Mama June, Honey Boo Boo & Child Predators

     Even if you have never seen the show, most people are aware of Honey Boo Boo and her family.  In the article that follows, you will find a link to access several short clips of Dr. Phil’s interview with Mama June, Honey Boo Boo’s mother. The interview covers the recent revelations that Mama June was in a relationship with the man who had years earlier been convicted of molesting one of her daughters. 

     Some may consider the style of interview and video editing as questionable in their professional standards.  However, the factors that permit child sexual abuse as revealed in this video and in the other interviews and articles surrounding this story are important.  Through these interviews with Mama June, we see the many layers of dysfunction, manipulation, denial, and poor choices that foster the sexual assault of children.  Remember, these predators are found across all racial & socio-economic backgrounds.  Remember, these victims are found across all racial & socio-economic backgrounds.

  • I encourage you to watch the videos and read the articles that will continue to present themselves as this story evolves—without judgment.
  • I encourage you to mine these artifacts for the enabling characteristics, behaviors & beliefs that permitted predators to gain access to this family.
  • I encourage you to examine what you would have done if you had been aware of the danger this woman was putting her children in.
  • I encourage you to explore how you would educate Mama June, on her level, about her mistakes and how to effect positive change in her own thinking and patterns.
  • I encourage you to do these things because there are Mama Junes in our midst.  There are sexual predators of children in our midst.  In order to help the children we must begin to understand all of the factors involved.   JDP

The “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” Scandal: Mama June Speaks Out  (November 17, 2014)

The following statement was taken from the Dr. Phil web site:

Earlier this year, 9-year-old former child pageant star Alana “Honey Boo Boo” Thompson saw her four-year reality television reign come to an end after reports surfaced that her mother, June “Mama June” Shannon, was allegedly dating convicted sex offender Mark McDaniel — who pleaded guilty to molesting Mama June’s oldest daughter, 20-year-old Anna, who recently publicly confirmed that she was his victim.

Mama June denies being romantically involved with McDaniel, who was released from prison in March 2014 after serving a 10-year sentence for aggravated child molestation. In a daytime television exclusive, Dr. Phil travels to Georgia to visit Mama June. How does she answer to allegations that she has allowed McDaniel around her younger children?…Does she have her children’s best interests at heart?

Here is the link to the videos:

Retrieved from: http://drphil.com/shows/show/2313/

Here are a few facts from the National Sex Offender Public Website (NSOPW)

Victims of Sexual Abuse:  Child/Teen Victims

  • In a 2012 maltreatment report, of the victims who were sexually abused, 26% were in the age group of 12–14 years and 34% were younger than 9 years. 9
  • Approximately 1.8 million adolescents in the United States have been the victims of sexual assault. 4
  • Research conducted by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that approximately 1 in 6 boys and 1 in 4 girls are sexually abused before the age of 18. 1
  • 8% of sexual assaults occur when the victim is between the ages of 12 and 17. 1
  • 82% of all juvenile victims are female. 5
  • 69% of the teen sexual assaults reported to law enforcement occurred in the residence of the victim, the offender, or another individual. 5
  • Teens 16 to 19 years of age were 3 ½ times more likely than the general population to be victims of rape, attempted rape, or sexual assault.6
  • Approximately 1 in 5 female high school students report being physically and/or sexually abused by a dating partner. 7

Retrieved from:  http://www.nsopw.gov/en/Education/FactsStatistics

National Adoption Day 2014

The Lewis Family
The Lewis Family

National Adoption day was officially Saturday.  However, throughout the month of November special adoptions events were held across the United States.  Some kids came up for adoption due to abuse, parents’ choice of drugs over kids, some are orphaned and have no family–there are a myriad of other reasons.  In each case the countless hours of work and the number of people involved to make an adoption happen is phenomenal. 

On November 21 in Tarrant County an estimated 45 families adopted 63 kids!  I am always profoundly touched by the volume of people and time it takes to help the adoptees and their families reach this day.  On this day in Tarrant County there were seven courtrooms holding adoptions for over a three-hour period.  I was privileged to work at the door to the courtroom of two very special judges.  These judges asked everyone to fill their courtroom and join in the celebrations of each adoption.  The judges led the applause and cheers when each adoption was completed. 

I went home for a couple of hours to absorb the impact of this day, and the numerous stories that people shared with me.  Later, as I observed the opening festivities for the holiday season on 7th street, I ran into one of the adopting families and their new son.  Mom was still smiling from the inside out with the joy of her new son!   She sent me this photo to share on my blog.

