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Victims Seek Two Investigations – Long Time Hawaii Predator Abused Several Foster Kids

SNAP: “Catholic Charities and state agency should take action”, They gave him “unfettered access to vulnerable boys,” group says.  One key individual won promotions & is now a supervisor at state bureaucracy

A support group for sex abuse victims is urging Catholic Charities and Hawaii state officials and to investigate how a predator was able to foster children.

VICE News today presents Love Serve Surrender. In the documentary, VICE News investigates alleged pedophile Jay Ram, who for decades has managed to foster, adopt, and care for dozens of boys referred by charities and child welfare agencies, despite repeated warning signs that he was a sexual predator.

VICE News presents Love Serve Surrender. In the documentary, VICE News investigates alleged pedophile Jay Ram, who for decades has managed to foster, adopt, and care for dozens of boys referred by charities and child welfare agencies, despite repeated warning signs that he was a sexual predator.

Leaders of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, are urging the two organizations to answer questions about how so many boys were placed in the care of Jay Ram. And investigate Roselyn Viernes, who is the head of East Hawaii Child Welfare Services in Hilo, and was the social worker responsible for placing the children in foster homes.

Ram, who is also known as Gary Winnick, is accused of sexually abusing boys that he fostered and adopted in California and Hawaii. He is believed to be the Tampa Florida area. A recent documentary chronicles Ram’s abuse. 

[youtube=http://youtu.be/v2sFheAc1rQ]

Ram is accused of molesting the boys and exploiting them and forcing them to do hard physical labor. The victims say that Ram threatened them, deprived them of food and refused to let them to engage in regular social activities with their peers out of fear that the boys would report to authorities. Although Ram has been investigated by the police in the past, the victims say that they were threatened with violence and more abuse to keep them quiet. The boys were abused between the ages of 8 and 17 during the mid-to-late 1980s and early 1990s.

SNAP is writing to the State of Hawaii Department of Human Services and Catholic Charities urging officials to do a complete, independent investigation of all placements and the approval processes that allowed dozens of boys to be placed with a predator.

“It is time for action. More than a dozen boys lived with Jay after the first abuse complaints were made known,” said Joelle Casteix of Newport Beach, SNAP volunteer Western Regional Director.  “Most—if not all—of the boys were molested. How many other children were abused because Catholic Charities and CWS refused to listen to children who were being abused? Subsequent tragedies involving Jay and the boys could have been avoided completely.”

The letters from SNAP, sent today by fax and email, are pasted below.

Letter 1:

Patricia McManaman
Director
State of Hawaii Department of Human Services
P.O. Box 339, Honolulu, HI 96809-0339
Fax 808-586-4890
dhs@dhs.hawaii.gov

East Hawaii Child Welfare Services
75 Aupuni Street Hilo, HI 96720
Fax: (808) 933-0693

Dear Ms. McManaman

We are members of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPNetwork.org), the nation’s largest support group for men and women who have been sexually abused in religious and institutional settings.

We were disturbed and dismayed by the recent news documentary LOVE SERVE SURRENDER (http://youtu.be/v2sFheAc1rQ), which tells the story of Hilo-area rancher Jay Ram, who fostered, adopted, and sexually abused more than two dozen boys on the Big Island.

What is even more upsetting is to learn that high-ranking state social worker Roselyn Viernes has had knowledge of suspicions and complaints against Ram for decades. She is currently working in your East Hawai’i Central offices. According to the news story and corresponding documents, there are records of at least two allegations of abuse against Ram in 1989. Despite this, Viernes continued to place boys in his care. The documents can be viewed here: https://news.vice.com/articles/an-alleged-pedophiles-perfect-scam?trk_source=homepage-feature

It is time for action. State social workers who ignore abuse complaints and put more children as risk must be held accountable. More than a dozen boys lived with Jay after the first abuse complaints crossed Viernes’ desk. Most—if not all—of the boys were molested. How many other children were abused because Ms. Viernes refused to do the right thing? Subsequent tragedies involving Jay and the boys could have been avoided completely.

We ask that you do the following:

–Do a complete investigation of all of Ms. Viernes’ placements and the approval processes that allowed dozens of boys to be placed with a predator,
–Immediately remove Viernes from her position until the investigation is complete,
–Reach out to all boys placed in Ram’s care and let them know they have criminal and civil rights and that help is available.

Your offices may even house the evidence necessary to help criminally prosecute Jay and help his victims get the accountability they deserve.

Hawaii’s most vulnerable kids deserve far better than being placed in foster homes with sex predators.

