Outside The Lines: Broken Trust
Transcript by ESPN.com;
(C) 2001 ESPN
OPEN: (man) I've been told prison's like hell. May he rot in hell.
(woman) He didn't take care of my son; he destroyed him.
(Bob Ley) Sexual abuse by youth sport coaches is rarely seen, but occurs almost everywhere.
(man) In essence these guys abuse children.
(boy) Every day I still think about it. We had to move houses.
(Bob Ley) The stories are disturbing.
(man) I would be able to have access to the children all the time.
(man) I would talk to them about sex.
(man) I knew it was wrong from the beginning.
(Bob Ley) No sport is immune from the coach who is also a sexual predator.
(girl) Pretty much as soon as I walked into the room he forced himself on me, and raped me.
(Bob Ley) Young athletes at all levels are victims.
(young man) I heard the closet door open and then the light switched on, and he was laying there with a shotgun in his hands.
(Bob Ley) There are an astounding number of molestation cases, but how many more go unreported?
(man) Why didn't I say anything? Shame.
(Bob Ley) This summer, cases involving coaches molesting their young players made headlines all across America, from Arkansas to Oregon, from Missouri to Massachusetts.
(man) Most of us don't look like a monster.
(Bob Ley) Abuse is often difficult to recognize, though there are warning signs.
(woman) They might be getting very sexualized behaviors that you don't quite know where they came from.
(man) Don't trust me with your
(man) Don't trust me around your
(man) Don't trust me with other children.
(man) He's your coach.
(Bob Ley) Tonight on "Outside the Lines," "Broken Trust: Coaches and Sexual Abuse."
(man) If you're the guy that's in charge of their dream, I mean the power that they have is incredible.
(man) It's always there. There's no cure.
(Bob Ley on-screen) The crime
occurs everywhere--in each city, town, and neighborhood in the United
States--adults sexually abusing children. And every child--each boy
and girl--is vulnerable.
(Judge Michael A. Cherry) This is the biggest tragedy I've seen in my 31 years in the criminal justice system. There's nothing I can do. You stole the youth from these little guys.
(Ann Marie Anderson) Garen Pearson was sentenced five months ago for sexually molesting boys on the little league team he coached in Las Vegas.
(man in courtroom) I've been told prison's like hell. May you rot in hell.
(woman in courtroom) He didn't take care of my son; he destroyed him. To me he's just like a murderer. That's the way I see him. You're evil...
(Ann Marie Anderson) Two years ago, Marion Martinez' then 10-year-old son Adrian was repeatedly sexually molested by Pearson.
(Marion Martinez, Adrian's mother) What people have to understand--this is a normal guy. He's not someone that's a--I mean, he's not really a stranger. You know him. And it could be your next-door neighbor. You just...you don't...you just don't know.
(Ann Marie Anderson) On the field, Garen Pearson was a successful coach, turning a losing team into a winner. But off the field he was a master charmer of the young boys who trusted him.
(Kenneth Lanning, retired FBI special agent) In essence, these guys seduce children pretty much, with some variations, but pretty much the exact same way that adults have been seducing each other since the dawn of mankind.
(Ann Marie Anderson) Retired FBI special agent Kenneth Lanning spent over two decades consulting on sex crimes against children.
(Lanning) They shower these kids with attention and affection and kindness and gifts and presents and all kinds of things like that, and then gradually lower their inhibitions and so on and kind of take them down this road over time.
(Marion Martinez) Garen was always at the house. He would always come around. He would take Adrian all different places. He would call every day, but then when they would talk they'd talk about baseball.
(Ann Marie Anderson) When Pearson began giving Adrian expensive gifts his parents became suspicious. As a precaution, Marion Martinez decided to make sure her son was never alone with his coach.
(Marion Martinez) So every time Adrian would say Garen would pick me up, I'd say, "Well, is somebody else going to be there?" But it didn't matter because he was making sure that he was doing all the kids.
(Thomas Carroll, prosecuted Garen Pearson) Those parents assumed that as long as there were other children around nothing would happen, but unbeknownst to the parents, Garen had created these games where multiple boys were all being seduced and sexually molested at the same time, so that precautions that the parents thought they were taking were not enough.
