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8 year old molested in McDonald's bathroom

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
http://toronto.24hrs.ca/News/2005/06...73156-sun.html Sorry, this link isn't to a more known news page, but I'll update the link once it's on the CBC News website.

It seems to me that this sort of thing happens every few years or so. Most of the trips to a mall or restaurant bathroom are without incident, but there's always those few that end like this. I'm so sorry for that boy and his family. He has a hard road ahead of him.

The reason I wanted to post this was, of course, to let you guys know and give you a chance to put in your 2 cents, but ALSO to ask...........at what age do you think it's safe to let a child go into a public bathroom unattended?

AND do you think it would have been inappropriate or would you have a problem with the mother taking the boy into the ladies bathroom (or the mom going into the mens with him?). There HAS to be a middle ground here to make this safe. Until EVERYWHERE has family bathrooms available, I just can't agree with the idea that a child should not be allowed in either bathroom if escorted by a parent/caregiver. What do you think?
post #2 of 27
What a tragic story. The truth is, I don't know at what age it is appropriate to let a child use a public rest room on their own. It's tricky- that boy was 8 years old and I can understand that some women may be a bit uncomfortable having a boy that old in the women's bathroom. If I were a parent, though, I'd say, "Let them be uncomfortable." What's worse? A)Making a few people uncomfortable but keeping an eye on your child or B) letting your child use the appropriate bathroom but risk them ending up like this boy? I'd take option A any day!
post #3 of 27
Leli, it is difficult to make any comment about the "abuse" of the McDonald's incident, because the details were so sketchy, and the incident could have been anything from innocent on the part of the "abuser" to a brutal physical attack that required hospitalization for the child, and the Wal-Mart incident could have been much the same, even down to a hysterical mother over-reacting to something more perceived than real.

That children need protecting from predators is a given, and any parent that neglects to take full and pro-active responsibility for protecting their children are guilty of neglect, and I see much ado about nothing when questions are asked about what can a mother or parent do to insure the safety of their children.

In the case of a child of "in between age", then the parent should contact the manager of the establishment and ask her/him to accompany the parent and child to the restroom of the child's gender and stand watch as a witness while the mother supervises the child's bathroom needs, to whatever extent required.

What is your next problem ? ? ?

I was in a mall and spotted a little girl, maybe 3 yrs old, crying, standing alone and people were just walking by, doing nothing, and I immediately stopped a woman shopper of approximately my age and asked her to come with me and help the child, and we asked the child what was wrong, and she told us that she had lost her mommy.

The three of us sat with ice cream at an outside table, laughing and becoming friends while the security people were sent for.

I can only comment that it is regrettable that I had to get a strange woman to accompany me in assisting the child, but since I cannot change the social or political climate in which we live, then I must accomodate my actions to it to achieve whatever ends are necessary, in this case, helping a child without putting myself in harm's way.

Leonard
post #4 of 27
I wouldnt care about a kid at any age being in the bathroom with their mother. Really, all they see is me washing my hands anyway.

What age would I let my kids go alone? Hard to say since I dont have children yet. I guess It would depend on the place. A small local place where I knew the staff and didnt think there was anyone lurking in the bathrooms at the time - sure I might let a younger child go in un attended. In a stranger, bigger city area I would naturally be much more cautious.
post #5 of 27
Sounds very similar to a cae that happened here in 1999 at the Library

http://www.cnsnews.com/ViewEducation...19991112b.html

It's sad that people have such a problem that they have to rape little kids. There are enough people out there willing to have sex with just about anything I don't understand why people have to hurt others for their sexual kicks!! Just redicilous! I am not sure on the age thing myself but I do know that my nephew is 9 and I let him go to the restroom by himself, it would devastate me for something like this to happen to him.!!! Not sure what actions to take as far as trying to keep him safe from people like that other than tell him to scream his head off is something were happening. dunno!
post #6 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by winwin
Leli, it is difficult to make any comment about the "abuse" of the McDonald's incident, because the details were so sketchy, and the incident could have been anything from innocent on the part of the "abuser" to a brutal physical attack that required hospitalization for the child, and the Wal-Mart incident could have been much the same, even down to a hysterical mother over-reacting to something more perceived than real.
Here's another link, this one from CBCNEWS:
http://toronto.cbc.ca/regional/servl...onalds20050606