Mahalo,

Joelle Casteix of Newport Beach, CA, SNAP Western Regional Director (949) 322-7434, jcasteix@gmail.com
Barb Dorris of St. Louis, MO, SNAP Outreach Director, (314) 503-0003, snapdorris@gmail.com

Letter 2:

Jerry Rauckhorst
President & Chief Executive Officer
Catholic Charities Hawai‘i
Clarence T. C. Ching Campus
1822 Ke‘eaumoku Street
Honolulu, HI 96822
info@catholiccharitieshawaii.org
jrauckhorst@catholiccharitieshawaii.org
(808) 599-8761 Fax

Catholic Charities
Hilo Office
62 Kinoole Street
Hilo, HI 96720
Fax: (808) 961-7059

Dear Mr. Rauckhorst:

We are members of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPNetwork.org), the nation’s largest support group for men and women who have been sexually abused in religious and institutional settings.

We were disturbed and dismayed by the recent news documentary LOVE SERVE SURRENDER (http://youtu.be/v2sFheAc1rQ), which tells the story of Hilo-area rancher Jay Ram, who fostered and adopted—and then sexually abused—more than two dozen boys on the Big Island.

What is even more upsetting is to learn that Catholic Charities had a role in this abuse. According to the news story and corresponding documents, there are records of at least two allegations of abuse against Ram in 1989. Despite this, Catholic Charities, in partnership with Child Welfare Services, placed boys in Ram’s care and allowed other boys to remain with Ram. The documents can be viewed here: https://news.vice.com/articles/an-alleged-pedophiles-perfect-scam?trk_source=homepage-feature

It is time for action. More than a dozen boys lived with Jay after the first abuse complaints were made known. Most—if not all—of the boys were molested. How many other children were abused because Catholic Charities and CWS refused to listen to children who were being abused? Subsequent tragedies involving Jay and the boys could have been avoided completely.

We ask that you do the following:

–Do a complete investigation of all of Catholic Charities’ placements and the approval processes that allowed dozens of boys to be placed with a predator,
–Reach out to all boys placed in Ram’s care and let them know they have criminal and civil rights and that help is available.

Your offices may even house the evidence necessary to help criminally prosecute Jay and help his victims get the accountability they deserve.

Hawaii’s most vulnerable kids deserve far better than being placed in foster homes with sex predators.

Mahalo,

 

Joelle Casteix of Newport Beach, CA, SNAP Western Regional Director (949) 322-7434, jcasteix@gmail.com
Barb Dorris of St. Louis, MO, SNAP Outreach Director, (314) 503-0003, snapdorris@gmail.com

Four More Boys Accuse Farmer of Abuse – Predator Adopted and Fostered Boys in CA and HI

Five of his “sons” now say that he molested them – Victims beg social services, public for help and information – Group runs ad begging “If you saw, suspected or suffered abuse, speak up”

SnapWhat:

Holding photos of themselves at the age they were abused, victims of child sex abuse will:

  • Announce four new child sex abuse and cover up lawsuits against a former Hakalau farmer, and
  • Urge social services officials to post and distribute information about Jay Ram, urging social workers to report any information or evidence they may have.

When:

Tuesday, October 22 at 11 am

Where:

Outside of the East Hawaii (Hilo) Office of Child and Family Service, 1045A Kilauea Avenue (at Mohouli) in Hilo (Social workers with the Office of Child and Family Service worked with some of the boys fostered and/or adopted by Jay Ram)

Who:

Members of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, (SNAPnetwork.orgthe nation’s largest support group for men and women who were sexually abused in religious and institutional settings, including a California woman who is the group’s volunteer Western Regional Director

Why:

Four more victims of a former Hakalau farmer are filing lawsuits saying that he sexually abused them after fostering and/or adopting them.

The first victim charged Ram with abuse in March, saying that Ram used him and other boys as “forced child labor” to develop his land and kept them as virtual prisoners on his farm.

Ram, who is also known as Gary Winnick, is also accused of sexually abusing other boys that he fostered and adopted in California and Hawaii. He is believed to be India.

The lawsuits say that Ram used the boys as forced physical labor and that he also sexually abused them. The victims say that Ram threatened them to keep them silent, deprived them of food and refused to let them to engage in regular social activities with their peers out of fear that the boys would report to authorities. Although Ram has been investigated by the police in the past, the victims say that they were threatened with violence and abuse to keep them quiet. The boys were abused between the ages of 8 and 17 during the mid-to-late 1980s and early 1990s.

