Edgar Award winner and best selling author of true crime, mystery fiction, supernatural thrillers, and pop culture.
"Talented, Creative and Charming" -- Erin Moriarty, CBS 48hrs
"Burl Barer is one of my favorites!" -- Lis Wiehl, Fox News
The reason for this policy isn't simply that there are other established shows both on radio and television that use that as their basic format, and there is no need to cover the same ground they already do so well, but because I have concerns about what can become "trial by talk show" and "indictment by sound bite." That doesn't mean that I turn down guest appearances on some of these programs, but rather that I personally will not speculate on an ongoing investigation because of the concerns expressed by the FBI at an important symposium, and published on the FBI website.
The public’s interest in serial murder cases makes serial murder an attractive storyline for the media. To further the public’s interest in these cases, the media uses people who are willing to speak as experts on the topic of serial murder and more specifically, individuals willing to comment on the current, featured case. These commentators are commonly referred to as talking heads, and it appears that there is no shortage of people willing to do this.
Individuals utilized by the media to comment on serial murder cases include both experts and pseudoexperts. Experts are identified as academicians, researchers, retired law enforcement officials,mental health professionals, and retired law enforcement profilers who have developed specific knowledge and experience in serial murder investigations. Pseudoexperts are self-proclaimed profilers and others who profess to have an expertise in serial murder, when, in fact, their experience is limited or non-existent. The media will recruit talking heads, whether true experts or pseudoexperts, to offer their opinions on current cases, when they have no official role in the investigation and no access to any of the intimate facts of the case.
When individuals appear in the media and discuss ongoing cases, they have an enormous potential to negatively influence investigations and may even cause irreversible damage. They often speculate on the motive for the murders and the possible characteristics of the offender. Such statements can misinform the public and may heighten fears in a community. They may contribute to mistrust and a lack of confidence in law enforcement and, more importantly, may taint potential jury pools. These statements may also impact the behavior of the serial murderer, because it is unlikely that an offender discriminates between a talking head and a law enforcement official actively involved in the case. When offenders are challenged by statements or derogatory comments made in the media, they may destroy evidence, or more tragically, react violently.
I certainly wouldn't want to be responsible for violence or destroyed evidence in my quest for ratings or controversy.
On Friday, May 17th, 2010-Amanda Rodgers was sworn in as an advocate for abused and neglected children
involved with the juvenile court system. As a CASA volunteer, Rodgers completed
35 hours of training, but her credentials for compassion come from life
" I was
step-daddy's little sex toy, and a prisoner in the one place that I should have
been the most safe and
protected,".explains Rodgers. :"I didn't have anyone there for
me, but I have vowed to be there for others. Even if I can help just one child, and be their
voice, they will know they aren't alone."
Amanda Rodgers took
pen to paper, and wrote an open letter to the man whom she alleges repeatedly
molested her, stole her innocence, and denied her a childhood. She shared it with me, and with her
permission, I'm sharring it with you. Brace yourself.
You are the man who
molested me. You are the man who stole my one and only opportunity to be a free
spirited child along with my innocence
I want you to know exactly what your actions
have done to me. To begin, it was like I was a zombie in the vast darkness. I
felt alone & ashamed because as a little girl you told me, on several
occasions, that you were doing what you were doing because it was my fault
because I wore shorts or skirts & I was just too cute.
I have flashbacks, nightmares that literally
make me sick to my stomach. I have severe anxiety issues. Let me tell you about
the nightmares.....VIVID! So vivid that I wake up with my stomach hurting from
crying in my sleep, my face & pillow soaked from the tears
. I am a restless
sleeper because I am afraid of what dream I will have that night. It was the
same when I was a child, only then I was restless from knowing that I would
have to wake up with you at the foot of my bed.. As that little girl, I cried myself to sleep
& still do at times now, wondering when & where does the pain ever end? You have been out of my life
now for quite some time now & the touch of your hands have been over for
almost 12 years now, but the pain is still there.
