Alleged Sexual Abuse Case Now National Story

The Cable News Network and the Associated Press have now picked up the story of sexual abuse allegations against Ben Schragger, known in the SCA as Ben the Steward. "...Schragger, 42, was charged with abusing children, allegations that are fragmenting parents and alumni from the Society for Creative Anachronism into camps of support and outrage."

Being a teacher of children

There are two sides to this. Whether the charges are real events. Second if they are, how two protect our paiges and other small ones. First, being a teacher in any place is fraught with peril of being falsely accused by newsmongers and those hungry for money and sensationalism;which is even more closely and unfairly suspected when you are gay or lesbian. The second, parents must take responsibility to make sure that a couple of different parents are at the training sessions if they are in a person's home; both for the children AND the adults protection, otherwise it would need to be cancelled for the evening. Inconvenient, yes! But a necessary evil in a world such as ours today. Teachers must keep doors open; most esp. when tutoring. Principals must have a witness. Now SCA teachers must avoid all chances of accusation. Parents that fear for their child's safety must become involved and stay WITH their child at ALL classes. *PERIOD* It's sad that a few bad apples in the whole orchard can spoil this society's reputation; but that also is fact. Through the history of the SCA have been tragedies where there accusations have been made and that is why we have waivers at events that are thoroughly checked and monitored due to past circumstances. Now we have another. Presume innocent, yes, but also allow the jury to hear the medical and other evidence and do their job.

clarification re: Bob Leone quote

The quote attributed to Bob Leone was taken out of context. I was not referring to Ben, but to Seneschal's failure to notify parents of what was going on.

Ben's arrest was in September, but I and other parents didn't hear about it until somebody brought in a copy of the Morning Call article to the Fort Miflin event on Nov 1

Bob

everyone seems so suprised

I wonder that everyone seems so suprised. This circumstance was going to happen, the guilt or innocence of this particular person not withstanding. With this many people in an organization, this type of thing *will* happen. It's suprising that it's taken so long. The ideal that eveyrone in the SCA is one big happy family which never would do anything wrong is a nice idea but it isn't true. Thinking that no SCA person could do no wrong is just the same as thinking that no Catholic priest can do no wrong. Idealism should be tempered with realism.

It is important to remember some important key ideals.

It is important to remember some important key ideals.

First and foremost, not that these children have reason to lie, but until the man is convicted in a court of law, then we are to presume his innocence. Hard as it may be to do, as people love to convict off what they read in the paper, which is never the full story as it unfolds in the court, which will be closed because children are involved.

Secondly, it is vital that the SCA continue to not act in a knee-jerk reaction and impose rules and regulations that hinder or restrict personal freedoms. While unlike some other cases that have involved SCA members but were completely mundane and unrelated or even prior to SCA involvement, this case does apply to the SCA. Our most prudent course of action would be to simply ask/instruct that from this point forward, all children's activities take place in public locations (not private homes, not inside enclosed tents, etc.) with no fewer than two adults. This might also be the most simple policy going forward as well that does not restrict our members' involvement, but does clearly provide for the protection of our children.

Third, parents need to be involved. This has been the "battle cry" of the MoC's for years. The Office of the MoC is not a babysitter service. It needs the assistance and involvement of parents throughout the Society. If any of the parents of children involved in this case had been at the "sleepover" as well, then this more than likely would not have happened. As parents, we need to accept some of the responsibility. I would not have allowed my children to sleep over anywhere that there were not at least two responsible adults available, and in the context of extra-ciricular activities, those adult should maybe not be related, or I should be there as well. No matter the arrangement, if one or more of the parents had been there, it probably would not have happened.

The SCA already has provisions in place to administratively remove this individual from participation if it is discovered that he is guilty without creating more regulations and policies (other than perhaps the one I've mentioned above).