(Ann Marie Anderson) Pearson continued sexually molesting the boys on his team for months, until one day Adrian Martinez crawled into his parents' bedroom crying hysterically.
(Marion Martinez) Both me and my husband are laying in our bed and I hear this sniffling, and there was Adrian just laying on the floor. He was crying. He just kept crying and telling us there's nothing wrong and then he said Garen's name, and we knew.
(Ann Marie Anderson) What exactly did he tell you?
(Marion Martinez) He told us that Garen's been touching him in different places, and then he was telling us that Garen was having him and other boys do oral sex on him, and Garen would do oral sex on them. That's when I decided to call the rape center because I didn't know what else to do 'cause never in a million years I really would have thought this would happen to my son.
(Ann Marie Anderson) After Adrian Martinez came forward, police discovered that Pearson had been abusing prepubescent boys for over 20 years. In March of this year he was convicted of 39 counts of lewdness with a child and sexual assault.
(Adrian Martinez) Every day I still think about it. We had to move houses. (crying) I had to go play baseball at a different league, and I always feel that someone's watching me no matter what I'm doing or where I am.
(Ann Marie Anderson) Garen Pearson
was sentenced to seven consecutive life terms. For sex crimes against
children punishment varies wildly from state to state. Nevada has some
of the toughest laws in the country, but other states, such as California,
are more lenient.
(Detective Michael DiMatteo, Crimes Against Children Unit) He would help children, take them to the store to buy sporting equipment, basically just being very helpful. He became an indispensable part of the family.
(Ann Marie Anderson) In 1980 Watson was convicted of lewdness with a minor and spent six years in a psychiatric hospital. Upon his release in 1986, he resumed coaching young boys. In July of 1997, DiMatteo, acting on a tip, questioned Watson for failing to register as a sex offender. During the interview the little league coach candidly revealed a history involving a disturbing number of victims.
(DiMatteo) How many different children do you think you were involved with in your lifetime, sexually like this?
(Watson) A couple of hundred.
(Ann Marie Anderson) Is it unusual for a child molester to have that many victims?
(DiMatteo) I believe the FBI, their statistics state that your average child molester will molest 120 times before he gets caught.
(Ann Marie Anderson) In many of these cases, the child views their abuser as a friend and is reluctant to help an investigation.
(Kenneth Lanning, retired FBI special agent) The child makes this trade. "I'm trading this 'sex' for attention, affection, kindness, gifts." And very often this individual, this adult, this coach is treating this child better than any adult this child has ever met in their entire life.
(Watson) And I remember three of the kids, when the judge asked them what they thought of me, they all said that even though they knew that what happened was wrong, they still thought of me as their friend.
(Ann Marie Anderson) In November
of 1997 Norman Watson was arrested again, this time for oral copulation
and sodomy with some of the young boys he coached. He was convicted
of 43 counts of lewdness with a minor and sentenced to 84 years in state
prison. According to the Crimes Against Children Research Center, as
many as one in seven boys may become the victims of sexual abuse. The
numbers are even higher--one in four--for girls.
(Ann Marie Anderson) Did you trust him?
(Romias) 100 percent. You know, why not? Here's someone who was promising to take me to the stars, and I wanted to believe him. He had had a lot of success with his prior athletes and why wouldn't I trust him?
(Ann Marie Anderson) Romias said her coach demanded up to seven hours of practice a day, often without the rest of the team.
(Romias) At that point he's isolated me from being close friends with anybody at school, made me break up with my boyfriend, isolated me from my family.
(Ann Marie Anderson) And it was during a meeting with her coach, Rick Butler, that she alleges he first raped and sexually abused her.
(Romias) Pretty much as soon as I walked into the room he forced himself on me and raped me. I was a virgin, so it hurt a lot and there was blood everywhere and it scared me to death...
(Ann Marie Anderson) Romias claimed the abuse continued for 18 months. For seven years she didn't tell authorities about the alleged assaults, but in 1995, while pursuing a career in medicine, she says she felt the need to make her accusations public.
(Romias) I heard that he was doing something similar to somebody after me, and I realized that this wasn't going to stop unless someone came forward.
