Men in My Town

Smith Appeals to County Government to Fund Crisis Intervention Counseling Program for Child Victims of Sexual Assault

Posted in Men in My Town by Keith Smith on December 11, 2009

Keith’s comments to the Mercer County Board of Freeholders, Mercer County, NJ, December 10, 2009 as County Government considers cutting funding of Crisis Intervention Counseling Program run by PEI Kids, Inc.

My name is Keith Smith and while I’m a member of the Board of Trustees of PEI Kids, tonight I’m here in a different role. Tonight, I’m here to speak with you as a survivor of sexual violence.

In 1974, at the age of 14, I was abducted, beaten and raped by a total stranger, a recidivist, pedophile, predator hunting for young boys in my hometown of Lincoln, Rhode Island. 35 years ago, agencies like PEI Kids didn’t exist. Today, I’m glad they do.

Tonight, I’m asking you to help the children of Mercer County, victims of sexual assault and rape, right here in Mercer County. Help our children obtain the help, support, guidance and counseling they need to cope with the horror they’ve experienced and to recover from the emotional and physical trauma they suffer as victims of sexual violence.

The Trentonian ran this headline. Man Charged in Rape of Girl, 8. The article reads, “A convicted pedophile has been charged with the rape, kidnapping and attempted homicide of an 8 year old girl who was abducted from her home on February 15 and left for dead in a snow bank. Police allege Eric Lyons, 37, abducted the girl from her home, drove her about a mile away and tried to rape and strangle her. Lyons then drove the girl to a parking lot and dumped her between a fence and snow bank where police said he left her for dead. The girl was found several hours later by two truck drivers.”

Three weeks later, the Trenton Times ran this headline. Trucker Pleads in Sexual Assault. The article reads, “A truck driver has pleaded guilty in the knifepoint kidnapping and sexual assault of two 17 year olds last summer. James Randall Smith, 24, entered guilty pleas to two counts of kidnapping and aggravated sexual assault. Smith tied one victim to a signpost then drove the other victim to a rural area where he raped her and tied her to a tree. The girl freed herself and was spotted walking barefoot six hours later.”

These stories, and a hundred more stories like these, are the stories of the children who are served by the incredible people and programs of PEI Kids.

PEI Kids provides crisis intervention counseling to children who are victims of sexual assault. There is no other agency providing crisis intervention counseling services to these kids in Mercer County. Should you choose to eliminate or reduce funding for PEI’s Crisis Intervention Program, the life-altering and life-saving counseling PEI Kids provides to these children will be significantly reduced or even eliminated, leaving Mercer County’s youngest victims of sexual assault and rape, without the professional help they need to cope and recover from the horror they’ve experienced.

Without professional help to cope and recover, children who are victims of sexual assault and rape typically resort to inappropriate behaviors to cope on their own. They turn to drugs and alcohol; they drop out of school; they run away from home; suffer from eating disorders, sleeping disorders, personality disorders, depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress syndrome; they resort to physical violence, sexual promiscuity and inappropriate and sometimes criminal sexually reactive behavior; they resort to cutting, self mutilation and in the most extreme cases, suicide.

Over the years, PEI Kids has led more than 4,000 of Mercer County’s children, child victims of sexual violence, to lives full of hope and promise by providing crisis intervention counseling and PEI needs continued financial support from the County to do so. The consequences to every one of Mercer County’s young victims, their families and our communities are too great for anything less.

PEI Kids provided Crisis Intervention Counseling to 238 children in 2008. 238 children who were victims of sexual abuse, sexual assault and rape. Children abused, assaulted or raped right here in Mercer County.

• 151 Girls and 87 boys.

• 3 children were 18 years old.

• 71 children were between the age of 13 and 17.

• 132 children were between the age of 6 and 12.

• 37 children were under the age of 5.

• Children from East Windsor, Ewing, Hamilton, Hightstown, Lawrenceville, Pennington, Trenton, Robbinsville and West Windsor.

In 2009 PEI Kids will see approximately 300 children, kids from every town in Mercer County. The need to provide Crisis Intervention Counseling Services to children who are victims of sexual assault still exists and isn’t going away.

PEI Kids is the only agency in Mercer County providing children with Crisis Intervention Counseling related to sex crimes.

Now, I have just one question. If you refuse to fund PEI’s program, who will help the children? In 2010, who will help Mercer County’s children who have been sexually abused, sexually assaulted or raped?

Ladies and gentlemen of the Freeholder Board, unfortunately the need to provide Crisis Intervention Counseling to children who are victims of sexual assault will never go away. The need to help child victims of sex crimes will always exist. May you find it in your hearts, your head and your budget to make sure funding for PEI’s Crisis Intervention Counseling Program for child victims of sexual abuse, sexual assault and rape also exists.

Thank you.


Keith Smith, author of Men in My Town, is a Stranger Abduction Sexual Assault Survivor and a Keynote Speaker on issues of child safety. He’s available as a speaker for conferences, seminars and fundraising events benefiting non-profit organizations, government agencies, companies and professional associations dedicated to helping children who have been sexually abused. 

The story of the abduction, beating and rape of a teenage boy from Lincoln, Rhode Island, followed by the unsolved brutal murder of his assailant in Providence, is now a moving novel written by the man who survived this vicious attack.

Men in My Town by Keith Smith. Based on Actual Events.  Available now at in Paperback and Kindle.

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