Predator-Proof Your Family2023-03-21T02:59:32+00:00

The Power of Confession

“There was no normal, happy greeting – just a sudden torrent of words from my husband. “I did it! I did it all – and more!” Years of bottled secrets suddenly uncorked with the pressure of fermented evil. Incomprehensible sentences erupted from Matt’s mouth in shocking ejections.
“As the toxic words hit my brain, pushing to penetrate, I stared blankly at Matt. “You did what?” I didn’t understand what he meant.
“‘I did it all – everything Linda said – and more. More than anybody knows.’ For the first time for as long as I could remember, Matt was looking directly into my eyes. Here we were in my office, with the toxic words of Matt’s confession filling the air like a mushroom cloud. The world had stopped spinning on its axis.
“When the eruption of his confession gradually settled into the ashes of our lives, I, feeling like a hollow caricature of my former self, stayed seated in the chair in which I had written, organized our lives and conducted the business of our family.
“I had thought I had been dealing with reality all these years. Silly me. I stared at Matt, now so earnest in his confession, so open in his desire to connect, so visible with the evaporation of his walls. Now that I could see him, I didn’t recognize him. He was a stranger. No one I had ever met before.
“A tiny crack began to grow in the space between us. It widened and widened and gradually yawned into an uncrossable gulf. We were no longer connected. I was on my side of the abyss with my arms around the precious children he had harmed.
“As Matt’s words continued, spilling the dark contents of his mind into the canyon, they filled the horizontal plane, numbing me.”

The foregoing is an excerpt, describing my husband’s confession, from my book,  The Husband I Never Knew.
A confession from a child molester is a powerful factor, determining the ability of all those whose lives are touched by his crimes, to move ahead with their lives. Even if the court finds someone guilty who pleads innocence, the nagging questions remain. If the person is lying about his innocence, it is a further sickening betrayal and lack of respect for his loved ones, who deserve the right to live their lives in reality. If he is, indeed, innocent, his loved ones are left to suffer the condemnation of a misled public.
I’ve been corresponding with Jerry Sandusky’s wife. Despite the fact that Jerry was convicted on 45 counts of child molestation, she continues to believe in his innocence. Strangely enough, I understand her refusal to believe her husband is guilty.
When my husband was charged on a Monday, for a whole week, he denied the charges, declaring his innocence to all who would listen. Most of us believed him. This was a man we had trusted. I had been married to him for 38 years!  I was sure that, if we could just have a polygraph done, his accusers would be shown to be lying.
Until Friday. On the Friday, he confessed.
Then I knew.
My point is that child molesters are the most manipulative of criminals. Their entire modus operendi is built on gaining the trust of people so that their victims become vulnerable; then they are able to move in and take advantage of the situation for their own perverted pleasures.
Building trust, for child molesters, is an art form.
That’s why, unless they give the gift of confession, those whose lives are within their sphere of activity, are held captive, locked in a prison of unmerited trust.
Is Jerry Sandusky guilty? The courts say yes. His wife says no. Until he confesses – until he speaks the words of guilt – his victims will not have closure and those who love him will be trapped in the lonely limbo of trust.

© Diane Roblin-Lee – Mar. 30/13

By |April 1, 2013|Predator-Proof Your Family|

Getting a Grip

The internet has been termed today’s “wild west” where anything goes. In the days of Wild Bill and the James brothers, the bad boys rode into town in a cloud of dust with guns blazing. Everyone knew who they were and was aware of their intentions and activity. Today’s bad boys (and girls) can sit at home in the comfort and anonymity of their bedrooms and do far more damage than any gun-toting savage of yesterday. Brandishing keyboards and cameras instead of guns, they swagger through cyberspace like a law unto themselves, savaging the innocence of children through child pornography, stalking and preying on naive young people.

But not so fast, Kemo Sabe. Just as the wild west was tamed and is now a pleasant place where families can travel in peace, changes are being made online. Heroes of today are making meaningful strides in protecting our young people.

