Carey Roberts
ACORN falls from the tree, will abuse shelters come next?
By Carey Roberts
September 21, 2009

ACORN, the liberal activist group, was stripped of its funding by the House of Representatives Thursday following release of undercover videos showing lurid and criminal activities.

One tape showed an ACORN employee named Tresa Kaelke of San Bernardino, Calif. bragging how she had murdered her husband: "I shot him. And he died. Right there." To perfect her alibi, the ACORN worker declared how she had gone to a local domestic violence shelter where she "pleaded my case."

Following release of the video, a red-faced Kaelke claimed she was just playing along with the Candid-Camera gag, and local police reported her former husbands were alive and well.

We're relieved to hear the men are safe. Still, there's something deeply disturbing about Kaelke's boast.

Recently Trudy Schuett of published an insider account of abuse shelters. She reveals, "We've seen cases where fictional abuse, contrived for the purposes of leverage in court, became a reality." In other words, shelter workers coached women like Tresa Kaelke how to fabricate a White Lie for purposes of manipulating the legal system.

Others have developed a similar jaded view of shelters' claims of protecting women from their villainous tormentors. In July, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger announced his plan to rescue the state from the brink of financial insolvency, cutting all funds for domestic violence shelters in the state.

Over the years I've had occasion to visit abuse shelters, speak with their employees, and peruse their literature. Just like the kiss-and-tell videos reveal fraudulent actions at ACORN offices around the country, I have found evidence of widespread malfeasance.

These are some of the more spectacular examples:

Arizona: A female resident sexually assaulted a 12-year-old boy staying at the Brewster Center Domestic Violence Services, but shelter staff wouldn't allow police on the premises to investigate. In Phoenix, the Shield Foundation operates an immigration scam operation that relies on well-rehearsed shake-downs of alleged abusers.

Arkansas: A resident made up tear-jerker accounts of partner abuse and medical emergencies, duping staff at the Options shelter in Monticello to loan her $25,000.

Georgia: The Cherokee Family Violence Center in Canton fabricated an allegation of child neglect by a shelter resident who complained too often, causing the mother to lose custody of her infant for five months.

Oklahoma: The YWCA Crisis Center in Enid lures prospective residents with the promise, "We do NOT require proof of abuse." Cindy Lou Shores, former director of the South Central Region Tribal Nations program, now resides in a federal prison for embezzling $106,000. At SafeNet in Claremore, the director was ordered to avoid any further contact with a former resident's children. Earlier this month the children's father filed a multi-million lawsuit against the shelter.

Texas: The Bay Area Turning Point program in Houston hosts dating parties, pairing up abused shelter residents with local dandies for an evening of schmoozing and boozing.

Virginia: Bethany House of Northern Virginia has a long record of problems. First, two female shelter workers were fired for sexual advances of the residents. Then an attorney appeared at a client's house demanding sex for his pro bono services. Later the shelter waged a six-year campaign to harass the husband of a mentally-deranged resident, what the judge later described as "Kafkaesque litigation."

West Virginia: The staff of the Hope House in Charleston lied to police about a woman in their facility, preventing her from getting needed mental health treatment. And the director of the Domestic Violence Information Center in Morgantown recently admitted under oath, "we do not shelter men in the shelter even if it's empty." Now a group called Men and Women Against Discrimination has filed a sex discrimination lawsuit.

Washington: A blind woman was ridiculed and finally ejected by staff at WomenCare in Bellingham for requesting basic safety accommodations like Braille dots on the security keypad at the shelter entrance.

In Florida, shelters are in a state of disarray. At SafeSpace shelter in Stuart, a 16-month-old toddler was run over in the shelter parking lot, and a woman was later fatally stabbed by a shelter co-resident. The Shelter for Abused Women and Children in Naples fired its former director for harassing and assaulting shelter employees.

At Another Way in Lake City, a four-year-old girl was vaginally penetrated by an older girl staying at the facility. Shelters managers drive shelter vans for personal use. Overt sex discrimination. Illicit drug use. Employees convicted of multiple violent crimes. An astronomical staff turn-over. And more.

No doubt some abuse shelters are providing a tremendous service to their communities. But considering abuse shelters take in $1.4 billion from the government and other sources annuallly, there are far too many bad apples in this barrel for Congress to continue to turn a blind eye on this sordid affair.

© Carey Roberts


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Carey Roberts

Carey Roberts is an analyst and commentator on political correctness. His best-known work was an exposé on Marxism and radical feminism... (more)

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