Parents of children once enrolled in the Rogers Park Day Care Center, 7101 N. Greenview Ave., criticized the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services Friday for “mishandling” its investigation into allegations of child sexual abuse at the center. “We feel DCFS has been remiss in its obligation to provide safety for our children,”said Beth Vargo, 34, one of the parents. The center’s janitor, Deloartic Parks, was charged a year ago with abusing three children at the center. The parents charged the DCFS mishandled the case because the initial investigative interviews with children were too short and social workers failed to reinterview children when some later told parents they had been abused by staff members other than Parks. Read more here.

A man brought in by the State of Illinois as an expert to investigate key aspects of allegations of sexual child abuse at the Rogers Park Day Care Center misrepresented his credentials in his professional resume and during recent court testimony, records show.

Allen Friedmann, 34, 245 Court of Shorewood, Vernon Hills, played a critical role in the investigation. Working with a social worker and a Chicago detective, he conducted most of the sensitive interviews in which authorities tried to determine whether any of the 88 children enrolled at the center had been abused.

Friedmann was employed by Human Effectiveness Living Program (HELP), which treats sexually abused children and abusers. HELP was hired by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services to provide expertise in interviewing the day care center children.
Along with HELP`s director, Friedmann designed the format used in the interviews.

Examination of Friedmann`s college transcripts, court transcripts and interviews with former employers show that he built his reputation in part on exaggerations and sometimes fabricated his qualifications.

In an interview Thursday, Friedmann said he “never intentionally misrepresented“ his qualifications.

Allegations of sexual abuse of children at the Rogers Park Day Care Center, 7101 N. Greenview Ave., surfaced in April, 1984. The center`s janitor, Deloartic Parks, was charged with three counts of sexual child abuse. His case is pending.

The Cook County state`s attorney`s office is investigating accusations made by some children against center staff members. A DCFS investigation that ended last September found insufficient evidence to support those charges.

Questions about Friedmann`s qualifications are the latest in a series of problems, which DCFS officials say stemmed from their lack of experience in such cases and outdated regulations, that have stymied the investigations.

Friedmann is no longer involved in the case, and he resigned from HELP in February.
Read more here.

A man brought in by the State of Illinois as an expert to investigate key aspects of allegations of sexual child abuse at the Rogers Park Day Care Center misrepresented his credentials in his professional resume and during recent court testimony, records show.

Allen Friedmann, 34, 245 Court of Shorewood, Vernon Hills, played a critical role in the investigation. Working with a social worker and a Chicago detective, he conducted most of the sensitive interviews in which authorities tried to determine whether any of the 88 children enrolled at the center had been abused.

Friedmann was employed by Human Effectiveness Living Program (HELP), which treats sexually abused children and abusers. HELP was hired by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services to provide expertise in interviewing the day care center children.
Along with HELP`s director, Friedmann designed the format used in the interviews.

Examination of Friedmann`s college transcripts, court transcripts and interviews with former employers show that he built his reputation in part on exaggerations and sometimes fabricated his qualifications.

In an interview Thursday, Friedmann said he “never intentionally misrepresented“ his qualifications.

Allegations of sexual abuse of children at the Rogers Park Day Care Center, 7101 N. Greenview Ave., surfaced in April, 1984. The center`s janitor, Deloartic Parks, was charged with three counts of sexual child abuse. His case is pending.

The Cook County state`s attorney`s office is investigating accusations made by some children against center staff members. A DCFS investigation that ended last September found insufficient evidence to support those charges.

Questions about Friedmann`s qualifications are the latest in a series of problems, which DCFS officials say stemmed from their lack of experience in such cases and outdated regulations, that have stymied the investigations.

Friedmann is no longer involved in the case, and he resigned from HELP in February.
Read more here.

A man brought in by the State of Illinois as an expert to investigate key aspects of allegations of sexual child abuse at the Rogers Park Day Care Center misrepresented his credentials in his professional resume and during recent court testimony, records show.

Allen Friedmann, 34, 245 Court of Shorewood, Vernon Hills, played a critical role in the investigation. Working with a social worker and a Chicago detective, he conducted most of the sensitive interviews in which authorities tried to determine whether any of the 88 children enrolled at the center had been abused.

Friedmann was employed by Human Effectiveness Living Program (HELP), which treats sexually abused children and abusers. HELP was hired by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services to provide expertise in interviewing the day care center children.
Along with HELP`s director, Friedmann designed the format used in the interviews.