Last month, it was announced that U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and European Union Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmström would launch a global alliance targeting online child sexual abuse. With so many cross-border police operations that have brought down international pedophile networks, a network of agencies dealing with trafficking and abuse issues is gaining strength and functionality. With experience cracking criminal networks like Dreamboard, a members-only online bulletin board to promote pedophilia and encourage sexual abuse of very young children, the good guys are becoming more and more sophisticated in their understanding of how these groups work and how to dismantle them.

In December, officials from 27 EU member nations and officials from 22 countries outside the EU, including the United States, participated in a ministerial conference to address the issues. At the core of their discussions is a commitment to caring for victims, enhancing efforts to prosecute offenders, increasing children’s awareness of online risks and reducing the availability of child abuse material online.

The protection of children is moving ahead and making headway.

While it’s difficult to stomach the reasoning behind all the previously confidential documents created by the Boy Scouts, the fact that they are in existence and have been made public gives the good guys deeper insight into the minds and workings of predators. Increased public awareness of how child predators operate and increased boldness of victims in speaking out may be helping to reduce child sex abuse. While the news was full of stories about institutions like Penn State, the Boy Scouts and the BBC last year, the stories had a positive side in that they all concerned people being caught or exposed or groups and organizations changing policies towards offenders.

Things are changing. We’re starting to get a grip. Predators should be very worried because the days of the wild west internet are changing. This does not mean we can let down our guard. Quite the contrary. It means our efforts are making more of a difference. It’s time to take heart and work harder to protect our kids.

© Diane Roblin-Lee   Jan. 30/13

By |January 31, 2013|Predator-Proof Your Family|

The Problem With Kids…

The problem with kids is that – well – they’re kids.

Kids don’t have very many years under their belts. They haven’t lived on this planet long enough to spot a manipulator or know how to navigate a tricky situation. Those who live in homes where they can trust the adults around them, tend to think all adults can be trusted and have their best interests at heart. They trust that the person on the other end of their internet chat conversation is who they portray themselves to be.

We tell kids: “Mind your manners. Speak respectfully to Mr. Brown. Do what you’re told. Don’t ask questions.”

And so life can be very confusing for a child. That’s why they need us. Children are so vulnerable and depend on us to keep them safe. That’s what adults are supposed to do.

I was one of those naive kids – one of the ones who lived in such a safe home that it never occurred to me that someone might want to harm me sexually. I trusted people. And that was good – then – but maybe that’s why, years later, when one of my children was being molested by a family member, it never occurred to me such a thing could be happening and that that could be the root of the problems my precious child was experiencing.

These days, we have to put any naivitee aside and sharpen our antennae to know what’s happening with the children around us. Rather than counting on kids to recognize possible danger, we have to be aware of the fact that they’re “just kids” and not all of them have the life experiences to make them adequately guarded in their activities and conversations. When they don’t know what might happen as a result of telling about abuse, their tendency is to remain silent in fear of consequences. We need to be able to recognize the withdrawn silence of a child and encourage freedom of conversation. Part of our job description as adults is to keep a watchful eye over the young ones around us.

Last week, an international operation investigating child pornography and sexual abuse culminated in the arrest of 245 suspects. “Operation Sunflower” identified 123 victims of child exploitation. Forty-four of the victims were living with their alleged abusers and were removed from their homes.

When I think of 44 kids being victimized in their own homes, it makes my blood run cold. How many people were there in the circles surrounding those children who missed the signs of what was happening? Teachers, doctors, siblings, parents, neighbours, aunts, uncles, community workers…. When I think of what those little ones endured in their own homes, I weep. They needed safe homes where they could just be naive little kids.

Several of the children rescued through Operation Sunflower were very young. Five were under the age of three. One of the reasons this trend is increasing is that predators think they’re less likely to be able to “tell.” Nine of the children were between the ages of four and six.

The work of Plan to Protect is critical. By helping to train the adults who surround a child to make sure the world is a safe place for little ones, we are changing lives – individuals, families and communities.

Nothing is more basic that the right of a kid to “be a kid.”

