The Spirit Lake Indian Reservation in North Dakota reads like the tenth circle hell for any child, judging by The New York Times reporting. And conversely, a hot bed of child rape. You know where this is going.
Described as “common” and “barely concealed,” sexual violence against children has reached such astronomical numbers that the reservation has “the highest proportion of sex offenders in the country.” Child rapists include everyone from your random local Santa Claus to fathers, uncles, and grandfathers, producing “generations of victims” from the same family who have been violated by generations of abusers from other families.
Law enforcement reportedly doesn’t give a damn about these kids, meaning that very few arrests are made, and therefore the crimes are rarely reported. Such a deeply toxic cycle has produced the following scope of abuse:
The reservation has 38 registered sex offenders among its 6,200 residents, a rate of one offender for every 163 residents. By contrast, Grand Forks, N.D., about 85 miles away, has 13 sex offenders out of a population of 53,000 — a rate of about one in 4,000.
The violence can only be described as “sadistic,” in which the rape, sodomy, and sometimes murder of children is “so accepted, that it is considered so normal,” according to Molly McDonald, a Sioux judge working with many of these cases. The abuse is so common that child rapists don’t even hesitate to share their exploits openly, such as the government employee who “publicly complained” that his daughter had bitten his penis. Another 9-year-old girl described giving oral sex to a grown man only to have social workers and police officers “fail to act.”
Quentin Yankton, a convicted child rapist, has a record of abusing kids dating all the way back to 1976. But when he raped his niece in 1992, resulting in her becoming pregnant with twins, Yankton told the authorities that he was entitled to abuse the girl because his brother had done the same to her. That would be her father. Although Yankton got 12 years, his brother was never prosecuted. However, to fully illustrate this “generations of victims” and “generations of abusers” portrait, consider that Yankton’s half-brother was convicted in 2008 for liquoring up a 12-year-old and molesting her after she passed out.
Federal agencies have reportedly stepped in to help, but the extent of that aid only goes towards scolding employees who aren’t discreet when talking about their underage victims and questioning others. Thomas F. Sullivan, a director of the federal Administration for Children and Families, has been described as a “crucial whistle-blower” with his periodic reports to Washington. But, not surprisingly, he has been prevented from sharing his findings with reporters.
Reasons for the widespread abuse are reported to be “poorly understood” by those peering in, but both alcohol and poverty are listed as elements of interests. How those two directly manifest in a rate of one offender for every 163 residents is well worth uncovering.