Flying, Body Scanners and TSA Groping
I’m sure by now you’re probably aware of the new security regulations at airports that subject you to very intimate searches if you opt out of the body scanner that photographs you naked in the security line. The scanners and new search procedures are going into every airport in the country now.
For me personally, this is a deal breaker when it comes to flying. I won’t do either – the scan or the TSA sexual assault. I’d rather take the train or drive on vacation. I’m not sure what that means when it comes to flying for business trips, however. I feel a conscientious objector status coming on.
Catholic Priests Abused Women, Too
According to a Salon article [Devout and defiled: While male victims of predatory priests dominate the headlines, abused girls and women suffer in silence], statistics show that half of the victims of sexual abuse at the hands of priests are women; something I’ve been saying all along. Which means that the the sex abuse scandal with the church was not the fault of gay people, as the Catholic Church claims, but the fault of the Church itself, who kept secret all the abuse for so many years.
Abuse survivors, along with their attorneys and psychologists, say that sexism and social conditioning, magnified many times over within the Catholic Church, have led to the trivialization of harm suffered by women who have come forward to finally report abuse by priests. At the same time, these same factors have caused women to be ashamed — and keep silent — about their experiences.
“There’s no question that abuse of women [by priests] has been vastly underreported,” says A.W. Richard Sipe, a former priest and psychotherapist who has studied priests’ sex lives for more than 30 years. “There’s a tremendous bias against women in the U.S. — and the world — and a tremendous callousness about sexual abuse against women.”
No secular organization has statistics on the total number of people abused by priests; the most complete numbers are held by church officials, who aren’t sharing. But attorneys and survivor networks estimate that from one-third to over a half of all victims of sexually abusive priests are women. And criminal cases filed in the last year in Los Angeles County involve approximately the same number of male and female victims.
A key quote about why we hear so much about the abuse of boys:
“Women and girls are every bit as much at risk as boys and men,” says Schoener. “But the sexual abuse of a boy is treated far more seriously, and is considered a far worse offense. Men are regarded as too strong to be victims; their victimization is somehow more shocking to the public. Women are expected to put up with more.”
“To begin with, women appear less likely to report abuse, says Schoener. The shame of sexual abuse is similar for both genders, but women tend to be “trashed” by church officials and supporters as being seductresses, he says. “We have seen girls as young as 10 portrayed as sirens.” Reporting sex abuse also tends to have more serious ramifications for a woman’s marriage.”
Central Park Attacks letter to the editor
I’m watching Dateline NBC… the special on the attacks in Central Park of women during the Puerto Rican parade.
I was outraged by this special, and not just at what happened, but at the way that you reported it. You blamed the victims and made excuses for the criminals, and that is wrong, plain wrong.
I can walk naked down the street with a rose in my teeth, and no one has a right to touch me without my permission. If they do, they should be arrested, and spend every second of the rest of their lives in jail. It’s as simple as that. The young women who were laughing and flirting before they were attacked were NOT at fault for what happened to them. They have a right to be out in public, enjoying themselves, and enjoying attention paid to them.
You practically apologized for the behavior of the men involved. You cited things like testosterone, beer, marijuana as the causes, not moral bankruptcy and total lack of conscience. Then you had the unmitigated gall to cite the squeaky clean backgrounds of some of the young men.
These young men were criminals. They’re bad and evil, and deserve to spend their lives in jail. I don’t care if his brother is a cop, or if he’s a barber.
Our society has this weird mass delusion that rapists are men that hide in the bushes and just jump out and rape women all day, as though that’s their job.
Rapists are people’s brothers, basketball stars, fathers and sons. They are regular people. The fact that we can’t realize this and deal with it is the reason that we can’t stop rape, and the reason that women can’t get justice when they’re attacked.
Watching this special, I got up several times and walked around my apartment, acting out what I would do if I were caught in this situation. I was raped in 1989, so this isn’t the first time I’m acted out this scene. And every scenario I came up with involves me attacking and hurting, maiming or killing one or more of these men.
I can’t begin to express the rage I feel that this can happen in our society and that we, rather than deal with the issue swiftly and punitively, make rationalizations about why it happened.
A Family By Choice
Reprinted from The Indianapolis Star
INDIANAPOLIS (Sun. Jan. 9, 2000) — Butch Kimmerling adopted his 8-year-old foster child to keep her from becoming a gay man’s daughter. Kimmerling, 52, is now accused of molesting the little girl, and has admitted it.
Even as Kimmerling prepares to go to court soon on 10 felony counts of child molestation, a state lawmaker prepares to introduce legislation to stop gay people from adopting.
State Rep. Woody Burton, R-Greenwood, said he was appalled at Kimmerling’s admissions to molesting the little girl. "That guy ought to be put in jail," he said.
Still, Burton says, that doesn’t mean Kimmerling’s protest against gay adoption was wrong.
Spurred by Kimmerling’s protests over gay adoption, Burton sponsored a bill last year in the General Assembly that would have banned gays or single people from adopting. It didn’t pass, but he plans to re-introduce legislation in 2001.