© Diane Roblin-Lee, Jan. 15/13

By |January 18, 2013|Predator-Proof Your Family|

A Swift Kick in the Complacency

Okay – I’m going to be honest.

When I learned that Winning Kids Inc. had decided to extend its hand of grace to help alleviate some of the suffering of African children, I  felt some impatience. With issues of abuse spiraling into ever-widening circles in North America, why, for goodness sake, would we lose focus and shift our attention from the suffering of abused children in North America? Why would we even consider contributing to the alleviation of atrocities that we can’t possibly understand and expect to make even a tiny dint in the inhumane conditions that have plagued a continent rampant with disease and corruption for generations?

I was happy to have the African Children’s Choir coming to perform for us at the Nov. 20th Fifth Anniversary celebration of Winning Kids Inc. and the launch of my book, “Predators Live Among Us – Protect Your Family From Child Sexual Abuse.” The children are so adorable in their colourful costumes and they would definitely attract people to the event – but turn the event into a fund-raiser for the group? Couldn’t we just give them an honorarium and raise funds for expanding our efforts with North American kids?

And then I received an advertisement on my iPad for a book called, “Scared,” by Tom Davis. The e-book would be free on the first and second of November. I like free things and so clicked the “download” button. Little did I realize that “Scared” is not a book to be read by anyone who wants to lounge in a comfortable chair and be entertained by a writer with a gift for braiding words. It is a gripping novel that bumps you along a clay road, the air thick with dust, and makes you taste sweaty fear and live in the middle of atrocities that tear your innards from your belly to your heart. As if that weren’t enough, it throws a precious child into the vortex of terror, stands back and watches the reader squirm, biting his or her nails, not daring to read another word – yet totally unable to abandon the vulnerable people of the pages. Dear little Adanna, sweet child. Adanna – fatherless, starving, valiantly struggling to provide food for her younger siblings, then falling into horrendous calamity…

“Scared” is an in-your-face novel that, like a scruffy dog, shakes the self-absorbed, polished world of the iPad user from its North American moorings and lays it, whimpering, at the feet of reality. It then asks, “Now what are you going to do about it?”

The person who began this article is not the person finishing it. I, ashamed, am now someone who has walked a little further down the road. We who claim to put ourselves forth on behalf of abused children do so for abused children wherever they are. We do not dilute our efforts by reaching beyond our borders – we strengthen them. The further we stretch with our arms, the longer our arms become and the greater our embrace.

So now I look at the African Children’s Choir and I see beyond the happy smiles, the colourful twirling and the  brave voices; I see the dangers that threaten to overtake these precious little ones without our help. I see pornography production crews grabbing children, drug lords stuffing murdered children full of drugs and couriering their bodies across country borders, sweatshops and inhumane bosses. I see the sale of child brides, child prostitution, AIDS victims raping little virgins in the belief that it will cure their AIDS. I see four-year-old hawkers and beggars. I hear the AK47s splitting the night air as villages are looted and petrified children are stolen to be turned into terrorists. And I see my tears. Thank God I see my tears. Thank God I am alive and I care.

There are those who snub their noses at novels, claiming that documentaries, biographies and news stories have more weight in acquainting the masses with world issues – but in this instance I disagree. Sometimes, in order to find the reality of an issue, we need to connect with the vulnerability and humanity of a person who symbolizes the heighth, depth and breadth of an issue. We need a sweet little Adanna to move our hearts from North American complacency to the purpose for our lives.

As we celebrate the Fifth Anniversary of Winning Kids Inc. and the Year of the Child, please consider a generous donation to the African Children’s Choir. 

© Diane Roblin-Lee November 15/12

By |November 15, 2012|Predator-Proof Your Family|

Silent No Longer

Last fall, I booked a table at a craft show in a small town. My main focus was to promote my Legacy workbooks, but since I had a full eight feet of space, I took along my other books as well, including the booklets I wrote on Predator-Proofing Your Family and the book, Predators Live Among Us.

