Dealing with Celebrity Sex Offenders

When a celebrity is a sex offender, the victim doesn’t have the option of simply avoiding them.

I turned on the TV this morning, and as I was flicking through channels, Robert’s face popped up.

After leaving Hey Dad..! he mainly did voice over work, but he had a tiny part in a C grade movie called Race The Sun. It was about a group of Hawaiian kids who built a solar car. Anyway, since it’s an American movie that was filmed in Australia, they play it here, and it means that when I am randomly flicking through channels, I am subjected to hearing his voice, and seeing his face. Even though I no longer live in Australia, there’s still the potential of me having to see him, when I least expect it.

Thankfully, I’m pretty good at dealing with it. It’s not really a huge trigger for me anymore. (Well, today was ok) But it got me thinking about all the other people out there who are unable to avoid their perps, and how there’s always debate about celebrity sex offenders, and whether they should be allowed to continue to work.

It’s a tough question. I think it’s a shame for an entire body of work to be wiped from history simply because one person in the production was a terrible human being. Should all the cast from 7th Heaven never receive royalty cheques again because the dad molested a few girls? Should Hey Dad be wiped from TV because of Robert? What about the Cosby Show? Can we no longer listen to Six White Boomers at Xmas because of Rolf Harris? Should we avoid all movies directed by Roman Polanski, Woody Allan, Victor Salva and Bryan Singer?

I think each person has to decide for themselves. I thought 7th Heaven was cheesey, I never watched myself on Hey Dad, and Cosby always gave me the shits. However, millions of other people loved these shows. But, what about the other cast members. Is it their fault that the male stars here thought they were above the law, and didn’t keep their perverted sexual desires in check? Are we punishing an entire production by boycotting a show because of one person? Sometimes I feel like it’s not fair to the other people associated with a show. I think it’s not fair to Simone Buchanan and Ben Oxenbould that they can’t proudly display Hey Dad clips on their resumes because of something that Robert Hughes did. I feel bad for 7th Heaven cast members who rely on that residual income. I feel sorry for The Cosby kids who have to answer questions about Cosby when they’re trying to do interviews about something completely unrelated.

Then, Robert pops up on my TV.


My brain goes from trying to be the impartial person, right back to seeing it from the view of anyone who has dealt with a celebrity sex offender. Even when I move overseas, I may still be subjected to seeing that trigger. Anyone who has dealt with a celebrity sex offender could be subjected to their attacker at any point. Even if they avoid their movies, or make a point not to turn on the TV when their show is on, at any point, while flicking through channels, that person could pop up. It might be on E! News, or a TV commercial, or on a random talk show. The only thing the person can do, besides refusing to watch any form of media, is to learn to deal with the trigger. Some people can, and some can’t. Some people need more time, and some don’t have access to the resources that will help them heal from that trauma.

So what’s the answer? I’m not really sure. Maybe there’s a balance. I think that while old stuff, pre-knowledge of sexual offending might be OK to keep showing, for the sake of other actors/crew, and let the public decide if they want to watch, I think that going forward, the offender should be barred from more public work. If you’re a celebrity sex offender, you shouldn’t get to keep putting your name out there. You shouldn’t be able to keep putting your face on TV, or work in movies. You shouldn’t be allowed to be glamorized, and continue to work in the industry. You shouldn’t be rewarded, while your victims have to keep seeing your face, or your name, or hear your voice, over and over, forever and ever.

It’s not just for the victims of these celebrities, but for anyone who was a victim of anyone. Seeing someone convicted of a sex crime be rewarded with work, or strutting down a red carpet sends a horrible message to victims everywhere. While the victim lives with the act forever, and has to learn to heal, the perp is out and about, living a glamorous life, being glorified, and everyone forgiving them. It doesn’t inspire victims to speak up, or try to do anything about their molester. Why bother going through the drama of police investigation, court, etc if the person if just going to go straight back to normal life afterwards? As much as I hate that we all look to Hollywood for life inspiration, we do. If people see that celebrity sex offenders aren’t punished, people will wonder what chance they have of their own perps getting punished, celebrity or not.

Even if I was still working in the industry, I would choose not to work with a sex offender. I would never make a film with Roman Polanski or Woody Allan, or even alleged sex offender Bryan Singer. That’s something that each person still working in the industry has to decide for themselves, but I know where I stand.

What about you? Do you think there’s an answer? How would you deal with it? Let them keep working, boycott all their work? Would you work with a celebrity sex offender on a production? Is art more important? Or are victims the priority? Is there a balance?


