Sunday, June 30, 2002

Report: Abuse-crats still bungling - "The Department of Children and Families is fending off charges that its performance is getting worse despite whopping budget increases over the last two years. The charges are surfacing just as the state legislature gets ready for its annual two-month session." - The News-Press Tallahassee Bureau

Tong's take: The story goes on to note that department Secretary Kathleen Kearney is waging a PR campaign in the wake of a critical draft audit from the Florida Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability. Among other things the draft says more children are suffering abuse after a return home. Also the percentage of abused foster children has risen. The case backlog is also up--to almost 50,000. Duh! Any surprise that this same agency can't be trusted to reach accurate conclusions about fathers when they're accused. The 'crats want to move on to the next case.

Kearney's side is that the report uses old data. I wish her luck in making improvements. She inherited a major mess, and it would be wonderful if newer statistics were more positive.

Friday, June 28, 2002

Girl charged in filing false abuse reports - "Sarasota Police charged an 11-year old girl with four counts of filing a false report to an abuse hot line, according to reports. The girl called the abuse hot line four times, twice on May 12 and once on June 6 and on June 9, police said. Each time the girl would make false claims about being sexually abused by staff members at the YMCA Youth Shelter on South Briggs Avenue, according to reports." - Bradenton Herald, June 27.

Tong's take: Yours truly helped to make Florida one of only 4 states that has made the filing of deliberate and malicious false child abuse reports a felony. It will be interesting to see if the state attorney's office tries the accused as an adult. In my opinion, she'll receive a slap on the wrist and perhaps spend a weekend in juvenile hall. The reasoning by prosecutors to not pursue false charges (even though the statute may be on the books) is that it will discourage women and children from reporting abuse in the future.
Pastor used quack therapy - "Prosecutors have dropped charges against a former Sunday school teacher who was accused of sexually molesting a 7-year-old boy four years ago... Charges were dropped against Thomas Wright, 43, of Gorham, because of insufficient credible evidence... Investigators uncovered a 'distressing pattern' of allegations by members of Faith Baptist Church in North Yarmouth based on memories recovered during counseling with the church's pastor, Wes Harris." - Associated Press, June 27, 2002.

Tong's take: There is no empirical data to support the claim that recovered memories of sexual abuse are in fact accurate representations of molest. I suggest you read two books--Victims of Memory by Mark Pendegrast and The Myth of Repressed Memory by Elizabeth Loftus, Ph.D.

Note: The above AP link may not go to the matching story after today.

Wednesday, June 26, 2002

Sex, Lies and Child Abuse - A crack New York literary agency is marketing my autobiography, Sex, Lies and Child Abuse. The book proposal tells of my 10-year battle with the child-protection establishment, during which I spent $150,000 to exonerate myself of the charges that I allegedly molested my three-year-old daughter.

Along the way, SLACA will discuss the many failings of the child-protection system--and my transformation from a victim to an internationally known consultant in this area.

"This book is both compelling and needed," says Barbara Leah Ellis, head of the Scribes Editorial and Literary Agency. "When authorities lock up the wrong suspects, the real monsters are left free to molest other kids. And as Dean Tong will show, many policemen and social workers lack the right training to look beyond the distractions and put the true perpetrators out of circulation."

Tuesday, June 25, 2002

Cantor denies sex-abuse - "NORRISTOWN - New York Cantor Harold Nevison, charged with sexually abusing his young Lower Merlon nephew, this week entered a plea of not guilty to the charges against him." - The Mercury, June 15.

Tong's take: This is more than just a Catholic scandal. Both real and false cases will show up within the major faiths.
Foster children in peril - "The number of cases of abuse against children in Florida's foster-care system soared during the past two years, according to statistics from the state Department of Children & Families." - Orlando Sentinel, June 22.

Tong's take: Tear a child away from a father, place the little one in foster care, and you just may be sending the youngster from a non-frying pan into a real fire.
Overburned case workers - "Central Florida abuse investigators are juggling some of the heaviest caseloads in the state, making it impossible for them to protect children from harm, child-welfare advocates say." - Orlando Sentinel, June 16

Tong's take: Perhaps the caseloads would be lighter if the laws didn't pamper people with wrongful allegations.
The latest cases - Here you'll read my professional perspective on some of the latest cases of real and alleged child abuse.