It was a quiet day – not much action at the craft show, causing an underlying rumble of dissatisfaction among the vendors. I saw a large, rather depressed looking, elderly woman approach my table. She cast a cursive glance across my piles of titles and then stopped, with an almost noticeable startle, as she read some of the titles on my Predator work. She picked up Predators Live Among Us, stared at the front cover for a long moment, turned the book over and appeared to read every word on the back. She went through the same process with all eight Predator-Proof Your Family booklets. Lingering at that area of the table for a good 15 minutes, she finally sighed and began to walk away as if to say nothing could fix the broken places inside.

Sensing this was a meaningful encounter beyond the obvious, I attempted to engage the woman in some light, non-threatening conversation. Before long, she asked me if I was the author of “those books.” I smiled, said yes and made some general comments about my experience with the effects of abuse on individuals and families.

Before long, a spark of life made its way through her heavy despondency and opened the way for her to begin to share her story. She was divorced, the ex-wife of a man so frustrated by life that he lived in a fog of alcohol binges and chain smoking. Prior to the divorce, they lived out in the middle of nowhere. Their days were filled with struggle, fear and insecurity. Although they had a daughter, there was no joy in the home. Relationships were fraught with tension. As soon as the girl was old enough, she left home and, once safely away, told her mother of the abuse she had suffered at the hands of her father for many years. Horrified, but too frightened to confront her husband with her knowledge, the woman knew she had to get out. It would be another betrayal of her daughter for her to stay.

She finally summoned the courage to tell her husband she was leaving him. He flew into a rage, grabbed his gun and refused to let her leave. For three days, he held her captive in their home at gunpoint. On the third day, he ran out of cigarettes, grabbed her car keys so that she could not escape and said, “Yer not goin’ nowhere!”

He didn’t know she’d had a second set of keys made. As soon as his car was out of sight, she called her girlfriend and burned it down the lane way, never to return.

That all happened about 40 years prior to our chance meeting. The abuse had never been reported. The abuser had gone on with his life, remarried and was now a crossing guard, helping little children to cross the street. The daughter had never had closure and remained distant from her mother.

As we talked, I impressed upon the woman the importance of breaking her silence, getting the man removed from his position of trust and encouraging her 55-year-old daughter to file charges and get some closure. Without names, I had to trust that she would break through the years of despondency and victimization and deal with the situation.

Last Saturday morning, I was having coffee and reading the morning news. The phone rang. I didn’t recognize the voice. A woman said, “You might not remember me, but we spoke at a craft show last year. You gave me a bookmark with your number on it and said I could call. I just want to thank you for your words that day. After we spoke, I talked with my daughter and we called the police and filed charges. So far, he’s denied it, but he’s been removed from his crossing-guard job and now it’s in the hands of the law. You wouldn’t believe the change in my daughter. It’s like she’s a new person. Our lives are changed. My husband is finally going to pay for what he did to her and she doesn’t have to carry the weight of his secrets anymore. Thank you so much for your words that day.”

When silence is broken, the mending begins.
© Diane Roblin-Lee – Oct. 15/12

By |October 21, 2012|Predator-Proof Your Family|

Scouts Canada – Rebuilding Trust

The worst nightmare of a parent is the fear that a child will fall into the hands of a predator – a skilled manipulator who preys on the vulnerability of precious little ones to satisfy his or her perverted appetites.

A parent’s deepest desire is to see a child develop life skills, strong values, integrity, confidence and the ‘know how’ to face the challenges of life.

When those two fundamentals, the deepest fears and the deepest desires of parents become entwined, the resulting confusion devours trust.

In 1907, founder Lord Baden-Powell, built the Boy Scouts organization on the motto, “Be Prepared.” The idea was to teach boys how to always be in a state of readiness to do the ‘right’thing.

Parents responded out of their deepest desires for their sons. Scout leaders were regarded as pillars of society who would turn boys into fine men.

But as the years passed, whispers began – horifying whispers about boys being molested by trusted Scout leaders – whispers about important men like Saskatchewan’s Fred Miller who, in 1995 was convicted of at least 11 assaults over a period of 36 years.

