PA State officials building stricter sexual assault laws

July 2, 2012 in Ramblings

This article is from a PA newspaper, The Times Herald. I read this article with great hope.

http://www.timesherald.com/article/20120624/NEWS01/120629731/state-officials-works-towards-stricter-sexual-assault-laws

If these bills pass, it would afford me (and my brother) the opportunity to prosecute the pedophile that repeatedly abused us. In my case, the abuse was so severe that it is classified as second degree felonies.
Still trying to get my head around this possibility. I am so hopeful that these bills will pass. We never received justice and this pedophile went on to hurt many other children. He was never charged in ANY of the molestations.

It would mean the world to me to see a juror stand and say “guilty”. He would be placed on a sexual predator list so future communities could have at least *some* measure of protection. I will keep all of you posted on the progress of the bill.

EDIT: I SPOKE TO BILL WHITE, A JOURNALIST AND FRIEND FROM THE ALLENTOWN, PA PAPER “THE MORNING CALL”. AS IT HAPPENS, THE COMMITTEE THREW OUT THE “TWO YEAR WINDOW”. THIS WINDOW WAS DESIGNED SO ALL SURVIVORS COULD STEP FORWARD AND NAME THEIR ABUSERS…REGARDLESS OF HOW MUCH TIME HAS PASSED. SO…PAINFULLY, THERE IS STILL NO JUSTICE FOR ME OR MY LITTLE BROTHER. BE ASSURED THAT THE PAIN FROM THIS WILL BE A POSITIVE FUEL FOR THE FIRE THAT BURNS WITHIN ME. I WILL CONTINUE TO FIGHT FOR OTHER KIDS AND MAKE SURE THEY RECEIVE *JUSTICE*.

Here is the full article by TONY FIORIGLIO:

HARRISBURG — In the wake of the Sandusky trial that rocked Pennsylvania and the rest of the country, state legislators have begun working to further protect children from abuse and to ensure full punishment for the abusers.
According to a statement released by the office of Rep. Todd Stephens (R-151st Dist.), the representative has backed a series of bills that would help bring sexual predators to justice. H.B. 832 would eliminate any statute of limitations in cases of sex crimes being committed against minors, which would allow alleged abusers to be tried no matter how much time has passed. H.B. 878 would extend the statute of limitations for victims who wish to pursue civil actions against their abusers. Pennsylvania currently allows civil action to be taken until the victim turns 30. The proposed bill would move the cut-off to 50. H.B. 2488 combines the two previous bills. “We cannot allow sexual predators to avoid criminal punishment and civil liability by riding out the clock and hiding behind the statute of limitations,” Stephens said in the statement. “These bills are critical in ensuring child victims of sex crimes receive the justice they deserve and that the offenders are held accountable for their actions.” All three bills have passed through the House Judiciary Committee and now move to the House of Representatives.

In addition to the previous bills, Stephens also came out in support of H.B. 1264, which would allow expert testimony to be given at child abuse cases that would help explain why the victims may wait years before coming forward with charges. “It is not uncommon for young victims to bury the crime as a means of psychological self-defense,” said Stephens in a statement. “Expert testimony as to why there would be a delay between the crime and the reporting of it will prove immeasurably helpful to jurors as they seek the truth in these difficult cases.” This bill awaits Gov. Tom Corbett’s signature to become law.

A SOUL SET FREE

June 22, 2012 in Ramblings

Possibly the most miraculous event on the journey to date:

I arrived in Laredo Monday. Frank (Founder of the Texas Foundation for Safer Children) told me to go directly to the police precinct because he set up a TV news interview for me there.
I had a police escort into town and we arrived at the precinct as scheduled.

I took a few pics with the officers that escorted me then waited for the journalist to show up. A few blocks away, something caught fire. I could see black smoke billowing. The journalist called my cell and said she had to cover the fire first, then she would meet me. I told her that I would wait for her. Minutes later, a big black Ford pick up truck rolls up and a lady gets out. She’s really excited and exclaims “Tom, I am so glad I found you”! “We’ve been searching all over the place for you”.
I didn’t know what to make of it.

She introduced herself as “Gabby” and she had a heart-wrenching story. She was molested by her father for 14 years! I was unaware that she had sent me an email earlier in the day…(I was on the road and was not able to check my email). With Gabby’s permission, I would like to share that email with all of you:

HELLO MY NAME IS GABBY AND TODAY I TURN 28. I’M VERY THANKFUL FOR WHAT YOUR DOING. I MYSELF WAS SEXUALLY ABUSED BY MY BIOLOGICAL FATHER FOR A PERIOD OF 14 YEARS. YOU WERE PASSING BY YESTERDAY WHILE ME AND MY FAMILY WERE GOING FISHING IN FALCON LAKE.

I HAD TO CALL THE STARR SHERIFFS OFFICE TO GET YOUR WEB SITE SINCE I ALL I SAW WAS 10,000 MILES CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE. IT TOUCHED MY HEART AND I HAD TO LOOK FOR THE MAN WHO WAS GIVING ME A BIRTHDAY GIFT OF COURAGE AND THE WILL TO KEEP FIGHTING THIS BATTLE.

