Interview With Keith Dion

I always say that there is no best way to tell your story. Write it, paint it or sing it. Look for Keith’s book coming soon.

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1. Abuse can be defined in many ways. How would you say that you and your brother were abused growing up?

 

Answer: Verbally, emotionally, physically. Eventually we were disowned by our parents and left to starve to death by the side of the road which resulted in the complete mental breakdown of my brother and his then very mysterious disappearance.

2. How did you and your brother cope with the treatment you were given at home?

 

Answer:  Not so well, but him much worse than I.  Despite a 4.0 gpa he was expelled from school and then went on a crime spree, joined the local chapter of the New Zealand Hells Angels and was eventually arrested on a series of burglary, robbery and car theft charges.

3. You lived away from home many times at a young age. What was this experience like? What did you learn from being out on your own, given the circumstances?

 

Answer:  I basically learned that I had only myself to depend on, and could rely on no one else for support. It also made me basically very suspicious of everyone and anything – this mind set of mine of course lead to others being suspicious of me. It took me years to identify this and to learn to start trusting people again. After being disowned by my parents and left to starve to death on the streets, and then watching my twin brother’s mental breakdown and disappearance it ended up being 10 years before I saw any of my family members again.

4. Despite the tumultuous atmosphere back home, did you still miss it? If so, was that hard for you and your brother to have these conflicting emotions?

 

Answer: Of course. Though completely abusive and dysfunctional, it was of course the only home and family I had. As for my brother, he had a complete schizophrenic breakdown and surfaced years later in Riker’s Island criminal insane ward. Conflicting emotions about my parents were the least of his problems at that point.

5. You go into detail in your transcript about your brother’s deteriorating mental state. How hard was it to be there every step of the way during his transformation?

 

Answer: Unbelievably difficult. I was completely helpless and had to just sit back and watch it happen. It was a miracle that I didn’t slip over the abyss into complete mental collapse with hm. I’ve heard some bad, bad stories of child abuse during my life from friends and associates and nothing touches this one. That is what prompted me to write it all down and attempt this book’s completion. A few years ago after a very serious car accident I had to go to a psychiatrist regarding panic attacks I was having. He of course asked me about my childhood, and when I told him this story, he nearly fell out of his chair and told me that it was the worst case of child abuse he’d heard in his 35 year career. It was he who told me that indeed me and my brother were “survivors” of filicide.

6. Has this experience inspired you to take action to help others who are affected by similar situations?

Answer: Yes, I donate time, energy and money to support homeless shelters and the homeless whenever I can. There’s nothing quite like being homeless and I hope it never happens to me again. People take their “homes and families” for granted. It’s quite something when they are taken away from you – especially violently via a PTSD damaged, Vietnam War veteran father.

 

7. How does this story tie in to the album “Reno Nevada and Other Songs of Gambling, Vice and Betrayal” that you wrote for your band The Great American Robber Barons?

 

Answer: All of the songs on the album are about Gambling, Vice and Betrayal and all link back to or are in some way related to what went down with all of this – we were of course abandoned by my parents on the border of Reno NV and Lake Tahoe CA on XMAS Eve.  There are many references to these events in the lyrics and song titles of the album such as:

 

Reno Nevada

I Know You Just Don’t Want Me Anymore

Where Were You When I Needed You

Nowhere Left To Go

It Was All My Fault For Ever Trusting You

Nobody Saw It Coming

I Promise I’ll Never Blow It Again

What Were They Thinking

 

This last one – What Were They Thinking – is the clincher. It has many verses about these events and their follow up.  The song can be found on our virtual press kit (http://cyberpr.biz/clients/3227), and the lyrics can be found here.

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Severely Malnourished Child leads To Abuse Charges

Child Abuse

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A North Miami Beach mother and father have been arrested and charged with child abuse after their severely malnourished child was found naked in the street.

Police said the child had jumped from the rear window of his house in the 14-hundred block of NE 152 Street, to escape his abusers on Saturday night.

