Friday, January 27, 2012

Mom on Mission: Protecting Children From Sexual Predators

Each morning from her home in Richmond, Virgina, Polly Franks begins her day by answering calls and personally responding to the dozens of emails she receives from strangers asking for advice and information on serial sexual predators.

In 1983, "ski-mask rapist"
Joseph Frank Smith was convicted twice of raping a woman in San Antonio,Texas.Instead of being sent to prison, a judge released Smith on probation. Smith's attorney convinced the court that he was a candidate for a new procedure called "chemical castration" with the stipulation that he take the drug Depo-Provera and attend weekly counseling sessions for the next ten years. His lawyer argued if his client received regular injections that it would reduce his testosterone level and he would no longer have a desire to rape women and children.

Following his 30 days' in-patient treatment at John Hopkins Hospital, Smith was free to move to Richmond, Virginia to start his new life.

Three years into his 
castration injections, he met, and fell in love with his treatment nurse, Barbara. The couple married and began a family.

Somehow, with six years left of his court-ordered treatment, Smith was dismissed from the program and instructed to report to the Texas courts by mail until the end of his parole. Frank and Barbara appeared to be your average couple. Smith was an over-the-road truck driver and Barbara a registered nurse.

When Polly Franks and her family moved next-door to the couple she was thrilled. The families spent time together at each other homes. Their children became best friends.

In the early 1990s police received reports from 83 pre-teen-aged girls who had either been raped or molested by a man who would break into home while the children were sleeping. Police were left scratching their heads. This person was not in their database and matched no one currently in their system.

In 1995, while Polly's girls, ages 8 and 9, were at a sleep-over, Barbara Smith caught her husband, naked and masturbating in front of their eight-year-old daughter and the neighbors' kids. Police were contacted. They ran Smith's DNA through a state-wide database. It came back positive for the rape of a five-year girl. Smith was arrested.

When Frank Joseph Smith only received a suspended sentence, Polly Franks was furious. She decided to keep an eye on him, following him each time he moved into a new neighborhood. Undeterred by a childhood disease that had left her dependent on a wheelchair and crutches for mobility, Polly Franks moved with the ease and art of a veteran twenty-year law enforcement officer.

In 1997, Polly Franks got her private investigator license with the sole purpose of bringing Smith to justice. And it was also a way to legally follow Smith. She was determined to learn within the law how to get him off the streets. In 1998, Smith was finally sentenced to 40 years in prison. In 1999, he was sentenced to life plus 20 years after pleading guilty to the rape of a five-year-old and the confession to 83 other 
sexual assaults with children.

Polly Franks has testified before Congress and 
lobbied on Capital Hill for tougher sex offender laws.

In 2006, she created the 
Franks Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting kids from sexual predators. And she provides a rather unique service to young victims of sexual abuse who are treated at hospitals called "Operation Fuzzy." The kits provide a tremendous comfort to the children after a trauma.

"Smith did not get to my children or anyone else's because of parental neglect. Smith's crime spree was a smashing success because repeatedly he was put back onto the streets, 286 victims (that we know of) later."

By his own admission, he was a sex offender from the age of eleven.

He did not go to prison until he was forty-six 
years of age.

When a child is violated, we are all 

Let's help this amazing woman and her organization Polly is Founder and Executive Director of the Franks Foundation, ( a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting America's kids from sexual predators. Join me on Twitter

Susan Murphy Milano is a staff member of the Institute for Relational Harm Reduction and Public Pathology Education as a educator and specialist with intimate partner violence prevention strategies directing prevention for high risk situations and cases.

 A national trainer to law enforcement, training officers, prosecutors, judges, legislators, social service providers, healthcare professionals, victim advocates and the faith based community and author.. In partnership with Management Resources Ltd. of New York addressing prevention and solutions within the community to the workplace. Host of The Susan Murphy Milano Show,"Time'sUp!" . She is a regular contributor to the nationally syndicated "The Roth Show" with Dr Laurie Roth and a co-host onCrime Wire. Online contributions: Forbes : Crime, She Writes providing commentary about the hottest topics on crime, justice, and law from a woman’s perspective, as well as Time's Up! a blog which searches for solutions (SOS) for victims of crime


Donna R. Gore said...

The descriptive term inspiration appears not to come close to what Polly Franks has been able to accomplish on behalf of children!

I would love to meet her.... There are definite commonalities!
May God continue to Bless her and her good works!

Donna "Ladyjustice"

Anonymous said...

Thank you Polly. As a victim of child abuse it is rewarding to see these monsters put away forever. Thank you thank you.

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