Jan 16, 2020 When I Became Free


News, information, and resources on issues of abuse.

When I Became Free

You Matter!

“Leading the way with weekly news and information

empowering survivors of abuse!“

VOL 1, NO. 10 THURSDAY, JANUARY 16, 2020

Elder Abuse

Page 3

When I didn’t give up is


Woman to Woman

Page 6

Page 2 When I Became Free January 16, 2020

When I Became Free

Published online each Thursday and delivered via email to subscribers,

When I Became Free is an independent freelance

project/publication with a mission to bring awareness to issues

around abuse (child abuse, domestic violence, and sexual assault).

The goal of the project is to be a vehicle of inspiration and empowerment

for survivors. Subscribers of this publication help to support

services, support groups, and workshops freely provided to survivors

of abuse. All of our freelance writers are survivors of abuse.

The When I Became Free Project

was created and is managed by:

Eva Marie Woywod

Freelance Writers:

Kelli Bungert

Mechelle Cichy

Savannah May


April Fichthorn

Bethany Fichthorn

Gabriel Brown

Kyle Roberts

Phone Number 901 949-2226

Email: WhenIBecameFree@gmail.com

Website: whenibecamefree.com

Advertising: advertising helps the When I Became Free Project to

provide free workshops, support groups and more to survivors of

abuse on their healing journey.



According to news reports little Sloan McDaniel lost his young life on January

16, 2020, at the hands of this father, Brandon McDaniel. The 20-year-old Clemmons,

north Carolina man is facing first-degree murder charges after his infant son

died from injuries consistent with child abuse, according to the Forsyth County

Sheriff's Office.

A family member set up a Go Fund Me page and stated; “On Monday, January

13th, Sloan was admitted to Brenner's Children's Hospital in Winston-Salem, NC.

He fought a brave fight, but was welcomed into the arms of Jesus at 1:05pm on January

16th. “

They went on to state, “We set up this Go Fund Me site because so many people

have asked how they can help. Any money raised will help with funeral and burial

expenses, as well as offset the financial burden of time away from work. All donations,

no matter how small, are deeply appreciated.”

For more information on the fundraising effort, visit: Go Fund Me -

Baby Sloan McDaniel.

In an article from the Winston-Salem Journal, they reported:

“ Brandon Scott McDaniel, 20, of Forest Line Drive in

Clemmons, was initially charged with felony child abuse,

inflicting serious physical injury on Monday after he

sought medical care for his son, Sloan Prescott McDaniel.

At the time, Sloan was 2-months and 27 days old. According

to an arrest warrant, McDaniel was accused of assaulting

his son, resulting in bleeding on Sloan’s brain

and “multiple serious injuries yet to be diagnosed.” The

arrest warrant said that the assault happened on Sunday.

McDaniel has been charged with first-degree murder.

The article went to quote Debbie McCaffrey, Sloan’s

godmother, “I would like for (people) to know we

are grateful for every day that we got to spend with (Sloan),” she said Friday. “He

was a true blessing and a beautiful and happy baby boy.”

Sloan loved to giggle and laugh and enjoyed kicking his legs and rolling over,

McCaffrey said.

“It’s a sweet time when babies are

starting to come into themselves,” she

said. “He had a sweet personality. We are

all still processing. Everyone is still in

shock and we are just going to step back,

realize that it’s not in our hands anymore

and we are just going to reflect and heal

and grow and love and just overall embrace

one another during this hard time.

It’s just been really, really hard to realize

the reality of the situation but we

have all just been able to cry together and

be able to love together and realize that

he is in a better place and he’s not in pain

and that’s what matters. I was pleased to

know Sloan for the short three months

that I did."

At the time we published this edition

of the When I Became Free Weekly News

an obituary had yet to be released.

Our hearts go out to the family of little

Sloan who is now looking over children

everywhere. Rest in Peace, Little One.

January 16, 2020 WHEN I BECAME FREE Page 3

Sunsets Aren't Always Pretty

In The Twilight Of Your Life



It's a heck of a thing to get old isn't it? As age creeps up

on us, the body slowly starts to rebel and misbehave. Muscles

don't do what we want them to do. Memory lapses are

common. Bathrooms are never close enough anymore. Hair

thins in places we need it, and grows where we would

rather it didn't. As our senses fail, our ears and eyes are no

longer trustworthy sources

of valid information. Sometimes

even our minds fail on

us too.