The child, who is nine-years-old, was said to have the body of a much younger child, according to North Miami Beach Police.

When the child was taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital, it was discovered he only weighed 35 pounds, or roughly the size of a 3 – 5 year old child.

“He looks like he came from Auschwitz,” said juvenile court Judge Cindy Lederman. “This does not happen in a month.”

Police said the child’s hands and feet were so swollen from lack of food and that the child told hospital staff that he had not eaten in roughly three days.

North Miami Beach Police arrested Marsee “Redd” Strong, 34, and charged her with two counts of aggravated abuse and neglect of a child.

In addition, Edward Bailey, 39, was arrested for his alleged part in the case and faces two counts of aggravated abuse and child neglect.

According to police, Strong admitted to failing to protect her child from others and “not properly supervising him and getting him medical treatment in a timely manner;” but denied physically abusing the kid. She did not dispute that bruising covered most of the child’s body.

Bailey told police that he didn’t abuse his son, but “allows other to do so without his intervention.”

Bailey also said he noticed the child’s small stature and abuse, but didn’t take him to get medical treatment.

After an appearance in bond court, the boy’s mother was held on $65,000 bond. The father was held on $60,000 bond.

Neighbors were stunned to hear about the charges.

“I was surprised. I was shocked. I didn’t even know what to say when the police were here and the mother was standing on the corner and then I heard the child had jumped out of the window and ran down the street naked,” said Mary Williams.

Willie Mitchell said he never saw any problems with his neighbors.

“I always seen a lovely family with the kids happy around their mother.”

Another neighbor said she knew the boy had a severe eating disorder.

The victim is one of six children living in the home. The investigation has also revealed that the parents have a history of involvement with the Department of Children and Families.

An uncle, Joseph Lee, stepped forward in and asked to care for the boy’s five siblings.

“I’m looking for words to express how I feel,” Lee said in court. “I was not aware. You try to do everything you can. I asked her about him. She told me he was fine.”

According to a social worker, DCF had been monitoring the boy because he had refused to eat and “self-mutilated himself and his own skin.”

“There was food in the house,” the social worker said. “But there was no neglect. He just refused to eat.”

But, Judge Lederman said there was gross negligence and appointed a guardian to take care of the children and ordered medical tests for all of the children in the home.

Judge Lederman said this was “one of the worst cases I’ve seen. This looks like a neon sign. The abuse should have been obvious.”

Lederman ordered a thorough investigation and expected a full report by the next custody hearing on February 8th.

The North Miami Beach Police Department and the DCF continue to investigate the incident and the family.

CREDITS:  CBS MIAMI Reporting Peter D’Oench

 

Can I count on you, can the kids count on you?