(Ann marie Anderson) Because Julie Romias waited so long to make her allegations, the statute of limitations had expired and Butler has never faced criminal charges. However, due to Romias' accusations and similar charges by two other women he coached, in 1995 the United States Volleyball Association suspended him for five years. Although he declined to be interviewed by "Outside the Lines," Butler says he had a consensual sexual relationship with Romias, but denies it occurred while she was underage. Rick Butler is still coaching teenage girls today.
(Romias) He took a lot of things away from my life that I can never get back. Number one, virginity. He took my naivete away. My trust. For many years I had nightmares. And not talking about this for a couple of years, the nightmares went away and the night I got called to do this interview I had another nightmare again, so it's just interesting. Just when you think you're over it and you want to move on with your life, it keeps coming back to haunt you.
(Bob Ley) When we continue, three coaches caught and imprisoned for molesting their players explain how they approached those children.
(coach) I never forced them. It was all coercive, mental coercion. So they always felt comfortable about it.
(Bob Ley, on-screen) Child molester. That very phrase provokes rage, revulsion, and denial. The usual reaction is "lock these monsters up forever if possible." Shelley Smith went to a Colorado prison to talk with three former coaches, all convicted child molesters. They agree to talk only on the condition their identities were disguised and their voices altered. And again, a warning--this subject matter may not be appropriate for younger viewers.
(Shelley Smith) How many of your victims have not come forward?
(man #1) I've got in the neighborhood of maybe 30 to 40 that haven't come forward.
(Smith) That have never told anybody?
(man #1) Not anybody.
(man #2) About 70.
(man #3) Probably around 50.
(Smith) Which is a pretty good indicator that a lot of these crimes are never reported.
(Smith) Is it fair to say then that, at least with you three, you got into coaching because it gave you opportunities to be around children?
(all) Yeah. Yes.
(man #1) About the age of 17 and 18 I coached a little league soccer league. By this time I was already having sexually deviant thoughts about children, and I knew that this would be a bad place for me to be at, but I went ahead and took up on it 'cause it would feed into my sexual deviancy.
(man #2) I was also a teacher. One way to guarantee a job is to say you'll coach. I wound up coaching areas that initially I knew nothing about. That provided access to children.
(Smith) When would this happen? Were you on away trips or overnights or how did this manifest itself?
(man #2) At games, before games, after games, picking them up, driving them home. I would take a certain individual last home. I'd also pick this certain individual up first so that allows for the time.
(man #3) I was a teacher. I actually had an operation, a storefront operation in a mall that gave me access. The parents would drop them off and go about, walking around, shopping or come back an hour later, and in that time frame I would have enough time after the class to initiate an assault. Or they would spend the night with me at my house.
(Smith) Do you feel like parents trusted you with their children?
(all) Definitely. Yes.
(Smith) Did you work hard to gain that trust as well?
(man #2) I don't drink, I don't smoke, I don't do drugs. That was known. That's another acceptable thing. That this individual's O.K., this individual's O.K. with my child.
(man #1) I groomed them by letting them see me good with the kids. How well I cared about them and all that was a mask. And it worked to where they would trust me and I would be able to have access to the children all the time.
(man #2) I did a lot of coercion manipulation and grooming. Never any direct threats. More paying attention. Some would exchange the abuse for the attention.
(man #3) I would talk to them about sex. I would cue on that and use that to pry open their vulnerabilities and take advantage of that. The molestations would go for years with some of my victims.
(Smith) Did you, at that time, believe that it was consensual.
(man #3) Yes, I did. I believed that the boys that I was involved with wanted to be sexual. They never seemed to protest.
(man #2) There were some children that would just flat say "No, don't do that," and I would stop and they would be there for the games, but there was a clear boundary set by them, and I respected that boundary by them. The others never said "stop" so that allowed me to continue with them.
(Smith) What did you tell your victims about not telling, about not saying anything about what was going on.
(man #1) I never threatened or coerced them to think that they were going to die or I was going after anybody. It was more of "This is just a secret between us guys and no one has to know."
(man #3) Just being an authority figure and a trust level was there and by me saying that it was O.K. and that I won't hurt you, and I would spend a lot of energy making sure that I didn't hurt them, but yet get the good feeling out of it. But I think being the authority, I think that had a lot to do with it 'cause they looked up to me, and I manipulated that.
