Category Archives: Child Abuse

Youth at higher risk of involvement in the sex trade

All youth can be recruited or forced into the sextrade.

However some youth are more at risk.

Youth in foster care and youth with child welfare involvement

A 2007 research report out of New York State found a high correlation between child welfare involvement and subsequent commercial sexual exploitation. between 85 to 89% of youth reported to be commercially sexually exploited had prior child welfare involvement.1

Youth who are homeless,AWOL, runaway, in unstable housing  situations

Research results demonstrate a consistently high risk of involvement in survival sex or other forms of commercial sexual exploitation for youth without stable housing. the most recent federally funded national study found 70% of homeless youth are commercially sexually exploited.2

Out of school youth, unemployed youth, low or no income youth

While not documented specifically in research, youth in group discussions have reported a lack of money or survival needs (even when youth have a place to live), lack of access to jobs and lack of skills from dropping  out or being pushed out of school as direct links to their involvement or consideration of the sex trade to make money.

Youth with family involved in the sex trade and/or an active sex trade in their community

Youth in prevention workshops continue to identify being around an active sex trade in their community or family members involved in the sex trade as a risk factor. Youth stress that people in the community are more likely to encourage or recruit them and an active sex trade normalizes the option.

Youth with a history of sexual abuse

All research studies that ask youth who are or have been involved in the sex trade about previous sexual abuse prior to any commercial sexual exploitation find rates of up to over 90%. Research also suggests that sexual abuse is a factor independent of any resulting running away or substance abuse.3

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Questioning Youth

Personally I disapprove of the word Queer… definition….abnormal or odd.  Traditional teachings tell me that all human beings are spiritually equal in creation and have a purpose in the grand scheme of life.  But the movement is because of the context in which it was reclaimed, queer has sociopolitical connotations, and is often preferred by those who are activists, by those who strongly reject traditional gender identities, by those who reject distinct sexual identities such as gay, lesbian, bisexual and straight, and by those who see themselves as oppressed by the heteronormativity of the larger culture. In this usage it retains the historical connotation of “outside the bounds of normal society” and can be construed as “breaking the rules for sex and gender.” It can be preferred because of its ambiguity, which allows “queer” identifying people to avoid the sometimes strict boundaries that surround other labels. In this context, “queer” is not a synonym for LGBT as it creates a space for “queer” heterosexuals as well as “non-queer” (“straight-acting”) homosexuals.4

LGBTQQ youth make up 20 to 40% of all homeless youth, resulting in high rates of survival sex.5

Additionally, a study in Canada found LGBT youth were three times more likely to trade sex for survival than heterosexual youth.5 Almost 60% of transgender youth reported exchanging sex for money in recent Chicago based research.

Youth of Color

African American minors are over-represented in prostitution arrests, comprising 55% of all arrests of juveniles for prostitution across the U.S. in 2002. Some of the evidence suggests this may have to do with unequal law enforcement strategies that target communities of color. However this may also reflect a higher involvement of African American, Latino, Asian,  and Native American or First Nations, that  experience higher rates of poverty and involvement in the child welfare system.

1. Gragg, F. et al.  (2007). New York Prevalence Study of Commercially Sexually Exploited Children. Accessed April 8, 2009

2. Estes. R and Weiner N. (2001). The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in the United States. Canada and Mexico. Files/Complete CSEC 020220.pdf. Accesses April 8, 2009

3. Simons. R and Whitebeck, L. (1991) Sexual Abuse as a Precurser to prostitution and Victimization Among Adolescent and Adult Homeless Women. Journal of family Issues, 12(3).


5. National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (2007). Lesbian,gay, bisexual and trangender youth: An epidemic of homelessness. and research/homeless youth. Accessed April 8, 2009

6. (Gaetz, S. (2004). Safe streets for whom? Homeless youth, social exclusion, and criminal victimization. canadian Journal of Criminal Justice, 46(6).)

7.Howard Brown Health Center (2008). /HowardBrownResearchNews0408.pdf. Accessed April 8. 2009

8. Federal Bureau of Investigation. (2002). Crime in the United States. 02/html/web/arrested/04-table43.html. Accessed April 8, 2009

Claudine O”Leary

A few personal thoughts by yours truly…

Signs of Sexual Assault

Physical Evidence

Difficulty Going To The Bathroom

Blood of Semen on the child’s diaper or clothing.

Unexplained lesions in genital and or anal area.

