- I bought the unfinished base at Lowes, distressed it, added beadboard on the sides and toe kick, gave it two feet, and painted it with a flat black primer/paint. The counter-top on the bar is made from a leftover piece of cedar deck lumber that was too warped to use for its original purpose. It was exactly what I wanted for the counter-top, so I claimed it before my husband could use it for something else. I decided not to polyurethane it after discovering it’s a fantastic place for hot dishes and baked goods straight out of the oven. The cedar tolerates a higher heat than my cutting boards. Top 28″ X 41″
- The cubbies were created mainly from leftover wood in our garage except for some specialty trim pieces. Measures 6″ X 22″ X 30″.
- Open box for decorations 6″ X 9″ X 18″.
- Side view 6″ depth. Popcorn cubby 6 3/4″ X 7″. 6 identical cubbies are 4 1/2″ X 5 1/2″ and hold 2 types of oatmeal, apple cider packets, cocoa packets, and Folgers singles packets. Popcorn bag cubby 4″ X 11″.
- Cubbies are for decorations and framed artwork.
- An organizer for food and drink disposable products.
- Flavored syrups for Italian iced drinks, an idea I gleaned from my friend Gina. We use crushed ice, sparkling water or soda/pop, with a few syrup shots, topped with whip cream, enjoyed with a drinking straw. Chrome/silver urn is a Berkey water filter and is the best filter on the market. It removes 200+ contaminants while leaving the minerals in the water. No other filter does this, including reverse osmosis. Reverse osmosis removes the minerals causing health problems. Berkey is like having FIGI brand water available 24/7 from your kitchen.
- For the distressed beadboard, I rubbed candle wax in some of the groves and on some of the tree knots (beadboard, doors, drawers, and cubby shelving). After the flat black primer paint dried, I sanded with 320 grit sandpaper to remove paint from the candle waxed areas.
- These are Kraft Jet-Puffed Mallow Bits for topping off your favorite hot cocoa. Knowing I would want these, my friend Marcia texted me a picture when she spotted them in a grocery store.
- William Sonoma no longer sells this 3 tier tray. If you type ‘3 tier wood serving tray ‘ into Amazon you will find several other options.
- Christmas décor. I change decorations seasonally and for holidays. I keep small dishes on the 2nd tier for creamer, sugar, and sweetener packets.
- Extra supplies: Tea, coffee, Chai Tea Latte, Cocoa, Cappuccino, lemonade, mugs, hot and cold carafes, drink pitchers, and toppings/sprinkles for hot drinks.
- Pull out drawer with a variety of tea bags, loose tea, and loose tea utensils. I use a bamboo utensil holder turned sideways to organize tea bags.
- Pull out drawer for popcorn seasonings. Our home is often a hangout for groups of teen boys, so having accessible snacks on hand is a must.
The majority of this content is used with permission from Aarron Messer’s public Facebook page. Link at the bottom of the article.
My apologies for the print being in all caps. My formatting has been giving me grief for a few months. I needed a numbered list for this article which turned it into all caps when I published it. After an hour of trying to figure out how to use normal print; I gave up and left it as is.
1. Dr. Thomas, Spring’s father was a dentist for 62 years he owned and operated a small dental clinic on Manchester Rd in St. Louis. He held a very public, faithful, Christian service to his church by organizing Easter Sunrise services in Babler State Park for half a century and beyond. He was a founding board member of Westminster Christian Academy and was an extremely sacrificial supporter of Kerry Messer’s ministry for as long as Kerry and Lynn’s son Aarron can remember. He not only was the families dentist, a role in which he offered his services for free to support the ministry, but he personally paid for an orthodontist to extract all four of Aarron’s impacted wisdom teeth 20+ years ago. He financially was a faithful donor to the ministry throughout his life until he passed in 2012.
2. Spring lives on a substantial piece of real estate in Wildwood on a farm which she inherited from her parents. Spring was an only child, and both her parents have passed away. Spring was a caregiver for her parents caring for both of them as they aged until they died.
3. Spring has never been married and has no children.
4. Spring housed the Messer’s cattle in Wildwood to graze fields that were not being used; in turn, Kerry helped with the upkeep on Spring’s farm. This relationship continued after Lynn’s death.
5. Abram has never been comfortable with the behavior between Kerry and Spring when working on her farm.
6. Lynn personally asked a close friend in the weeks prior to her disappearance for prayer because she said, “I am going to have to have a confrontation with someone and it’s not going to be pleasant.” Was that person Spring?
7. The week leading up to Lynn’s death a friend met Lynn in the city to buy ground beef from Lynn. Lynn told the friend that she was not heading back home, but rather driving to Spring Thomas’ house to see her. Regardless of the content of their conversation this was a critical point in Lynn Messer’s life.
8. According to what Kerry told Aarron, Spring has refused to answer further questions or submit to a lie detector test, on the advice of her attorneys.
9. Spring was among volunteers during the first days of searching for Lynn on the family farm and surrounding areas. In the first week of searching Kerry established a rule that no one come in the house. This rule was strictly enforced. He asked women and family friends not to hug him, because he was, “uncomfortable feeling their breasts” against himself.
10. During the search participants came forward testifying that they noticed a special connection of a close nature between Spring and Kerry. Without prompting, numerous people have identified and reflected that they knew something was up in the manner in which they interacted in those early days of searching. Spring herself had seemed glowing as she spoke with other searchers about her feet getting wet, and how Kerry had taken her inside the off limits house, in private, to dry her feet off and provide her with dry socks and shoes to wear.
11. Eight weeks after Lynn’s disappearance Spring Thomas confirmed in a written statement to law enforcement that she was in a relationship with Kerry Messer.
12. It appears Spring had no problem or reservations dating a married man; after all, no one knew Lynn was dead. Did they? There was still a search for Lynn Messer going on while Spring and Kerry, a married man, were in a relationship.
13. Detectives explained to Aarron and Abram Messer their dad’s conversation with law enforcement regarding Spring. Kerry asked permission to satisfy his urges for female companionship because he was accustomed to an active sex life and that the absence of Lynn was not simply emotionally draining but physically unbearable.
14. Kerry and Spring denied their relationship to friends and their churches going so far as to tell people Aarron and Abram, law enforcement, and the media were all lying about a romantic relationship between Kerry and Spring. While, according to Aarron, law enforcement saw Spring on a regular basis having dinner in private, dating, talking on the phone every day, and spending the majority of her time with Kerry.
15. Kerry told his sons he was deeply in need of sexual satisfaction and that he couldn’t take not having sex four to five times a week. He said this was why he needed the relationship with Spring, but then he said he only held hands. So his reasoning for needing the relationship was for sex but he insisted he wasn’t having sex. Meanwhile, his sons said they would go in their dad’s house and count his Viagra pills to see if he was telling the truth about not having sex. The Viagra pills were disappearing one by one.