Throwback Thursday

Or Flashback Friday, Depending on your timezone 😉

So Wikipedia has a listing of the Hey Dad..! episodes, but being Wikipedia, it’s not always right…

Flashback to the pilot
Flashback to the pilot

The “pilot” episode they have listed was actually the first episode. The pilot was never aired, and the only reference to it is in a flashback episode years later, when they got me all dressed up for a formal.

And yes, they did totally recycle the episode a few years later when Arthur MacArthur needed a rabbit suit in the episode “Wascally White Wabbit”.


Protecting the Guilty

What about the victims rights?

So when I went public with my case, there was a couple of things I wanted to achieve. I wanted to make parents aware of what really goes on in the industry, I wanted people to take better care of their kids, and I wanted to change some laws. That was over two years ago. I’m not supposed to be blogging or talking about the case. I’m supposed to be silent while the police are investigating. At first, it was frustrating. I had been asked to go public, I did. It turned into a media circus that I wasn’t prepared for. However, I found my strength, and made it through a couple of the hardest weeks of my life, and I found the courage to stand up and scream. Unfortunately, right as I found that courage, I was asked to shut up and go hide under a rock. At first I was pissed off. Why ask me to go through that, get me fighting, and then ask me to hide again? It was very frustrating. Occasionally I would break my silence, only to get angry calls from Australia, reminding me to be quiet. Eventually I simmered down. I’ve changed a lot over the last 2 years. I have found a quiet strength in myself I didn’t know I had. I’ve also learnt patience. I now figure I waited 17 years to go public, what’s a couple more years for the police to do a thorough job? Thankfully Australia doesn’t have a Statute of Limitations on rape or child assault cases, unlike the US.  The Jerry Sandusky case took investigators 2 years, and that guy is never gonna see light again, so I’m ok with the wait. At least I got to scream his name out load. I got to tell everyone. I got to warn others of what he’s like. I also empowered many more girls to come forward and speak of their own abuse. I’ll never be able to express how awesome it is to receive emails from other girls who tell you that you gave them to strength to tell their own stories. Other women and men tell me that because I spoke up, they found the strength within themselves to tell their families of their own abuse. Many have been to the police and laid charges against their attackers. Some of them have even already been to court. Knowing you started a chain reaction makes you feel that you had a purpose in life. I still hope to change laws in Australia. I want to make the entertainment industry a safer place for kids. I want to make the world a safer place for kids. I would like Australia to set up a sex offender registry like we have in Texas. I want offenders to have their faces, names and addresses on a website where people can go and see if there’s any bad people living around them. I don’t believe any of the bullshit about vigilantes. We used the site when we had our exchange student so we could make sure she was safe on her way to school. We saw there was an offender on her route. We advised her to avoid going near that house. We showed her the photo of the guy so she would recognize him in case he tried to approach her. It wasn’t to scare her. It was just a self defense system. I use it when I’m on the road to make sure I don’t have some rapist next door to me, who seems nice asking for a cup of sugar…

I also don’t believe the crap about naming the offender will let people know who the child is. Considering that most pedophiles molest about 60 kids before they’re even caught, how could naming the one offender lead to his victim being known? The registry just has a general offense, such  as lewd act with a minor, or aggravated sexual assault of a child. It doesn’t name the child. It doesn’t say whether it was a relative or stranger. All it does is warn others that the person is a threat and to keep their kids away from them.

I hope one day to also get rid of the stigma attached to being a victim. I hate the world victim. I am no longer a victim. As a small child, a very sick individual did bad things to me. That is in no way my fault. I tried to do something about it. I told other people. Unfortunately, some equally worthless adults, much like Joe Paterno were involved. The culture of the stigma surrounding child abuse led to the silence, and therefor allowed more abuse to occur. We need to teach kids it’s not their fault. We need to empower them to speak up. We need to stop treating people like victims and like they’re contagious. We need to help them find their strength again. We need to teach them that shit happens, and we’re going to help them get over. I have no doubt that what happened to me made me who I am today. I’m also sure that speaking up 2 years ago has changed me tremendously. I found my strength. I found my voice. I became a warrior.

So while I spend my days being a literal warrior wearing my uniform, and channel my energy into my job in a Law Enforcement Intelligence Center, which is great because I get such a buzz every time we send out a BOLO and we actually capture some predator, occasionally I read some article which makes me want to come out screaming again. It’s hard to be patient when I read shit like this:

US girl faces jail for naming attackers

A KENTUCKY teenager is facing contempt of court charges for tweeting the names of the two teens who pled guilty to sexually assaulting her, in a case that inspires questions about the uses of social media in the legal system.

