Tag Archives: #Exchangestudent

#meetoo in student exchange industry

In his article of February 2, 2018 Andrew Binion, journalist with the KitsapSun, writes about 73 year old Larry Iversen who was sentenced to five days in jail for abusing a 17 year old student.

According to the court, Iversen did not use any “power to persuade or coerce the teen”. The student was an exchange student with Rotary’s youth exchange program over which Iversen was Youth Exchange Officer for East Bremerton Rotary and also worked to establish safety guidelines for exchange students in USA.

In these #Meetoo times it shouldn’t be too much to ask that judges see things for what they are. At least Rotary International had the decency to ban Iversen from any and all Rotary clubs.

Her host family discovered the relationship, but not until the exchange student left their family. They had lent the exchange student their smart phone. On it they found nude photos of the exchange student along with messages to and from Iversen. It may well be that the student intended that the predatory  behaviour be discovered as no attempt had been made to delete the pictures that were found on the phone.

CIEE false marketing

Too often, host families are not given enough information about what it means to be one. The sending organization tends to promise too much in their marketing. My experience with most of the organizations is that they are glorified travel agencies and like travel agencies, their level of service depends on the guide/local coordinator you get. This review was found on YELP.

I believe in international education, but I do not recommend the CIEE high school summer abroad program. I had a very negative experience regarding the treatment of my child and several other students in a 2017 summer program in Europe. I was dismayed by the condescending and unhelpful interaction I experienced with the high school abroad support team staff based in Portland, ME. If you are considering this program for your child, please go beyond the glossy webpage, rosy reviews, and the lure of scholarship opportunities at your child’s high school and ask lots of questions. Ask for the full names and email and phone information of the local CIEE staff overseas as well as of the support team in Maine. Try to contact them. Ask for the contact information of other participants’ parents in case of emergency. Try calling the 24/7 emergency number in the evening. Ask if your child will be sharing a room with another exchange student or living in a house full of exchange students. Know that there are many high school study abroad programs to choose from

Abuse

Since its founding in 2005, CSFES has been contacted by students who have been abused. Each and every year. Only a tiny amount of  exchange students who are abused contact us. We know there are many more who need help. At least that is what this study from 1999 shows. I have found no other research regarding abuse against international exchange students.

Anyone can be abused. There is no way to tell who is an abuser by the way they outwardly look or act. Abusers look just like you and me.

Physical abuse

Physical abuse includes pinching, pushing, grabbing, shaking, smacking, kicking, and punching. In 2016 we had a case where the exchange student was beaten so bad he had to go to the Emergency. He was surprised by his host-mother and host-brother, taken out back and beaten. Due to surprise and shock, the student had not been able to defend himself. The host-brother’s fists (nothing else) were marked by the beating. Unfortunately, the exchange organization representative deleted the pictures the exchange student had taken with his phone showing what he looked like. In spite of written documentation of the damage to him, the exchange student was blamed and returned to his parents.

Report physical abuse and tell your parents. ALWAYS tell your parents, take pictures and send them as soon as possible.

Sexual abuse

In 2017 Miami Dade Herald reported on the case of the sexual abuse of at least 12 girls. The predator married two of his victims and had started the process of manipulating the another. The exchange organization, CCI Greenheart, that had placed 11 of the girls, apparently did a background check on the predator but had not found his record of sexual assault from 1985. This predator is far from the only exchange student case that has come to the attention of media.

In most cases, sexual abuse does not go this far. It all depends on how good the abuser is at what they do. Unfortunately, it also  depends on the exchange organization taking the students seriously. In the above case, CCI did not. When that happens, many students give up.

As soon as you hear people tell you that you should keep whatever happens to yourself, contact your parents. ALWAYS keep your parents up to date about what happens to you and what your days consist of. I have worked with some of the students and families who are sexually abused. Sometimes the exchange organization works with the student. Other times, we have to fight to get the student to safety. Most of the time chance plays a part in whether or not CSFES, or other similar organizations, are asked for help.

Emotional abuse

This is the kind of abuse we see most often. Emotional abuse can happen on its own or together with other kinds of abuse. If you are sexually or physically abused, you will, most likely, be emotionally abused. Realizing what is happening can be difficult. Manipulators know how to gradually trap you. Some of the situation can be:

Day by day your situation worsens. Every day you are blamed for something or told that you are not good enough. Nothing you say or do makes things better. You feel the old you disappearing into a miserable person.

Blaming you for what they do. The abuser might say something like “If only you were better behaved, this would not have happened.”

You might be treated as a servant rather than a family member.

You might be kept from having contact with new friends, your family or friends at home or other adults in the area. We often hear exchange students tell us that their coordinator asks them to keep the situation to themselves.

Humiliation seems to be popular. One student told us about her host mother who would say embarrassing and untrue things about her to her friends. That kept her friends away. Others have told us about host-parents or coordinators who spread rumours.

Threats of self-harm happens. One student spoke of a host-mother who depended so much upon their talks that she said she would die if the student was not there. The student stayed longer than was good for them, but fortunately they were able to move.

Telling you that you are ungrateful for your “lovely host-parents who were kind enough to welcome you into their home”. Especially host-parents who are friends with the coordinator can cause trouble. In most cases, the exchange students gets blamed for everything that happens.

Threats of being returned to your home. Another favourite. Particularly exchange organizations use this threat. They might even demand that you sign a document where you are blamed for the situation.

When the exchange student is the abuser

This does happen. Not very often, but when it does, the abuse can be any of the above. Again, tell the exchange organization right away.

Should you be an exchange student?

Many factors determine whether being an exchange student is a good choice. No matter which exchange student option you choose, grades, finances, health, diet, religion and politics all influence your ability to fit into a new culture by yourself.

Alone

The most important factor involved in making your decision is that you must realize that once you have left home to travel to a new destination you are all by yourself. Everyone in your new culture will judge you based upon the cultural rules they understand.  No one really cares about the rules you grew up with. Not your host family, not your international coordinator and not the school you attend. Usually people will cut you more slack than their own young people, but theirs are the rules you must learn. Even if the people you live with are related to you, you will still be judged by the cultural rules that apply to their family.

Grades

The schools you attend will be in a completely different language. All of your subjects are in a different way to what you are used to. The grading system might be a bit different. You need to have AT LEAST a C average to even consider going. A higher grade point average makes adjusting easier. If you have a D or F average, you need to forget about going or work hard to change it.

Finances

No matter how you travel as an exchange student, it will cost you. A lot of money. Travel fare, passport, visa, tuition, housing, food, pocket money, clothing, vaccines, and so on. It all adds up. If you travel with an exchange organization, they will take care of the plane ticket to your destination and getting you a representative. In some instances your fee goes up because they pay the host family for having you. Even if you travel with an exchange organization and the host family is free, you still need to pay for passport and visa, pocket money, any special dietary needs, travel to the airport, clothing and so on. If you estimate using at least 10 000 Euro/USD all together, you have a starting point. How will you get that money?

Sometimes stipends are offered in the host-country or by the country you are travelling from. Your parents could be well off. Maybe you need to save up to it. If things turn bad, you risk losing all that money. Especially if you travel with an exchange organization. Are you willing to take that risk?

Health

Any country you travel to demands that you be of good physical and mental health. Some countries require vaccines. You will have to do a physical, pay for insurance and answer lots of questions. Remember to be honest. Allergies, ADHD, Aspergers, dietary requirements, diabetes, epilepsy, and so on. Be honest. It could go very bad for you if you lie.

If you struggle with PTSD, eating disorders, depression or anxiety, it is likely that your mental health problems will increase. Why? New food, new cultural rules, new family rules, and so on affect mental problems. In rare cases I have heard of people becoming better, but in those cases their home family situation has been far from ideal.

If you are travelling with an exchange organization, and have informed them about allergies or other sensitivities, you still risk being placed in a family you shouldn’t be. How would you deal with that?

Diet

Vegans and vegetarians have a harder time being placed. Particularly vegans. You will most likely have to buy and make your own food. Can you handle living with a family that eats meat. Most families you end up with do. If your religion has particular dietary requirements, how will you handle that?

Religion

Many students struggle with this aspect of life, particularly if they end up in a place that has the opposite view of theirs. Sometimes the conservatism is so strong that it becomes abusive. Whether that conservatism is Muslim, Christian, atheist, Jewish or any other choice out there, ending up in a belief system contrary to your own requires a lot of an exchange student. Will you be able to keep your mouth shut and remain polite? Too many Muslims are placed into conservative Christian families who try to feed them pork products. How will you handle an abusive situation?

Politics

New cultures mean new political points of view. Who is to say that yours is better than theirs? They won’t think so. Will you be able to refrain from criticising people who have wildly different political views?

These are some of the things you need to think about before you choose the exchange student life. It could end up being an amazing year but might also end up being terrible.

Unsanitary conditions

Exchange student life brings with it many challenges. Some you can work through. Some you can live with. And some you must do something drastic about. Changing your host family ought to be OK, part of the learning process of dealing with new people and new cultures. Exchange students are youngish when they are thrown into a completely different culture with rules they do not understand. Host families are supposed to help the exchange student understand the cultural do’s and don’ts.

A common problem is the one described below. Exchange students are NOT in a country to be free labour for the host family. Chores are to be expected, but not being treated as an unpaid worker. As some of the advice at the link states – talk to your exchange organization, your teacher, the school that sent you there or the person in charge of your stay. Most of all talk to your parents about the situation.

In the below post there is one thing that is more of a cultural matter than the host-mother being against the exchange student. There is massive focus on doing well in school in Japan. Comments on the need to choose something more intelligent would usually be meant as wisdom. Exchange students have to remember that cultures are different and they would do well to study their intended culture before they go there. Especially adult-child relationships.

“I will be in Japan for an entire year. I have been here for a month and I have been very unhappy with my host family. They seem to think that I came to Japan only to clean their house and change my personality completely. Here is the thing, they are dirty, 15 years older than my own parents, busy, and confrontational. I cant deal with it anymore. I have cried so many times and its all because of something that one of them said to me or my host father lying about me or something like that. I want to be happy and whenever I even THINK about my host family I feel like crying. I dont want to stay with them any longer or else I will turn into a bad person. My host father is a lier and my host mother thinks that I shouldnt seek my dreams and that I should become a different person. Everyone knows that I want to be either a singer, model or actress but she had the nerve to say, “I dont think you should seek talent Krys, I think you should do something more intelligent.” I need help.(Yahoo answers)

Host family nudism

Exchange students are expected to adapt to their host-family’s culture and try to follow house rules, however, there are limits. Some exchange student representatives do a terrible job when vetting a potential host-family. Or, perhaps, they are lied to.

In this example an exchange student asks what to do in the case of host-family nudism. Answers range from disbelief to telling the exchange student to get out of there as soon as possible. I tend to agree with the person who thinks that the host-family should put their nudism on hold while hosting. If they are unable to do that, then they should not be a host-family. Oddly enough, nudism is an issue that turns up with host-families and/or exchange students. When in doubt, always use caution in how to share your personal culture. Nudism is rare in most countries.

I am staying with my exchange student and her family in Germany. She and I are both 16 and she has a 9 and 21 year old sisters and both her parents. All her family are nudists. I told them that I don’t feel comfortable with them being nude all the time but they said that it is unhealthy to be insecure about your body. The dad is at work most of the time so they say it’s all okay because we’re all girls.

They don’t have locks on the bathroom doors and when I’m having a shower they just walk in to brush their hair or clean their teeth and they see me naked. My exchange student and I have to share a bed and of course she sleeps naked. They said they are borrowing another bed from their friends but they are still waiting another week. They only wash clothes once or twice a month because they only need them for going out. I have to wear the one dress to school for a whole week because of it.

They’re really nice people and everything but I am staying with them for three months and don’t want to feel uncomfortable staying with them for so long. I don’t want to report them to my supervisor teacher or anything like that because I don’t want them to get in trouble. What else can I do to stop having to feel so uncomfortable around them?

Host families who bully

There are many reasons for changing host-families. Everything from not having the right chemistry to severe abuse (sexual and/or otherwise). An anonymous guest writer on Nationality Unknown reveals a common problem with host-families, one that can be difficult for outsiders to understand. This type of bullying might well be the result of not enough information about what it means to be a host-family, which is so much more than room and board.

“When I arrived at my first host family I was extremely excited. It took a while for my exchange organisation to find me one, which was extremely nerve-wracking (you must understand this struggle). When I finally got to meet them it was the first time I had heard about them, and also the first time they heard about me, which was a little odd. When getting the news they were allowed to host an exchange student, they didn´t even know what gender I was going to be. I had a sister and a brother and our house, even though it was small, it was truly amazing. It seemed everything I had hoped for.

Yes the weeks passed by and these little things weird things came up all the time. They ignored the fact that I had already been learning a lot of the language. From all of the arriving exchange students, I was one of the most advanced when it came to language, yet whenever they had a chance they would remind me that I wasn´t good at all, that I couldn´t understand anything. And not as a joke, or as constructive criticism. They also tended to be confused on where I was actually from, even after one month and me repeatedly telling and explaining them. It sounds silly, but it feels so bad when people don´t know or don´t recognize where you are from. When you go on exchange you get so confronted with your nationality and your identity, and when people don´t see that it´s like you are some ghost. A weird ghost that doesn´t fit in there, but apparently also doesn´t have a clear home.”

Fortunately, this exchange student was able to change families and their story turned out well. Staying on in the first host family would have destroyed the exchange student’s self-esteem. At least, that has been CSFES’ experience.

Several exchange students have shared their experiences on Nationality Unknown. Experiences range from gruesome to pleasant.

Lars Wollebekk taken to court by Danish parents

Lars Wollebekk is the owner of Language Education (Aspect), Denmark and Speak High School, Denmark. In Denmark and Finland exchange student travels are equated with package tours. After all is said and done, that is exactly what these trips are. The exchange organizations arrange the flight, housing (host-parents), a guide (local representative) and activities (school and travels). The Danish newspaper, BT, wrote a great piece covering the process the exchange student family has gone through: from signing the contract until the judgement was passed in Østre Landsrets.

“Det var den 13. november 2013. Kristian var blevet sendt hjem fra et udvekslingsophold i USA mere end et halvt år før tid efter kun to måneders ophold……

»Han blev meget nedtrykt og lukkede sig meget inde i sig selv. Han følte, han havde svigtet, men også at der ikke var blevet lyttet til ham. Det tog ham over to år at komme nogenlunde på fode igen,« siger Jesper Hjorth til BT.

Men allerede kort efter, at sønnen kom hjem i utide, begyndte Jesper Hjorth at undre sig. Hvorfor fik de som forældre ikke noget at vide om problemerne, før sagen allerede var eskaleret? Og hvorfor blev Kristian sendt hjem af udvekslingsbureauet Language Education Danmark uden at have fået de foregående advarsler som deres regler ellers foreskrev?

Jesper Hjorth var også uforstående overfor, at Kristian endte hos en mormonfamilie i Utah, selvom forældrene flere gange gennem hele forløbet havde krævet, at sønnen netop ikke fik en værtsfamilie med den trosretning.

Splittede familien

Nu har Jesper Hjorth efter en lang og opslidende kamp gennem mere end tre et halvt år fået Østre Landsrets ord for, at udvekslingsbureauet Language Education Danmark forbrød sig mod deres egne regler og procedure, da de sendte Kristian hjem. Dels havde han ikke modtaget nok advarsler, før bureauet skred til hjemsendelse, og dels fandt retten ikke beviser for, at det ifølge loven i Utah er ulovligt at se pornografi…….

Pakkerejse-ankenævnet dømte til familien Hjorths fordel, men ankesagen ved Retten i Lyngby vandt Language Education Danmark, før Østre Landsret i april slog fast, at bureauet havde forbrudt sig mod deres egne regler i forbindelse med hjemsendelsen…..

‘Blev udsat for psykisk pres’

Under retssagen kom det frem, hvad der skete i Utah i tiden op til at Kristian pludselig fik en returbillet til Danmark. Og det er oplysninger, som chokerede Jesper Hjorth dybt.

Efter at Kristian var blevet taget i at kigge på Side 9-piger på sin egen computer hjemme hos værtsfamilien i Stansbury, Utah, hev koordinatoren fra Education Danmarks amerikanske samarbejdspartner Aspect High School pludselig fat i ham.

BT er i besiddelse af en udskrift af den omkring 30 minutter lange samtale, hvor Kristian blandt andet blev spurgt ind til sin barndom, mentale tilstand og om han havde et pornografi-problem. Kristians svar fik koordinatoren til at konkludere, at den 17-årige danske dreng burde tage til lægen, så han kunne henstilles til en psykiater.

Som sagt så gjort. På Kristians 18 års fødselsdag tog værtsfamilien ham med til lægen. I retten bevidnede Kristians amerikanske værtsmor, at det var Language Education Danmarks partner i USA, Aspect, som bad hende tage det skridt.

»Det fortæller noget om det psykiske pres, junior har været udsat for derovre,« siger Jesper Hjorth.

Han og Kristians mor hørte først om samtalen med Aspects koordinator og lægekonsultationen, da sagen kom for Pakkerejse-ankenævnet i efteråret 2014, selvom Language Education Danmark var blevet informeret, allerede mens det stod på.

Lægen i Utah konstaterede, at Kristian var lidt bedrøvet på grund af tilvænningen til livet så langt væk hjemmefra, men at han ellers var en ganske normal teenager. For en sikkerheds skyld henstillede lægen dog Kristian til en psykiater, fremgår det af lægeerklæringen, som BT er i besiddelse af. Muligheden for medicinering mod depression blev endda diskuteret.

»Jeg er meget chokeret over, at det her overhovedet kunne ske uden vores samtykke – og at vi ikke engang fik noget at vide om det,« siger Jesper Hjorth.

Men Kristian nåede aldrig at tale med en amerikansk psykiater. For en uge senere blev han uden yderligere varsel sendt hjem til Danmark.

Mentale problemer som undskyldning for hjemsendelser?

I Education Danmarks regelsæt står der, at det er hjemsendelsesgrund, hvis ’den studerendes fysiske eller mentale helbred er i fare.’ Jesper Hjorth sidder med en fornemmelse af, at netop den formulering var årsagen til, at Aspect pressede på for at få Kristian til lægen.

»Jeg tror, de bruger det som undskyldning til at få unge sendt hjem, hvis der opstår problemer,« siger Jesper Hjorth.

