Sunday, August 31, 2008
AN OPEN LETTER TO THE TEACHERS OF TAMPA, FLORIDA
Saturday, August 30, 2008
Gaither High School, Tampa, Florida
Orange Grove Middle School, Tampa, Florida
An Open Letter to Teachers and Staff: With an invitation to the people of Tampa to read, to join in this effort, to help keep watch and to report evidence of the abuse of these children.
Greetings—from a little-old-lady-type retired teacher who has had a good many years of experience at both the middle school and the high school levels. And despite the casual nature of that introduction, I have something deadly serious to bring to your attention. For those of you who already know about this situation, just please consider this a reminder.
In the process of researching the story of Elsa Newman and her highly questionable trial and subsequent unjust imprisonment in the state of Maryland, I have come across information which leads me to believe quite strongly that there is at least one child in each of these schools who is being sexually abused by a sociopathic pedophile parent who has physical custody of said child.
[Shoot! Of course I know there are more abused children than that in your schools! Anywhere you have a classroom full of kids, you can be pretty sure there is at least one child among them who is being abused in one way or another.]
Having said that and set it aside, I return to my original thought: the question of the two boys, one at each school mentioned above, who are in the custody of a parent whom they have accused of sexual abuse, while their mother, the parent who tried to protect them, is unjustly incarcerated.
[You doubt? Oh, for Pete’s sake! I don’t blame you if you don’t believe me. I’m not sure I would believe this, either, had I not spent most of my waking moments for the past six months or so researching this case and examining it from every angle I can find. And what I have found to the present time are some sixty reasons for believing this mother—both when she says that she is innocent of any crime and when she says her sons have disclosed abuse to her as well as to medical, psychological, psychiatric and law enforcement officials. Not only that…but I continue each day—literally--to discover new reasons for my faith in Elsa Newman.]
If you want to know more about Elsa Newman and her case, may I suggest you google her name? You should, thus, come upon any number of blogs on which I write in an attempt to draw attention to her case and to the injustice done to this mother and her children. You will also come across some media reports of Elsa’s case. To be objective, I suppose you should read those, as well, but as you do, please remember that Elsa was convicted in the media long before her case came to trial.
So why am I writing an open letter to all of you? I dare to hope that someone among you will see evidence of the unspeakable abuse that these two boys have disclosed in the past. And I dare to hope that someone among you will have the courage—and yes, it will take courage to confront a sociopath who abuses his children sexually, physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and in any other way he can think of—to report this abuse. And report it. And report it again, if you must, until someone does something for these kids.
I know how difficult it can be for a busy teacher to notice signs of abuse, let alone find evidence and report, no matter what the law requires. I’ve been there; I’ve done it; I’ve seen my efforts ignored or set aside by CPS or legal authorities.
In order to assist you in your search for signs of abuse, I offer the following:
• One particular abused child to whom I refer may tend to display as a little “weird,” offering behaviors that are slightly out of kilter, not quite the norm for his age level. As a matter of fact, one of these boys has been characterized by past teachers with just that term: “weird.” He’s not weird, folks. He’s struggling to survive. We all know there is a major semantic difference between “weird” and “surviving.”
• Neither of these children is consistent in turning in homework. (I hesitate to mention this one, because I know that should the father become aware of this letter and of that comment, the children will probably be beaten for this neglect on their part. Might he read this? Yes, he might. He knows that I am “on to him” so to speak and that I believe he is a sadistic pedophile, who enjoys his pedophilia to the utmost only when it causes pain to his victim[s]. I mention homework despite the risk to the boys, because time is passing so fast, and there is so little remaining of their childhood that I feel it is vital for someone to take an interest here and find some evidence.)
• Please watch the nature of these children’s art work. In kindergarten, for example, the younger of these brothers drew almost exclusively with two colors—black and red—and his drawings were filled with trees that looked like penises. He is now in middle school, but some traces of this may remain. The older boy, at about that same time period, filled his drawings with creatures all possessing sharp teeth. He seemed to have a horror of leaving any part of his drawing paper untouched. He covered everything spot, either with the pictures of sharp teeth or of creatures with missing body parts. He also used phallic symbols in his drawing. He is now in high school, but—again—some traces may remain in doodling or in an art course.
