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John Heckathorn's last foreword as editor of HONOLULU Magazine.

I've been a subscriber of HONOLULU Magazine for several years, and am a big fan of John Heckathorn. He was the best thing your magazine had going for it, and I am shocked and disappointed that the magazine let itself lose such a valuable asset. I always looked forward to John's articles, and cannot imagine the magazine without him. Please, bring him back!

Carol K. Honda, via e-mail

John-thanks for your stewardship at HONOLULU. Sorry to see you go, but hope you will continue to contribute. Best wishes for your new career.

Mark Stitham, via e-mail

Associate editor Ronna Bolante's investigation into the prevalence of child sex abuse, and the obstacles to prosecuting such crimes.

I want to commend you for the excellent article, one that should be printed out and given (better yet, taught) to law enforcement officers, social workers and all others who work with kids who have been sexually abused. Your article helps us understand why a deacon who was [recently] indicted for molesting a boy over the past three years is being supported by the adults in his congregation, while little outrage is shown [on behalf of] the boy who was molested.

After working with adult survivors of sexual abuse and domestic violence for many years as a pastor and counselor, and being a survivor myself, I can verify the truth in all you said. With all the hoopla over the sex-offender registry, it helps to be reminded that at least 90 percent of offenders are family members or trusted friends. The issue is much more complex than most want to believe. Why do victims so seldom tell, and if they do, are hesitant to testify? It seems "easier" for the victim to carry the blame than to disgrace the entire family while being called a liar and worse. What a terrible burden to carry throughout one's life.

We look in horror at countries throughout our world that denigrate women and children, while we ignore that which is before our eyes. We must educate women as to their own worth, and help them value their daughters (and sons) enough to protect them. And we must continue to educate our sons and our daughters that neither women nor men are to be used, humiliated, degraded.

Rev. Barbara Grace Ripple,
United Methodist Minister (retired), via e-mail

I would like to applaud Ronna Bolante's article. Her treatment was fair, comprehensive and illuminating. What troubles me is the assumption that we are doing all we can to contend with this terrible problem. We are not.

First of all, child molesters are engaged in activity that is uniquely pernicious and especially deserving of our resources. It is the only crime that often perpetuates itself in the victim. Victims of armed robberies and car jackings don't turn around and begin robbing banks and stealing cars. But children who are victims of sex offenders often repeat the behavior.

There are several important changes we need to consider in social policy to combat this growing menace. Hawai'i courts need to reconsider letting children victims testify in private, a practice common in other jurisdictions.

I agree with my friend Peter Carlisle that we should not be affording special treatment to parents who offend against their children, but I strongly disagree that justice is better served by merging the Sexual Assault Division with the Career Criminal Division, a mistaken change that has decreased prosecutorial referrals. The Honolulu Police Department has officers highly skilled in the difficult task of working with children who are victims of sexual assault. Those skills are vastly different from those necessary to interview someone who just had his home burglarized. The TV concept of a "specialized crime unit" is appropriate and the right model. .

There is something that you, the reader, can do. Not only can you lobby for what you believe are needed changes in our social policy, you can volunteer a few hours each week to speak for a child who is caught up in this system as a victim. The state of Hawai'i has a wonderful program called Volunteer Guardian Ad Litem, which is attached to the family court. For more information call at 538-5930. The children of Hawai'i need your voice and your help.

Steve Lane, via e-mail

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Honolulu Magazine July 2020
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