Han påpeger, at en norsk pige, som døjede med hovedpine efter at have pådraget sig hjernerystelse i en motorcykelulykke, pludselig fik konstateret depression af en læge, som Language Education Danmarks samarbejdspartner Aspect havde sendt hende til. Kort efter blev hun sendt hjem på baggrund af bekymring for hendes mentale tilstand.

BT har forelagt Jesper Hjorts kritik for Language Education Danmarks direktør Lars Wollebekk, men han ønsker ikke at kommentere den. Men i retten lod han forstå, at det ikke er ’sædvanligt, at en student hjemsendes på grund af mentale problemer, men hvis sådanne problemer opstår, må man reagere på det.’

Det fremgår af Østre Landsrets dombog fra retssagen.

Pas på bureauernes fælder

Ovenpå sine og Kristians oplevelser med Language Education Danmark har Jesper Hjorth en klar opfordring til de mange danske forældre, som overvejer et udvekslingsophold til deres børn:

»Jeg vil ikke anbefale andre at sende deres børn på udvekslingsophold.«

Jesper Hjorth savner kontrol med bureauerne fra myndighedernes side og mener også, at forældrene burde have mere indflydelse på, hvilken værtsfamilie deres barn havner hos…..

Language Education Danmark blev af Østre Landsret dømt til at tilbagebetale Jesper Hjorth 40.000 kroner, svarende til prisen for den del af Kristians udvekslingsophold, som sønnen på grund af hjemsendelsen gik glip af. Men på grund af nogle tidligere udtalelser til medierne om Language Education Danmark i sagen blev Jesper Hjorth sideløbende dømt til at betale Language Education Danmark 20.000 kroner i injurier. Derfor ender den samlede tilbagebetaling til Jesper Hjorth på 20.000 kroner.

Derudover skal udvekslingsbureauet betale Jesper Hjorths sagsomkostninger på 25.000 kroner. Ifølge Jesper Hjorth dækker det dog på ingen måde de advokatudgifter, han har haft i løbet af de tre et halvt år, sagen har kørt.

»Jeg undrer mig over, at jeg efter at have fået rettens ord for, at hjemsendelsen var i strid med reglerne, skal stå tilbage med et underskud på næsten 100.000 kroner på at have kørt sagen,« siger Jesper Hjorth…..”

The entire article is found BT’s website.


Translation to English:

Something was the matter. Jesper Hjorth could see it right away when he saw his 18-year-old son Kristian for the first time in three months. Kristian had been looking forward to living one of his dreams. Instead, it became a terrible – and several years long – nightmare, both for him and the rest of the family.

It was November 13, 2013. Kristian was sent home from an exchange stay in the United States after only two months stay, more than half a year before time. He was embarrased, depressed and the feeling of having failed shone from the young man.

During the exchange in a Mormon family in the state of Utah, Jesper Hjorth’s son had watched Page 9 girls, although the rules stated he could not watch pornography. Therefore he was sent back to Denmark in disgrace. Even the parents were disappointed with Kristian’s behavior.

“He was very depressed and became introverted. He felt he had failed but also that he had not been listened to. It took him two years to recover, “says Jesper Hjorth to BT.

After his son had been home for a while, Jesper Hjorth started to wonder. Why did they, as parents, not know anything about the issues before the case escalated? And why was Kristian sent home by the exchange agency Language Education Denmark without getting the prerequisite warnings?

Nor did Jesper Hjorth understand why Kristian was placed with a Mormon family in Utah, in spite of the parents having repeatedly stated that their son was not to be placed with a  family of that faith.

Now, after a long and difficult struggle, and more than three and a half years, Jesper Hjorth has finally received judgement from Østre Landsret that Language Education Denmark  broke  their own rules and procedures when they sent Kristian home. First of all, he had not received enough warnings before repatriation, and secondly, the court found no evidence that watching pornography in Utah is illegal.

“This matter has split our family apart. I’ve felt really, really bad for a long time, and spent several years getting justice for my son. It has affected my family a great deal, “says Jesper Hjorth, after the Østre Landsret settled the case and sentenced Language Education Denmark to repay the family 20,000 kroner.

Pakkerejse-ankenævnet had previously passed sentence in favour of the Hjorth family, but the appeal case by the Court in Lyngby favoured Language Education Denmark, and then finally Østre Landsret found in April that the agency had violated their own rules in connection with the return.

“We were incredibly happy that judgement had finally fallen. Junior is happy that he now has the word of the court that the return was not his fault. This was the end of a three and a half years nightmare for our entire family and of course our son, “continues Jesper Hjorth.

BT has been trying to get a comment from Language Education Denmark’s director Lars Wollebekk, but he has not wanted to comment. In an email, the exchange organizantion’s attorney, Thomas Donatzky, says that Language Education Denmark is “happy with the verdict, and that it has been noted and followed”. He notes that the bureau lost the case because they could not prove that Kristian had received enough warnings before repatriation – not because Language Education Denmark was not entitled to repatriate Kristian on the basis of breach of the rules.

‘Was exposed to mental pressure’

The trial revealed what happened in Utah previous to Kristian suddenly getting a return ticket to Denmark. This is information that shocked Jesper Hjorth deeply.

After Kristian had been caught looking at page 9 girls on his own computer at home with the host family in Stansbury, Utah, the coordinator of Education Denmark’s American partner Aspect High School suddenly took charge of him.

BT is in possession of a printout of an approximately 30-minute interview, where Kristian, among other things, was asked about his childhood, mental state and if he had a pornography problem. Kristian’s answers led the coordinator to conclude that the 17-year-old Danish boy should go to a doctor so he could be referred to a psychiatrist.

As said so done. On Kristians 18th birthday, the host family took him to the doctor. In court, Khristian’s US host mother stated that it was Language Education Denmark’s partner in the United States, Aspect, who asked her to go to that step.

“This says something about the psychological pressure that the junior has been exposed to over there,” says Jesper Hjorth.

He and Kristian’s mother first heard about the conversations with Aspect’s coordinator and the doctor’s consultation when the case came up at the Pakkerejse-ankenævnet in the autumn 2014, even though Language Education Denmark had been informed at the time this was going on.

The doctor in Utah found that Kristian was a little sad because of the cultural adjustments so far away from home, but that he was otherwise a normal teenager. Just in case, the doctor referred Kristian to a psychiatrist according to the medical certificate that BT possesses. The possibility of medication against depression was even discussed.

“I am deeply shocked that this could happen at all without our consent – and that we did not even know anything about it,” says Jesper Hjorth.

But Kristian never got to speak with an American psychiatrist. Without further notice, he was sent home to Denmark a week later.

Mental problems as an excuse for repatriation?

Education Denmark’s rules state that the student’s physical or mental health is at risk is one reason for repatriation. ‘Jesper Hjorth feels this wording was the reason Aspect pushed for a doctor’s appointment for Kristian. “I think they use it as an excuse to repatriate young people if problems arise,” says Jesper Hjorth.

He points out the Norwegian girl who suffered from a headache as a result of a concussion from a motorcycle accident, out of the blue was diagnosed with depression by a doctor that Language Education Denmark’s partner Aspect sent her to. Shortly after, she was sent home on the grounds of concern for her mental condition.

BT has submitted Jesper Hjort’s criticism to Language Education Denmark’s director Lars Wollebekk, but he does not want to comment on them. But in court, he said that it is unusual for a student to be repatriated due to mental problems, but if such problems arise, one has to react. ‘

As shown in Østre Landsret’s judgement journal from the trial.

Watch out for the traps of the agencies

Due to his and Kristian’s experiences with Language Education Denmark, Jesper Hjorth has this advice for the many Danish parents who are considering an exchange stay for their child:

“I do not recommend that others send their children on an exchange.”

Jesper Hjorth wants more control of the agencies by the authorities and also believes that the parents should have a greater influence on the host family to which their children are sent.

“The agreement you sign is the agency’s agreement. It is formulated by the agency. I recommend that parents request a parallel agreement in which the agency is legally required to inform in writing about any problems during the stay as soon as they arise and how they will be handled. This allows parents to take action immediately if problems arise, “says Jesper Hjorth, adding:

“After all, you can’t expect the young person to contact mom and dad if there are problems.”

Language Education Denmark was sentenced by Østre Landsret to repay Jesper Hjorth NOK 40,000, corresponding to the price of the part of Kristian’s exchange stay that his son missed because of repatriation. However, due to previous statements to the media about Language Education Denmark about the case, Jesper Hjorth was sentenced to pay Language Education Denmark $ 20,000 in damages. Therefore, the total repayment to Jesper Hjorth is DKR 20,000.

In addition, the exchange agency must pay Jesper Hjorth’s legal costs of 25,000 kroner. According to Jesper Hjorth, however, this does not begin to cover actual legal expenses he has incurred during the three and a half years the case has been going on.

“I find it strange that after receiving the court’s judgement that the return was in violation of the rules, I am left with a loss of almost 100,000 kroner due to keeping the case going,” says Jesper Hjorth.

The editor is informed about Jesper Hjorth’s son’s real name.

Japanese exchange student finds her host-parents dead

There are situations that no exchange student should need to face. Finding host-parents who have died in a murder-suicide crime is obviously one of those. Exchange organizations often deny any responsibility in cases like this. In this case, the domestic turbulence seems to have been an ongoing problem. What happened during the background check? Carol Hopkins at The Oakland Press reported on the findings in this case April 2, 2016.

Pictured is the home on Kelsey Boulevard where an Orion Township couple was found dead in a suspected murder-suicide. Carol Hopkins-The Oakland Press
Pictured is the home on Kelsey Boulevard where an Orion Township couple was found dead in a suspected murder-suicide. Carol Hopkins-The Oakland Press

Mark and Maria-Aurora Renusch were found inside the home, dead from fatal gunshot wounds in what Oakland County Sheriff’s deputies are calling murder-suicide.

The Oakland County Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed the names…..

A 17-year-old Japanese exchange student who lived at the home found the couple dead, authorities said. Both the man and the woman suffered fatal gunshot wounds.

The girl, who was uninjured, told investigators she heard the couple arguing Thursday night — a situation that had happened before, she told officials…..

Ernest Arnold arrested for sexual abuse

Yet another case sexual abuse in Florida. This time in Altamonte Springs. The Seminole County Sheriff’s Office released a statement saying that Ernest Arnold had been charged with two counts of Lewd and Lascivious Behavior with a minor.

Deputies said the allegations came about after a teenage foreign-exchange student told authorities her host father had sexual contact with her on two separate occasions.

Investigators said Ernest Alfred, 32, and his girlfriend are hosting the exchange students for four weeks this summer. (WFTV9ABC)

I’m glad exchange students and language students who travel to the US are starting to report their abuse to the police. Media is also doing a great job of reporting these cases. That is the only way CSFES finds out about many of them. Once we do, CSFES contacts the police to see if there is anything we can do for the police or the exchange-/language student.

Dale and wife arrested for sexual abuse

Miami Herald’s David Ovalle and Kyra Gurney did an outstanding job in their July 07, 2017, article in describing sexual grooming. Dale Leary and his wife Claudia Leary hosted female exchange students in their home in 8531 Sw 185 Terrace, Cutler Bay, Florida, for several years. The exchange organization was CCI Greenheart. Dale Leary divorced Claudia so he could marry their exchange student. Claudia lived with Dale until she and Dale tried to kill themselves.

The police believe there are many more victims of the couple. If you, or someone you know, lived with Dale and Claudia Leary in Cutler Bay, Florida, please do not hesitate to contact the police at Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIP. Some tips are subject to a $1,000 reward.

Dale Leary and Marta San Jose Aranda. From San Jose Aranda’s public FB page. Edited to show only the couple.

Dale Leary died of apparent suicide this week as investigators widened a probe into the middle-aged marketing and tech executive’s relations with a string of young female foreign-exchange students he hosted in his Cutler Bay home.

He had married one student from Spain just after she turned 18 then, detectives believe, coaxed his new wife into luring her even younger teenage relative across the Atlantic into a web of sex acts and porn. It all happened while his longtime first wife, a Miami-Dade schools administrator, remained living in the home.

… Detectives believe there might be numerous victims and are asking them to come forward.

… Detectives are now trying to figure out whether Leary’s ex-wife, Miami-Dade schools administrator Claudia Leary, 47, participated in or aided in the sexual abuse of any students.

… the investigation has also turned to Chicago-based CCI Greenheart, a nonprofit that cleared students to live with the Learys — even though Dale Leary had a felony conviction for sexually assaulting a woman in Coral Gables in 1985. So far, authorities in Miami-Dade have not gotten a response from a subpoena sent for records from CCI…

From all appearances, Dale and Claudia Leary seemed the ideal hosts for international exchange students.

She was a longtime Miami-Dade schools administrator, he an advertising and tech consultant claiming Fortune 500 companies as clients. Together, they lived in a large four-bedroom house with a manicured lawn in a leafy Cutler Bay neighborhood.

They began hosting Marta San Jose when she was a 16-year-old high school student. She attended Palmetto High. Miami-Dade Police said that after San Jose completed her junior year of high school in 2013, she and Leary flew to Spain to ask her parents to allow her to stay in Miami for her senior year. They agreed.

… Before San Jose’s senior year was done, records show, Leary divorced Claudia and married the teen — just days after she turned 18.

Not long after, San Jose began coming to Leary’s office every day purporting to be an intern, while Claudia remained in their lives, one former co-worker told the Herald. He said no one knew the two had divorced or that Leary had married his visiting student.

Back in Spain, police said, San Jose’s parents had no clue the two had become lovers. The couple later persuaded the parents to allow her sister, 14 at the time, to come visit Miami, too. The younger girl did not come to the U.S. as part of a CCI Greenheart program, the company said.

Leary and San Jose began “manipulating” the underage girl into believing she had been sexually abused by her parents, something that hadn’t actually happened.

San Jose’s relative, now 16, told police the two began to have sex in front of her and asked her to let Leary perform sex acts on her, saying it would help her deal with being a sex-abuse victim. They convinced her to join them in sex acts more than seven times. Another time, the sister told police, they plied her with alcohol before shooting photos of her only in high heels.

The girl later returned to Spain and repeated the abuse allegations against her own parents to authorities there, leading to their arrest. The charges were unfounded and dropped.

Miami-Dade detectives last month arrested San Jose and Leary on charges of lewd and lascivious conduct with a child under 16, possession of child pornography, engaging in a sexual act with a familial child and contributing to the delinquency of a child. Detectives seized an array of computers, hard drives, iPhones, cameras, two journals and 11 documents and five folders pertaining to the foreign-exchange students and programs, according to search warrants filed in court.

San Jose remains jailed, in part because she is unable to post bail because she has nowhere to stay. “We’re looking into all aspects of this case, and showing prosecutors that she may be a victim as well,” said Jorge Viera, her defense lawyer.

… a family friend called 911 after finding Leary’s running car in the back of his Cutler Bay house, a hose running from the muffler to the window, sealed with duct taped. Inside the rear passenger area was Dale and Claudia Leary.

Paramedics could not save Dale, while Claudia was rushed to Jackson South Hospital. She remains hospitalized and is expected to survive. Suicide notes were found in the car and house.

With Dale Leary dead, the criminal investigation has shifted to Claudia, an administrator based at the J.R.E. Lee Education Center in South Miami. …

Between January 2010 and October 2011, the State Department received reports that 118 exchange students had been the victims of sexual abuse or harassment, according to a 2012 report from the department’s Inspector General, the most recent data publicly available.

… The Inspector General has pushed, with limited success, to improve background checks for potential hosts.

Leary’s public record, it seems, would have raised an immediate red flag. He was convicted in 1986 of breaking into a home and tying up a woman, sexually assaulting her at gunpoint. Records of his conviction are easily accessible through a $24 Florida Department of Law Enforcement criminal-background search and via Miami-Dade online court records.

CCI Greenheart said hosts get in-person, in-home visits from program coordinators who “regularly communicate with our students to ensure their experience is consistent with our standards.” The hosts are also subjected to “independent third-party background checks.” CCI Greenheart would not identify the company it uses to do background checks.

… Contacted on Thursday, the State Department said it needed more time to answer questions about requiring FBI-based fingerprint searches for host families. A spokesman said in an email that the department monitors exchange programs to ensure they follow existing federal regulations.

You can read the entire article at the Miami Herald

2017: Fransico Sousa, wrongfully accused, received settlement

Gary Warth with the San Diego Union Tribune reports the settlement between San Diego State University and Francisco Sousa.

….. Francisco Sousa was a 20-year-old foreign exchange student from Portugal when he was arrested by SDSU police Dec. 9, 2014, and charged with sexually assaulting and imprisoning a woman near campus. ….

Sousa denied the accusations and the charges were dropped in January 2015, but the school would not lift the suspension. He sued SDSU that April to demand information about the accusation against him, ….

The school lifted the suspension against him that September, and Sousa later sued for monetary damages and to seek an apology from SDSU for sending a campus-wide e-mail announcing his arrest.

Besides the monetary award, the settlement changes the record of his arrest to a police detention, and the school has agreed to additional training for employees who investigate sexual assault claims.

Specifically, the settlement states three employees would be sent to a Civil Rights Investigator Training and Certification course or a similar training program.

Another settlement agreement refers to the Clery Act, a federal law that relates to crime reporting, security and the prevention of and response to sexual assaults at publicly funded colleges and universities. The settlement will result in the school’s Clery director and campus police participating in a webinar about “timely warning notices and immediate notifications.” …..

“My main objective was to vindicate my name.” …

Sousa had worried that the arrest and suspension would prevent him from getting a job, which was one of the reasons why he continued to fight the school to clear his name.

Lombardo said he had asked campus police to change Sousa’s arrest record to a detention, which iscommon after charges are dropped, but they refused. …..

The entire article can be read at San Diego Union Tribune

 

 

Joshua Perez accused of sexual battery and exposing himself

In the below article, Kiri Blakeley of Daily Mail writes about the January 2, 2017 arrest of Joshua Perez, age 28, at Valencia Flores Apartments in Orlando, Florida. Perez was charged with Sexual Battery and Exposure Of Sexual Organs. Florez admitted to having sex with one of the girls several times, but claimed it was consensual. The abuse came to light when he exposed himself to the other victim.

Joshua Perez, 28, of Orlando was charged with sexual abuse in connection with two foreign exchange students 
Joshua Perez, 28

… Joshua Perez, 28, of Orlando, Florida, is facing charges after being accused of forcing an exchange student to have sex with him multiple times while she was living with him.

He is also accused of exposing his genitals to another foreign exchange student.