I invite you to consider adoption, become a part of the year round process, or volunteer during this annual  event.  Every child deserves a Forever Home! JDP

I offer three links below with information on National adoption Day.  Following those two links are others that share a few personal stories.

http://www.ncalp.org/nad.php

http://www.nationaladoptionday.org/

https://www.facebook.com/NationalAdoptionDay

Arizona

http://www.kpho.com/story/27445799/glendale-family-gears-up-for-national-adoption-day

New Jersey

http://www.nj.com/salem/index.ssf/2014/11/3_salem_county_families_celebrate_national_adoption_day_3.html

Miami Florida

http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/article4049345.html

Washington

http://tdn.com/news/local/families-make-it-official-during-national-adoption-day-ceremonies/article_b7d3a23a-7122-11e4-85de-1f2a4df2dcfd.html

A Child Molester In My Circle by Janet Lansbury

I came across the following article and asked the author for permission to share her story with you.  Janet’s story is important because like most people she never thought someone she trusted could be a child molester. What occurred in her world create, a better awareness of sexual crimes against children, including the reality that most children do not tell, that the people who commit these crimes are often loved or trusted, and that it is important to discuss this subject with your children before something happens.  I applaud her willingness to share her story and her proactive responses. JDP

About Janet

“As Janet Julian, I acted and modeled for many years, but it wasn’t until I became a mother and sought guidance from infant expert Magda Gerber that I found my life’s work: parent education. Since 1994, I have enjoyed teaching RIE parenting classes in Los Angeles.”

source:   janetlansbury: elevating child care  http://www.janetlansbury.com/about/

A Child Molester In My Circle

I never imagined I’d be writing a post like this one. The last thing I want is to be the bearer of bad news, stir up worry and paranoia. I want to share inspiring, hopeful messages about raising children, not scary, disturbing, cautionary ones. But last week I heard something incomprehensible: my chiropractor, a friend for 18 years, is in jail after confessing to child molestation.

I’m sharing this scenario because it was unimaginable to me and may be to you, too. I realize now that I was self-centered and ignorant enough to assume sexual abuse would not really touch the lives of “people like me”. Now I know… I’ve just been blessed that it hasn’t.

For the first time I can understand how the family and friends of those who commit heinous crimes might feel. From an outsider’s point-of-view it’s simple and obvious: “Ugh, horrible person.” Or not even a person…animal. Despicable. How could you ever love such a lowlife? But my friend was not only a ‘person like us’, he was an especially warm, popular, charming, one, admired by many for his talent and expertise. And trusted.

He was generous. Sometimes I needed repeat adjustments within the same week, and he wouldn’t charge me. He gave you more than the half hour you booked with him, even if you were late. He invited us to bring our children to be adjusted for free (which seems ominous now, but my children were not victimized by him, and most others weren’t either. Predators are not indiscriminant, I’m learning). He was spiritual. He did a special healing ritual with my mother when she was sick from cancer a few months before she died.

I saw him at least once every couple of months and kept him up to date about my life. He wanted to know what was going on with me and my family. He cared.

The father of one of this man’s victims, also a friend, told me that he had never doubted the man’s trust. He was close with both the man and his wife. His 5 year old daughter spent time in the man’s care, seemed to enjoy being with him, never balked, and her dad believed that spending time with this grandfatherly figure was positive for her. Once the little girl told her dad that the man had touched her “there” while she was in the bath, but said immediately afterwards, “Just kidding”. Even then, her father hadn’t the slightest suspicion. He’d trusted this man intimately for many years and knew his daughter had a rich fantasy life. She liked making up stories.

It wasn’t until the father heard about another family filing a complaint that he had the dreadful realization — his little girl had tried to tell him. When he went to his daughter and she divulged details about the abuse, he found that although she may have felt uneasy on some level, she had perceived the abuse the way her abuser had wanted her to – an affectionate little game they played together. “Don’t tell your parents. They might get mad at me.”

I’m ashamed to admit that I share this story for selfish reasons, too, in hope that spilling my thoughts will help me untangle them. I still don’t know how I feel or how I’m supposed to feel. I’m reliving my many interactions with this man, hearing his voice and his laughter, remembering his every touch and facial expression — a slideshow of once pleasant images now viewed through a distorted lens, nightmarish. One minute I’m disgusted, so angry and sad for the children. I hurt, cringe and shudder. The next minute I just remember him, and try to merge these disparate people into one — friend and child molester — but can’t, at least not yet. And the hardest thing to reckon with are my feelings of loss, and the guilt I have for feeling them. Because even for the devastating harm he’s done, lives he’s changed, innocence he’s stolen, I’m finding it impossible to hate this guy, to just throw him away. This is the death of a friend, but worse… there’s disillusionment and betrayal. How could he?