Was it safe to send a child to Scouts? The questions plagued parents and the entire Scouts Canada organization. Was the reputation of the organization being weighed against the plight of the increasing number of victims?

Aligning itself with its own mantra to “do the right thing,” the Scouts commissioned KPMG Canada to conduct an audit into the way the organization handled allegations of sexual abuse since 1941.

On Monday, June 25th, Scouts Canada released the report to the public. Chief commissioner, Steve Kent, spoke well, saying the review “found no systemic intent to cover up or hide incidents of abuse,” though it did uncover cases where incidents were not handled “with the rigour we would expect.” His transparency and obviously heartfelt apology was appreciated.

Still, it was hard to hear about the review of hundreds of files on leaders who were thrown out over abuse allegations, but were allowed to slink away into the murky silence of confidentiality – and to know that uncounted numbers of victims are living lives that would have been much different, had they never been irreparably damaged by the outworkings of perversion. Thankfully, the Scouts have now handed over all of these names to the police and they are under investigation. Most situations of abuse happened prior to centralization of the organization, before there was any organized accountability.

As tangible proof of its determination to assure the safely of children in its care  and restore the organization to the intent of its founder, Scouts Canada has signed a three-year contract with Winning Kids Inc. to incorporate their Plan to Protect® into the Scouts’ revised  guidelines. Plan to Protect® is the Canadian STANDARD for child protection and abuse prevention. It will require every Scout leader to willingly submit to the policies, screening process and the time required to be trained – a sure way to rebuild trust.

Melodie Bissell, CEO of Winning Kids Inc. was with Steve Kent in Ottawa for the press conference. In her press release, Melodie welcomed Scouts Canada to the WKI roster of “Going the Distance” members. She said, “The purpose of our partnership is to go the distance with Scouts Canada as they implement their revised child and youth safety policies and protocols.  We will walk alongside of them and assist them with their implementation and training needs.”
Furthering her contention that “It takes a community to protect a child,” Melodie addressed parents, saying, “Parents, it is your responsibility to monitor the whereabouts of your children and say ‘no,’ when a trusted leader wants to be alone with your children. Don’t allow anyone to be in a position of trust with your children unless you know they will avoid isolation, and be accountable for their actions and whereabouts. The protection of our children is a shared responsibility. Listen to your intuition, and be willing to be whistle blowers.”

To the question, ‘Is it not too little too late?’ Melodie continues to remind people that, “It is never too late, for there is always another child to protect, another predator to guard against. It may be too late for those that suffered abuse in the past, for we can’t go back and undo the pain from yesterday, but we can learn from it. Hopefully for the survivors, they will know their tears and prayers have not gone unnoticed or unanswered. We will redeem their pain and invest in the protection of children and youth moving forward. As a community we all have to consider what is our role moving forward to protect children and youth.  We all need a plan to protect!”

© Diane Roblin-Lee, June 25, 2012

By |July 5, 2012|Predator-Proof Your Family|

Personality Disorder – or Justice Disorder?

After days of painful listening to the emotional, chin-quivering testimony of a parade of alleged victims in the Jerry Sandusky trial, the defense is poised to present its case. Their job is to present enough doubt as to the veracity of 17 felony charges to keep their client from spending the rest of his days behind bars.

So what’s the plan? Apparently, they’re poised to take the angle of a “personality disorder.” Histrionics. Who ever heard of “histrionics?” Is there really a disease that could legitimize the sodomizing of young boys? Well, well, well. How convenient. Are these lawyers really keeping their faces straight as they postulate such a defense? Really? 

Histrionic personality disorder (HPD) is defined by the American Psychiatric Association as “a personality disorder characterized by a pattern of excessive emotionality and attention-seeking, including an excessive need for approval and inappropriately seductive behavior, usually beginning in early adulthood. These individuals are lively, dramatic, vivacious, enthusiastic, and flirtatious.” (This description fits a lot of my friends!) HPD is most commonly found in the United States and affects four times as many women as men.1 It has a prevalence of 2–3% in the general population, and 10–15% in inpatient and outpatient mental health institutions.2

So – let me understand this. The defense is going to postulate that Jerry Sandusky molested at least 10 (possibly more) children because he was seeking or starved for attention. The judge should wink at the sodomy, the cries for help, the theft of innocence, the betrayal of trust, the manipulative grooming processes, the pain and the ruination of families because Jerry was less than appropriate in the way he sought attention? Really. Poor Jerry.