Presence of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)

Frequent vaginal infections

  • Behavioral changes
  • Failure to thrive
  • Extreme change in mood, grades, social interactions
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fear of being left alone with someone
  • Mental health deterioration, Suicidal tendencies
  • Age inappropriate knowledge of Sexual Behaviors
  • Sexualized behaviors
  • Poor body image and or self esteem
  • Self mutilation
  • Delinquency
  • At risk behaviors

Child Sexual Assault Myths and Facts

WCADV Beth Balo

  • MYTH: Child Sexual Assault is most often committed by strangers.
  • FACT: Over 90% of child sexual assault victims know their abuser.
  • MYTH: Child Sexual Assault is a rare occurrence.
  • FACT: 1 in 4 females and 1 in 7 males will be sexually assaulted before the age of 18.
  • MYTH: The average age of the onset of child sexual assault is 6-8 years of age.
  • FACT: The average age of sexual assault to a boy is 4.
  • FACT: The average age of trafficking a child is 9
  • MYTH: You can tell a sex offender be looking at him/her.
  • FACT: Sex offenders come from all walks of life, can be male or female, all age groups.


  • 88% of the incidents of child sexual assault go UNREPORTED.
  • The FBI reports that only 2% of reported child sexual assault cases are false.


Child Sexual Assault

By: Beth Ballo Prevention Specialist Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault

Wisconsin Child Sexual Assault Laws

  • First Degree Sexual Assault
  • A. Sexual contact or intercourse with a person not yet 13, and causes great bodily harm.
  • B. Has sexual intercourse with a person who has not yet attained the age of 12.
  • C. Has sexual intercourse with a person less than 16 by use or threat of force or violence.

( Class A Felony Mandatory Arrest Minimum=25 yrs)

  • Second degree Sexual Assault:
  • Anyone who has sexual contact with or intercourse with a person who has not reached age 16.
  • Sexual intercourse with a child 16 or older.
  • Engaging in repeat acts of sexual assault with the same child.
  • Incest with a child.
  • Sexual Assault of a child by a school staff person or a person who volunteers or works with children.
  • Child Enticement
  • Causing a child to listen to or view sexual activity.
  • Sexual Assault of a child for prosititution.
  • Sexual Assault of a child placed in substitute care.
  • Exposing genitals or pubic area.
  • Female genital mutilation.

Examples of Child Sexual Assault

  • Obscene phone calls
  • Internet Solicitation
  • Exposure to pornography
  • Exposure to Sexual Acts
  • Voyeurism
  • Photographing a child in sexual poses
  • Touching a child’s genitals; making a child touch someone else’s genitals. (inside and outside of clothing)

The Dark Side of the Internet and Cell Phones!

Report BY: Special Agent Eric Szatkowski
Wisconsin Department of Justice/Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) since 1991.
Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force in Milwaukee. Eric’s law enforcement experience also includes murder-for-hire, cold-case homicides, death investigations, anti-government groups, fugitives, and narcotics enforcement.
Oh Yes and Miigwitch (thank-You) for that!
Since 1998 there have been more than 680,000 tips about online exploitation and the majority of the tips have involved child pornography.
In Wisconsin alone 20,000 sites are identified porn sites and these sites are abusing our children and subjecting them to sexual predators and porn.

I watched him as he logged on to my space and went into a CHAT. Here he introduced himself as a child home from school and bored. WITHIN SECONDS HE HAD TWO CHAT BUDDIES QUESTIONING WITHIN A MINUTE THERE WERE FOUR …..WITHIN FOUR MINUTES THERE WERE TEN CHAT BUDDIES ASKING…….QUESTIONS!

In 2002, 22 Million images and more of child pornography were on the internet.
1-5 teens have sex by age 15
1-4 girls between the ages of 4-11 have sexually transmitted diseases.
50%-African American
No mention of Native American nor Alaskan Natives?
Statistically speaking Alaskan Native women have the highest rate of sexual assault in the United States.
Chat or Cell children and teens are exposed to predators, pornography and bribed into sexual contact and online sex chats.
Do you know the old saying “a photo speaks a thousand words”, well a photo on the internet like Myspace, Facebook, Bebo, Xanga, and Cell Phones, “A PHOTO IS FOREVER!”
25% of youth being exposed sexually or sexually enticed become depressed.
19% of youth being exposed have a very expanded vocabulary.
Porn on the Pod….no not Corn on the Cob….Pornography uploaded on an I-Pod.
Sexting….no not Texting sexually charged to a cell phone pornographic pictures and cell phone exchange, ALL YOU NEED IS A CELL PHONE NUMBER TO DO THIS. All of you professionals out there, teachers, counselors, be wary of this!
(see sexting teen suicide under the blogroll)
Vermont is considering legalizing teen sexting.
In Wisconsin it’s a crime 15 years and younger.
On YouTube our youth are subject to tons of porn such as rape dance and all a kid has to do is spell words like Big Tits and boom there it is OMG!
Take a look at real nice photo’s of Beyonce’s Butt, Britneys oops!, and Miley Cyrus Sexy Photos….HOW OLD IS SHE?
Children and Teenagers on these sites are:
10-20 harassed or bullied online
1-3 unwanted exposure to sexually inappropriate content
1-7 receive sexual solicitation
1-7 sexual exploitation
1-33 aggressive solicitation
Parents while your sleeping there getting bribed with alcohol, money, games, tickets to the game to send photo’s and YES, some sneak out and meet these guys in your back yard. WHAT DO YOU THINK THESE GUYS ARE DOING WHILE CHATTING, SEXTING AND LOOKING AT YOUR CHILD’S PHOTO…. WITH THEIR FREE HAND?
Most often the photo’s these guy’s are putting up on their myspaces or sending on Bebo are not the actual photo of the guy.
My space banded by-law 90,000 sexual predators there are 40,000 more than that on the sex offender registry….!
Sex offenders, Perverts, Pedophiles get a free ride. WHY?…… money for corporations and site owners. Corporations solicit their wares on these websites.
What about Private Spaces?????
No….not private…..try it anyone can get in.
These spaces are like diaries….do you think they check your birth certificate when you login…no, youth…. kids, no pictures, no addresses, no time schedules. When you invite friends those friends have friends and so on and on we go….


