Did we accomplish our second (of two) goals?
Our first goal was to let parents and businesses in the Brandon, Florida, USA, area know that one of the owners of a new business there- Kairos Health and Wellness Center- is a convicted sex offender. This goal is considered: “MET!”
In meeting the first goal, we developed a second: We wanted Reverend Virginia Walsh to do five things: 1) Inform the congregation that the Music Director at Unity North Tampa Church is a convicted sex offender, 2) Inform every parent that’s brought children to any church function over the last five years, 3) Provide counseling to parents who request it so as to assist them in talking with their children in non-intrusive ways, 4) Overhaul Unity “Sacred Safety” policies, and 5) Post it all online for the world to see and so the world can celebrate the growth and progress.
AS FAR AS WE CAN TELL, the first of these five has been met. The minister claims it has been met, so we have to believe her. We have no reports or evidence that any of the other four were met (or even considered).
So, do we keep hammering away on the remaining four, or declare victory and depart the field?
One of the problems of keeping on working in this town in this field is that we are anonymous. It has its strategic advantages, but there are severe limitations, too, not the least of which is the legal consideration- working anonymously leaves us vulnerable to accusations of “Harassment.”
So, we’ll be taking a brief hiatus during which we figure out what we should do next. We didn’t ask for this project, weren’t looking for it, and frankly were not happy about having to do it. But we rose to the occasion and did what needed to be done.
Thanks to all readers, commenters, allies, sympathizers… Thanks for the pings and follows. I am surprised no one gave us any shit about anything, and we took on some very hot and complicated issues.
I’m not complaining, but any work we do in the future would greatly benefit from our taking a break. We appreciate your continued understanding and support.
The PSACTampa Triptolemus Award will be given annually to an individual for his or her contribution to the cause of Preventing the Sexual Abuse of Children.
The Triptolemus Award is named after the eponymous character in Greek mythology who rescued Persephone from Hades.
Persephone was the lively, graceful, and beautiful daughter of Demeter, goddess of the harvest. Demeter loved her daughter, doted on her, and kept her near at all times.
Hades, god of the underworld, had noticed Persephone and had resolved to kidnap her as soon as he got the chance. Hades knew that Demeter would never consent to Persephone marrying him. He bided his time, and one day his opportunity came; the earth opened up and Persephone was gone!
Persephone was taken to Hades’ underground palace, where she was extremely unhappy (sexually abused).
Demeter looked everywhere but could not find her daughter; she grieved so deeply that the Earth froze and yielded up no bounty.
Enter Triptolemus. Demeter came across the youth in a field, and he told her that his brother (a swineherd) had lost some pigs when the Earth had opened up and had heard the frightened screams of a girl.
Demeter immediately induced what had happened, and went to Zeus. Demeter threatened never to allow another thing to grow unless Zeus intervened on her (and Persephone’s) behalf.
Zeus sent Hermes to escort Persephone back up.
Persephone had eaten of the one fruit that did grow (on one tree) down there- the pomegranate- though, and was therefore fated to return to Hades. A compromise was worked out where Persephone spent part time below, part time above.
Triptolemus was rewarded with a chariot full of gold- golden grain, that is- and was taught how to farm it. Triptolemus was given the great privilege of teaching others how to reap and sow according to the newly created seasons.
Commentary: “A little effort can make a huge difference.”
2013 PSACTampa’s Triptolemus Award Winner
It gives us great pleasure to award the very first Triptolemus Award to the Florida Atlantic University (FAU) student who in 1984 called Private Investigator Virginia Snyder and reported that children had spent the night several times in the dorm room (The Underworld) of a 29 year-old student there.
We don’t know the student’s name nor why she or he contacted the now famous in certain circles Virginia Snyder (Demeter). We do know that Snyder did investigate and sent a letter to the FAU Student Affairs Dean Karl Ijams (Zeus). FAU police investigator Al Doucette (Hermes) investigated. By the time they were ready to make the arrest, the student had moved to University of South Florida (USF) here in Tampa. USF Detective Pat Johnson (Hermes II) arrested Marion Gwizdala (Hades) in his USF dorm room.