Examination of Friedmann`s college transcripts, court transcripts and interviews with former employers show that he built his reputation in part on exaggerations and sometimes fabricated his qualifications.

In an interview Thursday, Friedmann said he “never intentionally misrepresented“ his qualifications.

Allegations of sexual abuse of children at the Rogers Park Day Care Center, 7101 N. Greenview Ave., surfaced in April, 1984. The center`s janitor, Deloartic Parks, was charged with three counts of sexual child abuse. His case is pending.

The Cook County state`s attorney`s office is investigating accusations made by some children against center staff members. A DCFS investigation that ended last September found insufficient evidence to support those charges.

Questions about Friedmann`s qualifications are the latest in a series of problems, which DCFS officials say stemmed from their lack of experience in such cases and outdated regulations, that have stymied the investigations.

Friedmann is no longer involved in the case, and he resigned from HELP in February.
Read more here.

A man brought in by the State of Illinois as an expert to investigate key aspects of allegations of sexual child abuse at the Rogers Park Day Care Center misrepresented his credentials in his professional resume and during recent court testimony, records show.

Allen Friedmann, 34, 245 Court of Shorewood, Vernon Hills, played a critical role in the investigation. Working with a social worker and a Chicago detective, he conducted most of the sensitive interviews in which authorities tried to determine whether any of the 88 children enrolled at the center had been abused.

Friedmann was employed by Human Effectiveness Living Program (HELP), which treats sexually abused children and abusers. HELP was hired by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services to provide expertise in interviewing the day care center children.
Along with HELP`s director, Friedmann designed the format used in the interviews.

Examination of Friedmann`s college transcripts, court transcripts and interviews with former employers show that he built his reputation in part on exaggerations and sometimes fabricated his qualifications.

In an interview Thursday, Friedmann said he “never intentionally misrepresented“ his qualifications.

Allegations of sexual abuse of children at the Rogers Park Day Care Center, 7101 N. Greenview Ave., surfaced in April, 1984. The center`s janitor, Deloartic Parks, was charged with three counts of sexual child abuse. His case is pending.

The Cook County state`s attorney`s office is investigating accusations made by some children against center staff members. A DCFS investigation that ended last September found insufficient evidence to support those charges.

Questions about Friedmann`s qualifications are the latest in a series of problems, which DCFS officials say stemmed from their lack of experience in such cases and outdated regulations, that have stymied the investigations.

Friedmann is no longer involved in the case, and he resigned from HELP in February.
Read more here.

Spooky Forrest

June 14, 2008

Some staff members of the Rogers Park Jewish Community Center day-care center who have been implicated in sexually abusing children at the center are still on the job, two mothers of alleged victims charged.

Their children said teachers at the center had organized class games where both they are the children were unclothed and the teachers hit the children on their heads hard enough to hurt, the mother told The Lerner Newspapers Tuesday, May 22.

The women, who asked not to be identified said they are outraged that the staff members have not been suspended and that the center has not been closed. The parents said they suspect the abuse had been going on for a long time.

The children have told their stories to the police and to the Cook County assistant state’s attorneys.

May 21 an assistant Illinois attorney general said the center may continue to operate because it has cooperated with the investigation and complied with licensing procedures.

William Sullivan, assistant attorney general and attorney for the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, said the Jewish Community Centers of Chicago have suspended all staff members against whom sufficient evidence was found. “The fact that somebody made an allegation does not mean there was a basis for it.”, he said.

The parents said their children told them of the following incidents:
In one came, called “Spooky Forrest,” one teacher pretended to be a bear and the other a wolf. They growled at the children and the children ran from them. When the children were caught, the teacher’s would beat them on the head, a mother said.

In Another class game, called “Punchinello,” the children were instructed to hit each other. The parents said their two 4-year-old daughters told their stories independently.

When one mother confronted a teacher about her daughter’s version of “Punchinello,” the teacher “turned white and never answered me,’ the mother said.

Two mothers said their daughters did not tell them sooner about their experiences because they had been threatened.

One girl told her mother that if she talked, she would be cut into pieces in thrown in the garbage can. The children also were told that their parents would be killed if they told them, the mother said.

Some children reported being beaten, having needles stuck into their feet, being hurt with screwdrivers and being held by the ankles and turned head-first into garbage cans.

