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A Big Thanks to Reporters Covering Stories on Childhood Sexual Abuse: You Help Make Change Happen

By TIM KOSNOFF

Members of my law firm would be less than candid if we said we aren’t pleased with the publicity our work has recently won. This isn’t so much because of any benefit the media coverage has brought to us. It’s about the nature of the work we do: defending child victims of sexual predators.

From years of representing abuse victims, I’ve learned that the media spotlight is nearly always welcome. That’s because the press spells out the horrors of sexual abuse and the often egregious enabling on the part of institutions. And the court of public opinion demands change. We saw it in 2002 when the Boston Globe uncovered wide-spread sexual abuse by priests within the Archdiocese of Boston. In the ensuing decade, similar cases came to light nationwide. We saw it this year with Penn State. And now we’re likely to see the public demanding improved safety measures from the Boy Scouts of America. The media interest in recent days promises to give victims ever greater impetus to come forward and join the battle against pedophiles, so many of whom continue to function undiscovered and unpunished.
This past week, we’ve spoken with reporters from “CBS Morning News,” CNN, the Los Angeles Times, The Oregonian and The San Diego Union-Tribune, to name a few news organizations. Each reporter has been asking the right questions: How could this happen? How could an organization that professes to hold dear the finest of American values continue to put kids at risk?

Reporters have been thoughtful in their questions and their approach to the story. All of this is bittersweet because for years it’s often been a solo journey, fighting with brave clients along the way. I was hoping that at some point the broader public could see what I saw in these confidential files and share my concern.

Sharing this information with welcomed readers is scarcely about self-aggrandizement. It’s about taking this cause forward one reader — or one thousand — at a time.

For further reading:

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-boy-scouts-release-20121009,0,2956122.story

http://www.oregonlive.com/pacific-northwest-news/index.ssf/2012/10/seattle_attorney_posts_data_on.html

If someone you know needs help, you can contact us:

Our attorneys are highly experienced in childhood sexual abuse law and offer free initial consultations to potential clients. We are also willing to assist other attorneys in sexual abuse cases. Please call 206-257-3590, or email us directly. Conversations will be kept confidential, and even if you are unsure about a lawsuit, often we can direct you to the assistance you need. You will be treated with compassion and respect.

Toll free: 855-529-4274
Tim Kosnoff, direct: 425-837-9690
Dan Fasy, direct: 206-462-4338
Kosnoff Fasy, Seattle office: 206-257-3590

Seattle attorney releases list of 1,900 alleged Boy Scout child sex-abusers

For immediate release: Oct. 8, 2012

Seattle attorney releases list of 1,900 alleged Boy Scout child sex-abusers in advance of upcoming Oregon court-ordered release of records

Attorney Tim Kosnoff: ‘The Public Will Demand Better Safety Measures When They See What’s in These Files’

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(SEATTLE, WA) – For nearly a century, the Boy Scouts of America has quietly compiled the names of thousands of accused child molesters within its ranks. The Scouts says it has maintained the records, known as the “perversion files,” as part of a decades-long effort to keep tabs on bad leaders and prevent abuse. Victims’ advocates, however, say the Scouts has done little to warn youngsters about the risks of encountering predators. For perspective: The Boy Scouts of America’s internal files document some 20,000 alleged pedophiles over the past 100 years; Penn State’s sexual-abuse scandal earlier this year involved one sex offender.

Today, Seattle attorney Tim Kosnoff released to the public for the first time the Boy Scouts’s own internal list of 1,900 accused sex-abusers, in advance of a court-ordered release of the files by the Scouts itself within the next week or so. Kosnoff posted the list on his web site, Kosnoff.com.

Kosnoff said the safety of children is too important for this information to be kept under wraps.

“The public will demand better safety measures when they see what’s in these files,” Kosnoff said. “If someone were to ask me if I’d enroll my child in the Boy Scouts, I’d say that I couldn’t in good conscience recommend it. I can’t say it’s a safe organization.”

Last summer, the Oregon Supreme Court ruled that the Scouts had to hand over thousands of documents from 1966-1985, detailing sex-abuse allegations against scout leaders from across the country. Kosnoff’s records detail information on alleged abusers in scouting from 1949-2005, the result of years of work on behalf of more than 100 clients he has represented in cases against the Scouts.

