Statements caught on video causes stir in Kids in Distress investigation
Updated On: May 24 2013 11:19:58 AM EDT
Shocking statements on videotape have led to a shake-up at Kids In Distress, the publicly financed agency that cares for abused children rocked recently by alleged sex crimes.
In every case, Kids in Distress, or KID, will do what is in the best interest of the child. KID is a taxpayer-funded center designed to help physically and sexually children.
But in recent months, two men have been accused of assaulting girls in the shelter in Wilton Manors.
"Due to her age, she can't give consent," said an officer.
Brian Denby, 30, is accused of assaulting two girls, aged 13 and 15. Shadowy figures were caught on surveillance tape the night it happened.
Those two troubled girls were behind a fence at 3 a.m., a place they never should have been. When Denby saw them, he climbed the wall and allegedly engaged in sexual acts with them.
"We do have cameras set up in our shelter," said KID CEO Mark Dhooge.
Dhooge said the agency was devastated by that and another alleged sexual assault allegedly committed by a veteran employee named Brian Fields.
In a sworn statement with Wilton Manors police, long-time KID board member and attorney Larry Davis said he felt sorry, not for the teenaged victims, but for the alleged perpetrators.
"I feel bad for him because I know these kids and what they are like."
Blaming the kids the agency is supposed to help? Davis, most recently in the news successfully representing Tamarac Mayor Beth Talabisco in her corruption case, also said he, like Denby, would have jumped the wall to be with the two girls.
"I could get over that wall, especially if I saw two sweet little 15-year-olds probably playing with themselves, telling me to come over," said Davis. "I'd have been over that wall in a heartbeat."
Wilton Manors Det. Nick Fiacco tried to set Davis straight.
"I don't, I have a 13-year-old daughter," said Fiacco. "He knew how old they were and he hopped the wall. It has a big sign that he jumped that said 'Kids in Distress.'"
Licensed counselor Andrea Vargas, who works with sexually abused children, said Davis' sentiments are not only reprehensible, but ignorant.
"I think it's said, very sad and unfortunate," said Vargas. "You would assume that people in these agencies would be very well-informed and educated on the importance of protecting these kids."
Vargas said the troubled children at Kids in Distress, many of whom were there after being sexually abused, often act out inappropriately.
"They feel this is how to get attention, how to get affection," said Vargas.
Local 10's Bob Norman visited Davis' law office in Hollywood. He initially told him he wanted to be interviewed on camera, then abruptly canceled.
Sitting silently next to Davis on the tape is Dhooge, who also refused to be interviewed on camera, as did board chairman Alan Tinter.
Tinter issued a written statement to Local 10 defending Davis, writing that the comments shouldn't be "taken out of context" and that Davis would remain on the KID board.
"The effect of a single comment did not seem sufficiently egregious to warrant any further action on the part of the Board of Directors," Tinter wrote.
But after Local 10 began asking questions last week, Davis resigned from the board, admitting in an email his remarks were "inappropriate and insensitive."
"I deeply regret my comments and any detrimental effect on the agency," Davis wrote.
"At the end of the day, it's wrong," said Vargas.