I FIGHT THIS BATTLE WITHOUT MY MOM OR MY BROTHERS. THEY HAVE SUPPORTED MY DAD SINCE MY OUTCRY TO THE STARR COUNTY SHERIFF. SINCE 2004 HES BEEN IN PRISON SERVING 20 YEARS. MY HUSBAND AND MY BOYS IS WHAT MAKES ME TRY AND NOT GIVE UP. ITS HARD BELIEVE ME. SOME DAYS I CAN FOCUS ON THEM, OTHER DAYS I SHUT DOWN AND HURT. IT’S NOT EASY.

FOR MY BIRTHDAY MY HUSBAND DECIDED TO DRIVE TO ZAPATA AND LOOK FOR THE MAN IN THE 50 CC SCOOTER AS A GIFT TO ME. BOY I LOVE HIM. IM CALLING THE HOTELS. ONE MAN SAID ILL TRANSFER YOU TO HIS ROOM BUT NO ANSWER. HE SAID MAM LET ME KNOCK BUT YOU WERE GONE. HEY IM STILL DRIVING TO CATCH UP. MAY GOD LET US CATCH UP TO YOU. BLESSINGS AND IF I CANT REACH UP TO YOU THANKS FOR GIVING ME COURAGE AND THE GIFT I HAVE RECIEVED IS THE MOST AMAZING GIFT I HAVE EVER RECEIVED. FIGHT AND KEEP LOOKING FORWARD GOD BLESS YOU.

Wow…that is deeply inspiring. It made me cry.

Gabby and I started a heart-touching conversation…her story just tore me apart…but I sensed something…I felt she was ready to step out of all that darkness…I could just sense it. I said “Gabby, do you know why I am here this morning”? She said “No, I don’t”. I said “I am waiting for a television news crew to show up…they are going to do a news story on me”. But Gabby, I don’t think this story is about me today…I think it is about you”. If you are ready, I would like you to do the interview instead of me”.
She was really shocked and she said “But what would I say”? I said “just tell your story…and tell everyone about how my journey inspired and motivated you to come forward with this”. After all, this is what my journey is really about…inspiring other survivors…to share my courage and let them know that someone really does care. Your story today is the best example I could possibly think of”.

I could see the wheels turning in her head and I could feel the internal struggle. I KNOW THAT STRUGGLE. The struggle of coming forward and realizing that once it is out, there’s no more secret. It’s extremely frightening, and hopeful, and uplifting, all at the same time.

Just then the journalist calls and says “Look, I don’t think I can make it”. I just covered this fire and I am very overheated and dishoveled…the fire was very intense”. I said “Look, I really need you to come. There’s an important story here and it’s not about me”. She said “I don’t understand”. I said “Please, just get here”. She agreed and showed up about 10 minutes later.

I introduced Gabby to Andrea, the journalist. I then pulled Andrea aside and explained the situation. She said “This is amazing…this woman tracked you down from Zapata”?!?! I said “Yes, she did…she’s your story…not me. This woman is ready to step out of the darkness into the light with this interview and we are here to witness it”. Andrea’s response was “Absolutely”! So I stepped over to Gabby and said “Gabby, after this, there’s no more secret. Are you sure you want to do this”? She said “Yes I do” with tears in her eyes…which of course made ME cry. The reporter was just staring at Gabby and I…taking in this moment.

I stepped out of the way and Andrea started to interview her.

I stood there in humble amazement as I watched it unfold…Andrea looked at me a few times wide-eyed as the interview unfolded…we were blessed with witnessing a human soul setting itself free. I just got goosebumps head to toe as I was writing that.
At one point Gabby felt it too and her, Andrea, and myself were all looking at each other…realizing the blessing that we were all taking part in.

Afterwards, we all got a picture together. The man in the pic is Gabby’s husband Mike. He is an absolutely GREAT GREAT guy.

Later that night, I received a text reply from Gabby when I asked her if I could write about her.

AND…here’s where Tom cries again:

“Thanks so much. It would be amazing if you wrote about what happened…maybe another heart out there will be blessed. Thanks for your courage. God put you here for us. Thank you for giving me the greatest gift ever”.

So, today (Friday June 22) I rode 100 miles for Gabby. I went from Sanderson TX to Marfa TX. My Journey today took me through the scorching desert. I want to post some pics for Gabby to show her my trek of 100 miles…Gabby, here is your first 100 miles of freedom…I know you will travel a million more!
You might think that a dry, dusty desert with a scorching sun and blazing hot winds would be a desolate dead zone. It’s not. There is LIFE everywhere. Gabby, these flowers are for you…to show you that even in the most difficult places, there can be an abundance of LIFE!

News Articles

April 9, 2012 in Ramblings

See links below for recent news articles written about my charity ride.

Bill White, the news journalist who wrote these articles is quickly becoming a huge advocate for child sexual abuse. He’s written many articles and blog entries on the subject…and quite a few times he’s really challenged people and raised awareness of this serious social issue.

You may have to do a copy/paste of the links below in your browser address bar to view these stories. Or go to www.themcall.com and enter “burick” into the website search box.

http://www.mcall.com/news/local/white/mc-bw-journey-from-silence-20120405,0,6523822.column

http://www.mcall.com/news/local/white/mc-bw-journey-from-silence-2-20120408-1,0,6186688.story

http://www.mcall.com/news/local/white/mc-bill-white-child-sex-abuse-law-20111121,0,6574231.column