X-Box Live, Ruinscape and all live games on the internet are subject to perverts pretending to be a player…BEWARE!

1/3 to 1/2 of Internet user’s are children or our Youth…..Who do you think are the rest?
Kids and young people your friends are not the only people on your site!
Parents her are some FILTERS.
What do they do WATCH!
They cost otherwise…..
No Internet on the cell phones or camera’s or unlimited texting
No computer’s in private area’s
No No No No using computer’s without supervision.
On the side bar I will add some sites to help and report cyber crime. I will also add a cyber language dictionary.

The Mystery

Authored By Lundy Bancroft

He’s two different people. I feel like I’m living with Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
He really doesn’t mean to hurt me. He loses control.
Everyone else think’s he’s great. I don’t know what it is about me that set’s him off.
He’s fine when he’s sober. But when he’s drunk, watch out.
I feel like he’s never happy with anything I do.
He’s scared me a few times, but never touches the children. He’s a great father.
He calls me disgusting names, and then an hour later he wants sex. I don’t get it.
He messes up my mind sometimes.
The thing is, he really understands me.
Why does he do that?
These are the words of women who are describing their anxiety and inner conflict about their relationships. Each of these women knows that something is wrong-very wrong-but she can’t put her finger on what it is. Every time she thinks she’s got her partner figured out, that she finally understands what is bothering him, something new happens, something changes. The pieces refuse to fit together.
Each of these women is trying to make sense out of the roller-coaster ride that her relationship has become.

Breaking the Silence

You are sincerely revered and honored by me……thank-you!

Breaking the Silence

I was abducted, beaten and raped by a stranger. It wasn’t a neighbor, a coach, a relative, a family friend or teacher. It was a recidivist pedophile predator who spent time in prison for previous sex crimes; an animal hunting for victims in the quiet, bucolic, suburban neighborhoods of Lincoln, Rhode Island.

I was able to identify the guy and the car he was driving. Although he was arrested that night and indicted a few months later, he never went to trial. His trial never took place because he was brutally beaten to death in Providence before his court date. 34 years later, no one has ever been charged with the crime.

In the time between the night of my assault and the night he was murdered, I lived in fear. I was afraid he was still around town. Afraid he was looking for me. Afraid he would track me down and kill me. The fear didn’t go away when he was murdered. Although he was no longer a threat, the simple life and innocence of a 14-year-old boy was gone forever. Carefree childhood thoughts replaced with the unrelenting realization that my world wasn’t a safe place. My peace shattered by a horrific criminal act of sexual violence.

Over the past 34 years, I’ve been haunted by horrible, recurring memories of what he did to me. He visits me in my sleep. There have been dreams–nightmares actually–dozens of them, sweat inducing, yelling-in-my-sleep nightmares filled with images and emotions as real as they were when it actually happened. It doesn’t get easier over time. Long dead, he still visits me, silently sneaking up from out of nowhere when I least expect it. From the grave, he sits by my side on the couch every time the evening news reports a child abduction or sex crime. I don’t watch America’s Most Wanted or Law and Order SVU, because the stories are a catalyst, triggering long suppressed emotions, feelings, memories, fear and horror. Real life horror stories rip painful suppressed memories out from where they hide, from that recessed place in my brain that stores dark, dangerous, horrible memories. It happened when William Bonin confessed to abducting, raping and murdering 14 boys in California; when Jesse Timmendequas raped and murdered Megan Kanka in New Jersey; when Ben Ownby, missing for four days, and Shawn Hornbeck, missing for four years, were recovered in Missouri.