16. Kerry told his sons that in the first few weeks after Lynn disappeared he was drawn to Spring and had feelings for her. He tried to distract himself from Spring and tried to pursue a relationship with a younger woman from his church, but the woman was deeply offended and spoke to investigators about it…so Kerry returned his attention to Spring.
17. Throughout the 2015 legislative session Kerry spent most of his time on the phone with Spring or was with her in secret.
18. The boys know nothing of Spring attempting to stop Kerry from kicking his sons out of their homes.
19. Spring was as adamant as Kerry that the romantic rumors about them were not true.
20. According to his sons, Kerry lied in his last media interview when he said his relationship with Spring was on hold. Aarron saw them cooking dinner and kissing each other through Kerry’s kitchen window two weeks before Lynn’s remains were found. Spring helped Kerry bale hay and worked on the farm during the summer months. Spring has been spotted trying to hide her car on the farm to keep the relationship secret.
Despite all the denials about their relationship…this happened last summer:
Link here to the original article: Who is Spring Thomas? by Aarron Messer.
*Correction on #7: The article originally stated, “This friend knew Spring Thomas.” This was incorrect. She did not know Spring Thomas. Lynn told her that she was visiting a friend in Wildwood that owned land where they took their cows. She assumed Spring was the only friend they had in Wildwood where they kept cows. Lynn’s family confirmed that Spring’s land was the only location in Wildwood where cattle were kept.
July 8, 2019, marks the five year anniversary of the disappearance of Lynn Messer. Lynn disappeared July 8, 2014, from the bed she shared with her husband. Lynn’s remains were discovered on their farm over two years later, November 1, 2016.
Lynn’s husband Kerry Messer is a Missouri state lobbyist who represents family, homeschooling, right-to-life, gun rights/safety, and Christian/Biblical values.
You can read the reason I began writing about the Lynn Messer case here…
Here are what I consider to be the top 12 disputable issues with the case:
- On the morning of Lynn’s disappearance, Kerry stated to the Sheriff’s Department that Lynn had never been depressed and had never taken any kind of antidepressants. False: Lynn suffered from depression for years and was taking antidepressants. Facts which many family members were aware of, even Kerry himself was fully aware of this, referring to Lynn’s antidepressants as her “happy pills”.
- During Kerry’s time line of the first morning he told the police he didn’t leave the farm. False: He left his phone at home and left the farm. He only admitted to having left the farm after he failed the polygraph in May of 2015. Why would you leave your phone at home when looking for your lost wife? What if you found her hurt, harmed or worse? You would need the phone to call for help. What if someone found her and needed to call you? It seems like the most important tool you would want to have with you while searching for a missing person. Well…unless…possibly you don’t want your location to be pinged by the phone company for law enforcement.
- Kerry has been cooperating with law enforcement. False: Law enforcement revealed in April of 2015 that Kerry was not cooperating with the investigation, and had not been “for quite some time.” All just before investigators informed family members of his new relationship with Spring Thomas.
- Spring Thomas is just a family friend who has been helping him cope, helping him with eating, and caring for him. When I talked to some family members, homeschooling friends, and church friends of Kerry’s they told me what they had heard from Kerry; that his sons Abram and Aarron, law enforcement, and the media were all lying about the relationship between himself and Spring. False: We know according to law enforcement she has admitted to being in a relationship with Kerry at least 8 weeks after Lynn went missing. Abram has messages from Spring that date the time to at least 6 weeks after Lynn went missing, but he thinks the romantic relationship predated his mom’s death. He has based this upon the previous years of watching his father interact with Spring. In fact, before Abram knew anything about Kerry’s relationship with Spring, he expressed concern to his father about their inappropriate behavior around one another in the past as well as their behavior around each other when Spring showed up for organized searches to help look for Lynn; after Lynn’s disappearance on the family farm. Aarron has stated on Facebook that he witnessed numerous romantic interactoins between Kerry and Spring while he, Aarron, still lived on the farm. Kerry and Spring Thomas married last year, August 4, 2018.
- Kerry told law enforcement the first morning that he didn’t make copies of the note. False: He made multiple copies of the note before the police arrived. Months later investigators found out from third parties that Kerry had made copies of the note and was showing it around, but not showing it to his sons.When questioned again about making the copies, Kerry responded by saying “because I knew this was going to be a long drawn out ordeal, and I didn’t know when I was going to get the note back.” So once again investigators scratched their heads wondering, how could he possibly know that this was going to be “a long drawn out ordeal” because that’s certainly not what he told the public, or the family. He took those copies; cutting the note in two and claims to have burned the other half of the note. In one of the more bizarre interactions when the investigators were asking Kerry about that portion of the note, he said, “I told her not to write that.” The officer asking him stopped and said “what did you tell her not to write?” And Kerry said, “Thank you for giving me the opportunity to correct myself, I did not just say I told her not to write that- that is not what I said.” He has never explained how or what he could have meant by that. Just that he accidentally let slip that he watched her write the note, and that he criticized what she had written, and maybe that explains why he cut out that portion of the note and burned it. Perhaps he knows that it doesn’t have anything to do with Lynn’s disappearance?
- The note: Kerry told law enforcement and media he didn’t understand the note and it didn’t make sense. False: He told his sons that law enforcement demanded he, Kerry, not talk to his sons about the note. False: In private he told Abram and Aarron he understood the note and understood it from the beginning. Aarron’s daughter commented nonchalantly “Grandma didn’t write that.” “What do you mean?” Aarron asked. She replied, “Grandma didn’t call grandpa, “Pa” she called him “Pop.” That’s correct. Grandpa would get so frustrated and correct her because he wanted to be called Pa, but she called him “Pop.” These facts and others have only been complicated by the way Kerry took a portion of the note which he retained, enlarged it, and enhanced the lettering for a TV interview he orchestrated.
- Different articles and Facebook posts over the last two years led readers to believe Lynn’s husband, Kerry, was the one who called the sheriff’s office. Several media outlets have stated that Kerry called 911. False: Kerry had over four hours in which he could have called law enforcement—but did not. At least a four hour window of time for Lynn to have been missing exists, but if one retraces the timeline there are possibly eight hours of missing time during which something could have happened to Lynn.
- Kerry passed his polygraph. False: Kerry (that we know of) has taken two polygraph tests. The first one, was considered “inconclusive” and the second polygraph which he took in May of 2015 was considered an outright failure.
- On Facebook Kerry publicly pines away for his “bride.” False: In private he pursued secret and private rendezvous with another woman. Even after claiming that his relationship with Spring was on hold, he still continued to actively lie and hide her. Abram describes; “He puts on a public act of piety. In private engaging in sin. The word of God repeatedly warns us about making a public profession while our hearts are far from God. We must all be aware of the biblical cautions for attempting to “serve God and man.” These attempts to serve God while secretly gratifying our own lusts exemplifies what the word of God calls a double minded man who is unstable in all his ways.”