For years, the Scouts has fought disclosure of its “ineligible volunteer” files to the courts, saying it wanted to protect victims. Kosnoff said altruism doesn’t tell the whole story of the Scouts’ actions, as the youth-serving organization over the years has destroyed thousands of its own records but still has more than 6,000 records in its possession. Kosnoff himself has spent more than a decade battling the Scouts in cases that included seeking release of secret files.

In his work as a trial attorney, Kosnoff gathered 65,000 pages of documents over many years and from a variety of sources, including court cases and those who had access to the Scouts’ database. Kosnoff then spent several years compiling indexes and analyzing the materials. His 1971-1991 index identifies 1,932 volunteers expelled for alleged inappropriate sexual conduct with children. His 1949-2005 index contains file information on 3,200 additional adult volunteers expelled for alleged misconduct with children. Kosnoff made annotated notes on thousands of alleged perpetrators and shared this information with the Los Angeles Times in Spring 2011. This information resulted in a recent series of investigative articles by the Los Angeles Times.

Kosnoff said he’s releasing his indexes of accused perpetrators but won’t release the actual files, which contain the un-redacted names of victims.

Among the trends Kosnoff has seen in Scouts “ineligible volunteer” files:

▪Predatory adults, who seek out scouting for access to victims.

▪Admitted or re-admitted adult scout volunteers previously caught abusing children or scouts.

▪Adult scout volunteers, who abuse multiple scout victims, not just one victim.

▪Serious criminal convictions and prison sentences documented among the Scouts’ list of ineligible volunteers.

▪Adult scout leaders who possess and/or produce child pornography.

▪Adult scout leaders who were allowed unfettered access to kids, permitting them to sleep in the same tent.

▪Adult scout leaders, who sexually abused kids on camping trips or on unsupervised outings outside of scouting.

▪ Patterns of grooming behavior, such as trust-building, isolation, discussion of sex, followed by abuse.

▪ Adult volunteers alleged to be pedophiles associating with other alleged pedophiles.

▪ Some youth sexually abused in scouting, who went on to become sexual abusers themselves.

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If someone you know needs help, you can contact us:

Our attorneys are highly experienced in childhood sexual abuse law and offer free initial consultations to potential clients. We are also willing to assist other attorneys in sexual abuse cases. Please call 206-257-3590, or email us directly. Conversations will be kept confidential, and even if you are unsure about a lawsuit, often we can direct you to the assistance you need. You will be treated with compassion and respect.

Toll free: 855-529-4274
Tim Kosnoff, direct: 425-837-9690
Dan Fasy, direct: 206-462-4338
Kosnoff Fasy, Seattle office: 206-257-3590

Diocese And Morning Star Ranch Reach Settlement Agreement

A settlement has been reached in Morning Star Ranch in Spokane. According to Tim, “this was not a victory, but it was not a defeat, we salvaged a case out of a very difficult situation.” You can read the Full article, by Katie Steiner, KHQ Reporter, posted on May 27th, 2012. and view the video here.
SPOKANE, Wash. – The Diocese of Spokane handed out a letter to all of its parishioners Sunday. This letter was written by Bishop Blase Cupich announcing that they had reached a settlement with the victims of the Morning Star Boys Ranch  case. The Bishop told KHQ that he was very happy that the diocese did not have to close any churches. This case has been in mediation since October of 2010. In his letter, the Bishop said that the settlement met all four of the diocese’s goals. No parish will be foreclosed, all appeals will be withdrawn, the church will pay 1.5 million dollars in claims cases and mediation expenses, and Federal Judge Michael Hogal will be the Tort Claim Reviewer and will be in charge of any new future claims in the next four years. The Bishop also wrote “This is an important and significant turning point in a very sad chapter of our diocesan history. We can never forget the harm done to children, who deserved better from the Church and her ministers. Once again, I apologize to the survivors of the sexual abuse by clergy and to the families of survivors.”

The attorney for 26 of the victims in the Morning Star Ranch settlement, Tim Kosnoff talked to KHQ and he said that this settlement “obtained some justice. I wish it could have been more, but it is validation, and it’s closure for them, and compensation and I hope that they can put this chapter behind them and move on with their lives,” Kosnoff said. He said that he was happy that this process is over, but was not thrilled with the outcome. “It was reasonable under the circumstances…this was not a victory, but it was not a defeat, we salvaged a case out of a very difficult situation.”

