Scott Brown's Trauma

It's time for Scott to let them take his inner child by the hand and lead him to safety.

Sexual abuse of a child is no laughing matter. When Scott Brown first came forward with his account of suffering sexual abuse by a counselor at what most believe is Camp Good News during his childhood, the first shot out of many Cape Cod Today readers' keyboards was to start throwing Jeff Perry into the story. Scott Brown's trauma is a serious matter all by itself. Let's leave Jeff Perry out of Scott Brown's story for the time being and spend our energy tracking down the person who the Senator says molested him.

        Vote in our Poll.
         Should Scott Brown
         name his abuser?

Others have questioned whether Brown might have fabricated the story to sell more copies of his book. He certainly made it onto 60 Minutes in record time. Until we hear otherwise, let's all assume that Scott Brown is telling the truth. He has opened Pandora's Box for Camp Good News and the camp has thus far responded in a way that would make Bernard  Cardinal Law proud.

Camp Good News spokesman Stephen Brooks is quoted in the media as saying "The presumption is that it happened here." Brooks reports they are trying to reach out to the Senator.

Educate Yourself
about Child Sexual Abuse


In researching this editorial we spent time exploring the web site of Children's Cove in Hyannis. Cape Cod is fortunate to have this excellent resource for young victims of sexual abuse. Children's Cove's site is a comprehensive source of material for anyone with concerns about this important issue. If ever there was a "teachable moment" for parents and children, it is the opportunity to talk with our
children about the abuse allegations Senator Scott Brown raised this week.
Questions are raised about what Senator Brown means when he said, "Nothing was ever consummated". Parents and children should remember that child sexual abuse takes many forms. According to Children's Cove these include:
Fondling
Sexual Acts with a Child: penetration, intercourse, incest, oral sex, sodomy.
Child Pornography: using a child in the production of pornography, such as film or magazine
Exposing a Child to Pornography: (movies, magazines, internet)
Violations of bodily privacy: forcing a child to undress, spying on a child in the bathroom.
Luring a child for sexual liaisons: Through the internet for sexual purposes
Exposing a child to adult sexuality: showing sex organs to a child, forcing a child to watch adult sex acts, group sex
Child Prostitution/Sexual Exploitation: using a child to perform sex acts with others
Communicating in a Sexual Manner: Either through phone, letter, or Internet.
   Whenever possible, especially with adolescents, it's vital that we keep dialog open, honest and non-judgmental with our kids. Many times a child will talk to her friends about something and not their
parents. For example, suppose your fifteen year old daughter has a part-time job and starts talking online with her supervisor, a thirty-something man. If those online chats start to turn sexual or if something explicit happens on a web cam, it's vital both for her already to know a line was crossed and that it's okay to talk to her parents. In many case the only way this girl's parents will find out is when
she tells one of her friends and (maybe) the friend tells her mother who gives you a heads-up. Similarly, if your child tells you about a friend who is having this kind of encounter it is vital to alert the friend's parents to what you have heard.
   Children's Cove publishes the following guidelines to help in a situation where  your child discloses possible sexual abuse:
   Encourage your child to talk freely about the abuse Do not be judgmental.
Tell them it is not their fault Assure your child they did the right thing in telling you.
   Avoid making promises to your child
Show that you understand and just listen
Assure them they will be talking to someone about the abuse who will keep them safe.
Thank your child for being so honest and brave.

How ‘bout the Camp reaching out to law enforcement to find the perpetrator? If Camp Good News had a molester on its staff during Scott Brown's stay, the odds are that there are more campers out there with a pretty tale to tell. Camp spokesperson Jane Brooks is quoted in the media as saying, "We do not have staff records dating back that far. We only came into the computer age about 15 years ago."

Hogwash!

Employment records can be retrieved, if necessary by asking law enforcement to pull the Camp's records from the Social Security Administration. Why wouldn't the Camp pull out all the stops to unmask the alleged molester? Surely Scott Brown isn't going to sue them, though there might be dozens of other victims who might. How long did the alleged molester work at the camp? Does he still work there today? Once we have the alleged molester's picture out there, more victims will likely come forward.

Camp Good News accepts children from all over New England. Most of them - including Scott Brown - were not citizens of Barnstable County when they attended camp. Surely if the Barnstable County District Attorney's office does decline to investigate this situation - and they haven't declined as of this writing - then the media might persuade the Attorney General of Massachusetts to have a look. If Cape Cod Today and other media can get the Attorney General's office interested in the Touched by Angels scandal, I bet they can get her to take a look at a possible serial child molester.

Senator Brown's position on this matter is both understandable (from a victim's perspective) and perplexing (he's a parent, too) but if this was important enough to find its way into his book then he recognized it as a significant event in his life. Press reports have Brown saying that "nothing was ever consummated" which we assume means there wasn't a penetrative act. However the allegation remains that he was molested either by touch, word or exposure and it sent him screaming out of the building. If a young molester got away with that kind of act, there's every reason to believe he escalated his acts in future encounters with children.

Children's Cove in Hyannis states on their web site that every six minutes a child in the US is sexually abused. Children's Cove projects that 30% of abused children never reveal the molestation to anyone not even a family member or trusted friend. The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry reports that 80,000 incidents of child sexual abuse are reported to law enforcement each year with many more going unreported because of intimidation.

The fact that our junior US Senator is still too intimidated to un-mask his abuser lends enormous credibility to the material posted on Children's Cove's web site. Scott Brown is a powerful, prominent man and he's still keeping his abuser's secret, still allowing that abuser to intimidate him. Inside the Senator still lives the frightened boy who came home from his idyllic Cape Cod summer camp and begged his family not to send him there again.

It's time for the Attorney General to uncover this child abuser

Barnstable County has an obligation to victim Scott Brown and to any other of his fellow victims to investigate this case, ascertain the facts, un-mask the alleged perpetrator and find out how many children were hurt. If not Barnstable County then the Attorney General should look into this situation.

It's true that Martha Coakley was Brown's opponent in the recent election. She is, however, an outstanding enforcer of the law and a good friend to children in distress. We would like to believe that her office would investigate all the more aggressively something like this because it is Scott Brown, especially now that it is generating national publicity.

Betty Ford made breast cancer a topic of dinner table conversation, Ronald Reagan put a prominent face on senior dementia, Magic Johnson demystified HIV/AIDS. Now Scott Brown comes forward as one of the most prominent people to reveal that he was sexually abused as a child. His partial revelations make some think the story might not be true, yet his very hesitancy to talk about this underscores the trauma that he may even now deny.

With these revelations in his book, Senator Brown has let the proverbial genie out of the bottle. It is time for him to come forward with the rest of the story by naming his abuser so that the wheels of justice can begin to turn. How would he feel if it was one of his lovely daughters revealed that she was molested? Wouldn't he want to flay the perp alive, like any parent would?

There are plenty of professionals available to help the Senator through this trauma. It's time for Scott to let them take his inner child by the hand and lead him to safety.

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