For the populous, it is important not to start down the road of "witch hunting," and let the mundane authorities handle this, and forbid, similar situations, and let the SCA BoD handle our internal policies for operation. We, as a Society, are doing MUCH better than the outside mundane world when you consider the very low accurance of incidents compared to the number of mundane convictions for sexual related offenses each day in America.

Does it make the SCA look bad? To some. But those people are going to be people that wouldn't have liked us anyway. For people that know us, they will see this for what it is, an unfortunate, isolated incident.

What you can do to prevent this in the future is to be more involved. Do not allow children's activities to take place in remote/private locations. Do not allow your children to be "alone" with singular adults. Participate in MoC activities with your children. These simple steps will go miles further than any policies or regulations. Niether a policy nor regulation nor background check would not have prevented this incident from happening - as this is the first time that this individual has ALLEDGEDLY done this - but active participation by a few parents would have.

Each perpetrator has a first victim, regardless of whether it is robbery, murder, rape/molestation, or battery/assault. We cannot predict what each person will do, and if we try to regulate and govern our protection, then we give up our own personal freedoms.

media feeding frenzy sighted on the horizon

This will very likely be very bad, if there's a lot of publicity. Cripes. Worse than if the public thought we were a bunch of devil worshippers or something.

I will take a very long "wait and see" mind set on this, wait for every possible fact to be revealed publically. Especially with MY hobby, the SCA on the line.

Remember- the media publically crucified Richard Ricci over the Elizabeth Smart disappearance. And the guy had NOTHING to do with that case. And the media has NEVER offered ANY apologies to his widow. The guy went to jail, where SO MUCH pressure was applied to the guy, both from law enforcemnt AND the other inmates, the poor guys head exploded.

Media are ALL just blood sucking pigs.If it bleeds it leads, no matter who they hose , guilty or not.

WAIT AND SEE the facts, folks! -------------------------- Zack ------------------------------------------

media feeding frenzy sighted on the horizon

This will very likely be very bad, if there's a lot of publicity. Cripes. Worse than if the public thought we were a bunch of devil worshippers or something.

I will take a very long wait and see mindset on this, wait for every possible fact to be revealed publically. Especially with MY hobby, the SCA on the line.

Remember- the media publically crucified Richard Ricci over the Elizabeth Smart disappearance. Media are ALL just blood sucking pigs.If it bleeds it leads, no matter who they hose , guilty or not.

Now International Story -- British paper, Guardian UK, carrying

Object to one part of the article

The article states that we are an international organization with over 88thousand members (or some such) but then claims that Mr Schragger is a leader of this organization. A local officer is not a leader of an international organization. Im afraid this is as bad press as we could hope for.

Presumption of innocence

Innocent until proven guilty. Please remember this. Otherwise, don't bother to call yourself civilized.

Re: clarification re: Bob Leone quote

Yeah, well, the local group would have liked to hear the Society Seneschal's official statement on the case through channels instead of having it bounced to our mailing list by one of the posters on this forum, too.

Re: clarification re: Bob Leone quote

>>Yeah, well, the local group would have liked to hear the Society Seneschal's official statement on the case through channels

That's probably something that should be taken up with the Seneschal

Re: everyone seems so suprised

On some level, I have to agree... But as a parent, I don't like to think that people should expect this sort of thing to happen. My heart breaks at the thought of a child being abused, or of the damage caused to someone falsely accused. We as parents, have to remember that although the SCA makes every effort to focus on the virtues of honor and chivalry, you cannot trust just anyone to care for or educate your child.

Re: everyone seems so suprised

On some level, I have to agree... But as a parent, I don't like to think that people should expect this sort of thing to happen. My heart breaks at the thought of a child being abused, or of the damage caused to someone falsely accused. We as parents, have to remember that although the SCA makes every effort to focus on the virtues of honor and chivalry, you cannot trust just anyone to care for or educate your child.

Re: everyone seems so suprised

... On one hand you're right ... We shouldn't be so surprised ...

