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samurai_sarah

The Willis Family: Rape Charges Part 2

295 posts in this topic

38 minutes ago, SuhrEnity said:

I hope this doesn't violate anything.

I think you are safe (but I don't make the final decisions). :) 

However, I don't think you should have eaten crow on that message board.

My comment for the people on the message board you describe is exactly the same as I have for "Concerned Mom" of Duggar infamy:   

If anyone has serious concerns or suspicions about possible child abuse and sexual molestation, let alone actual evidence, then for the love of all that is holy, don't waste time gossiping on the internet.

CONTACT THE AUTHORITIES IMMEDIATELY!

Every bloody state has a Child Abuse Hotline.  The reporter's name is always kept confidential.  Get off your sorry butt and DO IT!  If you are wrong, you are wrong.  If you are right you may save children untold misery and potentially life-long consequences.

If people had serious concerns and failed to report them in a timely manner then they have their own consciences to deal with.  I have no patience with them whatsoever.

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33 minutes ago, Palimpsest said:

I think you are safe (but I don't make the final decisions). :) 

However, I don't think you should have eaten crow on that message board.

My comment for the people on the message board you describe is exactly the same as I have for "Concerned Mom" of Duggar infamy:   

If anyone has serious concerns or suspicions about possible child abuse and sexual molestation, let alone actual evidence, then for the love of all that is holy, don't waste time gossiping on the internet.

CONTACT THE AUTHORITIES IMMEDIATELY!

Every bloody state has a Child Abuse Hotline.  The reporter's name is always kept confidential.  Get off your sorry butt and DO IT!  If you are wrong, you are wrong.  If you are right you may save children untold misery and potentially life-long consequences.

If people had serious concerns and failed to report them in a timely manner then they have their own consciences to deal with.  I have no patience with them whatsoever.

This is exact;y what I said many times. If you know this stuff and have proof then go to the authorities, not the internet! But that was always met with it's a mistake to rock the Willis boat. Whatever that means. Anyway when the story came out to be factual and I realized I could put a face to each of the victims since these people had named them I literally became physically ill. Anyway all that matters now I guess is that someone, whoever that someone is - whether it's one of the victims or one of these people who had this information was able to speak up and get things moving.

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On 7/15/2017 at 0:12 PM, IrishCarrie said:

Can I ask if forty years is a fairly typical prison sentence for these type of offences in the USA? It seems staggeringly high to me - in Ireland, even for offences as horrific as these, it'd be more usual for a prison sentence to run from maybe seven to fifteen years, with a number of years Probation supervision after release into the community. 

I'm not for a second saying that the American sentencing practises are wrong or too harsh! - just curious as to whether it'd be a typical sentence all across the US?.....

:oooh:

Honestly, it really depends. While statutory rape and child sexual abuse are illegal across the United States, each state has its own statutes re: definitions of these crimes, how they are classified (misdemeanors vs. felonies), and the amount of time that a person would serve if convicted. Usually, sentence length is a range, not a set number, and the number of years a convicted sex offender winds up serving varies according to many factors, such as the severity of the crime, whether or not he struck a plea bargain with the prosecution, or the state's rules about getting out of prison early. 

I work with survivors of child sexual abuse, and have encountered everything from cases that never made it past the investigation stage due to lack of evidence, cases that never made it to trial because the perpetrator disappeared, cases that fell apart during the pre-trial period for various reasons, cases that resulted in a plea deal, and cases that resulted in a conviction. In my experience, the vaaaaaaaast majority of perpetrators whose cases make it to the prosecution stage take a plea deal. This is because, in my area, prosecutors are extremely reluctant to pursue cases where there isn't damning evidence. So the perpetrators are usually aware that they're up shit creek without a paddle, and taking a plea deal usually means reduced charges and less time. All of the sentences I have seen have ranged from 10-40 years. 

The way the law works with sex crimes against children, the perpetrator can face separate charges for each encounter he had with the child in question. So it would be possible to be charged with, say, ten counts of forcible rape, statutory rape, incest, indecent liberties with a minor, sexual battery, and so on, and each count of each crime would carry its own sentence. Served consecutively, a single incident could easily put a predator behind bars for over a century, depending on what all he was charged with and convicted of. Plea bargains will typically eliminate multiple counts of the same crime, and will sometimes reduce or drop some of the specific charges-- like taking away forcible rape and only prosecuting statutory rape, or reducing sexual battery to indecent liberties with a minor. They can also arrange for sentences to be served concurrently instead of consecutively. 

