. It really is that simple. Mr. Krieger your behavior whether you see it this way or not supports pedophiles.