Thursday, October 05, 2006

Barton on Accountability and Protecting Our Children

Many people are questioning why the current Republican leadership did not investigate the alleged inappropriate advances of Congressman Mark Foley toward one or more of the House Pages. This is not the question we should be asking. We should be asking why, as soon as there was an allegation of possible impropriety between an adult and a minor child, did those adults not immediately contact law enforcement? The law requires any adult to whom it is revealed that an allegation is made of abuse and/or sexual exploitation by an adult upon a minor to immediately contact law enforcement or their department of child protective services. Due to the sensitive nature of these types of allegations, it is not the responsibility of legislators and ethics committees to investigate. It is the job of specially trained forensic investigators to interview the alleged victim/s and to carry out the investigation.

My second question is why have we not heard anything about what help is being offered the youths and their families in question? We certainly are hearing how the former Congressman has entered an alcohol treatment center for substance abuse and inappropriate behaviors stemming from that abuse.

I have spent my entire career working with children and youth who have been victims of abuse, neglect, and sexual exploitation. I have seen the horrific damage that occurs when children are victims of adult misconduct in this way. In this country, one-in- three girls and one-in-five boys are sexually victimized before they reach the age of eighteen. This is an appalling number of incidents in which our society, all of us, must aggressively stop through prevention, intervention and prosecution. We need leaders with unabashed integrity to do this and I will continue to provide that leadership both in Washington D.C. and here in Oklahoma.

Sue Barton, Democratic Nominee for U.S. Congress, Oklahoma District 3
Barton for Congress

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