Kosnoff said that this was a very difficult mediation, but says everyone involved is glad it’s over. Kosnoff said. “My clients are relieved, I am relieved, I think everyone involved in the process is relieved.” The attorney also said that some parties were more cooperative than others. “I would credit Bishop Cupich, I think he played a positive role under the circumstances for him, the board of directors of the Morning Star Boys Ranch were not cooperative, and they were probably the most difficult to deal with,” Kosnoff said.

KHQ did talk to a representative from the Morning Star Boys Ranch and they would not comment on this issue.

If you are looking for Tim Kosnoff, Kosnoff Fasy has experience in boy scout abuse, mormon sexual abuse, catholic church abuse, and more. You can contact us at kosnoff.com or Toll Free: 1-855-LAW-4-CSA

Tim Kosnoff helped to Uncover Decades of Scout Sexual Abuse – CBC

The CBC recently revealed Scouts Canada’s uncovered files that showed years of sexual abuse and pedophilia in the scouts. Tim Kosnoff helped to uncover those files.
A review of how Scouts Canada handled allegations of sexual abuse by its group leaders has found that dozens of cases reported to the organization were not passed on to the police.

Despite past assurances by Scouts Canada that it had informed police about “every record of abuse” within its ranks, the audit has found at least 65 instances where that did not happen.

Watch the excerpts from Tim Kosnoff’s interview with the CBC on the Scouts Canada Case here.

If you are looking for child abuse attorneys, Kosnoff Fasy has experience in boy scout abuse, mormon sexual abuse, catholic church abuse, and more. You can contact us at kosnoff.com or Toll Free: 1-855-LAW-4-CSA

Flashbacks

The Following is posted from http://www.snapnetwork.org. SNAP Offers great resources for those dealing with Abuse.
Flashbacks are normal
Vietnam vets have normalized this experience and have coined the term Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome.

Even the diagnostic category book for psychiatry defines Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome as the normal experience of experiencing an event that is outside the range of normal human experience. Flashbacks feel crazy because the little one doesn’t know that there is an adult survivor available to help.

What helps

  1. Tell yourself that you are having a flashback.
  2. Remind yourself that the worst is over. The feelings and sensations you are experiencing are memories of the past. The actual event took place long ago when you were younger, and you survived. Now it is time to let out that terror, rage, hurt and/or panic. Now is the time to honor your experience.
  3. Get grounded. This means stamping your feet on the ground so that the little one knows you have feet and can get away if you need to. If the trauma occurred as a child, you couldn’t get away. Now you can.
  4. Breathe. When we get scared we stop normal breathing. As a result, our body begins to panic from the lack of oxygen. Lack of oxygen in itself causes a great deal of panic feelings: pounding in the head, tightness, sweating, feeling faint, shakiness, dizziness. When we breathe deeply enough, a lot of the panic feeling can decrease. Breathing deeply means putting your hand on your diaphragm and breathing deeply enough so that your diaphragm pushes against your hand and then exhaling so that the diaphragm goes in.
  5. Reorient to the present. Begin to use your five senses in the present. Look around and see the colors in the room, the shapes of things, the people near, etc. Listen to the sounds around you: your breathing, traffic, birds, people, cars, etc. Feel your body and what is touching it: your clothes, your own arms and hands, the chair or floor supporting you.
  6. Speak to the little one and reassure him/her. It is very healing to get your adult in the now, that you can get out if you need to, that it is OK to feel the feelings of long ago without reprisal. The child needs to know that it is safe to experience the feelings/sensations and let go of the past.
  7. Get in touch with your needs for boundaries. Sometimes when we are having a flashback we lose the sense of where we leave off and the world begins; as if we do not have skin. Wrap yourself in a blanket, hold a pillow or stuffed animal, go to bed, sit in a closet… any way that you can feel yourself truly protected from the outside.
  8. Get support. Depending on your situation, you may need to be alone or may want someone near you. In either case, it is important that your close ones know about flashbacks so they can help with the process, whether that means letting you be by yourself or being there.
  9. Take time to recover. Sometimes flashbacks are very powerful. Give yourself the time to make the transition from this powerful experience. Don’t expect yourself to jump into adult activities right away. Take a nap, or a warm bath, or some quiet time. Do not beat yourself up for having a flashback. Appreciate how much you went through. . .
  10. Honor your experience. Appreciate yourself for having survived that horrible time [when you were younger]. Respect your body’s need to experience those feelings of long ago.
  11. Be patient. It takes time to heal the past. It takes time to learn appropriate ways of taking care of self., of being an adult who has feelings, and developing effective ways of coping in the here and now.
  12. Find a competent therapist. Look for a therapist who understands the processes of healing from [trauma: incest, rape, war.] A therapist can be a guide, a support, a coach in this healing process. You do not have to do it alone . . . ever again.
  13. Join a self-help group. Survivors are wonderful allies in this process of healing. It is a healing thing to share your process with others who understand so deeply what you are going through.
  14. Know you are not crazy… you are healing!