Both victims were reportedly from Vietnam…

Perez faced a judge Tuesday … Perez, above, bailed out of jail on Tuesday night …

The entire article can be read at Daily Mail

Name: Joshua Perez, Orlando, FL 32825
Booking #: 17000171, Race: White, Gender: Male, Ethnicity: Hispanic, Age: 28, Cell: BRC-MBF-NA
Case: 482017CF00070AO, Orange County Sheriff Office
794.011(5) Felony/Second Degree: Sexual Battery – Not Likely to Cause Injury
800.03 Misdemeanor/First Degree: Exposure of Sexual Organs

Another student abused in Arkansas

In 2012 the Brian Williams from NBC wrote an article called Foreign exchange students sexually abused in program overseen by State Department. It was about exchange students who had travelled to the United States with the exchange company ERDT. The three boys in the article had all been sexually abused by people who should have been part of their support network. The article elicited a lot of comments. One of those was the below by Alexia Wilder. You can read the original comment at

Rock Center with Brian Williams

I was an exchange student in Arkansas as well under YFU program. I was from Venezuela an 8 million people city and ended up in Cabot, Arkansas, a town of barely 5K people where half of it were Ku Kux Klan! even my host father!

My host mother was an old lady who lost a child ages ago and she pretended I was that child. She never listened to me and wanted everything her way. She used to dig into my things and tell everyone what I had in my closet, the entire town knew about the kind of underwear I had! seriously even kids at the school. When I tried dating she called the parents of my date and started talking about me and counting every minute. They knew that coming from school took 10 minutes, if it took 15 they asked me why it took so long and they called the people I was with. Total espionage.

I spoke to my field agent but the case was not “a danger” and if I kept complaining I was going back home. For the field agent it was too much trouble finding em a new place. So I had to find one myself.

I manage to speak to my Sunday school teacher who was willing to take me. And I do not even remember what happened that I finally moved to my second family but my first host mother called them and spoke to his wife telling her loads of things about me and when I got to my second family there was a big fight between my new host mother and my new host father. I stayed any way and everything went fine until I went back home.

But trust me… things can get very traumatic and when I went back to Venezuela the other people that came back had similar experiences, we became good supportive friends after that and I started to work for YFU as a counselor for the kids that were living or arriving to Venezuela.

2017: Schroder pleads not-guilty. Trial August 2017

Joshua Schroder
From Goodyear Police Department

Joshua Michael Schroder was arrested February 2017 and charged with nine counts of sexual conduct with minor and two counts of contributing to delinquency of minor.

His victim was a Swedish foreign exchange student for whom he was the sponsor’s coordinator/representative. The student’s host-parents reported their suspicions to the police.

Schroder began grooming the exchange student shortly after her arrival. From September until Schroder was arrested in February, the abusive relationship escalated. 600 texts were sent between the two the month before Schroder’s arrest in addition to the sexual contact.

Schroder’s trial begins August 2017.

 


Maricopa County Supreme Court

The Arizona Republic

Buckeye 4 Locals

Student sent home without reason, according to host-parent

While details vary from exchange student to exchange student, many students are sent home even though the host-family wishes them to stay. That can happen any time from the very beginning to the very end of the exchange. In this case, Gail Rosenblum speaks of how AFS tried to send the student home a month before graduation.

Star Tribune

By Gail Rosenblum | June 3, 2009 — 9:38pm

… Abdullah arrived in Minnesota last summer with an AFS-affiliated program called YES (Youth Exchange and Study). …

Abdullah’s stay got off to a bumpy start. He smoked cigarettes (but has since quit), and bought knives for target practice, neither of which sat well with his first host mother. …

Abdullah was removed from his first home in the fall (which happens with 25-30 percent of exchange students) and was placed briefly with Noel Evans, an Eagan attorney, before moving in with Mullaley and her family. …

Evans and Abdullah got along so well that, when Evans returned to Saudi Arabia in March, she contacted Abdullah’s mother, Seham Farah, and they became friends. Evans invited Seham to visit Minnesota as soon as she could secure a visa, …

Evans was unaware that the AFS handbook requires that parental visits be approved ahead of time. Last Friday, an AFS spokeswoman called Mullaley to tell her that Abdullah would be shipped home a month early — missing graduation. … Evans called AFS to say that Seham’s visit was her idea. Besides, as she and others noted, Abdullah … was picked as Unsung Hero for helping a teacher, volunteered with elderly neighbors, and spoke to younger students about Saudi life. He also brought up his algebra grade from an F to a B. …

Late Tuesday, an AFS spokeswoman called Mullaley with the news that Abdullah could stay through the weekend. …

Evans is now working on behalf of Abdullah’s 16-year-old sister, who has been barred from the program because of her brother’s case. …

The entire article can be read at Star Tribune

2016 Jan 26: Coffman guilty of sexual abuse

Cleveland

By Adam Ferrise | updated January 26, 2016 at 11:42 AM

Edward Coffman, 37, pleaded guilty to one count of gross sexual imposition, a fourth-degree felony. Summit County Common Pleas Judge Todd McKenney sentenced him Tuesday to the maximum prison term for the charge. … The 14-year-old girl was living with a host family in central Ohio. She visited Akron to meet with Coffman’s family, who was friends of the host family.

Coffman flirted with the girl two days prior to the assault. He assaulted girl July 18 or 19, 2014 at his home … Akron police began investigating after the girl reported the incident to her host family and went to a Columbus-area hospital for treatment. … Police matched Coffman with DNA found the girl’s sexual assault kit.

The entire article may be read on Cleveland

Helpline US Department of State

1-866-283-9090 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week) The Department of State activated the helpline to ensure the health and safety of its exchange participants. Students have a right to be treated fairly and to report abuse without retaliation or threat of program cancellation. (Dep of State)

Request for information about Charles T. Ritz III, California

CSFES has just received information that the police are investigating Charles T. Ritz III (65), better known as Chuck Ritz, for sexual misconduct that goes as far back as 1975 and may have continued up until recently. We have been told that some of his victims may have been earlier exchange students from at least Austria, Finland and Germany.

The first allegations against Mr. Ritz came from people who had been his students in Lake Bluff School District, Chicago, Illinois, during the period of 1975-1985. In June 2016, they contacted the Lake Bluff Police Department.

At the time of the alleged abuse, the students informed school authorities of the matter. The school superintendent, Edward Noyes, chose to not contact police or prosecutors. Instead, the school district consulted their insurance company and attorneys. Nor did he disclose this information when he was contacted by other school districts. According to ABC7, Chuck Ritz “was allowed to resign and even paid more than $22,000 on the way out of the door.”

During this period, another allegation of sexual misconduct was brought against Mr. Ritz in Florida by two teenagers. One of the alleged victims was a student of Mr. Ritz and the other was the boy’s girl-friend.

When he left Illinois for more attractive fields, Mr. Ritz went to Orange County, California. He worked in the Fullerton Joint Union High School District at La Habra High School until May 2016, when this case was brought to light. The number of allegations against Charles Ritz indicate a serial abuser. Such abusers seldom stop. Experience teaches which victim will keep quiet.

If you have information about Mr. Charles (Chuck) T. Ritz III, please contact the Committee for the Safety of Foreign Exchange Students through Lise Lotte M Almenningen at margarethesdatter (at) csfes.org or the CEO of CSFES, Danielle Grijalva, at dgrijalva (at) csfes.org or the police in California through Detective Forgash of the La Habra Police Department at JForgash (at) lahabraca.gov


Media links:


Copied, with permission, from CSFES Finland

Radtke sentenced for sexual abuse

David Edwin Radtke deemed sexual predator

Pastor charged with sexual assault of exchange student
By Paul Walsh Star Tribune | May 27, 2011 — 9:00pm

A 52-year-old Lutheran minister has been charged in Sibley County with fondling a high school foreign exchange student as he massaged her while she nodded off in the family’s home.

The Rev. David E. Radtke of St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Gibbon, Minn., posted bond Thursday after being jailed and charged with two counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct.

Radtke was arrested Monday while working at a Lutheran church in Clyman, Wis., about 50 miles northeast of Madison, and was returned to Minnesota. Assistant County Attorney Don Lannoye said Radtke was not trying to flee prosecution, but was in Wisconsin on business.

“I just can’t handle this,” the student, a 16-year-old from Madrid, said in a text message to the minister’s wife, according to the charges. “What happened is not legal in any place of the world and you know what I mean!”

Radtke, his wife and their son all approached the girl at various times, acknowledged the molestation earlier this month and asked her to forgive him, the charges added.

The girl moved in with the Radtkes in August 2010, upon the departure of an exchange student from Finland, the complaint read.

According to the charges:

The girl told a sheriff’s deputy that Radtke gave her back massages once every two weeks or so between 11 p.m. and 1 a.m. At times, she would fall asleep.

On May 17, as she lay on the couch, Radtke rubbed her legs until she fell asleep. She awoke to find him molesting her inside her underwear. …”

The rest of the article may be read at Star Tribune

Reblogged: 2011/2012 STS EXPERIENCE (CANADA)

Translation of: 2011/2012 STS KOKEMUS (CANADA)

The Helsinki District Court sentenced STS Kielimatkat to refund €6.505 (US$7.105) to Finnish Salla Rautiola due to unfair dismissal and numerous other breaches of contract in their exchange student program.
Sallas case has been mentioned and partly presented in MOT documentary, «Vaihto-oppilas heitteillä«, «Exchange student neglect exposed». Let Salla’s exchange experience be a warning about what an exchange student year can be like in reality.

STS provided the host family information in July 2011, one month before the departure date, but withheld the information they had received the day before from STS CANADA that STS could not fulfill the French-speaking program. Instead, Salla would have to be placed with an English-speaking family.

IN CANADA:

As a host family, STS had chosen a 62-year old single Jamaican immigrant who for the most part socialized with her own relatives and culture and who spoke only Jamaican creole. The Canadian life-style or traditions were not present in any way in her filthy and moldy house. In the Helsinki District Court, as STS witness, a former male exchange student, who had lived in the same house a couple of years earlier, told the court that the host mother never cleaned. He witnessed that it was his and another exchange student’s responsibility to clean the house. At that time there was still a vacuum cleaner in the house. During Sallas stay there was no vacuum cleaner in a house with wall-to-wall carpet. This witness also told the court how the basement was used as a living room where they watched TV and used the computer. STS Finland country manager, Mira Silvonen, continued insisting that the condition of the home was suitable for an allergic person and gave up to seven different explanations (move, cellar, store etc.) for the pictures Salla had taken of the house. The shocked child protection officials in Finland stated that they would not even temporarily place a minor in conditions like that. Responsible for this host family’s approval as a host family for an allergic minor for ten months was area representative Sandra Hanniman/STS Foundation Canada.

Within two months, Salla started to get allergic reactions from all the dust and mold (picture). She could not go to school, but the host mother did not let the school know about Salla’s absence as required, something STS later blamed Salla for and issued her a warning about. Because of her strong allergic symptoms, Salla asked both the host mother and the area representative, Sandra Hanniman, to take her to see a doctor, but the host mother stated that: «The doctors don’t know anything» and the area representative said: «Let’s see».  As parents we had to get the medicine here in Finland and mail them as express to Canada. Instead of helping Salla get to the doctor, STS Canada area director Kim Berry decided to issue a warning to Salla regarding her host mother not informing Salla’s school about her absence. Salla was invited to STS Canada office 14. Nov. 2011. Salla had written a four page complaint about all the problems and failures on STS’ part so far:

  • There was no school placement arranged by STS when Salla arrived. Salla was turned away from Gisele la Londe-school, because they had no knowledge of the exchange student. It took almost a week to arrange a school placement.

  • The host mother left for five days leaving Salla alone with the allergic symptoms. The host mother did not leave any contact information to Salla and strongly forbad Salla to inform STS about her absence.

  • The host mother did not check her mailbox despite Sallas request. Salla had no key to the mail box. The expensive medication we had sent from Finland lay in the mail box nine days before Salla finally got them.

  • The host mothers fierce mood swings raised questions. She could be laughing and dancing by herself, but in an instant lose her temper and throw dishes to the floor. Once Salla saw a ziplock-bag on the kitchen table and the host mother told her not to touch it and that it was marijuana. As parents we became worried about that and asked STS to investigate. Despite the pictures taken of the supposed marijuana bag, STS only threatened to issue another warning to Salla for spreading unfounded rumours. The local representative, also the host mothers best friend, stated that she did not believe it was marijuana. That was all STS did. Case closed. …

The rest of the article may be read at CSFES Norway.

2012 May 05: Colerain community grieves loss of students

5:09 PM, May 4, 2012  |  0 Comments
Two teen girls were killed in a car crash with a semi tractor-trailer May 4. Senior Miranda Lane, 17, of Colerain Township, and her passenger, Mathilde Jessen, 16, a junior, of Green Township, were pronounced dead at the scene of the 4:15 p.m. crash, according to the Butler County Sheriff’s Office. This photo shows where the truck came from the left on Rt. 127 towards the intersection with 73.
Two teen girls were killed in a car crash with a semi tractor-trailer May 4. Senior Miranda Lane, 17, of Colerain Township, and her passenger, Mathilde Jessen, 16, a junior, of Green Township, were pronounced dead at the scene of the 4:15 p.m. crash, according to the Butler County Sheriff’s Office. This photo shows where the truck came from the left on Rt. 127 towards the intersection with 73. | The Enquirer/Tony Jones

The other was a foreign exchange student who thrived on travel and wanted to roam the world capturing stories as a photojournalist.

But in the blink of an eye, they were gone.

The lives of Colerain High School junior Miranda Lane and her passenger, junior Mathilde Jessen, were cut short 4:15 p.m. Thursday when Miranda failed to yield at a stop sign to a semi tractor-trailer on U.S. 127 and Ohio 73 in Butler County.

The two were pronounced dead at the scene.

Now, three families – one an ocean away – and a local school community of more than 2,200 students are grieving.

Both girls were honor roll students who were well-liked among classmates, their families said.

Mathilde worked two jobs in her native city of Svendborg, Denmark, until she could afford to enter into a foreign exchange program at International Student Exchange. She arrived in August and has spent the past year living as an American teenager, absorbing the culture and fitting in with her host family.

“She wanted to know what America was like,” said Elaine Schumacher, 54, a receptionist at Colerain High whose family hosted Mathilde in their Green Township home.

Miranda attended classes part of the day at the high school and also was enrolled in a health-tech program at Butler Tech in Fairfield Township. She, too, was close with her family and envisioned a life of serving others.

“She was a wonderful person inside and out,” said Miranda’s aunt, Donna Henderson of Florence.

The two girls were close, said Pauletta Crowley, spokeswoman for Northwest Schools. Grief counselors spent Friday at Colerain High, talking to students.

Miranda was driving a Honda Civic when the Butler County Sheriff’s Office says she failed to yield at a stop sign to an oncoming tractor-trailer driven by Steve Fish, 48, of West Harrison, Ind. He was uninjured.

A third vehicle, a pickup, was also struck. Its driver, Edward Schatzle, 61, of Milford Township, was taken to University Hospital with minor injuries.

The crash remains under investigation.

Steve Fish’s wife, Donna, said her husband has been advised by his company not to discuss the incident. But she said he feels terrible about it and tried to stop his truck after the Civic pulled out in front of him.

“He is requesting prayers for the girls’ families,” she said.

Both girls, who were wearing seatbelts, died of internal injuries, said Andy Willis, an investigator with the Butler County Coroner’s Office.

Miranda was en route to her prom date’s house in Oxford. She was going to pick up a permission slip for her mother to sign so she could attend Talawanda High School’s prom Saturday night.

Mathilde went along for the ride.

Miranda’s royal blue prom dress with pink sequins was still at her Colerain Township home Friday. Her family plans to bury her in it.

“She loved blue. It was her favorite color. She just turned 17 on April 29,” Henderson said. “I can’t believe this happened. It is like a bad dream and I am going to wake up and see her face here.”

Miranda was close to her entire family, especially her mother, Cheryl Biehl, and considered her a best friend.

“Cheryl is devastated,” said her cousin Shelley Henderson of Florence.

Relatives said Miranda’s mother, who declined an interview request, knew something was wrong when her daughter didn’t return from the trip or respond to text messages and phone calls.

A law enforcement official arrived at their home at 8:30 p.m. When Biehl saw him at the door, she knew her daughter was gone.

In Green Township, Elaine and Bob Schumacher’s family planned a big dinner celebration Friday, Bob’s 55th birthday. Instead, the family mourned Mathilde’s death.

She fit right in with the family, accompanying them on a hiking and camping trip over spring break to Cumberland Falls in Corbin, Ky.

“She wasn’t a foreign exchange student with us,” Elaine Schumacher said. “She was a family member.”

Their youngest child, Maria, 17, was the same age as Mathilde, and the two became as close as sisters. She even called Elaine Schumacher “Mama.”

“She felt like my daughter. I loved her as my daughter and disciplined her like my daughter,” Schumacher said, breaking down into tears. “And I grieve for her like a daughter.”

When sheriff’s deputies broke the news to the family Thursday night, she said she requested that International Student Exchange alert Mathilde’s family in Denmark, where she leaves behind her parents, a twin sister and younger brother.

Mathilde’s international status presents a bit of a challenge. Her body must be held here about two weeks and cannot be flown home until U.S. and Danish officials identify it. Once her body leaves the Butler County Morgue, it will be held at Frederick Funeral Home in Colerain Township.

When services are held in Denmark, the Schumachers plan to attend.

Elaine Schumacher said she spoke on the phone with Mathilde’s mother Thursday.

“They are beside themselves, but she did tell me she didn’t think Mathilde could have been in any better place in America than where she was. She knew she was getting the experience of a lifetime and was thrilled for her daughter.

“I told her how sorry I was and she said ‘Elaine, don’t be sorry. There was nothing anyone could do. We both shared a beautiful girl.’ “

2010 Jun 17: Children abroad used in welfare fraud

sahra
Last year, Copenhagen municipality found 380 cases where parents continued to receive child benefit and additional housing benefit although their children no longer resided in Denmark. | Foto: Sten Jørgensen © DR

Kilde: B.T.

17. jun. 2010 10.51 | English

Children living abroad – some of them undergoing so-called re-education – are widely used in welfare fraud, writes daily newspaper BT.

Last year, a Copenhagen municipality control group working on a large welfare fraud project found 380 cases where parents continued to receive child benefit and additional housing benefit although their children no longer resided in Denmark.

