Why do it. For the children. Jeff Herman didn’t go to law school to become an advocate for survivors of sex crimes. For a number of years, Jeff was a commercial litigation, meaning he represented businesses large in small in negotiations and at trial. He was good at what he did, great even. But he eventually realized that representing corporations was neither rewarding nor fulfilling.
Everything changed twenty years ago. Two parents reached out to Jeff and asked for help. They shared with him every mother and father’s worst nightmare: their four-year old child came home and said “Mr. Dan” touched his “pee-pee.” Mr. Dan was a volunteer at a preschool for autistic children. And, as it turns out, Mr. Dan was a convicted pedophile. He had moved from California to Florida hoping to escape his record, and he succeeded. The preschool in question never completed a proper, simple background check. And as a result, over twenty precious children were abused while he was volunteering.
Jeff Herman found his calling. From that moment on he devoted his professional career to holding institutions accountable for doing the right thing to protect the people they serve. Often these schools, churches, and other institutions have oversights at the regional level which lead to not hiring the highest quality of employee because of lack of options or time and neglect to make the safest choices for the ones who matter most: the children.By filing suit and litigating these matters in civil court, Jeff gives a voice to the victim and helps ensure that this abuse never happens again. And today, he can think of no better way to use his legal training.
Talking to your children about sex crimes and predators. It’s a difficult topic for any parent to bring up, but one that is equally as important (if not more so) than “the talk.” Many child predators openly admit to taking advantage of children precisely because they have no idea what sex is, and they use this innocence to lure, manipulate, and “groom” their victims. “Grooming” is a strategy often used by predators to get their victims to trust them. This can be done by anything from gift giving to tickling (to desensitize the victim) to asking them simple questions to come off as a friend. When a child is sexually abused, one of two things happen: either the child doesn’t realize they’ve been hurt (and consequently he or she lets the abuse continue) or they recognize what has happened and feel shame, which leads to emotional and behavioral problems.