[UPDATED for grammar fixes and to shorten the length.]
When I read the purpose of the symposium it sounds awesome, but when I read the Associated Press article all the way through to the end, I found that it rang a shrill Orwellian tone. That is to say, the forum seemingly states one purpose but probably is selling something else. Orwell called it "doublespeak."
Look at this gem:
"... The session on information-sharing will be led by Suzanna Tiapula, director of the National District Attorneys Association's National Center for Prosecution of Child Abuse. She said the youth organizations needed to be wary of reports that appeared false or vindictive, but should be working on ways to share with other youth groups any information deemed serious enough to report to law enforcement. ..."
What do they mean by the sharing of information? It sounds like a consortium of youth organizations putting together a union of sorts to figure out effective ways to either set up secret blacklists or to network and realize the exact procedures to cover their "bums" in a potential lawsuit.
I say that because of the cleverly worded phrase: "... but should be working on ways to share with other youth groups any information deemed serious enough to report to law enforcement." That's double-speak! Why does it have to be shared? What does she mean by "...what is deemed serious enough to report to law enforcement?" If a person complains of sexual abuse and has provided the time, place, and deed then why does that incident have to be shared or qualified with a non-related youth organization? Why must they compare notes?
Here is another red flag:
Michael Johnson, a former police detective hired by the Scouts in 2010 as national director of youth protection, has been the key organizer of the symposium, calling it a "groundbreaking opportunity" for groups serving more than 17 million youngsters to discuss their shared challenges and anti-abuse strategies.
First off he is not a police detective anymore and he is obviously using that resume item to give himself the "street cred" to teach each organization what the police need and want and how not to implicate yourself or your organization in a police report for any mistakes you have made. That is what I suspect.
They have a Thursday session that will gate-guarded from the press so that these invited organizations can ask questions like this privately. Yep! Send out the press release with carefully measured phrases but don't invite the press. (One gets the aroma of three-day-old fish don't you think?)
So, what does this symposium have to hide from the press?
Here is the response:
"... Tiapula expressed regret that Thursday's symposium will be closed to the news media. "It creates a sense there are things in the community that they can't be sharing," she said.
"An open meeting conveys to the world they're doing the right thing..."
However, Johnson and Haney [the former cop and doctor] said the closed-door policy was expected to encourage candid dialogue. Were the meeting to be open, Haney said, attorneys for the youth organizations might counsel participants to be cautious about discussing problems they face with youth-protection.
In my opinion, Mr Haney's pants are on fire. (Dr. Michael Haney of the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children (APSAC) - it appears that they make their money primarily from educational and consulting services to professional organizations. [Link])
APSAC is suppose to be a transparent educational resource yet they are encouraging and endorsing a non-transparent dialog with lawyers of all people so as to educate them about what?
That last sentence is so carefully parsed and so dangerous that moving forward I am wholly suspect of the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children.
I suspect that Thursday session is closed because all the organizations therein have ghosts, skeletons and zombies in the closet! And I suspect they will want to ask point blank questions as to how to avoid lawsuits about these problems? How to bring it to the cops before the lawyers do? how to talk to the press? What "scripts" do they memorize when called into a deposition or when interviewed by police rather than how to pick up the phone and dial the police and let them sort it out.
I suspect these people will provide all of the above in private and all each organization will write them a large check. If this was a for real child protection summit, I am sure that the FBI or their local police could have provided the same information at a lower cost.
This event smells "fishy" and the way I read it even Associated Press is suspicious. Read it too and tell me what you think?