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Archive for the ‘Sexual Abuse’ Category

The Ledger: Florida foster child sexually abused for 4 years, private agency misses multiple red flags

When Florida’s child welfare system fails, the child pays the ultimate price. Far too often, warning signs are overlooked by the private agencies entrusted to care for our kids. In the case of one young boy in Osceola county, they were ignored for four years. This tragic lack of oversight led to the child’s repeated sexual abuse, battery, and continuous exploitation by his relative caregiver/adopted parent.

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Stacie Schmerling Interviewed by USA Today

October 15th, 2020   No Comments   Sexual Abuse

Kelley Kronenberg‘s Justice for Kids Division Partner Stacie Schmerling recently sat down with USA TODAY to discuss a lawsuit filed last week in Marion County regarding the outrageous story of a three-week-old foster child who was sexually assaulted by another child in her foster home.

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39 Missing, Trafficked Children Found Now Need Extraordinary Help

September 23rd, 2020   No Comments   Sexual Abuse

Recent news that US Marshals in Georgia rescued 39 children who had gone missing might seem like a miraculous ending to a sordid tale of children kidnapped and exploited for child sex trafficking and sexual, physical, and emotional abuse.

The truth is, while their rescue by federal, state, and local authorities was a blessing and an incredible law enforcement accomplishment, their recovery begins now.

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Boy Scouts Sex Abuse Victims Have Only A Few Weeks Left to Bring Claims Forward

September 18th, 2020   No Comments   Sexual Abuse

The Boy Scouts of America was intended as an outlet for young men and women to learn character development and values-based leadership training. The nationwide program has had more than 130 million participants in its 100+ year history. Sadly, the idyllic images of youth coming together for a greater purpose have been tarnished by claims of childhood sexual abuse.

Earlier this year, the Boys Scouts filed for bankruptcy, thus suspending all civil litigation against the organization – including hundreds of sexual abuse lawsuits. As reported by CNN, several of the lawsuits allege repeated fondling, exposure to pornography, and forced anal or oral sex.

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Statewide Human Trafficking Summit Reminds Us that More Progress, Prevention is Needed

October 1st, 2019   No Comments   Advocacy, Sexual Abuse

On Monday, hundreds of individuals involved in criminal justice, social services, health and mental health, and others gathered in Orlando for Florida’s first statewide Human Trafficking Summit. As reported by Florida Politics, “So much more attention and effort is being paid to the scourge of human trafficking now than 20 years ago. Yet there remains so little visible progress, especially in prevention…”

We must continue to shine a bright light on the places where these heinous crimes are committed, and work to educate the employees of hotels, massage parlors, and adult theaters on how to spot the signs of trafficking and common practices. While there is now more attention on human trafficking, there is still much more that needs to be done in order to address and prevent some of Florida’s worst and most vile crimes.

Read more about the Human Trafficking Summit in the article “Human trafficking summit opens with concern that prevention still lags” from Florida Politics here.

Daily Business Review: Web Outreach on Sex Trafficking Connects Accusers to Attorneys, But Raises Questions

August 21st, 2019   No Comments   Sexual Abuse

Child advocates warn about the issues with attorneys advertising to attract victims of sex trafficking. Our own Howard Talenfeld discusses how these advertisements may actually put victims in danger in this article from the Daily Business Review.

According to Howard, “These kids are living in fear of their captors, and so we are highly concerned.”

Read more from the Daily Business Review here.

Daily Business Review: Exposés Explore Child Sex Abuse by Celebs and Complicit Family Members

March 18th, 2019   No Comments   Abuse, Sexual Abuse

“Leaving Neverland” is the heart-wrenching story of two now-adult men who claim they were victims of sexual and psychological abuse as teens by Michael Jackson. Sadly, it’s only one of two such exposés out now. “Surviving R. Kelly” explores similar allegations against former R&B superstar Robert Sylvester Kelly, or R. Kelly. Together, they shed light on a horrible modern reality: children allegedly groomed by their star-struck parents, then handed over to sexual predators.

