Spotlight portrays the Boston Globe's team of reporters that investigated the childhood sexual abuse crisis in the Archdiocese of Boston. Aptly named, the Spotlight team of reporters worked for over a year documenting the efforts by high ranking church officials to cover up the sexual abuse scandal. The results of their reporting revealed a decades long pattern of conspiracy by high ranking church officials.
In the interest of public policy, it is essential to protect vulnerable populations such as children from abuse and neglect. Abuse can be physical, emotional and sexual in nature. Though in Connecticut anyone who in good faith suspects that a child is being neglected or is suffering abuse is encouraged to report it, there are certain individuals who under Connecticut law are mandated reporters of abuse.
Mark W. Irvin, 63, of Meriden has been charged by federal prosecutors with possession and production of child pornography. Investigators received information from a teenage male that Irvin had sexual contact with him and filmed it in Irvin's Meriden home. The teenager also reported that other minors were involved. Upon searching the home, law enforcement found cameras in several rooms including the bathroom of the home.
Child sexual abuse is probably one of the most heinous actions that any person can perpetrate on an innocent, defenseless child. It is estimated that one child in every ten is likely to be sexually abused before they reach the age of eighteen. Shockingly, current estimates put the number of people who have had to endure and live with the pain and suffering of being sexually abused when they were a child at 42 million people in this country.
It may take years and even decades for those who have suffered sexual abuse in their childhood or adulthood to come forward, but when one comes forward it is important to hold the abuser accountable for their actions. Our Connecticut residents may not be aware of this dire statistic but there are an estimated 39 million childhood sexual abuse survivors in the United States. It is further estimated that nearly 20 percent of girls and about 7 percent of boys between the ages of seven and 13 have suffered sexual abuse. In fact, in Connecticut it is estimated that about 14 percent of the state's population have suffered some kind of a sexual assault.
Fairfield Ludlowe High School Teacher Glenn Mishuck plead guilty to four of the 17 charges of sexual assault pending against him. What is curious, however, is the timing of his plea which came less than 24 hours after the prosecutor advised the court that she had evidence that Mishuck had engaged in conduct which was sexual nature with a student from Stamford where he had taught more than 10 years earlier. The principal from Stamford where Mishuck worked before coming to Fairfield had written a glowing letter of recommendation for Mishuck. This letter was written despite the fact that Mishuck had been suspended without pay 7 months earlier. The reasons for the suspension are unclear.
Without a doubt healing from a sexual assault is a process and varies from person to person. The harm caused by a sexual assault can have a long-lasting impact, and can be emotionally draining and stressful for a victim of sexual assault. Many victims may feel disempowered, may be in fear, feel guilt and not know what to do. In an effort to help victims and provide guidance to their family or friends to support victims of sexual abuse, the Connecticut Judicial Branch's Office of Victim Services has published helpful information on the issue.
Connecticut residents may find it helpful to learn that the non-profit organization Connecticut Sexual Assault Crisis Services Inc. has put together helpful information for parents and guardians on what sexual abuse is, what signs a child may exhibit, what steps they can take to prevent child sexual abuse and how to help a child who may have experienced it.
As people retire and age, they may be concerned with who will care for them when they can no longer care for themselves. Thus, it may be helpful for our Connecticut residents to be aware of who to call or what steps to take if one suspects that an elder, whether it is a family member or friend, is being abused. If one suspects elder abuse is occurring, it is important to call the Connecticut Department of Social Services to report the abuse.
Just this past weekend a "Saturday Night Live" skit about a male student having sex with his female high school teacher painted the relationship as every teen boy's dream, but drew a firestorm of criticism on social media. Teacher sexual abuse, no matter what gender, leaves the victim with a lifetime of emotional scars. In Connecticut in the last several months, 2 female teacher sex abuse cases have received lots of media attention (one in Madison and one in Stamford). Female teacher sex abuse, as discussed in the Reuters article, is now being vigorously prosecuted.