But on the other hand, having grown up in the SCA, and regularly sneaking out of camp in the middle of the night (at 6 years old), I saw first hand how safe the SCA was/could be/should be. I was invariably taken in by some bardic fire or another and given large amounts of sugar until I was ready to go to sleep, at which point I would be escorted safely back to my mothers camp. The one time my mother allowed me to wear the tunic that I had hand stitched for myself, as it started falling apart around me, a wonderful woman took me aside and found the gold key and put me in garb.

The SCA was the only part of my childhood that WAS innocent, the real world was an ugly, ugly place for me... But I was always safe and could be a KID within the SCA, surrounded by people who were kind and would sit down and teach me whatever they were doing, and would answer my questions. The fact is that as dangerous as what I did was, I never felt anything less than completely safe with my scadian family.. (and this crossed 2 kingdom boundaries, the East & Ansteorra)

It's easy to forget that we are a LARGE organization, and will have those whose intentions are not wholly honorable. I know that I'm not the only kid who grew up doing this, and I know that I'm not the only one who found a refuge in the society that we could not find in the "real" world. And I think the surprise is as much as anything sadness for the children... Because whether these accusations are real, or were prompted by some outside person, these children have had that innocence, that made being a scadian child so magic for me, taken away from them.

Lady Muireann Ni Muirchertaig 2nd Generation Scadian, who is nearly 18 weeks along with a 3rd generation

ps: I apologize for the length of this..

Re: further clarification re: Bob Leone quote

>Yeah, well, the local group would have liked to hear the Society Seneschal's >official statement on the case through channels instead of having it bounced to >our mailing list by one of the posters on this forum, too...

[That is, nobody higher up the SCA food chain sent it to the local Seneschal, either before or after it was posted.]

Re: It is important to remember some important key ideals.

As disheartening as these accusations are, this is the fairest statement on how we should behave during this investigation. However, the rules will need to change regardless of the outcome to clearly define future children's activities in the SCA. Being involved with my sons and their Cub Scout Pack, I would recommend review and adoption of similar guidelines setup by the BSA that include two adults present for all activities.

On the behavior of authorities, their reported overzealousness in this investigation may be directly correlated to the events of the Football Camp incidents being tried in Wayne County. Also, where is Social Services in this investigation? They are supposed to be side by side with Police Investigators during any interogation of a minor in such cases.

As much as we need to measures to protect our children, they are supposed to already have people and procedures for investigating such claims. Smells like a "Witch Hunt" to disparidge the SCA and its activities.

Now that this has gone International, I know I'll soon be getting an earful from my own parents about my involvement in the SCA, and will have to deal with that.

Re: It is important to remember some important key ideals.

Most excellent advice. Parents need to be more vigilent. So many cases happen from parents letting children spend the night/or whatever at another adults without supervision.

I have never allowed my girls to spend the night at anyone's home until they were over 10 and not without discussing proper touches and other pertinent information. My daughter's are 14 & 12.

Re: It is important to remember some important key ideals.

Comments/questions about the suggested "two adults" guideline-

--In this particular case, Ben lives at home with his parents, which opens up the possibility (I admit to not knowing any of the facts in this case) that there were indeed _three_ adults present at the time of the alleged acts. I have been to the Schragger's on a number of occasions, and Ben's parents regularly interacted with us SCA-folk (to the point of grilling the hotdogs).

--Where does the line come in between our personal lives and what the SCA can and cannot govern? These alleged events were at non-official SCA gatherings. If my friend's page-aged daughter, who is SCAdian, spends an evening at my house, and we discuss garb or feasts or weapons by virtue of the fact that we share those common interests, would this be subject to the guidelines you suggest?

Please understand, I am very much in favor of protecting children, both in the SCA and mundanely. These allegations have literally hit very close to home for me, as I am formerly of Ben's home shire and have close, almost familial ties with many of the shire's children. I know not the facts of either side of the case, only what I have heard from the media and Ben's shire members. This is a tremendously difficult situation for all involved. Unfortunately, no rule will ever be 100% effective at protecting children (or adults). I beg your pardon of my curiosity in regards to your suggestion, which was one of the most impartial and well-worded comments I have read or heard on the situation.