Read the entire commentary piece from Talenfeld Law Founder Howard Talenfeld by clicking here.

WFLA: Florida child therapist charged with 50 counts of possession of child pornography

March 4th, 2019   No Comments   Sexual Abuse

It’s devastating to learn when someone who was supposed to be protecting our children is actually exploiting them. According to this WFLA news report, a licensed clinical social worker in the Tampa Bay area was recently arrested and is facing 50 counts of child porn possession. The report states that the Tampa Police Department Cyber Crimes Squad uncovered “multiple items of evidence” inside the suspect’s Temple Terrace home and his clinic.

Read more here.

Educators Face Charges of Physical Abuse of Autistic Children, Failure to Report Sex Abuse

February 4th, 2019   No Comments   Abuse, Sexual Abuse, Special Needs

For children, especially those with developmental disabilities, neurological disorders, and other special needs, school should be a safe place. For several children with autism in North Florida, school became a place of physical, emotional, and for one autistic child, sexual abuse that went unreported.

New reports this week revealed allegations that teachers of special needs students in an Okaloosa County school subjected children in their care to horrible physical and emotional abuse. In another charge, a guidance counselor failed to report to authorities an allegation of sexual abuse.

The story revealed allegations that the special education teacher and two aides had been charged by Okaloosa County sheriff’s investigators for abusing the children with autism. It was alleged that the teacher and aides blew whistles in one child’s ears and locked several in darkened bathrooms.

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Governor Scott Signs $5 Million Claims Bill for Child Sexually Abused by Foster Boy Living in the Home

On Friday, March 23, Governor Rick Scott signed CS/HB 6509, a claims bill that directs the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) to pay more than $5 million awarded by a Florida jury to C.M.H., a victim of sexual abuse by a child in foster care. This marks the largest known recovery in Florida for one child who was emotionally and sexually abused against a governmental defendant, DCF. Children’s rights attorney and Talenfeld Law Founder Howard Talenfeld served as co-counsel for C.M.H.

The bill is the result of a verdict and judgment against DCF on behalf of C.M.H., who was sexually assaulted at age nine by an 11-year-old foster child (“J.W.”) that DCF had placed at the home without a safety plan.

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Anti-Human Trafficking Bills Deserve to be Heard

The Legislature has only a few days to pass Anti-Human Trafficking Bills SB 1044 and HB 167 which would hold hotels and motels responsible if they turn a blind eye to traffickers.

Ask for a full vote on the House & Senate floors this session and protect Floridians from suffering like Lynn did! As to SB 1044, contact: President Joe Negron at negron.joe@flsenate.gov (850 487-5025);Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto benacquistolizbeth@flsenate.gov (850 487-5027); and as to (HB 167) contact Speaker Richard Corcoran richard.corcoran@myfloridahouse.gov, (850 717-5000) and Rep. Jose Oliva jose.oliva@myfloridahouse.gov (850 717-5110).

Please share my story and urge the Florida Legislature to pass SB 1044 and HB 167 to hold hotels and motels responsible for turning a blind eye to human trafficking #Lynnsstory #HumanTrafficking #Survivor

Posted by Lynn Doe on Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Lead Agencies Must Acquire Appropriate Insurance Coverage

December 30th, 2015   No Comments   Abuse, Court Cases, Sexual Abuse

The Florida Legislature requires that lead agencies obtain a minimum of $1 million per claim and $10 million per incident in general liability coverage. Yet, many of the state’s lead agencies have not acquired appropriate amounts of coverage to protect children who are harmed while in their care.

Sadly, one West Palm Beach teen recently dealt with this issue when a now-defunct social service agency agreed to pay her to help overcome years of sexual abuse, but didn’t have enough insurance coverage to pay the claim. A lawsuit has been filed against the insurance company, claiming it did not make sure the agency had the proper coverage to compensate children who were victims of sexual abuse while in the care of the agency.

While millions of dollars of insurance coverage is required, the agency reportedly held only $250,000 in coverage.

Read more here