Remember the winters? Remember me wearing
layer upon layer of clothes? You thought it was because I was cold & trying
to keep warm? You couldn't have been more wrong. I tried thinking of every
possible way to make the touch of your hand more of a hassle or to try to make
you hesitate violating me. I guess I couldn't have been more wrong huh? It
didn't stop you. Nothing did. I tried to stop the "Monster in the
Night". That's what you were to me. Not that the night hours were the only
time you would prey on & violate me.
The clothes don't
ring a bell? How about me sleepng in the fetal position? With the blankets
tucked under me, that way I would at least have a warning that you were
there. Still nothing? How about the
showers? Remeber those? You would tell my so called "mother" that you
were going in there to pour ice cold water over the top of the shower....yea,
right. If she only knew what you were really doing.
Let me tell you how I would go about preparing
myself for a shower...I would lock the door with the latch lock, that you put
on the door. Undress myself, while
looking through the key hole, to see if you were coming....hurrying in the
shower....trying to take a fast shower to get out of there before you came in.
I'd be just about finished with my head tilted back, rinsing the soap out of my
hair. I'd tilt my head foward to rinse the soap off my face, open my eyes &
BAM! There you were, at the end of the shower, watching me with that sick smile
on your face & excitement in your eyes. You'd make your perverted comment
& just walk away. There was never any ice water poured over me, but to this
day the memory sends chills down my spine.
Why my so called "mom" never
suspected anything is beyond me because there was never any "ice
pouring" over the boys when they were in the shower, just me.
yet? How about the porn? How you would
make me watch it with you & the comments you would make? You would
say,"don't that look like fun? We should try that one of these
days"..It was showing a woman having oral sex with a man, sometimes 2 or 3
men at the same time! I prayed every morning & night that the day would
come that you would get caught because I knew that you would never just 'stop'
because you were already looking foward to having oral sex & possibly
actual sex with me when I got older.
When people ask about
my childhood, I want to say, "What childhood? I was step-daddy's little
sex toy..." There's not one single picture of me, as that little girl,
that I can look at say that I was happy. You know when people say, "oh to
be a kid again"? I say, "no thanks, I"ll pass". In the
pictures, you see the smile? It's fake. Behind that smile is a little girl who
is trembling with fear and angst, because she knows that before the days' end
that she will have to endure the touch & hear the perversion of her mothers'
husband's hand. So take a real good look at the pictures of the 'seemingly'
happy little girl & know that she was terrified, lost & lonely.That she
was hoping that someone, anyone would notice that her life was full of secrets.
I pursued legal
action against you, and when you escaped justice, I felt like that little girl
all over again. I had to be put on medicine that I never had to be on before.
Medicine for my nightmares, my anxiety, depression & post traumatic stress
disorder....ever heard of those things?
I know I am not the only child you molested, or the only person upon
whom you forced yourself. I know about them all, every one of them.
You are in my past
now & that's where you will stay. God waits until a person's life has ended
before there is judgement. I refuse to hold on to my hatred and disgust because
I know its corrosion will destroy me. In
order to be free of you and your evil, I must let go.
I condemn your deeds. I have no power to
condemn your soul. Forgiving is not forgetting, nor is it excusing or
overlooking. Forgiveness is freedom from your control over my mind, my body,
and my emotions. I will never forget
what you have done.
If ever there is a
day that someone needs my help to put you behind bars, I will be there for
them. In the meantime, if there is a child suffering what I suffered -- a child
fearful and alone, I want them to know that I am there for them, I will be
their voice, and they are not alone.
Today, Amanda Rodgers
is a happily married mother of two children. "My husband is my
backbone," says Rodgers. “He is everything a father or step-father should
be - kind, loving, supportive, encouraging and compassionate. Because of his
love for me, and mine for him, I am overcoming issues of fear and distrust. My
husband and children have given me a new life. I am incredibly happy. Today, by
becoming a CASA volunteer, my life has more purpose and more focus than ever
90% of child sexual
abuse victims know the perpetrator in some way; 68% are abused by family
National Child Abuse Hotline is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The hotline
counselors work with translators who speak 140 languages to help people who
call and speak something other than English. All calls are anonymous. (The
hotline counselors don't know who you are and you don't have to tell them.)
1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453) then push 1 to talk
to a hotline counselor.
For more information
on CASA, visit their website.