by William Skink
I was in Helena most of this past week for a training. I was actually driving past the capitol building on Thursday when I heard on MTPR that the budget battle is still screwing the elderly by not adaquately funding services for Seniors receiving long term care. This is just one aspect of what is now an obvious national effort to attack the most vulnerable.
After the training I got to take my boys to the Hot Springs. I picked up the Indy on our way out and got a chance to read the feature piece before hitting the water. I was surprised to see the name of someone I know and a case I heard a few things about back when the incestuous, child-raping pedophile should have been investigated and arrested in 2015. When I finished the article, anger and disgust took over.
The title of the piece is appropriate because there are No Good Answers. That is not to say there aren’t answers, because there are.
Here is one: Montana’s political leadership refuses to provide the resources needed to protect children in Montana.
Then, when these children grow up–sorry, IF these children grow up–our political leadership will continue to not provide the resources necessary to deal with the mental health problems, addictions and criminal justice ripple-effects produced by the tragedy of not protecting these kids in the first place.
The incestuous pedophile scum the Indy article is about had more opportunities to create more victims because our system is broken. It’s not just a lack of funding. It’s our entire adversarial legal system, which includes prosecutorial discretion (and the self-interested motivation of getting wins to advance one’s career).
One of the most fucked up parts of the story was a statistic that shows the rate of child sexual abuse is going down, slightly. If you think that sounds like a good thing, think again:
Child sexual abuse rates are slowly going down. Today, one in five girls and one in 20 boys is a victim of child sexual abuse, according to the Crimes Against Children Research Center. That’s lower than when Hudak first started practicing in the 1970s, when the numbers were one in four girls and one in six boys.
I don’t want to believe those numbers are accurate. I don’t want to think that children are being sexually abused at the rate claimed by the CAC Research Center. But with the research I’ve done on this subject, I’m not inclined to ignore the reality that children are being abused and exploited at a level most people can’t fathom.
One of the problems in understanding what’s going on is the tendency to see each incident of child abuse as an individual case, and not a part of a larger system of abuse that now permeates across multiple layers of authority. Take the Oklahoma lawmaker recently caught in a motel with a male minor. It will be reported as an isolated scandal, and not at the level of a cable news echo-chamber story that gets traction for days, like a Trump tweet.
Here’s the scandal:
An Oklahoma Republican state senator who campaigned as a champion of family values was booked on felony prostitution charges on Thursday after police found him in a motel room with a teenage boy and drugs, court documents showed.
Ralph Shortey, 35, was charged with three felony counts, including engaging in child prostitution, court documents filed in Cleveland County showed. Shortey, who has served since 2010, has not spoken to media about the incident.
Here’s the systemic problem: anyone who knew about Ralph’s sexual proclivity could exploit that information to get Ralph to do what they wanted him to do, like voting how they wanted him to vote.
This is where people are failing to make the connections. They may have heard, but don’t really understand, that a billionaire sex offender named Jeffrey Epstein ran an island honey pot serviced by a private jet that both Bill Clinton and Donald Trump have flown on. People don’t want to connect incidents of child abuse to the industry of child trafficking because it’s too horrible to imagine. The perpetrators who participate and exploit this system use that to their ultimate advantage.
I recently read a book on David Lynch, who was born in Missoula. Less recently I re-watched Twin Peaks. In the Lynch book it mentioned a fictional diary for Laura Palmer, the girl who shows up dead in the first episode. It was allegedly written by Lynch’s daughter, Jennifer. Here is a brief description from Wikipedia:
The novel is said to be “As seen by Jennifer Lynch,” and is written in a matter-of-fact tone from the point of view of Laura Palmer, a small-town teenager —a “good girl gone bad”— who is abused and terrorized by the demonic entity BOB. Lynch says she was told by her father and Mark Frost, co-creator of the series, to “be Laura Palmer,” and that she “knew Laura so well it was like automatic writing.” The book begins on Laura’s 12th birthday in 1984, and steadily matures in writing style and vocabulary. It recounts standard teenage concerns of her first period, her first kiss, and her relationship with her parents, alongside experiences of sexual abuse, promiscuity, cocaine addiction, and her obsession with death. Laura’s poetry foreshadows her murder.
I’m half-way through the book now wondering how compromised David Lynch is considering he prompted his daughter to write this fucked up incest-porn. Is he just trying to understand this evil by processing its existence through his art, like I’m trying to do, or is he involved in something more nefarious?
The sad reality is this: pedophilia exists on a systemic level, and that system, in many ways, protects them.
Yolanda experienced this first hand. She had a documented text-exchange with a man clearly articulating being sexually aroused by the thoughts of children, but that wasn’t enough to even get a call back from CPS. Despite her persistence, this happened:
The texts alone didn’t amount to probable cause. But then one night in 2016 Jeff was drinking at a woman’s home in Missoula with some friends. The woman’s grade-school-age daughter went to her bedroom in the basement. Jeff disappeared from the party for a little while. According to court records, the little girl came back upstairs later that night and told her mother that Jeff had followed her into her bedroom and forced her to perform oral sex. The mother called 9-1-1. Police arrested Jeff.
During my training, the State expert on suicides gave his presentation. Kids as young as 11 are killing themselves in Montana, and who knows what kind of abuse prompted kids these young to decide to end their life.
Politicians either can’t or won’t get the funding to the agencies tasked with protecting the most vulnerable among us. Even a motivated citizen who is professionally a mandatory reporter had little success in getting so much as a call back from anyone with authority to investigate this case.
Across the pond, authorities are signaling a strategic retreat due to too many cases of online child porn:
leading police officer has said that paedophiles who view indecent images should not be charged and taken to court unless they pose a physical threat to children.
Simon Bailey, the National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for child protection, said low level offenders should simply be placed on the sex offenders register and given counselling and rehabilitation instead.
He said that would free the police to deal with the core of dangerous paedophiles who are seeking out and exploiting children in order to rape and carry out “the most awful sexual abuse” against them.
Mr Bailey said he acknowledged that many people would be “nervous” about his proposals.
But he said it was time to look at alternatives to prosecution because reports of sexual abuse have reached “saturation point”.
He said that although police were arresting over 400 men every month for viewing indecent images of children this was just “the tip of the iceberg” and that a new approach was needed.
Systemic child abuse may be painful to even think about, but that doesn’t stop it from being a prevalent, profitable industry. Every conceivable way the system perpetuates and protects child abusers should be identified and fixed.
And if that doesn’t happen, I imagine thoughts of vigilante justice may become more palatable to a populace that increasingly realizes the institutions responsible for delivering justice are quickly becoming irrelevant.