As if that wasn't bad

enough, our risks for falling

victim to abuse increases as

we get older. Approximately

1 in 10 Americans aged 60+

have experienced some form

of elder abuse. Estimates

range as high as 5 million

cases of elder abuse per year.

Yet, it is also estimated that

only 1 in 14 cases is reported.

So, the true numbers

are likely much higher. Elder

adults who experienced

abuse had 300% higher risk

of death compared to those

who had not been abused.

The Centers for Disease

Control (CDC) defines elder abuse as: an intentional act, or

failure to act, by a caregiver or another person in a relationship

involving an expectation of trust that causes or creates

a risk of harm to an older adult. An older adult is

considered to be any person 60 years old or older.

Various Forms of Elder Abuse

There are various forms of elder abuse. Physical abuse

is one of the obvious ones with common warning signs:

bruises, broken bones, burns or other physical injuries to

the body. Other forms of abuse include psychological, financial,

and neglect. Various studies have been done to determine

which form of abuse is most prevalent. While they

don't all agree, most of them place verbal/emotional abuse

and neglect at the top of the list.

When a caregiver hits or slaps the adult he or she is caring

for, this is physical abuse. Physical abuse also can be

handling the senior too roughly, shoving them or burning


Financial abuse occurs when the caregiver illegally or

improperly uses the money or assets of the adult under his

or her care. This may be done by forging a signature on a

check, taking over the senior's source of income and using

it for personal gain or even coercing the senior to change

the beneficiary of his or her will. Sudden change in the financial

status of the senior may be a sign this is occurring.

Similar to financial abuse is healthcare fraud. This is committed

by doctors, hospital staff and other healthcare workers.

This can mean overcharging the senior or charging for

services not rendered, double-billing and falsifying insurance


Neglect is abuse by omission. Instead of taking action

against the senior, it is an inaction where one is needed.

Some examples of senior neglect are inadequate or infrequent

personal care, medications not given or not given as

prescribed, poor meal preparation, and unavailability when

care is needed.

Signs of neglect may include bedsores or pressure sores

from holding one position too long, obviously poor hygiene,

and unusual weight loss. The elderly can also be

guilty of self-neglect, but it is the caregiver's responsibility

to oversee this and remedy the situation.

Psychological abuse includes both emotional abuse and

verbal abuse since they affect the mental health of the victim.

Verbal abuse happens when the caregiver verbally

threatens or belittles the senior. Emotional abuse encompasses

humiliation, ridicule, intimidation and isolating the


Psychological abuse is hard to detect without seeing the

interaction between the caregiver and the older person. Personality

and behavioral changes are among the warning

signs of this form of abuse. Other signs include: mood

swings, inability to make decisions and unusual behaviors

such as rocking.

Family Members Can Be Abusive Caregivers

The older population is increasing. According to the

NCEA website, in the United States, the 2010 Census

recorded the greatest number and proportion of people age

65 or older in all of decennial census history: 40.3 million,

or 13% of the total population. Additionally, older women

outnumbered older men. In 2010, there were 89 men per

100 women among those aged 65-69, and 38 men per 100

women among 90 and older.

When we think of elder abuse, our minds immediately

call up an understaffed nursing home. We picture drooling

old men strapped up in wheelchairs, or unkempt old

women stuck in their beds with dirty sheets. The truth is

that it is more common to see elder abuse coming from

family caregivers. In the case of psychological abuse of the

elderly, 90% of the perpetrators are family members. Let

that number sink in... NINETY PERCENT.

So, who are these people abusing the old folks? What

drives them to such actions? They are the spouses and adult

children of the older adults. Many times they have a past

history of problems in their life already: substance abuse,

mental health issues, trouble with the law. Other risk factors

include: social isolation, financial difficulties and other

major stressors in their lives.

Some of the stressors which can increase the likelihood

of abusing an older person are time constraints, financial

difficulties, frustration, impatience and burnout. The

greater the care needs of the older adult, the greater the risk

of psychological abuse. Additionally, if the caregiver is also

responsible for raising children, the pressure of dividing attention

and loyalties can increase the likelihood of abuse

and neglect.

There are certain risk factors which increase the chances

of being a victim of elder abuse. An older person with low

or no social support is at risk, as well as those who suffer

from dementia, those who are functionally or physically

impaired, those who are low-income, as well as those who

live in a larger household rather than just a spouse.