(announcer) Next, while the victim is out of the sport he loves, his abuser is once again coaching young hockey players.
(man) In the back of my mind I'd kind of figured that he'd be somehow weasel his way around getting back involved with kids.
(Bob Ley on-screen) Four years ago a molestation case made headlines in Canada. A hockey legend, a coach once named "Inside Hockey's" man of the year was accused and convicted of sexually abusing two of his players. One Canadian hockey official said, "We felt hockey was sacred in Canada and naively thought this could not happen in our game." As Lisa Salters reports, not only did it happen, but the molester is going to great lengths to stay in the sport he loves.
(Lisa Salters) Sheldon Kennedy is 32 years old with a daughter who just started first grade. But when Kennedy closes his eyes to go to sleep, he becomes the child because that's when the nightmares come.
(Sheldon Kennedy) It definitely sticks with me at night. A lot of the stuff happened when I'd be trying to fall asleep or already sleeping and Graham crawling around, trying to wake me up at nights...literally crawling on the floor. So, you know, I'm 32, and I used to think, "What's wrong with me? Why can't I sleep? Why am I scared to be alone at this age, you know?"
(Lisa Salters) The man whose image still haunts Kennedy is Graham James, Kennedy's childhood hockey coach. They met in 1981, when Kennedy was 12 and lived in Elkhorn, Manitoba. At the time, James coached a junior hockey team in Winnipeg. The sexual abuse began the next year, when James invited Kennedy to Winnipeg to play in a hockey tournament and to stay at his home.
(Sheldon Kennedy) I felt somebody down at the bottom of my bed, and then I kind of kicked him away and then I heard the closet door open and then the light switched on and he was laying there with a shotgun in his hands. So that was the first thing. And I think that right at that point I was, you know, terrified.
(Lisa Salters) After James convinced Kennedy's parents to send him to Winnipeg to play for his team, the abuse continued for six years.
(Lisa Salters in interview with Kennedy) You said that you were always around him, that he always kept you by his side like it was a marriage or something.
(Sheldon Kennedy) Oh, it was definitely--Graham definitely considered me his wife. He was around me all the time.
(Salters) How come you didn't tell anyone?
(Kennedy) I felt trapped. I felt scared. I wasn't ready to tell anybody. You know, I was terrified inside of letting somebody know that I, you know...it makes you feel weak, shameful, guilty.
(Lisa Salters) It took Kennedy 14 years to build up enough strength and courage to come forward. When he did in 1996, James was convicted and served almost two years in prison and was also banned from hockey in Canada for life. But somehow even then, Sheldon Kennedy says he knew he hadn't heard the last of Graham James.
(Sheldon Kennedy) In the back of my mind I'd kind of figured that he'd somehow weaseled his way around getting back involved with kids.
(Lisa Salters) But where James has resurfaced has surprised even Kennedy. Ten miles northwest of Madrid lies the suburb of Majadahonda, Spain. Here it's hockey, not the national sport of soccer, that has captured the hearts of many young athletes. And it is here that Graham James has come to coach.
(Javier Torres Sr., parent volunteer, Majadahonda Club) The parents of the junior players found out that Graham James was going to come and coach the team through an email James sent looking for a job and telling us everything about his life. And the board of the Majadahonda Club informed the parents.
(Roberto Fernandez, parent of Majadahonda player) He was right there in front of us, and they introduced him to us, and they told us about what had happened to him there in Canada.
(Lisa Salters) James declined to speak with "Outside the Lines," but it's not difficult to understand why he would want to stay in this country. He can walk down the street here without judgment. He's thought of not as a sexual predator, but as a great hockey mind.
(Martin Stransky, Majadahonda senior team forward) We're in a country where hockey is not a tradition. This has been the first time I think a real coach has come with these characteristics and this kind of experience. The difference I think is everything. At the technical level it's everything.
(Lisa Salters) How is he as a coach?
(Javier Torres Jr., Majadahonda senior team forward) As a coach? The best coach I've ever known.
(Aitar Torres, Majadahonda senior team defenseman) And we've won. We've placed second in the league and second in the King's Cup because of this man's behavior and coaching.