Despite what happened that night and the constant reminders that continue to haunt me years later, I wouldn’t change what happened. The animal that attacked me was a serial predator, a violent pedophile trolling my neighborhood in Lincoln, Rhode Island looking for young boys. He beat me, raped me, and I stayed alive. I lived to see him arrested, indicted and murdered. It might not have turned out this way if he had grabbed one of my friends or another kid from my neighborhood. Perhaps he’d still be alive. Perhaps there would be dozens of more victims and perhaps he would have progressed to the point of silencing his victims by murdering them.
Out of fear, shame and guilt, I’ve been silent for over three decades, not sharing with anyone the story of what happened to me. No more. The silence has to end. The fear, the shame, the guilt have to go. It’s time to stop keeping this secret from the people closest to me, people I care about, people I love, my long-time friends and my family. It’s time to speak out to raise public awareness of male sexual assault, to let other victims know that they’re not alone and to help victims of rape and violent crime understand that the emotion, fear and memories that may still haunt them are not uncommon to those of us who have shared a similar experience.

For those who suffer with the memories, I hope my story brings some comfort, peace and hope. To those who suffer in silence, I pray you find the strength to speak out.

My story has just been released as a novel, Men in My Town, available now on

More info is available at the Men in My Town Blog at

Sexual Assault Boys to Men

I recently listened to a story from an Indian man who is a survivor and is encouraging other men to speak up about the sexual abuse they have suffered in their lives.
He is doing this for several reasons, most importantly it is breaking the silence, and the road to healing can begin. Another reason is that perpetrators may be held accountable and other young boys may be saved from the same abuse.
It is harder for males to admit they have been victimized sexually by other males for reasons we as a society play a role in. First of all, there is a stink about homosexuality that permeates this country and the world. This stench denies male victims justice, for fear of social ostracism. Secondly, society has equated masculinity to strength as in not having human emotions and the main perpetrators of this is men themselves. Myself, as a women, witnessing a man showing human emotion attribute this to integrity and balance. Lastly, we as women and mother’s of both sexes, male and female are not acknowledging these issues exist and our children are suffering and most likely will die or commit suicide with this socially perpetrated injustice. Following is an article to prove my point further:
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
April 1, 2009
“Trail of Tears”
Police are digging into two possible suicides, a drug death and the molestation of at least 28 boys.
By Tom Kertscher
GREENFIELD, WI– At least one and possibly two of Daniel Acker’s suspected victims committed suicide and a third died because of complications from drug use, according to the police official who is supervising the Acker investigation.
And Greenfield police now believe that Acker, 61, a longtime West Allis resident before moving to Waukesha last year, molested at least 28 boys.
In an hour long interview Tuesday with the Journal Sentinel, Deputy Inspector Bradley Wentlandt retraced the “trail of tears” detectives have followed in their investigation, which could reach a pivotal stage this week.
And he detailed how Acker, who is suspected of assaulting boys in his homes, on the lakefront, in a park and elsewhere, managed to cloak his actions over four decades.
“I guess you could say that over time, he got better at it,” Wentlandt said.
Prosecutors have charged Acker with a 2005 assault on a boy who is now 19 and are expected to decide this week whether to file charges involving two other suspected victims.
In an interview Sunday from jail, where Acker admitted to “weaknesses,” and “poor choices” but denied having sexual relations with boys.
Greenfield police are investigating the case because on of Acker’s accuser’s, a man now in his 40’s said he was molested by Acker in Greenfield in the 1970’s.
Wentlandt said the man reported the alleged assaults in a voice mail message left march 19 with West Allis-West Milwaukee Recreation Department, which has employed Acker as a part-time swim instructor for 37 years.
Wentlandt said a supervisor of that department spoke to the man the same day, then informed Greenfield Police March 23 Acker was arrested that day while teaching a youth swim class in West Allis.
Wentlandt said he didn’t know why the supervisor waited four days to make the report but doesn’t believe the delay hampered investigation.
Since then, more than 100 people have spoken to investigators. Police say the 28 males they have identified as victims were molested by Acker between 1972 and 2005.
The boys generally were between the ages of 7 and 15 when they were abused, although some continued to be molested into their later teen years, according to Wentlandt.
The assaults occurred over the years at Acker’s homes, first in Greenfield and later on the northwest side of Milwaukee and in West Allis, where he lived from 1990 to 2008, Wentlandt said.
Acker also molested boys at Whitnall Park, near Like Michigan, in Eagle River and in Waterford in Racine County, Wentlandt said.
Acker met the boys from among the literally thousands of children who took his swim classes, through a previous job working at the Milwaukee County Mental Health Complex and through other people, Wentlandt said.
Acker befriended boys from troubled families, bought them things and took them places, let them hang out at his home and sometimes gave them alcohol and marijuana.
After a period of months, he would ask the boys if he could take nude pictures of them; later he would touch them sexually.
Some of the boys refused to be photographed nude and never saw Acker again, but others-thankful for the attention Acker showed them-succumbed to indecent touching and eventually to more advanced sexual activity, Wentlandt said.
“They’re already being assaulted before they know what happened,” Wentlandt said.
One of the suspected victims committed suicide as an adult, another death is considered a possible suicide and a third died from complications stemming from drug use, Wentlandt said. He said relatives of the drug user tied the drug use to Acker’s suspected assaults.
Other men identified as Acker’s victims suffer from broken marriages and can’t hold jobs, Wentlandt said.
Even though the number of suspected victims has reached 28, it is not known whether police will be able to seek charges involving more than the three cases already submitted to the district attorney’s office.
In 15 of the cases, the alleged abuse would have occurred before 1989, beyond the statute of limitations. In 10 cases the suspected victims were unable or unwilling to provide enough information.
Equally frustrating is the belief that Acker likely continued molesting boys after 2005, the year of the assault involving the 19-year-old, Wentlandt said.
But Wentlandt said he understands, having witnessed the anguish of men in their 30’s and 40’s recounting their allegations of abuse by Acker, how a teen molested more recently would not come forward. Victims often feel a stigma about having been abused, believe they somehow consented to it or fear being labeled homosexual, he said.
“I can’t imagine how a 14 year old boy would feel in the same circumstances” said Wentlandt.
Despite police allegations that Acker committed hundreds of attacks, neither West Allis nor Greenfield police have records of any prior reports of abuse by Acker. Milwaukee police said they have no record of any other contact with him.
After his arrest, Acker would not volunteer any information about sexual contact with boys, Wentlandt said.
But after being confronted with the details about the 19 year old and about five other victims from the 1970s, he admitted to assaults involving these boys, Wentlandt said.
Wentlandt said he hoped to exhaust most leads this week and then turn over information to other law enforcement authorities about alleged assaults in their communities.
As a mother and a tribal victim advocate I am pleading with you boys and men to break your silence and bring these perpetrators to justice so we may can put a stop to this on our lands!