Re: It is important to remember some important key ideals.

If you want to follow the ideals of this organization, then you need to start realizing that we have a certain percentage of deviants in our midst, that some of those people have moved themselves into posts that give them free and trusted access to children at our events, that many parents in this organization are far too trusting, and that it might help if we quit hiding behind the dual fig leaves of chivalry and courtesy. Perhaps if we recognized that we, whether parents or not, share some of the blame for what happened here, we'd prevent the next tragedy.

Key ideals mean NOTHING when the SCA continues to participate in coverups of the molestations of children at Pennsic and elsewhere. This reaction from the SCA is typical. "Don't investigate." they say. Well, frankly I'd support any local officer who undertook some investigation to see if this were happening in their group or not. I'd not want to see ANYONE else go through what the senechal of Eisental is going through.

My kids don't participate in page schools and youth activities precisely because this kind of tragedy has been waiting to happen. There is no chance of them attending a single children's activity without the attendance of an adult whom I know personally and trust implicitly. The SCA is far too busy handing out lectures to parents, rather than telling them that the dangers of the world intrude on the SCA, just like anywhere else.

Re: media feeding frenzy sighted on the horizon

Actually, so far the media seems to be portraying the SCA in a decent light (not like we're all a bunch of loonies), especially as a learning/teaching organization.

One of the most disturbing images to me is the description of the courtroom where kids had to testify last week. The reports said that the courtroom was packed with Ben's supporters from the SCA. Which is great for Ben, and I'm sure was a comfort to him (and believe me, I'm really pulling for him and hoping this all gets straightened out soon). But what about the kids who had to face not only Ben, but all of those other people in that room? Someone here has said that the courtroom will be closed during the trial. Why wasn't it closed during the preliminary hearing?

Guilty or innocent, it's a nasty situation all the way around, for everyone involved.

RE: Presumption of innocence

Also do not call yourself civilized if you are unwilling to consider that there might be some truth in the allegations and are adamant about Ben's innocence. This is creating a hostile atmosphere for the children involved. There are some who are afraid to speak up because they fear reprisal. They suffer more from the pain of thinking that their SCA friends will hate them than from what Ben has done.

RE: Presumption of innocence

I am close to this. I am also considering some allegations may be true! But I certainly dont equate skinny dipping and sodomy of a child on the same level! If someone has true, pertinent info, by all means go forward! I think what we _all_ want more than anything else is the truth. Nothing more and nothing less. If the fellow _is_ guilty, then let due process prevail. But if he is guilty of nothing more than hugging a child which the state deems "innapropriate contact" then I think jail beatings and a felony sentence are a bit harsh.

I seriously doubt any of Ben's "friends" will castigate or attack someone for going forward with truthful information!

RE: Presumption of innocence

There you go againm making statements of presumed guilt.

RE: Presumption of innocence

JAIL BEATINGS!!!!!!!!!!!! Doesn't that show punishment was taken PRIOR to proven guilt?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I hope the persons responsible for the BEATINGS are arrested for abuse of a prisoner!!! ONE NOT PROVEN GUILTY!

RE: Presumption of innocence

Anonymous: I have been around the Page program almost from the very begining. I have been to Ben's house. What amazes me is to see people throwing around accusations. I have had alot of the Pages from the area and from outside the area talk to me about this. And have not found any that feel threatened or scared to come forward. What I do find alot of is people believing what they read in the papers. My kids are involved in the very group Ben runs and have stayed at Ben's house. Innocent until proven guilty is the words used by the law.

