I apologize for interrupting what would seem to be an absolutely riveting series of blog posts about the value of gymnastics but this is important, and I will explain the urgency shortly.
Currently there are 2 pieces of legislation under consideration in Wisconsin; Assembly bill 461 and Senate bill 345, introduced by Representative Sandy Pasch and Senator Julie Lassa respectively. The bills (introduced simultaneously) are asking to remove the statute of limitations for sexual crimes against children. Let me explain my passion for this legislation:
Recently USA-Gymnastics has been purging membership for sex offenders in our industry. Gymnastics is, unfortunately, a sport that attracts some pedophiles because of the access to children, the frequency of contact that is possible with multiple practices per week, long hours, and relationships with coaches that develop as the training goes on that are very trusting by children and parents alike. Don’t panic; 99.999% of the people working with children in this industry are safe and trustworthy and you will not be disappointed or threatened by having your child in gymnastics. This is even more assured now that USA Gymnastics has taken steps to identify and eliminate offenders from our ranks. Gymfinity in addition requires all staff to have a 10 year background check before allowing them to teach. But that doesn’t mean that the crimes already committed against kids will cease to be a concern. Often children who have been abused don’t come forward because of shame, guilt or fear and they don’t take action until much later, often in their adult years. In some cases the offenders take comfort in knowing that they are safe from prosecution for this very fact, and it makes their offenses almost safe to commit. This is not OKay with us.
Currently there is a case in Colorado when a very prominent gymnastics coach continues to work with children outside the jurisdiction of USA Gymnastics even after 5 women had come forward to announce that they were abused when under his care. He reportedly burned them with cigarettes, as well as sexually, emotionally and mentally abused them. But it was done back in the 80’s and so the statute of limitation in California (he moved to Colorado – pedophiles are often mobile when there accusations made) has expired. I feel that Wisconsin can be more progressive on matters like this and even lead the way for other sates to follow. The bills proposed by Lassa and Pasch will make it a crime without a deadline. Murder in Wisconsin has no statute of limitations, why should crimes against our youngest and most innocent?
So here is why it’s urgent and what I am asking you to do. I have attached a brief note at the end of this post that can easily be copied and pasted into an e mail. So…
Step 1: Click this link and enter your address to find out who represents you in the Wisconsin legislation (Assembly and Senate). Click their e mail links to send them an e mail as a constituent in their district. (Do not randomly choose other representatives as their staff is limited and overloading them can irritate the staff and actually work against the cause) Who Represents me?
Step 2: Copy and paste the message below or paraphrase your own message asking them to support the bills and get them passed. A phone call is as good as an e mail as all calls are recorded for subject matter and presented to the representatives even if you don’t get to speak to your intended representative directly; they will hear your concern.
That’s it. Easy. Two steps to make a difference for children and for the future. HOWEVER: this session of congress goes out of session on March 15 and will not re-start until January of 2013 (They don’t work on legislation during campaign season because there could be assumed conflict of interest if people are donating money while bills are progressing or not progressing). Please act, Please help. Lets make it right in Wisconsin so pedophiles know that here, we’re not going to tolerate their behavior.
I am a parent of a young child and my child is at risk. Currently Wisconsin does not make pedophilic offenders stand in judgement for their crimes if the injured child does not come forward until after the statute of limitations is expired. Often abused children do not have the strength to speak out until they are older and feel safely removed from further threat. Knowing that and knowing that many cases will never come to justice, pedophiles feel free to act in Wisconsin.
There is a case in Colorado where an offending coach is still allowed to practice his profession because the statute has run out on his crimes. My children are in sports and this has me worried for the safety of, not only my children, but all Wisconsin children.
Please support Wisconsin Assembly Bill 461 and Wisconsin State Senate bill 345. Will you make Wisconsin a shining example for other states and help raise the bar for professionals that work with children everywhere? I would like to hear from your office as to where you stand on this matter. I think the safety of our children and our future is important. Do you? Please let me know.