FAMILY TIME: Craig Peterson and his three sons — (from left) Andrew, Michael and Brandon — share a laugh while reading a storybook before bedtime. Peterson, 39 and a gay man, has overcame many obstacles to adopt three special-needs boys. )
Away from the maelstrom, in a quiet house in Indianapolis, a gay man raises the little girl’s three brothers, ages 4, 5 and 6. They are his sons, now. Even as Craig Peterson tries to shield his boys from the swirling controversies, the intersecting threads still touch them.
Peterson is fighting for the right for his sons to visit their older sister. In fact, he would still like to adopt her or arrange visits between her and her brothers.
"These boys … would love to have a relationship with their sister, and they’ve never been given that opportunity. We talk about her, and we pray for her."
The Kimmerling’s adoption of the boys’ sister was approved — in December, 1998 — even before Peterson’s adoption of his sons was approved. That approval came in September 1999.
"Here, I’m jumping through hoops, and they’re taking hoops down for these people," Peterson said.
Even after the Kimmerlings "won" adoption of the little girl, they continued to fight for a ban against gay adoption.
In a letter to the editor of The Indianapolis Star, published Oct. 13, 1998, Kimmerling and his wife wrote: "Girls need mothers so they can learn what it is to be a woman; they need fathers so they know how to interact with the opposite sex."
Kimmerling later admitted molesting the little girl numerous times before and after that letter was written — "many times since April or May 1998, and the last time on the morning of May 10, 1999," court documents note Kimmerling said.
Two veteran public servants in Madison County — Detective Dale Koons and Judge Fredrick Spencer — weren’t surprised by the molestation charges against Kimmerling.
"Those with the deepest secrets protest the most," Spencer said. He said he knew of numerous instances of child molesters, before they were found out "…said that all molesters should be taken out and shot for their crimes."
Kimmerling’s attorney, John Erickson, said his client has fully cooperated with officials, has had no contact with his daughter and has sought treatment.
Madison County Prosecutor Rodney Cummings said he plans to try the Kimmerling case himself, rather than hand it to a deputy prosecutor.
Cummings, who himself grew up in foster care in Anderson, moving from home to home and experiencing abuse in some homes, said he takes special interest in this case.
"I want to do it, and I want to make sure it gets done the way I want it done," he said.
Cummings said last month that he didn’t anticipate a plea agreement. Refusing to talk about this case specifically, Cummings said that he saw prison as "the only option" for most child molesters.
Of the 10 counts pending against Kimmerling, two are A felonies, the other eight, C felonies. On each A felony charge, Kimmerling could get 20 to 50 years in prison, and two to eight years imprisonment for each C felony.
The Indiana Legislature won’t be alone in debating the issue of gay adoption.
Controversies surrouding the issue have erupted nationally. Last year, Texas attempted to ban gay adoption, but it failed in the legislature.
However, an aide to Gov. George W. Bush said the presidential hopeful would have signed a law banning gays from adopting.
And just last year, New Hampshire lifted its ban on gay adoption. Previously, foster children weren’t even allowed to spend the night in a home where a homosexual was visiting.
THERAPY: Michael, Andrew and Brandon watch a half-hour of a Disney video before bedtime with their heads in their hands to help strenghten their neck muscles, which are weak from the effects of fetal alcohol syndrome. Peterson believes this will result in improving the boys’ attention spans.
While Utah and Arkansas make gay adoptions nearly impossible, Florida is the only state that has an outright ban on gays and lesbians adopting. The law stemmed from Anita Bryant’s 1977 crusade to overturn a gay rights ordinance in Dade County.
Indiana’s Burton is clear in his opposition to gay people becoming adoptive parents.
"I think children need the influence of both a mother and father," said Burton, who said he also plans to introduce other adoption reform bills. "(Children) need two different people with different biological makeups.
"It takes a man and woman to make a child. It takes a man and woman to raise a child."
Burton said children adopted by gays and lesbians are hurt unnecessarily when forced to experience the stigmas and mistreatment gay and lesbian parents receive in society.
"There is not one credible study out there to demonstrate that children of gay and lesbian parents suffer at the hands of their peers any more than any other kids," said Sean Lemieux, the director of the Project for Equal Rights for the Indiana Civil Liberties Union.
"Does that mean we take kids away from overweight parents because they get teased on that basis?"
Steve Kirsh, an Indianapolis lawyer who mostly handles infant adoptions, occasionally works with gay and lesbian couples.
One birth mother purposely chose a gay couple to be her baby’s parents because the child was biracial, Kirsh said. The woman reasoned that the couple had themselves faced prejudice and would be better equipped to raise a child facing prejudice.
In Kirsh’s practice, gay couples have adopted African-American babies, biracial babies or those with disabilities.
He doesn’t think any ban on gay adoption is necessary.
"Given the fact that there are so few gay adoptions taking place and also that gay couples are adopting hard-to-place children, I would think the legislature has more important things to worry about."