They came for the children

Norther Express Weekly
Northern Michigan

They came for the children
Anne Stanton

The Holy Childhood School of Jesus was demolished last fall, but former students say they’ll never forget their formative years at the Indian boarding school. This is the final story of a series that has focused on the school’s legacy.

The Holy Childhood School of Jesus was established by Catholic nuns with the mission of helping impoverished Indian children and raising them in the Roman Catholic faith. But it was just one of scores of boarding schools established by religious groups or the U.S. government that took in tens of thousands of Indian children in a misguided social experiment.
The Harbor Springs school, founded in 1829, was one of the earliest Indian boarding schools in the country. Like thousands of Indian children across the country, the students began boarding school life at the age of six or seven and returned home at the age of 14. Holy Childhood closed in 1983 due to low enrollment, money problems, and staff shortages.
The question is, why boarding schools?
The church’s mission was obvious—to help children, some of them from deeply troubled homes, and to raise them as Christians, be it Episcopalian, Methodist or Catholic. The government’s motives had more to do with “civilizing” the savage man. The third reason is economic. University of Michigan doctoral student Veronica Pasfield contends that off-reservation boarding schools and federal policies worked synergistically to seize or control a tribe’s property and other assets. Such rich resources were desperately needed by a post-Civil War economy at a time when the country was swiftly industrializing, she said.
The Holy Childhood School in Harbor Springs was founded in the early 19th century in a tiny log cabin, decades earlier than the first off-reservation government school of 1879.

The government boarding school model was created by Army Captain Richard H. Pratt, who is known for his famous phrase: “Kill the Indian in him, and save the man.”
At that time, many people — except for the most hardened Indian haters — felt that it was better to educate rather than kill the remaining 290,000 Indians who had survived the Indian wars. The pre-invasion population was estimated between 12.5 million to 18.5 million, according to books by Russell Thornton and Henry F. Dobyns, wrote Ward Churchill in Kill the Indian, Save the Man.
Reformers had pinned their hopes on molding the children, who would then return to the reservation to lead their tribe out of their “savage” life. Policy makers believed the education route was also more cost-effective. Carl Schurz, commissioner of Indian Affairs, estimated in 1881 that it cost about $1 million to kill an Indian in warfare versus $1,200 to educate an Indian in boarding school for eight years, wrote Cleveland State University Professor David Wallace Adams in his book, Education for Extinction.
Captain Pratt believed the only way to truly assimilate an Indian into white society was to completely remove the children from their families, send them to a boarding school, and not allow them to go home from the ages of 7 to 14. (This policy was later changed to allow children to go home for summer vacations.)
The government worked closely with the churches, which were hired as agents to manage the tribes’ economic affairs. These same churches often opened boarding schools and closely followed the policies and philosophies of the government schools. By 1900, there
were 153 government and private boarding schools in the country, attended by nearly 18,000 children, according to the Annual Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs.