The fraud is discovered when schools report back to the municipality thta children don’t show up for class after the holidays because they are now studying abroad – while the municipality continues to pay out additional benefits for children below the age of 18. Parents no longer have the right to benefits once their child has not resided in Denmark for a period of more than six months.

Copenhagen municipality emphasizes that not all the cases involve children on re-education in their parents’ country of origin. There are also cases of Danish children now attending schools abroad, while the parents cash in on benefits.

2006 Apr 27: Paul Louis Stone sentenced for molesting exchange student

Paul Louis Stone deemed sex offender
Posted: Thursday, April 27, 2006 10:31 pm | Joice Biazoto

Madison Circuit Judge William Jennings sentenced a Berea man Thursday to one year in prison for molesting a 15-year-old female international student.

Paul Stone, 54, had entered a guilty plea April 4, the day before he was scheduled to go on trial.

Stone was indicted Feb. 9 on charges of third-degree sodomy, attempted third-degree rape and third-degree sexual abuse. … Stone must serve at least 20 percent of his sentence before he can be eligible for parole. He also must complete a sex offender treatment course, which takes about a year….

The victim, an exchange student from Taiwan, was attending a Berea high school. Stone and his wife were the student’s host parents.

…. Investigators believe Stone used the student’s lack of knowledge of American culture to take advantage of her, …

The student related the incident to the exchange program’s coordinator, who then contacted Berea police….

The entire article can be found at the Richmond Register

Amie Lou Neely sentenced to prison

Guilty of sexual battery/coercing child by adult

Amie Neely, 38, 400 block of Southeast Crabapple Cove, Port St. Lucie, was arrested by the St. Lucie County police and charged with sexual assault on a minor. In March 2014 Neely was sentenced to three years in prison for having sex with a 16-year-old exchange student. She was also sentenced to five years probation and had to register as a sex offender.

Two exchange students lived with the Neely’s at the time of her arrest. Neely was a teacher at Community Christian Academy in Stuart, the same school the victim and the other exchange student living with the Neely’s attended.

It was Neely’s husband who discovered Neely having sex with their exchange student. As a result of the discovery, the boy was kicked out of their house. The other exchange student remained.

According to Neely, their illicit sex was a one-time occurrence after the exchange student had pressured her for some time. But the exchange student claimed that theirs was longer affair. Neely later alleged that all the alleged sex acts had been consensual. She pleaded guilty to sexual battery on a child by a person in custodial authority in return for the State dropping the other charges. However, the trial court sentenced Ms. Neely to 36 months in state prison followed by five years of sex-offender probation and designated her a sexual predator.

2007: CSFES Helps Foreign Exchange Students

by NORTH COUNTRY GAZETTE on MAY 11, 2007
By Danielle Grijalva, CSFES Director

Approximately 30,000 teenage exchange students will return to their home countries next month.

The Committee for Safety of Foreign Exchange Students (CSFES) shares the following true story regarding the treatment of an exchange student by his student exchange company.

Jay’s stomach rumbled as he sat in his counselor’s office. His eyes would move down as he looked at the pencil his counselor held and then he looked up to his counselor’s mouth as he spoke on the phone to the area representative of his student exchange company.

He was exhausted and his energy was lost; this very well may be time for him to give in to returning to Thailand four months early. To return to his family who loved him didn’t sound like such a bad idea.

Mr. Ashurst would shade in the numbers on his desk calendar with his pencil and occasionally look over at Jay who was sitting in front of his desk. Occasionally Jay would see him write something down on a separate notepad, but for the most part, shading in the numbers is what occupied him most as he listened to Mrs. Wallen.

“Now may I say something, Mrs. Wallen?” Mr. Ashurst calmly spoke. “While I am not quite sure if you are interested in hearing what I have to say, I believe I’ve been patient with you and now I would like to ask the same from you. When Jay arrived, he had missed five weeks of school through no fault of his own. He has since maintained a 4.2 GPA and is active in many after school activities. Jay is well liked by anyone who comes into contact with him. Although he is quite shy, he has made friends, many of whom have taken it upon themselves to write letters on his behalf. Not one person wants him to return to Thailand early, Mrs. Wallen. My notes tell me that you have labeled this student as manipulative — please, let me finish. My notes reflect on four separate occasions you have called this young man a liar — please, I’m not done. Essentially you have told me he is nothing more than a spoiled rotten brat who is impossible to please and has been a troublemaker from the beginning.”

Jay was uncomfortable hearing Mr. Ashurst’s conversation, but also liked it at the same time. There was no more shading in the numbers on his desk calendar. Mr. Ashurst was now standing.

“Since I can tell, Mrs. Wallen, that we are not going to have a meeting of the mind about Jay, I prefer to discuss this matter with the State Department —” Mrs. Wallen had heard enough and abruptly ended the call. This was fine by Mr. Ashurst.

Mr. Ashurst reached in his desk and grabbed for his car keys. “Jay, I’m hungry. Grab your backpack, I’m taking you to lunch.”

“Yes, sir.” Jay softly responded.

During lunch, Mr. Ashurst learned from an ever so soft-spoken 16-year-old boy that it had been two days since he had anything to eat.

His last four weeks had been spent sleeping on a mattress in a basement.

The reason he didn’t tell his parents in Thailand is because he didn’t want to cause them to worry.

The reason he missed five weeks of school was because he did not have a host family waiting for him as he and his family were promised.

Against the United States Department of State regulations, he lived in the home of his area representative where he was told that he had better keep his mouth shut about the matter; that if he did complain to anyone, he would be sent home early to Thailand.

His parents in Thailand spent $16,000 for this experience.

It was in the basement of his area representative where he spent his last four weeks.

CSFES is pleased to report Jay was removed from the basement and placed in an actual home where he is thriving.

This is not an isolated incident as the exchange industry would like for you to believe.

CSFES urges all school administrators to report to the CSFES via www.csfes.org  or by calling 866-471-9203 should any students with a similar story appear at their high school.   5-11-07

2014 May 05: Exchange year in the US was a nightmare / Austauschjahr in den USA wurde zum Albtraum

From 20 Minuten – Germany
Austauschjahr in den USA wurde zum Albtraum
«Dreckskerl» nannte die EF-Koordinatorin den 16-Jährigen, und seine Gastfamilie kontrollierte ihn von A bis Z. Wie das Austauschjahr eines Zürchers in Kalifornien zum Horror wurde.

storybild
Für den 16-jährigen Konstantin begann das Austauschjahr in Kalifornien – hier die Golden-Gate-Brücke in San Francisco – unschön. (Bild: Keystone/AP/Eric Risberg)

 

«Bist Du bereit für das grosse Abenteuer?», fragt die Firma EF Education First in ihrer Werbung. «Während deines EF High School Years hast du die einmalige Chance, neue Herausforderungen anzunehmen, viele nette Menschen kennen zu lernen, eine Fremdsprache zu erlernen und erwachsen zu werden.» Klingt gut, doch der 16-jährige Konstantin aus Zürich hat keine guten Erinnerungen an den Beginn seines Austauschjahres 2012 in Kalifornien.

Von Beginn sei er in seinem neuen Zuhause mit Vorwürfen konfrontiert gewesen: «Meine Gastmutter baute ein Kontrollsystem auf, verbot mir auszugehen, drohte mir mit Konsequenzen bei Alkoholkonsum und nahm mir meinen Laptop und mein Handy weg», sagte Konstantin dem «Tages-Anzeiger». Sie solle ihn sogar beschuldigt haben, 500 Dollar von ihr gestohlen zu haben. Die Gastmutter und die EF-Hauptkoordinatorin Sandra Woods sollen dabei in permanentem Kontakt gestanden haben. Nach diversen Vorwürfen drohte Konstantin die Kündigung und die frühzeitige Heimreise.

Mehr Provisionen einstreichen

Es kam gemäss «Tages-Anzeiger» der Verdacht auf, dass die Hauptkoordinatorin sehr daran interessiert war, Konstantin frühzeitig nach Hause zu schicken. So könnte sie einen anderen Schüler in der Gastfamilie platzieren und mehrfach Provisionen einstreichen. Diese Vorgehensweise wird im Bericht durch den Ex-EF-Koordinator William Alexander bestätigt, der sich nach seiner Kündigung an das Departement of State in Washington wandte. Zudem bestätigte Alexander laut «Tages-Anzeiger», dass Woods eine persönliche Aversion gegen Konstantin hatte. Alexander suchte für Konstantin schliesslich eine neue Familie, wo er sein EF Highschool Year zu Ende bringen konnte.

Der Fall war aber deswegen noch nicht abgeschlossen. Konstantins Mutter wehrte sich weiter und erreichte schliesslich, dass Danielle Grijalva, Direktorin der ausländischen Studenten in Kalifornien, beim Departement of State eine Beschwerde gegen Woods einreichte. Dabei wurde auch aus dem SMS-Verkehr zwischen Woods und Alexander betreffend dem Austauschschüler Konstantin zitiert. Demnach schrieb Woods Dinge wie «I wish we could just send his ass home.» (Ich wünschte mir, wir könnten diesen A… einfach heimschicken) oder «He’s a punk.» (Er ist ein Dreckskerl).

«Kinder werden hin- und hergeschoben»

Grijalva sagte dem «K-Tipp»: «Das Problem von EF und ähnlichen Organisationen ist, dass sie nicht genug passende Gastfamilien finden. Deshalb werden die Kinder ständig hin- und hergeschoben.» Sie kritisierte auch das Besoldungssystem für EF-Betreuer, die auf Provisionsbasis arbeiteten. Pro Austauschschüler gebe es mindestens 300 Dollar. Je mehr Schüler EF-Betreuer unterbringen würden, desto mehr Boni bekämen sie.

Zwischen der Mutter von Konstantin und dem Zürcher Büro von EF gab es zwar nach diversen Anläufen der Mutter ein Gespräch. Dabei habe EF zwar zugegeben, dass nicht alles optimal gelaufen sei, doch erhielt sie weder eine Entschuldigung noch eine finanzielle Entschädigung. Gegenüber dem «Tages-Anzeiger» äusserte sich EF-Programmleiter Mario Tschopp schriftlich: «Der Fall ist uns bekannt, und wir haben die angezeigten internen Schritte unternommen (…).» Unklar bleibt, ob Woods weiterhin bei EF tätig ist – dazu will man sich aus «Gründen des Persönlichkeitsschutzes» nicht äussern.


Google translation:
He had from the beginning been confronted in his new home with allegations: “My host mother built a system of control, forbade me to go out, threatened me with consequences of alcohol consumption and took my laptop and my phone away,” Constantine said the Tages-Anzeiger, She should have even accused him of having stolen $ 500 from her. The host mother and the EFmain coordinator Sandra Woods should it have been in constant contact. After various allegations Constantine threatened termination and early departure.

Reap more commissionsIt came under “Tages-Anzeiger” suspected that the main coordinator was very interested in Constantinople to send home early. So they could place another student in the host family and multiple reap commissions. This approach is confirmed in the report by the ex-EFcoordinator William Alexander, who turned in his resignation to the Department of State in Washington. In addition, according to Alexander confirmed “Tages-Anzeiger” that Woods had a personal aversion to Constantine. Alexander was looking for Constantine finally a new family where he EF High School Year could be put to an end.The case was therefore but not yet completed. Constantine’s mother struggled further, and finally reached that Danielle Grijalva, director of foreign students in California, the Department of State filed a complaint against Woods. Here the exchange student Konstantin was also quoted on the SMS traffic between Woods and Alexander. According to Woods wrote things like I wish We could just send his ass home.” (I wish we could this A … simply send home) or He’s a punk.” (He’s a bastard).“Children are pushed back and forthGrijalva said the “K-Tip“: “The problem of EF and similar organizations, that they can not find enough suitable host families. Therefore, the children are constantly being pushed around. “She also criticized the system of remuneration for EFworkers, who worked on a commission basis. Per exchange students there were at least 300 dollars. The more students would accommodate EFworkers, the more bonuses they would get.

Between the mother of Constantine and the Zurich office of EF although there were various attempts by the mother a call. This EF had indeed admitted that not everything was done perfectly, but received neither an apology nor a financial compensation. Compared to the “Tages-Anzeiger” is EF program director Mario Tschopp expressed written: The case is known to us, and we have the next internal steps taken (…).” It is unclear whether Woods continues to work with EF – to if one is not comment of privacy protection reasons”.

Is WV Part Of A National Pedophile Network Exploiting Foreign Exchange Students?

Where Facts And Controversy In The News Come Together In Truth

Saturday, February 21, 2009

What The State Department & Exchange Student Industry Don’t Want You To Know….. By,JackSwint & Sam Webber

PART ONE ofourtwo part story takes you first inside of a multi million dollar industry known on the surface as the National Foreign Exchange Student Program. The original concept and intent is easy; it’s a program that became popular after WWII in which a student, typically in secondary or higher education, chooses to live in a foreign country to learn, among other things, the language and culture. Americasponsorsapproximately 30,000 a year.Below the surface, a dark side has evolved that has allowed pedophiles, rapists and common thieves to infiltrate this program and use it as a black market sex slave network that preys on children that we invited into our country. What’s most alarming is that you can actually go online and order upthe student of your choice. View their picture, read their bio and then pick that childto be delivered to your doorstep. (link below) It’s like the old Burger King commercial where you can have it “your way.” Some predators whohave been arrested and convicted of sex crimes against exchange students admit they pre-picked their teen because they wanted to have sex with that specific one.Example: Convicted predators like Frank Swiderski (OH), Peter Ruzzo (CA), and Richard Young (KS), have, in one form or another admitted the desire to have sex with their exchange student simply upon seeing their photo. Ruzzo even considered it a challenge. He accomplished it too. In West Virginia, the exchange program has also fallen prey to students being groomed for sex and violence by a criminal element that has cloaked itself in the form of sponsors, supervisors and host parents. In our state alone, a pedophile network exists that includes pedophiles in at least Kanawha, Cabell, McDowell and Fayette Counties.

Do officials at the board of education know of this problem within the exchange program?? Yes, sources tell us numerous complaints are on file and sealed within the WV State Board of Education that date back years. At least one former teacher-principal had to resign because of his pedophile-rapist acts that the board concealed to head off a scandal. Thomas Scott Kingwas moved around from county to county school systems until they had to finally force his resignation. He still is a host parent and sponsor today. But, over the years he has become involved in a network of pedophiles operating not only in WV, but across the country and abroad.

According to records we obtained, West Virginia hostedapproximately 180 exchange students in 2008. Thomas Scott King had at least 3 of those kids living in his home. This is not a problem of just a few bad apples ruining the student exchange program. It has become the new nation wide port of entry for pedophiles to prey on kids.On The National Level

To most of us we think of the Foreign Exchange Student Program as a chance for teens to come to America and attend our schools and live with host families in the country most foreigners consider the land of freedom and great opportunities. At least that is what the pamphlets, brochures and websites from the business thatoperate these programs detail. What they don’t admit or advertise is that, just in the US alone, this is a multi million dollar industry that generates from $9,000 to $22,000 per student per year. They also hide the fact that some really bad people are intentionally destroying a really good program that was once held beyond reproach.It’s not just about sex. Some host families and sponsors have been convicted of crimes from petty theft to extortion. Several documented cases show that students were placed in the homes of parolee’s with criminal convictions for aggravated assault/robbery and accusations of rape. A retired parole officer in Eugene, Oregon confirmed during a 3-year period supervising sex offenders of five instances of them gaining access to new child victims by becoming hosts to foreign students.The retired officer, stated in a report….. “I learned of 5 instances of sex offenders, in this county, gaining access to new child victims by becoming hosts of foreign students. One was convicted of molesting a 16 year-old Japanese girl. Another convicted sex offender hosted a 17 year-old Japanese boy, but the boy returned home before he could be questioned to determine if he was abused. Another convicted rapist hosted a 18 year-old Japanese girl; she stayed in his home only a few days before the situation became known to authorities and girl was removed, but not before the rapist began touching her inappropriately (grooming behavior, a prelude to raping her.) A year later, this same rapist was accepted by a host organization to host a 16 year-old Thai girl.”

Some students arrive in the US with no hosts; no schools and they are placed in trailer parks and motels or live (contrary to regulations) with coordinators. They are paraded around shopping centers looking for potential hosts. So, what government entity oversees the entire program?? The U.S. State Department, who in turn rely on the same organizations that are making millions of dollars each year. When faced with a serious complaint, the government agencies stance has routinely been that it is a “contractual dispute” with the student’s family and youth exchange organization.

Who tries to oversee all of this?? Watchdog associations and concerned citizens like Danielle Grijalva, founder of the organization, “Committee of Safety for Foreign Exchange Students.” Danielle says the problem is just too big. And, it appears on the surface that one reason no one really wants to address it because so much money is being made in this growing industry. Her efforts have paid off; their organization is now comprised of over 1,500 CSFES volunteers from across the globe. Even their press releases are now translated and appear in over 35 newspapers internationally.

Before becoming an advocate for the abused, Danielle was first an area representative for the Center for Cultural Interchange, a foreign exchange student program based in St. Charles, Ill. She helped find host families for students studying in the U.S., securing high school placement for them as well as advising them on local culture and customs. She is now the watchdog of those people who prey on those innocent students we have invited to our country like the spider to the fly.

Then on Sept. 20, 2004, she learned about what she calls “the dark side” of the foreign exchange program. A 16-year-old exchange student from France sat in her living room and told her that within a month of his arrival his host father photographed him when he was sleeping, showed him online pornography and offered him alcohol. Grijalva instincts as a mother took over and she looked for help from everyone she could think of: local police, employers, school administrators. The more she researched, the more she learned that abuse at the hands of host families or individuals, across the world, was a silent problem.

More than 30,000 students arrive in the U.S. each year through foreign-exchange programs. Grijalva believes abuse can go unreported due to language barriers, cultural differences and student fears that visas may be taken away. Some students have been told if they make a complaint, they will be deported in less then 72 hours. And, they will be sent home in shame.

“I began to ask questions,” she said. “. . . These were invisible victims.”

In 2006, Danielle began obtaining complaints. Right away she documented 54 cases of sexual abuse and even extortion. The state department had only reported 5 cases of sexual abuse for that time period. After her inquiries for copies of those complaints, the state department reluctantly added 20 additional cases of alleged abuse. The state department claims they have invoked stronger policies in placing students with host families and or sponsors such as a criminal background check.

