Tag Archives: child abuse

Hero of the Week Award: June 7, Marcel Neergaard

7 Jun
Hero of the Week

Hero of the Week

Proving decisively that you’re never too young to make a difference, this week’s hero spoke his mind and made a real change. Marcel Neergaard is 11 years old. He is also gay. He lives in Tennessee and was so mistreated and abused in school that his parents are home-schooling him now. The Neergaard family was horrified to learn who StudentsFirst had named as their 2012 Reformer of the Year: Rep. John Ragan. Ragan is the author of the nasty “Don’t Say Gay” bill that would ban any reference to homosexuality in Tennessee schools.

Marcel decided to do something about it. With his parents help, he created a MoveOn.org petition demanding that the award be rescinded. He also recorded an impassioned, articulate video about the harm that Ragan and his ilk do.

During my first year in middle school, I experienced severe bullying. I was called terrible names that were quite hurtful. At that time, I had just realized that I’m gay, and the bullies used the word “gay” as an insult. This made me feel like being gay was horrible, but my parents told me otherwise. Their support was tremendous. But as powerful as their love was, it couldn’t fight off all the bullying. I don’t want anyone else to feel the way I did. No one deserves that much pain, no matter who they are. This was my reason for writing the petition.

Wow!  How impressive is Marcel here?  The story has a happy ending. Months of pressure from LGBT activist groups did nothing to sway StudentsFirst. Marcel Neergaard was more successful. Within days, the group rescinded the award and issued a statement supporting Federal anti-bullying legislation. Says Neergaard,

It seemed like the right thing to do, and the fact that there’s a chance to not do that sounded like you were saying, ‘Yeah, I was bullied and I’m going to let those bullies win.’ It’s giving up to them. It’s giving up to myself.

What an amazing young man! The world needs more people like him.

Honorable mention this week goes to Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO). During hearings with the Joint Chiefs of Staff to discuss the military’s disgusting record of dealing with sexual assault and rape, the senators demanded action. As the commanders offered excuses and dodged issues of reporting and prosecution, McCaskill let them have it.

I don’t care how good a pilot it is, I don’t care how good a Special Ops person it is. Their ability to perform as a soldier or an airman or a member of the Coast Guard is irrelevant to whether or not they committed a crime.

Gillibrand was equally firm, noting the extent to which the problem is embedded in military culture.

You have lost the trust of the men and women who rely on you that you will actually bring justice in these cases.

Thank you, Senators, for speaking truth to power!

From Gay Bashing to Child Pornography: Hypocrisy, Thy Name is Lisa Biron

16 Jan

Lisa-BironLisa Biron, a far-right, hyper-christian, anti-gay lawyer, was just convicted on eight charges related to child pornography. You read that correctly.

With Larry Craig’s wide stance, Mark Foley’s sexting with underage pages, and Family Research Council founder George Reker’s hiring a gay rentboy to “lift his luggage,” (hehehe) finding hypocrisy in the professional anti-gay crowd isn’t that surprising. The story of Lisa Biron, however, is one of the most vile  and just about made me spit up!

Biron is an attorney with Alliance Defending Freedom. (Don’t you just love these vaguely patriotic names that mean nothing?) Formerly known as the Alliance Defense Fund, the ADF was created in 1994 by the likes of Donald Wildmon and the charm free, full of hate James Dobson to

Defend the right to hear and speak the Truth through strategy, training, funding, and litigation.

The “truth” they want to defend is the narrow version they see in their bibles. The ADF is rabidly anti-gay and has pursued cases against gay rights around the country, including defending Prop 8 in California. They also represent KKKristians who feel that any positive representation of the LGBT community abridges their right to have state support for their religious hatred. (So much for the “Freedom” part…) Biron has been one of their premiere attorneys, litigating many cases and fighting for “family values” all over the nation.

Apparently her family values involve driving a 14-year-old girl to Canada to make a child porn film with a Canadian youth, sexually exploiting the girl in making videos of her with another man, and making a cellphone video of herself engaged in sexual activity with the girl. Some details have not been released, but the AP has reported that the girl was Biron’s own daughter. How’s THAT for family values?

The jury in Manchester, NH deliberated for less than an hour before handing down charges on eight federal indictments including child sexual exploitation, transporting a child across state lines to produce child pornography and possession of child pornography. The ADF has scrubbed every reference to their former star from their Facebook page and their website.

It hardly matters. Lisa Biron is the kind of dirty that never washes clean. And she’s the face of “family values” law. We can only hope that her daughter will triumph over the abuse of her mother and that exposing this type of hate and hypocrisy will further the cause of social justice and equality for the LGBT community.

Boy Scouts: Molesters Welcome but Gays Need Not Apply

9 Aug

More secrets…less safety

The Boy Scouts of America are having more problems with their hypothetical ethics. The Scouts have consistently relied on a “moral code” defense to explain their refusal to allow gay Scouts or leaders. That same reasoning was trotted out again last month when the organization’s super-secret committee unanimously approved maintaining this bigoted ban. Sadly, the same reasoning doesn’t seem to apply to sexual predators and child molesters. Despite the existence of a super-secret “perversion file” (the Scouts do like their secrets, don’t they?), many men ejected from leadership roles for abuse later return to the organization.

Not unlike the Catholic Church, the Scouts have had a number of high-profile abuse cases in recent years. They have steadfastly refused to open their files, maintaining that the secrecy is what makes them effective. That’s proving a curiously bad arguement. A high-profile case in Oregon — in which the abused former Scout won nearly $20 million — resulted in court decision that the files cannot be kept secret. Prior to the release of those files, the Los Angeles Times used similar information from court cases in California to test the Scouts claim that the secret files protect young Scouts. The paper reported the results of that test this week.

[The] review of more than 1,200 files dating from 1970 to 1991 found more than 125 cases across the country in which men allegedly continued to molest Scouts after the organization was first presented with detailed allegations of abusive behavior. Predators slipped back into the program by falsifying personal information or skirting the registration process. Others were able to jump from troop to troop around the country thanks to clerical errors, computer glitches or the Scouts’ failure to check the blacklist.

In some cases, officials failed to document reports of abuse in the first place, letting offenders stay in the organization until new allegations surfaced. In others, officials documented abuse but merely suspended the accused leader or allowed him to continue working with boys while on “probation.” In at least 50 cases, the Boy Scouts expelled suspected abusers, only to discover later that they had reentered the program and were accused of molesting again.

One scoutmaster was expelled in 1970 for sexually assaulting a 14-year-old boy in Indiana. Even after being convicted of the crime, he went on to join two troops in Illinois between 1971 and 1988. He later admitted to molesting more than 100 boys, was convicted of the sexual assault of a Scout in 1989 and was sentenced to 100 years in prison, according to his file and court records. In 1991, a Scout leader convicted of abusing a boy in Minnesota returned to his old troop — right after getting out of jail.

Bill Dworkin, a retired L.A. police expert on child sexual abuse who served as a witness in the Oregon case summed things up succinctly: “Basically, there were no controls.”

So, also like the Catholics, the Scouts demonize gays while allowing predators to move from troop to troop. Relying on faulty secrecy and an outdated “moral” stand that does far more harm than good, this organization allows children to suffer while pretending to protect them. Looks like the Boy Scouts need a pretty thorough overhaul before they can consider themselves “morally straight.”

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