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CoastLine: Child Sexual Abuse And The Grooming Of Communities

U.S. Air Force photo illustration/Steve White

  Paul Gauguin, the French artist of the late 19th century, routinely had sexual relationships with children and painted nude portraits of his victims.  The New York Times reports that museum curators, other artists, and social activists have, over the last several years, asked the Woody Allen question about Gauguin:  can you abhor the person and appreciate the art? 

Prince Andrew announced earlier this week that he’s stepping away from his royal duties after an interview with the BBC revealed that he considered pedophile Jeffrey Epstein’s behavior "unbecoming," and he failed to express sympathy for the child victims of Epstein.

Michael Kelly worked in New Hanover County Public Schools for more than two decades and pled guilty earlier this year to 59 charges related to child sexual abuse.  Nicholas Lavon Oates died in early November while awaiting trial for molesting a student at Myrtle Grove Middle School.  WECTand Port City Dailyreported on the fact that Oates had been arrested for violent behavior before the Myrtle Grove incident.

Starting December 1st, any person in North Carolina over 18 who could reasonably know about a case of child sexual abuse and fails to report it could be guilty of a crime.  Some cases barred by a statute of limitations may proceed.  The new North Carolina law, which also bans online conduct by high-risk sex offenders that endangers children, unanimously passed the both chambers.  Governor Roy Cooper signed it in early November. 

The law is designed to close loopholes in existing sexual assault laws and strengthen penalties against child abusers.  But some say it’s still too easy for child abusers to perpetrate their crimes – even when they’re not wealthy and powerful. 

On this edition, we explore the role culture plays in child sexual abuse, why it’s hard to prosecute a case, and the role you play in protecting children – whether you have your own or not.

We also explore why talking about this is so hard – even – and perhaps, especially for adults.


Lillian Salcines Bright, First Assistant District Attorney, New Hanover and Pender County (District 6)

Michele Zapple, Co-owner, Carolina Gymnastics Academy in Wilmington, NC

(Carolina Gymnastics Academy is an underwriter of WHQR.)

Amy Feath, Victim Services Provider, Executive Director, The Carousel Center


If you need to report a suspected case of child abuse:

(From The Carousel Center)

You are required by N.C. state law to report all suspicions of abuse (neglect, physical/sexual abuse). If you suspect that a child is being abused, neglected, or if you think a child may have died from mistreatment – you are required by law to report all information to your local Law Enforcement. The Department of Social Services (DSS) and law enforcement agencies are the primary referring parties for Child Medical Exams (CME).

Follow the steps below:

1. Call the country Department of Social Services state you want to make a report of child abuse or neglect.
Click here to locate your NC County DSS

  • Give the intake worker all of the information that you have, all information is relevant!
  • Ask for a notification letter, all reporters are eligible to receive one. This will notify you if your report was accepted for further investigation.

2.  Call your local Law Enforcement agency.



Resources for teens:

1 is 2 many
Launched by Vice President Joe Biden, this initiative uses technology and outreach to spread knowledge about dating violence and sexual assault among teens and young adults.

Boys Town and Your Life Your Voice
Boys Town works to reunite children with their families when possible, or give them the skills and foundation needed to build a life on their own. They strive to help every child, “from those who may simply be struggling or in doubt to those who are in need of the most severe behavioral care.”

A project of the National Domestic Violence Hotline and Break the Cycle, loveisrespect is the ultimate resource for advice and info on healthy dating. Its mission is to empower youth and young adults to prevent and end abusive relationships. Peer advocates can be reached 24/7 via phone, online chat, or text (“loveis” to 22522).

National Runaway Safeline
If you’re thinking about leaving home, or you have and are seeking information and help, the Safeline is one of the top resources for runaway, homeless, and at-risk youth and their families.

Northwest Network
NW Network was founded by and for LGBTQ survivors and is focused on safety, support and empowerment.

That’s Not Cool
“Where do you draw your digital line?” Teens can learn about dating abuse and online safety through videos, games, and downloads they can share with friends.

A Thin Line
A Thin Line is an MTV campaign created to empower teens to identify, respond to, and stop the spread of digital abuse.

Trevor Project
Trevor Project is the national crisis lifeline for LGBTQ teens and adults. They have suicide prevention services for youth in digital spaces, counseling via IM, and a large online social network for LGBTQ people.


Inclusive, comprehesive, supportive sexuality and relationships information for teens and emerging adults.

Rachel hosts and produces CoastLine, an award-winning hourlong conversation featuring artists, humanitarians, scholars, and innovators in North Carolina. The show airs Wednesdays at noon and Sundays at 4 pm on 91.3 FM WHQR Public Media. It's also available as a podcast; just search CoastLine WHQR. You can reach her at rachellh@whqr.org.