One mother now, attributes mysterious scratches that appeared on her daughters feet in the winter, when she always wore shoes to needles. Bruises on the child’s lower calves substantiated her story about being held upside-down by the ankles, her mother said. Read more here.

TWO MORE STAFF members have been implicated in the sexual abuse of children at a Rogers Park day-care center where a janitor was charged last week with taking indecent liberties with two children, sources close to the investigation said Saturday.

Authorities were not releasing the identities of the two staff members at the Rogers Park Jewish Community Center, 7101 N. Greenview Ave., but said the two are teachers and were named by children in interviews Saturday. Sources said that additional to the children’s accusations, there is supporting medical evidence in at least one case. Each teacher was named by at least two children, the sources said.

One of the employees named by the children Saturday was one of two teachers suspended Thursday for failing to report children’s complaints of sexual abuse, sources said, though at the time officials said neither was suspected of involvement in the molestation.

THE INTERVIEWS Saturday were done with 18 children who were considered “high risk” victims, said Allen Friedmann, who is conducting the interviews along with authorities Friedmann, a former investigator for the Illinois Department of children and Family Services, works for a not-for-profit agency, Human Effective Living Programs, Inc., and is a specialist in interviewing child abuse victims. He was called in last week by Chicago police to conduct the interviews.

Last week the janitor, Decortic Parks, 45, 7930 S. Peoria St., was arrested on charges of sexually assaulting a 4-year-old girl and a 3-year-old boy. Neither of the two teachers named by the children has been charged.

After preliminary interviews, the children were found to have a high likelihood of having been sexually abused based on their responses and physical exams, he said. Many of the Children have mentioned Parks during the interviews, Freidmann said.

AT LEAST three children told investigators they reported the incidents to two teachers. Those two teachers, whose identities have not be revealed, were suspended Thursday because of their alleged failure to report the incidents, Keenan said.

The two teachers, according to sources, deny that the children said they were attacked in the first-floor washroom outside classrooms, Friedmann said. Children older than 2 were allowed to go unattended to that washroom, according to sources.

CHILDREN ALSO reported that they were attacked in a boiler room in the basement of the building and in a stairwell leading from the first floor to the second floor.

According to Friedmann and a staff member who requested anonymity, Parks was the only one who had a key to that stairwell. Interviewers have been asking children where that stairwell leads, Freidmand said. Read more here.

“THIS WILL BE with us forever. It never will ever be wiped away,” said a young mother, who is certain her daughter was raped and sexually and physically abused at the Rogers Park Jewish Community Center’s day-care center.

The mother said her family’s therapist said her daughter, will have to deal with her trauma in each stage of her life.

Now, Becky is afraid to go to sleep or to go to the bathroom alone. Those were the occasions when she was attacked, her mother said. When she reaches puberty, her fears will take different forms, according to the therapist.

Another 4-year-old girl who was molested, Melissa, wants to sleep in the closet with the door closed, where she feels safe, said her mother. “I know she is scared to death. She is afraid of everything,” she said.

The names of the children have been changed to protect their identity.
DURING QUESTIONING at the start of the investigation of abuse at the center, Melissa “would not let me out of her sight,” her mother said, “because she was sure I was going to be killed while she was talking.” Both mothers said their daughters told them their abusers had threatened to kill their families if they revealed what they had done.

Melissa is “regressing into infancy” because she thinks that when she first went to the center everyone loved her, but when she grew older they began hitting her and telling her she was stupid, “a dummy” and deserved to be hit. Through therapy, Melissa is learning that she is not a bad girl but a victim of child abuse.

According to Becky’s mother, “She talked about it as if there were two Beckys — bad Becky and good Becky. Good Becky didn’t have these things happen to her.”

WHILE THESE two mothers, along with a few others, have shared their experiences with each other, they feel fairly isolated from other parents of children who are or were enrolled at the center.

“When we did make statements in public, a lot of parents refused to believe us. It was too traumatic for them,” one mother said.

“Since this is a Jewish Community Center and they have religious and community ties tied up in this, this contributes to their state of denial,” she said.

Melissa, did not want to go back to the school or anywhere near the rooms where she said she was abused after she told what had happened, her mother said.

“There are children who have returned to the school who were pinpointed as victims, and their parents are still sending them there,” said Becky’s mother. “Meanwhile, who is protecting the children?”

BOTH MOTHERS said they now realize they missed earlier clues that something was wrong. For instance, reluctance to go to sleep and reports of being insulted and punished at the center were such clues. Read more here.