- Kerry has repeatedly claimed that no evidence has been found. False: Lynn’s scent trail was immediately found and it led through the field where Kerry had Abram move to cows early the first morning. Which, in the end, led to where Lynn’s body was recovered. Kerry chose to hide this information from family, friends, supporters, and Lynn’s extended family. Adding emotional, mental, and psychological stress to their lives through worry and efforts of mile after mile daily searching— month after month, and year after year. Efforts which were still active until her remains were discovered. “They found a towel in the edge of the creek (on the back corner of the farm) that had been washed up,” Abram said. “One of the reasons we were rechecking all of the creeks is because we were hoping and praying if she was out there somewhere, there might have been something, anything that could have been washed down in that significant rain. “(After the towel was spotted) “We get up to this towel that is laying in the edge of the grass, which had obviously been washed up there and my father walks up to the towel and says, ‘has anybody touched it?’ I told him no, because that was one of the first questions I asked the folks who discovered it originally.” Abram explained that they needed to get the detectives out there. “My father said ‘well I’m going to touch it’ and he reached down and picked it up,” remembered Abram. “Keep in mind this is early August, it’s sweltering hot outside and we are all drenched in sweat. My father picks up this towel, rubs it all over his face, then he rubs it up and down both of his arms, wipes all the sweat off of him, he rubs the back of his neck and then he takes the towel and says he doesn’t think this is anything.” Abram said Kerry said it was some towel that a searcher must have dropped. “As he is saying this, he is vigorously rubbing the towel up and down on the outside of his chest,” recalled Abram. Never mind the fact I’m looking this plain white towel knowing that it matches the other five or 10 plain white towels that they have under their cabinet.” Abram said they now understand the location of that towel was a few hundred yards downhill from where his mother was discovered. “We had been searching, begging, hoping and praying that we would find something, anything and we did. There is no doubt in my mind, I feel very, very confident, saying publicly and openly that my father has taken very direct active steps into destroying the trail of evidence. (Searchers, including Kerry, were instructed in recovery protocol. They were told NOT to touch anything that was found. Kerry violated this. Why?) Yet, some of Kerry’s lobbying principals expressed glee in how upright, forthright, and honest Kerry has been for keeping them abreast of every detail and development in the case from day one.
- Kerry and Lynn were happy in a loving and abiding marriage. False: There have been witnesses step forward with contrary testimony of what took place in the marriage. See: Lynn Messer Case History, April 26, 2017, : Random Thoughts. Abram explains, “He had deliberately misrepresented their marriage, relationship, and family structure. They did not have a healthy marriage. Loving husbands do not hide financial information from wives. Christ honoring husbands love there wives as Christ loved the church. Kerry’s relationship even by his own story telling seems to be one which required Lynn to make personal sacrifices while he enjoyed the public accolades of political achievement. Not the biblical picture of husbands sacrificially giving themselves to their wives. For years his public story telling on Facebook is one which defames Lynn’s honor, promotes himself, while minimizing the severity and impact of his own unbiblical view of marriage.” The Facebook stories seem to be full of fabrications and untruths; according to family members who can recall the real stories.
- Lastly, I will allow Abram to once again use his words. After all the boys have been through they deserve to tell it from their viewpoint; not Kerry’s Find Lynn Messer Facebook version; or how he has deliberately misrepresented the investigation, and especially his family. Kerry has claimed that his son Abram who worked for him in the capital for over a decade has mental problems, and Kerry has accused his entire family of abandoning him and turning their backs on him. False: “Kerry has gone to great lengths to tell absurd and unfounded stories and accusations for the sole purpose of misrepresenting his own children. These obvious attempts on his part to control the narrative reveals not only his own desperation but his desires to suppress the truth. Including but not limited to a consistent theme claiming that he has been abandoned by his family. By all accounts public and private; Kerry’s family members have repeatedly begged him for reconciliation and pleaded for truth and honesty so that Kerry can come to a right relationship with the Lord. Instead, my father has turned his back on us and accused us of abandoning him. When in fact he himself has abandoned his self-professed personal ethos. Choosing the pleasure of sin for a season over the freedom and forgiveness which God himself offers.”
The information contained in this website is for general information purposes only. The information is provided by SpiritualBattles.org and while I endeavor to keep the information up to date and correct, I make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability or availability with respect to the website or the information, products, services, or related graphics contained on the website for any purpose. Any reliance you place on such information is therefore strictly at your own risk.
This website offers domestic violence/abuse, psychological, and spiritual information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on this information as a substitute for, nor does it replace professional medical, psychological, psychiatric, legal, law enforcement, or spiritual advice, diagnosis, charges, services or treatment.
My opinions are my own. My guests who contribute to articles are going off of their memories and opinions.
July 8, 2019, marks the five year anniversary of the disappearance of Lynn Messer. Lynn disappeared July 8, 2014, from the bed she shared with her husband. Lynn’s remains were discovered on their farm over two years later, November 1, 2016. Law enforcement continues to investigate her death while waiting on the conclusion of all forensic testing. We now know that Lynn has been deceased the entire time and law enforcement confirms that her husband Kerry Messer has not been cleared in the investigation surrounding Lynn’s death.
Kerry Messer is a Missouri state lobbyist who represents family, homeschooling, right-to-life, gun rights/safety, and Christian/Biblical values.
I have written dozens of articles on my thoughts about the case, evidence in the case, questions and answers to the lead detective on the case, and oddities and questions surrounding Kerry Messer’s actions, testimony, and writings on the Find Lynn Messer Facebook page.
You can read the reason I began writing about the Lynn Messer case here…
Many women who disappear do so at the hands of their significant other; not by the women’s choice. Fifty percent of women who have been murdered are killed by intimate partners. I combined this knowledge with what, in my opinion, were duplicitous writings of Kerry Messer on his Find Lynn Messer page, and some similarities Kerry appeared to have with my former husband. The similarities gave me reason for concern. Talking to some of Lynn’s family members and friends strengthened my concerns.
I have not forgotten about the questions surrounding Lynn’s disappearance and death; neither have her children, grand children, extended family, and friends.
To keep Lynn’s case in the public eye, to remember her life, and to pray for answers, truth, and justice there will be a public prayer vigil on Monday, July 8, 2019, in Ste. Genevieve. It will be held outside the prosecuting attorney’s office at 55 South 3rd Street, Ste. Genevieve, MO 63670. I will be speaking and praying along with a few other people including Cheryl Summers, founder of the For Such A Time As This rally. FSATAT rallied at the Southern Baptist Convention in 2018 and 2019. FSATAT is a group of Christians asking the SBC for: 1. A clergy database to track sexual abusers. 2. Mandatory training to recognize and address abuse (sexual assault and domestic abuse). 3. Treating women with honor and dignity.
I will post the complete prayer vigil line-up soon.
This is open to the public. If you have followed Lynn’s case we hope you will attend. If you are new to the case, you are invited to attend. If you are an advocate, abuse survivor, current victim, or concerned citizen; please join us.
