|Congressman Pocan (left) boasted of traveling to Costa Rica for |
Child Sex Tourism
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Wisconsin 2nd District: My Congressional Candidate Told Me He Is a Child Sex Tourist
I was present as State Representative Mark Pocan publicly regaled close associates at length with stories of traveling to Costa Rica for sex with young boys
Personal Essay by Dr. Glen Barry
July 26, 2012
For much of the late 1990s and early 2000s, I was a PhD student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Being the state capitol, as I reconnected with Andy Janssen, an old high school friend that works there, occasionally I socialized with state political big-wigs. One was my state assemblyman Mr. Mark Pocan – now running for Congress from Wisconsin’s second district. Over the course of several years I hung-out and drank in local bars with Mr. Pocan a few dozen times, and became a good acquaintance and fledgling – albeit infrequent – member at that time of his inner circle. I like the charismatic, progressive man immensely. Sadly, however, he revealed to others and me that he had traveled to Costa Rica to have sex with children.
In 2002 or thereabouts, Mr. Pocan publicly regaled half a dozen of his close associates and me with a story of having recently traveled to Costa Rica for the explicit purpose of seeking out sex with underage boys. We were at the local Democratic Party watering hole – drinking on a weekend like we had done many times before. Mr. Pocan told the story of traveling to Costa Rica for sex tourism with boys with great gusto. He included numerous and graphic details regarding how the Gulf coast of Costa Rica was full of children from poor fishing villages – described at length as being firm, young, and willing – that would congregate at local hotels, and for a few dollars go with you to your room for a night of sex.
It was a larger group than normal, and there were numerous other people there, close associates of Mr. Pocan, any one of whom should be able to confirm my account, if they can be appealed upon to speak truthfully. None appeared shocked, or even disturbed, at this raucous story of sexual misconduct. It seemed routine, the norm. There was much laughing and banter as apparently this sort of torrid story was not an unusual topic of conversation amongst the group. Again, Mr. Pocan said clearly he had explicitly traveled to Costa Rica for sexual tourism, and had in fact paid for sex with young boys, making him a child sex tourist.
The next time I drank with Mr. Pocan and his entourage, I made a fleeting comment regarding the story to Mr. Pocan in front of his then partner. Mr. Pocan later pulled me aside and told me bluntly that if I spoke of the matter again I was not welcome in his company. I chose to never socialize with Mr. Pocan and his entourage again. Soon I graduated with a PhD, and moved away from Madison for several years to protect the world’s rainforests. We have a close mutual friend, remained in loose contact as facebook friends on his initiative, and last year as I prepared to return to the area, Mr. Pocan provided a reference for one job application. I have recently moved back to Madison, and have had random, friendly, yet distant contact with Mr. Pocan on a couple occasions.
So what has changed? Why come forward now? I don’t feel like I have any choice but to do so. I like Mark. But he told me he had traveled overseas to a poor, struggling country, to sexually abuse children, and I can’t let that go unreported. Mr. Pocan is running for Congress, and his campaign heralds his work protecting victims of rape. I can’t sit by as I know the person who is most likely to be my next Congressman is – by his own admission to me – a child rapist, as kids can never consent to sex with adults.
Coming after my recent diatribe against Governor Scott Walker’s poor character displayed in college, it appears that I am – at least with these two individuals – a sort of Forrest Gump of Wisconsin politics. In both instances I have not sought out publicity or any advantage, but have felt a strong sense that knowing what I know – based upon first-hand information – that I had the responsibility to do the right thing, and communicate the best I could what I personally knew to be true.
I am not a Democrat or a Republican, have little interest in state politics, and know virtually nothing about his opponents. I have absolutely no reason to lie, or to want to needlessly bring this upon others or myself. My only reasons are a commitment to keeping children safe from sexual predators, and being unable to live with a bad conscience.
I have tried hard to live a moral, ethical life committed to high standards of personal conduct, and to issues of global concern larger than myself. This has meant tremendous sacrifice to the cause of global ecological sustainability and the welfare of the human family. Nonetheless, like most everyone, I have had personal failures and have had to deal with anger, dependency and abuse issues. I have acted sexually irresponsible in my past, but never illegally or doing harm to a child, and would never do so.
As I have reached middle-age, I have successfully dealt with my personal issues – particularly having been the victim of childhood sexual abuse, and its decades long cover-up – which have been epidemic in my family. I was successfully groomed to keep childhood sexual abuse secret, which I have only just overcome.