• The taller of the boys now walks with hunched shoulders, as if hunched shoulders were some protective mechanism. He lowers his head and looks awkwardly from beneath his eyebrows, instead of offering a steady gaze. You may well see him with his hands clenched into fists, seemingly without cause.
• One of these boys is often accused of misbehaving. Teachers object to his cursing in class. A noted psychiatrist and one sympathetic to the mother’s attempts to protect her sons, once told her, “You won’t get anything done by authorities until the day he is lying on the floor, foaming at the mouth.”
• The younger boy, on the other hand, is a person anyone would refer to as “a nice little boy…well-mannered…well behaved.” Perhaps he hopes that by being “the nice child” he will convince his father will to make the next sodomy session just the tiniest bit easier.
• Should you ask one of these boys about abuse at home, you may expect vague and evasive responses, rather than any clear, simple statement, such as “no.”
• The older of the two brothers has, over the last few years, been reluctant to remove his clothing for PE. This is not shyness. This is the reluctance of a boy who knows there are times when, if he removes his clothes, signs of sexual abuse will be obvious to anyone near him. It may be as well that the mere act of removing his clothes puts him in mind of what happens when he removes his clothes at home.
• Despite their carelessness about homework, both of these boys seem happy at school and enjoy being there. Well, of course they do! At school, they are safe from being molested.
• The father is known to write emails to teachers, regarding missing homework. [God, how I remember such emails from parents of my students here! Yuk!] In these emails, the father complains that he knows the child did the work, and the lack of it must somehow be the responsibility of the teacher. The father may be surly and rude. He may threaten. He may insist that the child be given credit for the work.
• This father, as I understand it, for some reason, sometimes turns nasty and threatening with teachers, where he might retain a façade of niceness for others, especially in face-to-face meetings. [Now that I think of it, I believe I have been the recipient of several such nasty and threatening emails since I began writing about this case. Each time, however, he pretended to be someone else. Acquaintances of his, however, recognized the writing and the tone.]•
The older boy is said by his father to have been diagnosed as ADD. This is not true. There was never any such diagnosis. When this father moved himself and his sons to Florida, he apparently persuaded his Florida physician that a diagnosis of ADD had been made in Maryland. He thus acquired a prescription for amphetamines, which he has the boy take. I’m sure you know as well as I do that drugs are frequently one method of control used by pedophiles who molest the same child or children repeatedly.
• Another means of control, of course, is to keep the children terrified.
• The father has the occasion and the means to use these boys for the creation of child pornography. They have disclosed in the past that he has taken both still pictures and videos of them, either nude or partially clothed, in suggestive poses or suggestive states of undress or near undress.
• Each of the boys has, probably on more than one occasion, been found sleeping on his desk. Late nights modeling for pornography can do that to a child.
• This father refuses to name the names of any psychologist or psychiatrist in Florida who has treated the children, although I understand there has been at least one such person involved in treating one or both of the children for a time.
• In the event you find signs of abuse—and should you find these signs in one of the children of whom I speak—please remember that this father is a sociopath. He can be the ultimate in “likeability.” He presents himself to people outside his family as kind and caring, the sort of man who could never be suspected of something as vile as any form of child abuse. He will take a lie and wring it out until it looks like truth. He is manipulative. He is glib. He can make you believe that what you know to be true is untrue. His emotions are shallow; he may become enraged by the slightest incident, but remain cold and unmoved by something that would upset a normal person.
He has thus far showed no concern about the possibility that his children were being molested. When his Maryland attorney recommended that he show some concern, the best he could manage was to say he felt awkward or bad about being accused. On the other hand, he was at one time overheard saying, “I don’t care if the kids grow up f***** up!”
He is irresponsible. He has an exaggerated sense of his own importance. And on and on…you could google “sociopath” to find out more about what to expect of this man, in the event you come across the evidence you need to report his abuse of his sons.
I believe I’ve gone beyond knowing what more to say, except for this: One day THE TRUTH WILL OUT. Someone—teacher, friend, rabbi, total stranger—will see this man putting on a display of temper in public, will see him shove or kick or slap or punch one or both of his children. It has happened in the past. A criminal trial—full of lies and created evidence and snippets of “proof” taken out of context—interrupted the investigative process at that time. I hope and pray--for the sake of these two young men who are surviving the worst that any childhood could offer—that the next investigation will occur soon, and that this time there will be no interruptions. Unless and until that happens, there is no safe place for these children.