Together we will seek #JusticeForLynn through a peaceful prayer vigil.
*This is not sanctioned by a church, law enforcement, or government agency.
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I’ve been asked if I’m concerned about being sued for writing about Lynn’s private life.
The thought has crossed my mind but I have this information that keeps me protected from anyone winning a lawsuit against me:
“To hold someone liable for slander or defamation the plantiff must prove the defendant purposefully lied/ made a false or defamatory statement for the purpose of bringing harm to the plantiff.
I’m amazed at the freedom that we have in our country. Information from Dee at thewartburgwatch.com
Here is a simple outline of what a person MUST prove when claiming defamation. All three things must be proven in order for a successful lawsuit for defamation. As you will see, it is exceedingly difficult to prove defamation.
- The writer must lie.
- The writer must knowingly lie.
- The writer must knowingly lie in order to bring malicious harm to another.
So, when it comes to my website, I listen to stories and make a judgement on the honesty of the statements. I don’t have to prove that it is true but I must believe that it is true. I can assure all readers that I would never deliberately lie and I take great care to be as truthful as possible and to investigate claims and accusations because I write to shine light on the problem of abuse in the church and abuse in Christian homes.
A strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPP) is a lawsuit that is intended to censor, intimidate, and silence critics by burdening them with the cost of a legal defense until they abandon their criticism or opposition.Such lawsuits have been made illegal in many jurisdictions on the grounds that they impede freedom of speech.
In the typical SLAPP, the plaintiff does not normally expect to win the lawsuit. The plaintiff’s goals are accomplished if the defendant succumbs to fear, intimidation, mounting legal costs, or simple exhaustion and abandons the criticism. In some cases, repeated frivolous litigation against a defendant may raise the cost of directors and officers liability insurance for that party, interfering with an organization’s ability to operate. A SLAPP may also intimidate others from participating in the debate. A SLAPP is often preceded by a legal threat.
My homestate, Missouri, has enacted an Anti-SLAPP statute, § 537.528.1 R.S.Mo., designed to protect conduct and speech made in connection with a public hearing or public meeting. By enacting this statute, Missouri has created a policy by which speakers under its jurisdiction shall be afforded extra protection against lawsuits merely aimed at stifling speech and conduct related to public participation.
Plus, Kerry Messer is a public figure in the state of Missouri who raises financial support to fund his lobbyist activities. This makes Lynn’s case a public interest story.
I’m rolling out my new website after a few months of working on it. Let me tell ya, I had NO idea how difficult it would be to build a site by myself. I’m changing platforms and it isn’t ready made like this Spiritual Battles platform.
It is a work in progress but I wanted to have it up and running before the For Such a Time As This Rally in Birmingham next week. If you would like to see the rally you can watch it live on Facebook here…. I will be doing a live segment from the rally at 6 PM and offering the closing prayer at the end of the rally.
If you would like to financially contribute to help with the costs of the rally; permits, handouts, signs, recording and sound equipment please head over to For Such A Time As This Rally’s website…here. You may purchase rally gear directly from Justice Junkie…here. Thanks!
My new website will incorporate podcast Bible studies for people who have found their lives tipped upside-down from difficult or destructive relationships. I’ve heard you say one of the most difficult aspects of finding your new normal is not havinge time or energy to spend time with God. Well, I’m going to help you with that!
Next, I am starting a greeting card line, SOLE SISTERS, with two of my favorite people. We’re having a blast and look forward to offering you a sneak peek soon! These cards are for those who are relationally challenged with people who fall under the category of dysfunctional, toxic, energy zapping. Perhaps you need a card that says just the right thing for someone going through cancer treatments, suffering the loss of a child or a loss by suicide, or…suffering from a mental illness or a terminal illness. For those times when there aren’t any words…we found some.
Understanding. Validation. Kindness.
I don’t trust easily these days. Life has been blinding, littered with betrayal from the last place I would have ever suspected it, and has been steeped in emotional trauma.
How does a parent trust this world where danger and sexual addictions abound? How do we safeguard our children?
As I stated in my 3 part series on Abusers; having the hair stand up on the back or our neck, or getting a vibe are not common occurrences and are not good indicators that we are in the presence of a molester or pedophile. These are more likely to happen though if we know signs of grooming. Abusers can groom children, and they can groom the adults they will have to deceive to gain opportunity/access to the children.
I had a couple of occasions the last few years where my, ‘Abuser Radar Alert,’ went off because I knew about grooming.
The first occasion: When a man I met for the first time asked if he could sit in my house and watch my daughter, whom he had never met, play the piano since he: 1) Heard me say she plays the piano and 2) He enjoys listening to piano music. Seriously…NO! The man may have been innocent in his asking but for this momma it came across as creepy and inappropriate.
The second: When a man I had never met, but who had met my boys at an extra-curricular activity, invited my boys to his house. He was an older man with no children left at home. He told my boys that the next time their mom needed to go shopping or the next time their parents needed to go out, they could stay at his house with him to play and swim. To me, this came across as a grooming technique of an abuser looking for an opportunity to molest children. See: Protecting Children from Predators part 2 for signs that an adult is using their relationship with a child for sexual reasons, along with other warning signs and how to be alert.
Since my history includes once upon a time being married to a pedophilic offender, pastor who used the ministry to gain employment granting him immediate leadership access to potential victims, my radar is at high alert over such propositions.
My boys thrilled at the prospect of swimming; what a fun invitation to receive!
It never happened.
I’m all about having fun, in fact; one of the questions I always have when my kids are through with an activity, or are finished visiting with a friend, is if they had fun. Fun is important to me; always has been. But fun doesn’t necessarily equate with safe or beneficial.
Here are a few questions I have learned to ask over the years. I’ve been known to ask these questions after play dates, youth group, extra-curricular outings, and even after church on Sundays. I don’t ask every question after each encounter and I don’t question each activity. I ask these questions so casually that I don’t know if my kids are aware of my motives. All activities are randomly questioned: new people, places, and activities; as well as, friends and regularly scheduled activities. This is where the greatest vulnerability can enter; most molestation acts do not involve stranger danger, they are the result of a close family member or friend who gained trust and access to the child. Single moms’ children tend to be the biggest targets for such predators; but not the only targets.
I do not ask my children questions in the presence of other people. This ensures my kids feel secure in speaking their heart and mind.
QUESTIONS FOR CONVERSATION:
What did you do at the event?
What was your favorite activity or part of your visit?
Was there anything you didn’t like or anything that made you feel uncomfortable? (This is a good time to reinforce that children do not have to obey everything an adult tells them to do.)
Did anyone insist on, or try to, tickle, hug, massage, wrestle or touch you in unwanted ways or without your consent?
Did you feel safe? (I’ve been asking this questions since my boys were wee little things.)
Tell me something you liked about the adult/s in charge? Was there anything you disliked?
Is there anything interesting about a helper or kid that you can tell me?
Is there any reason you would not want to go back there again?