Nine years earlier Circuit Judge Russell H. McIntosh (Zeus I) had sentenced Marion Gwizdala to five years probation; Gwizdala had pled “guilty” to attempted lewd assault on a 13-year-old boy (Persephone). He (Gwizdala) was also not allowed to drink alcohol or be alone with minors. Some time after the Terms of Probation (during which he was allwed no contact with minors) were fulfilled, Gwizdala apparently decided to become an Elementary School Teacher!
He transferred to FAU from St. Vincent De Paul Seminary in Boynton Beach about two years ago, said Stephen Voss, chairman of the FAU elementary education department. He was preparing to spend one semester as a teaching intern — the last step before earning a degree in elementary education — when the charges surfaced, said Robert Huckshorn, interim dean of the College of Education.
At the time of this incident– this alleged (we have an unconfirmed report by an anonymous person that Gwizdala was sentenced to a year and a day) assault- Gwizdala was a Theater Director; he was
director of two plays sponsored by St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church in Boca Raton, one last spring entitled Sam, and a Christmas play, Snowflake.
Marion Gwizdala is currently Music Director at Unity North Tampa Church.
We are anonymously presenting this award- a gold chariot filled with golden grains- to an anonymous party, and are accepting it on their behalf.
Although the virtual aspect lends these proceedings an unavoidable tongue in cheek quality, our gratitude to this year’s recipient and all who work on behalf of keeping children safe is sincere.
Marion Gwizdala is a member of the NFB. He is also in NFB-Florida. He is also in NFB-Florida- Brandon. Actually, he might be in the NFB-Florida- Tampa. He is also a founding member of the National Association of Guide Dog Users (NAGDU) Also the Florida Association of Guide Dog Users (FLAGDU), which his wife is in and maybe still an office holder of. (ALL INFORMATION ABOVE NEEDS FACT CHECKING!)
I admit that I will think less of the NFB if they ignore it. Ya can’t give them any shit about it, though, because, if you do, it would seem like you’re picking on the disabled. They’re bulletproof.
“All that most maddens and torments; all that stirs up the lees of things; all truth with malice in it; all that cracks the sinews and cakes the brain; all the subtle demonisms of life and thought; all evil, to crazy Ahab, were visibly personified, and made practically assailable in Moby Dick. He piled upon the whale’s white hump the sum of all the general rage and hate felt by his whole race from Adam down; and then, as if his chest had been a mortar, he burst his hot heart’s shell upon it.”
– Moby Dick, Herman Melville
The Reverend Virginia Walsh of Unity North Tampa Church has informed us that an announcement was made to the churchmembers informing them that the Music Director Marion Gwizdala is a convicted sex offfender.
That means that the second goal of two that PSACTampa was committed to has substantially been met. We did not get everything, and we have no proof except for her word which must be good enough, but we are off to Disney World (metaphorically).
Suppose a man sexually abuses a child over a period of years, has sexually abused other children in his past and collects videos and pictures of toddlers and young children being raped by adults. TRUE OR FALSE: It is not his fault that he is in prison, rather, it is the fault of those who turned him in.
This question was posed on Facebook by a group calling themselves “Become Educated About Pedophiles.” My response follows:
The man has broken at least four laws, probably more. He is guilty of many counts of at least two of those laws, according to the information given. As for fault, he committed the crimes and bears full responsibility for his actions. He did not turn himself in, so the reason he is in prison is also due to actions of many others- those who caught and prosecuted him being among the most directly involved, but society as a whole having agreed that the man’s actions were criminal is also in the mix. There are a lot of people, reasons, and events that contributed to his incarceration. Now, whether you think his being in prison is a good thing or a bad thing would lead you to assign either credit or blame, respectively. The victim, by accusing or testifying, gets credit. The “man” might blame everyone but himself for why he has lost so many of his freedoms. He might even blame people who hurt him, whom he feels caused him to hurt others. He is solely at fault for his actions (the abuse) and their consequences (his conviction). It is his own fault he is locked up. By this logic (which I assume everyone agrees with), everyone else is responsible for his or her own actions, too. So, for the victims of the man, even though it was not their fault that they were abused, they are each responsible for all the choices they make now. The history of abuse provides a reason and a context which explains many maladaptive and dysfunctional behaviors- and behavior patterns– but is never an excuse.