Saturday, June 14, 2008

Case of the Rogers Park Jewish Community Center's Day Care Center

"THIS WILL BE with us forever. It never will ever be wiped away," said a young mother, who is certain her daughter was raped and sexually and physically abused at the Rogers Park Jewish Community Center's day-care center.

The mother said her family's therapist said her daughter, will have to deal with her trauma in each stage of her life.

Now, Becky is afraid to go to sleep or to go to the bathroom alone. Those were the occasions when she was attacked, her mother said. When she reaches puberty, her fears will take different forms, according to the therapist.

Another 4-year-old girl who was molested, Melissa, wants to sleep in the closet with the door closed, where she feels safe, said her mother. "I know she is scared to death. She is afraid of everything," she said.

The names of the children have been changed to protect their identity.
DURING QUESTIONING at the start of the investigation of abuse at the center, Melissa "would not let me out of her sight," her mother said, "because she was sure I was going to be killed while she was talking." Both mothers said their daughters told them their abusers had threatened to kill their families if they revealed what they had done.

Melissa is "regressing into infancy" because she thinks that when she first went to the center everyone loved her, but when she grew older they began hitting her and telling her she was stupid, "a dummy" and deserved to be hit. Through therapy, Melissa is learning that she is not a bad girl but a victim of child abuse.

According to Becky's mother, "She talked about it as if there were two Beckys -- bad Becky and good Becky. Good Becky didn't have these things happen to her."

WHILE THESE two mothers, along with a few others, have shared their experiences with each other, they feel fairly isolated from other parents of children who are or were enrolled at the center.

"When we did make statements in public, a lot of parents refused to believe us. It was too traumatic for them," one mother said.

"Since this is a Jewish Community Center and they have religious and community ties tied up in this, this contributes to their state of denial," she said.

Melissa, did not want to go back to the school or anywhere near the rooms where she said she was abused after she told what had happened, her mother said.

"There are children who have returned to the school who were pinpointed as victims, and their parents are still sending them there," said Becky's mother. "Meanwhile, who is protecting the children?"

BOTH MOTHERS said they now realize they missed earlier clues that something was wrong. For instance, reluctance to go to sleep and reports of being insulted and punished at the center were such clues. Read more here.

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