One would think that in the year 2011, given the advances in technology, communication, and social awareness, child sexual assault would not only be accepted as something that exists but should at this point be known as a crime that takes a particularly skilled type of perpetrator to commit. Yet, everyday very smart, caring people put theirs and other children at risk by not accepting the very harsh realities of child sexual assault.
- When society accepts the myths surrounding sexual abuse, it assists sex offenders by silencing victims and encouraging public denial about the true nature of these assaults against children.
- Even "really great" and "really nice” teachers can be sexually inappropriate. As a matter of fact, the "nicer" the teacher is the more likely that the teacher is using charm and kindness as a way to groom and seek victims.
- Statistics show that the number of false allegations of sexual assault are far less than the number of truthful allegations of sexual assault. Yet, the default mode is to disbelieve, rather than to believe, the victim.
- 1 in 4 women will be assaulted in the course of her lifetime. It is because of the blame, denial, and fear that many do not report the crime.
- Not everyone who comes in contact with a child molester will be abused. In truth, sex offenders tend to carefully pick and set up their victims. Thus, while sex offenders may feel driven to molest children, they rarely do so indiscriminately or without a plan.
- Sexual assault survivors are never responsible for the attack, no matter what, no matter how much alcohol was consumed. Responsibility lies with the perpetrator; the survivor is never responsible for the assailant's behavior.
As Doe tells her mother and father, the teacher began helping her with her first question. He put his hand under her dress and on her knee. Then, he reached his hand up her back and under her shirt, coming around the front to rub her chest. He kept his hand there while he helped her with three other math problems.
Afterward Doe didn’t protest. Instead she thanked Mr. Noyes and returned to her seat. She didn’t understand what just happened to her, but she couldn’t push one thought from her mind. When she went home that night, Doe says she still feels her teacher’s hand on her chest. It’s a horribly vivid sensation she can’t shake. As Doe’s mother was getting ready for our courthouse press conference, she told me “Doe still feels that hand--to this day."
The parents didn’t panic, but they simply wanted answers, direction, and support. They didn’t call lawyers or press instead they approached the head of the school, Ginger Sauter, a woman they’ve gone to church with for years, as a friend. Ginger told them, “this is all my fault, I shouldn’t have let him hug the children.”
Then things quickly turned from bad to worse. A criminal investigation began on January 21, 2011, two days after the incident, conducted by an officer from the Collier County Sheriff’s Department. On January 28, the investigator received a phone call – not from Stephen Noyes, but from his criminal defense attorney – who informed the officer that Mr. Noyes, “would not be answering questions, or submitting to a polygraph examination."
Child sexual abuse has reached epidemic proportions in schools throughout our nation and has become an alarmingly frequent occurrence. The cases that are surfacing almost daily serve as a wake-up call to everyone in America to protect our children.
The teacher, Steven Noyes, is by all accounts "beloved” and has a clean record. The same scenario goes for the priests who sexually abuse children and all of the other people who choose careers working with children, only to groom them and then sexually abuse them. That’s the typical M.O. of a child abuser. And yet it is the priest, or the accused teacher, who often is believed over the victim.
This is the story of a father who believes, and is standing up for his little girl. It’s about a mother who wants to make sure no other child goes through the pain and suffering her daughter has. The goal in filing a suit is to get answers, to hold the school accountable; to make sure that this case is not simply swept under the rug.