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#83124 - 09/06/05 07:54 PM Sex-abuse victim to lead forum
Curtis St. John Offline
Past President
Registered: 01/20/04
Posts: 1798
Loc: Westchester, N.Y.
Sex-abuse victim to lead forum
By Larry Fisher-Hertz
Poughkeepsie Journal

September 6, 2005

In 1979, when he was 10 years old, Curtis St. John was sexually abused by a Poughkeepsie Middle School teacher tutoring him.

A few months later, the teacher, Albert Fentress, cannibalized and killed another young man he lured into his City of Poughkeepsie home.

On Sept. 13, St. John will return to the city school district for the first time to talk about his experience at a public forum on sex abuse.

The event, hosted by the Dutchess County Sex Offender Management Project, will be held at Poughkeepsie High starting at 7 p.m.

"I'm just a regular guy who grew up with this in my past," St. John said Friday. "It affected my adult life, but I've recovered and now I'd like to help others make the connection between abuse and life problems.

"My role is to show that vigilance starts at home," he said. "Sex offender registrations are great, but they are only a tool. Not every offender is on a registry.'

County Legislator Rob Rolison, R-Town of Poughkeepsie, who is also a town police detective, said the event would be the third in a series of public meetings forums designed to raise public awareness about what is being done to track sex offenders in the community.

"We are attempting to talk to parents and others in the community about what is currently being done in Dutchess to track sex offenders, and we are seeking input on how we might improve the process," Rolison said.

Members of the panel at the Sept. 13 forum will include police officers, prosecutors, defense attorneys and crime victim specialists.

Panelist Whitney Bonura, supervisor of the Sexual Trauma Crisis and Recovery Services unit at Family Services Inc., said she hoped the session would alert parents and others about the ways sex offenders are tracked and monitored.

'Living among us'

"Many people believe that once a sex offender is convicted, we lock them up and throw away the key," Bonura said. "Most sex offenders are living among us. We want to raise people's awareness about how we keep track of the people we know about and how people can guard against the ones we don't know about."

St. John didn't tell anyone he'd been molested until he read a newspaper article nearly 20 years later that described a court proceeding in which Fentress was seeking to be released from a mental hospital on Long Island.

Fentress was found not guilty of the 1979 murder of 18-year-old Paul Masters by reason of insanity in 1980, and he has been confined to mental hospitals ever since. Until St. John came forward at a 2003 court proceeding, Fentress had never told anyone about the encounters.

St. John's testimony at the hearing helped convince state Supreme Court Judge James Catterson Fentress belonged in a more secure mental hospital. He is being housed at Mid-Hudson Psychiatric Center, a locked facility in Goshen, Orange County.

St. John said he believed the more the issue is discussed, the safer the community will be.

"It's a widespread problem, and we've got to fix it," he said. "A lot of us want to bring this issue out into the open rather than have it remain stigmatized in the shadows."

#83125 - 09/06/05 08:16 PM Re: Sex-abuse victim to lead forum
SAR Offline
Administrator Emeritus

Registered: 12/07/03
Posts: 3310
Loc: USA
Wow, Curtis, you are really an inspiration to a lot of people here, I think it is so cool when you post these stories.

Back to your hometown, is that a little strange?

You are a brave, giving person.


#83126 - 09/06/05 08:34 PM Re: Sex-abuse victim to lead forum
Mike Church Offline
Moderator Emeritus
Registered: 01/23/03
Posts: 3439
Loc: Toronto, Canada
Curtis you are a truly great guy and do not ever forget that. I know many think that bringing the issues forward into the public mind is like pouring molasses uphill but it is worth it. You and I know that.

Keep it up brother.



#83127 - 09/06/05 08:55 PM Re: Sex-abuse victim to lead forum
Curtis St. John Offline
Past President
Registered: 01/20/04
Posts: 1798
Loc: Westchester, N.Y.
Thanks guys, Yes it will be a little weird because I escaped by being one of those backstage geeks and the forum will be in that same theatre where I used to avoid life.

It will be fun though.

#83128 - 09/07/05 01:26 PM Re: Sex-abuse victim to lead forum
irishguy Offline

Registered: 03/01/04
Posts: 231
Loc: Dublin, Ireland
Thats really cool what your doing roland, id love to be there, but will miss it by 10 days only, keep up the great work, with ppl like you speaking out this place will be alot safer for everyone...



Only Irish coffee provides in a single glass all four essential food groups: alcohol, caffeine, sugar, and fat.

#83129 - 09/08/05 12:40 AM Re: Sex-abuse victim to lead forum
Ivanhoe Offline

Registered: 03/19/03
Posts: 1907

Way to go!!!

I'm still struggling with a "letter to the editor" I'm working on about how three, of the 60 some guys, who were waiting for the trial against the Portland Archdiocese to start, have committed suicide.
All I've done in the letter so far is to mention for offenders and for survivors, but I've stalled out because of the cautionary statement of my therapist to not sign my name.
Well, there in lies the crux of all of this. Do I step back because of what my therapist said about me possibly getting some static from a perp or two, or do I press on to help get the word out?
I think what you're doing is extremely brave, and, you are acting as an encourager for me, and others, to take stands where we live, to help those who are still feeling all alone.

Thank you, Curtis, for helping to show us the way.


"No soul is desolate as long as there is a human being for whom it can feel trust and reverence."
George Eliot


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