Peterson’s sons all have special needs. Because of their birth mother’s use of alcohol during pregnancy, they suffer effects of fetal alcohol syndrome.
Ron Carpenter knows about children, like Peterson’s sons, who are hard to place. He heads the Children’s Bureau of Indianapolis, which has a contract with the state to help find homes for nearly 2,000 Hoosier children needing homes.
"Special-needs kids take some very special or unique kinds of families," Carpenter said. "Though it would be great to have the ‘normal’ or ‘traditional’ family unit stepping forward, it just doesn’t happen."
There are some critics of gay adoption who insinuate that gays are more prone to molest children.
In 17 years on the bench, there is one type of person Judge Spencer in Madison County says he has not seen facing molestation charges: homosexuals.
"I have never seen a known gay person who has been accused of sexually molesting a child," he said.
Burton says he thinks more married couples would adopt, if the state had less red tape and better laws to assist them. That will be part of the legislation he plans to introduce next year.
Judith Myers-Walls, an associate professor of family studies at Purdue University, questioned Burton’s premise that a traditional mother and father are always the best for children.
"We put adoptive parents through a lot more rigor than we do biological parents," she said.
As a result, some studies show that gay and lesbian parents tend to be better quality parents.
"They’re working very hard at parenting. They’re much more conscious of what they do and are careful with decisions because they worry of how they are perceived by others," Myers-Walls said.
Furthermore, kids adopted by gays don’t "become" gay, she said.
Studies show that gay and lesbian parents are slightly less likely to have children who identify themselves as gay or lesbian than heterosexual parents, Myers-Walls said.
Peterson said doesn’t spend much time researching the issues.
Instead, he’s focused most on being a father; providing for his sons’ most immediate needs: good educations and a nurturing home that helps them to grow up kind and successful people.
The father finds sad irony in the fact that Kimmerling, who later admitted being a child molester, fought so hard to prevent him from adopting.
"How could that man say horrible things about me when he’d been doing this to the girl?"
Man Charged With Molesting Adopted Child
Kimmerling had fought attempt by gay couple to adopt 8-year-old girl, with the help of an adoption law firm
ANDERSON [Indiana] – An Anderson man who gained statewide attention by fighting attempts by a gay couple to adopt an 8-year-old girl under his foster care now is charged with molesting her.
Earl “Butch” Kimmerling, a 51-year-old school bus driver who adopted the girl with his wife, confessed in a videotaped interview to molesting the child, according to Anderson police.
Kimmerling battled a gay couple from Indianapolis when they tried to adopt the girl last year. He and his wife, Sandi, gained support in their fight from religious and political leaders in Anderson and across Indiana.
But Kimmerling now faces four counts of felony child molestation, according to court records. Accounts Kimmerling and his daughter gave police were consistent, Anderson police spokesman Mitch Carroll said. People can get in touch with family lawyer serving in Beverly Hills to get help for divorce cases.
Sandi Kimmerling refused to comment and her husband was unavailable Friday night. She filed charges with Anderson police on May 11, Anderson police investigator Dale Koons said.He was released from the Madison County Detention Center on a $35,000 bond Friday evening and will be arraigned this morning. If convicted, he faces between 20 and 116 years in prison.
The girl – now 9 years old – told police the abuse began last April, before the adoption controversy hit its zenith.
The Kimmerlings and their pastor, Brad Brizendine of Center of Faith Church, launched a campaign opposing homosexual adoption last August.
That’s when they found out the girl, who they had cared for over more than five years, would be reunited with her three younger brothers and placed with a homosexual Indianapolis couple.
Anderson Mayor Mark Lawler was one of the couple’s most prominent boosters and attended the adoption finalization at the Kimmerlings’ request. Lawler was unavailable for comment on Friday.
The controversy even extended to the General Assembly, where Republican state representatives Jack Lutz of Anderson and Woody Burton of Greenwood proposed a bill to ban gay adoptions in Indiana.
A bill that would have made it harder for gays to adopt passed the Republican-controlled Indiana Senate, but died in the Democrat-run House.
The Kimmerlings, who have been foster parents since 1991 and shared their home with about 50 foster children, legally adopted the girl Oct. 23. Custody of her three brothers was granted to the two homosexual men.
While there is no protective order against Earl Kimmerling, police said they will make sure he is not able to contact his daughter while the case is under investigation.
“With a case like this, there’s no way we’d allow him to have any contact with her,” Carroll said.
Earl Kimmerling moved out of the home after his wife learned of the abuse, and had been cooperating with police, Carroll said.
Andrew Stoner, a spokesman for the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration, called the case tragic. The state will review how Madison County officials evaluate possible foster parents, Stoner said.
“There does need to be a complete review of what went wrong, but right now, I don’t see any indication that they didn’t do everything they could to prevent this,” Stoner said.
The investigation is open and may extend to other foster children cared for by the Kimmerlings, Carroll said. It was unclear where the girl was living as of Friday, police and prosecutors said.