Seventeen-year-old Savanna Dietrich tweeted the names of the boys in response to the frustration she felt over her attackers plea bargain.Now, Dietrich could face an $US500 ($481) fine and up to 180 days in jail for the act if she is found guilty of being in contempt of the court. Her contempt hearing is scheduled for July 30. According to Dietrich, the sexual assault occurred when she passed out at a party last year.

Her attackers then molested her, and they also allegedly videotaped the incident and shared it with their friends online.

After Dietrich visited police with her parents, the juvenile defendants were charged with first-degree sexual abuse and misdemeanor voyeurism, reports the Louisville Courier Journal. But Dietrich says she was extremely unhappy with the “slap on the wrist” plea bargain her attackers were given.

Enraged, she took to her Twitter account determined to publicly expose the boys for their act. “They said I can’t talk about it or I’ll be locked up,” one of her tweets read. “So I’m waiting for them to read this and lock me up. ____ justice.

“Protect rapist is more important than getting justice for the victim in Louisville.”

She reiterated in a Courier Journal interview that she was fully prepared to pay the price for her actions. “I’m at the point, that if I have to go to jail for my rights, I will do it,” Dietrich told the Louisville paper. “If they really feel it’s necessary to throw me in jail for talking about what happened to me … as opposed to throwing these boys in jail for what they did to me, then I don’t understand justice.”

Here’s a girl was was attacked, the guys taped it and posted it online. So not only did they violate her originally, but then she was humiliated again by having it shown to others. She went to the police, and the guys were given a slap on the wrist. So she goes public, and names her attackers, who one would assume would already be known, given they themselves used public domain to share their video of the attack, and she’s the one facing jail?

What the fuck is wrong with society? If these douchebags are using the internet to share their attack, she should be able to use the same internet to shame them. Their names and faces are already out there. Give her the chance to reclaim her power, her voice. Let her vent. I don’t care if her attackers were also teens and should be protected. They’re not going to turn 18 and suddenly become model citizens. They’re going to go off to college and prey on girls at frat parties.

We need to stand up as a society and change the laws. We need to start protecting the innocent. We need to teach kids to protect themselves. We need to give those that have been victims their self worth back. We need to take it away from those that do wrong.

I’ve received emails from actors here in the US letting me know they’re following my case in Australia. Unfortunately the US has a Statute on childhood abuse. However, I’m pretty sure if my case goes well, you’re going to hear a lot more people stand up and start talking about their own abuse. Hopefully then the younger ones will feel empowered to stand up for themselves too. It sucks to be a test case, with the fear of letting people down, but it’s also wonderful knowing I’ve had a positive impact on so many people, and could change some futures.


Congratulations Julie and Adam!

Julie McGregor got married!

Betty Wilson getting marriedMost of you know her as “Betty” and some of you may remember the infamous Hey Dad..! episode where Betty was supposed to marry long time fiancé Stan.

In real life however, this past weekend, Julie McGregor married long time beau, Adam. I wish I could have made the trip back home for the wedding, but I didn’t want to sour a happy occasion by having it get turned into an excuse for paparazzi to bring up the recent events….

Simone flew up from Melbourne and she messaged me and told me it was a beautiful day. I’m looking forward to seeing the pics online. I think there’s going to be a spread in Woman’s Day, so I’ll have to order a copy of the mag online.

So Congratulations to Julie and Adam. I hope you two are as happy as Matt and I am. I can’t wait to see you guys as Mr and Mrs when I come home next.


G’day, Hallo, Hola, Ciao, こんにちは, مرحبا

Hello out there!

As I’ve said over on my ShrimpTank blog, one of my favourite plugins on WordPress is the Visitor Maps.

I’m getting a lot of visits from countries I never thought I’d get hits from, so I’d like to say a big Howdy to all of you!

I expected a few Aussie’s and Germans to be visiting, but it’s always interesting to see hits from places like Libya, Mexico and Japan. It also shows how many times someone has visited as well as where they were before coming to my site. So I can see what search they performed or what forum has linked to my site. I know I can do all this with google analytics, (and I do) but the visitor map is much more fun. It’s right there in my dashboard and I can see instantly when I’ve sent out a tweet and it’s bringing people back to my site.

I guess most of the American hits I get on my site are either other Aussie expats or twitter bugs. The Germans all seem to come from Hey Dad..! searches and the Aussie’s are obvious. I can only guess who the 100 hits from Singapore are from…. But who’s the person in Japan who’s visited me almost 200 times and why the sudden interest from Libya? Was Hey Dad..! ever shown there? I remember in one episode we made a reference to Gadafi. “The despot, not the duck.”