(Lisa Salters) Last April James helped coach the Spanish national team when they played at the Majadahonda rink during the world championships. But his primary coaching duties are with the club's senior and junior teams and some with the peewee teams, where players are as young as 10 years old.
(Javier Torres Sr.) I wish Spanish hockey had many coaches like this man, many from my point of view as a parent. He's a normal person. And what happened to him in Canada--if it's true and he's paid for his crime, I suppose he has a right to be free and to be anywhere and to become rehabilitated.
(Lisa Salters) But despite James' newfound success, starting over has been difficult. Even in a new country thousands of miles and an ocean away, James' past eventually caught up with him when word of his new job reached home.
(Bob Nicholson) I had a phone call last January.
(Lisa Salters) Bob Nicholson is the president of the Canadian Hockey Association--the organization that served Graham James with the lifetime suspension.
(Bob Nicholson) When I heard that he was back in coaching, it was a real concern because we definitely lived with that situation in Canada, and it was one that we definitely don't want to revisit.
(Lisa Salters) Nicholson immediately contacted the International Ice Hockey Federation.
(Murray Costello, council member, International Ice Hockey Federation) He pointed out that this was a guy who had caused some real difficulty in amateur hockey in Canada, had gone to jail for what he had done, had really disrupted the lives of some of our more promising young players, and it was bad for the game.
(Lisa Salters) The International Ice Hockey Federation cannot enforce one country's ban on a coach in another country, but when officials contacted Luis Algar, then president of the Spanish Federation of Winter Sports, he told them that he already knew about James' employment and that there was nothing the Spanish Federation could do about it since the club is a private organization.
(Luis Algar) Even if the Spanish Federation had told the club it would be better if he didn't continue in Spain, they could tell me to stay out of matters that don't concern us. The decision was made among the president, the board of directors, and the parents of the children.
(Lisa Salters) The parents were so pleased with James, they showed his support for him in this petition to the Spanish Federation.
(Bob Nicholson) It really surprised me. I say that not only as the president of Canadian Hockey; I say that as a dad with a son and two daughters.
(Lisa Salters) There is at least one person who is not surprised by James' acceptance in Spain--Sheldon Kennedy.
(Kennedy) A lot of guys that played for Graham loved him, and that's why Graham was able to do what he did for as long as he did because people loved him. I mean, he draws people in. It's a manipulation.
(Salters) Kennedy was unimpressed when he heard that James has a code of conduct he imposed on himself with his new team. Among those rules, he is never to be alone with a player on or off the ice, and he won't enter the player's locker room.
(Kennedy) He never hung around the dressing room, he never hung out in the shower, he never watched guys shower and stuff like that. And that's why people had a hard time understanding that Graham was like that, because he wouldn't be in those situations. He gets the parent's trust, he takes the kids, he goes to baseball tournaments, or soccer matches maybe over there, and that's when it happens.
(Lisa Salters) So for now, despite Canada's concern and Sheldon Kennedy's warnings, Graham James continues to coach in a forgiving small town in Spain that believes in second chances.
(Roberto Fernandez) I think we
should give him a vote of confidence, and I sincerely think that we
should wait and please let him be. Please, in Canada and in the United
States, stop rehashing this rubbish so much.
(Bob Ley) When we continue, how some youth sports organizations are teaming with law enforcement to protect youngsters and parents.
(Bob Ley) Here in Orangevale, California each of these players must prove himself to his coaches in this pre-season drill. The coaches must learn as much as they can about each of their young players. But what do players know about their coaches? The Orangevale Huskies belong to a league whose administrators are determined to protect their children. Increasingly, sports leagues are turning to law enforcement for help. The Northern California Sports Alliance, which includes the Huskies, joined a pilot project sponsored by the National Alliance for Youth Sports.
Before any coach or volunteer is permitted any involvement with children, they must consent to a background check and submit a set of fingerprints. This is the first year the Huskies league has scrutinized each coach to this extent.
(man) If you're a criminal, we got you now.
(woman) After you take your test and sign...
(Bob Ley) Roni Garrison coordinates the certification of the league's coaches.