I give the kids their due, I approch this with an open mind and have allowed them to prove to me that these things have truely happened. But from all I have seen(upclose and personal) you should read some of the other posts regarding interigations of the kids by the police. There have been many houses the police have been asked to leave by the parents of the kids. Not because the kids are afraid to talk but because the manner in which the investigators are treating these kids. Attempting to interview kids with out parents in the room, yelling at the kids, calling them liars if the answers are not what the police want. Threatening the kids with obstruction of justice charges. Telling the kids that something had to happen otherwise why are all the kids defending him. The police have attempted to change the way the kids answered the questions. it goes on and on.

Ask yourself this?Have you every seen anything that made you feel uncomfortable with Ben? Have you felt or heard of anything that made you feel uncomfortable around Ben? How is it possible that with the hundereds and hundreds of kids that have been around Ben after all these years of working with kids it just started? Oh and so you know I also have talked with the alumni Pages and none reports any thing going on. Please for the sake of the Pages and the sorrow this is all creating. Please allow the system to work and allow the SCA to do what it does best teach Chivelry, Honor and curtesy. These precepts have helped alot of kids along the way and will continue in the future. If we all continue to work together and strive to improve and allow time to heal the pain that all who are involved in this case are feeling no matter which side you are on . Pain hurts just asmuch for either group.

RE: Presumption of innocence

Get your facts straight about who is responsible for the beatings. It is well known what inmates do to other prisoners who are accused of being child molesters. The authorities had nothing to do with the beatings and are in fact trying to protect Ben from them.

RE: Presumption of innocence

Hmmm.....you have allowed the kids to prove to "you" that these things have happened? I thought that was the function of the courts. As for the way the investigators have been handling things, I have dealt with the same investigators and found them to be very nice. Yes, the system should be allowed to work and no one, not even you, should try to stand in the way of that. I suggest that you reread your post and consider the impact that the tone of your post might on anyone that may be considering to come forward with information that you may not agree with. Don't you think it creates a hostile environment for them? It certainly makes one understand why someone would be reluctant to come forward. And to think that there are others that are even more vocal than you and flat out call the children liars. What a pity.....

RE: Presumption of innocence

I think this post is a good example of why someone would be afraid to come forward. Think about it....this person says that they have "allowed them to prove to me that these things have truely happened". The courts are the only place that anything needs to be proven. Then they devote the next two paragraphs to say derogatory things about the investigators and to defend Ben. I ask......was this person present when the investigators showed up at other people's houses or are they just repeating what someone has told them. I know as fact that not everyone has had a problem with the investigators. They also state that they have been to Ben's house......have they been there EVERY time that a child has been there? This person claims that they approach it with an open mind but I feel that are way too vocal about their beliefs to be truly open minded and unbiased..........no wonder some are afraid to speak up. As for myself, I don't believe what I read in the papers or anywhere else for that matter. I believe what I have seen with my own two eyes and what those that I trust have told me. And yes, I have seen and heard plenty that has raised my eyebrow concerning Ben. I have seen far too many people try to present their opinions as fact on both sides of this issue. The system must be allowed to work without ANYONE trying to confuse the issue or influence the testimony of those involved, which is exactly what some people are attempting to do when they are very militant in their defense of Ben.

Re: Presumption of innocence

An anonymous poster said:

Innocent until proven guilty. Please remember this. Otherwise, don't bother to call yourself civilized.

That is a very American ideal, but not a world-wide view, and many highly "civilized" countries do not subscribe to it. As the SCA is an international organization, I would expect that to be respected by its members.

For instance, in England, the standard is "guilty until proven innocent" - however, the system works in a way highly unlike the US system. In the US, all of the resources of the State are working to prove the accused guilty, and are pitted against whatever resources the individual can raise in their own defense, in an attempt to prove their innocence. In England, the resources of the state are required to work to discover the truth, and prove the accused's innocence, if possible.

Also, unlike the US system, in the English system, it is illegal for a lawyer/barrister to keep silent about any relevant information about the case. In the US, a lawyer can be disbarred if they reveal that their client committed not only the crime of which they are accused, but a string of similar crimes across several states, should this information come their way while investigating the case. In England, a barrister can be disbarred if they do NOT reveal that their client has confessed to them that the client committed these crimes.

