How Disasters and Trauma Can Affect Children’s Empathy

The researchers at OHSU analyzed 11 studies that evaluated the effectiveness  of child abuse and neglect prevention programs or interventions that took place  in clinics — such as meetings with a social worker, for example. They gave  parents questionnaires that assessed such risk factors as substance abuse,  depression, stress and attitudes  toward physical punishment — as well as noting whether parents were concerned  that their child may have been physically or sexually abused. Doctors discussed  the risk factors with parents and referred them to social workers if needed.  After three years, researchers found that parents who took part in risk  assessments and received social work referrals, if necessary, had decreased  incidences of abuse, fewer reports to Child Protective Services (CPS) and  better adherence to immunization schedules.

But the studies’ results were not persuasive enough to warrant new  recommendations for physicians, says Dr. Heidi Nelson, senior author of the  study analysis published in Annals of Internal Medicine and a research  professor in medical informatics, clinical epidemiology and medicine at OHSU. “This is not about identifying kids who are being abused,” says Nelson. “This is  about determining if a family in front of me is at risk for abuse in the  future.”

A major challenge with determining who is at risk for child abuse is how — and to whom — to pose questions. If the parents who bring a child to a check-up  are mistreating that child, says Grossman, it’s not likely they will volunteer  that information. “You are potentially asking the perpetrators if there is a  problem,” he says.

While evidence underpinning the effectiveness of screening questions is  scanty, home visits seem to have had more success. Last year, a study in the Journal of the American Medical  Association (JAMA) found that home visits can cut child maltreatment cases  by up to half. States determine eligibility for home visits in different  ways, but poor moms, single moms, homeless moms, teen moms and those with a  history of domestic violence typically top the list. Home visitors serve as a  sounding board and support system, educating moms about normal infant behavior,  cautioning them against shaking crying babies and offering suggestions for  stress relief and interacting with their babies. Parenting can be overwhelming  even for educated, well-to-do women, but those who are less fortunate stand to  benefit even more from having someone help them navigate the challenges of  child-rearing. In fact, when researchers evaluated the effect of home  visitations, they found that those babies whose families were visited by nurses  were less likely to die of all causes by age 9 than other children. Some studies  showed that children who benefited from home visits had less contact with CPS  and fewer trips to the hospital.

But other studies on home visits have shown mixed results, leading the task  force to stop short of issuing a blanket recommendation for primary-care clinics  across the U.S to adopt the program for families they perceive to be at risk. “It’s one thing to say that it’s a good idea, but it’s another to say that we  have definite proof,” says Nelson.

The task force last took up this issue in 2004; it will take another look at  any new studies that have emerged five years from now to see if things have  changed. In the meantime, for the next 30 days the public is welcome to submit comments on the task force’s preliminary  recommendations. “We are looking to see if we missed any key pieces of  evidence,” says Grossman.

Credits: http://healthland.time.com/2013/01/23/child-abuse-why-its-so-hard-to-determine-whos-at-risk/#ixzz2JUcdo28r

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Shane Trumble: Extensive Child Porn Collection and Kids’ Underwear Found in New Caney Trailer Home

This dude’s alleged actions are grosser than grossest. It also may be disturbing to some readers — you’ve been warned.

 

At approximately 6 p.m. Wednesday,  Montgomery County Precinct 4 Constables requested a search of the New Caney motor home occupied by Shane Anthony Trumble, his father and his grandmother, Cynthia Sue Trumble of New Caney. Shane Trumble, a registered sex offender and out-of-state fugitive from Cleveland, Ohio, was suspected of possessing a “disturbing amount” of kiddie porn following an investigation by the Montgomery County Precinct 4 Constable’s Office Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC).

After officers identified themselves and demanded that Shane Trumble, 23, step outside of the trailer home, Cynthia Trumble, 62, apparently went all New Caney by threatening to shoot the officers with the gun that she had aimed at them.

Grandmother and grandson eventually relented and allowed officials to search their trailer at the Wild Country RV Park on Farm to Market Road 1485. Officers found a gold mine of disgust that Shane Trumble had allegedly stashed away. (Get ready for the gross.)

