Labels: Victim Offender Relationship
Jim Clemente writes now. Books, screenplays.
The former FBI agent worked on all sorts of high-profile cases, mostly involving sex crimes against children. His latest project is writing the season finale for the television show "Criminal Minds."
He welcomes the change after 22 years with the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit — the folks most colloquially known as profilers, the investigators who get inside the minds of criminals.
He worked the JonBenet Ramsey case, was a first responder to the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, and was asked to offer counsel on interrogation practices at Guantanamo.
He's no stranger to controversy. He called what was happening to detainees at Guantanamo torture. He studied Penn State coach Joe Paterno's role in the Jerry Sandusky sex crimes case and determined Paterno didn't cover up the crimes. Clemente's seen it again and again. The nice-guy offender, the one so beloved no one would suspect.
Thursday, Clemente will bring the message to Greenville that an offender often can be the nice guy. He speaks at the Julie Valentine Center luncheon, which begins at 11:30 a.m. at the TD Convention Center.
"The vast majority are victimized by people they know and people they love," Clemente said in a telephone interview. Vast majority meaning 99.99 percent, he said. Monster predators and stranger danger have worked their way into the lexicon. But they are words that took those who work with children way down the wrong road.
"People expect to know when a child sex offender walks in the room," Clemente said.
That high-profile community leader, that professional, that volunteer. No way, people say.
Clemente says most certainly. Like the man who abused him when he was a child — the director of a Catholic camp. The man who praised him and made him feel special. The man who asked him to stay over for a week to help close the camp.
It turned into a week of abuse and decades of self-doubt and shame. When he told his priest what had happened, the priest said, "I forgive you. Ten our fathers. Ten Hail Mary's. Now don't tell anyone."
In his case, Clemente had a position of power. He was a prosecutor in the mid-1980s in New York when his brother told him some photos of young boys had been found in the office of the man who abused Clemente. Steeling himself against the fear of his family, co-workers and friends finding out what had happened, he was able to get an investigation launched.
He wore a wire and collected enough evidence to see that the man was charged and convicted in two cases other than his own. The investigation showed the man had abused almost 100 children over 30 years. He had worked in 13 Catholic schools, moving each time an allegation surfaced.
The investigation led to Clemente being recruited by the FBI, where he focused on child sex crimes. He has spoken to dozens and dozens of abusers to try to understand the way they think, why they do what they do. He has taught new agents how the offenders got away with it.
"They're criminals," Clemente said. "They're not evil. They're just bad people who do bad things."
What happens is what is known as compliant victimization. The child looks up to the abuser and the child is being recognized by a beloved adult. The victim puts up with the bad to keep the good.
Then the abuser will get the child to do something wrong — cutting school, drinking alcohol — so he has something on the child, something the child wants kept from the parents.
Clemente advises parents that the best way to protect their children is to have open and age-appropriate conversations about sex.
"As soon as they can hear your voice," Clemente said.
Abusers prey on children who feel they can't talk to their parents about sex, he said.
"Kids grow up in a land of giants. Everybody has more power. They shut up," Clemente said.
Clemente has written a fictionalized account of the abuse he suffered, which he described as a cathartic experience. It took him another 10 years before he could talk about the abuse publicly.
"The first time was difficult. Now it's matter of fact," he said.
Clemente was one of three people hired by the Paterno family to investigate whether the coach knew what Sandusky was doing. It stemmed from an internal Penn State report in 2012 by former FBI director Louis Freeh — Clemente's former boss — that found that the university president, a vice president, athletic director and Paterno covered up Sandusky's actions.
Sandusky was found guilty of 45 counts of assaulting 10 boys over the 15-year period. He was sentenced to 30 to 60 years and is housed in a state prison south of Pittsburgh.
"This report threw back all that we know about child sex abuse 30 years," Clemente said.
There was no mention of research through the years — nice-guy offender and compliant victimization.
Clemente's been criticized for his findings and that he was paid to conduct the investigation. But Clemente said he has never met any member of the Paterno family, that each investigator worked independently and that he refused to sign a non-disclosure form.
He said he would have spoken as openly about finding Paterno in the wrong as he has the other.
Clemente has faced physical battles as well. He was diagnosed with lymphoma, caused by his exposure to the scene at the World Trade Center. After six bone marrow transplants, he's in remission. But now he's dealing with the aftermath of a heart attack.
"Flatline three times," he said.
Chemotherapy scarred his heart, his doctor said.
His doctor also told him he needed to do something creative. When Clemente retired in 2009, he moved to Los Angeles.
"I've never really left since," he said
He had been the technical advisor for "Criminal Minds" since 2005. It's based on the Behavioral Analysis Unit and many of the shows come straight from Clemente's work. He's written six episodes. The finale, which he's writing with executive producer Janine Sherman Barrois, airs on CBS at 9 p.m. May 6.
As an FBI supervisor he taught perhaps 60,000 people over the course of his career. The television show reaches 18 million in an episode, he said.
"I love it," he said.
One case has remained with him for years. It was actually one of those extremely rare instances of a child being abducted by a stranger. A 6-year-old outside his family's apartment.
Local law enforcement called in the FBI after 23 hours of getting nowhere.
Clemente's first action was to change the message. Instead of putting out information about a monster predator, he asked the public for information about a man who was quite likely the last person to see the child. Clemente called the man a hero and described him and his white truck.
People will call in about a hero. And they did. Two men were identified.
Clemente asked the local officers whether either of them did not answer the door during neighborhood canvassing. One did not.
"Kick down the door," Clemente ordered.
They paused. They had no probable cause. No search warrant.
Clemente took the advice up the chain of command. Do it, the order came down.
They kicked in the door.
Inside was the man and the boy. Alive.
Clemente keeps the boy's picture in his wallet.
WHO IS JULIE VALENTINE?
The Julie Valentine Center is a non-profit organization that works with survivors of sexual assault and child abuse. It is named for a baby who was left in a field to die in Greenville in 1990. She was never identified. Law enforcement officers named her Julie Valentine because her body was found a few days before Valentine's Day by a man looking for wildflowers for his wife. ..Source.. by Lyn Riddle,