I didn't mean to bring the Wal-Mart incident into the discussion. As far as the McDonald's incident, it is stated in the link that the child was sexually assaulted, and it IS being investigated by the sex crimes unit, so I doubt that it was entirely innocent on the part of the "abuser". Even if it were, however, there have certainly been other cases of children being sexually assaulted in public bathrooms which were valid.
However, I respect that you aren't commenting specifically on THIS incident, since none of us have all the facts. I was actually looking for general comments about proper protocol in situations like these and appreciate your comments on that subject.
Quote:
Originally Posted by winwin
That children need protecting from predators is a given, and any parent that neglects to take full and pro-active responsibility for protecting their children are guilty of neglect, and I see much ado about nothing when questions are asked about what can a mother or parent do to insure the safety of their children.
I was in no way trying to imply that the mother was at fault for this, only trying to see if anyone had any bright ideas of how this can be prevented in the future.

Quote:
Originally Posted by winwin
In the case of a child of "in between age", then the parent should contact the manager of the establishment and ask her/him to accompany the parent and child to the restroom of the child's gender and stand watch as a witness while the mother supervises the child's bathroom needs, to whatever extent required.
That's a good idea. There is also the possibility of asking another patron with his own children to accompany the boy to the bathroom.

Quote:
Originally Posted by winwin
What is your next problem ? ? ?
I don't know how I'm supposed to interpret this comment..........is it MEANT to be antagonistic?

Quote:
Originally Posted by winwin
I was in a mall and spotted a little girl, maybe 3 yrs old, crying, standing alone and people were just walking by, doing nothing, and I immediately stopped a woman shopper of approximately my age and asked her to come with me and help the child, and we asked the child what was wrong, and she told us that she had lost her mommy.

The three of us sat with ice cream at an outside table, laughing and becoming friends while the security people were sent for.

I can only comment that it is regrettable that I had to get a strange woman to accompany me in assisting the child, but since I cannot change the social or political climate in which we live, then I must accomodate my actions to it to achieve whatever ends are necessary, in this case, helping a child without putting myself in harm's way.

Leonard
I'm equally disappointed in the state of things, when a well-intentioned man has to think about protecting himself before helping a child. It's really sad that we have to worry about that sort of thing and take such extreme precautions. Unfortunately, the threat is there (not from you, but it is there) and we have to be careful. I've had similar experience with figuring out boundries with other people's kids. I taught swimming for 8 years and had a number of occasions where I had to consider about how my actions might be interpreted - for example, escorting kids to the bathroom. Many need help with their suits and some (I taught kids as young as 2) more help than that. Often parents just dropped their kids off, so no help there. I've helped more than one little girl with wiping and afterward thought of how that could have been construed, not to mention how my male co-workers could have dealt with the situation. It's really unfortunate, since my intention is only to get the poor tyke back in the pool before she freezes.
post #7 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by SillyJilly
Sounds very similar to a cae that happened here in 1999 at the Library

http://www.cnsnews.com/ViewEducation...19991112b.html

It's sad that people have such a problem that they have to rape little kids. There are enough people out there willing to have sex with just about anything I don't understand why people have to hurt others for their sexual kicks!! Just redicilous! I am not sure on the age thing myself but I do know that my nephew is 9 and I let him go to the restroom by himself, it would devastate me for something like this to happen to him.!!! Not sure what actions to take as far as trying to keep him safe from people like that other than tell him to scream his head off is something were happening. dunno!
Just pointing out something that a lot of people believe erroneously It has nothing to do with having an available adult sex partner. Sexual predators want (need) someone they can lord their power over..a weaker person, like a child. They could have a whole harem of willing women, but want someone weaker than they are. This is why 6 month old babies and 80 yr old women get raped, they are hardly considered sexy (well maybe the 80 yr old woman is to another 80 yr old) but you get my drift.

This is why I think that allowing priests to marry won't solve a thing, a pedophile whats a child period.

I think stores, especially big stores like Walmart, KMart, department stores, etc. should hire bathroom monitors, to escort children to the bathroom. Of course they should be throughly screened. People need to make a stink with these stores to do something like that. They say they really care about the consumer, well if they want our money, PROVE IT!
post #8 of 27
Good point, I guess I didn't really think entirely through it. Still just makes me mad though!
post #9 of 27
Why is everybody even assuming the child was there with his mother? The article says nothing about it. For all I know, the boy could have been there with his father, and that father told him to go into the bathroom on his own.
post #10 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by slitty_kittay
I wouldnt care about a kid at any age being in the bathroom with their mother. Really, all they see is me washing my hands anyway.