But, as statistics show, most pedophiles and predators have never been convicted of a crime. Some are the pillars of the community concealing their deep dark secrets. Sources we spoke to say some background checks had only consisted of providing 3 references. Complaints from students being raped,sodomized, beaten and robbed are rampant across the United States and have begun escalating over the past 6 years. Stories have echoed back from parents of the children after returning to their homeland questioning if this type of behavior is common in our society.If a student or parent’s complaint makes it up the ladder to overseeing agencies likeAYUSA International, a standard response comes in the form of a “warning letter” to deter any further problems. Reading between the lines, one may decipher this letter as a “shut up”, or youwill be dealt withaccordingly. Up to and including deportation.”We obtained one such warning letter that states to a student complaining of abuse…. “Consequently, the purpose of this letter is to inform you that you are officially on warning with AYUSA and to clarify with you what we expect of you as an AYUSA student. Failure to make an effort to change your behavior/attitude will result in being placed on probation with the AYUSA program.” That letter goes on to say, “…. you were selected for this program because we believe that you have the maturity and capability to deal with the demands of a year in the United States.

AYUSA expects that you will take this warning letter very seriously and will make strides toward changing your attitude and behavior and completing a successful year in the U.S. Weanticipate that you will act, for theremainder of your stay, in a manner befitting anAYUSA student and a junior ambassador of Montenegro. In the end, the studentwas sent home early after posting complaints online of the abuse. To add insult to injury, when a studentis returned home early, these companies refuse to refund the parents money.State & Federal lawsuits against companies s like ASSE, AISE & AYUSA have exposed the reported ongoing problems of abuse and how these companies fail to follow federal statutes that are in place to protect such acts from occurring. But, these types of legal actions can take years to make it into the judicial system. By then, the damageis done, and the student hasreturned back to their country and is trying to deal with the trauma and disgrace we subjected them to. Reports confirm some teens become suicidal; self mutilate themselves, withdrawal from society and even horde food which demonstrates possible starvation tacticshad been used on them to submit to their abuser.More and more arrests and convictions are occurring. In 90% of the cases, the victim knew their assailants. Sadly enough, statistics show that the majority of offenders are the teachers & other school officials who these kids placed all of their trust in!!!

Exchange Students In WV

In November of 2008 we published an expose on former WV teacher & principal Thomas Scott King. His brother, Casey, came forward with overwhelming and shocking information how his older brother had raped and molested him from the age of 7 years old. Last year, Casey went to the WV state police with his complaint. Casey King’s motivation?? To finally face those demons of what his now 60 year old brother had done to him. And, more so, to stop this man who reportedly continues to prey on young teens for his deviant sexual gratification today.

Unfortunately, the WV trooper investigating that complaint retired. To date, no one has resumed the investigation. We have been advised that the new WV Police Commander, Colonel Pack, has spoken to State Police Captain Schoolcraft on or about Tuesday February 10, 2009, and that Schoolcraft and Pack have discussed the filed complaint on Thomas Scott King.

Scott King was considered a hero among students. According to one source, who at the time attended Welch Jr. High, “He was the cool teacher who always bought us booze and took us to WVU ballgames and many school trips.” He went on to say that all of these boys were 13 to 15 at the time and that “we didn’t know what a pedophile was.”

Since that November story, we have continued to investigate and gather information on the fact that, even though Scott King had to resign his teaching credentials years ago for alleged sex abuse, he has remained a member in great standing with the national and local levels of the Foreign Exchange Student Program. He is not just a host dad and sponsor any longer, King is now also a part of a state wide network of pedophiles, some who are prominent and well respected in the community. He has climbed the ladder in this multi-million dollar profit industry and joined the ranks of hosts and sponsors that are better known as a “high placer.”

DanielleGrijalva explained to us the open door possibilities and perks of being a “high placer.” Especially, if the host and sponsor has criminal intent. “There are many volunteers, local coordinators, regional coordinators, directors, etc., within the student exchange community. All are usually responsible for locating and securing host families and high schools for an exchange student.For those volunteers, coordinators, directors, etc., who go ‘above and beyond’ by placing thirty, forty or fifty (plus) exchange students, theyare nicknamed and referred to in this community as a “high placer.” When you consider that the natural parents of these prospective exchange students will spend approx. $8,000 to $22,000 to study abroad as aJ1 participant, a “high placer” becomes very lucrative to the agency they work/volunteer for. Many student exchange agencies are very protective of their “high placers” and stand behindmost every move they make.”According to official records, King has hosted as a parent, supervised or sponsored children from the following countries. Germany, Argentina, Brazil, Czech Republic, Holland, Hungry, Netherlands, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey & Yugoslavia.

Next Friday at 2pm…. Hear from Scott King s victims, and learn the names of prominent & respected people in WV who want to come forward because they know of the inner workings of a multi-county pedophile network. Learn what Scott Kings former students & school faculty members really thought of him.

Read how one former student allegedly recalls waking up naked in a bedroom located in Scott Kings home and having to flee into the night and seek refuge at a neighbors home. Another student from Welch, reportedly was provided alcohol by King and awoke in a motel to find himself naked while King was standing over him taking pictures…

End Of Part One…..

Jack Swint-Publisher
West Virginia News

….
Anyone who has questions or information concerning abuse within the Foreign Exchange Student Program is asked to e-mail or call : … Danielle Grijalva … dgrijalva@csfes.org(760) 295-0716
….

Original story on Thomas Scott King
….
Example of websites that allow you to match & pick your choice of child: Aspect Foundation /
….
Foreign Exchange Organizations With The Highest Complaints & Lawsuits
….
http://www.aspectfoundation.org/
….
http://www.asse.com/
….
http://www.ayusa.org/
….

8 comments:

Anonymous said…
I would really like the Department of Education and the police in Fayette, McDowell and Kanawah counties to provide an answer as to why this man was not brought up on any formal charges related to his involvement with his students, both US and international. Can anyone get away with attempted rape or do they have to be an educator to do that? This man lives and works in Charleston today. Where are all the social activists in Charleston? These are children being raped and they’re sitting on their hands?
Anonymous said…
This sounds a lot like the same type cover up thatoccured with Catholic priests and young boys. It sounds like the government & school system is trying to keep this hidden from the public.If all this is true, and it sounds like it is, pedophiles have found a new playground.
Anonymous said…
If the State Police wont investigate the complaint filed by Casey King against his older brother for alleged rape, then maybe the Department Of Justice can. It appears state agencies (like the board of education) doesn’t want this scandal exposed or justice for kids!
Anonymous said…
Kinda makes you wonder how many pedophiles are in administration at the Department of Education in West Virginia. There must be some reason why they don’t want justice for the children. I wonder what the official response was?
Counselor said…
Thomas Scott Kingwas named as principal at Matewan High School in 1989-1990 school year. I was on to him the second week. As a counselor I knew he was an evil man. He always had a foreign exchange student in his home. He constantly had groups of boys in his home. His son was asophmore when he came to Matewan.I was always concerned about his son. I hope and pray he pays for the damages he has done to all the innocent boys. I hope he is hung by the balls.
Anonymous said…
What is the westvirginia authorities waiting on???? Investigate Scott King. Investigate the Pedophile problems. Get off their ass and look into this information.There is to much here not to be true!!
Anonymous said…
Child Focus, or the European Center for Missing and Sexually Exploited Children, was founded in 1998 by Daniel Cardon de Lichtbuer and headed by this person ever since. In 2005, de Lichtbuer became chairman of the International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (ICMEC), headquartered in Washington and founded in 1999. Who is this Lichtbuer? First of all, he is quite big in the financial world, with former positions in Banque Bruxelles Lambert, the Belgian Bankers’ Association, VP Bank Liechtenstein (with Nikolaus von Liechtenstein), Thomas Cook Traveller Cheques and the European Financial Marketing Association. He also has been executive president of the aristocratic Europa Nostra. But things become really problematic upon reading that de Lichtbuer is a member of the honorary committee of Cercle de Lorraine, together with with Maurice Lippens and Etienne Davignon. Equally worrying is his position as honorary executive president of the Koninklijke Vereniging der Historische Woonsteden en Tuinen van België, together with prince Alexander de Merode (former chair) and Count Ghislain d’Ursel. Davignon used to be a board member too. There’s another indication that de Lichtbuer might not be the best choice for an anti- child abuse organization: 1998, Stef Janssens, ‘The names from the cover up’, p. 33: “In 1989, [Nicolas] de Kerchove d’Ousselghem [CEPIC; chef de cabinet of Vanden Boeynants; contact of VdB to the PIO intelligence organization] and Paul Vankerkhoven, CEPIC member and co-founder of Cercle des Nations [among many other things]… were employees of the magazine ‘Revue Belge’. This right-wing magazine had as manager the present director of the Center for Missing Children and former BBL-director Daniel Cardon de Lichtbuer. What in itself is not reprehensible, but does say something about the milieu in which the present director of this Center was involved with.” To clarify, that milieu appears to be the highest level child abuse milieu …
(uit: http://www.isgp.eu)

Documentary and articles about Finnish exchange students

I remind you once again to take pictures of the condition of your home, that you record conversations with the exchange organization (cell-phones can do this today) when you need to complain and that you forward copies of complaint emails and sms’s to your family at home.

Documentary by MOT on Finnish YLE about what an exchange year should not be was sent 10/07/2013. The program first part of the half.

The second half of the documentary is also to be found on You Tube.

You can also read articles about this case at these links:

Valtaosa vaihto-oppilaista tyttöjä

Yhdysvaltoihin 9000 eurolla

Vaihto-oppilaiden surkea kuluttajansuoja

Vaihto-oppilas heitteillä: käsikirjoitus

Surkea vaihtovuosi

Kevin Garfield Ricks – Work history of a sexual predator

List has been copied from PilotOnline.com

Kevin Garfield Ricks 2010
Kevin Garfield Ricks; Molester of high school/exchange students in various states. See list over places of employment.

Camp Holiday Trails in Charlottesville

Hampton Roads Academy, Newport News, a private school, 1982-83

Northeast Academy, Lasker, N.C., private school, 1984-85

Brandon Hall School, Dunwoody, Ga., a private boarding school, 1985-86

The Cottage School, Roswell, Ga., a private school, 1986-87

Worked at schools in Japan, 1988-95

Danville Public Schools, substitute teacher, 1995-97

Alamance-Burlington Public Schools, Burlington, N.C., full-time teacher, 1996-97

Danville Public Schools, full-time teacher, 1997-98

Danville Public Schools, substitute teacher, 1998-2000

Education First Foundation for Education, host and local coordinator:

“Ricks entered into a foreign exchange program, Education First, and hosted young students from all over the world in his home. A Danish student who was hosted by Ricks, Uffe Emborg, says that after drinking with Ricks one night, he discovered nude photographs of himself by Ricks’s bedside table. Out of fear, Emborg did not report this to the police, and instead burned the photographs with Ricks in the backyard. Ricks and his wife left Danville after Ricks was fired from Education First after being accused of stealing $2,000 from a student’s bank account.” (Wikipedia)

Col. Richardson High School, Caroline County, 2000-03

Wye River Upper School, Wye River, Md., a private school, 2003-04

Walbrook High School, Baltimore Public Schools, 2004-07

American Scandinavian Student Exchange (ASSE), host and local coordinator:

“Even after he stopped teaching in Caroline County, Ricks continued to host foreign exchange students, this time with American Scandinavian Student Exchange. After a German exchange student was removed from Ricks’s home during the 2003-04 school year, a restraining order was filed against Ricks by the student, who alleged that Ricks frequently called and offered gifts. Although the restraining order was not granted, ASSE fired Ricks.” (Wikipedia)

Osbourn High School, Manassas City, 2007-2010

Huntington Learning Center, tutoring, 2007-08

2009: Klug convicted of foreign student fraud

Fayette Klug was sentenced on charges of theft by deception and unauthorized use of a financial transaction device. The victims were a Chinese exchange student and a Norwegian exchange student. She was both host-mother and sponsor-representative. Following is an extract from an article by Trisha Schulz at

The Norfolk Daily News

Posted: Friday, July 24, 2009 12:00 am

Judge Robert Ensz sentenced 35-year-old Fayette Klug to one to three years in prison on charges of theft by deception and unauthorized use of a financial transaction device. …

Ensz said a greater sentence would’ve been justified in the case, but he went along with a recommendation by the Madison County attorney’s office.

The two foreign exchange students – one from Norway and one from China – were placed in Klug’s home about a year ago and attended Battle Creek High School.

Klug asked the two girls for money to cover expenses while they were in the U.S. and used their prepaid credit cards to make unauthorized charges.

The two students didn’t understand that Klug was actually being reimbursed by the foreign exchange student placement company and didn’t need to pay her themselves.

The foreign exchange placement company, STS Foundation, repaid the girls in full. The total amount taken was more than $10,000, …

Ensz … particularly pointed out Klug’s past criminal history, which included a previous theft by deception and issuing bad checks.

He then sentenced her to prison and ordered her to pay the costs of prosecution.

STS Foundation sought restitution from Klug …

The entire article may be read at The Norfolk Daily News


Case progression:

  • 2008 Oct 11: Woman allegedly steals $10,000-plus from live-in foreign exchange students
    • The girls also told Bowersox that they were locked in the basement apartment area that they shared. At the time, Klug told them it was an accident – that the door was broken. …. Both students were removed from the Klug residence earlier this week. …. Why Klug was even hosting foreign exchange students has become a point of investigation because she is a convicted felon.

  •  

    2008 Nov 04: Foreign exchange student incident under review by federal department

  • 2008 Nov 18: Bank records obtained
  • 2008 Dec 19: Woman accused of stealing enters plea
    • Klug was arrested Oct. 10. She appeared Thursday in court in jail clothing and was represented by the Madison County Public Defender’s office.

  • 2009 Jun 09: Plea agreement offered in fraud of foreign exchange students
    • Thirty-five-year-old Fayette Klug pleaded no contest to theft by deception (over $1,500), a Class II felony, and unauthorized use of a financial transaction device, a Class I misdemeanor, … The foreign exchange placement company in which Klug worked for – STS Foundation – has been scrutinized for allowing Klug to host foreign exchange students in the first place because of her being a prior convicted felon. She was sentenced in 2006 for a theft by deception charge to 264 days in jail.

2011: Ely guilty of embezzlement and welfare fraud

This is the third and final article I could find in this series about the embezzlement of money from Donnapha Kuppatikasem. It was supposed to have been on Three Rivers Commercial-News, but can no longer be found there. This link was discovered on mlive.com.
———————————————–
The previous two articles in this series were:
  1. Former host mother accused of welfare fraud
———————————————
By Paula M. Davis | Kalamazoo Gazette
on September 02, 2011 at 3:16 PM, updated September 02, 2011 at 3:18 PM

• A Sturgis woman, originally charged with embezzling more than $20,000 from a Thai exchange student living with her, entered a no contest plea to embezzlement and guilty plea to welfare fraud. Laura Ann Ely, 27, entered the pleas Wednesday before St. Joseph County Circuit Court Judge Paul Stutesman.  [Three Rivers Commercial-News]
 

2006 Sep 05: Exchange Students from Middle East Arrive in America Without Homes, an alert for student community

Tuesday, September, 05 2006 – 10:57

OCEANSIDE(USA): Danielle Grijalva, Director Committee for Safety of Foreign Exchange Students, Oceanside, California has issued an alert for students coming to USA from various countries.

“Twenty-five teenagers from Lebanon, Ganza, Ukraine, Jordan, Algeria, Yemen, Kuwait, Muldova and Ukraine are without homes.

The students are here through the YES/FLEX program, wherein the student exchange agency Pacific Intercultural Exchange (PIE) was awarded millions of tax payer grants to invite these teenagers to the United States.  PIE failed to secure host families and schools and have left these children stranded and confused. ……..

2011 Feb 07: Richard Mink of Muskegon charged with two felonies for allegedly abusing two foreign exchange students he hosted at his home

Heather Lynn Peters | hpeters@mlive.comBy Heather Lynn Peters | hpeters@mlive.com 
on February 07, 2011 at 9:58 AM, updated February 07, 2011 at 5:10 PM

MUSKEGON — A 75-year-old Muskegon man who has hosted foreign exchange students for more than a decade has been charged with two felonies for allegedly abusing two teen boys, one from Germany and the other from South Korea.

M0208EXCHANGE.jpgRichard William Mink

Richard William Mink, 2520 Glenside, was arraigned recently in Muskegon County 60th District Court before Judge Andrew Wierengo III on one count of child abusive commercial activity — producing child pornography — and one count of second-degree child abuse in connection with two separate cases involving two unrelated international students.

Mink is free on a $20,000 signature bond issued by Wierengo. The judge set his preliminary examination for Thursday.

Both males were immediately removed from Mink’s home when the initial complaints were filed, said Muskegon Police Department Lt. Leah Fenwick.

The most recent case involves a 15-year-old male from South Korea who began staying with Mink in August 2010, Fenwick said.

The teen, who had been attending a local high school in Muskegon County, reported to a school counselor that he had been abused, sometimes sexually, at the hands of Mink.

A school official then reported the teen’s claims to authorities, Fenwick said.

“He said he was inappropriately touched,” Fenwick said.

The victim also said Mink forced him to sleep nude, shower with others staying at the house and “touched the teen on his genitals and claimed he was doing a medical examination,” Fenwick said.

Mink also allegedly struck the boy on his “bare bottom” and spanked him with a “flat stick,” Fenwick said.

The investigation into the recent claims led authorities to search Mink’s home where they discovered nude photos of a 16-year-old Germany male exchange student, apparently taken by Mink, Fenwick said.

One photo showed the 16-year-old victim completely naked, during the day at a Muskegon-area beach, Fenwick said.

An investigation into whether any additional criminal activity occurred between Mink and other exchange students is ongoing, Fenwick said.

The South Korean student was connected with Mink through Ayusa Global Youth Exchange, which it’s website lists as a non-profit organization designated by the U.S. Department of State. It wasn’t clear how Mink came in contact with the German student.

Sherry Carpenter, Executive Director of Ayusa, said the organization was devastated to hear of the alleged abuse.

“The moment Ayusa became aware of the unfortunate incident involving one of our foreign exchange students we immediately removed the student from the host family. We then quickly followed all Ayusa and U.S. Department of State policies and procedures, including reporting and contacting the authorities,” Carpenter said in a statement to the Chronicle.

Carpenter said last year was the first time Mink ever hosted an exchange student with Ayusa.

