Why do we publish those awful stories about child sex abuse, pornography, and trafficking in Ohio and around the world? A commenter on one of our stories said we were turning into “pedo central” and that she thought SCDN was supposed to be “a news site.” She’s certainly not the only one to express that opinion, though stories on the topic are often the most popular ones on the site. We’ve put up stories about the Census, Lawrence-Scioto the Solid Waste Management District, property tax delinquencies, decriminalizing pot in Portsmouth, COVID, and other important topics this week but when you look at the web traffic numbers, these horrible stories of abuse get about 10 times as many hits. And that’s a good thing. I’ll tell you why.
Child sexual abuse and trafficking in our area is a problem. A big one. As prevalent and real and ugly as the opioid epidemic. The opioid epidemic that people ignored for so long because they didn’t want to believe that doctors would do something like that. Their friends, relatives, and neighbors simply couldn’t be involved in drug abuse. Despite the shocking number of local arrests involving child pornography, abuse, and trafficking in our area, some people still don’t want to believe.
I mean, I get it. It’s ugly. Who wants to see that? Sometimes when prosecutors present a case, they hesitate to show awful, graphic evidence to a jury because they know it will overwhelm them and cause them to shut down. Sometimes, I think stories like this do that to people.
Why Do We Run These Stories?
Why do we run these stories? – Because the problem is reaching epidemic proportions and the COVID-19 lockdown has made it even worse. Children are traded for pills and cash. Videos of that sexual abuse are transmitted all over the country and the world for the gratification of other predators. The abuse never ends.
What’s the deal with stories that aren’t ‘local’? – When it comes to child trafficking, pornography, and sex abuse, there is no such thing as local. The Internet put an end to that. A predator in Canada can entice, blackmail, and abuse 12-year-old girls all over the US and the world. In the past few days, I’ve seen a dozen reports from the Department of Justice about men using ‘sextortion’ schemes to trap children into sending them sexual images and even harming themselves. They target little girls all over the country. We put their names, photos, and social media handles out there so you can check them. Check with your kids. Has this person contacted you, ever? Have you ever seen these social media handles? Does someone I know communicate with this person?
Predators don’t just target kids. They make friends with their parents and guardians, too. That’s how they work.
The Monsters Are Real
Why so many stories on this topic? – We monitor Project Safe Childhood, the State of Ohio, plus local and regional police and the Sheriff’s offices. I think I look at between twenty to thirty cases of child pornography, trafficking, and sex abuse EVERY SINGLE DAY in Ohio and everywhere else. We run a fraction of them. Maybe 5% of what see most days. And remember, those are just the people who get caught. So many of these cases have details so disturbing we can barely figure out how to write about them.
Yesterday, was a particularly bad day for me. I’ve been in this business longer than many of you have been alive and I cried for a good 20 minutes after reading some of the arrest reports yesterday. The pastor abusing the infant and the man who “sextorted” approximately 100 little girls made me so angry my hands wouldn’t stop shaking.
How in the world could I live with myself if I didn’t tell you these monsters are among us. They are our pastors, our doctors, our teachers, our friends, and our relatives. They come at our babies through us, through our church, through the Internet. The crimes they commit are so vile that you’d rather not think about them. I sure as hell wish I could forget them. But I can’t forget and I cannot allow you to forget. We have children to look out for. We need to be aware of the monsters.
Just Like A Virus
They are as deadly and prevalent as COVID-19. Like that virus, they are invisible to the naked eye. It’s easier to read about a virus than a pastor who repeatedly rapes a baby and takes a video of it. You can’t put on a mask, stand six feet apart, and wash your hands to avoid a predator. If a virus was decimating our children and teens, you’d want to know.
I have as much responsibility to tell you about this as the county has to issue tornado and flood warnings. I’m sorry if it upsets you. I’m sorrier still that this happens to little children every single hour of every day in every corner of the world. That includes your corner. Child sex abuse happens every day in Scioto County, Ohio.
As we have learned from the opioid epidemic that’s ravaged our town, ignoring an ugly problem does not make it go away.