This is a painful essay to write at many levels. I have agonized and sought out the counsel of several regarding this ethical dilemma. Many told me not to write this essay. Yet, as I pondered, I would recall how no one was my champion as I was a victim of childhood sexual abuse by powerful adults. I failed by not reporting Mr. Pocan’s disclosure immediately after it occurred, or any time over the years subsequently. I hate to come forward with these truthful claims now, but I have no choice. It is the ethical thing to do, and I am no Sandusky protector. This is no last minute revelation, as I have come forward with a full three and a half months before the general election.
If anything I am guilty of being enamored by power, of wanting to ingratiate myself with powerful people because of my own insecurities. Now I simply can’t stand by and knowingly watch as a child sex tourist becomes the next Congressperson – which oftentimes ends up being for life – representing the great city of Madison and surrounding areas. I am sure I will be pilloried by the politically correct – yet at times ethically challenged – progressive Madison scene for coming out against their favorite son. And I am fine with that, as my progressivism and commitment to truth go beyond posturing, to doing the right thing, even when difficult and personally challenging.
Truth matters. I have to be consistent – if I call out Governor Walker on personal knowledge of corruption and acting as a fascist while in college, I must call out State Representative Pocan on child sexual exploitation. I agree with Pocan nearly across the board on political issues. He is a solid and committed Progressive. But you can’t be having sex with kids. Not even if you travel out of America to find poor ones, who have no voice.
I apologize for not coming forward earlier. I have only just recently dealt fully with having myself been a victim of childhood sexual abuse, and am recovering from a serious medical condition related to my parathyroid that has clouded my affective judgment. Mark’s public admission has been reported to the Madison police and other appropriate authorities. I have absolutely nothing to gain by going public with this matter, yet quite a lot to lose as I am sure Representative Pocan’s campaign will lash out, and make all sorts of vile false claims to protect his candidacy.
My only satisfaction is that even when frightened, I have done the right thing and reported childhood sexual abuse; belatedly – and with shaking hands as I write – but nonetheless.
Inside I am a hurt little boy that was sexually abused, grew up in an environment where this went on repeatedly to others, and was abandoned by family and friends as I sought to recover. As I have healed, the issue of keeping childhood innocence safe from sexual predators has become profoundly important to me. I have zero tolerance for childhood sexual abuse, and want it to stop. That will only happen if people speak of the matter and come forward when they know of abuses.
Mr. Pocan is an admitted – amongst friends even a boastful – sexual abuser of children, and is not fit to be a U.S. Congressperson. This isn’t a gay, straight thing. It is a not getting away with raping poor foreign kids as a tourist – because you are an entitled powerful politician – thing. Again, I am sorry for not having come forward earlier.
Dr. Glen Barry is an internationally recognized environmental advocate, scientist, writer and technology expert. He is well-known within the environmental community as a leading global ecological visionary, public intellectual, and environmental policy critic. Dr. Barry's work as the President and Founder of Ecological Internet - the Earth's largest biocentric ecological advocacy web portals - was recently recognized as one of " 25 Visionaries Who Are Changing Your World" by the Utne Reader. More: http://forests.org/staff/glen.asp
Here is the independent confirmation, a second person who came forward to support Dr. Barry's assertions:
Demonic Mark Pocan, Candidate for the 2nd Congressional District of Wisconsin Sex Tourist, Coward and Moral Degenerate
October 12, 2012
Recently there have been a number of accusations made against Mark Pocan, well known Madison progressive and congressional hopeful. When I learned about these allegations and the source behind them, I realized that a proverbial Pandora’s Box had been opened and that it was time to break a cycle of fear, shame, embarrassment and silence that I (and many others) have been living in for quite some time now. Be it for reasons of concerns for our safety, fear of alienation or simply hoping that someone else would say something, those of us who know of these shameful acts have remained silent over the years; and it is time for us to step forward and hold ourselves and Mr. Pocan accountable for the roles each of us has played in this truly disgraceful story.
I will begin by saying that I am a gay man. As a gay man, I have felt the hurt that comes along with the perception that all gay men are sexual predators. I know that by coming forward with this story and showing that another gay man, especially a high-profile gay man, has committed these acts that it will only strengthen that perception. That both saddens and angers me. I am saddened that the vast, vast majority of gay men who would never even consider harming a child will still be cast in the same light as the small and repulsive percentage that does. I am angered that any person, gay or straight would ever victimize a child. I am angered that someone of that character holds office and that those of us who knew of his atrocities protected him out of some warped sense of self preservation. It is time for those of us with knowledge of these acts come forward and prevent them from happening again.