E-mail:

hpeters@muskegonchronicle.com

2012 Jun 26: Child porn manufacture case against Muskegon exchange-student host dismissed

John S. Hausman | jhausman@mlive.com By John S. Hausman | jhausman@mlive.com / The Muskegon Chronicle on updated June 26, 2012 at  5:50 PM

Richard-Mink.jpgRichard Mink

MUSKEGON, MI – The case against Richard William Mink of Muskegon, a longtime foreign-exchange student host charged with manufacturing child pornography of a student, has been dismissed because the alleged victim refuses to return from Germany to testify.

The Muskegon County Prosecutor’s Office dismissed the case Tuesday morning “without prejudice,” meaning prosecutors could refile it later if the alleged victim becomes available.

The trial for Mink, 77, of Muskegon had been scheduled to begin Tuesday. He was charged with a 20-year felony.

Mink had been accused of taking nude photos of a 16-year-old German male exchange student in 2009. The case had been pending for some 18 months, but trial was repeatedly delayed when the victim declined to return to the United States.

An earlier case against Mink of second-degree child abuse, involving a 15-year-old South Korean male exchange student in 2010, was dismissed in February 2011 for the same reason.

Mink had been accused of abusing the Korean boy in a variety of ways, including paddling the boy on his bare bottom, making him walk naked in front of Mink, and watching him shower and fondling his genitals. In a Chronicle interview in February 2011 Mink acknowledged some of those allegations but denied the fondling.

Both allegations surfaced in December 2010 after the South Korean student, who had been attending a local high school in Muskegon County, told a school counselor that he had been abused, sometimes sexually, at the hands of Mink.

The Muskegon police investigation into the Korean boy’s case led authorities to search Mink’s home, where they discovered nude photos of the German male exchange student, allegedly taken by Mink.

2012 Jul 25: Wilson guilty of sexual assault

The link to this article by Toriano Porter and Russ Pulley no longer seems to work. It was published Wednesday, Jul. 25 2012 8:46AM in Lee’s Summit Journal.

The article is about Brian J. Wilson who pleaded guilty to two counts of common assault against two teenage foreign exchange students, after initially being charged with one count of assault and one count of first degree assault, a class A felony.

A Lee’s Summit man who was the field director for an agency that helps bring foreign exchange students to the United States is serving one year of supervised probation after pleading guilty to charges that he inappropriately touched two foreign exchange students on separate occasions.

Brian J. Wilson, 49, pleaded guilty June 7 before Lee’s Summit Municipal court judge James Tobin to two counts of common assault after initially being charged with one count of assault and one count of first degree assault, a class A felony.

Wilson received a one-year suspended sentence with one year of supervised probation, which includes 40 hours of community service to be completed within six months and orders that he must not have contact with the victims. Wilson’s probation status will be reviewed in December.

Wilson is the father of Sean and Steven Wilson, two Lee’s Summit North students who were suspended in January for 180 days by the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District for posting blog posts the district deemed racist and offensive. The Wilson brothers were reinstated to North in April after a federal judge ruled the brothers could return to school.

Reached by telephone Monday, Brian Wilson denied guilt despite his guilty pleas, which stipulates that Wilson have no one-on-one contact or be in intentional close contact with children under 18 years old.

“I pled guilty, but I’m not guilty,” Wilson said of his pleas, which are considered violations of city ordinances. City officials said the charges were handled as a municipal ordinance violations because state prosecutors did not feel the cases met the threshold for sexual assault. “It was going to cost me several thousand dollars to fight the cases.

“I enjoy volunteering and working with children, but if – I don’t know how to explain it. The reason I pled guilty was I wanted to get things out of the way. Under the circumstances, the city offered a plea that eventually would not remain on my record. Rather than argue with a couple of kids – you know, ‘he said, she said,’ – and take any kind of risk of having something on my record, I pled what I pled and I don’t feel good about it. I’m trying to what’s right for myself and my family.”

Wilson was area field director for Youth for Understanding USA at the time of the accusations, but no longer works for the agency. YFU USA is a non-profit international agency that helps students from all over the world enroll in exchange programs. Wilson helped exchange students find host families for their stay in the United States.

Neil Routman, communication and development specialist for Youth for Understanding said Wilson was no longer an employee of the agency. In a telephone interview from its headquarters in Bethesda, Maryland, Routman said “It was very, very inappropriate and completely against all of our policies.”

In a prepared statement the agency said its “top priority is safety of the young people placed in its care.” It said Wilson was terminated early in 2012 following reports of inappropriate conduct. “Upon receipt of an allegation of inappropriate conduct, the local area representative followed YFU protocol and immediately notified the UFU Support Service Manager. Without delay, the Support Service Manager made arrangements to remove the student placed in this employee’s home. YFU directly contacted the Missouri Department of Social Services Children’s Division and the U.S. Department of State, alerting them of this alleged incident.”

Youth for Understanding said Child Protective Services conducted an investigation which resulted in an unsubstantiated conclusion. Despite that, YFU said, Wilson was placed on probation and prohibited from having direct contact with students or having them in his home. During the probationary period a second report of a similar incident which had occurred prior to the first reported incident. YFU notified local authorities and Child Protective Services of the second complaint and terminated Wilson’s employment.

Routman said all adult staff and volunteers undergo criminal background checks, including sex offender registries, and provides training for youth safety and to prevent sexual harassment. It trains students, volunteers, host families and staff to always report incidents to Support Service Managers, who are mandatory reporters to local authorities. Students receive training before and after arrival on identifying inappropriate behavior and how to report it to Youth for Understanding and authorities. It also screens host families, including mandatory in-home interviews, reference checks and criminal background checks.

Youth for Understanding, founded in 1951, has helped bring 250,000 exchange students to the United States from 60 countries, about 2,000 a year and sends 400 to 500 students abroad.

Wilson said he worked with more than 140 kids in two years with YFU USA, and that the two allegations were the only problems he ever had with children.

“One was lying, Wilson said, “and the other kid, it was just a misunderstanding.”

According to legal documents obtained by the Journal, Wilson was first accused of assaulting 17-year-old Camille Lingre, a foreign exchange student from France, in November of 2011.

Charging documents state that Wilson approached Lingre on Nov. 1, 2011 and asked her to come to his bedroom with him with a request for her to teach him to pronounce obscene words in French.

Later, the incident report reveled, Wilson asked Lingre to perform a sex act, which she stated to police made her feel uncomfortable. Lingre later stated to police that Wilson put his hand on her leg, apologized for making her feel uncomfortable then moved his hand further up her leg.

Lingre would eventually inform Sally Wooten, volunteer director for Youth for Understanding USA, of Wilson’s behavior, but Wooten, according to court documents, told Lingre that she and Wilson were good friends, that she had known Wilson for a long time and that she didn’t believe Wilson would do such a thing. Wooten could not be reached for comment.

Lingre, who was staying with Wilson and his family until she found a host family, later moved in with a family from Overland Park, Kan. It was there that Lingre confided in her host mother of what transpired at the Wilson home.

Child services in Kansas referred the case to Childe Protective Services in Missouri, who arranged for a forensic interview. Lingre later prepared a written statement of the incident.

Police questioned Wilson Nov. 30 of last year and he denied all the allegations. He told police at the time that he hugged Lingre when he dropped her off at her new home but he never touched her besides that.

Because of a lack of evidence, charges were not initially filed in the Lingre case, but the case was re-opened after another foreign exchange student came forward with similar accusations.

On Jan. 17, legal documents state, Lee’s Summit Police were contacted by family services in regard to a possible sex offense involving a 16-year-old girl and Wilson. The girl told police while she stayed at Wilson’s home before moving on to her host family that Wilson made her uncomfortable by asking her to translate obscene words into her primary language.

According to the incident report, Wilson touched the girl’s arm and rubbed it, then later invited her into his room where he motioned for her to sit on his bed. The girl stated Wilson was under the covers the entire time and that he told the girl a few days later that he was naked while they were sitting in his bed. The comment made the girl uncomfortable, but she also stated Wilson never touched her in any other way.

The next day Wilson was escorted to police headquarters for questioning where he denied allegations that he touched the girl. He stated that he did have her translate an obscene word into her language and agreed that the request was inappropriate. He also told police that she did sit on his bed while he was naked under covers but stated that the girl let herself in the bedroom and sat down.

The report indicates that Wilson told police that his wife was in the bathroom while the incident occurred and when contacted by police the wife first stated that she did not know what police were talking about.

After police explained the situation, the report states, Wilson’s wife told police that she may have been in the bathroom when the incident happened but that she was not positive.

Warrants were issued for Wilson’s arrest on Jan. 26 for assault on the 16-year-old girl and the previous case involving Lingre.

The Lee’s Summit host family for the 16-year-old girl declined to comment on the case.

“I’ve had several regrets,” Wilson said Monday. “I have to take care of my family and (legal fees are) an awful lot of money. I don’t know what else to say. Is (pleading guilty) something I wanted to do? No. I’m trying to get on with my life. If the city is telling me I can’t work around kids, that’s fine, I don’t have to. I have nothing inside of me that tells me I have to work with kids.”

2014 Dec 05: Young and State enter plea bargain to avoid another trial

According to the 2012 appeal, in the autumn of 2007 a foreign exchange student from South-Korea came forward and accused Richard Young, his host-father, of sexual abuse.

Young had hosted students several times through the exchange organization, Face The World Foundation (FTWF). He was the host-parent of this exchange student. Before arrival the two had contact and the student claimed Young “was obsessed with the sexual interests by teenagers.” At one time the student had been asked to send nude photograph of himself to Young. Upon arrival, August 1, Young continued talking about masturbation and teen sex. The first evening the student was given vaseline and tissue and encouraged the student to masturbate.

The talk about sex was kept up and Young kept on asking the student if he was gay. After grooming the student, Young touched the student’s genitals. At that time the boy was told to undress. They both laid down naked, and Young continued to touch the boy. Young told the boy not to speak to anyone of what had happened.

Young instigated another fondling session. This time the student was able to tell Young that he did not want this kind of behavior to continue. After that Young stopped.

At school, the exchange student’s behavior changed. The older exchange student also living with Young claimed the boy must be bipolar. So, that is what the boy said of his changed behavior. The boy did not speak of what had happened. Groomed people seldom do. The school became more and more concerned and contacted FTWF. Chaple sent the student to a psychologist. After that the exchange organization decided the student must return to South-Korea.

The exchange organization sent the student out of Kansas, and he stayed in Philadelphia with a friend of his family. The exchange organization representative, Connie Chaple,  told the exchange student he had to leave the country in two weeks. They boy told his father about the abuse and the father advised the student to get a lawyer.

However, Young was arrested and his house searched. Young was a frequent visitor of Asian gay and hetero porn sites. Young did not speak up in his own defence. He was convicted of three counts of indecent liberties with a child and one count of indecent solicitation of a child.

In 2011 Young appealed the conviction and February 2012 it was overturned. Young claimed evidence regarding his earlier abuse of three step-sons had been wrongfully admitted. The Judge overturned the 2008 verdict because of improperly admitted evidence.

The State Attorney sought a review of the decision with the Kansas Supreme Court. According to Fred Gough with Hutchinson News, Kansas Supreme Court summarily reverse the 2012 ruling and sent the case back to the Court of Appeals. To avoid a new trial, a plea deal was entered December 2014 and Richard Young completed his sentence November 2014.

(Research 1998 – 1999) Protecting Young People on European Exchanges

(CHILD-SAFE TRAVEL-SAFE)

HOLIDAY SNAPSHOTS…PROTECTING YOUNG PEOPLE ON EUROPEAN

EXCHANGES FROM ABUSE (Research 1998 – 1999)

 

Chris Gould, Chairman

Child-Safe International Ltd

Avon and Somerset Constabulary,

PO Box 37, Valley Road, Portishead, BristolBS20 8QJ, United Kingdom

Tel: + 44 (0) 1275 816131  / Fax: + 44 (0) 1275 816655

email: chris.gould@avonandsomerset.police.uk website: www.child-safe.org.uk

Background

Legislative and regulatory concerns about the policing and control of child sex offenders, convicted or otherwise, has increased both nationally and internationally during the past three to five years.  High profile cases in both the United Kingdom and Belgium have focused attention on the best way of combating such offending.

In August 1996 the first “World Congress Against Commercial and Sexual Exploitation of Children” was organised in Stockholm.  Several countries subsequently introduced extra-territorial legislation to prosecute citizens who commit crime against children overseas (“sex tourism”) and an increasing interest has been shown in the sex offender “register” concept that was initiated in the USA.  Such a register was introduced in the UK under the Sex Offender Act in September 1997.  Concerns continue about how to prevent potential child sex offenders gaining employment to work with children.  Both the European Union and the Council of Europe have taken decisions with pan-European implications.

The British Government is currently looking at preventing unsuitable people working with children, under the auspices of an interdepartmental working group.  Legislation is expected to be introduced in the Spring of 2001 which will lead to the creation of a national Criminal Records Bureau, allowing criminal record checks and, in some cases, intelligence checks to be carried out by employers on such staff.  The Premier’s Department, NSW, Australia have been working on a similar piece of legislation earlier this year, entitled “Employment Screening Procedures for Child Protection”.

Following his innovative work with the “Holiday Snapshots…” research, Detective Superintendent Chris Gould has been collaborating with the interdepartmental working group on behalf of the Association of Chief Police Officers, to ensure that his findings are considered for any future legislation.

Introduction

Just when it seemed that child abuse had infested all possible “child” areas of our society, and that nothing else could shock us or present itself as “new”… along came some extraordinary revelations by two experienced British police officers.

Following exposure that a Spanish boy had been placed within a host family in the policing area of the Avon and Somerset Constabulary, United Kingdom, the father of whom was a known paedophile, Chris Gould and Kaye Jones set about examining school exchanges and the cultural, educational and language commercial business within Europe. They wanted to see exactly who, and what, regulates this multi-billion dollar enterprise.

In April last year, the Home Office awarded a grant to both officers, with a remit to identify the range and extent of child abuse on international visits, focusing primarily upon the European Union.  Their research project “Holiday Snapshots…Protecting Young People on European Exchanges from Abuse” has already gained international recognition  –  even prior to publication.  By April 1999, the officers were receiving the Police Research Award for innovation from the Home Secretary Jack Straw MP.  By now, this pioneering child protection work of the Avon and Somerset Constabulary, had become known as “Child-safe” and this specialist area of investigation was referred to as

“Child-Safe Travel-Safe”.

For over a year the officers travelled extensively looking at the best practice child protection procedures across the world.  The results of their research focus on homestays by young people under the age of 18 and have now been consolidated.  The findings were then segmented into a series of practical information books targeted at the main groups involved in organising or using international homestays.  The seven books provide practical guidelines on how to set up and monitor child safety policies whilst also providing a solid background of case histories from around the world which illustrate the extent and seriousness of this problem.  This paper can only hope to give a brief overview of the issues, findings and recommendations.  Further details of the work can be found by accessing the “Child-Safe” website (www.child-safe.org.uk), or by speaking with the authors.

Some things became clear almost immediately. No-one seemed to know the structure of the industry itself, such is its complexity and diversity.  The business is totally unregulated and few, if any, checks are being done in respect of host families, agents or organisations.  Crimes against children are happening and are either not being reported or the information is suppressed.

The research project was designed to capture anecdotal evidence from across Europe of cases where young people had experienced abuse in this way.  These examples were sought in order to establish the range of difficulties that young people were encountering, without speculating as to the scale of the problem unless records and interviews made it statistically possible.  This evidence would hopefully reinforce the need for legislation, regulation of controls to be put in place across the European Community.  At the very least it would foster debate as to the level of State intervention, raise awareness of the issues, improve self regulation and ultimately lead to enhanced safety and welfare conditions for young travellers.

Objectives

The project has two primary objectives:

  • To identify a sample of cases involving child abuse to or by foreign visitors within the European Community, following placements into host families by school exchanges, twinning or other educational or cultural visits.
  • To determine how the research findings can be used to assist European Governments, relevant travel organisations or other businesses, language schools, educational authorities or twinning associations in preventing the placement of young people on European exchanges in a home where they are likely to be at risk from abuse.

The project also has three hidden objectives:

  • Publicity, to ensure that parents and organisations are made aware of the potential risks inherent with such travel
  • To work towards the creation of appropriate legislation or regulation within the UK or Europe
  • To publish informative travel books/booklets to targeted audiences offering the best practice and guidance alternatives

Methodology (in brief)

à         Press strategy…release of information re research and cases uncovered

à         Personal interviews with victims, parents, organisers, agents, schools,

host families

à         Focus days held with specialists both in the UK  and abroad

à         Telephone interviews with organisations, victims etc

à         Questionnaires sent to host families, organisations and students

(10,000 – UK only)

à         Telephone questionnaire with 54 police forces UK and Channel Islands

à         Extensive literature searches, including internet search and document analysis

à         Visits to USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, The Netherlands, Belgium,

Spain etc

Research findings

It has been established that this “industry” is extremely diverse and complex, and for some twenty, thirty or even forty years it has existed without any form of regulation.  The standards within the businesses vary dramatically from those which have set up their own professional standards body to those ”cowboys” who seasonally set themselves up to make a fast dollar.  This can mean, for instance, that children are being placed within homestays that have never been visited, let alone checked.  There are many instances where extra children have turned up on the coach and organisers have resorted to knocking on doors randomly in order to find last minute hosts, some have even flicked through telephone directories, ringing locals who may be able to assist and at the same time earn some extra cash.

Within the first three months some 550 cases of abuse had been discovered, ranging from neglect through to emotional, physical and sexual abuse.  This was enough to indicate to the authors that there is a problem and from that time their efforts were concentrated on looking for best practice and guidance from which recommendations for change could be made.  Whilst the research considers all types of travel that young people under 18 years venture upon; whether it be staying in youth hostels, hotels, igloos or under canvas: 95% of all abuse cases uncovered happened within a homestay environment.  The number of recorded cases uncovered during this research now exceeds 1,000.

For many child protection professionals, the cases discovered will not be shocking.  They will not be different in any way to those already experienced within their own professional capacities.  However, one big difference is that of those first 550 cases which were Europe wide with a handful from New Zealand, Australia, Canada and America; only three had ever reported to any law enforcement agency.

Victims give many reasons for not reporting, for example; not being able to speak the language; putting up with the situation because it is only short stay; lack of understanding in relation to culture, practices or procedures; not having a parent or guardian close by or contactable, nor any other adult with whom they feel comfortable to disclose.  In many cases, the use of a telephone to either ring home or contact an adult supervisor or guide is restricted or made difficult by homestay rules.  In some situations telephone calls are forbidden.  Young people travelling abroad or away from home are vulnerable, some more than others.