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MACA is a non-partisan, grass roots, nationwide effort, to UNITE ALL Child Advocates together in solidarity on April 22, 2013 for peaceful demonstrations against child abuse and crimes against children in the U.S.
Description
April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month.  We seek to raise awareness of and ask for tougher sentencing for violent crimes against children in the U.S.
Statistics on crimes against children each year in the U.S. are staggering, sobering and should compel EVERY adult, parent, father, uncle, son, grandfather and all mothers, aunts, daughters, grandmothers and women to be moved to do something… NOW.  At a recent Washington Congressional hearing in June, 2011, experts believe nearly 10 children die each day from abuse. NCANDS, the national database for crimes against children, didn’t receive data from 3 states in their latest report!  States are NOT mandated to report child fatalities as a result of CAN or any type of abuse whether fatal or not!  We are NOT seeking to create more bureaucracy, but rather, demanding our lawmakers begin to protect our children through stiffer sentencing for child abuse, including mandatory life without parole for violent crimes such as child rape and murder. Unlike many diseases, child abuse is a willful act and 100% preventable through TOUGHER law enforcement and education.  We MUST let our nation and lawmakers know that Americans will NO LONGER tolerate inadequate laws and light sentencing.  Now is the time and we need YOUR HELP on April 22, 2013.
Register to walk by CONTACTING YOUR CITY’S FB PAGE,  IF YOU WISH TO LEAD OR CO-LEAD A CITY,  send your PHONE#, COMPLETE NAME, EMAIL ADDRESS & CITY: MACACoordinator@gmail.com  all registrations MUST BE COMPLETE. MACAcoordinator@gmail.com
All Leads get full support and given step by step instructions and items you need.  You simply send emails with the press release and flyer for your city to the media and organizations in your city.  Co-leads assist with emails.
To be taken to a list of cities and Facebook page’s click here (Please remember that not all cities have a facebook page up yet.) : https://sites.google.com/site/mmacamarches/home
Your city/town is not on the list? You can be our lead for your town! please register with MacaCoordinator@gmail.com and we will get in touch with you and send you all the instructions on what to do.
There cannot be ANY kind of fundraising going on at ANY walk throughout the entire nation. NO MONEY EXCHANGES HANDS AT OUR WALKS. If anyone involved with the walk in your city is fundraising, asking for donations, having contests with money or asking for money for anything EXCEPT our MACA shirts (which are $20), DO NOT give it to them and promptly write us a message here. Businesses and organizations CAN donate goods/services, this is NOT considered fundraising. If you are unsure please ASK us!***   ALL of our walks across the nation need to be unified and stay on track. These walks are the most important thing! Our children need our voice!
If you would like more information about MACA please see our notes section.

Geralyn Graham gets 55 years in Rilya Wilson foster child abuse case

Visit Face Child Abuse

Courtesy of The Miami Herald

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By DAVID OVALLE

dovalle@MiamiHerald.com

            Even as she was about to face justice for kidnapping and child abuse, Geralyn Graham insisted she never harmed foster child Rilya Wilson.

“I love her too much to ever have done anything to her. Things have been greatly exaggerated,” Graham said. “I ask that those who believe I’ve done these things forgive me, and those who know in their hearts I would never do these things to keep praying for me. The truth will come out.”

Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Marisa Tinkler Mendez, however, was not swayed — sentencing Graham to 55 years in prison. That means the 67-year-old Graham will likely die behind bars.

One in a Thousand Pictures, Tells a Thousand Words!!

Visit Informally Educated

By Kennesaw

 

A picture is worth a thousand words,

except when it’s not worth one.

Every picture tells a story,

 except when it don’t tell none.

A heartbeat keeps the time of your life, if it can.

Every heartbeat, writes the story of every man.

When it’s over and the dying done,

all the pictures are lies, except maybe one.

All the smiles you gave away,

were simply lies you told each day.

Lies for the teachers, the preachers and the world,

lies from the broken, little boys and girls.

Pictures of happiness, fleeting moments at best,

covered the horror, covered the rest.

No pictures, no camera covers the worst,

no pictures, no camera can see the hurt.

Some go on, life on kodachrome,

It’s a life they only dreamed once,

It’s not a life of their own.

But they will live it, it may be they’re only chance,

for any chance they have is still a chance to dance.

Some will struggle through, unhappy to the end,

they’ll spread the word of abuse and let the cycle never end.

Others of us will overcome, do the best we can,

enduring the ability to see through the pictures, into the blackened heart of man.

The pictures at the beach, the pictures at the mall,

never tell the story, never tell it all.

One in a thousand pictures, tells a thousand words,

that picture is never seen, those words never heard.

A bruised and broken body, a shattered beaten face,

are tagged and cover then buried in their place.

Innocents in a cold, lonely room lying on a frigid slab,

Is the only real picture of an abused child that they will ever have.

Don’t worry, don’t despair, you never need know,

those pictures are for documentation, not one will ever show.

The mended ribs, the bruised thigh,

the hint of blood in the nose and ears, the dislodged eye,

makes the picture complete.