Committing to be a caregiver for an older adult is a fulltime

responsibility. No matter how much love is shared between

the caregiver and the elder adult, long-term care and

responsibility is challenging. This challenge increases as

the older person's abilities decrease with age.

It's Not Easy To Be A Caregiver

The duties of the caregiver are many. They are responsible

for personal care, such as dressing and grooming, as

well as the more embarrassing tasks of bathing and assisting

with toileting. It is also their job to oversee meals and

medications. The caregiver is in charge of arranging for

necessary transportation and appointments. Housekeeping

and home organization duties are part of caring for the

elderly as well. And perhaps the most important duty of the

caregiver is companionship.

All those duties sound like a full-time day. So, how does

the caregiver handle it when he or she also has a full-time

paying job outside the home? This very scenario can be the

cause of some of the elder neglect we hear about.

Most of us, after a full day at work, can't wait to come

home, prop up our feet and relax with a half hour of television

to wind down. 8 or 10 hours at our job is stressful

enough. After dealing with a supervisor with a bad attitude

and lazy coworkers, we need a break. Our nerves may be

on edge, leaving us short-tempered.

For a caregiver, there is no time to wind down. Upon returning

home, it's time to make sure the older person has

meals and medications. He or she may need some exercise,

or just a little time to socialize. It's a lonely day with nobody

to talk to. Shopping and appointments are scheduled

for days off, leaving little time for the caregiver to enjoy

personal time, hobbies or a social life. Time management

skills are a definite necessity.

It's easy to see how this scenario can be difficult to carry

on for a long period of time without burnout. The caregiver

has essentially given up his or her life for the older person.

This was not the life they anticipated when they signed up

to be the caregiver. When one takes on the role of caregiver,

all other aspects of life are affected including work, family

life and a social life.

Elderly people don't want to be a burden to others either.

Growing older takes an emotional toll on them. The things

they once did easily are now difficult to impossible. It may

be the simple act of walking from one room to another, but

they can't do it in just a couple steps anymore. Consequently,

their self-esteem and confidence take a hit. This

can cause them to avoid social situations due to embarrassment

or simple ease of mobility. Anxiety and depression


They didn't ask to be physically or mentally challenged

and need help. They may never have expected it to happen

to them. But, there are few solutions to their problems.

They can't live alone anymore. If they can't afford a nursing

home or in-home care, they are forced to rely on family

or friends if they are to have any care at all. Reluctantly,

an adult child may offer to give them care out of a sense of

duty or compassion.

It's easy to see where the emotional / verbal abuse can

creep into the relationship. It may not have started out as

abuse. But, when the arguments are daily, the words are demeaning

or the bathing leaves bruises it becomes abuse.

Community Settings Are Not Any Safer

Nursing homes and retirement communities are not the

answer to prevention of elder abuse. According to the

World Health Organization, between 2017 and 2018, 1 in

6 elderly adults suffered some type of abuse while in a

community setting. Also, WHO notes that 2 in 3 nursing

home staff members reported they abused residents over

the past year.

Let me repeat that – 2 in 3 staff members abused residents

in nursing homes. That means over half of them are

guilty of committing some form of abuse. It's no wonder

aging adults are scared to enter nursing homes.

The CDC reports that about 70% of nursing homes are

for-profit. This may be a good reason why care in the nursing

homes is not up the standards one would expect. Instead

of prioritizing safe care for vulnerable adults, the

nursing home companies are more worried about raising

those profits.

Keeping a nursing home understaffed is one way they

keep the costs down, but it costs the residents the care they

need. It can lead to quick burnout and lack of supervision

of staff. One study reported that as many as 24% of residents

experienced at least one instance of physical abuse

while in a nursing home.

So, what can be done about elder abuse? A good first

step is to educate seniors and caregivers about elder abuse.

Educating the public in general is a great idea as well. Seniors

should be instructed on what they can expect as they

age as well as what kind of care they should receive, what

their rights are and what they can do to protect themselves

from those who might prey on them. Caregivers need to

know what is expected of them and where to go for resources

when they need help with their duties.

Instructing the public can create smarter elderly for their

golden years as well as teaching them what to look for as

far as signs of abuse in older people they know. The time

to plan for your later years is when you are still young

enough to do it. Once you are there, it's too late.