According to the Montgomery County Precinct 4 Constable’s Office, uniformed police officers found approximately 20 gigabytes of child pornography on various iPads, computers and storage drives. Officials say that dozens of pairs of children’s underwear were deposited inside of a small trash can.

Shane Trumble has been charged with four counts of second-degree felony possession/promotion of child pornography. He’s also been charged as an out-of-state fugitive from justice because of an active felony warrant for possession of child porn in Ohio. (Before relocating to Texas, Trumble had been registered as a sex offender in North Carolina. However, he had failed to do so since arriving in New Caney last summer, which is another no-no.)

By the way, the burner that grandma threatened to shoot the officers with was a BB gun. Cynthia Trumble was charged with interference with public duties, a class B misdemeanor. After she was released on $1,000 bond, she and her son (Shane Trumble’s father) faced eviction from the RV park by the landlord.

As of the time this post was published, Trumble was being held without bond at the Montgomery County jail in Conroe and will be extradited to Ohio to face the music. (We have a message out to Montgomery County officials regarding his extradition.

CREDITS: HOUSTONPRESS

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Sandusky Back in Court, Says Trial Wasn’t Fair

Jerry Sandusky was sentenced months ago, but hearings in the Penn State abuse case aren’t over. Today, the court will hear lawyers debate the fairness of the trial, the AP reports. Calling for a new trial, Sandusky’s team holds that it wasn’t afforded enough preparation time. Defense lawyers must make “reasonable investigations,” the attorneys say. “Given the vast amount of material the prosecution turned over at the 11th hour, it is clear counsel could not come close to fulfilling this obligation.”

But prosecutors say Sandusky and his lawyer knew of a sexual assault report as far back as 2008. The former coach “identifies not a single act that counsel could have performed or a single piece of information that would have been learned with more time before trial that would have had any impact whatsoever on the jury’s consideration of the evidence,” which hinged on witnesses’ credibility, a prosecutor notes. The defense takes issue with several other aspects of the case, including a janitor’s hearsay testimony and the vagueness of some charges

CREDITS: NEWSER.COM

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Hasidic Man Denies Abuse of Young Girl He Counseled

“What were you looking to do in terms of her?” asked Michael Farkas, a defense attorney, as Mr. Weberman testified in his own defense.

“To save her life,” Mr. Weberman said.

He spoke on the concluding day of witness testimony in a closely watched trial in State Supreme Court; it is one of the first times a prominent member of the insular Satmar Hasidic community of Williamsburg has faced child sexual abuse charges before a secular court. Closing arguments are expected to begin Thursday.

The unusual decision by Mr. Weberman, 54, to take the stand in his own defense turned the trial into a credibility battle between Mr. Weberman and the accusing witness, an 18-year-old who claimed over four days of testimony last week that she had been forced to perform oral sex on him during counseling sessions, when she was between the ages of 12 and 15.

Dressed in the traditional long black coat and white shirt of the Satmar Hasidim, Mr. Weberman testified that he had first begun counseling his accuser in 2008, not in 2007, as she had claimed. He testified that he billed $150 an hour to see her, and also charged her family $1,500 for a trip upstate that he took alone with her. He denied that anything untoward had happened.

He based his testimony on work records, but under further questioning from prosecutors, Mr. Weberman admitted that he did not always record his meetings with clients. Mr. Weberman also admitted in court that he had used the finances of a nonprofit corporation he runs to help the poor, called the Congregation of Classon, to pay private school tuition bills for his children. Lingerie purchases were also billed to its accounts, prosecutors said.

“Maybe it did,” pay for lingerie, Mr. Weberman said of the foundation, “for certain individuals. I don’t know.”

At least three troubled teenage girls have lived in his office apartment in recent years, Mr. Weberman said, but he could not remember if there were more. One of the girls, Baila Gluck, now 23, took the stand Wednesday morning and said that Mr. Weberman had always acted appropriately and that she was grateful to him for his help.