Wash them, wrap them, speak the last words they’ll hear.

I beg you make them sweet.

Tucker Teacher Sentenced To 30 Years For Sex Crimes

Almarcus Dewayne Thomas, the Tucker math teacher convicted of multiple sex crimes, was sentenced this week to 30 years, 20 of which he will spend behind bars.

Thomas, 43, was arrested a year ago after the Internet Crimes Against  Children  (ICAC) Unit investigated him for alleged sexual activity with a 15-year-old female student at Tucker Middle School.

He pleaded guilty to multiple counts, including child  molestation, statutory rape, sexual battery and invasion of privacy.

“These alleged crimes involve a man who preyed on a minor while in a  position of authority and respect as an educator,” DeKalb County  District Attorney Robert James said in a statement. “This plea reflects  the acts of a monster who molested, abuse and took advantage of women  and children in DeKalb County. We hope this begins the healing process  for all individuals and families affected by these heinous crimes.

Credits: TUCKER PATCH

Visit us: Kennesaw Taylor

Child Abuse, Past, Present and Future

By Kennesaw Taylor

In 1873, Etta Wheeler, a nurse was making rounds in a tenement, in New York City. She had heard stories about a girl who was being held hostage and abused by her foster family. After talking her way into the apartment, she caught her first glimpse of nine year old Mary Ellen.

The child was barefoot, half clothed and half starved. A cat of nine tails lay nearby, and her arms and legs showed the effects of its use. Her face bore the look of suppression and misery. Over the next two months, Mrs. Wheeler reported the child’s plight to police and charities trying to save her, nothing was done. As there were no laws to protect children, no laws were being broken.

She contacted Henry Bergh, the president of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which had been started nine years earlier. Bergh convinced a judge to allow the society to intervene.

“I saw the child brought in wrapped in a horse blanket, at the sight of which men wept aloud.” Jacob Riis.

Mary Ellen’s body was one large bruise, and her face wore scares and slashes caused by her foster mother’s scissors. Using the only tools available, which were laws placed on the books, to protect animals, they saved Mary Ellen. This was the first case of removal, and New York City was the first to establish a child protective agency.

Mrs. Wheeler and the suffragettes then went on a campaign against child abuse. Their programs were rooted in prejudice as most were women of wealth and privilege. However misguided their efforts, something was being done.

Throughout history, children have been viewed as property or as possessions. In many cases, people had as many children as possible, to provide the free labor needed to run the farm or business. Up until the Civil War children were being used as slave labor throughout the world. While slaves had some rights and were considered valuable for their monetary worth, children held no such value. A war was fought in this country, to end slavery, as children worked in factories and died every day from starvation and worse.

If you became an orphan before the Civil War and for some time after, your chances of living to be old enough to escape the orphanage were slim. After the Civil War children were taken from families at an alarming rate. To be placed in foster care or an orphanage, at that time, was akin to being placed in prison. The entire affair was a good old boy system which further victimized those placed into it. Since most of those being taken were children from the poor, immigrant neighborhoods, no one cared.

Then child abuse advocacy faded again. Throughout World War I, the depression and World War II, it was ignored. The family needed to be a strong, sacred institution so children took one for the country.

Child abuse advocacy mirrors, social revolution, and as it had begun during the years following the abolishment of slavery, it resurfaced during the Civil Rights movement. In the early sixties, laws were passed requiring doctors and teachers to report suspected child abuse. It was during this time it was discovered X-rays could clearly distinguish between normal broken bones and those broken during abuse. For the first time, child abuse could be proven.

With the freedom of the Cultural Revolution, sexual abuse was discussed for the first time. Studies determined that all forms of abuse ran across our entire society, crossing all cultural, economic and sociological boundaries. Abuse was no longer believed to afflict only the poor, which was never true.

