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Unspoken Injustice; breaking the silence, cycle of abuse

Unspoken Injustice; breaking the silence, cycle of abuse
By Stephen Webster
Investigative Reporter

Part Two in a series

(Click here for part one)

<-- Larry Dale Floyd

On July 29, 2005, Larry Dale Floyd, a former Denton County constable and resident of The Colony, was arrested in Canon City, Colorado. He is accused of attempting to seduce an eight year-old girl. His solicitous attempts via telephone and the Internet were rooted out by an undercover Freemont County police officer and Floyd was promptly arrested. While serving time in the Freemont detention center, he allegedly told cellmates William Johnson and Justin Lopez stories of repeat offenses, dating all the way back to his military service during the Vietnam War.

Floyd told Johnson of how he would visit prostitutes overseas and buy their entire families. He recounted how he would chain young girls to polls and act out his perverse fantasies before finally killing them. He made inappropriate comments about Lopez' three children when they came to visit him in prison. Both of Floyd's cellmates came forward offering testimony against this former Denton County officer of the law, claiming they did not want to see him have any contact with a child again.

When Floyd was arrested, he claimed that he was on an "undercover sting operation," that somehow nobody in local law enforcement knew of. He told cellmate Johnson of his plans to travel the country in an RV, stopping at as many nudist colonies as he could. He is also accused of multiple accounts of possession of child pornography. A Lake Dallas bartender claims Floyd showed her photo albums of children bound and gagged, either unclothed or dressed in lingerie. He told her stories of how he would get their parents involved in all-night "parties." He is currently awaiting trial in the Freemont County Detention Center on a $100,000 bail.

Positions of power
"That is one of the problems with these predators," said Christopher Largen, founder of Denton County child safety activist group Building Block. "They tend to gravitate toward positions of power, be it in government, law enforcement, our schools, our churches - just look at the recent scandals - and other institutions that involve lots of interaction with children. They rarely fit the stereotype of the slobbering creep in a trench coat, wandering the park late at night."

One example of this behavior is the case of Frank Figueroa. On October 25, 2005, Figueroa, a Department of Homeland Security official, was arrested in The Mall at Millenia in Orlando, Florida. He pleaded no contest to charges of exposing himself to a 16 year old girl. The excruciating twist: Figueroa was the head of DHS' "Operation Predator," a subdivision of I.C.E. (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) that conducts internet stings on sex predators. Today, he is still a DHS employee. According to MSNBC reports, DHS simply took away his gun and banned him from accessing government databases.

Another example of this is the case of Brian J. Doyle, the 55 year-old Deputy Press Secretary for DHS. On April 4, 2006, Doyle was arrested after having sexually explicit conversations over the internet with a detective posing as a 14 year old girl. Doyle is charged with seven counts of using a computer to seduce a child and 16 counts of transmission of harmful material to a minor.

Pattern of victimization
"When I was an actor at [business' name withheld], there was a guy who was serially assaulting kids backstage," continued Largen. "He assaulted me right before I had to go on stage in The King and I, during the overture, when the lights were down. I went onstage to sing, 'I Whistle a Happy Tune' and skipped around. So I learned from a very early age that 'the show must go on.' You give people what they expect. I told the stage manager and the director what happened after the show, but they did absolutely nothing. He continued to work at the theatre with dozens of kids who were in the summer musicals that year. Within a year, I was suicidal. I was only 11 years old."

"I found myself up at two in the morning, crying, walking around my living room with a knife," said Largen. "My parents found me like this, and I told them what had happened. They asked me why I hadn't told them sooner so they could have done something. Well, at 11 years old I didn't know anything about the statutes of limitations, or even what those were. I trusted my parents to react, and they didn't. They dissociated from it as much as I had at the time."

"Then, when I was 13, I was assaulted by a guy who graduated from the same private middle school/high school I attended in St. Louis,” said Largen. “He was the son of one of the city's most wealthy men, and still hung around the school. He was pretty well known and well liked. This guy spent about a year cultivating a sort of big brother relationship with me. He never tried anything during that time, but he would make comments sometimes about sex that a 13 year old shouldn't hear, but otherwise he was always nice to me."

"He befriended my family,” continued Largen. “One day he asked my mom if he could take me on a road trip down to Branson to help his grandmother move. At that point, he started drinking with me. I thought it was cool, you know? Drinking with the old dude. I'm just 13, and I really didn't know any better. I had never been told of the dangers. We get back to his apartment after helping his grandmother and he broke out some pills. He said they would make me 'fly real high.' Well, turns out he gave me Chloral Hydrate, Phenobarbital and Valium. He told me the names of the pills, but I didn't know that taking them with alcohol could have injured or killed me. When I woke up, he was assaulting me and I completely disassociated. I went to another place and repressed it for years. And my fear and silence let him do it to others, I'm sure. They are skilled at what they do. Predators are fixated, and nine out of ten will become repeat offenders."

Christopher Largen's experiences are what lead him to found Building Block, a Denton County activist group that helps survivors of childhood sexual assault break their silence and confront their inner demons. "Breaking the silence about your victimization is step one. There can be no healing unless you do that," claimed Largen. "I should know."

The News Connection encourages members of the community to speak out against this unspoken injustice. To tell your story, or promote your ideas as to what we as a society should do about this horrific and escalating problem, write to bobweir@thenewsconnection.com. For more information about Building Block, visit www.building-block.org.

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