Let’s be clear: justice must be served on behalf of people who have been victimized – it’s not a tool that can be warped to protect perpetrators.

Excuses for bad or criminal behavior are usually nothing more than manipulative responses to charges. Excuses cannot excuse crime. Genuine mitigating circumstances should not ever justify or excuse an offense – but may reduce the severity of a charge, and that’s the hope of the Sandusky lawyers.

But let’s look at this for a moment. A husband who molests a grandchild could protest going to prison on the grounds that grandma was getting too old to satisfy him – or that he had been influenced by a flood of pornographic images – or that the child was acting seductive around him – or that he was depressed and “not quite himself”… or whatever. Because he presents an excuse, should his punishment be lessened?

Roll the tape back to the testimony of the chin-quivering Sandusky victims. Their childhoods were stolen. They have experienced homicide of the soul. Their families have been sentenced to a lifetime of tormented efforts to help a wounded son or daughter navigate life and relationships. It doesn’t matter why the perpetrator destroyed their precious child – it just matters that he did it. The child needs justice. The parents need justice. The community needs justice. The perpetrator needs to be locked up.

Are the Sandusky lawyers postulating a personality disorder for Jerry Sandusky – or attempting to establish a justice disorder for his victims?

1. Seligman, Martin E.P. (1984). “Chapter 11”. Abnormal Psychology. W. W. Norton & Company.
2. “Chapter 16: Personality Disorders”. DSM-IV-TR Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. American Psychiatric Publishing, 2000.

© Diane Roblin-Lee – June 15/12

By |June 17, 2012|Predator-Proof Your Family|

Predators Live Among Us – Book Launch

Spotting Potential Child Molesters

It’s pretty hard to protect our kids if we don’t know who the potential molesters might be. The problem is that predators wear masks made to look like trustworthy, safe people.

In the course of researching her book, Identifying Child Molesters, Dr. Carla van Dam interviewed over 300 molesters who exhibited similar types of behaviors in social situations. These similar behaviors provide us with a general pattern to watch for. If an individual exhibits enough of these behaviors to arouse concern, he needs to be considered too risky to allow unsupervised around our children.

Any suggested warning signs need to be viewed within the context of an individual’s life. For instance, if someone enjoys playing with children in the company of other adults, that’s normal. If someone is a particularly helpful person but doesn’t seek out the company of children, that’s a wonderful thing. However, if combinations of the warning signs are evident, there’s cause for concern and children need to be carefully watched around these people.

Predator-Proof Your Family – Series

Predator-Proof Your Family is a series of nine, 50-page booklets on issues surrounding child sexual-abuse.

#1 Why all the Fuss?

Why All the Fuss?

#2 Who is the Predator?

Who is the Predator?

#3 Predator-Proofing our Children

Predator Proofing our Children

#4 Predators in Pews & Pulpits

Predators in Pews & Pulpits

#5 The Porn Factor

The Porn Factor

#6 It’s all About the Brain

It's All About The Brain

#7 When the Worst That Could Happen Has Already Happened

When the Worst That Could Happen Has Already Happened

#8 Smart Justice

Smart Justice

#9 The Husband I Never Knew

The husband I never knew book cover

Purchase your copies of the 9 booklet series, Predator-Proof Your Family!

Disclaimer & Copyright

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not constitute part of the curriculum of any program. The development, preparation and publication of this work has been undertaken with great care. However, the author is not responsible for consequences that may ensue from use of materials or information contained in this work. The information contained herein is intended to assist communities, churches and individuals in establishing effective response to a controversial issue and is distributed with the understanding that it does not constitute legal advice.

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means without prior permission of the author, the copyright owner.

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