In the US, the system is considered to be an adversarial one, with the State taking the position of "guilty", and presenting only evidence to that effect, while the defense attorney is held responsible for presenting all of the information in support of the idea that their client is innocent. In the English system, the barristers are legally considered to be in service of "the truth" and "justice", two other highly American ideals, and are required to bring forward all information relevant to the case, whether or not it is in support of their position. In fact, they are required to bring forward any information that they have about the commission of any crime, regardless of how they gained it, and in what context.

Your statement appears to label, as not worthy to "bother to call themselves civilized", everyone living under the Westminster system (as only one of many examples). This does not seem to me to be very respectful of the multitude of nations with other judicial systems, aimed at providing all of their residents with "equal justice under law".

Re: Presumption of innocence

Yes, that is the basis of our legal system. Civilized has nothing to do with emotions. Mob rules and all that.

This is very much like a case in New Orleans a few years back. Unfortunately it made the "American Justice" or "Cold Case Files" I cannot remember which. The guy was pictured in chain mail and a helm which my brother helped him make. We had NO idea of his past. A few days before he disappeared he stopped by my house to deliver some pictures of my girls from an SCA event plus the negatives. It was really weird.

Do NOT jump to conclusions. Be aloof and informed, but DO NOT OVER-REACT. I was involved with child abuse victim in New Orleans and even sat on a jury in one case.

I KNOW what I'm talking about.

Soffya Atlantia

RE: Presumption of innocence

My purpose is not to sling accusations or try to prove guilt or innocence in this forum, but there are those who need to know that their very vocal defense of Ben is in fact intimidating some kids. How do I know? Because my child is tormented everyday. Tormented by the fact that some of Ben's supporters are very hostile and that they are trying to discredit everything that every child has said. They call the children liars. They say that the investigators put words into their mouths. They attack the intelligence and mentality of the children involved. They make lots of angry accusations. My child is afraid of being subjected to the same hostilities as those who have already come forward. Is this the atmosphere that people want? I don't think so.

RE: Presumption of innocence

I am an alumni of the page program, and have been alone many times with Ben at Pennsic.. and he never, ever, EVER acted out of line with me. Nor have any of the pages or alumni pages said anything similar to the allegations to me.

Actually, everyone I've talked to is shocked and believes none of it.

Why? Because they have NEVER had it happen to them, seen it happen, or heard of it happening.

And this is a very large number of pages and alumni pages I'm referring to.

RE: Presumption of innocence

I am close to this also and I have seen how vocal some of Ben's "friends" are. They have made numerous allegations about the children and the investigators involved. It is a very hostile atmosphere and enough to intimidate anyone. No matter if someone thinks Ben is guilty or innocent they should stop slinging allegations and let the legal system do it's job

RE: Presumption of innocence

I notice in the news reports that it was a 15 yr old boy and his two younger siblings. Same family. Hmmm maybe some sort of an ugly political smear? I have seen this happen in other kingdoms. Does one of the parents have as a middle name: " bag of dirty tricks" ? Man, just wait and see folks. Even if the guy is found guilty in court does not mean that the guy really did it. Just hope the BOD doesn't crucify the guy. But I can see from past precedence that just being accused of something that couldn't be prosecuted in a court was enough to get someone banned, forced to give up an office, even a crown. I find it mortifying that the guy got the hell beat out of him in jail.

RE: Presumption of innocence

>>Actually, everyone I've talked to is shocked and believes none of it.

Why? Because they have NEVER had it happen to them, seen it happen, or heard of it happening. <<

You and everyone that you have talked to can only truthfully speak about your own experiences, you can not speak for anyone else. Just because you have not seen something for yourself doesn't mean that you can say it doesn't exist. That would be like saying that Cleveland doesn't exist because you have never been there.