Page 4 When I Became Free January 16, 2020

January 16, 2020 WHEN I BECAME FREE Page 5

Page 6 When I Became Free January 16, 2020

Woman to Woman

Getting to Know Me



When this paper began back in October, Eva had asked me for a short introduction to

include with the first edition. I had a lot going on so I wasn't able to give her exactly what

she wanted. Instead I gave her a quick “tagline biography”. Now that there are a few editions

out, it's time for me to write up the type of introduction that she asked for.

With my five younger siblings, I was raised in Necedah, a tiny village in central Wisconsin.

My father was a strict Roman Catholic while my mother converted to Catholicism

from the Lutheran church. The house I grew up in was isolated, 8 miles away from the

nearest semblance of civilization.

My father died when I was 19. My mother was incapable of handling the household,

so as the oldest I was the head of the family. I met Dan, the man who would be my husband,

6 years later in 1995. We were married in 2001 despite my mother's disapproval

I have no biological children, partly due to PCOS issues. However, Dan had 3 sons

when we met. Since he is 19 years older than I, his sons are like brothers to me. They have

10 children between them, and one has a grandson as well. Therefore, through marriage

I have 10 grandchildren and a great grandchild. Who needs biological children?

I was raised with a narcissistic mother, and a very strict authoritarian father. While

they did the best they knew how to do, I was still raised in an environment of emotional

neglect. I have lasting scars from my childhood, but therapy is helping with them.

There were a couple separate instances during my childhood when I was sexually molested.

One of the molesters was a trusted member of the religious community my parents

participated in. Monsters don't wear labels and dark overcoats. They can be anyone.

When I was 21, I moved into my own apartment to try to start a life of my own. However,

my life was still very strongly entangled with my birth family since they still needed

help and guidance. It was while I lived here that I first encountered a woman in an abusive


Even as young and naive as I was, I knew she needed help. She and her three children

lived with me for a while as she tried to get herself free. It wasn't to be at that time, but

later she did finally leave him and start life anew with the man who would love her as she


At the same time, one of my sisters was engaged to a man we knew would not be good

for her. In 2018, 28 years later, after years of abuse during their marriage, she, along with

her youngest children, left him and came to stay with me.

So, as you can see, I'm no stranger to the many facets of abuse. It hurts my heart to

see someone not being treated with love and respect. It happens too often.

Besides writing for this paper, I also have my own blog thewriteempath.com. Writing

is my greatest interest, but there are other ways I spend my time. I am an amateur artist

and a wanna-be photographer. I monitor and run a couple different facebook groups including

one dedicated to helping with self-esteem issues. You can find it by searching for

“Good Enough For Me Is All I Need To Be”.

I welcome comments, feedback and constructive criticism. We are always learning

and I'm not afraid to admit that I don't know everything. Email me at thewriteempath@gmail.com.


Page 7 When I Became Free January 16, 2020

Kelli’s Haven

Being There for Others



Kelli Bungert is from central Wisconsin, and a survivor

of childhood rape, incest, and domestic violence.

She also a survivor of adult rape and incest at the hand

of her biological father. Kelli is an advocate working to

help others through Survivors Offering Support

(S.O.S.) in and around Juneau County, Wisconsin

I want to shed some light on how S.O.S has supported

survivors in our area. I have been working with

a mother and her two boys for the past several months.

When I first met this woman she was beaten down

scared and had no one to turn to. Her husband of 18

years beat her so severely that she couldn't even look at

herself in the mirror. She felt as bad as she looked.

With no family around and only mutual friends of her

husband’s, she had absolutely no one to turn to for


A friend of mine contacted me and asked me to reach out to her and I did. When I first met her

she and her boys were living in a tent in the middle of the woods with no food and only the few

things of clothing they had time to grab. I knew she was in dire need of some help. So, I spoke

with a previous landlord that I had rented from and I was able to get her into an apartment.

Thankfully, an anonymous donor paid for their rent until March.

This mom felt defeated and alone. She thought she could never make it on her own. So my

wife and I along with help from others, filled her apartment with food, furniture, and clothing.

We are also able to get them sponsors for the holidays. They had a Christmas they will never forget.

She began to see that she really could do this on her own with a little help. We have all been

there in that place where we feel that we can't do it alone. We felt helpess scared, and worried

about where we would end up. We have had the nightmares and flashbacks of the abuse we have

endured. S.O.S changed the lives for this family and they are doing great. I am on call for them

24/7 to support them.

