comments expressed here are not necessarily the opinion of the web master
We think about safety all the time. Safety from train accidents and folks falling down at the track. But the real danger may be the sex offender stalking victims at our railroads. Our kids need to be kept safe from these predators. Our clubs need to be safe from law suits filed against us on behalf of the victimized children. We need to discuss this like any safety issue. We need rules to protect the little ones. We need to keep our eyes open. Not look the other way because it's distasteful or uncomfortable to talk about.
What can we do to protect the kids from possible molesters? The best answer
is: Be ever vigilant. Watch for an adult, or even another child, who displays
'unusual' interest in certain kids. For example, if you see a person who
normally ignores kids suddenly show quite a bit of attention toward a child,
that is a good time for the 'Caution" light to go off in your head. Now, I am
not saying that all people who pay extra attention to kids are pedophiles; But,
all pedophiles pay an unusual amount of extra attention to kids.
Another thing we can do is make sure that we, as parents, always know where our children are, who they are with, and what they will be doing. Talk with them about 'good touch and bad touch'. And, yes, this even applies to Teens. Make sure that your kids know that they can come to you and tell you any thing at any time.
Now, how can we, as Live Steamers, avoid being wrongly accused of such an atrocity, yet still share our hobby with the youngsters? There is no real direct answer to that question. False accusations happen much more frequently than we would like to believe. After all, who wants to think that a child would lie about something as horrible as this? But, children do lie about it, and people go to jail based on a lie. The best way to protect ourselves is to make sure that the child's parent is with them at all times! No parent? No ride. It may seem harsh, but in this day and age an accused molester is guilty until proven innocent. Remember, not every accusation is false, and not every accusation is true. Rather than being placed in a position to defend ourselves from the unthinkable, we need to make sure that the parents are there to see that nothing untoward is happening.
Our hobby is filled with a great bunch of people. Oh, there are obviously a few bad apples, but all in all, we are a fantastic bunch. Almost every Live Steamer I have met would give the shirt off of his/her back to help another. Don't let the alleged actions of one man put a pox on the rest of us. Hold your heads high, keep those eyes sharp, and let's be ever vigilant!
Parents should make it a habit to check their state's Sexual Offender Registry, if there is one. The purpose of this information is to allow members of the public a means to protect themselves from individuals who have committed an offense that requires registration on the Sex Offender Registry.
Note: Most sex offenders are not on the registry. Many sex offenders commit acts of sexual abuse for an average of 13 years before they are caught, if they are ever caught. Also, sexually aggressive offenses are sometimes plea-bargained down to an offense that does not meet the Sex Offender Registry criteria.