A response to readers

Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I am always gratified and heartened by those who understand that this site is a search for the “why” behind sexual assault and abuse in order to prevent these cycles.

For the person who wanted to know if Brents could be lying about his childhood-please know there are medical and psychological records (some are posted on this site) that confirm he was sexually abused by both parents and also physically abused by his father. I obtained those records from the Denver Public Defender’s Office after Brents signed a HIPPA release. Brents’ younger brother was permanently removed from the home. Brents was removed from the home but returned.

For the person who implied that this site “idolizes” Brents–let me be clear. I do not idolize Brents. Nor do I feel sorry for him. Nor do I believe that anything could possibly justify his crimes. I, too, believe he should never be free.

Yet he is not an animal. He’s a human being who committed horrific acts and I want to know why. Denying his humanity or how he was made only serves to perpetuate the existence of predators like him.

And if illuminating the issues of his case raises awareness that helps just one person, it’s worth it.

This is in response to the school counselor who had questions about reporting suspected abuse. Your school should have its own policy, so ask administrators what that is. If that’s not clear, or is insufficient, contact your state’s department of social services on what the law is and how to report.

Also, here’s some information, below. The most important elements to remember are that those who work with children, such as educators and counselors, are mandated reporters–which means they are required by law to report suspected abuse or neglect. And that word “suspected” is key-the law does not expect those educators and counselors to be investigators. Also, state laws vary, but mandated reporters are protected for confidentiality.

This is from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

Every State legally mandates that educators report suspected child abuse and neglect. A mandated reporter is anyone required by State law to report maltreatment to the designated State agency. However, some States clearly define that teachers, principals, nurses, and counselors are included in this mandate, while other States designate all school personnel. In addition, almost every State levies a penalty against mandated reporters who choose not to report. This penalty ranges from a fine, a misdemeanor charge, or time spent in jail. Until recently, most States did not strictly enforce these penalties, but this has changed within the last few years. A number of States have sanctioned nonreporters for failing to obey reporting laws, so it is important that educators know the reporting laws for their State.

In addition to penalties for not reporting abuse and neglect, all States provide immunity from civil liability and criminal penalty for mandated reporters who report in good faith. In other words, the law requires educators to report child abuse and neglect, provides protection for those educators who become involved, and penalizes those who fail to meet their obligations.

For information about each state’s requirement and where to make a report, the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network has excellent information on their website.

And here’s some tips on how to recognize signs of child abuse or neglect, again from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

The following signs may signal the presence of child abuse or neglect. The child:

  • Shows sudden changes in behavior or school performance
  • Has not received help for physical or medical problems brought to the parents’ attention
  • Has learning problems (or difficulty concentrating) that cannot be attributed to specific physical or psychological causes
  • Is always watchful, as though preparing for something bad to happen
  • Lacks adult supervision
  • Is overly compliant, passive, or withdrawn
  • Comes to school or other activities early, stays late, and does not want to go home

The parent:

  • Shows little concern for the child
  • Denies the existence of, or blames the child for, the child’s problems in school or at home
  • Asks teachers or other caretakers to use harsh physical discipline if the child misbehaves
  • Sees the child as entirely bad, worthless, or burdensome
  • Demands a level of physical or academic performance the child cannot achieve
  • Looks primarily to the child for care, attention, and satisfaction of emotional needs

The parent & child:

  • Rarely touch or look at each other
  • Consider their relationship entirely negative
  • State that they do not like each other

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