“THIS WILL BE with us forever. It never will ever be wiped away,” said a young mother, who is certain her daughter was raped and sexually and physically abused at the Rogers Park Jewish Community Center’s day-care center.

The mother said her family’s therapist said her daughter, will have to deal with her trauma in each stage of her life.

Now, Becky is afraid to go to sleep or to go to the bathroom alone. Those were the occasions when she was attacked, her mother said. When she reaches puberty, her fears will take different forms, according to the therapist.

Another 4-year-old girl who was molested, Melissa, wants to sleep in the closet with the door closed, where she feels safe, said her mother. “I know she is scared to death. She is afraid of everything,” she said.

The names of the children have been changed to protect their identity.
DURING QUESTIONING at the start of the investigation of abuse at the center, Melissa “would not let me out of her sight,” her mother said, “because she was sure I was going to be killed while she was talking.” Both mothers said their daughters told them their abusers had threatened to kill their families if they revealed what they had done.

Melissa is “regressing into infancy” because she thinks that when she first went to the center everyone loved her, but when she grew older they began hitting her and telling her she was stupid, “a dummy” and deserved to be hit. Through therapy, Melissa is learning that she is not a bad girl but a victim of child abuse.

According to Becky’s mother, “She talked about it as if there were two Beckys — bad Becky and good Becky. Good Becky didn’t have these things happen to her.”

WHILE THESE two mothers, along with a few others, have shared their experiences with each other, they feel fairly isolated from other parents of children who are or were enrolled at the center.

“When we did make statements in public, a lot of parents refused to believe us. It was too traumatic for them,” one mother said.

“Since this is a Jewish Community Center and they have religious and community ties tied up in this, this contributes to their state of denial,” she said.

Melissa, did not want to go back to the school or anywhere near the rooms where she said she was abused after she told what had happened, her mother said.

“There are children who have returned to the school who were pinpointed as victims, and their parents are still sending them there,” said Becky’s mother. “Meanwhile, who is protecting the children?”

BOTH MOTHERS said they now realize they missed earlier clues that something was wrong. For instance, reluctance to go to sleep and reports of being insulted and punished at the center were such clues. Read more here.

“THIS WILL BE with us forever. It never will ever be wiped away,” said a young mother, who is certain her daughter was raped and sexually and physically abused at the Rogers Park Jewish Community Center’s day-care center.

The mother said her family’s therapist said her daughter, will have to deal with her trauma in each stage of her life.

Now, Becky is afraid to go to sleep or to go to the bathroom alone. Those were the occasions when she was attacked, her mother said. When she reaches puberty, her fears will take different forms, according to the therapist.

Another 4-year-old girl who was molested, Melissa, wants to sleep in the closet with the door closed, where she feels safe, said her mother. “I know she is scared to death. She is afraid of everything,” she said.

The names of the children have been changed to protect their identity.
DURING QUESTIONING at the start of the investigation of abuse at the center, Melissa “would not let me out of her sight,” her mother said, “because she was sure I was going to be killed while she was talking.” Both mothers said their daughters told them their abusers had threatened to kill their families if they revealed what they had done.

Melissa is “regressing into infancy” because she thinks that when she first went to the center everyone loved her, but when she grew older they began hitting her and telling her she was stupid, “a dummy” and deserved to be hit. Through therapy, Melissa is learning that she is not a bad girl but a victim of child abuse.

According to Becky’s mother, “She talked about it as if there were two Beckys — bad Becky and good Becky. Good Becky didn’t have these things happen to her.”

WHILE THESE two mothers, along with a few others, have shared their experiences with each other, they feel fairly isolated from other parents of children who are or were enrolled at the center.

“When we did make statements in public, a lot of parents refused to believe us. It was too traumatic for them,” one mother said.

“Since this is a Jewish Community Center and they have religious and community ties tied up in this, this contributes to their state of denial,” she said.

Melissa, did not want to go back to the school or anywhere near the rooms where she said she was abused after she told what had happened, her mother said.

“There are children who have returned to the school who were pinpointed as victims, and their parents are still sending them there,” said Becky’s mother. “Meanwhile, who is protecting the children?”

BOTH MOTHERS said they now realize they missed earlier clues that something was wrong. For instance, reluctance to go to sleep and reports of being insulted and punished at the center were such clues. Read more here.

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