Evidence that led to the arrest of former Subway spokesman Jared Fogle on child porn and child sex charges is finally surfacing. The evidence – recordings of conversations Fogle had with an FBI informant – shed light on the inner workings of a child predator and give details on how he, and other child predators, groom their victims.
The tapes are a disgusting reminder of how child predators operate, and reinforce the necessity to incorporate child safety training into your background screening procedures.
It’s All in the Approach
Fogle admits, in the recordings, that he “likes all ages.” The recordings were heard for the first time in the course of two episodes of the daytime talk show, Dr. Phil. Click on these links to watch the actual shows:
Like many child predators, Fogle discusses how he “grooms” not only the abuse survivor, but his/her families, too. “We just start sharing stories, and then, you know, we get a little closer, and a little closer, and a little closer, and before you know it…it just starts to happen,” Fogle says.
These grooming tactics are well-known among many child safety advocates, but, unfortunately, aren’t recognized enough outside of that circle.
What Are The Signs?
The national child abuse prevention organization “Darkness to Light,” says “grown ups are solely responsible for the safety of children. It’s important to teach children how to recognize and avoid risky situations, but it’s unrealistic to think that a child can fend off sexual advances by an adult. Fortunately, we can protect them – by insisting on prevention policies in our youth serving organizations, by recognizing signs of sexual abuse, and by confronting and stopping abuse if it occurs.”
It might be hard to understand that child sexual abusers don’t always “look” or “act” the part, despite what you see on TV shows. In fact, most predators go to great lengths to appear trustworthy and kind to children and family members – this is part of their “grooming” tactics. They want to come across as trustworthy and friendly so they would never even be suspected of evil-doing.
There is no one way to groom a child and his/her family, just as there is no one way to spot a predator. There are, however, some things parents and other caring adults can look for, and in turn, become more vigilant in protecting their kids. Here’s a list of warning signs adults can look for:
- Doesn’t appear to have a regular number of adult friends and prefers to spend free time interacting with children and teenagers who are not his own;
- Finds ways to be alone with a child or teen when adults are not likely to interrupt, e.g. taking the child for a car ride, arranging a special trip, frequently offering to baby sit, etc.;
- Ignores a child’s verbal or physical cues that he or she does not want to be hugged, kissed, tickled, etc.;
- Seems to have a different special child or teen friend of a particular age or appearance from year to year;
- Doesn’t respect a child’s or teen’s privacy in the bathroom or bedroom;
- Gives a child or teen money or gifts for no particular occasion;
- Discusses or asks a child or teen to discuss sexual experiences or feelings;
- Views child pornography through tapes, photographs, magazines or the Internet. (In addition to being an important behavioral sign, possessing, viewing and/or selling child pornography is a criminal offense and should be reported.)
Child Safety Classes Arm You With Knowledge
Ask any organization that has experienced a case of sexual abuse and they will tell you that knowing what they know now, there is NO amount of time that would have been too great to spend on prevention and educating their staff and volunteers.
It’s up to EVERY youth sports organization to step up to the plate and pro-actively include child safety classes so that EVERY employee, volunteer, referee, umpire, office administrator, field landscaper, and heck – even parents who want to be educated and informed – gets the opportunity to learn what they can do to keep child participants safe. When coaches and volunteers have an awareness of the basic characteristics of a sexual abuser, the process by which an abuser picks and prepares a child for abuse, and indicators of child sexual abuse, they are better equipped to recognize and prevent abuse in an organization’s programs.
As a provider of online training for child abuse prevention for youth sports coaches, staff and volunteers Protect Youth Sports can play a critical role in helping you protect young athletes. Background checks alone will not prevent child abuse from occurring in your organization. Background checks and child safety training – when part of a comprehensive child protection program – can prevent abuse.
Protect Our Children
If a Jared Fogle slipped through your organization and victimized even just one child – you would never forgive yourself. Together, we can make a difference and work to end child sexual abuse. Protect Youth Sports has the knowledge and training… all you have to do is ask us to share it with the people within your organization. Call us today at (877) 319-5587.