She has found a full-time job and is seeing a counselor weekly. She is no longer afraid. She

can breathe. She found her strengths. She knows her weaknesses, but she has choosen to be a survivor

and no longer a victim.

S.O.S consists of survivors. We all have and share simular traumas. We count on each other

for support, because, like this woman - I know what its like to feel alone and have no family and

have no where to go. I know how it feels to be beat down to almost nothing. I had absolutely no

where to turn too. But she knows she does. Don't lose hope. Don't give up because even when you

think you’re alone, you’re not.

Page 8 When I Became Free January 16, 2020

California Woman Arrested for Attempted

Murder After Reportedly Firing a Gun at Her

84-Year-Old Roommate

On Saturday, January 4, 2020, at about 6 a.m., deputies were

dispatched to a report of shots fired in the 29000 block of Highway

36 in Bridgeville. The 84-year-old victim called 911 stating that his

roommate shot at him inside the residence.

Deputies arrived on scene and met with the victim. The victim

informed responding deputies that after he was shot at, he fled the

residence and drove to Highway 36 to call 911. The victim informed

deputies the suspect was still armed with a firearm and another

unknown type rifle inside the residence.

Deputies then responded to the residence and called the suspect

out from the residence. The suspect, later identified as Kelly

Teach, exited the residence and was placed under arrest. While placing Teach in the patrol

vehicle, Teach became combative and struck a deputy. Teach was placed in the backseat of a

patrol vehicle without further incident.

Teach was later booked into the Humboldt County Correctional Facility for Attempted

Murder, Elder Abuse likely to cause GBI/Death, Battery on a Peace Officer and

Resisting/Delaying a Peace Officer.

Her bail has been set at $500,000. This incident is still under investigation.

Anyone with information regarding this is encouraged to call the Humboldt County

Sheriff’s Office at (707) 445-7251 or the Sheriff’s Office Crime Tip line at (707) 268-2539.

Tennessee Enacts Law in Effort to

Protect Vulnerable Adults From Abuse

NASHVILLE, Tenn— Tennessee has taken a stand on

people who abuse some of the state's most vulnerable- the

elderly. With the new year came a new law the will

strengthen the penalties for those charged with elder abuse.

The Elderly and Vulnerable Adult Protection Act of 2019

last year, which went into effect on January 1st. The law increases

penalties for the most dangerous crimes involving

elder abuse as well as expands the availability of orders of

protection for elderly and vulnerable adults.

According to reports the penalties will go from a class C

to a class B felony. A class B felony conviction could result

in a prison sentence between eight to 30 years and a $25,000

fine, compared to three to 15 years in prison and a $10,000

fine under class C.

WTVF in Nashville reported that in 2019, The

Nashville Davidson Attorney General's Office County received

1300 referrals regarding abuse, neglect, financial exploitation

or sexual exploitation.

Statewide those numbers are even higher, in 2019, there

were about 10,300 cases investigated.

"Those numbers are shocking, and I believe it will be

shocking for the community to know how many referrals,

how many reports about this that we actually see," said Brittani


Flatt, a Assistant District Attorney is part of the Davidson

County District Attorney's Vulnerable Adult Protective

Investigative Team. The team is responsible for reviewing

thousands of cases of elder abuse, neglect or exploitation.

A law passed in 2017 created a Vulnerable Adult Protective

Investigative Team in each judicial district. They work

alongside police the State's Adult Protective Services and

other stakeholders in helping victims as well as prosecuting


Tennessee is a mandatory reporting state. If you know of

any abuse you are required to report it to the Adult Protective

Services, you can remain anonymous.

Toll Free 1-888-APS-TENN (1-888-277-8366) Or, report

suspected abuse online : https://reportadultabuse.dhs.tn.gov/

January 16, 2020 WHEN I BECAME FREE Page 9

New York DEA Diversion Investigator Charged

With Attempting To Produce Child Pornography

And Enticing A Minor To Have Sex

Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Dermot Shea,

the Commissioner of the New York City Police Department (“NYPD”), Keith A. Bonanno, Special Agent

in Charge of the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General (“DOJ OIG”) Cyber Investigations

Office, and Guido Modano, Special Agent in Charge of the DOJ OIG New York Field Office, announced

today the arrest and filing of charges against FREDERICK L. SCHEININ. The Complaint charges that between

October 2019 and January 2020, SCHEININ attempted to produce child pornography and entice a

minor to have sex. SCHEININ was arrested on January 16, 2020 and will be presented on January 17,

2020 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Katharine H. Parker in Manhattan federal court.

