When It’s Child Abuse It’s Never Too Late

The statute of limitations has been met, simply meaning no criminal charges can be filed from that point forward, but for at least a few men justice exceeds punishment. So far, five men have come forward to claim child abuse charges and they hope that the expiration of criminal litigation doesn’t mean an expiration on getting justice.

Stories like the one from the Greenwich Time broke in early March, reporting the allegations made by these men, now in their late 40’s to early 50’s in a suit filed against the Boys & Girls Club of Greenwich. According to the filings, the abuse occurred from 1975 to 1984, during which time multiple acts of abuse allegedly took place.

According to court documents, one of the primary perpetrators of the abuse was Andrew Atkinson, who was a member of the club that later became a counselor. Based on the allegations, Atkinson abused the boys as a member and that abuse became more severe once he acquired a leadership role. While the charges are disturbing, to say the least, Atkinson has made a statement and claims to be innocent of any and all charges in the civil suit.

The Boys & Girls Club of Greenwich has also stepped forward to assure children, parents and the public that they actively take and continue to take every necessary precaution to protect their children. Based on statements made by the club, they employ cameras, background checks and other measures to ensure the safety of the children. That is great news today but what about these men? What about all the cases of yesterday?

A well-known fact about child abuse stated in another story said, “… most incidents involving the sexual abuse of a minor go unreported.” These brave men, all these years later, are not letting their unheard reports as children continue to go unheard. If found guilty, these alleged crimes won’t receive a criminal penalty due to the aforementioned statute of limitations. What will happen, however, is that they will be acknowledged and the voices of those children will finally be heard.

We can’t undo a crime, but we can listen, we can make it better and hopefully, we can heal.