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.
TRACKING ACKER’S TRAIL
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.
“I GUESS YOU COULD SAY OVER TIME HE (Acker) GOT BETTER AT IT.”
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!