If I’m wrestling with these feelings, with all my years of life experience, how will the children reconcile theirs? Will they understand how a relationship that felt so loving could be so wrong? Will they struggle to comprehend how the intimate ‘games’ they shared with a trusted friend could be shameful and bad? Are they bad, too, for ver enjoying being with him? Do they feel remorse for sending him to jail? Will they heal this wound and trust their instincts again? I’m praying that they will.

I urge you to read these “Eight Common Myths About Child Sexual Abuse” by the Leadership Council. I believed a few of them. One of the most jarring to me is “Myth 4: Children who are being abused would immediately tell their parents. Research shows that children who have been sexually assaulted often have considerable difficulty revealing or discussing their abuse. Estimates suggest that only 3% of all cases of child sexual abuse (Finkelhor & Dziuba-Leatherman, 1994; Timnick, 1985) and only 12% of rapes involving children are ever reported to police (Hanson et al., 1999).”

My best advice is to do what I didn’t do until I was shocked into this new awareness. Talk to your children about abuse as early as possible, discussing rules with them about friends and relatives of all ages and appropriate touching. Warn them about adults and others who ask them to keep secrets. Keep the lines of communication about these issues open and non-judgmental. Here is an excellent post on the subject by Shara Lawrence-Weiss: Your Child’s Best Defense Is YOUR WarningEarly Childhood News 

If you have answers, insights, or experiences to share, I hope you will.

Predators groom parents and community in order to access children. They are usually “highly respected.”BraveKidsVoices

Update, two months later:
Athough the accused had been secretly recorded confessing to the abuse, he may have been planning to plead innocent. His 5 year old victim was prepared to attend his hearing in December and testify. I hadn’t realized that children were expected to testify in person rather than on tape, but apparently they are, although she wouldn’t have to look at him or point to him.

She showed up early on the morning of the hearing with her dad and was given a tour of the courthouse to help her become acquainted and more comfortable. My friend’s lawyer was also at the courthouse early and he spotted the little girl. When he went back and told his client she was there, my friend supposedly broke down and decided to plead guilty. I guess he hadn’t believed the girl would actually show up.

His sentencing was a few days before Christmas and he was given 12 years. Since he is in his early 70s and his health is not good, he will very likely be in prison for the rest of his life.

The little girl began therapy. At least five other families have filed complaints.

Personally, I have found complete closure. I will continue to be in touch with the father of the little girl and hope to hear about her progress.

Janet Lansbury

source:  http://www.janetlansbury.com/2010/11/a-child-molester-in-my-circle/

National Adoption Day

National Adoption Day is this Month.

National adoption day is this month.  In the brief article that follows Assistant Commissioner, Lisa Black shared her thoughts on Adoption with a Gregg County reporter.  If you have never experienced a National adoption day event I suggest you go online and find out where and on what dates the adoptions are being held in your area.  It is probably too late to volunteer to help.  However, you can drive by or pay to park and briefly walk into the lobby of the courthouse where these adoptions are taking place.  As you walk in and see the efforts of the judicial members, caseworkers, CASA’s and other volunteers serving the adopting families and the adoptees—you will be touched.  This is a grand, sincere, and wonderful day for all involved.  Some of these families and children (of all ages) have waited years to get to the point of adoption.  Courtrooms are filled with stuffed animals and books for the children and adolescents to take home.  On this day in court, no one is going to jail—no one is receiving a penalty.  Families are created—the families involved, those that helped them to reach this momentous day, and everyone looking on receives a gift that goes straight to their heart. 

Next year, volunteer in time to be a part of this momentous occasion.  If you have ever considered adopting, then seriously look into adopting or fostering to adopt.  There may be heartbreak along the way, but the gift of your time, home, and love will remain in a child’s heart forever.

Child Protective Services is all about family reunification.  That is a noble and grand idea.  When it works, it is incredible.  However, it is important to remember that not every parent is capable of taking the steps necessary to be a safe and healthy parent. 

Note to CPS Executives:  When your employees make mistakes do the right thing for the child, not the employee.  Look at the chronology of events, reprimand your people, and remove the child before it is too late.  Have the same rules for those offenders who have connections and money as you do for those who do not have connections or are poor.  Remember this — no child deserves to stay in an abusive home regardless of whom that child’s parent knows. 