If a report is made to agents or organisers, the young person is generally removed from the host family, but that is the full extent of the action taken, leaving an offender or suspect free to host again.

Whilst the research focused on cultural, educational and language visits made by the under 18 year olds travelling abroad, there was little, if any, safety, welfare or pastoral guidance being given by any organisation.  Since this work started in the UK the officers have worked closely with the Department for Education and Employment (DfEE), who, following consultation with the authors, have now published “Guidance on Pupil Health and Safety on School Visits” which includes advice about International Visits.  The British Incoming Tour Operators Association (BITOA) have also consulted the authors and produced a “Homestay Committee Report” giving advice for homestays.  The British Council, ARELS and BASELT have published some of the earlier pieces of guidance issued during this research.

The complexity and diversity of this industry, coupled with apparent under-reporting of incidents of abuse to the authorities, has resulted in law enforcement agencies having little, if any, intelligence or information on this area of criminality.  Limited intelligence and involvement, that is: until now. Law enforcement includes not only the police, but Customs and Excise, Immigration, Europol, Interpol, National Criminal Intelligence Service (NCIS) as well as prosecution lawyers.

Specific Cases

Cases range from children not being fed at all whilst on a visit, to those fed solely on such things as peanut butter or jam in order to save money.  Others have slept three to a bed, some sleeping under beds or in a cupboard under the stairs and others as young as seven or eight who have simply been left or abandoned and have quickly found themselves to be lost.

There have been cases where the host family circumstances have changed and visitors have been turned out of the home following domestic disputes or some who were not accepted into the home in the first instance.  Many children and young people have been victims of acquisitive crime with property or money being stolen.  Some have suffered verbal and racial abuse and we have heard many reports of young people who have been exposed to domestic violence, drug and alcohol abuse by their hosts.

At the more sinister, thin of the wedge, there are known, or suspected, sex offenders or child abusers who have infiltrated the “industry” – either acting as hosts or attaining more prominent positions as language school teachers or even agents or organisers.  The researchers came across cases of known paedophiles who have been trafficking vulnerable young people from places like Albania into Europe.  At this time, it is difficult to determine the full extent of abuse or the level of such incursion.  Suffice to say, that what has been revealed is considered to be just the tip of the iceberg.

There are but a few known, reported cases that have subsequently been investigated and prosecuted.  In Perth, Western Australia, a 65 year old organiser was convicted less than two years ago of the sodomy, amongst other crimes, of a 14 year indigenous boy who was en route from the north to stay with a host family in the South West.  This man had been abusing vulnerable children on such cultural exchanges for many years.

In Minnesota, USA, A 17 year old French boy who stayed with a host family, was convicted of sexual assault of the 12 year old daughter of his hosts, following several days of molestation.

In Nottinghamshire, UK a host father was convicted of possession of pornographic videos following a disclosure by the young Spanish boy whom it is believed he was sexually attempting to groom.

Scale of the problem

The scale of this problem is unknown due to the inadequate records kept within Europe in respect of youth travel.  Essentially, there is no base line from which to begin calculations.  However, to give the issue some perspective, estimates from tourist records kept by the British Tourist Authority and the English Tourist Board, indicate that in 1998 some 4 million children under the age of 18 entered the UK. Of those, just over 1 million travelled on what are recorded as independent holidays or studies.

From a European search, the researchers estimate that in 1998 between 5 and 6 million children and young people travelled abroad on cultural, educational or language trips, the majority of which passed without incident.  Although impossible to say accurately, the officers’ professional view from the work conducted so far is that in total approximately 4-5% per annum are suffering some form of abuse.

There are some 60+ million school aged children in Europe, so the potential growth in this area of travel is huge.  Youth tourism already represents 20% of the world tourist market and this figure is growing.  In 1998, within the UK alone, student expenditure was in excess of £1 billion (including course fees, accommodation and travel).

To give a further example of the size and scale to this “industry”, the Federation of International Youth Travel Organisations (FIYTO) represent some 289 member organisations world-wide in 72 different countries.  Their turnover per annum is 6 billion US dollars, serving some 14 million young people travelling annually and selling over 6 million air and surface tickets.

Research Methodology

Within the United Kingdom the officers circulated

  • 5,280 host family questionnaires
  • 1,242 student questionnaires to international visitors within the UK
  • 574 questionnaires to school aged pupils (12-14 years)
  • 1,260 questionnaires to university students
  • 731 questionnaires to organisers

The return rate is at present in excess of 15%, however, responses continue to be received almost daily.

Following the implementation of a media strategy many individuals came forward and face to face interviews were conducted with victims, parents, organisers, agents, teachers and others.  An abundance of mail has been received from people with concerns together with supporters of this work and organisations looking to implement changes as well as many individuals who have suffered abuse whilst travelling in this way.

Experiments were conducted in various parts of the UK, and police checks were made on host families employed by certain organisations.  In one such experiment, 700 families were checked, 26 had serious convictions for offences such as supplying drugs, armed robbery, indecency offences, serious assaults and two known paedophiles were identified.

Numerous focus days have been held gathering experts together both in the UK and Spain.  Searches have been made, throughout Europe and beyond, including both literature trawls and the examination of travel statistics and existing legislation.  Meetings have taken place with Europeans from the travel industry, youth exchange, education, child protection charities, law enforcement and others both on a formal and informal basis.

Presentations have been made by the authors at both the House of Commons, UK, and the European Parliament in Brussels highlighting the concerns and problems within this area of youth and student travel. Ministers are now working towards airing these issues within the European Parliament Civil Liberties and Internal Affairs Committee.

Emerging facts from completed host family questionnaires

  • only 11.6% of host families were interviewed face to face
  • only 13% were obliged to supply references
  • around 10% were never visited by the agents or organisations nearly 10% of organisers making a home visit failed to check on students’ sleeping arrangements or facilities
  • over half were not asked to sign any form of contract
  • only 10.6% of host families received an unannounced visit
  • 61.5% work for language schools
  • only 25.5% of host families were asked if they would consent to a police check
  • only 10.9% were  required to look after students’ welfare
  • 25.2% of host families said that they had experienced “difficulties” when hosting
  • 21.2% of these said the organiser had been “unhelpful” or “very unhelpful” at these times
  • 93.9% of host families were given information about their student prior to their arrival
  • 65.6% were provided guidance and practical support from the organiser

Recommendations – the way forward

Earlier in this report the use of criminal records was alluded to.  The authors are clear, however, that at this time, this is not the answer.  A code of practice ensuring a minimum standard of operation must be implemented throughout this industry and criminal record checks may form part of this as an additional safeguard.

The following is a brief synopsis of the detail contained within the travel guide booklets which the authors have produced. The books themselves will contain suggested formats for written documentation, proformas of checklists, examples of forms and full explanations of the bullet points listed below.

  • Young people must be protected from harm and their general welfare promoted
  • Children have rights – this must be recognised and they must be treated with respect
  • Awareness of child protection issues should be raised throughout your organisation – consider addressing the following

– write a mission statement for your organisation

– ensure that you have a child protection policy

– identify a “Child Protection Officer”

  • Develop safety procedures which minimise the likelihood of children and young people being harmed and which enable organisers and others to respond effectively to accidents or suspected cases of abuse.
  • Empower children and young people and their parents

– give them information about the culture of the country in which they will stay

– tell them where they will be living

– give helpline numbers and emergency contact points

– give everyone involved in the trip an opportunity to feed back about their experiences

–  inform  parents of all arrangements and itineraries

  • Establish links with parents and other relevant organisations, both in this country and abroad
  • Create the right environment to ensure a safe and successful experience – the key points are

– Support

– Communication

– Information

– Preparation

  • Share information about any problems or concerns you may have about individuals or in general
  • with each other

  • between agencies

  • Develop good practice and
  • review and continue to progress and develop

  • hold regular seminars and invite people from all aspects of your  business

  • commercial groups who hold conferences should extend invitations to the voluntary sector and others who are involved in the same work

  • Make sure you have appropriate management practices in place

– raise your standards of child safety

– implement a preventative strategy– it is better to avoid problem than to risk

– safety of a young person

  • Ensure adequate pre-trip planning is conducted
  • consider making a risk assessment of the homestays into which young people will be placed

  • distribute bi-lingual help cards – in the visitor’s own language with the English equivalent

  • advise host families about possible requirements for insurance relating to both property and their vehicle

  • Implement proper training – host parents may be acting in loco parentis and they need to understand the implications of this, as well as your staff/employees
  • ensure a basic level of first aid

  • give adequate health and safety training

  • make sure they understand what to do if a child protection issue arises

  • record and evaluate incidents at homestays – and share the information with each

  • other and between agencies where appropriate

  • Leaders should be fully trained and aware of their responsibilities

  • Recruitment of host families – for instance, language schools in the UK can do the following
  • Contact Area Child Protection Committees to let them know you exist

  • Form a relationship with your Community Beat Officer

  • Subject access checks can currently be undertaken for a fee

  • An interdepartmental working group has been established to look at the following new pieces of legislation

  • Preventing unsuitable people working with children

  • Criminal Records Bureau

  • Check employee details against the DfEE List 99
  • Check employee details against the D H Consultancy Service
  • Define the role of a host family – all parties need to be aware of expectations
  • Address the suitability of current advertising for host families, photographs of children and some text phrases may be wholly inappropriate and attract the type of host
  • Screen Applicants
  • conduct interviews over the telephone and in person

  • make sure that every person who regularly stays within the household has been met

  • ask for a declaration to be signed by each member of the household stating there is no reason why that person should not have access to children and that they have no

  • criminal convictions

  • two people should conduct interviews wherever possible

  • check the identification of the household members – use the voters’ register

  • ask for references – and then follow them up

  • Check out accommodation
  • hosts should be made aware of the organisation’s terms and conditions

  • hosts should be aware of all relevant regulations, legislation and safety issues

  • an accommodation checklist should be completed

  • a host family application form and contract should be signed and dated

  • Remember
  • children and young people should always be listened to, given a sense of belonging and kept safe from harm

  • parents should be informed, supported and encouraged

  • staff volunteers who work with children and young people should be trained, supported and protected

European Conference, Bath 18-22 August 1999

Between 18 and 22 August 1999 invitations were extended to over 100 expert delegates from the 29 Council of Europe Countries.  These experts, from law enforcement, social services, health, youth travel, education and various children’s charities and non-governmental organisations, together with government and European Commission representatives, heard key note speeches and took part in inter-active workshop sessions. Delegates were given an opportunity to critique the work of the authors and present their personal and organisational perspectives in relation to the issues raised.

The conference concluded with each of the European experts endorsing and validating both the work and the research findings.  Undertakings were given that the Child-Safe Travel-Safe guidance would be promoted in each of the Council of Europe countries and lobbying of governments would continue.  Through this inaugural network, delegates committed themselves to continue to work in their respective countries, supporting each other to the goal of enhanced welfare, safety and pastoral care of children and young people engaged in international travel.

UK Launch – House of Commons, 11 October 1999

On 11 October 1999 the Child-Safe Travel-Safe booklets were launched at the House of Commons, London, by Home Office Minister Charles Clarke MP.  Other dignitaries present included Senator Landon Pearson, Advisor on Children’s rights, Canadian Senate; Diana Lamplugh, Suzy Lamplugh Trust; Gordon Blakely, British Council; together with representatives from the Department for Education and Employment, The Federation of International Youth Travel Organisations and children’s charities such as Childline and the NSPCC.

Conclusion

You would not send your child to a house at the end of your street if you knew nothing about the person living there.  Yet on the strength of a glossy brochure, the payment in some cases of vast sums of money, and an assumption that someone else has asked the right questions, we send our children thousands of miles across the world to stay with strangers.

The companies, organisations and individuals that abuse this blind trust cannot be allowed to continue to profit from it and we must all take responsibility for the care and safety of our young people.

Hostage in America (South-Carolina)

(by Ragni Trotta)

According to local sources, it is common knowledge that the Vickers family uses foreign exchange students extensively for babysitting purposes and complaints have been raised against the family by previous exchange students. In 2007, the same family stopped providing adequate food to a 17 year old German girl  (Sina Tuscheerer) who was an exchange student staying with them, forcing teachers at Branchville High School to purchase and place food for her in the school fridge. According to the teachers, the problem was reported to local area representative Linda Davis as well as EF in Boston several times, but no action was taken. Still, much to the astonishment of the teachers at Branchville High School, the Vickers family has continued to be on the receiving end of foreign exchange students, even hosting two students from Finland (Sointu Lampinen) and Sweden (Frida Edstrøm) at the same time.

———————————————–

Honor roll student

Honor roll

Academic reception

FFA membership

Crowds crave the Taste of Orangeburg

Branchville High School enjoys cultural diversity

2010: Ely faces felony charges

The original link was: wwmt.com (Newschannel 3) but the article can no longer be found there. This article has been copied from dreamindemon.com

CENTREVILLE, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) – An exchange student from Thailand who has lived in west Michigan for more than five years is facing the possibility of deportation and her former host mother is facing two felony charges in St. Joseph County for stealing the girl’s savings.

Laura Ely had an arraignment Wednesday and faces charges of larceny and illegal sale or use of a financial transaction device. The most serious charge could put her in prison for ten years.

Donnapha Kuppatikasem – known as Tak – came to Michigan when she was 16 years old with dreams of becoming a doctor.

“As long as I’ve known her,” said Theresa Hawkins, Tak’s friend, “she hasn’t changed it.”

Theresa met Tak when both attended Colon High School. She spoke to Newschannel 3 on Tak’s behalf because Tak is waiting to tell her story of what happened in court. Tak is 21 now, and may have to reconsider her dream. She may lose her student visa because she cannot afford this fall’s tuition at WMU. Detectives in St. Joseph County say Laura Ely stole thousands of dollars from Tak.

“[Tak] trusted her,” Theresa Hawkins said. “She lived with her for years and years and never knew she was that kind of person, but people can be deceiving.”

The probable cause affidavit says Laura Ely slowly drained $17,000 from an account at First State Bank in Middlebury, Indiana, first deposited in June 2008. The affidavit says Ely also took $15,000 deposited in November 2009 at Omni Community Credit Union in Sturgis.

Investigators say Laura Ely also used Tak’s credit card without permission at least 10 times at Dury Oil in Sturgis, Kalamazoo Animal Hospital, LaGrange Veterinary Clinic and other locations.

Tak’s new host family estimated the credit card purchases total about $4,000.

Theresa Hawkins says Tak never knew about the money disappearing.

“I don’t think [Tak] ever did, not until it was gone,” Theresa Hawkins said.

The affidavit says Laura Ely did not deny using the money or the credit card. She told detectives she had permission and Tak was aware of every transaction.

Laura Ely is out of the St. Joseph County jail on bond and told Newschannel 3 at her home in Sturgis on Thursday that she did not steal anything. She says the charges are retaliation for evicting Tak from her home in March.

WMU told Newschannel 3 student visa rules require a student to maintain enrollment for the entire academic year. The university says Tak has until September 7th to enroll in classes for the fall semester. Tak’s tuition bill is $13,305.38; she owes that to keep her student visa in good standing or risk deportation back to Thailand.

“Like when an unexpected bill comes, you don’t have money to pay for it, you’re frantic,” Theresa Hawkin said, “and you’re scared and you don’t know what to do. [Tak’s] basically screwed.”

will appear in court again next week. If you’d like to donate to help Tak pay her tuition, her new host family has set up an account for her at Citizens Bank in Colon. The account is under her full name – Donnapha Kuppatikasem.

2008/2009: EF threatens student with jail

Extract of the story of one Pedro Acevedo of Venezuela and his experiences with EF Foundation. The entire exchange may be read here

My name is Pedro Acevedo, I’m from Caracas, Venezuela, and I’m currently an exchange student in Southaven, Mississippi, with the company EF, also known as the Education First. During this year, I have been target of several irregularities and injustices from EF part, making this year extremely hard to endure. At the moment, i find myself in a hurry, and i dire need of help. …

… Tonight I was approached by Emily Force, my area representative, from the EF company, and i was told that tomorrow, Wednesday may 13th, i was scheduled to leave at noon, and that she was to pick me up at 9 am. She said that the department of state had “said” that i had to go home no matter what, and that otherwise i was going to get in “big trouble”. She put me on the phone with a woman named Susan, “a lady” from EF, and i was told by her that my requests of staying longer were just going to be ignored, and that i shouln’t keep asking for it, and that they didnt needed “valid reasons” to send me home. I was told that if i don’t get on a plane tomorrow morning, my j1 visa was going to be removed and i was gonna be forced to leave, no matter what. I was told that i could be “Taken” to the airport without my things if necessary, like some kind of criminal. My constant requests for reasons from them to want my early depart, are ignored. …

This is coming to me as a shock since i wasnt informed of a time, i wasnt given a ticket, they kept me in the shadows until hours before the supposed leaving time. … my natural parents, not only they dont want me to leave, but they don’t even know if they could pick me up at any random time, given the short notice. My host family have approved my stay, and they want me to stay the remaining 2 weeks. … I’m being told that if i refuse to leave at the time they want me to, i could even go to jail. I don’t understand how this can be possible. Please, any assistance on this matter will be greatly appreciated.

2008: AYUSA refused student contact with sick mother

All of the exchange organizations send their students warning letters/probation letters/agreements that make a case against the exchange students. At times these letters reflect reality and sometimes they illustrate how dangerous it is for company representatives to be good friends of host families.

In this case, there are two letters from AYUSA that demand the exchange student sign. As punishment they take away all electronic devices from the student. At the time the student’s mother had contracted cancer and the student needed to be in contact with her. Yet the student had not been allowed to speak with her for more than a month. AYUSA were aware of the situation. He was living with AYUSA regional representative, Norma Latini. Below is an extract of the communications between CSFES and the US Department of State, along with the warning letters:


The mother of a foreign exchange student from Montenegro is suffering from cancer and contacted this child protection advocacy group for help.

Her son, … has not been allowed to speak with his natural mother for over a month.

October 15, 2008 Probation Letter (see below) issued to her son by student’s placement agency, “Your computer and cell phone use has been terminate indefinitely.

Natural mother reported that her son’s Host Mother, AYUSA Regional Director, Norma Latini, … has confiscated his cell phone.