U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said: “As a diversion investigator at the DEA, Frederick Scheinin’s

foremost responsibility was to protect the public from illegally diverted drugs. Instead of fulfilling this

worthy mission, Scheinin allegedly spent months attempting to prey on a 14-year-old boy. This arrest exemplifies

that no one is above the law. Our law enforcement partners will continue to bring all necessary

tools to bear to apprehend individuals who wish to do harm to young children, no matter who they are.”

NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said: “I want to commend the U.S. Attorney and our federal partners

who, together with our NYPD investigators, work every day to protect the innocent against such alleged

reprehensible predators. I am proud of the undercover work in this case, which has now led to criminal

charges against a law enforcement officer who allegedly betrayed his sacred oath.”

DOJ OIG Cyber Investigations Office Special Agent in Charge Keith A. Bonanno said: “The OIG and

our law enforcement partners will thoroughly investigate allegations of abuse or exploitation of children by

DOJ employees. Those who are found guilty of this type of criminal behavior will be brought to justice.”

Up until the time of his arrest, SCHEININ was a diversion investigator in the New York Field Office

of the Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”). According to the allegations in the Complaint filed in

Manhattan federal court :

Between October 2019 and January 2020, SCHEININ used a multimedia messaging application on his

cellphone to communicate with an undercover law enforcement officer (“UC-1”) who was posing as a 14-

year-old boy. SCHEININ repeatedly sent sexually explicit images and videos to UC-1 in an attempt to

persuade UC-1 to transmit sexually explicit images, photos, and live visual depictions of UC-1 to

SCHEININ. In particular, SCHEININ repeatedly asked UC-1 to transmit images and videos of UC-1’s

penis. The Complaint further alleges that SCHEININ attempted to arrange a meeting with UC-1 at which

SCHEININ planned to have sex with UC-1. Law enforcement arrested SCHEININ yesterday in New York,

New York, at a location where SCHEININ said he would meet UC-1. SCHEININ was in possession of condoms

and lubricant at the time of his arrest.

SCHEININ, 29, of Sunnyside, New York, is charged with one count of attempted production of child

pornography, which carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison and a maximum sentence

of 30 years in prison, and one count of attempted enticement of a minor, which carries a mandatory minimum

sentence of 10 years in prison and maximum sentence of life in prison. The maximum potential sentences

in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any

sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge.

The charges in the Complaint are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and

until proven guilty.

* * *

Mr. Berman praised the outstanding investigative work of the NYPD and the DOJ OIG New York Field

Office and Cyber Investigations Office.

The prosecution of this case is being handled by the Office’s Complex Frauds and Cybercrime Unit. Assistant

United States Attorney Nicholas Chiuchiolo is in charge of the prosecution

Former Pastor and Counselor Sentenced to

17 years in Prison for

Sexually Exploiting Children

A former pastor and counselor from Burtchville, Michigan (just outside Port Huron) was sentenced this

week to 17 years in prison for sexually exploiting preteen and teenage girls, announced United States Attorney

Matthew Schneider of the Eastern District of Michigan.

Schneider was joined in the announcement by Special Agent in Charge Steven M. D’Antuono, Federal

Bureau of Investigation, Detroit Division.

Sentenced was Jackie Douglas Woodburn, 64, who was the

Director of the Colonial Woods Christian Counseling Center, a

place he worked for 28 years. In addition to his prison sentence,

Woodburn will serve 5 years of supervised release upon his release

from custody. Judge Paul D. Borman imposed the sentence.

According to court records, Woodburn used an unmonitored

chatroom-based website to target and manipulate girls. Woodburn,

who pretended to be a teenage boy when speaking to preteen

and teenage girls on the website, isolated his victims by

transitioning conversations from the website to email and pop-

Jackie Douglas Woodburn

ular social media application platforms. After isolating the victims,

Woodburn used his sizable age, educational, and life

experience advantages over the girls to manipulate, pressure, coerce, and entice the girls into undressing and

engaging in sexual acts on camera. The Indictment alleged that Woodburn sexually exploited a 12 year-

Boy Scout official sentenced to 30 years of prison

old girl from Texas, a 13 year-old girl from Kansas, and attempted to entice a 9 year-old girl from Virginia.

