What is it going to take?

I wrote a blog post in February, 2013 titled “Is there a Survivors’ Community” in which I was looking for answers from survivors about our community, our way forward and who speaks for us.  In May,2013 I expressed my frustration in another post, “Crickets, Silence on the net…” that I did not hear from anyone in the survivor’s community.  According to the analytics I see on this blog, plenty of people read the original but no one offered their thoughts.

Here we are again and I am wondering why we can’t move forward.  I am wondering what the factors are in keeping us separated, unorganized and losing ground in efforts to change legislation and have society take the problem of sexual abuse and rape of children and vulnerable adults seriously.

A reporter contacted me a while back on a story concerning a priest accused of molesting a young boy.  He had already published the story but wanted my feedback.  He had used a quote from SNAP for the article, the same inane drivel that the National Director of that organization generically applies to any and all cases of abuse on which he is queried.  It made me wonder.

What is it going to take?  What would it take to get a coherent message from the survivor community to articulate the message that children and vulnerable adults are at risk from predators who enjoy a certain level of top cover from institutions who are more concerned with a risk management strategy than with the protection of those who need it most?  Is there a way that the message can be successfully crafted and articulated?  Can it be molded into a strategy that allows for the development of stronger laws to protect victims and enable the predators and their protectors to be held accountable both criminally and civilly?   Can we develop a voice that is institutionally agnostic and not narrowly focused on the Catholic Church, the Boy Scouts of American, Penn State or any other notorious institution with a history of child sexual crimes?

The other side of this argument is well-organized and well-funded.  Despite the fact that organizations like the Catholic League are notorious for spewing lies and portraying victims as predators or being responsible for the abuse inflicted upon them,  we have no credible organization, at the national level, that can present a coherent case for the need for change in legislation, education, institutional culture, and society in dealing with predators who prey on children.  We have no credible counters on Fox News to the Bill Donohues of the world.

We don’t need shrill fundraisers who only seem to hang around looking for the next donation to pay the salary or travel expenses for the next hit and run media opportunity. (It must be convention time again.) We need serious people who can step up and credibly do the work.  We need to actually network the survivors of child sexual abuse, their supporters, law enforcement, the criminal justice system and the legislatures in all the states to move in the direction of making the punishment so vile for crimes of this nature for both the predator and the institution that protects the predator that there is no where for the predator to find a safe haven.

As with many stories, the public eventually gets weary and loses interest.  That is what institutions like the Catholic Church want.  They want everything to blow over, go away, disappear.  The predators want that as well so that they may return to the business of grooming their next victim.  Perhaps it is time to find our national voice, our national strategy, our universal calling to actually effect a long-lasting change.  The shrill voices from Chicago and St. Louis have proven that they are not up to the task.   Who will step up?

Are you still out there?


8 thoughts on “What is it going to take?”

  1. What was dishonest about it Tetherow? Seems quite to the point and honest. Sounds like a frustrated survivor. Your not alone Mike B. We are out here. Many good lawyers are trying to get statute of limitations laws changed (Jeff Anderson) so that they can pursue the predators.

  2. If you are waiting on Jeff Anderson to do anything; good luck. Look how long it took him in his home state to get anything done.
    If victims wait for lawyers to open windows? Again good luck; and a long life span to you. you’ll need both.
    Here, again, is the problem regarding victims meeting up: SNAP.
    SNAP and Jeff Anderson and every group you see around this issue that’s formed and appearing functional is 99.9% of the time the church. SNAP VOTF Bishop Accountability, all are the church. Anderson’s an active Catholic so is Blaine; Anne Barret Doyle et all. Nothing wrong with being Catholic but all Catholic? When so many victims are no longer such?
    Imagine victims are hunted animals and traps are set in a circle around each single animal/victim. One trap’s SNAP. One Traps VOTF; one trap’s Jeff Anderson and each trap is linked so that the animal/victim believes there’s a system in place to protect and serve him. That’s what the traps say they are. That’s what the media says the traps are; but once you walk in you are done for. No community just more isolation. SNAP’s main purpose is to get victims to come forward; then NOT organize them/us but speak for them/us with out ever asking what it is we want to say.
    Fr. Tom Doyle is at the bottom and on top of all this fraud.
    If you had worked as closely with these people as I have here in Los Angeles for over 6 years you’d know what I say is true.