What age would I let my kids go alone? Hard to say since I dont have children yet. I guess It would depend on the place. A small local place where I knew the staff and didnt think there was anyone lurking in the bathrooms at the time - sure I might let a younger child go in un attended. In a stranger, bigger city area I would naturally be much more cautious.
This is how I feel as well.
post #11 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by elizwithcat
Why is everybody even assuming the child was there with his mother? The article says nothing about it. For all I know, the boy could have been there with his father, and that father told him to go into the bathroom on his own.
Good point...they have been blaming mom, since Freud, and probably before that.
post #12 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by elizwithcat
Why is everybody even assuming the child was there with his mother? The article says nothing about it. For all I know, the boy could have been there with his father, and that father told him to go into the bathroom on his own.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mom of Franz
Good point...they have been blaming mom, since Freud, and probably before that.
He was there with his mother, if I recall correctly the spot they did on today's news at six.
post #13 of 27
I've actually done with Leonard has suggested at work. I've had parents ask me to check the bathroom, or have a male host or server check the men's room and stand guard while they were in the bathroom. I personally am more than willing to do something like that.
post #14 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by esrgirl
I've actually done with Leonard has suggested at work. I've had parents ask me to check the bathroom, or have a male host or server check the men's room and stand guard while they were in the bathroom. I personally am more than willing to do something like that.
That's great to hear. Have you ever been asked when you were particularly busy at work? I don't know where you work, but I know it might be an issue for some jobs if they're particularly swamped to lose a worker mid-rush..........don't get me wrong, I'm not saying you shouldn't go in that situation, just that, from my work experience, people waiting in line are apt to complain loudly about just about anything that doesn't directly benefit them (sorry, busy weekend at work with weird customer complaints so I may be venting a bit)

Maybe public places could start putting up signs at bathrooms along the lines of:
If you have a child that needs to be accompanied to the correct bathroom, please come to the customer service desk and we will have an employee escort him or her.

That way, if people complain when the employee leaves to do so, the rest of us can just point at the sign and say it's policy.........though I'm sure the odd customer will still give you an earfull about how they've been "waiting FOREVER"
post #15 of 27
Leli, I apologize, perhaps I WAS being just a bit sarcastic, but to see someone waffle over what it takes to protect a child when the solution is, as I said, just be proactive and GET IT DONE, bothers me, perhaps more than a bit, and my reply was sort of along the lines of DUH or HELLO.

I know a person shouldn't TRY to rub people the wrong way (how do you like that coming from ME ?), but when the abrasive actions are in defense of a little one, then it is totally excusable, as far as I am concerned.

And as for the social acceptance of men v women, it IS regrettable that a single woman can approach a child FAR easier than can a single man, and knowing the reasons doesn't make it any easier when I am the victim of the misdeeds of others, and I feel I am justified in resenting such discrimination.

It doesn't stop me from being nice to the little guys, but it does modify my behaviour somewhat, like in the outdoor club to which I belong, there are quite often mothers there with young children for an outing, and I always carry plenty of candy, snacks, water, etc, for others as well as myself, but I NEVER offer anything to a child directly, giving it instead to the child's mother and asking her to see that the little one gets it when she/he gets tired, and quite often this action will shortly result in a tug at my shirt-sleeve from a little guy saying, "Thank you, Sir, for the candy", and that is worth a million dollars to hear.

Leonard.
post #16 of 27
It is hard to say a definate age that a child should be allowed in the bathroom alone. I think it depends on the kid and the situation. My fiance's son is 8 and he stays with us quite frequently. Him and I go places all the time together and until about a year ago I used to take him into the women's bathroom with me. Well now that he is all grown up he refuses to step foot in there, so I just have to use my judgement on where we are and what is going on. For example, we were at a sports bar a few weeks ago around 9:00 pm eating dinner. There is a dance club in the same building and both places share the same restroom. Of course he had to go to the bathroom and I made him go into the women's room. He wasn't happy, but I didn't feel comfortable with him going into the men's room alone, especially when there were people drinking. If we were in McDonald's for example, I would let him use the men's room but I would stand outside the door to wait for him.

Once we were in Target and I let him use the men's room. He said he only had to "go #1" and it wouldn't take long. Well he was in there several minutes and I got worried. I asked a man who was coming out of the restroom to please check on him and he was gone for a second and came back out and said "he is ok, but I think he needs a few more minutes". Apparently he had decided he had to do more than "#1" once he got in there
post #17 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by winwin
Leli, I apologize, perhaps I WAS being just a bit sarcastic, but to see someone waffle over what it takes to protect a child when the solution is, as I said, just be proactive and GET IT DONE, bothers me, perhaps more than a bit, and my reply was sort of along the lines of DUH or HELLO.