Beyond the details of the accuser’s case, the testimony also shed light into the way the Satmar Hasidic community enforces its strict religious rules. Ms. Gluck testified that masked men from the religious modesty committee, based in Monroe, N.Y., had come into her bedroom at night when she was 15 or 16 years old to take away a cellphone that she was not permitted to have. The same committee, Mr. Weberman testified, regularly referred young boys and girls to him for counseling.

Mr. Weberman testified that as an unlicensed counselor, he was not obligated to report allegations of child abuse to secular authorities, nor was he legally bound to respect the privacy of the young people he was counseling. As a result, he shared information given to him by the teenagers with their parents and schools, he said.

At the center of Mr. Weberman’s defense is an example of that kind of information sharing. His lawyers have argued that his accuser invented her charges as an act of revenge, after she learned that when she was 15, Mr. Weberman had told her father about an 18-year-old boyfriend she had, leading to the boyfriend’s arrest.

Mr. Weberman testified on Wednesday that he had indeed told the father, but had falsely assured the girl that he knew nothing about what had happened.

“So she wouldn’t have known,” about his involvement said Kevin O’Donnell, an assistant district attorney.

“Right,” Mr. Weberman said.

CREDITS:  THE NEW YORK TIMES

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The bullied teen who was saved by the kindness of the town after a cruel prank

This Michigan sophomore beamed as she faced the bullies who voted her onto the  homecoming court as a sick joke. After initially planning to skip the  celebrations, Whitney Kropp, 16, bravely walked out onto the field during Ogemaw  Heights High School’s homecoming football game to accept the honor, and more  than 1,000 people showed up to support her.

Whitney was initially  thrilled to learn that she had been  elected to the homecoming court of her sophomore class. But her triumph turned  to humiliation when she found out from other students that her nomination was  nothing but a prank by the popular kids at the  school – and she was told that the male student who was elected with her  had withdrawn.

However, in an impressive show of support, her community  rallied around her. Local businesses offered to pay for her homecoming dress and shoes, an appointment at a hair salon,  and even a homecoming dance dinner.  A Support Whitney Facebook page has  received more than 100,000 likes after her heartbreaking tale of bullying  resonated with hundreds of thousands around the country.(Link)
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7 Common Forms of Childhood Bullying

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As the importance of preventing bullying and teaching kids to deal with torment from their peers is emphasized more and more in the media, it becomes apparent that today’s bullying bears little resemblance to the taunting and teasing that most parents were subjected to during their own childhood years. The modern bully wears many faces, and has an unprecedented level of access to the lives of those they hurt. Here are seven forms of bullying that today’s children are exposed to on a regular basis.

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Miramonte abuse scandal: Lawyers claim new evidence

Lawyers representing students and parents in a civil suit are leveling new accusations at the Los Angeles Unified School District over the Miramonte Elementary School abuse scandal.

Attorneys representing nearly 70 children and parents from Miramonte Elementary School say they have proof that the LAUSD ignored alleged lewd and lascivious acts by teacher Mark Berndt.

They say they have newly discovered documents supporting their allegations that there were clear signs of such behavior against children by Berndt.

“This is a pattern of years by the Los Angeles Unified School District to intentionally suppress and conceal evidence of suspected child abuse,” said attorney Brian Claypool.

Berndt is now in jail. He is pleading not guilty to criminal charges of lewd and lascivious behavior.

There is a separate civil action against the school district.  Parents are suing the school district for what allegedly happened.  The school district denies wrongdoing and has been trying to negotiate an out-of-court settlement in the civil action.

The school district documents include a state auditor report that the district mishandled allegations of misconduct.  The document says they failed to report at least 144 cases of teacher misconduct in a timely manner.

“The L.A. Unified School District was put on notice about the alarm bells and the triggers that were going off and yet they didn’t hear them and they didn’t see them,” said attorney Luis Carrillo.

The school district issued a statement on the Miramonte case:  “The school district has consistently sought to resolve the claims in the Miramonte matter in a way that respects the needs of the students.  Our primary goal in this process is supporting the health and well-being of the students.”

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