JDP

Gregg County National Adoption Day

Posted: Nov 06, 2014 3:51 PM CSTUpdated: Nov 06, 2014 3:51 PM CST

Posted by Olivia Levoy

GREGG COUNTY (KYTX)- “No child should have to grow up in foster care,” says Lisa Black, DFPS assistant commissioner for Child Protective Services. “But no matter their age, children and teens never outgrow the need for parents and the stability only a family can give.”

Texas needs foster and adoptive parents for children of all ages. Some of these children have special medical, physical, or emotional needs. There is always a need for families willing to adopt African-American children who are overrepresented in foster care.

Watch the “Why Not Me?” public service announcement on the DFPS You Tube channel and share it with your friends and family. It’s also available in Spanish.

What greater gift than the gift of family? Children are waiting at Texas Adoption Resource Exchange’s website.

Adoption Facts:

  • 6,596 children in Texas foster care were waiting for adoption as of September 30
  • Texas adoptions have more than double in the last decade from 2,512 in fiscal year 2004 to 5,149 in fiscal year 2014
  • There are more Texas adoptions in November than any other month
  • One in five adoptions in Texas last year was finalized in November (1,032)

Half of Rotherham’s child abuse victims ‘could have been saved from harm’

There has been so little follow up coverage, and so little commentary by people in general on this case.  This case in England proves that corruption and apathy is everywhere not just in Texas.  Unfortunately, at times it is who you know, along with a consistent failure within the system that is supposed to protect children.

Half of Rotherham’s child abuse victims may never have been harmed if police had acted on information they were given about suspected perpetrators, it has been claimed.

Jayne Senior, a project manager with the Risky Business initiative, told MPs on the Home Affairs Select Committee that detailed intelligence about suspected abusers was passed to people ‘at the highest level’ in South Yorkshire Police and Rotherham Council from 2003 onwards.

Ms Senior, who was involved with Risky Business from 1999 to 2011, claimed up to 700 children may never have become victims if intelligence about suspected perpetrators had been properly used.

She said: “I would like to ask the question why the information and the intelligence that was shared monthly and sometimes weekly was never enough to be used to go out there and hunt these people down, so maybe half of these children would have not been harmed? I have information here on perpetrators in 2006 who were still active in 2011 and 2012.”

Her evidence follows the Jay Report revealing at least 1,400 children in the town had been the victims of sexual exploitation between 1997 and 2013. She told MPs she was told ‘quite categorically’ not to mention the race or ethnicity of abusers in any training she delivered. She added she used to get a ‘lot of comments’ from police officers that girls who were having sex with abusers had ‘made a choice, it was a lifestyle, the way that they lived’.

She said: “We also used to get told on numerous occasions, ‘Where is your evidence? Where is your evidence?’. We were project workers, we were youth workers, we were not police officers, and we believed that we gave enough information for them to get the evidence.”

South Yorkshire Police is working with the National Crime Agency to draw up terms of reference for an independent inquiry into child abuse in Rotherham, which will include investigations into historic cases.

Taken from:  http://www.thestar.co.uk/news/local/half-of-rotherham-s-child-abuse-victims-could-have-been-saved-from-harm-1-6921133

Texas: Helpful links in Seeking Help for a Minor Child

Texas: Helpful links in Seeking Help for a Minor Child

Grandparents’ Rights Information

Texas is one of those states that prevent grandparents from getting appropriate help for their grandchildren.  Having said that, I supply these links, as it never hurts to stay informed.

http://texaslawhelp.org/resource/grandparents-rights

https://www.texasattorneygeneral.gov/elder/grandparents.shtml

http://statelaws.findlaw.com/texas-law/grandparents-visitation-rights-in-texas.html

http://www.lanwt.org/txaccess/grandparents.asp

If you are a relative and raising a minor child the following resources may be helpful to keep at hand.

The Texas Kincare Project

The Texas Kincare Project, housed within the Health Law Program at TLSC, provides access to free legal counseling to address relative caregivers’ questions. The Project supplies caregivers with legal tools and advice to navigate the healthcare, human services and school systems for minor children in their care.

Texas Kincare Taskforce

The Texas Kincare Taskforce works to accurately refer grandparents, aunts, uncles, and older siblings who are raising minor children (with neither parent being in the home), to appropriate sources of on-going assistance. The Texas Kincare Taskforce has prepared the Texas Kincare Primer to inform families headed by relatives of their rights and responsibilities as well as provide helpful information. A copy can be downloaded here.

The Texas Kincare Project and Taskforce can be reached at 866-979-4343.

http://www.tlsc.org/programs/kincare.asp

Texas House of Representatives Child Protection, Select Committee

This link takes you to the official site where you can click on the Members of this committee to see their record.

http://www.house.state.tx.us/committees/committee/?committee=165&session=83

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