It looks like that is what happened here: instead of charging Willis with multiple counts of these crimes per victim and requesting that he serve his sentence consecutively, they offered him a plea deal to where he is only pleading guilty to the first incidences of the crimes and is serving the sentences concurrently. They may have also dropped some of the charges, but I don't have access to the original charges to be able to say. This benefits him because it will likely keep the worst of the details out of the public record (plus he may get out one day), and it benefits his victims by acknowledging what happened to them without them having to testify. 

So I don't think his sentence is that out of the ordinary, given the severity of the crimes and the number of victims involved-- and those are just the ones who have come forward. Statistically, adult child sexual predators frequently rack up over twenty victims before they are caught and prosecuted, which is why I tend to not be particularly unhappy with the long sentences they wind up with. Odds are good they've more than earned them.

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6 hours ago, JesusCampSongs said:

They may have also dropped some of the charges, but I don't have access to the original charges to be able to say.

I'm pretty sure all the news reports I saw since his arrest said that there were four counts, although the initial assumption here was that there had only been one victim.

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On 7/21/2017 at 0:47 AM, Bethella said:

I'm pretty sure all the news reports I saw since his arrest said that there were four counts, although the initial assumption here was that there had only been one victim.

I believe that it was updated to add additional victims. I had initially interpreted it that way but looking closer at the details it looks as if there are multiple victims. 

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On 7/20/2017 at 11:30 AM, SuhrEnity said:

I "know" some people (as much as you can know people on the internet that is which is obviously almost not at all really ) from a message board who I have interacted with for several years now who live where the Willis's live and I remember when the show first started airing they had ALOT to say about Toby. Like a lot. And the crux of what they had to say revolved around rumours of this happening and the names of the victims and the years. They could tell you about interactions with the family and the things they'd seen in family interactions that raised suspicions for people who came into contact with them. I remember reading their posts which were pretty detailed and thinking "wow people will say anything to pretend they know someone on tv or to make things up". Then this news hit and it was so spot on - dates, names, details, everything was bang on and I had to eat crow because literally everything they said was bang on before any of this broke. I was really shook.

I truly hope Brenda and all her kids heal from this and go on to live happy, healthy lives. I cannot imagine what this must be like and how much she must blame herself even if she had no knowledge. So so heartbreaking.

I hope this doesn't violate anything.

I also don't want to violate anything, and don't want to publicly list details. I know this has gotten me into trouble in the past. I'm currently working in the field treating families with sex abuse and have spent a lot of time reading research about patterns of what was known and by who. I'm curious as to who in the community was able to suspect this. I tend to believe that Brenda was genuinely caught off guard and had no idea judging by her responses be reaction. But it seems someone else was suspect. Again, no need to necessarily provide these details it's just interesting to me that very close family members can be blind to it but others in the community can see the abuse. What can we do to help victims in these situations?

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19 minutes ago, Snarkle Motion said:

I also don't want to violate anything, and don't want to publicly list details. I know this has gotten me into trouble in the past. I'm currently working in the field treating families with sex abuse and have spent a lot of time reading research about patterns of what was known and by who. I'm curious as to who in the community was able to suspect this. I tend to believe that Brenda was genuinely caught off guard and had no idea judging by her responses be reaction. But it seems someone else was suspect. Again, no need to necessarily provide these details it's just interesting to me that very close family members can be blind to it but others in the community can see the abuse. What can we do to help victims in these situations?

I think that close family members can be in denial. I also think that if you have lived through a situation, you become very good at spotting subtle, silent signs that the same situation is taking place.

For myself, I experienced domestic violence as a child. My father was very violent. As an adult, I have this odd ability to sense when there is violence or even emotional abuse in a family. It's happened a few times, where I suspected something was "off" and turned out to be right. I was so sure that I even told my daughter she couldn't do a sleepover at a girl's house because I was so uncomfortable about a member of her family.

So my point is, if you've seen it before, you know the signs.

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1 hour ago, Hisey said:

I think that close family members can be in denial. I also think that if you have lived through a situation, you become very good at spotting subtle, silent signs that the same situation is taking place.

For myself, I experienced domestic violence as a child. My father was very violent. As an adult, I have this odd ability to sense when there is violence or even emotional abuse in a family. It's happened a few times, where I suspected something was "off" and turned out to be right. I was so sure that I even told my daughter she couldn't do a sleepover at a girl's house because I was so uncomfortable about a member of her family.

So my point is, if you've seen it before, you know the signs.

I completely agree. The researcher in me is hoping to quantify some of these signs that we pick up on. I also get certain spidey sense when something is off in a family. While this is useful and protective for those who have it (mostly those who have been in families with abuse) the scientist in me wonders if there is a way to find out exactly what we are tapping into to help others learn to recognize these signs. 

