• Donald V. Watkins

Protecting Children from Incest, Rape, and Sexual Abuse


By: Donald V. Watkins

© Copyrighted and Published on February 2, 2020


The February 2020 edition of Cosmopolitan Magazine features an excellent article by veteran reporter Sarah McClure that exposes a culture of incest, rape, and abuse within the 342,000 member Amish community in North America. The Amish are dispersed across rural areas of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, New York, Michigan, and Wisconsin. They keep to themselves, and they are hiding a horrifying secret.


During a year-long investigation, Ms. McClure identified 52 official cases of Amish child sexual assaults in several states over the past two decades. Virtually every victim McClure spoke to was dissuaded by his/her family or church leader from reporting his/her abuse to police. These abused children had also been conditioned to avoid seeking outside help. Some victims were intimidated and threatened with excommunication.


The incest, rape, and sexual abuse has occurred in Amish children as young as 9 years old. The Amish community's closed-end, patriarchal society, isolated lifestyle, educational system that ends at the eighth grade, culture of victim shaming and blaming, and meager access to social media and cell phones, all combine to create a nightmare experience for young incest, rape, and sexual abuse victims.


Zero Tolerance for the Sexual Abuse of Children


On December 15, 2019, I published an article titled, "Clergy Sex Abuse Must End, Now." The article blasted the Catholic Church for its belated, weak, and timid response to the clergy's widespread sexual abuse of young Catholic children. I demanded that Pope Francis "man-up" and purge the Church of child molesters within the ranks of its clergy. The Pope's weakness on this subject is glaring and inexcusable. He has yet to demonstrate a firm "zero tolerance" policy on child sex abuse.


Unlike the Catholic Church, the Amish do not have a centralized leader. They live in local congregations or "church districts," each one of which is made up of 20 to 40 families.


Without a centralized leader for the Amish faithful, the responsibility for protecting young Amish victims from incest, rape, and sexual abuse rests with local sheriffs, prosecutors, and judges in the church districts where they reside. These public officials must also demonstrate by clear and convincing law enforcement practices that a "zero tolerance" policy for child molesters is in effect and will be strictly enforced, without exceptions.


Catholics and Amish faithful are free to practice their religious beliefs, but they are not free to commit criminal acts of incest, rape, and sexual abuse against children. Any religion that tolerates incest, rape, and the sexual abuse of children is no religion at all.


New Program Aimed at Helping Abused Children


Today, I am announcing a new national program aimed at helping sexually abused children. This program will identify, profile, and shame law enforcement officials who lack the courage and/or competence to protect young children from incest, rape, and sexual abuse. If sheriffs, prosecutors, and judges are incapable of aggressively policing and stopping the perpetrators who engage in this kind of criminal conduct, they don't need to hold public law enforcement offices.


From this day forward, we are demanding a strict "zero tolerance" policy on incest, rape and sexual abuse of children. If we save one child with this program, it will be worth the price we must pay from law enforcement officials who may become vindictive over their shaming.


I am sick and tired of worn out excuses from the perpetrators of incest, rape, and sexual abuse of children and from the indifferent law enforcement officials who tolerate it.




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© 2020 by Donald V. Watkins, P.C.