Did anyone ask you to keep a secret today?
Did anyone show you something on their cell phone or computer that was inappropriate, or pornogrpahy?
Do you have questions about anything that happened?
Did you understand everything that was said or that was asked of you?
Is there anything you want to tell me about your visit today?
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The next 2 questions I reserve for stranger danger and body/health educational teaching at home:
Has anyone ever touched you, or asked to touch you in your private places (penis, testicles, or bottom/butt for boys), (breasts, vagina, bottom/butt for girls)?
Has anyone ever shown you their private places (name them so there is no confusion or exclusion) or asked you to show them your private places?
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When at a private residence or at public places with public restrooms my kids know the rule: 1 person per bathroom/stall, and to never hesitate screaming for help if someone makes them feel uncomfortable.
You never know who has an attraction to children or who has a sick abusive desire on which they plan to act. It could be a trusted adult or it could be a close friend. Sadly, we never know if a friend, cousin, or relative has abused or taught a child something they should not know that could be passed on to your child.
If your child has an answer that concerns you or startles you; always believe the child! Children rarely lie about childhood victimization.
DO NOT approach or question the accused and keep your child out of the accused’s presence. Call the child abuse hotline (1-800-4-A-CHILD) or call your local authorities. Professionals will know how to legally investigate your child’s allegations. You would not want to jeopardize the case being thrown out of court due to leading the witness with questions.
Seek medical attention from the child’s doctor or at the emergency room to find out if he or she was physically harmed. Creating a paper trail will be very important in seeking protection and justice.
Find a licensed counselor to guide your child through the psychological trauma of abuse and victimization which will continue beyond the physical trauma. Ongoing therapy for coping and healing is a must. (I highly recommend E.M.D.R. therapy) Read about E.M.D.R. here…
There is wisdom in asking questions at the right time.
Listen and learn from your children.
WARNING: GRAPHIC WRITTEN CONTENT
Diagnostic criteria for pedophilia
Pedophilia is a well-known disorder. It’s defined by the American Psychiatric Association in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, DSM-IV-TR.
To be diagnosed with pedophilia, a person must:
- be sexually aroused by, have intense, recurring sexual fantasies of, or be involved in sexual behavior with a prepubescent child or children (generally 13 years or younger);
- be aroused by, have sexual fantasies of, or be involved with a child for at least six months.;
- be at least 16 years old, and
- be at least five years older than the child or children he or she is attracted to.
Let’s say a man with sexual addictions toward children was caught multiple times over the last two decades; although investigators in different states who have investigated are certain the history goes back to early teenage years and most likely includes dozens, possibly hundreds, of victims. He likes very young children both boys and girls, with brown hair. Is he a pedophile or a molester?
Is there a difference between being a pedophilic sex offender and being a molester?
The media tends to use these terms as synonyms (a word having the same or nearly the same meaning as another) though they are not. Although both pedophilic sex offenders and molesters abuse children; statistically pedophilic offenders have a ‘look’ or ‘type’ of child they prey upon plus they victimize more children over time.
Pedophiles and Child Molesters: The Differences
Although virtually all pedophilic sex offenders are child molesters, not all child molesters are pedophilic sex offenders. Pedophiles have a clear sexual attraction for children. The focus of a pedophile is a child or children generally under the age of 13. Pedophiles often report they are attracted to children in a particular age range (DSM-IV), build, look, hair or eye color. Pedophilic sex offenders are those who act on their attraction to children by violating a child. Child molesters are sexual offenders who have committed either intra-familial sexual offense (incest) against a child victim or extra-familial sexual offenses against a child victim or both.
Pedophilic Sex Offenders:
- True offenders may abuse family members, but the majority of their offenses is extra-familial and is directed toward vulnerable children whom they court or groom for the purpose of victimization. Their relationships with children are based on exploitation of the children for sexual gratification.
- Offenders, who seek out children to victimize by placing themselves in positions of trust, authority, and easy access to youngsters, can have hundreds of victims over the course of their lifetimes. They are always on the look out for opportunity.
- Offenders, especially those who molest boys, or both boys and girls, are the sex offenders who have the highest recidivism (relapse) rates after incarceration and/or treatment.
- Offenders frequently are uncomfortable with adult intimacy and may spend their lives maneuvering to be near children. They may be extremely charming and skilled at manipulating adults, and they may use adult relationships to gain access to children.
- The pedophilic sex offender may spend years working up to a position of authority and trust within a church, school, or youth organization in order to have access to children. Of course, unlike offenders, most individuals in these types of authoritative positions have no sexual interest in children.
- The non-pedophilic molester is someone whose primary sexual orientation includes adults, but who may molest children in a maladaptive attempt to meet emotional needs.
- Research has found that many men who molest their own children or related female children have sexual interests that are indistinguishable from those of non-offending males.
- Data suggest incestuous offenders, regardless of the gender of the victim, have lower numbers of victims and are less likely to be rearrested for new sex crimes after they have been convicted.
- A child molester may turn to a child for sex out of a perceived inability to be close with an adult partner, out of poor self-esteem, or to escape feelings of powerlessness and loneliness. This type of offender usually has had appropriate (but often dysfunctional) relationships with peers and may be married
—Outcome studies have demonstrated consistently low rates of recidivism (relapse) for incestuous only offenders.
Retired FBI special agent, Nancy Fisher, says pedophiles and molesters don’t change.
“I’ve never had a success with a child pornographer or pedophile, never, not one, ever, ever, ever, ever. They never change,” said Fisher.
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There is no cure for pedophilia. A number of proposed treatment techniques for pedophilia have been developed, though the success rate of these therapies has been very low. Medications are used to lower sex drive in pedophiles by interfering with the activity of testosterone, such as with Depo-Provera (medroxyprogesterone acetate), Androcur (cyproterone acetate), and Lupron (leuprolide acetate).
The Mayo Clinic reports perpetrators who meet the diagnostic criteria for pedophilia offend more often than non-pedophile perpetrators, and with a greater number of victims. They state that approximately 95% of child sexual abuse incidents are committed by the 88% of child molestation offenders who meet the diagnostic criteria for pedophilia. A behavioral analysis report by the FBI states that a “high percentage of acquaintance child molesters are preferential sex offenders who have a true sexual preference for [prepubescent] children (i.e., true pedophiles)”.
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Please pray this Psalms over innocent children who have been abused. May their day of justice be upon them.
1 Lord, how many are my foes!
How many rise up against me!
2 Many are saying of me,
“God will not deliver him.”
3 But you, Lord, are a shield around me,
my glory, the One who lifts my head high.
4 I call out to the Lord,
and he answers me from his holy mountain.
5 I lie down and sleep;
I wake again, because the Lord sustains me.
6 I will not fear though tens of thousands
assail me on every side.
7 Arise, Lord!
Deliver me, my God!
Strike all my enemies on the jaw;
break the teeth of the wicked.
8 From the Lord comes deliverance.
May your blessing be on your people.