    1. The other “traps” are Tom Doyle and Jason Berry; Richard Sipe; Patrick Wall, Catholics all. And all cross authenticating each others “value” and “importance” and “safety” to what ever individual victim/animal that comes forward; and all the time controlling the “spin” about what the “truth” is regarding the victims you so rarely see. We’ve all been had as in trapped.

    2. Well said Jim Robertson. Our experience with SNAP was very sad, but educational at the same time. We learned that things aren’t always what they appear to be. When you google Harold Jerry Mash you’ll see SNAPs name there.

      There’s a big picture of Barbara Blane on the hard copy front page story in the Chicago Tribune Dated Nov. 2nd, 2012. I communicated with Joe Mahr from the Chicago Tribune for over 4 months, and I found many documents by doing multiple FOIA requests. Joe Mahr worked very hard on his end digging for documents, and interviewing. I first contacted the Tribune on July 2012,. I found that Mash worked for Chicago Public Schools on June 13th, 2012. I find it very disturbing that SNAP put out a news letter saying they had worked on exposing Mash for 10 months, when I didn’t ask for their help until July. The local SNAP leader, Claudia Vercellotti was much to busy to help us. Once I started finding documents on my own, then Claudia offered to make copies, and filed one FOIA request for his Toledo Pubic School file. After Masb was exposed she also did a couple of FOIA requests in Florida and Georgia. She would have never known this information if we didn’t tell her he also lived in Georgia, and traveled to Florida.

      After this Claudia constantly told us not to talk with the reporter, and to stop bothering various institutions for documents/records, which made no sense. We finally came to the conclusion that, although they didn’t do the actual work that lead up to exposing Mash, they wanted to take the credit for it, or at least it appeared this way.

      We found out extremely disturbing things about Mash, and the institutions who covered it up! He was a teacher that worked for the public schools in Toledo. He also volunteered with Big Brothers of NW Ohio, and the Boy Scouts. It’s not that we’re not appreciative of the help we did get, as SNAP did help with an attorney. Something just feels very uneven.

      We asked Barbara to correct the error in the newsletter, but so far this has not been done. She did call to apologize, and I don’t think she knew the full gravity of what went on in a Toledo. This isn’t about getting your face in the newspaper or TV. It’s about action, and making victims feel supported and safe. Also, victims need to feel validated, and they need laws changed! This isn’t just about pedophiles in Catholic Churches……. Pedophiles are crawling out of the woodwork everywhere. The coverup is epidemic, and it goes to levels you can’t imagine! Basically, we need to be more educated on how we can help ourselves, but also work together with what we learn. This would really make an impact in preventing further sexual abuse victims, and also put a dent in the massive coverup.

      If it wasn’t for my husband and two other brave men in Toledo, Mash would probably still be in a school! They’re the ones who had the courage to tell their stories, and give us something to start with.

  3. I just lost my whole comment…..

    We need to have a conference on what it’s going to take! My experience with exposing Harold Jerry Mash was an experience where I learned many hard lessons. If anyone is interested in knowing how we were finally able to expose a serial pedophile who’s been sexually abusing boys for decades feel free to email me.

    I will be happy to tell you how we did it? SNAP had very little involvement. It’s difficult for me to type lengthy comments and emails, and I’m happy to give ideas on many ideas on what it will take! One thing it will take if for this subject to stop being so hush hush!

    Google the name Harold Jerry Mash, and understand that what you see is just part of the story.

    Empowering the public is one thing that can help. The public needs to know their right when it comes to obtaining documents. There’s laws….Freedom of Information Act. FOIA

    I’m very passionate about this subject. Mash sexually abused my husband Ron in 1978.

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