However, the FBI’s investigation revealed that Woodburn targeted and exploited several additional victims

not identified in the Indictment.

“It’s completely reprehensible for any person — let alone a pastor and counselor — to abuse young children

in this way,” said United States Attorney Matthew Schneider. “We hope this sentencing will bring

some closure to the innocent victims and their families who were so badly harmed by the defendant.”

"By the nature of his position, Mr. Woodburn was entrusted with protecting the mental and spiritual

health of his community," said SAC D'Antuono. "But he was a wolf in sheep's clothing - looking to prey

on the most vulnerable members of our society. Our office remains committed to working with our state and

local partners to find and hold accountable this type of sexual predator."

Assistant United States Attorneys April N. Russo and Kevin M. Mulcahy of the Eastern District of

Michigan, prosecuted the case. The FBI’s Detroit Field Office investigated the case.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing

epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse, launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led

by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and CEOS, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources

to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify

and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit http://www.justice.gov/psc.

for Sexually Exploiting Children

Thomas Close, 39, of Shelby, was sentenced earlier this week in federal court to 30 years in prison followed

by lifetime supervised release, which included lifetime sex offender registration obligations. He was

also ordered to pay $949 in restitution and a $300 special assessment.

Close was known to many in the Boy Scouts of America as “Aqua Joe” because he was a swim instructor

as well as a troop leader. And yet, from 2011 through 2018, Close abused these positions to surreptitiously

record young boys while they changed for swimming or showers. He then transferred those

recorded images from a simple spy watch to his home computers in carefully labeled folders and file structures.

Close also victimized children in his care at the YMCA, the Willard Conservation League, the Firelands

Scout Reservation, the Ashland County-West Holmes Career Center, the Mohican Wilderness camp,

the STEM camp, and even his own home in Shelby, Ohio.

“It is difficult to imagine a more heinous crime, particularly when the ages and youthful experiences of

children were so calculatingly exploited,” said U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman. “If we have not made it clear

before, let this sentence send a message to all who seek to prey on our children: there is no place we cannot

find you and we will bring you to justice.”

“This individual used his position and regular access to children to exploit the young people who he was

entrusted to take care of and protect,” said Vance Callender, HSI special agent in charge for Michigan and

Ohio. “While no amount of prison time is sufficient for the depraved abuse of trust by Mr. Close on his innocent

victims, hopefully, today’s sentencing can begin the healing process for all of those impacted.”

Additional details of these crimes were described in court filings and during today’s sentencing hearing:

In May of 2018, the Department of Homeland Security (HSI) Cleveland received information from the

Cyber Crimes Center (C3), Child Exploitation Investigations Unit (CEIU) regarding a child exploitation lead

in Sandusky, OH. C3 provided several videos that were taken of minor boys changing before or after swimming,

with a series of lockers visible in some of the pictures. The National Center for Missing and Exploited

Children (NCMEC) confirmed that these videos were seen in previous child pornography investigations but

the children depicted in the images had not yet been identified. However, the NCMEC Victim Identification

Lab was able to identify the manufacturer of the lockers as the Bradley Corp. Since only a few YMCAs

purchased lockers from Bradley Corp, C3 was able to confirm that the images were likely taken at the

YMCA facility located in Sandusky, OH.

With little to go on, agents set out to identify the boys. They focused on landmarks and the Boy Scout

logo captured in images, which let them to speak with representatives of the Boy Scouts and local YMCAs.

Both the Boy Scouts and local YMCAs assisted agents with their investigation. In speaking with the Boy

Scouts, agents were directed to an incident report in which one den leader noted Close’ frequent and unnecessary

contact with scouts during swim time.

Later, and based on this tip, agents interviewed Close. Close admitted to the following: accessing child

pornography from the TOR network; using a Russian photo sharing site to access child pornography; receiving

and distributing images of child pornography online; being sexually interested in boys as young as

five and up to 18; and possessing approximately 5 terabytes of child pornography. He also acknowledged

leaving a watch with video capability in the designated changing areas in order to record the boys as they


Agents conducted a forensic analysis of Close’s devices and confirmed that he had more than 110,000

image and video files that depicted minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. Approximately 60,000 of

those files were unique images. Close also created 1,900 images of child pornography. To date, 143 victims

have been identified, with the youngest being seven years old.