I know a person shouldn't TRY to rub people the wrong way (how do you like that coming from ME ?), but when the abrasive actions are in defense of a little one, then it is totally excusable, as far as I am concerned.

And as for the social acceptance of men v women, it IS regrettable that a single woman can approach a child FAR easier than can a single man, and knowing the reasons doesn't make it any easier when I am the victim of the misdeeds of others, and I feel I am justified in resenting such discrimination.

It doesn't stop me from being nice to the little guys, but it does modify my behaviour somewhat, like in the outdoor club to which I belong, there are quite often mothers there with young children for an outing, and I always carry plenty of candy, snacks, water, etc, for others as well as myself, but I NEVER offer anything to a child directly, giving it instead to the child's mother and asking her to see that the little one gets it when she/he gets tired, and quite often this action will shortly result in a tug at my shirt-sleeve from a little guy saying, "Thank you, Sir, for the candy", and that is worth a million dollars to hear.

Leonard.

Leonard, I think that if the two of us sat down to chat about this, we'd been done in about 10 seconds because I feel the same way that you do. You are entirely justified, IMO, in your resentment of the situation. It IS a form of discrimination, but as you said if it helps the little ones be safer, you and I are willing to go along with it, even though we'd of course prefer if it weren't necessary.

The reason I started the thread is because I've heard people complain about parents bringing "older" (aka school age, which IMO is NOT old enough) kids into bathrooms of the opposite sex (of the child - like a little boy in the ladies room) and I just can't get my head around the arguement. I've been told that it makes people feel "uncomfortable" and it is "inappropriate" by several friends, which I think is a ridiculous excuse that does not at all measure up. I figured if I posted this thread on IMO, maybe somebody with that opinion would pop up and I could try to understand where they're coming from (not that I think it would change my mind - to me child safety alway trumps adult comfort).
post #18 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leli
I figured if I posted this thread on IMO, maybe somebody with that opinion would pop up and I could try to understand where they're coming from (not that I think it would change my mind - to me child safety alway trumps adult comfort).
Those are my thoughts exactly, Leli.
post #19 of 27
I think Tanya makes a good point. There comes a point when I child is growing up that they know how to use the toilet by themselves, and are well aware and quite embarassed to use the bathroom designated for the opposite sex. It's part of growing up and becoming independent adults, even if adults still see them at age 8-9 as still being small children. Of course, there also comes a time when they are too big to be in the opposite sex's bathroom, say 12-13. Granted, it's still not a big deal in the women's room as there are only stalls, so unless Junior in peeking under the stalls he's not going to see anything regardless.

The other question that crossed my mind is about when fathers go out with their daughters. What do they do then? With the facilities in men's rooms, especially when the girl is old enough to know what she may see in there, is that acceptable? (Not that I'm saying that penises should be shunned or anything...) Obviously having Dad accompany daughter into the Ladies Room wouldn't be acceptable if some people are freaked out about 7 year old boys in there.

And I think having a sign about asking an employee to accompany a child to the bathroom would be a fabulous idea!
post #20 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leli
That's great to hear. Have you ever been asked when you were particularly busy at work? I don't know where you work, but I know it might be an issue for some jobs if they're particularly swamped to lose a worker mid-rush..........don't get me wrong, I'm not saying you shouldn't go in that situation, just that, from my work experience, people waiting in line are apt to complain loudly about just about anything that doesn't directly benefit them (sorry, busy weekend at work with weird customer complaints so I may be venting a bit)

Maybe public places could start putting up signs at bathrooms along the lines of:
If you have a child that needs to be accompanied to the correct bathroom, please come to the customer service desk and we will have an employee escort him or her.

That way, if people complain when the employee leaves to do so, the rest of us can just point at the sign and say it's policy.........though I'm sure the odd customer will still give you an earfull about how they've been "waiting FOREVER"
I used to be a host at the restaurant where I work, and it was much easier then since there are usually 5 hosts working at any given time. As a server, I'll have the time when we aren't busy-which is oddly enough when the restaurant is more full. I tend to be able to get things done quicker and more efficiently when we're full because there are other servers on and they are taking some of the heat. If we only have a few servers on I probably couldn't help a child out in that regard, because I'd be extremely busy with the three or four tables (we are a three table per server restaurant). I could however take them up to the host stand and have a host escort them. There are certainly servers who wouldn't do this, and I wouldn't blame them for it. I just babysat a lot growing up so I'm used to it!