Ram was involved in agricultural research with the University of Hawaii, Hilo. http://hilo.hawaii.edu/academics/cafnrm/research/documents/11TheNeedforFurtherEvaluation-Ram73-81.pdf

Members of SNAP are reaching out to the social services community in Hilo hoping to finding enough evidence to help law enforcement reopen a criminal investigation against Ram. Many of the boys Ram fostered and adopted were under supervision of social workers in Hilo, who may have felt helpless at the time to do anything about allegations of abuse.

The victims in this case was able to come forward and expose Ram in the civil courts because of a landmark new state law that allows all Hawaii victims of child sexual abuse to come forward and seek justice in the courts, no matter when the abuse occurred.

The victims are represented by attorneys Mike Reck (714) 742-6593 mreck@andersonadvocates.com and Mark Gallagher (808) 779-5012 mgallagher@hawaiiantel.net. Copies of the lawsuit and the leaflet will be available at the event.

Hakalau Farmer Named in Child Sex Abuse Lawsuit

He adopted and fostered boys in Hawaii and California, then victim charges man isolated boys and abused them.  There could be dozens of victims, group says.  New law allows victims to come forward, no matter when they were abused.

Media Release:

What: At a press conference, victims of sex abuse will announce and discuss a new sex abuse lawsuit against a former Hakalau farmer. The lawsuit alleges that Jay Ram:  Sexually abused the victim and other boys for five years, Isolated the boys from family, friends and peers, and Used the boys as forced child labor to develop the land

Victims will also: Urge anyone with information about Ram or his whereabouts to report, and  Beg other victims to come forward and get help

Where: Outside of Hilo’s Third Circuit Courthouse, Hale Kaulike, 777 Kilauea Avenue in Hilo

When: Monday, March 4 at 1 pm

On Friday, a Honolulu man filed a sex abuse lawsuit against a former Hakalau farmer who, he says, adopted him and then sexually abused him for more than five years. He also says the man used him and other boys as “forced child labor” to develop his land and kept them as virtual prisoners on his farm.

Jay Ram, who is also known as Gary Winnick, is also accused of sexually abusing other boys that he fostered and adopted in California and Hawaii.

This is not the first allegation against Ram. In 1992, another foster child came forward to report that Ram had sexually abused him. A little more than a year later, Ram was indicted for child sexual abuse. The charges were dropped in 1994. There were also allegations of physical abuse launched against Ram a few years earlier. Those allegations did not result in charges.

Jay Ram

Because the boys were taken out of his custody to be questioned, Ram went on to sue the State of Hawaii, Department of Human Services for removing the boys from his custody, the case eventually settled.

According to the lawsuit, Ram adopted the victim in California in 1983, when the boy, known as John Roe 8, was 10 years old. The victim had been in foster care for five years. In 1987, Ram moved the victim and other boys to a farm in Hakalau, where, the lawsuit alleges, “Jay Ram isolated the boy and his other adopted children, prohibiting them from visiting friends’ houses, having girlfriends and playing sports.” From 1984 to 1989, the suit also charges, Ram sexually abused the victim and other boys who lived with them.

During this time, Ram was involved in agricultural research with the University of Hawaii, Hilo.

SNAP believes there may be more victims suffering in silence.

“Jay Ram adopted vulnerable boys and used them for his sexual pleasure,” said Joelle Casteix, SNAP Western Regional Director. “Since the boys were so isolated, they had nowhere to go for help and were prisoners in a cycle of abuse they could not escape.”

The group also believes there may be witnesses, including researchers from UH who spent a great deal of time on the farm.

The victim in this case was able to come forward and expose Ram in the civil courts because of a landmark new state law that allows all Hawaii victims of child sexual abuse to come forward and seek justice in the courts, no matter when the abuse occurred.

Ram’s last known address was in Saipan. However, reports claim he may in India

The victims are represented by attorneys Mike Reck (714) 742-6593 mreck@andersonadvocates.com and Mark Gallagher (808) 779-5012 mgallagher@hawaiiantel.net. Copies of the lawsuit will be available at the event.

Contact:

IN HAWAII-Joelle Casteix of Newport Beach, CA (IN HONOLULU), SNAP Western Regional Director, (949) 322-7434 cell, jcasteix@gmail.com

Barbara Blaine of Chicago, IL, SNAP President, (312) 399-4747 cell, SNAPBlaine@gmail.com

Tim Lennon of San Francisco, CA, SNAP Bay Area Director, (415) 312-5820 cell, survivorsnetworksf@gmail.com