The goal of these schools was to mold an Indian child into a white person both in appearance and mindset. Students would be punished for doing or saying anything “Indian.” Before Holy Childhood was demolished last fall, visitors could still see the barber chair where students would get their long braids cut off. Yet Holy Childhood did make accommodations — prayer books were translated into the Native American language for students to use.
The curriculum taught the basics, but also Christian beliefs and the moral imperative of becoming an American consumer, Adams wrote. And Indians were clearly not “consumers” in the late 1800s. They lived communally and traditionally, and that was a problem in a capitalistic society, wrote Wallace, who quoted John Oberly, superintendent of Indian schools.
Indian schools needed to wean students from “the degrading communism of the tribal reservation system” and to imbue him “with the exalting egotism of American civilization, so that he will say, ‘I’ instead of ‘We,’ and ‘This is mine,’ instead of ‘This is ours,’” Oberly argued in 1888.
The other advantage of having Indians embrace the idea of becoming citizens of the United States was more subtle: they would no longer think of themselves as members of sovereign nations with the power to deny the United States the natural resources and land it needed to recover from the Civil War and to grow into an industrialized power, said Pasfield, a Bay Mills tribal member,
“In the setting of what was essentially a prison for children in most schools, these institutions would separate very young Indian children from their understanding of their basic human rights, as well as their political identity,” Pasfield said. “The government’s interest in the welfare of post-Indian-war, post-plague, hungry Indian kids was secondary. History is very clear that much more was at stake.
“After the Civil War, the U.S. economy was in a shambles. The country was divided between North and South. As the country started to industrialize and waves of poor immigrants flooded American shores at the end of the 1800s, there was a tremendous need for lumber, metals, and land—all plentiful within tribal holdings. Federal and local politicians and policy makers worked together to find ways to take tribal assets. Boarding schools were at least as much about separating Indian kids from their understanding of their political and legal rights as they were about cultural assimilation to white ways.”
Indians on the Bay Mills reservation lost their most valuable land to speculators and the Methodist and Catholic denominations, which were assigned to work as the tribe’s agents, Pasfield said.
“The tribe ended up quite literally with a swamp. People were sick and dying there, and the government wouldn’t enforce our treaty rights. Our people weren’t allowed to fish unless they bought a $20 fishing license — an impossible amount to pay in the Depression.”

At government boarding schools, Indian children wore uniforms and marched on command. Because government schools had miniscule budgets, the food was meager and disease rampant. The death rate of Indian children in the government boarding schools was as high or higher than some of the more notorious Nazi concentration camps—and not for a single decade, but for four to five decades, according to the book, Kill the Indian, Save the Man by Ward Churchill.
Youngsters entered school at the age of seven and walked into a culture of strict rules and rote learning. Holy Childhood boarding students didn’t have to wear a uniform, but each was assigned a number. Despite the strict atmosphere, almost all remember the fun times of taking long walks, sledding, and ice skating. Some students say they gained a solid education and that the school saved their lives — one man told a reporter he was dropped off at the school at the age of seven, never to see his parents again, and owes his life to the nuns.
Yet others remember a current of fear in the school and getting berated as “heathens” and “worthless savages.” Still others recall physical and/or sexual abuse. (See previous articles in this series in the archives of the Northern Express features at
The Gaylord Diocese, which now oversees the Holy Childhood parish, forwards complaints about the Holy Childhood nuns to the School Sisters of Notre Dame to investigate since it ran the school. Because the Diocese of Gaylord was not established until 1971, alleged occurrences prior to that time are given to the Diocese of Grand Rapids, wrote Diocese spokeswoman Candace Neff in an email.

Adams theorizes, but has no proof, that abuse was more pervasive in the Christian boarding schools than the government-run schools.
“That surprises people when I say that, but the reason is that in the federal system, there was a bureaucratized process for protesting certain behaviors and conducting investigations. That did not exist in the Catholic system. Oddly enough, I think it was easier to get away with it in the Catholic rather than the federal schools.”
Many parents saw the schools as key to their economic survival and were grateful for the boarding school. Others felt coerced. If they refused to send their child, they’d lose government rations or be required to put their children into foster care. Runaways were punished severely. Each time a child ran away from the Mount Pleasant Indian Boarding School, for example, they were forced to repeat their grade, Pasfield said.
“My great uncle was 18 when he ran away from Mt. Pleasant Indian school for the last time. The school didn’t go beyond the eighth grade. Though he was old enough to vote and enlist in the service, they sent the Grand Rapids police after him to bring him back.”
Yvonne Walker Keshick, a former Holy Childhood student, encourages former students to obtain their school records, which can be done by contacting the Gaylord Catholic Diocese.
Keshick is compiling a family history and asked the Diocese of her deceased father, Levi Walker, at least four years ago. She is still waiting for a response. She believes family members should have access to school records.