What followed was a veritable witch hunt. For years, allegations of abuse destroyed children and parents alike. While much was accomplished, many innocents were persecuted. Many lived in fear of a system, still rife with better than thou people. Children and adults, mostly from the lower classes feared and loathed it. We are still dealing with the backlash of that witch hunt today.

 

Last year there were three million reported cases of abuse in our country. Admittedly the studies, which produce these statistics, indicate there are two unreported to each reported case. That means nine million cases in America last year. Of those, only nine percent resulted in charges. Out of that nine percent, only nine percent resulted in a conviction. There are five children beaten to death in our country, each day at the hands of those they know, love and trust. Their average age is three years old. This number has recently been raised to ten per day.

The child protection service agencies have now become reactionary entities. So many laws were placed into effect, after the witch hunts, that in many cases, their hands are now tangled in red tape. By the time a child can be removed, many times that child is damaged beyond repair. They will go on to visit the horrors they endured upon another generation of innocent children.

The thousands of Social Workers and Foster Parents are not at fault. They are far outnumbered and poorly supported. These jobs are the hardest on the earth and those who do them are unsung heroes.

Foster Parents must give of their hearts freely, to children who have no idea what a heart is and place no value on the gift. The Foster Parents I’ve talked to, assure me one child who becomes a productive, loving person, is worth the hundreds of broken hearts and spent tears they endure.

Now for the question I am asked repeatedly. What can be done about child abuse?  Clearly our current system does not work. Greater minds than mine have worked on this problem for the last century. Yet the statistics grow. Frustrated, the majority of our population continues to turn a blind eye. They ignore the numbers which continue to grow despite the educated, enlightened nature of our country and the world.

When a thing hurts too much, it’s easy to look away.  I deal with this daily; advocates against child abuse are not popular and spend much of their time speaking to smiling, agreeing people who will never speak to them again. Many of us who were abused have inherent flaws, which prevent us from being Foster Parents or adopting. In many cases, the educated, have no experience and look down on those who do. They forsake the help of those who have a better understanding and a vested interest in stopping this epidemic. I say again, beware the self righteousness of the right. It’s easy to pass judgment on children when you have no clue what they are going through.

Now for the answer, if there is one. In some societies, children are trained to hate beginning at their earliest moments. I am in no way suggesting such a course of action. However, to put an end to such hate requires wiping the slate clean.

What I mean to say is, in order to decrease the massive amounts of abuse; the change needs to start with the young. First a few words of caution. Already the country believes that a child must simply cry wolf to condemn their parents. I am told often that we have lost control of our children, because we can no longer punish them. Furthermore, they are disrespectful and lazy. Again, excuses to stand by and allow what is happening, to continue. However, to some extent this is true and another indicator that our system is failing. If you don’t know the difference between discipline and beating a three year old to death, write me, I’ll explain it.

We cannot legislate this out of our society. We may jail as many as we like, but until all Americans understand, to our core, that children are not possessions or property there will be no change. Parenting classes given to adults will not make this go away. This change must start with our children. We need to develop a curriculum that can be taught, beginning in the first grade and continued throughout their education. One which makes it totally unacceptable to hurt a child under any circumstances.

The program D.A.R.E works on this principle, and it has made a difference. Now even smoking cigarettes has become deplorable in the eyes of many children. We need child abuse to become repulsive to all people, before they reach adulthood. Even if we take such measures, it may take up to three generations for this program, to make a difference. The monetary cost might be great, but our jails are full of the abused and our homes are full of the unhappy. Make no mistake we are paying heavily for what we do to our children. We must break the cycle, and it will require all of us to do it. Just because, abuse did not touch your household, does not mean that someone you love will not be abused, assaulted or otherwise victimized by someone who was abused. Now, for my question to you. Why does our society continue to become more violent? Nine million cases of abuse each year, HELLO.

We need to gather together people with the education and determination to make those in our government, who can make a difference, make one. Please feel free to contact me and point out how wrong I am, or to put petty differences aside and change the world for our children. kennesaw@kennesawtaylor.com