EDITORIAL: Some of you have asked: Why does CLIFFVIEW PILOT publish so many stories about child molester arrests? The answer is simple: I believe we can do better at preventing them from hurting our children.
For every creep who lays a hand on a kid, there’s a parent or guardian who’s somewhere else — or, worse, looking the other way.
We picked up two stories today of accused sickos, one of whom, authorities said, took advantage of three Englewood kids at once — two of them 7 and one 3. One is a boy.
In another case, a Baltimore elementary school janitor from Pennsylvania is accused of having sex with an 11-year-old girl in North Arlington.
Dennis Mitchell, 33, was formally charged early this morning by members of the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Unit after being brought in by North Arlington Police, authorities said. He’s being held on $250,000 bail at the Bergen County Jail, along with the other defendant, whose bail is $350,000.
It’s good that they‘re locked up already, you might say. They can‘t hurt anyone else. But, if the charges prove true, it’s too late for the victimized kids. They have been damaged, possibly even beyond repair. An essence of life was taken from them, never likely to return….Jerry DeMarco Publisher/Editor
And that, simply, is not acceptable.
So please, please, PLEASE:
1. Know where your kids are all the time. I don’t care how rebellious or evasive or difficult they might be; make it a point for them to know why you‘re so concerned. Then arrange for them to know exactly where YOU are at all times. Make sure they always have your number with them.
2. In keeping with that: Teach your children well. Don’t terrorize them into fear of a dark planet. Just make them aware that danger doesn’t come blowing an air horn or wearing a recognizable suit. Make them careful of ever allowing themselves to end up in a potentially harmful situation. Teach them what’s appropriate and what’s not, and to never be afraid to get out of harm’s way immediately.
3. Know the person your kids are with. It could be an uncle or a cousin, a boyfriend or a brother, a husband or a father. Reality doesn’t lie: Pedophiles rarely are complete strangers to a family. So do not look the other way. Do not lie to yourself about the potential — however slim you want to believe it is — that someone you think you know well could do unspeakable things to your baby. No excuse in the world can amend such a violation once it’s done….
4. Never, ever be afraid to ask your kids whether something wrong happened, even if all you’re operating on is a hunch or a gut feeling. Sometimes they don’t tell because they were never asked…. Listen carefully. Leave no room for misunderstanding: They should NEVER be concerned about telling you anything.
The stakes are too high to fail at any of these. Just look at the sheer volume of stories that are published and understand: So many others either go unreported in the media — or, worse, unreported to the police.
So please: Vigilance, not fear or apprehension.
And if you can’t muster the animalistic instinct to protect your kids like the fierce lion you should be, then consider the potential guilt factor:
You don’t really want to be the one who welcomed in the sicko who destroyed your kid’s innocence, do you?
There are plenty of extremely helpful sites. Among them is the tip-filled British page “For Sarah“
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