Captain Pratt believed in preparing students for a work life by hiring them out to families in the summertime. Experiences varied widely, depending on the boarding school. Some learned a lifelong skill. Adams wrote that the work program helped white people accept Indians into the community. But other students were exploited, forced to work at starvation wages, or to learn useless skills, Adams wrote.
“Some of these kids were being taught skills that were worthless in the new economy, such as how to be blacksmiths after the Model T was taking over,” Pasfield said.
“Keep in mind that while white children were learning skills that could lead to middle class or white collar jobs, Indians were being taught to be underclass laborers-gardeners, nannies and laundresses. You have to ask how this made any sense. Who in a remote reservation community is going to have money to hire these nannies and gardeners?”
Students at Holy Childhood had jobs to do each day, but they weren’t hired out to the community. Chores were neither excessive nor cruel except when meted out as punishment, Keshick said.
“Everybody worked. Each person had a job from fifth through eighth grade, and each had a child to take care of. Mondays we did sewing. Saturdays were the hardest with laundry and ironing. The girls all did the domestic duties — peeling potatoes or cutting up carrots and celery for soup. It wasn’t hard.”
Sammy Toineeta, who co-founded the Indian Boarding School Healing Project, said she had a daily ironing quota to meet at the age of 8 at the St. Joseph’s boarding school in Chamberlain, South Dakota.

In 1923, the government commissioned a survey of government boarding schools to see how students fared after attending a boarding school. Had they learned employable skills? Were they self-sufficient? Did they return to the reservation to preach the good tidings of the white society? The answer of the landmark Meriam Report was a resounding no.
“An overwhelming majority of the Indians are poor, even extremely poor, and they are not adjusted to the economic and social system of the dominant white civilization,” the report authors wrote.
One inherent problem was the schools’ reliance on rote learning, unquestioning obedience and “training” for drudgery jobs. It squelched all “initiative and independence in students” — necessary skills to succeed as an adult, Adams wrote.
Over the ensuing decades, most of the off-reservation boarding schools closed. Private boarding schools and at least two government boarding schools remain, but community members were finally allowed some control in the 1960s. The curriculum now includes Indian music, language and traditional stories. Ironically, some Indians learn for the first time what it means to be an Indian, Adams said.
In an interview with the Express, Adams said he attempted to give a balanced treatment in his book of the boarding school experience. He remains disturbed, however, by the inhumanity of taking very small children from their parents by force.
“It was a terribly traumatic time for children. There were dormitories where children cried themselves to sleep and wet the bed. The other part is the cultural arrogance thing. The institutions were based on the concept that Indians were savages and schools symbolized civilization. Indians had to abandon their culture, the ways of their parents for the white man’s way.
“On their own, minority groups become bi-cultural. People are able to build something on to their existing self, rather than erasing what they bring to the table. This thing of carting kids off the reservation, miles away from school—I think they would have done much better, in the long run, to keep the schools on the reservation.”

Former boarding school students are encouraged to check out

The couple’s 9-year-old daughter was present the morning of the shooting in what police have described as a domestic violence homicide.

Report: ‘Dirty bomb’ parts found in slain man’s home
Agency says radioactive materials recovered in home of man allegedly slain by his wife
Maine State Police Detective Bryant Jacques (left) takes empty boxes into the Cummings home on Dec. 10, 2008, during the investigation into the killing of James Cummings the day before.’Maine State Police Detective Bryant Jacques (left) takes empty boxes into the Cummings home on Dec. 10, 2008, during the investigation into the killing of James Cummings the day before.’ BELFAST, Maine — James G. Cummings, who police say was shot to death by his wife two months ago, allegedly had a cache of radioactive materials in his home suitable for building a “dirty bomb.”According to an FBI field intelligence report from the Washington Regional Threat and Analysis Center posted online by WikiLeaks, an organization that posts leaked documents, an investigation into the case revealed that radioactive materials were removed from Cummings’ home after his shooting death on Dec. 9.

The report posted on “>the WikiLeaks Web site states that “On 9 December 2008, radiological dispersal device components and literature, and radioactive materials, were discovered at the Maine residence of an identified deceased [person] James Cummings.”

The section referring to Cummings can be read here.