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1 hour ago, Snarkle Motion said:

 I'm curious as to who in the community was able to suspect this. I tend to believe that Brenda was genuinely caught off guard and had no idea judging by her responses be reaction. But it seems someone else was suspect. Again, no need to necessarily provide these details it's just interesting to me that very close family members can be blind to it but others in the community can see the abuse. 

I feel that Brenda's immediate distancing of herself and her children from "Toby Willis" as she said in her statement shows that she knew, may have been unable to  speak up until that time. Perhaps for fear of reprisals?

 

I know that when *I* was caught unawares, my first reaction was, "NO> He couldn't do that." and it remained that way until it was proved to me that, YES. He could do that, and then and only then did therapy and real healing and treatment begin.

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I have to say I see a big difference between sensing "something wrong" and knowing or suspecting cases of sexual assault against children in a family (with names and years). I find it deeply upsetting that there might have been any kind of prior knowledge about this.

I will not praise Brenda or blame her because I don't know what she knew are was in denial about. She voiced her opinion about patriarchy very clearly on the show and I really hope she will rethink everything. I guess she kind of has to since she doesn't submit to any man anymore, but I hope the children will have a chance to grow up more independent and equal.

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On 7/22/2017 at 8:40 AM, Hisey said:

As an adult, I have this odd ability to sense when there is violence or even emotional abuse in a family

I have this ability. I call it my radar. I had it as a kid too , to evaluate who was safe or not.  When I was going through therapy and years of subtle and not so subtle intimidation from my abusers because I spoke up, I learned really quickly to look in the peoples  eyes and know if they were bad.  Body language can betray a person so much if you are in tune to it. 

I still watch people, evaluate, and look for subtle clues. IT is not so much based on a fear for my life anymore but just a habit. I actually don't like it now because If I am in a crowd of people or even a small circle of people I can pick things up and it is frustrating because I know nothing about these people.  And you can't report stuff just because you say they look evil and pervy in their eyes or give off a vibe that is familiar and scares the shit out of you.

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On 7/22/2017 at 9:50 AM, Snarkle Motion said:

I completely agree. The researcher in me is hoping to quantify some of these signs that we pick up on. I also get certain spidey sense when something is off in a family. While this is useful and protective for those who have it (mostly those who have been in families with abuse) the scientist in me wonders if there is a way to find out exactly what we are tapping into to help others learn to recognize these signs. 

Oh, I can quantify it. I was just trying not to go into too much detail.

I know two families now where I suspect the husband is an abuser. Here re some of the reasons:

the husband has isolated the family for years (insisting on homeschooling, for example)

he has the ability to "forbid" an activity the wife/kids want to engage in, the wife complies

the husband has little to say to me and other women, doesn't even like to meet our eye, but talks fine to other men.

the wife seems very insecure, has nervous laugh, little self confidence, etc

kids seem quiet and subdued when dad is around

Obviously, these things are not definitive, but when a lot of them are present it sets off my alarm bells.

I don't think Brenda knew that her husband had r**ped a child. I think she is innocent of that. I do think she saw Toby emotionally abuse the kids, get too rough with them, demand too much of them, put too much pressure on them, and put his own needs first again and again. I think she saw that stuff, and it bothered her, but she felt unable to do anything because patriarchy. So when she found out about the rapes, it was less of a shock than you might think. She already knew he was capable of evil.  I will bet it was a relief to her to have him out of the family. Satisfying the needs of 12 children is a lot, without having to also satisfy the needs of a raging narcissist.

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1 hour ago, Hisey said:

Oh, I can quantify it. I was just trying not to go into too much detail.

I know two families now where I suspect the husband is an abuser. Here re some of the reasons:

the husband has isolated the family for years (insisting on homeschooling, for example)

he has the ability to "forbid" an activity the wife/kids want to engage in, the wife complies

the husband has little to say to me and other women, doesn't even like to meet our eye, but talks fine to other men.

the wife seems very insecure, has nervous laugh, little self confidence, etc

kids seem quiet and subdued when dad is around

Obviously, these things are not definitive, but when a lot of them are present it sets off my alarm bells.

I don't think Brenda knew that her husband had r**ped a child. I think she is innocent of that. I do think she saw Toby emotionally abuse the kids, get too rough with them, demand too much of them, put too much pressure on them, and put his own needs first again and again. I think she saw that stuff, and it bothered her, but she felt unable to do anything because patriarchy. So when she found out about the rapes, it was less of a shock than you might think. She already knew he was capable of evil.  I will bet it was a relief to her to have him out of the family. Satisfying the needs of 12 children is a lot, without having to also satisfy the needs of a raging narcissist.