This family has spent approximately $10,000 for their son to come live his dream; live a year in America. Her son is being returned home early on November 3. …


Probation Letter:

Oct 15th, 20008

xxxx (348772)

15101 Woodson Street
Overland Park, KS  66223
Dear xxxx,

I recently received reports that (brief description of the behavior). The purpose of this letter is to inform you are officially on probation with AYUSA for the remainder of the year and to clarify with you what we expect of you as an AYUSA student. Failure to make an effort to (refer to the rule violation) could result in your dismissal form the AYUSA program.

It has been reported to me that:

You recently posted 2 exchange students on YouTube making discriminatory and inappropriate comments about each student on the video. You added personal information about the students which could be detrimental to their relationships at school and their personal well being.

You continue to transfer the blame to someone else for all of your personal infractions. ” Fadi has too much drama.”  “Norma did not have to tell Mary Lou.”

You say, “it is a joke,  just a joke” about serious violations of rules and disrespect you have shown to others.

You have violated Host Family rules and the personal privacy of others.

Because this behavior is considered unacceptable, you will be placed under close supervision by your local AYUSA representative, Tracy Ellenz, who will look for an improvement in your behavior and actions. Probation is a step before dismissal, meaning that AYUSA is giving you a chance to demonstrate a successful program experience.

As an AYUSA student, it is your responsibility to follow program rules and procedures. You were selected for this program because we believe that you have the maturity and capability to deal with the demands of a year in the United States.

xxxx, you must work very hard to prove that you should remain on the AYUSA program. In order to continue to be an AYUSA student you must meet the following requirements:

Your computer and cell phone use has been terminated indefinitely.

You will take responsibility for your own actions and take the consequences.

No more jokes, or what you consider jokes on anyone.

Respect others’ privacy and listen to staff and host family when they tell you that you are being disrespectful to teachers and other.  Change your disrespectful behavior to others upon the request.

An addendum may follow after investigation into the YouTube videos by authorities.

AYUSA expects that you will take this probation notice very seriously and will make strides toward changing your attitude and behavior and completing a successful year in the U.S. We anticipate that you will act, for the remainder of your stay, in a manner befitting an AYUSA student and a junior ambassador of Montenegro.  After reading this letter, please sign the copy enclosed and mail it back to me at the following address by October 20th, 2008.

Mary Lou Dunekacke
Regional Manager
491 32nd Rd
Rising City, NE  68658

I have read and understood this Probation Letter

_____________________________                          _________________________
(Student’s Name)                                             (Date)

Sincerely,
AYUSA International
Mary Lou Dunekacke (Regional Manager)

cc:

Zanka Samardzic
Jenna DeFabio (HQ)
Tracy Ellenz (CR)
Norma Latini (RD)


M( 17 )      9* AICEE-SM 348772

09/04/2008
Dear xxxx,

I recently received reports from AYUSA staff regarding the following

  • You have told others that you have lost 22 pounds in the USA.
  • You have told others that you were made to go to church.
  • You have demanded the food of your native country, not eating the food of your host family. In the meantime, you have ordered delivery pizza and chocolate dunkers on at least 10 occasions after the host family’s meal.
  • You act distant to relatives and friends of the host family when visiting, even though you were explained this and your host mom has a code word for you.  You said you do not think you are disrespectful.
  • You have refused to wash your clothes and wear clean clothing.
  • You spend hours on your Playstation, then ask for  help with your homework late at night.
  • You are talking to your natural mom frequently on your international cell phone and reporting to staff that she has contradicting reports about your issues.

Consequently, the purpose of this letter is to inform you that you are officially on warning with AYUSA and to clarify with you what we expect of you as an AYUSA student.  Failure to make an effort to change your behavior/attitude will result in being placed on probation with the AYUSA program.

As an AYUSA student, it is your responsibility to follow program rules and procedures as part of having a successful year abroad.  I realize that adjusting to a new situation can be challenging.  The following are suggestions on what you can do to show that you are serious about having a successful experience on the AYUSA program:

  • You will follow any and all rules of your host family
  • You will give accurate accounts to others.
  • You will read the in your student booklet pages 2-25.
  • You will report to your representative, Tracy Ellenz as to what you have read.
  • You will discontinue ordering from pizza delivery and try to adjust to American food and the special cooking of your host family.
  • Your host mom has a code word for you when you are acting disrespectful,  she will use it and you will stop your behavior. You will act respectful to teachers and  others.
  • You will wash your clothes and wear clean clothing at all times.
  • You will limit your time on Playstation until all your homework is finished, the time limits will be set as needed by your host mom.
  • Limit calls from home to once every two weeks.

Your local AYUSA representative, Tracy Ellenz, is here to support you and will closely supervise you over the next 4 weeks. She will observe your attitude and effort weekly in making the suggested changes listed above.  On October 2, 2008 Tracy will talk with you to check on your progress.  If, at this time, reports indicate that you have not made any changes or your behavior has worsened, you will be placed on probation.

xxxx you were selected for this program because we believe that you have the maturity and capability to deal with the demands of a year in the United States.  AYUSA expects that you will take this warning letter very seriously and will make strides toward changing your attitude and behavior and completing a successful year in the U.S.  We anticipate that you will act, for the remainder of your stay, in a manner befitting an AYUSA student and a junior ambassador of Montenegro. After reading this letter, please sign the copy enclosed and mail it back to Mary Lou Dunekacke at the following address by September 14, 2008.

Sincerely,
Mary Lou Dunekacke
AYUSA Regional Manager
491 32nd Rd.
Rising City,NE  68658
Fax:  402-542-2277

I have read and understand this Warning Letter.

_______________________________                  _______________
(Student Name)                                         (Date)

(Student Comment)                                                                                                                 

cc.
Zanka Samardzic
Jenna DeFabio(HQ)
Tracy Ellenz
Norma Latini

2007: ASSE blames student for problem-family

Sometimes students are placed with host-families that are trouble. One of the things that happen to the students if they complain about their situation is that, if they are lucky, get re-located, or unlucky, get sent back to their home countries. The below example shows the latter:


Regarding ASSE International participant:  Marc Jaubert of FRANCE

Dear Ms. Melofchik, Ms. Dickerson, Ms. Findlay, Ms. Martin and Ms. Lawrence:

Marc Jaubert of France left Knoxville, Tennessee on August 25, 2007 and is currently living with host family:

Stuart and Heidi Jackson
128 N. Van Brant Blvd.
Kansas City, MO  64123
816-418-3318

It has been reported to CSFES by ASSE International representative Amber Wallen that Marc has been crying uncontrollably since being placed in this home and feels unsafe in the neighborhood.  Amber Wallen’s contact information:  home telephone:  865-947-2823.

Marc Jaubert’s ASSE International area representative in Missouri is:  Christina Evans, telephone:  816-617-5173.

Last week, Ms. Evans gave an ultimatum to Marc that he needs to adjust or he will be sent back home.

Please be advised that on Tuesday, September 4, ASSE International is repatriating Marc Jaubert.

At approximately 8:20 am on Monday, September 3, ASSE International Regional Director Shannon Cochran will remove Marc Jaubert from the Jackson residence and will depart Missouri to France on Tuesday, September 4.

Note the names of former exchange students who were also not able to continue to reside in this residence Marc was placed:

  • Marianne of Norway
  • Rosario of Italy

Please be informed that a student from the Czech Republic has already been selected to be placed in the above-referenced residence.

It is an obvious pattern to blame the student for the placement breakdown.  This is not what the natural parents agreed to when they sent their son/daughter to the United States.

Respectfully,

Danielle Grijalva, Director
Committee for Safety of Foreign Exchange Students
P.O. Box 6496 / Oceanside, CA 92052
www.csfes.org / 866-471-9203

ASSE: Thai student arrived in the US without a school or a permanent host family

Dear Ms. Melofchik, Ms. Dickerson, Ms. Findlay, Ms. Martin and Ms. Lawrence:

Please be advised that ASSE International participant Ravee Suksawat remains in Tennessee without a permanent host family; and remains without a high school to attend.

Mr. and Mrs. Wilburn of Knoxville, Tennessee have hosted Ravee Suksawat for the ESL program and have grown very fond of him.

ASSE International provided Mrs. Wilburn the contact information for Ravee’s next host family for the academic year; a Larry and Janifer Bell of Penokee, Kansas.

On Sept. 1, 2007, Mrs. Wilburn telephoned Mrs. Bell to introduce herself and confirm that Ravee would be on a flight from Tennessee to Kansas departing at 5:44 am the following morning.

Mrs. Bell responded to Mrs. Wilburn that she didn’t know that she and her husband had been accepted, assigned a student to host – or anything.  This concerned Mrs. Wilburn who contacted her local ASSE coordinator Ms. Amber Wallen.  Ms. Wallen suggested that Mrs. Wilburn of Tennessee telephone CSFES.

Mrs. Wilburn decided against Ravee boarding the flight to Kansas the following morning.

I would like to provide you with the following contact information:

Mrs. Theresa Wilburn:  865-922-1858      Tennessee

Mrs. Janifer Bell:              785-421-4118      Kansas

Mrs. Wilburn spoke with Laura Johnson of ASSE International of California.  Mrs. Johnson’s focus was how long ASSE has been in business.  Mrs. Johnson’s focus was how “very reputable” ASSE is” and finally, Mrs. Johnson’s response to Mrs. Wilburn was, “I don’t know why Mrs. Bell said that.”

Kansas’ ASSE area representative, Mr. Ron Fontenot can be reached at 785-737-4951.  It is Mr. Fontenot whose name is listed at Ravee’s ASSE area representative on the ASSE Host Family Placement Form.

When I spoke with Mr. Fontenot; his response was that ASSE’s Valerie Kampfer (785) 266-2715 tells him that ‘this is the way it is supposed to be done.’

While these ASSE representatives appear to focus the blame on the neighboring ASSE representative, the fact remains that Ravee continues to live in Tennessee without a permanent host family or secured high school to attend.

Ravee has contacted his mother in Thailand.  She paid $300 for Ravee to fly to Kansas and also concerned.

Thank you for your immediate attention that this matter deserves.

Respectfully,

Danielle Grijalva, Director

Committee for Safety of Foreign Exchange Students
P.O. Box 6496 / Oceanside, CA 92052
www.csfes.org / 866-471-9203

ASSE: Three students without permanent host-families

Dear Danielle,

I confirmed that the following two Thai students do not have a permanent family as of yet. I am unsure if the third student has a permanent family or not.  I’ve been out of touch with her for a week.  I’m including their ASSE IDs in case they are helpful.

3 thai students

You may also want to talk to Ms. Syracuse and Ms. Costuros.  I have heard that these women have felt pressured into keeping their students beyond the 30 days they agreed to.  In fact, the Donelson’s asked all the host families to sign the attached document without providing them a copy to keep. It was received as attachment by some host families, however, some of the host families were elderly persons and unlikely online or computer literate. I have heard that the Donelson’s then told these women that by signing this paper they agreed to keep the students for as long as it takes to find a host family.  If you read the agreement, it says nothing like that.

ASSE: Host-family and exchange student needs ignored

I am a host parent for a Thai student who has been with us since 8/25/07.  My family and I are new to the exchange program, and this is our first exchange hosting experience.  I can tell you that I have not been pleased with the experience thus far, primarily due to the inadequacy of the agency we hosted through – ASSE.

First, our student arrived on 8/25 and was met at the airport by my family—there was no ASSE rep to be found.  Not only that, we have yet to receive a call, visit, or other communication from a local rep for ASSE.  I have complained to Ms. Helga Brandt (Western Regional person at ASSE), only to be quoted about minimum State Department requirements and that ASSE was not in violation of any of them.  From day one, our student has shown a bare minimum of English speaking and communicating capability. We were told by her high school that unless she raised her ability to a minimum level, she would be removed from school per the school district’s policy.  I voiced our concerns to Ms. Brandt and was told that our student had passed a ESL test (46 scored with 45 being a passing grade) and she sent me a PDF of a scanned test score sheet which had nothing more than multiple choice bubbles filled in.  I explained to her that a multiple choice test answer sheet does not constitute a minimum capability, and she replied that ASSE was not in violation of anything.

I am not happy with the way ASSE has handled our situation thus far.  ASSE tells me that our student has a local rep, though none of us has yet to meet him/her.  Last night our student tells me that there are 5 exchange students in New Mexico that she went to English camp with that do not have host families or a school to attend.  She has been receiving frantic phone calls from them since Saturday to ask for help in locating host families.

I find it appalling that a local rep was not present at the airport when our student arrived, and has yet to call us or our student.  I have spoken to other host families that have hosted through Rotary International, and they tell me a whole different story of what a wonderful experience their hosting is.  One gentleman and his family have hosted 27 kids over the years.  In the span of 4 short weeks,  have been soured by our experience and will not host again

Dr. Peter C. Riley
————————————-

ISE: Shipped student home to stop complaints

Nation multimedia

By mahwatthai | 2008 September 15

The core of the problems is irresponsibility and profiterring. In most the problem cases, the area rep and the sponsor simply ship the student home in order to shut them up against complaining. There was a case involving a Thai student which just concluded in court in San Diego last year with the sponsoring company being order to pay our a rather high level of damages of about half a million dollars.

I do encourage all problem case parents to collect evidence and bring the sponsoring organizers both in the US and in the home country to court. That is one of the better way of reducing the abuses on the foreign youngers’ fascination about going to school in USA.

Myself have had a very gravely disappointed experience with International Student Exchange Corporation, headquartered in New York operated through a network call SMG (Student Management Group) and INTO (Into-Edventure). the details of which already is available at:  http://groups.msn.com/HowSMGFailedtheStudentExchangeProgram

Some of the earlier blogger would remember, my daughter was shipped back after only 3 months of a 12 month program because she complainedf about the noisy and quarrelsome host family. The host family of course retaliate by charging her $5-700 in telephone fees and accused her of being unsociable illed adjusted, etc. Well, now 3 years since, she is enjoying a lot of good friends back in USA with a scholarship from one of the top 5 universities. She just attended USC football game with a bunch of American friends yesterday.

By the way the name of the sponsoring company in my case was the International Student Exchange Corp of New York. They organ in Thailand had shut down the website, apparently opened under a new name since our case.


In 2009 DM Discoveries (DMD), IntoEdVentures (INTO), and ASA International merged with ISE.

Student Management Group (established 2003) manages these four exchange companies.

IntoEdVentures

2008: Exchange student placed with unqualified host-family

The following is an excerpt from e-mails regarding DM Discoveries’ (now ISE) terrible placement of a Chinese exchange student. Her host-parents were hearing impaired. That led to her having to take care of crying children, both after school and at night. A headache started because of the high noise level from voices and television. Excrement from the children could be found in washing machine, on the floor of the bathroom and the air reeked of urine. The case came to CSFES’ attention September 2008, 3 weeks after the student’s arrival.


Dear Sir,

…. Second of all, I really like going to Sulphur Spring High and I like the classmates and teachers.

March, this year, I knew that I was assigned to TX and I was aware that the host parents have problem with the hearing and the two girls are cute from the photos. …

However, it is not what we (my family and I) thought after I live with them for about 3 weeks.

Followings are the issues I am having now:

  1. before school starts, I had stayed at home for two weeks and during the time, I only visited church twice.  Other than that, no more activities with the host family inside the house, not even mention about going outside.  I realized that no family activities taken in this family.
  2. two little girls, one is 3 and one is 4, I was awaken by their crying most of the time.  The kids were crying outside their parents door but their parents could not hear them for some reason.  Finally, it was me who opened the door and made them calm down.  Sometimes I cried with them together for helpless. It was not me to make them stop crying, it is because the kids were too tired to cry.
  3. after school starts, I am so happy and think I should be busy with school stuff and forget about the headache I am having with the family.  But the reality is, I have to face an environment which is full of mix sound of video game, TV and kids crying whenever they like to.  Host father was shouting at kids because of the hearing problem.  I can not image what I will be in the following 9 months if I were going to live with them.  Will I become a shouter, have bad temper or someone I can not accept totally?
  4. the host family is not organized, the air is full of urine smell and its mark on some places, kids droppings in the restroom sometimes and droppings found in washer and dryer sometimes. When I want to wash or dry my clothing, I have to clean the machine before I do it.

… As a high school student, my purpose is very simply here. To study with local youngster and have good interaction with host family.

… Please help me because no one does but you.

Sincerely,
Karen Chiu

2008 September 11

Ms. Grijalva-

Karen Chiu is in my office this morning …..  Becky Sanderson has told her that she must make a decision this weekend about where she is going to live ….. either in Emory or stay here with her current host family.  Becky has also told the home office that Karen’s sister is very unhappy with her host family in Indiana-and that is not true.  Karen’s sister is very happy with her situation.  Karen’s mom believes that Becky is trying to convince the home office that these two girls are just trying to stir up trouble and that they are “bad” kids.

… Karen is depressed and confused about this whole matter.

—————————————————-
The entire exchange can be found HERE

2009 Jun 29: Boskatt sentenced for forgery and theft from exchange student

Article written by Tasha Kates in 2006 about a town that takes responsibility for a host-mother’s theft and forgery of exchange student’s money. It shows just how very important it is for outsiders to keep an eye on exchange students while they stay with their host-families.

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

… Nigina Khamidova’s … an exchange student from Tashkent, Uzbekistan, … a victim of forgery and petit larceny at the hands of her host mother. … Ranelle Boskat … took a plea deal last week. …

Boskat was charged May 31 with two counts each of second-degree forgery and petit larceny. … The stolen checks came to light after one day when Khamidova was stranded at Lockport High School for five hours. The student said it wasn’t unusual for her to have trouble getting to and from school; Khamidova and the Boskats moved to North Tonawanda during the school year and she had to be driven to school each day. … After a call from Boskat, Champagne dropped by and got Khamidova that night. The neighbor learned that Khamidova had not seen any of the local sights during her months-long stay with the Boskats. … A few days later, she spoke to AYUSA and Khamidova came to live with her. She later revealed that she had only seen one of her pocket money checks during her entire time in the United States. … She was reportedly told that the checks never came. Without a contact number for a student exchange group or for the Uzbekistan embassy, Khamidova wasn’t sure who to tell about the checks. … After some prodding by Champagne, the exchange group sent a check for more than $900 to cover the money taken by Boskat.

Things have been looking up for Khamidova ever since. She and Champagne’s family have spent time trying different foods, shopping for clothes and presents for her family and visiting the county’s sites. Khamidova went to the prom with friends last week and went through a graduation ceremony with her fellow seniors. …

Read the entire article at Lockport Journal

Use appropriately / give credit where due

%d bloggers like this: