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SANDUSKY VERDICT RAISES THIRD-RAIL QUESTION LOCALLY: WHAT IS THE TRUTH ABOUT ALL THE CHILD MOLESTATION RUMORS? … IT’S TIME FOR PITTSFIELD AND BERKSHIRE COUNTY TO FACE UP TO THIS ISSUE … IF THERE HAS BEEN AN ORGANIZED RING INVOLVING KEY PUBLIC FIGURES, IT NEEDS TO BE EXPOSED AND PROSECUTED; IF NOT, THE RUMORS MUST BE PUT TO REST ONCE AND FOR ALL

By DAN VALENTI

PLANET VALENTI NEws and Commentary

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, WEDNESDAY, JUNE 27, 2012) — Is it Berkshire County’s equivalent of the alligators that supposedly swim in the NYC sewers? Or is there a reason Ed Norton carries a speargun into the sewers? Urban myth or sad truth?

It’s the question that no one asks in public but many people in Pittsfield and Berkshire County bring up in small, private gatherings. It’s the ultimate Cardinal Sin question, and it again comes up in light of the verdict in the case of former assistant Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky, now a convicted child molester. Sandusky was with Penn State. How now with the State Pen.

In the light of the verdict, an ESPN reporter spoke up and admitted to having been molested as a child. In discussions and forums nationwide, the debate rages on child molestation: How common is it? How far back does it go? Who was or is involved?

Who Was Lord of the Ring, Assuming there Was a Ring?

As almost all of us know, these questions remain pertinent in Berkshire County circles amid the long-standing rumor-cum-belief-vs.-accepted wisdom that there has been operating, for a quarter century or longer, maybe double that, a child molestation ring involving some of the biggest names in local office and politics. Is there such a ring? if not, was there? If so, who was involved? Who was the Lord of the Ring? Legal considerations aside, what is the moral statute of limitations on such a reprehensible offense?

Are these stories true? They’ve certainly been repeated over and over. Many of us in the media have heard persons claiming to have first- and second-hand knowledge of “parties” being held at Camp Russell, the Boy’s Club, and activities associated with schools, parishes, correctional facilities, and in other locations where young boys were or could be at the mercy of men in authority.

Isn’t it time these stories be vetted, once and for all?

SANDUSKY CONVICTION BRINGS UP A SEARING, LOCAL, THIRD-RAIL QUESTION

This is the way Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports began his story on the conviction of Jerry Sandusky of child molestation charges:

BELLEFONTE, Pa. – Juror No. 4, the foreman, gray-haired and middle-aged, stood high in the back row of the jurors’ box, looked down at some sheets of paper, then at Jerry Sandusky and began to deliver a verdict a long, sad time coming.

Guilty. Guilty. Guilty.

Of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse. Of indecent assault. Of endangering the welfare of children.

Guilty. Guilty. Guilty.

Of terrorizing the poorest and most vulnerable of this area’s youth. Of abusing his fame as a former Penn State defensive coordinator. Of conducting a charade of charitable work to supposedly help children.

Guilty. Guilty. Guilty.

Forty-five times it rang out. Juror No. 4 hammered each one home with the independent force each one deserved.

There were just three charges Sandusky escaped on. After each of those not-guilty counts, it seemed that the foreman raised his voice as he returned to this parade of guilty verdicts.

—– 00 —–

Guilty. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty.

We wonder: Will we ever hear the words pronounced over any Pittsfield child molesters who are also members of the GOB? Is there a reason for these words to be so pronounced?

Things Just ‘Haven’t Been Right’

We know this crime exists in society, but has it involved any so-called Community Pillars of Berkshire County? If the answer is no, then no one should fear a fearless inquiry. If, however, the answer is yes, the truth needs to be revealed. THE PLANET suggests that until this question gets answered, there is no way for the city of Pittsfield to heal. Though we cannot detail how, we do know that if key public figures organized the occasions — near and far — and the circumstances for such a crime, the moral rot from that abomination certainly seeped into many if not most all the key offices of the city of Pittsfield and the County of Berkshire.

Could that be why things just “haven’t been right” going back, at least, to the late 1970s?

We haven’t seen airtight, legal proof, at least that would presently stand up in a court of law, that there is such a subpopulation of monsters among us. We haven’t had multiple, credible witnesses and accusers find the courage to step forward and tell what they know, naming names in the process. We do, however, testify to hearing stories over the years, from different sources, that seem to agree on certain names, incidents, and locations.

We also “know” without knowing — by most every anecdotal, emotional, and empathetic way that truth finds access to the human soul — that there is good reason to take these stories seriously. This doesn’t mean the judgment that they are true. It simple means that we should finally begin a probe to determine the truth. “We” includes the full weight of the entire criminal justice system in Berkshire County, and if that can’t be trusted, then a set of independent investigators from outside the area.