Anyway, I’m fascinated by all of you and why you’ve chosen to spend a couple of minutes checking me out. So leave me a message. Ask me a question. Just say hi!

Don’t just cyberstalk me, feel free to communicate with me. As long as it’s not about the case, which I can’t comment on for legal reasons, I’ll talk back. I’ll answer your questions. Whether you want to know about the weather in Texas or my favourite dessert, just ask!


Let THIS be a lesson in professionalism….

I guess as we’ve seen in the last couple of weeks, karma can be a bitch. If you don’t do the right thing, it will eventually come back to bite you in the ass.

My best friend, as she was watching all this unfold, asked me, “Which was worse, the abuse, or the fact that so many people knew about it, but didn’t do anything to stop it?”

For the record, I DO NOT blame Simone and Ben for what happened to me on the set. You have to understand, the entertainment industry in Australia back then was incredibly small. There wasn’t a lot of work around. It was very easy to become an outcast and never work again. When I confided in them, they both did what they could at the time. They went to management, they were both told to be quiet. I can also understand why they haven’t brought it to the attention of the police in the years since. They waited till I was ready to deal with it. When I was, there were there to back me up. I find it offensive that people are suggesting that they only came forward once somebody waved a cheque at them. Yes, they were offered a lot of money by some other networks to tell their story. They didn’t accept it. This was NOT a money making exercise for any of us. This was about releasing a demon that we were all carrying for so many years.

I have always loved Simone and Ben dearly. They were there for me when I needed them back then and they are here for me when I need them now. I know both of them have been carrying this with them for many years. Please do not judge them. It’s all very easy for people not involved to say what they would have done in the same situation, but until you really are in that situation, you can’t know how you would react. I know what went on back then, and I’ve seen how it’s affected their lives since. I would ask that if I still love them and hold no bad feelings, that other people would respect that. You can’t blame them.

On that note, to a lesser extent, I can even understand why Gary tried to keep it quiet. Hate the show all you want now, but at the time, we were the highest rating show on Television. It was Gary’s baby. It was his show. It was his responsibility to keep the show running. I’d like to think that I would have handled the situation differently, had two different cast members come to me telling me what was happening. But, I wasn’t in that situation, so I can’t know for sure.

Let THIS be a lesson in professionalism. If somebody comes to you, telling you that something is not right, don’t try to cover it up. When it does all come to light, however many years later, you don’t want to look like a fuckwit. There’s more to life than money.

Oh, and it’s nobody’s business how much we made, but here’s the Women’s Day letter to Media Watch about how much we got paid. We didn’t make enough to buy new houses, or even a car. They simply covered the time we had to take out of our days to tell our story. I didn’t fly first class on my 30+ hr trip back to Oz. Not even premium economy. I sat with the screaming kids back in row 70. My husband had to take time off work so he could join me, as this was something hard for me to do alone. They didn’t pay him for his time either. It’s in the police report how much I made, and it will all be evidence if we ever go to court.


About THAT article…..

Since I got an email less than an hour after WD released the article online, and I was made to feel bad about not naming the offender because it makes everyone look guilty, I’d like to say the following:

I did not go to the media looking to sell my story. They have been asking me to release my story for over 2 years now.

It obviously wasn’t a secret, since the media knew about it and came to me looking to publish the story.

The publication chose not to release his name for legal reasons. I guess they’re worried about a slander suit.

It was such a badly kept secret, that when I came back to Australia from my student exchange, the only questions I got at auditions were about that. In the end, I decided to not act anymore, since that was all anybody wanted to talk about.

I didn’t want to do the article, as it’s obviously a very personal story and I didn’t feel the need to rehash the past, but a wise person told me that if by doing the article, I can give strength to even one other person to come forward and say that it’s happening to them and it helps it stop, then I’ve done a good thing.

I know I was not the only person affected by inappropriate behavior in the entertainment industry. Many other Child Stars are abused, many far worse than I. But through a fear of not working, they don’t speak up. Instead, they end up on drugs or bad pornos. As we’ve seen in the last couple of years, many end up dying way too early. How many Former Child Stars do you see making it as normal adults? There’s a reason they’re so screwed up.

It’s not Show Play, or Show Fun, it’s Show Business and it’s not a place for unattended children.  I hope that by coming forward, I can educate some parents on making better decisions for their children. I hope that other children can find the strength to stand up for themselves.

What happened to me was NOT my fault. I’m sorry if it makes the innocent look guilty. But I’m not going to feel guilty for speaking up and breaking the silence. I just wish I had done it 20 years sooner.