YPAD filed a report recently with law enforcement after collecting evidence from a group of awesome individuals who stepped up to document some seriously disturbing comments and behavior of some of that group page’s members.
The evidence collected by YPAD has been turned over to authorities and we are actively working with an investigator at one of the state attorney general’s offices who has assigned to investigate one of the individuals who was identified as part of our group efforts. While we need to keep details quiet for the moment, we want to assure you that we are having conversations and providing information on this case, and hope to move the other cases forward soon as well.
The investigators and reporting office have made it clear – we are free to submit any additional evidence in this case (or in any other case, for that matter), so please do not hesitate to contact us if you see or hear of any other questionable conduct.
Again, these concerns and issues are not unique to any group, page or social media platform. Sexual predators, pornographers, and sexual trafficking rings are capitalizing on the Internet and social media to victimize children. Unfortunately, the sad reality is that predators seem to navigate toward any youth sport or activity that involves form-fitting attire (swimming, gymnastics, and many forms of dance). In these cases, we need to be extra vigilant to keep our kids safe.
YPAD offers many services, including its dance environment sexual assault and abuse division (http://www.ypad4change.org/sex-abuse-reporting/), which raises awareness and provides education, resources and guidance on spotting the signs of sexual abuse, sexual abuse reporting. We also help survivors, their families and others around them connect with the professional help they need to start healing. PLEASE reach out to us if you have any questions or need help at [email protected]
YPAD’s upcoming certification program will address child sexual abuse in dance, as well as Internet safety in much greater detail, but here’s one tip we want you all to have now: ERR ON THE SIDE OF REPORTING. You don’t have to be SURE or do a full investigation before reporting - let the professionals do their jobs by letting them know as soon as you suspect something. Plus, as educators, many of you may be “mandated reporters,” which means you might be legally required to report cases of suspected child abuse and neglect: (https://www.childwelfare.gov/…/laws-policies/statutes/manda/)
You can report child sexual abuse, child pornography, child exploitation and similar concerns to local law enforcement or Child Protective Services. If you need help finding the right contact info, please reach out to us. And if you see suspicious activity on the Internet or social media, you can file a report at the NCMEC’s “CyberTipline” - a centralized reporting portal that is operated in partnership with the FBI, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, U.S. Secret Service, military criminal investigative organizations, U.S. Department of Justice, Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force program, as well as other state and local law enforcement agencies. Reporting can be done online http://www.missingkids.org/cybertipline or through a real person by calling the 24-hour hotline 1-800-843-5678. National Center for Missing & Exploited Children