For if there is walking about in Pittsfield today in their offices of Respectability and High Power men who have been just as guilty as the jury found Sandusky to be, they need to be exposed and brought to justice.

A Story Told, A Story Pulled

While there haven’t been a lot of people willing to come forward to spill what they know, at the same time the issue doesn’t want to go away. For example, last year a story came our way from a relative of one of the “usual suspects” when this subject surfaces. He contacted us with a story about his step-brother, a household name in Pittsfield politics. He revealed a tale of systematic sexual abuse that lasted years. This haunted person, the victim, was on the verge of revealing the story publicly, wavered, suddenly changed his mind, and he hasn’t been heard from since. We don’t have a lie detector built into our brain, but we’ve seen many people truthin’ and lying over the years, and he seemed to us to be credible, as judged by his pain.

In light of the Sandusky verdict, and IF — and only IF — there has been systemic abuse of this kind emanating from various persons of power to prey on child victims, THE PLANET wonders: Will anyone come forward, at long last, and expose a dastardly evil that — if real — has been allowed to happen for too long. People in power, such as Sandusky, who held a key coaching spot on what was once one of the nation’s great collegiate football programs, have had practically unchecked access to perpetuate their crimes. Those days are coming to an end.

Anyone with access to e-mail can tell their story.

There are also people with access to the halls of power who may know of “things,” and while they did not engage in this crime looked the other way. For instance, will some of our long-time media colleagues at the Berkshire Eagle, present and erstwhile, who have shared stories privately, finally have the courage to report on what they know? Or will they continue to pretend everything is OK? Conscience can be a bitch or Tinkerbell from Disney.

We raise these as painful but necessary questions, for IF there has been such activity occurring locally involving otherwise trusted and respected men, there is NO WAY WHATSOEVER that the city of Pittsfield will find healing and rebound from the grip of a dark force that had held it for almost a generation.

Is there anyone who knows something? If so, who will come forward? Feel free to contact THE PLANET at danvalenti@verizon.net.

An Important Note If You Wish to Comment Publically

If you wish to comment on this story, THE PLANET asks that commentators refrain from accusing anyone.  We don’t want this discussion to head into a Topix-like cesspool. THE PLANET treats you like adults, and we would ask that respondents self-police. We shall provide back-up police by removing any offending posts. Please be on your honor. We want a serious discussion.

THE PLANET doesn’t make any assertions of fact. That’s why we raise the question: We don’t know, but we assert that this open question must be answered.

What’s the Legal Definition?

The Farlex online legal dictionary, a respected source, defines child molestation this way:

Child molestation is a crime involving a range of indecent or sexual activities between an adult and a child, usually under the age of 14. In psychiatric terms, these acts are sometimes known as pedophilia. It is important, however, to keep in mind that child molestation and child Sexual Abuse refer to specific, legally defined actions. They do not necessarily imply that the perpetrator bears a particular psychological makeup or motive. For example, not all incidents of child molestation are perpetrated by pedophiles; sometimes the perpetrator has other motives for his or her actions and does not manifest an ongoing pattern of sexual attraction to children. Thus, not all child molestation is perpetrated by pedophiles, and not all pedophiles actually commit child molestation.

Farlex goes on to say:

Regardless of the terminology, it is illegal for an adult to touch any portion of a child’s body with a “lewd and lascivious” intent. Usually, consent is not a matter of consideration, and is not available as a defense to a charge of child molestation. Even in cases where it can be proven that the minor victim was a willing participant, a sex act or improper touching is still a crime because children cannot legally consent to anything. Criminal penalties are severe for those convicted of child molestation.

According to the Justice Department, there are approximately four million pedophiles in the United States. It is difficult, however, to accurately assess the number of child molesters because many child molesters are not caught. The Justice Department reports the alarming statistic that one in four girls and one in seven boys will experience sexual abuse before the age of 18.

There is no single profile that accurately describes or accounts for all child molesters. There are many variables among individuals in terms of their personal characteristics, life experiences, criminal histories, and reasons for committing such offenses. One common misconception is that molested children grow up to become child molesters themselves. But, in fact, most childhood sexual abuse victims do not go on to become perpetrators. In some instances, if a child is sexually victimized, and is abused in other ways as well, he or she may later molest a child. Likewise, a sexually abused child who also exhibits antisocial behavior may go on to commit acts of child molestation, although an individual’s inadequate social and interpersonal skills do not make it inevitable that he will sexually abuse children.

Few criminal offenses are more despised than the sexual abuse of children, and few are so little understood in terms of the number of offenses committed, the proportion of the population who commit offenses, and the risks of re-offense. One reason is that sex crimes committed against children and teenagers are believed to be widely underreported. This assumption is supported by the reports of both sex offenders and sexually abused children. Offenders commonly report fewer incidents of child molestation than those for which they are ultimately convicted. And children are often loathe to report an incident because they are ashamed or they fear Reprisal.

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Another helpful website that discussion this problem is the one operated by the Child Molestation Research and Prevention Institute. 

The site begins this way:

  It is estimated that at least two out of every ten girls and one out of every ten boys are sexually abused by the end of their 13th year. To protect all children, we first need to learn the facts.Did you know that most children who are sexually abused, are abused by a family member or close friend? Did you know that “stranger danger,” by comparison, is quite rare?

Your Opportunity To Save Children

If you are an ordinary person in an ordinary family, you have the most power of anybody to save the children around you. Every time you tell your sister or your husband or your friend a fact about what causes child molestation, every time you tell them what we can do now to stop it, you build a stronger safety net for every child.

To begin learning the facts, start with theCMRPI Prevention Plan. This plan was developed from the findings of the Child Molestation Prevention Study by Gene G. Abel, M.D. and Nora Harlow.

Child sexual abuse is scary, but you don’t have to feel powerless. This website is dedicated to showing you the specific steps you can take to protect your children and all of the children in your community

Here are some hot links from the institute:
The site tells us that about the damage abuse causes:

How Severe is the Damage?

Some people will say that sexually touching a child does no harm. Some adults will even tell boy victims to “act like a man” and “stop whining.” Other adults are unsympathetic about the experiences of adult survivors. They will say that, no matter what happened in childhood, that is the past. You’re an adult now, so get over it.

The facts are that sexual abuse does harm the child and that the damage often carries over into the child’s adult life.

Studies show that this damage can include:

  • difficulty in forming long-term relationships;
  • sexual risk-taking that may lead to contracting sexually transmitted diseases, including AIDS;
  • physical complaints and physical symptoms;
  • depression, suicidal thoughts, and suicide;
  • links to failure of the immune system and to increases in illnesses, hospitalizations, and early deaths.

In addition to the tangible physical and emotional damage that sexual abuse does to the child, that terrible secret that is held so close by two or three family members can go on to tear at the fiber of the family in generation after generation.

We hope this information encourages a helpful community discussion. We further hope that by bringing this story out in the open, we can get to the truth of what, if anything, has been going on locally for so long.
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“DOXOLOGY IS THE ACCLAMATION OF PRAISE,” THE PRELATE SAID. “YES,” THE HUMBLE MOUSE REPLIED, “BUT WHAT DOES IT MEAN IF YOU CONTINUE IN THIS WAY?”
“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”
LOVE TO ALL.

6 Responses to “SANDUSKY VERDICT RAISES THIRD-RAIL QUESTION LOCALLY: WHAT IS THE TRUTH ABOUT ALL THE CHILD MOLESTATION RUMORS? … IT’S TIME FOR PITTSFIELD AND BERKSHIRE COUNTY TO FACE UP TO THIS ISSUE … IF THERE HAS BEEN AN ORGANIZED RING INVOLVING KEY PUBLIC FIGURES, IT NEEDS TO BE EXPOSED AND PROSECUTED; IF NOT, THE RUMORS MUST BE PUT TO REST ONCE AND FOR ALL”

  1. Ed Shepardson
    June 27, 2012 at 7:59 am #

    I’d start by trying to get a list of all Camp Russell counselors and see if there is a pattern of comradeship that carries past those days. That’s where I was “fondled.” And though I don’t normally pass along rumors, they do persist about Camp Russell. I think some have posted here about their experiences, but when people are afraid to use their real names, they are just rumors.

  2. levitan
    June 27, 2012 at 8:21 am #

    Sounds like a call for a witchunt. The stories of Baran and the Amiraults should give one pause.

    Now, taking the institutions that negligently permitted the predators to court and holding their officers responsible should produce a better culture.

    • Ed Shepardson
      June 27, 2012 at 8:33 am #

      Mr./Ms. Levitan, I agree. Sadly, most molesters have been molested themselves. And, for his role in the RCC coverup, Bernard Law should be in a prison cell now rather than having afternoon cocktails with the pope. I brought up the Camp, rather than “my special counselor” because, if there was widespread molestation there, it would mean far more to hold that organization responsible for the coverup than chase down individuals perpetrators.

  3. Dead to Rights
    June 27, 2012 at 9:41 am #

    CAmp Russel WAS a hotbed of this activity, so was the Boys Club. I agree totally with this article, and like its’ tone, kinda like ‘This has been out there as a story’ for so long, but we’re not sure, so let’s find out. Best point is if this stuff went on we have to root it out like a cancer or people and the community will never heal.

  4. Ed Shepardson
    June 27, 2012 at 9:43 am #

    Dead To Rights,
    Your unsigned post offers no specifics, Just more rumors. Got any?

  5. Genifer
    June 27, 2012 at 10:24 am #

    I believe my brother was molested at Camp Russell. He was haunted all his life from something at Camp Russell. He drank himself to death. I wished I had pushed him more. I will never really know.