1 The Lord is my light and my salvation—
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid?
2 When the wicked advance against me
to devour me,
it is my enemies and my foes
who will stumble and fall.
3 Though an army besiege me,
my heart will not fear;
though war break out against me,
even then I will be confident.
1 Save me, O God, by your name;
vindicate me by your might.
2 Hear my prayer, O God;
listen to the words of my mouth.
3 Arrogant foes are attacking me;
ruthless people are trying to kill me—
people without regard for God.
4 Surely God is my help;
the Lord is the one who sustains me.
5 Let evil recoil on those who slander me;
in your faithfulness destroy them.
1. Crawford, David (1981). “Treatment approaches with pedophiles”. Adult sexual interest in children. 181–217.
2. Lanning, Kenneth (2001). “Child Molesters: A Behavioral Analysis (Third Edition)”(PDF). National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. pp. 25, 27, 29.
3. Hall RC, Hall RC (2007). “A profile of pedophilia: definition, characteristics of offenders, recidivism, treatment outcomes, and forensic issues”. Mayo Clin. Proc. 82 (4): 457–71. doi:10.4065/82.4.457. PMID 17418075.
This is the last post of a three-part series on childhood victimization including:
I write to bring child sexual abuse to the attention of anyone who will read, and to answer nagging questions of parents who are concerned about their children’s safety.
I especially write to the wife who is caught in an unspeakable circumstance. One where she suddenly finds out her husband is addicted to pornography, has a personality disorder, is mentally ill without medical or psychological intervention, or a combination of these issues; and the realization of who he is or what he is doing is unimaginable. You may see with your eyes, but are unable to process with your heart the evidence that your husband is crossing healthy emotional and sexual boundaries with you; or worse, with your children. (Sometimes it isn’t the husband but rather a sibling, cousin, friend, or neighbor).
If you suspect your child is being abused keep your eyes and ears open. Keep your heart set to ‘facts only’ with the possible perpetrator, and keep your heart, soul, mind and strength turned toward God. Pray scriptures out loud over the situation. *I have included scriptures at the end of this post. Immediately make an appointment for your child to see a child psychologist.
Spend time with your children. Study them. No one cares for their needs or loves them as much as their parents. If your spouse is the abuser then you may be the only parent who can advocate for and protect your child.
CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE SYMPTOMS
- Changes in behavior or personality; sudden mood changes or aggressive behavior. You notice it or other adults notice it.
- Changes in academic performance at school.
- New sudden fears of usual occurrences. Examples: fear of the dark, fear of going to bed, fear of a person, fear of going home, fear of going to school, fear of a place, fear of separating from you. Abused children may show anxiety or express apprehension about going somewhere with the person who is abusing them. They may hide from the person who is abusing them when they see them.
- Loss of acquired language or memory problems. New inappropriate language which you did not teach them.
- Changes in what they eat, or gagging on foods they normally eat. Loss of appetite.
- Withdraws from family and/or friends.
- Changes in sleep. They may begin having nightmares, night terrors, difficulty falling asleep or attempting to place borders/protection around their bed. Insomnia.
- May find areas of their life they can control and become obsessive about it. Clothing, food, habits, body hygiene.
- May begin high-risk activities; drugs, alcohol, self-abuse, sex.
- Inappropriate sexual behaviors or language for their age; if they say or do something to you that they should now know about.
- Becomes unusually secretive.
- Talk of a new, older friend and unexplained money or gifts.
- Becomes depressed or suicidal.
- Complaints of headaches, stomach-aches or chest pain that accompany any other signs.
- Afraid of undressing, or wearing extra layers of clothing.
- A new fear of going to the bathroom. This could be psychological or due to pain.
- Difficulty making friends.
- Arriving to school early and staying late; to avoid being in their home.
- Unexplained injuries such as visible signs which your child has no explanation for or has an unconvincing explanation for.
- Difference in their underwear; torn, stained or bloody.
- Difficulty walking or sitting.
- Redness, bleeding or rash in the external genital/bottom area.
- Frequent, unexplained urinary tract infections or sore throats.
- Sexually transmitted infections.
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Trust your instincts. Suspected abuse is enough reason to make an appointment with a child psychologist. You can also call the victim coordinator at your local prosecuting attorney’s office and ask them where to go for help.
If you suspect abuse; do not ask your child questions. Allow a trained professional to interview them. Asking questions is considered leading the witness and the issue will most likely be thrown out in a court of law.
In the right margin of my blog I have listed several Christian resources to aid in the event of childhood victimization.
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*Scriptures to pray: (NIV)
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39
It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” Since we have that same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak, II Corinthians 4:13
“Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your families, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.” Nehemiah 4:14b
Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy. Proverbs 28:13
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. I Peter 5:6-7
No weapon forged against you will prevail,
and you will refute every tongue that accuses you.
This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord,
and this is their vindication from me,”
declares the Lord. Isaiah 54:17
Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak. Isaiah 40:28-29
When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; Isaiah 43:2-3
If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. Matthew 18:6
The Lord is near to all who call on him,
to all who call on him in truth. Psalm 145:18
He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak. Isaiah 40:29
The Lord is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. Psalm 28:7
You are my hiding place;
you will protect me from trouble
and surround me with songs of deliverance. Psalm 32:7
Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love,
for I have put my trust in you.
Show me the way I should go,
for to you I entrust my life. Psalm 143:8
Praise the Lord, my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.The Lord works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed. Psalm 103: 1-6
Hear me, Lord, and answer me,
for I am poor and needy.
Guard my life, for I am faithful to you;
save your servant who trusts in you.
You are my God; have mercy on me, Lord,
for I call to you all day long.
Bring joy to your servant, Lord,
for I put my trust in you. You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to you. Hear my prayer, Lord; listen to my cry for mercy. When I am in distress, I call to you, because you answer me. Psalm 86:1-7
Do not hide your face from me
when I am in distress.
Turn your ear to me;
when I call, answer me quickly. Psalm 102:2
Pour out your heart like water
in the presence of the Lord.
Lift up your hands to him
for the lives of your children, Lamentations 2:19
First, let us clear up misconceptions I have heard from people regarding how to identify a child predator:
Myth: “You’ll know because the hair will stand up on the back of your neck when you see or hear them.”
Truth: Most predators are someone you know; and most often, someone you trust.
Myth: “They give off vibes; you’ll know!”
Truth: Most predators are someone you know; and most often, someone you trust.
Myth: “I’ve taught my kids about ‘Stranger Danger,’ we are prepared.”
Truth: Most predators are someone the child knows; and most often, someone the child trusts.
Myth: “I know my child and I know my child would tell me if anyone tried to do something to them.”
Truth: Estimates suggest that only 3% of all cases of child sexual abuse (Finkelhor & Dziuba-Leatherman, 1994; Timnick, 1985) and only 12% of rapes involving children are ever reported to police (Hanson et al., 1999).