It says that four 1-gallon containers of 35 percent hydrogen peroxide, uranium, thorium, lithium metal, thermite, aluminum powder, beryllium, boron, black iron oxide and magnesium ribbon were found in the home.

Also found was literature on how to build “dirty bombs” and information about cesium-137, strontium-90 and cobalt-60, radioactive materials. The FBI report also stated there was evidence linking James Cummings to white supremacist groups. This would seem to confirm observations by local tradesmen who worked at the Cummings home that he was an ardent admirer of Adolf Hitler and had a collection of Nazi memorabilia around the house, including a prominently displayed flag with swastika. Cummings claimed to have pieces of Hitler’s personal silverware and place settings, painter Mike Robbins said a few days after the shooting.

An application for membership in the National Socialist Movement filled out by Cummings also was found in the residence, according to the report. Cummings’ wife, Amber B. Cummings, 31, told investigators that her husband spoke of “dirty bombs,” according to the report, and mixed chemicals in her kitchen sink. She allegedly told police that Cummings subjected her to years of mental, physical and sexual abuse. She also said that Cummings was “very upset” when Barack Obama was elected president.

A “dirty bomb” is a type of “radiological dispersal device” that combines a conventional explosive such as dynamite with radioactive material, according to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Web site. “Most RDDs would not release enough radiation to kill people or cause severe illness,” the NRC says, adding that “a dirty bomb is in no way similar to a nuclear weapon” because its effects occur in a very limited area compared to a nuclear explosion.

The report noted that “uranium, thorium, cesium-137, stontium-90 and cobalt-60 are radioactive isotopes and 35 percent hydrogen peroxide is a necessary precursor for the manufacture of peroxide-based explosives. Lithium metal, thermite and aluminum are materials used to sensitize and amplify the effects of explosives.”

The report stated that the uranium component was bought online from a U.S. company that was identified in the investigation, but not in the report.

John Donnelley, an agent at the FBI’s Boston office, declined Tuesday to comment on the report. Donnelley said some FBI reports are provided to law enforcement agencies and sometimes get released to media outlets.

“I wouldn’t be prepared to speak on that,” Donnelley said. “I have no comment.”

The Washington Regional Threat and Analysis Center is an intelligence gathering office affiliated with Washington, D.C., law enforcement. Telephone and e-mail messages left with the center Tuesday were not returned.

State police have identified Amber Cummings as the person who shot James Cummings. The couple’s 9-year-old daughter was present the morning of the shooting in what police have described as a domestic violence homicide.

Amber Cummings, who is staying in the Belfast area, has not been charged in the case, although the Waldo County grand jury currently meeting in Belfast could take up the matter during its session this week. While state police have acknowledged that the 29-year-old Cummings was killed by a gunshot, the results of the autopsy have been impounded, as have the search warrants executed at Cummings’ High Street home following the shooting. Authorities spent days searching the home, according to neighbors.

Lt. Gary Wright, who heads up the Maine State Police Criminal Investigation Division team working the case, declined to comment on any aspects of the case when contacted Tuesday.

“We’re not going to comment on anything,” Wright said Tuesday evening. “It’s an open homicide investigation and we’re not going to comment. That’s our standard policy.”

Stephen McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety, also had no comment on the report. “This is an active, open homicide investigation,” he said Tuesday evening, “and as a result, it’s inappropriate to get into confirming or denying aspects of that.”

Maine Deputy Attorney General William Stokes also declined to comment on the report Tuesday.

David Farmer, spokesman for Gov. John Baldacci, said Tuesday that it was inappropriate for the governor to comment on an open investigation. When asked about the copy of the field report sent to him by the Bangor Daily News, he said, “At this point, I have been unable to confirm the authenticity of the documents you sent to us.”

A spokesman for U.S. Sen. Susan Collins’ staff said there was no one able to comment on the report Tuesday night.

Telephone messages left with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security were not returned Tuesday evening. Robbins, who worked on the house for a month last summer, described Cummings as an angry person who was verbally abusive to his wife. He said Cummings apparently was independently wealthy and did not work. Robbins said Cummings talked incessantly about his love of guns and his fascination for Hitler. He said Cummings repeatedly berated his wife about home-schooling their daughter. He said Cummings had a controlling personality and wanted to know his wife and child’s every move.

Cummings grew up in California and lived in Texas before moving to Maine in August 2007. Although Robbins said Cummings told him he made his money in Texas real estate, it appears that the actual source of his wealth was a trust fund established by his father, a prominent landowner in the Northern California city of Fort Bragg. An Internet search of the James B. Cummings Trust indicated that it has an annual income of $10 million.

The FBI field intelligence report was apparently first reported on by, an online magazine which covers and blogs on current events.

BDN writer Dawn Gagnon in Bangor contributed to this report.