If you are looking for child abuse attorneys, Kosnoff Fasy has experience in boy scout abuse, mormon sexual abuse, catholic church abuse, and more. You can contact us at kosnoff.com or Toll Free: 1-855-LAW-4-CSA

Kosnoff Fasy – Great Falls Filing For Sex Abuse

New Clergy Sex Abuse Victims File Suit Against Roman Catholic Diocese of Great Falls-Billings, Montana.

Having represented sexual abuse survivors for a decade, trial lawyer Tim Kosnoff has many settlements in his favor. For more information, please call 1-855-529-4272, visit their website at www.abusedinmontana.com or email them at [email protected]

If you are looking for child abuse attorneys, Kosnoff Fasy has experience in boy scout abuse, mormon sexual abuse, catholic church abuse, and more. You can contact us at kosnoff.com or Toll Free: 1-855-LAW-4-CSA

Great Falls Tribune: Sex abuse suit filed against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Great Falls-Billings

Ten people filed a lawsuit Wednesday claiming they were sexually abused as children by Roman Catholic priests and nuns in central and eastern Montana, including a priest who was on a board that reviews allegations of child sex abuse for the church. The following article is from the Great Falls Tribune and Written by KIMBALL BENNION
Sex abuse suit filed against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Great Falls-Billings

A third lawsuit alleging abuse by Catholic clergy in Montana was filed Wednesday morning in Great Falls — this time from 10 plaintiffs alleging sexual assault by priests from within the Roman Catholic Diocese of Great Falls-Billings.

The only named plaintiff in the case, Timothy Becker, alleged that the Rev. Ted Szudera, who until last month was in active ministry in Stanford, abused him in 1978 and 1979 while Szudera was a priest in Livingston. Becker said in an interview Wednesday that he attended St. Mary’s Catholic School and the St. Mary parish in Livingston growing up, and that the alleged abuse occurred both in the church and in the school.

The Great Falls-Billings Diocese denied the allegations against Szudera, saying that an earlier accusation against Szudera brought to the church by Becker in 2006 was deemed unfounded after the diocese hired a private investigator to look into the allegation.

The Rev. Jay Peterson, vicar general for the Great Falls-Billings Diocese, said the other allegations set forth in the lawsuit were never brought to the church’s attention.

In a press conference Wednesday announcing the suit’s filing, attorney Tim Kosnoff of the Seattle-based law firm of Kosnoff Fasy said Becker and nine other plaintiffs told them about “appalling instances of sexual abuse going on for years” at the hands of priests and nuns in various places across Montana.

“The abuse is of the most hideous nature I’ve ever seen,” Kosnoff said, later adding a call to the Attorney General’s Office to investigate all claims of clerical abuse coming out of Montana.

Attorney General Steve Bullock responded with a statement that read in part:

“My top priority is keeping kids safe. Allegations of sexual abuse are always distressing, especially when the alleged perpetrator is in a position of trust.”

Bullock’s statement further reads that as of 4:30 Wednesday afternoon, his office asked for a copy of the complaint but didn’t get one.

“However, if it alleges that crimes have been committed, we encourage the victims to immediately contact their local law enforcement agency so those allegations can be investigated.”

You can read more of this story here

Click here to read the full law suit..

If someone you know needs help, you can contact us:

Our attorneys are highly experienced in childhood sexual abuse law and offer free initial consultations to potential clients. We are also willing to assist other attorneys in sexual abuse cases. Please call 206-257-3590, or email us directly. Conversations will be kept confidential, and even if you are unsure about a lawsuit, often we can direct you to the assistance you need. You will be treated with compassion and respect.