Boys tend to have a more difficult time with abuse than girls and are less likely to report sexual abuse than girls. Lyon, T.D. (2002). Scientific Support for Expert Testimony on Child Sexual Abuse Accommodation. In J.R. Conte (Ed.), Critical issues in child sexual abuse (pp. 107-138). Newbury Park, CA: Sage.
Myth: “If they are normal looking, well-educated and/or a well-known leader they do not fit the description of a predator.”
Truth: Predators love the general public’s assumptions. This makes their attack all the easier. Child abusers come from all classes, racial and religious backgrounds and may be homosexual or heterosexual.
Myth: “I can’t believe he is a molester, after all, he has been alone with my children several times and never touched them or made them uncomfortable.”
Truth: Predators are very careful in their selection so as not to get caught. They do not molest all children they come in contact with; contrary, they select few and the victimization is usually a gradual process, or a moment of oppurtunity.
Here is an admission from a convicted molester: “When a person like myself wants to obtain access to a child, you don’t just go up and get the child and sexually molest the child. There’s a process of obtaining the child’s friendship and, in my case, also obtaining the family’s friendship and their trust. When you get their trust, that’s when the child becomes vulnerable and you can molest the child.” (Salter, 2003, p. 42)
Myth: “Once an abuser is arrested everyone will know their guilt.”
Truth: People are too quick to believe that the accused is innocent, even if there is plenty of supporting evidence. According to Dr. Salter, “Normal, healthy people distort reality to create a kinder, gentler world than actually exists” (p. 177). Salter, A. C. (2003). Predators: Pedophiles, rapists and other sex offenders: Who they are, how they operate, and how we can protect ourselves and our children. New York: Basic Books.
Myth: Molesters are usually unmarried men in need of sexual release.
Truth: They are often married; sometimes for the purpose of throwing people off their tracks. Sexual gratification is not necessarily the primary motivation for victimizing children. Power, control and anger are often the primary motivators. Again, studies show that most predators are married or in consenting relationships.
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The signs that an adult is using their relationship with a child for sexual reasons may not be obvious. We may feel uncomfortable about the way they play with the child, or seem always to be favoring them and creating reasons for them to be alone. There may be cause for concern about the behavior of an adult or young person if they:
- Refuse to allow a child sufficient privacy or to make their own decisions on personal matters.
- Insist on physical affection such as kissing, hugging or wrestling even when the child clearly does not want it.
- Are overly interested in the sexual development of a child or teenager.
- Insist on time alone with a child with no interruptions.
- Spend most of their spare time with children and have little interest in spending time with people their own age.
- Regularly offer to babysit children for free or take children on overnight outings alone.
- Buy children expensive gifts or give them money for no apparent reason.
- Frequently walk in on children/teenagers in the bathroom.
- Treat a particular child as a favorite, making them feel ‘special’ compared with others in the family.
- Pick on a particular child.
Other warning signs:
- They enjoy watching their children play naked.
- They bathe with their children of the opposite sex past age two (This is open for debate as a matter of a difference in parenting. If you have a adult who is attracted to same sex children you have to be careful with all young children. Trust your instincts).
- Play seemingly ‘innocent’ games involving bondage where the children become frightened and have to beg to be released.
- Takes pictures of children who are not their own; at the park, at parties, in the neighborhood.
- View child pornography. Child pornography viewing/possession is punishable by law. TURN THEM IN TO THE AUTHORITIES.
- Be alert to people, especially men, who work with youth but do not themselves have youth in the activity. If they have a strong desire to be with youth and you notice they seek affection from the youth; there is great reason for concern.
- Watch who your children hang out with in the neighborhood, park, church or youth club. Get to know the leaders. Offer to assist with the activities.
- Internet safety is paramount. Consider a ‘No technology’ policy in your home when guests are visiting; or keeping all technology in the kitchen within everyone’s sight. Just like a coat rack, shoe rack or bench; you could have a tech bench where all guests’ electronics are placed.
- Consider having an ‘Open door’ policy when your children’s friends are visiting. Bedroom, office, family room doors stay open for safety purposes. You should never assume you know what goes on in another person’s home. You never know what has been said or done by a family member, relative or neighbor that a child may unknowingly act out or repeat.
Pray for and with your children. Keep avenues of discussion open and let them know how much you love them. We cannot protect them from everything by micromanaging their lives, but we can watch, listen and be proactive.
If your child tells you of abuse inflicted on them…
- Keep calm.
- Tell the child you believe them.
- Show interest, care, and concern. (Don’t become hysterical. It could make the child feel responsible for your response causing them to take responsibility for their victimization).
- Reassure and support the child.
- Take action – it could save a child’s life. Report child abuse to your local or state child protective service agency AND to local law enforcement.
- Seek professional help from a pediatrician and a licensed child psychologist.
This is not a complete list. I will continue to post more on child abuse and child safety during the month of April.
How do you identify a predator? (CAUTION: Graphic content)
You may live next door to one, car pool with one, work with one, attend family get-togethers with one; or even live with one. They could be your child’s teacher, doctor, coach, spiritual mentor, youth leader or club leader. We live among them.
If you are to unknowingly observe a predator you may see: A cheerful smile, a joyful attitude, compassionate care, a generous giver, a dynamic speaker, an innocent joker, a spiritual giant, a prayerful parent, or a concerned friend. Many predators have the ability to hide, blend or put on a good act. A predator is capable of separating their sexual deviance from all other aspects of their life. They can be all those good things most of the time and a predator occasionally.
We live in a world which is full of evil but even evil can have a nice side; an attractive side.
We must remember the entire issue regarding childhood sexual abuse is purely a spiritual battle and it isn’t entirely about sexual gratification; it’s about control.
Ephesians 6:12 (NIV) For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
John 3:19 (NIV) This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.
John 8:12 (NIV) When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
John 12:46 (NIV) “I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.”
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How can parents protect against child predators? The sad fact remains; there is no full proof guarantee our children will never be abused no matter the measures we take to keep them safe. Statistics say 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 5 boys will suffer sexual abuse before the age of 18. Even in the Christian community.
Since knowledge is power, and I know you as a parent want the power to protect, I am going to pass on to you the knowledge I have gained through life experience and prolonged study.
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There are clues to look for and safety guidelines to live by. There is the power of prayer and there is the importance of talking openly with your children. If you need help talking with your child about their God given gift of sexuality; I have two links to Reviving Our Hearts with, Nancy Leigh DeMoss, where she interviews Josh McDowell. I thank my friend, Debbie, for bringing this broadcast series to my attention. I found the podcasts to be life changing in how I talk with my two young boys about the culture around us.
Josh McDowell: “We cannot raise our children the way our parents raised us—not in the light of the Internet.”
“. . . develop a close relationship with them (your children).” He recommends that we begin the conversations when our children are young.
Josh McDowell says when we do become aware of an issue, “Here’s the key, as a parent, not to become judgmental, not to shame.”