(Roni Garrison, football coordinator, Orangevale Huskies) The background checks will check court records, driving records, anything that's...what they would consider a hit on somebody. It's based on your name, your social security number, and it's nationwide.
(Bob Ley) Tim Martin is a coach and has a son playing in the league.
(Tim Martin, Orangevale Huskies coach) We are going to check and make sure you haven't had problems in other areas. We know that our kids are safe. From a parent's standpoint, that's a great thing. From a coach's standpoint, it also gives, validates me as a coach.
(Bob Ley) Few leagues investigate coaches to this level because of the prohibitive expense--$36 for each background check. Yet it's a cost this league is willing to bear and scrutiny these volunteers welcome.
(Roni Garrison) We have over 600 parent volunteers, whether they be coaches, board members, team parents. None of them hesitated to go through this process.
(Bob Ley, on-screen) Background checks are just one way to protect young athletes. Another is to learn from the molesters themselves. Let's rejoin Shelley Smith with the three former coaches in prison for sexually abusing their young players. Remember, each of these men will eventually be back on the street. Listen carefully and see how you can keep your child from becoming a victim.
(Shelley Smith) Actually background checks wouldn't have revealed anything about you guys.
(man #2) I'd never been caught before, so therefore the background check wouldn't do that. And I'd had two background checks for teaching and for coaching.
(Shelley Smith) What are the warning signs? Is there anything parents could have done to stop you?
(man #1) I think...I think that the number-one warning I think is how much time the coach would be spending with that child. I would drive them home, pick them up, to the point where I stayed the night with them too before. And I think that would be a red flag right there.
(man #2) The opportunities that I had were because I capitalized on parents needing a babysitter, somewhere they could just drop the kid off and go about doing something else. That was the major thing. They leave their child behind and I would take advantage of that.
(man #3) There's never a reason for a teacher to be alone with a student. There's never a reason for a coach to be alone with a student. Children will talk if adults will listen. I think there needs to be a whole lot more communication. The children that I did not assault were children that it was my thinking that they communicated too well with their parents.
(Shelley Smith) When should we trust you again?
(man #1) I don't think trust should ever be a factor again. I want trust. There's no cure.
(man #2) The best thing is to always keep me in sight.
(man #3) Don't trust me. Don't trust me with your child. Don't trust me around your child. Don't trust me with other children. Don't trust me buying papers from a paperboy.
(Shelley Smith) Is that because you're still dangerous?
(man #3) Sure. The propensity is always going to be there. That doesn't mean you can't help me get better. That doesn't mean I can't be a part of the community. But don't trust me.
(Bob Ley) Most convicted child molesters eventually do rejoin society. Next, the ongoing debate on how to handle their return.
(woman) Anybody who's going into another state who is a registered sex offender should be required to register. It's outrageous that he's not a registered sex offender.
(Jeremy Schaap) When is a convicted sex offender no longer a threat? And once he's served his time, does he deserve another chance? The New York Dragons of the Arena Football League say Basil Proctor deserves another chance.
(Jeremy Schaap, on-screen) In 1998, Proctor was charged with sexually abusing an emotionally disturbed 15-year-old girl. After two years of legal wrangling, he pleaded guilty to sexual battery and served an eight-month prison term during the Dragon's off-season. He is currently on probation, and is a registered sex offender in the state of Florida.
(Chris Botta, VP of Communications, New York Dragons) This is not something that anybody took lightly. We understand the seriousness of it. But we went deep, deep into it and after going deep into it and getting to meet Basil, doing our research on the case and what happened, it was determined that this was a young man who plays football for a living. That's what he does. And he was worth giving another chance to.
(Schaap) Proctor was working
as a counselor at the juvenile psychiatric center where the girl was
undergoing treatment. He declined to be interviewed by ESPN, but is
said that he pled guilty only because "I'm a professional athlete, and
it seems like all somebody has to do is say something and the athlete
looks guilty." Proctor later tried to withdraw his guilty plea.
(Chris Botta) It's a secured atmosphere. They stand behind tables, security is there, fans line up. So there's not that one-on-one close interaction.
(Schaap) Laura Ahearn founded Parents for Megan's Law. Megan's Law is a federal statute requiring a community be notified of the presence of a sex offender in the area. She says Proctor shouldn't be allowed anywhere near children.