He was clearly an abusive, controlling creep from the show. But that initially only registered extreme emotional abuse, possible physical abuse in the form of their mandatory workouts.  But that didn't necessarily indicate him as a perv. There were a few times he'd say things that tweaked my radar. 

However, if there was actual evidence that people knew of earlier on that concerns me. If someone on a message board knew and, assuming it wasn't one of the victims, then someone should have done something earlier. That's extremely troubling, particularly for TLC, which should absolutely have been aware if it was being discussed openly and should have been looked into after the Josh scandal. 

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1 hour ago, Snarkle Motion said:

He was clearly an abusive, controlling creep from the show. But that initially only registered extreme emotional abuse, possible physical abuse in the form of their mandatory workouts.  But that didn't necessarily indicate him as a perv. There were a few times he'd say things that tweaked my radar. 

 

"Only" extreme emotional abuse? And "only" physical abuse? Really?

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7 hours ago, Hisey said:

"Only" extreme emotional abuse? And "only" physical abuse? Really?

I meant "only" as in I didn't initially register possible sex abuse vibes (although looking back there are some red flags). I did not mean to diminish the impact of extreme emotional and physical abuse, because believe me the stuff I saw him make his kids do - particularly the episode where he makes jasmine cry- was horrid.

But emotional abuse and being an insane stage parent isn't enough to warrant a call to child protective services. His military like physical discipline probably wouldn't "count" as significant physical abuse or intervention from authorities, but I don't know what went on behind closed doors. What we saw on the show was terrible but clearly that was "only" what was seen by the public and not the true extent of what was going on. That's what I meant.

 

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Actually emotional abuse can be enough for CPS to get involved - but there's a difference between low level manipulation guilt trips etc (which can be a form of abuse but is different from florid emotional abuse.  Emotional abuse - constantly calling a child names, telling them they're worthless, telling other people they're worthless in front of them, constantly screaming swearing at a child all of this can get CPS involvement.  Its harder to prove then bruises but is possible.  

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"I do think she saw Toby emotionally abuse the kids, get too rough with them, demand too much of them, put too much pressure on them, and put his own needs first again and again. I think she saw that stuff, and it bothered her, but she felt unable to do anything because patriarchy"

 

My Dad tried to be a good dad, but he had a temper and a biting tongue, lack of critical thinking and FairPlay  + fundie & patriarchal. I guarantee you my Mom *knew* when he'd cross the lines with us but she was unable to say or do anything because she was trying to be a submissive & godly wife. She would usually just stand there and let us take it. Then excuse it later as "you know your dad is trying, he's just rough around the edges, etc". And yea, in some ways hat was true, but I think she if had called him out on his BS he would've learned what was crossing the line and what wasn't. But she didn't/couldn't because it's a twisted up system. I think that deep down she knows though...

Edited by EowynW
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20 hours ago, Snarkle Motion said:

However, if there was actual evidence that people knew of earlier on that concerns me. If someone on a message board knew and, assuming it wasn't one of the victims, then someone should have done something earlier. That's extremely troubling, particularly for TLC, which should absolutely have been aware if it was being discussed openly and should have been looked into after the Josh scandal. 

I agree. And many times we asked these people to say something and in the end maybe it was one of them, I don't know. I'd like to think it was since they had so much detail.

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11 hours ago, imokit said:

Actually emotional abuse can be enough for CPS to get involved - but there's a difference between low level manipulation guilt trips etc (which can be a form of abuse but is different from florid emotional abuse.  Emotional abuse - constantly calling a child names, telling them they're worthless, telling other people they're worthless in front of them, constantly screaming swearing at a child all of this can get CPS involvement.  Its harder to prove then bruises but is possible.  

I was taught not to involve CPS for emotional abuse unless it involves manipulation that directly results in harm. Like a patients mom who emotionally guilted him into buying drugs or lying to doctors to get pills for her. While it is probably good to always err on the safe side and report emotional abuse, I was taught that without clear indication of physical harm it's potentially tieing up resources without much ability for change. Each state is different, but I know a lot will just screen this out from the get go. However making the call can add to a potential file if other people have also reported related concerns and the more documented calls could potentially start an investigation.

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I grew up in a home with physical and emotional abuse, and I was sexually abused. I also have the "radar," and I got it so strongly from this family that I could not watch the show. There were a couple of interactions where I probably could quantify what was disturbing me, but I couldn't describe them without stating the identity of the victims. If there is some way to communicate privately, I could give it a shot. 

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