You may listen to the interview or quickly read the transcripts. The links are at the end of this post.
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Due to the length of today’s topic I am breaking it in to three segments. The first part for today is, “How Sexual Predators Choose Victims”, Part 2 “Protecting Children from Predators”, Part 3 “Symptoms of Child Sexual Abuse”
How a predator chooses their victim. (Not a conclusive list and is somewhat dated. I believe with the rise of internet pornography, many predators will be younger and quicker. They will just do it.)
- Looks for a child lacking close family relationships. Often preys upon children from split homes; especially children of single moms who are working multiple jobs while providing for their children. Lack of parental supervision provides opportunity.
- Offers to provide free babysitting or fun outings for your child; without you present because it provides opportunity for victimization.
- Often times molesters know the children are vulnerable because they know the family, or a parent has confided in this trusted person about the child’s mental state. They are very calculatingly deliberate in gaining the child’s trust. This is the most important aspect to help them accomplish their sexually gratifying goal.
- They target victims who are undervalued by their community; the church, the school, the neighborhood.
- They target victims in settings where they have authority or leadership over their victim.
- Once the process has begun a predator can strike anywhere. It can be as simple as being left alone with the child for a moment, a few minutes or an hour. Molestations have happened in doctors’ offices with the parent present. Children have been molested underneath the dining room table while sitting on an unknown predator’s lap. A predator in the mood and who has a moment of opportunity can victimize by touch, fondling, showing a pornographic image or exposing their genitals. It’s quick and it’s over before you return to the room from retrieving food to serve to them or taking a phone call in the next room.
In January 2010, Oprah Winfrey sat down with four admitted child molesters and their therapist, Dawn Horwitz-Person, for a frank discussion about the cycle of abuse. Read more here:…
These predators admitted:
- It is a high percentage (90%) of molesters who know the child/children they molest.
- Molesters like to pick children of close friends or family members; especially children who rely on them.
- Molesters target vulnerable children.
- Molesters will tell the child they love him/her. They also look for children with a poor parental relationship and attempt to be the good trusting adult in the victim’s life.
- If the molester can manipulate the victim and make the act feel good it confuses the child and makes them think it is their own fault.
- According to these men, the “grooming” process starts early, and at first, it is subtle.
Taken from: Child Sexual Abuse: 6 Stages of Grooming, By Dr. Michael Welner
The typical offender is male, begins molesting by age 15, engages in a variety of deviant behavior, and molest an average of 117 youngsters, most of whom do not report the offense.
Predators will (look for a victim through these avenues; including via the internet):
- Prey on teen’s desire for romance, adventure, and sexual information
- Develop trust and secrecy: manipulate child by listening to and sympathizing with child’s problems and insecurities
- Affirm feelings and choices of child
- Exploit natural sexual curiosities of child
- Ease inhibitions by gradually introducing sex into conversations or exposing them to pornography
- Flatter and compliment the child excessively, sends gifts, and invests time, money, and energy to groom child
- Develop an online relationship that is romantic, controlling, and upon which the child becomes dependent
- Drive a wedge between the child and his or her parents and friends
- Make promises of an exciting, stress-free life, tailored to the youth’s desire
- Make threats, and often will use child pornography featuring their victims to blackmail them into silence
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One may add to the pedophile’s check-list, which does not necessarily mean a preference for girls or boys: A particular eye color, hair color, physical build/body shape, age range, or type of clothing a child might wear. (See Toxic Tuesday: Pedophile or Molester?)
Next time I will address: Protecting Children from Predators.
(Above: Handwriting analysis photo credit by Person Education, Inc.)
This is a continuation in a series of articles on the disappearance and death of Lynn Messer. I am sharing pictures of old notes I received from some of Lynn’s family members. These pictures include copies of notes allegedly written by Kerry Messer and Lynn Messer.
Lynn Messer, disappeared July 8, 2014. We now know that Lynn has been deceased the entire time and I have been told by law enforcement that Kerry Messer, her husband, has not been cleared in the investigation surrounding Lynn’s death. Kerry is a Missouri state lobbyist who represents family, homeschooling, right-to-life, gun safety, and Christian/Biblical values.
Detective White, of the Ste. Genevieve County Sheriff’s office, told me a few months ago that he would no longer talk about or answer questions surrounding the case and he has stayed true to his word. This does not frustrate me but encourages me to think that law enforcement is protecting the integrity of their case. I’ve seen similar cases take years to prosecute, even when they knew from the start the truth and had evidence to secure an arrest. Although interviews and an arrest are important, in many cases law enforcement has an end in mind. For the investigation I was familiar with, the end goal was a conviction and a conviction is what they achieved.
A portion of letter (below) is reprinted with permission.
Aarron and Abram Messer have cowritten public letters and posted them under notes on Aarron Messer’s Facebook page.
Aarron and Abram Messer, Wednesday, November 30, 2016.
“Week before last during an interview my father seemingly opened his wallet and showed the world a note that my mother allegedly left when she disappeared on July 8th, 2014. That’s it right up there. Of course that’s not all of it. As Kerry said in that interview he couldn’t share the other half because it wasn’t addressed to him. My daughter commented to me the other day almost nonchalantly ‘grandma didn’t write that.’
‘What do you mean?’ I asked and she said what I have thought and wouldn’t couldn’t say out loud, ‘grandma didn’t call grandpa, Pa… she called him Pop. Grandpa would get so frustrated and correct her because he wanted to be called Pa, but she called him Pop.’
It’s true and it’s just one of many questions and problems with the truth about this note that my dad has now shared.”
I received the below notes from some of Lynn’s family members who in hind-sight, came to the question…was the reason Kerry kept the note a secret and wouldn’t show the entire note because he knew family would see the differences in the penmanship and refute all of the handwriting belonging to Lynn? (I have not independently verified the authenticity of the notes, but I did receive them directly from family members. I do have copies of the entire notes/letters which support the accuracy of ownership).
Some of Lynn Messer’s family members think the note Kerry turned over to law enforcement is not entirely written by Lynn. The note has different parts written in different inks at different times. It leads to the question, are parts of the note written by different people?
I’ve never taken a hand writing analysis class so obviously my opinions are mine alone. In the note that Kerry says Lynn left behind, the ‘a’s all look different from one another. The ‘o’s and ‘0’s look more round where the ‘o’s in Lynn’s notes look more oblong. The ‘m’ in the note looks more like the ‘M’ in Kerry’s signature than Lynn’s writing. The ‘p’ in the note does not look like Lynn’s ‘P’ on the calendar and is formed more like the ‘P’ Kerry signed at the end of the letter.
Questions surrounding the note and the authenticity of the handwriting may someday be answered since the FBI had been involved with different aspects of Lynn Messer’s case.
*Disclaimer: There have been no arrests made in the disappearance of Lynn Messer. Kerry Messer remains innocent of any charges. I am not claiming guilt; but simply pointing out concerns which are of my opinion. See disclaimer in the margin.
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