(Laura Ahearn, executive director, Parents for Megan's Law) An offender like that who is in sports, has children around him all the time and I'm sure they're all pursuing autographs and he has an opportunity to engage in a relationship with them and maybe even further a relationship to become more involved with the child--that's pretty scary.
(Jeremy Schaap) While during the season, Proctor reports to a probation officer in New York, he's not required to register as a sex offender in the state. His New York address, therefore, isn't available to the public.
(Laura Ahearn) Anybody who's going into another state who's a registered sex offender should be required to register. It's outrageous that he's not a registered sex offender. Wherever he was residing in his community, there were kids around and he was a risk to that community, and we now have the right to be made aware, and he slipped through a loophole, and that's unacceptable.
(Jeremy Schaap) Basil Proctor is one of nearly 400,000 registered sex offenders in the United States. Evicted child molesters serve, on average, less than three years in prison--less time than drug dealers or armed robbers. But to a greater extent than even murderers, their crimes follow them for life. Their neighbors and anybody else can, with relative ease, find out just what they've done.
(Edward Mallet) I think, you know, if we're going to do this, why don't we do it whole hog?
(Schaap) Edward Mallet is the immediate past president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. He says child molesters are unfairly singled out.
(Edward Mallett, defense attorney) What about the check writers? Or the drunk driver? Now, if the guy down the street from me comes home intoxicated several times a month, he is a menace to me and my family. Armed robbers...murderers... All these people have the benefit of a wealth of programs and a right to pay their debts to society and move on.
(Jeremy Schaap) In Texas, Mallett's
home state, a judge in Corpus Christi made national headlines by ordering
local sex offenders to post signs at their homes, identifying themselves
as sex offenders. He also ordered them to place bumper stickers on their
cars and to display another sign in whatever vehicle they happen to
be traveling in.
(Gerald Rogen, defense attorney) When we drive down the street and we see a sign like this in a yard, there's a danger that someone may act inappropriately and decide, "Well, why don't I just burn their house down? Why don't I pop a couple shots off into their yard?"
(Jeremy Schaap) But Megan's Law advocates such as Marc Klaas, whose 12-year-old daughter Polly was raped and murdered, say that while there are such things as false accusations and that some people are rehabilitated, the Dragons have nevertheless made a mistake in standing by Basil Proctor.
(Marc Klaas, victim's rights advocate) What it does it sends out some very dangerous messages that you can truly get away with horrible things in our society and still be placed on a pedestal, still be given access to the things that got you into trouble in the first place, and still be looked upon as a role model to the rest of society.
(Bob Ley) When we continue, the story of one man's courageous efforts to end the abuse and begin the healing. (man) We're all victims, but we are striving to be survivors.
(Bob Ley, on-screen) Victims of child molestation often struggle to come forward for a number of reasons. Chad Becnel finally disclosed the years of abuse he suffered at the hands of his grammar school coach, but no one in his hometown believed him. Now, as Steve Delsohn reports, he devotes his time helping other victims.
(Steve Delsohn) Chad Becnel is a senior in college where he majors in architecture and serves as student body vice president. But while Becnel is now thriving, he says the healing process continues.
(Chad Becnel) Getting victimized by a pedophile is murder, you know. And how does one grow if you were killed? You have to start from infancy again and that takes a whole lifetime.
(Steve Delsohn) Becnel is 25. He was only 11 the first time he was sexually abused by Brian Matherne, his football, basketball, and baseball coach at Sacred Heart School in Norco, Louisiana. Becnel was in seventh grade when he received a trophy from Matherne. It was supposed to be a reward for his athletic achievements, but Becnel says he didn't deserve it.
(Becnel) I wasn't the best athlete, but maybe I performed a little better than most of his other athletes did sexually. If you look over here towards the baseball field, there have been cases where he might victimize you out there.
(Steve Delsohn) Some of the molestations occurred on this baseball field at Sacred Heart. Others assaults took place at this private hunting and fishing camp.
(Becnel) Coming back to the camp it's kind of horrifying. It's bringing back so many gory memories of so many situations that myself and many other kids are put through.
(Delsohn) Matherne was a member here, and he would invite his youth athletes to stay as his guest.