RE: Presumption of innocence

True, but, by the same token, one certianly can infer that if something hasn't happened to many/several/the large majority of pages, it is odd for it to happen to a few. Especially a few at the same time.

From a psychological standpoint this doesn't really fit a profile that leans toward guilt... of course, that doesn't mean Ben isn't guilty, just that there is a definate reason to at least examine the allegations with a critical eye.

RE: Presumption of innocence

i find it quite pleasant.

RE: Presumption of innocence

"And to think that there are others that are even more vocal than you and flat out call the children liars. What a pity..... "

Yes, the people "calling the children liars" are a pair of cops - state police, no less. I'm one of the people who stood there and listened to state cops threaten my child, call my child a liar, and try to get him to change what he was saying to what the cop wanted said -- and I'll testify to this under oath. You want to talk about intimidation ... these guys are pros - just ask them, they'll tell you so themselves. Professional intimidators. Intimidating kids who say "Ben never hurt me, or touched me where he shouldn't have." These guys were doing their best to manufacture evidence -- believe it!!! I was there.

RE: Presumption of innocence

I would never stand in the way of an investigation. Nor would I every want a child to feel uncomfortable for coming forward with any thing they know about this situation. It is not what I think that counts it is what they know and what the courts find out. I would no way do any thing on this earth to every make a child afraid or uncomfortable in any way. Now if my words were not in keeping with that thinking or they were read in a different light for that I am sorry. That was not my intent. My intent was to say that not all of Ben's friends are closed minded or believe that such a situation could not arise. What I am saying is that I came to give the kids their due and their day in court as all should. There is pain and hurt on both sides of this situation and only time and truth can heal these things. Again if you took my words in a diffeent light then I meant them or I confussed you with my wording I do apologize

Re: Presumption of innocence

To whomever felt so righteous in posting this 'gem': "Innocent until proven guilty. Please remember this. Otherwise, don't bother to call yourself civilized." --

The burden to make a presumption of innocence is SOLELY on the judiciary and its agents acting on this case. Joe Schmoe discussing the case amongst his buddies can _believe_ anything he wants. That's his legal right here in the good old USA.

Perhaps you should not bother to call yourself educated on that rather basic tenet of American civics... eh?

RE: Presumption of innocence

<<<<<>>>>

Please reasure these children that is OK to speak up and they are not alone in this. As repoted by the press there are AT LEAST 13 children who have come forward so far. Now that this news has gone national, it would not suprise me if the number of children who have come forward is much higher now. I would hope to think that children involved in this will be protected within the society from any kind of backlash from other children or adults and that they are given the love and support they need. I personaly know there are children in the society who will never hate them for coming forward and telling the truth. I stand behind our children for they are on trial too and they have no reason I can see to lie about this. It takes great courage to step forward.

RE: Presumption of innocence

i find it quite pleasant.

if you are referring to him being assaulted in jail, then I seriously hope you are accused of something and someone bashes your head in with a brick before you even get your hearing or trial on it.

sleep in the bed you make, sicko.

Two notes

There is nothing to object to. Ben is not just a local children's officer. Anyone who's been involved in youth activities in the East Kingdom or at Pennsic has been impacted by him. I live in Chicago, and he's had contact with my kids, along with hundreds of others from around the world.

The biggest problem here is that a whole bunch of people created a situation that will never be satisfactorily resolved. As long as Ben denies the charges, some people will believe him and some won't. There are common-sense ways to solve these problems that other organizations put into effect, and we need to adopt them as soon as possible.

Why now after hundreds of kids?

Not knowing the man I have no opinion but, if the allegations are true, is it possible that it is a physical problem (tumor, whatever)? Surely, if the man is a pedophile, it would have surfaced many years ago. It doesn't make sense for something like this to appear out of the clear blue sky. If it is true, there has to be a reason. We owe it to him, the kids and the SCA to let the law take it's course without interference. And NOBODY on either side better be bullying the kids!