Edited to say- my fiancee is an EMT and was a server at the restaurant where I work. You'd be amazed at the amount of heart attacks we get- and chocking victims. If he helped another table, as he is required to by the State, there were other tables that would get all angry, saying it wasn't their problem the old man had a heart attack and they shouldn't have to wait for their salad refills! There are some obnoxious, evil people out there, that is for sure. I've never had anyone get angry with me for escorting a child, usually people smile and think it's cute.
post #21 of 27
My son is 5 and about the size of an 8 yr old but I still bring him in the women's restroom. Every now and then I will get an odd look but I don't care. It's my child and I will protect him at all costs. I don't think that I will let him go into the restroom alone until he's about 10 (by then he'll be the size of a 15 yr old) but I'll decide when the time comes.

On a few occasions when he had to go real bad but couldn't wait in line in the womens restroom, I have opend the door to the mens and cleared them out. I don't look I just hollar, "anyone in here?" If I get a response, I wait until he comes out and ask if any more were in there if not, I send him in to double check and then I stand guard at the door.

May seem like a lot but as I said before, I will protect my children at all costs and if someone has a problem with it I don't care. He's my responsibility and my life.
post #22 of 27
The person who assaulted the child was also a child himself! A 16 year old boy has been arrested, after surveillance camera footage was posted on the news this morning, and the friend he was with on the video contacted his lawyer.

http://www.pulse24.com/News/Top_Stor...7-011/page.asp
post #23 of 27
When accompanying a child to a restroom, I believe it is important to the child's well-being and self-image that the bathroom of the child's gender be used, with proper adult supervision, and damn the torpedoes ! !

Leonard.
post #24 of 27
It's such a scary world. This topic made me recall an episode of Oprah I saw years ago that showed how easy it was for a stranger to "interact" with a child despite the child being told over an over again don't talk/go with strangers. Many kids fell for the candy routine, and many more fell for "I lost my puppy can you help me find him." There were other scenarios that I can't recall, but more kids went with the stranger than didn't.

I think a lot depends on the child's maturity/temperament, not just their age for going to the bathroom solo. I remember when my twin sister and I were 8, we were walking home (maybe 5 or 6 blocks) from Catechism instruction, it was late afternoon. As we walked by the Carvel Ice Cream store, a man called from his car to us. He said "little girls can you get me an ice cream cone? I don't have any legs." Well, I started to go toward the car. My sister grabbed my arm and started to run away from him. When we got far enough away from him, she chastised me and said, "You dope, if he has no legs, home come he's driving a car!" Now my mom had drilled into us the don't talk to strangers stuff like a broken record. She even tried to scare us by telling us about the Lindbergh baby kidnapping. Obviously, I wasn't listening.
post #25 of 27
I've been to different shops, amusement parks, etc. who have family restrooms- meaning a single toilet with a diaper changing station that moms and dads can take their kids into without fear. I think more places should have these.
post #26 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by winwin
When accompanying a child to a restroom, I believe it is important to the child's well-being and self-image that the bathroom of the child's gender be used, with proper adult supervision, and damn the torpedoes ! !

Leonard.
I agree with you there, Leonard. As far as asking an employee to take my kid (or neice or nephew, since I don't have my own children), no way! I don't know them. I'd much rather deal with the wierd looks or comments I might get and take the children in myself.
Besides, many adults are afraid to be alone with children because of what they could be accused of. My dad feels bad, but he won't allow the boy next door inside to play with his cat unless his grandfather accompanies him. Sad. The little girls in the neighborhood...he's almost scared to talk to them!

Its SO sad that waiting outside the door isn't even good enough. Do any of you remember the horrible tragedy at a park several years ago? The family was close by, the aunt waited outside the men's room for her nephew - I don't remember how old...guessing 8, and some lunatic was inside and slit the boy's throat and killed him. He was convicted and admitted he should get the death penalty, promising to do it again if he ever got out!
post #27 of 27
About a year ago at my local K-mart, a male employee walked into the mens room to find a four year old boy crying, his pants down, and with poo on his backside. He freaked out of course, and left the restroom, returning a few seconds later with two more employees. Then they called security..

It turns out that the mother let the four year old go into the bathroom alone, and wandered off to go look at some things.. the kid was crying because he couldnt wipe himself and was looking for his mother.

What kind of a mom lets a four year old go into the bathroom alone???

She was reprimanded and given a fine for leaving her child alone I believe.
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