'Protect Our Children: Sexual Abuse, The Law & Justice'

Monday, April 23, 2018

NEW YORK -- "PROTECT OUR CHILDREN: SEXUAL ABUSE, THE LAW, & JUSTICE" is hosted by Eyewitness News Anchor Diana Williams and addresses child sexual abuse and alarming statistics that reveal the fact that in this country, one in four girls and one in six boys are sexually abused before the age of eighteen. It is a scourge that is propped up by denial and deficient laws.

Watch our special here:

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Part 4:

The program begins by addressing the worst form of sexual abuse, child sex trafficking. We profile a young woman, who prefers to remain anonymous, but describes being a freshman in college and finding herself victimized and vulnerable to this crime when she was in desperate financial need. With therapeutic support from the Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center and GEMS (Girls Educational & Mentoring Services), she escaped the grip of her exploiter and dreams of creating a Foundation to save others like herself.

The statistics are grim and children are most vulnerable between the ages of seven and thirteen. Six years ago, this series addressed the issue of New York State having one of the most restrictive Statute of Limitations, requiring that charges be made before the victim reaches the age of 23. Since 42 is the average age at which victims reveal having been abused, justice is denied to most adult survivors of child sexual abuse. While the State Assembly annually approves the Child Victims Act, the Senate still refuses to call for a vote on it, with an array of lobbyists blocking this change.

We feature three victims working with experts in a fight for justice and a struggle to change the law:

Fabio Cotza, is now Senior Director at the Safe Horizon Bronx Child Advocacy Center, and was raped when he was just nine years old. He speaks eloquently of the issues he faced, the impact on him personally, his attempts at suicide and his valiant efforts to recover from his abuse and save others.

Bridie Farrell, former member of the US National Speed Skating Team and a three-time American Record Holder, was just 15 and training for the Olympic trials in 1998, when she says she was sexually abused, by a much older team member. She is active in the #MeToo Movement and has Co-Founded a non-profit, "New York Loves Kids," dedicated to speaking out about child sexual abuse.

Brian Toale, was 16 and attending a prestigious Catholic high school on Long Island, when he was sexually abused. Ironically, the Archdiocese of Rockville Center has initiated a program enabling victims of clergy abuse to file for compensation. While it may provide justice for some victims, it has very limited parameters and since Brian was abused by a lay teacher, he has no recourse, but continues his efforts as an advocate for victims of child sexual abuse and the Child Victims Act.

This Special is the 21st in a series from WABC-TV's "Protect Our Children" campaign that originated in 1998. The campaign includes informational safety messages, a web site and campaign that continues to broadcast the pictures of missing children in every Eyewitness News Program. The previous Specials have received six Emmy Awards, six "Gracie" Awards from the American Women in Radio-TV-Film (AWRT) and Awards from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, (NCMEC). All of the segments along with additional material, web-chats and links to resources and agencies that can be of help will be posted on ABC7NY.com/Protect after the airing of the program.

PROTECT OUR CHILDREN: SEXUAL ABUSE, THE LAW, & JUSTICEWEB ADDRESSES & PHONE NUMBERS

Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center

TeenHealthCare.org

212-423-3000

GEMS Girls Educational & Mentoring Services

Gems-Girls.org

212-926-8089

National Trafficking Hotline

www.HumanTraffickingHotline.org

888-373-7888 Hotline

National Runaway Safeline

1800RunAway.org

800-RUN-AWAY (786-2929) Hotline

Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN)

RAINN.org

800-656-HOPE (4673) Hotline

Safe Horizon

SafeHorizon.org

800-621-HOPE (4673) 24 Hour Hotline

www.Instagram.Com/Safehorizon

www.Twitter.Com/Safehorizon

www.Facebook.Com/Safehorizon

Bridie Farrell - Athlete & Advocate

BridieFarrell.com

Bridie@BridieFarrell.com

Facebook.Com/Bridiefarrellusa

Twitter.Com/BridieUSA

NY LOVES KIDS

NYLovesKids.org

Leaders - A NYC Outward Bound School

nycOutwardBound.org

Info@NYLovesKids.org

607-280-6606

Facebook.Com/NYLovesKids

Twitter.Com/NYLovesKids

MeToo Movement

MeTooMVMT.org

Facebook.Com/Metoomvmt

Twitter.Com/Metoomvmt

Instagram.Com/Themetoomvmt

Times Up Movement

TimesUpNow.Com

Brian Toale Blog

BrianToale.com

From Victim to Survivor/ Giving Back the Shame

Birzon Strang & Associates

BSB-Lawyers.com

631-265-6300

The Diocese of Rockville Centre

DRVC.org

516-678-5800

SNAP Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SnapNetwork.Org/Resources

877-SNAP-HEALS (762-7432)

314-776-9277

Mental Health America

For Resources & Expert Advice

MentalHealthAmerica.net/go/help

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

24 Hour Hotline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

SuicidePreventionLifeline.org

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

AFSP.org

888-333-AFSP (2377)

National Center For Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC)

MissingKids.com

800-THE LOST (843-5678)

facebook.com/missingkids

twitter.com/MissingKids