Toll free: 855-529-4274
Tim Kosnoff, direct: 425-837-9690
Dan Fasy, direct: 206-462-4338
Kosnoff Fasy,, Seattle office: 206-257-3590

Who Sexually Abuses Children

Here’s a distressing statistic to consider: Some 85 percent of the time, children are abused by someone they know. Abusers are often immediate or extended family members, such as fathers, mothers, stepparents, grandparents, siblings, uncles, aunts, or cousins. They can be neighbors, babysitters, religious leaders, teachers, coaches, or anyone else who has close contact with children.
Child sexual abuse has been reported up to 80,000 times a year in the United States, but the number of unreported instances is far greater, because the children are afraid to tell anyone what has happened, and the legal avenues for validating an episode is difficult. The problem should be identified, the abuse stopped, and the child should receive professional help. The long-term emotional and psychological damage of sexual abuse can be devastating to the child.

Sexually abused children may:

  • Say their bodies are dirty or damaged, or fear that there is something wrong with them in the genital area
  • Refuse to go to school
  • Develop delinquency/conduct problems
  • Become secretive
  • Have nightmares or problems sleeping
  • Become depressed or withdraw from friends or family
  • Show an unusual interest in or avoidance of all things of a sexual nature
  • Become aggressive
  • Engage in suicidal ideation
  • Relive aspects of sexual molestation in drawings, games, fantasies

Abusers can make the child extremely fearful of telling or reaching out for help, especially when it is a member of the family. Only when a special effort has been made for the child to feel safe, can the child talk freely.

If someone you know needs help, you can contact us:

Toll free: 855-529-4274
Tim Kosnoff, direct: 425-837-9690
Dan Fasy, direct: 206-462-4338
Kosnoff Fasy, Seattle office: 206-257-3590

Statutes of Limitations

Sometimes it takes a tragedy to establish or improve public policy.

For years, varying state statutes of limitation have kept victims of child sexual abuse from closure, with abusers evading justice.
Sex Abuse Attorney
In Pennsylvania, the criminal statutes of limitation extends until the victim reaches the age of 50. In New York, it’s 18. But since news of the Penn State scandal broke, the public has learned about laws seldom discussed. In Syracuse, despite finding the allegations to be credible, prosecutors have declined to pursue criminal sex abuse charges against former assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine because of the case’s statutes of limitation. Several states are already fighting back, trying to expand or even eliminate the statutes of limitation on these cases.

Why did it take so long? The very nature of the crime is predicated on secrecy and shame and manipulation. It often takes years, and even decades, for victims to grasp what has happened, and even more time to pursue legal recourse. In the wake of the recent scandals, survivors and authorities are forced to respond to the failures of the system and build a better path for justice.

Seattle attorney Tim Kosnoff has represented more than 500 victims of childhood sex abuse.

To find out more, visit Kosnoff.com or call:

Toll free: 855-529-4274
Tim Kosnoff, direct: 425-837-9690
Kosnoff Fasy, Seattle office: 206-257-3590

Supporting a Survivor

When and friend or loved one comes out as a sexual abuse survivor we have a lot of questions and may be unsure of how to move forward. Our reactions can take a huge role in how a survivor processes their abuse and knowing how to respond can help ease the process.

  1. Be self-aware. Your reaction can be interpreted as judgment or disapproval. Stay neutral and supportive.
  2. Do not make promises you can’t keep. There are statutes of limitations to consider, the court process can be lengthy and you cannot control the outcome. The only promise you can make is that you’ll be there to support them.
  3. Let them speak. It’s easy to comfort someone by hushing them or telling them not to think about it, but the process of communicating their story will help them as they pursue their options.
  4. Let the survivor control the situation. Don’t push. Sharing their experience is difficult and it’s important not to pressure them into speaking. It is their decision if they want to go to counseling or contact the police.
  5. Don’t question their experience. Assure them that you believe them and avoid questions like, “Are you sure?”
  6. Don’t overshare. Trying to relate is human nature, but it can take away from the survivor’s experience.
  7. Educate yourself. Know the signs and what you can do to help.

Your support is crucial to the healing process. If someone you know needs help, you can contact us:
Toll free: 855-529-4274
Tim Kosnoff, direct: 425-837-9690
Kosnoff Fasy, Seattle office: 206-257-3590