The Daytona Beach dad who became a hero last week for stopping his son's rapist in the act is back in the news — but not in a good way. This father had every parent in America applauding his actions, but now that he's started a GoFundMe page exploiting the situation for money, many are just shaking their heads in disbelief.
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A Daytona Beach dad made the news last week when he interrupted his son's rape in progress, and delivered a vicious (and well-deserved) beating to the abuser. The story was compelling, primarily because the dad did what most of us would want to do in that situation. Just as compelling were the quips from the dad's 9-1-1 call, where he came across as polite, God-fearing and an extremely loving father.

From the get-go the rapist was known. Raymond Frolander's battered and swollen mug spread like wildfire over social media, with people everywhere giving the unnamed dad a virtual thumbs-up for his rearranging of Frolander's face. The father's name wasn't released though, to protect the identity of the son. It makes perfect sense if you think about it; if you know the child's age and the father's name, it's pretty easy to determine the victim. Surely no one would want to be responsible for outing an 11-year-old child as the victim of sexual abuse. Surely no one would want to add to this poor child's trauma, by disclosing to the world the personal hell he'd been living in for over three years. Surely no one could be that cruel, right?

What person could be so lacking in remorse and compassion for others that they would divulge the identity of a child rape victim?

Why do people have to suck so bad?

Imagine the shock and surprise when just three days later both the dad and victim had their identities disclosed and posted online. The child's photograph was even posted on a publicly accessible website, along with the information that he was sexually assaulted. Who would do such a thing? What person could be so lacking in remorse and compassion for others that they would divulge the identity of a child rape victim? Easy question to answer, because they used their own name: It was Raymond Frolander's batterer — the child victim's father.

But wait, it gets worse

Why would a dad out his own son as a rape victim? One word: money. The dad created a page on the crowdsourcing fundraising website GoFundMe. Initially the page was titled "Rebuilding Innocence," with a photograph of his son sleeping. The fundraising goal started out at a cool one million — apparently that's what your child's emotional well-being is worth these days. "We are reaching out to anyone that can help. Our son was sexualy (sic) assaulted and we are now faced with the challenge of picking up the pieces, the emotional and financial burden is about more than we can endure.. Please. Anything helps.. God bless and be with you all.."

The dad posted the donation campaign link on his Facebook page. A few hours later the GoFundMe page title was amended to "Help Restore My Son's Innocence" with a lowered financial goal of $100,000. Hours after that the donation page and the Facebook link vanished, raising just $145.

Once you put that (the donation site) out there, he just lost what little cloak of anonymity he already has.

Disbelief...

Daytona Beach Police Chief Mike Chitwood spoke for many when he said, "It's sad. You don't go out and exploit what happened to this young man (the son) for money." Chief Chitwood went on to state the obvious: "This in unbelievable. The stigma that goes with being sexually abused is terrible. The police, investigators and prosecutors go to great lengths to protect victims of sexual abuse. Why are you exposing your son? Once you put that (the donation site) out there, he just lost what little cloak of anonymity he already has."

... but not shock

Child, adolescent and family psychotherapist Katie Hurley echoed much of Chief Chitwood's sentiments: "I am saddened to hear that the Daytona father who jumped in to save his son from unspeakable circumstances would then turn around and seek financial gain from it, but I can't pretend to be shocked. With videos, pictures and sad stories going viral every time we turn around, it's not surprising that people try to cash in on internet fame or the kindness of virtual strangers. As therapists, psychologists and mental health professionals, we go to great lengths to protect the identities of victims of sexual abuse, and for good reason.” 

“This boy faced unimaginable violence and his innocence was, indeed, stolen from him. But the stress doesn't end for him simply because his attacker was caught. The stigma attached to sexual abuse is overwhelming at best, and this boy will have to live the rest of his life with the choices another made for him. He can heal and he can work through his pain, but he can never undo what his attacker did to him. Therapy can be expensive, it's true, but there are always options when it comes to handling the financial side of this kind of crisis. His father should let him heal in privacy, without the whole world watching."

Is this the new normal?

Sadly, this isn't the first time in recent history we've seen a family attempt to use a child's suffering for financial gain. Just last month, Victoria Wilcher's family was outed for fabricating their claim that 3-year-old Victoria — whose face bears scars from a pit bull attack — was asked to leave a KFC restaurant for "scaring" customers. The GoFundMe page set up for Victoria raised more than $135,000 before the hoax was revealed.

And both of these cases remind me of Lacey Spears, who has been charged with intentionally poisoning her 5-year-old son Garnett to death with sodium. No, these caregivers aren't afflicted by Munchausen by proxy syndrome (as Lacey is suspected), but in all three cases the child suffers as the parent gains. That isn't the natural order of things — if suffering is to happen, it should always be the parent for the child.

There is no good reason to exploit a child, ever.

There is no good reason to exploit a child, ever. Children have within them the very best humanity has to offer, unspoiled by age or preconceptions or life. As adults we owe them our protection. The Daytona Beach dad protected his son last Friday when he finally ended years of abuse. I just wish he'd continued that protection after his rage died down and the greed set in.

Author's Note^

It is with specific intent that the Daytona Beach father has remained unnamed. This is to hopefully provide some anonymity to his son, who deserves it.

More on

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