(Becnel) If you look at that first dormer, there's two sets of windows, and that's where the molestations at night would take place.
(Delsohn) Kim McElwee prosecuted the Matherne case.
(Kim McElwee, asst. district attorney, St. Charles Parish) He knew what young boys like to do. They like to fish, they like to hunt. Boys that age like to do things that are forbidden by their parents--smoking, drinking.
(Becnel) I wanted to be a part of his group. I wanted to be a part of his clique. "Yeah, go back to the camp with Mr. Matherne. He likes you drink beer and smoke cigarettes." And I was like, "Great. My parents would kill me."
(Delsohn) So Becnel didn't tell his parents what happened at camp. He didn't tell them what happened at his school. Like many sex abuse victims, he suffered in silence...alone.
(Becnel) Why didn't I say anything? Shame. That's what I felt at the time. How could I disgrace my family by letting a man do this to me?
(Walter Becnel, Chad's father) He had a lot of anger. At times I thought he was pretty much disrespectful. It just seemed like he was becoming more and more of a discipline problem in that we couldn't tell him anything. He'd flare up at us.
(Becnel) Hated my dad, hated my mom, I hated my two sisters. I hated them all. I hated them because they didn't know what I was going through, but I hated myself even more.
(Steve Delsohn) Even after Becnel left Sacred Heart, he says Matherne still abused him during high school. Finally Becnel went away to college where he tried to kill the pain he carried since childhood.
(Becnel) I suffered through a real bad drug addiction that almost killed me several times. Many times I thought of suicide. A couple times I almost went through with it.
(Steve Delsohn) In 1996, he entered drug rehab and desperately wanted to tell his counselor his secret. But first he made the hardest phone call of his life.
(Walter Becnel) He said, "Well, Brian Matherne abused me for years--sexually abused me for years."
(Steve Delsohn) Becnel says his family's response--unconditional love--is probably what saved his life. Becnel reported Matherne to the sheriff's office, which began to investigate. But Becnel found himself shunned by his own community when no other victims came forward to bolster his charges.
(Becnel) They rallied around this man, this icon, the pillar of our society and just said, "Hey, Chad's lying." They said I was lying because I was a drug addict.
(Delsohn) Becnel was becoming despondent. Then he received a call from his older sister who told him a second victim had come forward.
(Becnel) She said, "You're not alone." And I just remember falling to my knees because I knew I needed one person to be with me.
(Delsohn) At first Matherne denied
the allegations, but as others broke their silence, he later pleaded
guilty to molesting 14 boys. He was sentenced to almost 30 years in
(Becnel to group) Accept no guilt or shame. That's the hardest one of all.
(Delsohn) Becnel is the founder of S.T.O.P., a support group for other young victims of sexual predators.
(Becnel) It's just something to give support for people who may never want to come out publicly, but they want to come out in a room.
(Delsohn) The group is small, but its leader, Chad Becnel, has traveled much too far to give up now.
(Becnel) We're all victims, but we are striving to be survivors, and sooner or later in life we'll be thrivers 'cause we'll thrive off of what we have went through in our life. We'll become better people for going through what we went through.
(Bob Ley) Next, there is important information for parents--the red flags to watch for that could indicate your child may be a victim of sexual abuse by a coach.
(Cordelia Anderson, abuse prevention specialist) What's so unnerving is some of the signs are also signs of a healthy relationship.
(Bob Ley) Cordelia Anderson has researched and written for 25 years on child molestation.
(Anderson) But then it crosses over. There are secrets. There is time spent in a different kind of way with a child versus the other children. There are gifts given that don't seem appropriate. It's a fine line. We want to see a coach take a special interest in our child.
(Bob Ley) But the most significant red flag is a change in a child's behavior.
(Anderson) They're more closed in. They've lost their sense of self. They're losing their connections to other people. They might be getting depressed or they might be getting rageful. They might be getting very sexualized behaviors that you don't quite know where they came from.
(Bob Ley, on-screen) The victims
of molestation carry a heavy burden--one of broken trust and painful
silence. The most difficult act for many victims is simply to tell anyone
about the abuse, but in most cases, that is the first step towards healing.
Host - Bob Ley
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