For most of 2001 - 2008 I was in a relationship with one of the people that Dr. Barry describes in his article as a member of Mr. Pocan’s “inner circle” and was thus, by proxy, also a member of that circle. The story relayed in Dr. Barry’s essay is not only factual and accurate, but it is not an isolated incident. The open relationship enjoyed by Mr. Pocan and his partner is no great secret in the local gay community; and Mark’s preference to younger men is no secret either. During my acquaintance with him he was a regular at the UW’s LGBT Campus Center “Ten Percent Society” dances, a place no respectable gentleman of a certain age ought to be scoping out college freshmen. His aggressive behavior towards these men was obvious and even to those of us not in the “inner circle”, ought to have been a warning sign that there was an issue.
But, as we often do with “celebrities” we were all willing to turn a blind eye to save the community as a whole the embarrassment. Frankly, it was unconscionable of us to do so and this is the time to make it right.
Those of us who were in that inner circle, who have been told the lurid and heartbreaking details of Mark Pocan’s sexual encounter’s with underage boys have a moral obligation to speak out. We stayed silent for our own reasons but ultimately we must face the fact that in our silence and complicity, we too have become guilty. Each person abused since then is as much our victim as they are his. And now that the secret is out and Pandora’s Box is open, we are personally responsible for any person he hurts from this point forward.
Mr. Pocan has done a great deal of crowing about his “Compassionate Care for Rape Victims” billl, something which is very politically advantageous of him to do as the idea of compassion for victims of rape is universally accepted as a good thing. Victims of any sort of abuse need to be sheltered and protected under the law whenever possible.
It is odd, however, that he has declined to talk about another big topic he took on with equal vigor: the weakening of Jessica’s Law. As quoted by in The Isthmus:
“Pocan, who has voted against several pieces of sex-predator legislation, including the recent lifetime GPS tracking, believes the state should revisit the more sweeping legislation it's enacted over the last 15 years.
"If someone is not really a threat to society, and we know they're really not a threat to society, we're taking their life and screwing it up," says Pocan. "There's the politics of it and then there's the science of it, and the politics of it is off the chart right now. If you want to be tough on crime, you're tough on sex predators. You use sex predators to mean everybody, because you don't differentiate, because there is no intellectual thought put into what you're saying." -Nathan J. Comp. (2007/November/09). The Sex Offenders Among Us. The Isthmus
That sort of thing might not be so politically advantageous for him to talk about, obviously. So why take it on in the first place?
Simple - it is personally advantageous for him to do so. We have allowed a child rapist to write the laws that penalize those arrested for sex offenses.
That is wrong, it is immoral and it needs to be corrected.
In an even more egregious display of irony, Mr. Pocan is endorsed by the Human Rights Campaign. It is reprehensible that an organization that claims to protect “human rights” is endorsing, funding and aiding a man who has robbed those less fortunate of the basic human right of dignity.
The rest of the “inner circle” that Dr. Barry alluded to - we all know who we are and we know who each other are. It is our moral and civic duty to come forward, to speak plainly and to expose this miscarriage of justice. We must look to ourselves and as if we are willing to stand for what is right, whether or not it is dangerous, and whether or not it is the popular thing to do.
Many people unfamiliar with how that gay community works will probably scoff at the idea of this being dangerous. It is not a laughing matter. The community is one that demands unwavering allegiance or you face alienation, threats, and occasionally violence. For that reason, I am writing this anonymously. Some may call it cowardice, and thats fair. Much of what I have done in this matter up until now has come from cowardice.
I admit to my personal failings as a man and as a citizen that held me hostage in a cycle of silence. I carry the burden of those that I have hurt by my silence and no apology can atone for that. All I can do is move forward in a moral and upright manner, and this is that first step.
To Dr. Glen Barry - I thank you for making me realize my moral obligation to come forward. I admire your courage and commitment to the truth and I regret the backlash that you have suffered for it. I have reached out to you via a gentleman who wrote you a letter and left a card at your home. I urge you, please, to contact him so that you and I can stand together in this. 2 people alone can be ignored and swept away. 2 people together constitutes probable cause.