One of the identified victims, who is referred to in court filings as Minor #21, provided a recorded victim

impact statement which was played during the sentencing hearing. He stated in pertinent part: Never

have I been so sad. This whole thing lingers in my mind all the time. I wish I could make it go away. . . .

I have a question for you, Aqua Joe: Why? Why would you do this to me? Why would you do this to any

kid? How dare you do this to a kid that can’t defend himself. I don’t understand. I’m supposed to be able

to trust the people that I’m told I can trust. You took advantage of me and you spied on me. Now I don’t

trust anyone. You ruined part of my life! And I hate you. . . . I especially hate you for hurting my mother.

You broke her heart – and mine. . . . I hope someday I can forget about you.

This case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations, the Ohio Internet Crimes Against Children

Task Force (ICAC) and the Shelby Police Department. It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Carol M.


Page 10 When I Became Free January 16, 2020

National Resources

The National Domestic Violence Hotline

1-800-799-7233 (SAFE)


National Dating Abuse Helpline



National Child Abuse Hotline/Childhelp

1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453)


National Sexual Assault Hotline

1-800-656-4673 (HOPE)


National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

1-800-273-8255 (TALK)


National Center for Victims of Crime



National Human Trafficking Resource Center/Polaris Project

Call: 1-888-373-7888 | Text: HELP to BeFree (233733)


National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights



National Coalition for the Homeless



National Resource Center on Domestic Violence


www.nrcdv.org and www.vawnet.org

Futures Without Violence:

The National Health Resource Center on Domestic Violence



National Center on Domestic Violence, Trauma & Mental Health

1-312-726-7020 ext. 2011



Childhelp USA/National Child Abuse Hotline



Children’s Defense Fund



Child Welfare League of America



National Council on Juvenile and Family Court Judges

Child Protection and Custody/Resource Center on Domestic Violence



Center for Judicial Excellence




Love is respect Hotline:



Break the Cycle




Domestic Violence Initiative

(303) 839-5510/ (877) 839-5510


Deaf Abused Women’s Network (DAWN)

Email: Hotline@deafdawn.org

VP: 202-559-5366



Women of Color Network




Women of Color Against Violence




Casa de Esperanza Linea de crisis

24-horas/24-hour crisis line 1-651-772-1611

National Latin@ Network for Healthy Families and Communities




The National Immigrant Women's Advocacy Project

(202) 274-4457



National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center



Indigenous Women’s Network




Asian and Pacific Islander Institute on Domestic Violence



Committee Against Anti-Asian Violence (CAAAV)

1-212- 473-6485






Institute on Domestic Violence in the African American Community


January 16, 2020 WHEN I BECAME FREE Page 11

The Black Church and Domestic Violence Institute





The Audre Lorde Project



LAMBDA GLBT Community Services



National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs



National Gay and Lesbian Task Force



Northwest Network of Bisexual, Trans,

Lesbian & Gay Survivors of Abuse



Trans Lifeline




National Clearinghouse on Abuse in Later Life



Legal Network for Gender Equity



Suicide And Crisis

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention provides referrals to

support groups, mental health professionals, resources on loss and suicide

prevention information. Phone: 888-333-2377

The Suicide Prevention Lifeline connects callers to trained crisis counselors

24/7. They also provide a chat function on their website.

Phone: 800-273-8255

Mental Health Conditions

Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) provides information

on prevention, treatment and symptoms of anxiety, depression

and related conditions. Phone: 240-485-1001

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) provides information

on bipolar disorder and depression, offers in-person and online support

groups and forums. Phone: 800-826-3632

International OCD Foundation provides information on OCD and treatment

referrals. Phone: 617-973-5801

National Center of Excellence for Eating Disorders (NCEED) provides

up-to-date, reliable and evidence-based information about eating disorders.

Phone: 800-931-2237

TARA (Treatment and Research Advancements for Borderline Personality

Disorder)offers a referral center for information, support, education

and treatment options for BPD. Phone: 888-482-7227

National Center for Elder Abuse




National Organization for Men Against Sexism (NOMAS)



A Call to Men



Men Can Stop Rape



Men Stopping Violence




Battered Women’s Justice Project



Legal Momentum





National Clearinghouse for the Defense of Battered Women

1-800-903-0111 x 3


Pae 12 When I Became Free January 16, 2020

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