December 6, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - After a series of child sex abuse revelations hit Hollywood in the past month, both experts and previous child stars say the crackdown only scratches the surface of what has long been the entertainment industry’s darkest secret.
Fox News reported Monday that former child stars of several eras - one even well into his 60s - reacted with grim sagacity as sex abuse charges were laid or discovered against three Hollywood employees: Martin Weiss, a 47-year-old Hollywood manager who represented child actors; Fernando Rivas, 59, an award-winning composer for “Sesame Street”; and registered sex offender Jason James Murphy, 35, a casting agent who frequently worked with young clients.
In August, ‘80s child star Corey Feldman told ABC’s “Nightline” that pedophiles surrounded child actors in Hollywood “like vultures.”
“I can tell you that the number one problem in Hollywood was, and is, and always will be pedophilia,” said Feldman. “There was a circle of older men that surrounded themselves around this group of kids, and they all had either their own power or connections to great power in the entertainment industry.”
Former “Little House on the Prairie” star Alison Arngrim recently agreed.
“This has been going on for a very long time,” Arngrim told Fox News. “It was the gossip back in the ‘80s. People said, ‘Oh yeah, the Coreys, everyone’s had them.’ People talked about it like it was not a big deal.” Arngrim referred to Feldman and his co-star in “The Lost Boys,” Corey Haim, a drug addict who died last year, a death Feldman blamed on the psychological suffering caused by sex abuse.
“I literally heard that they were ‘passed around,’” Arngrim said. “The word was that they were given drugs and being used for sex. It was awful – these were kids, they weren’t 18 yet. There were all sorts of stories about everyone from their, quote, ‘set guardians’ on down that these two had been sexually abused and were totally being corrupted in every possible way.”
Arngrim is now a board member and national spokeswoman for the child advocacy group Protect.org.
Paul Peterson, 66, star of The Donna Reed Show, a sitcom popular in the 1950s and 60s, and president of A Minor Consideration, said that even in a seemingly more innocent era, Hollywood was already a serious threat to children.
“When I watched that interview, a whole series of names and faces from my history went zooming through my head,” said Peterson, referring to Feldman’s remarks.
Beverly Hills-based psychotherapist Dr. Jenn Berman said that Hollywood attracts pedophiles “because the children there may be vulnerable and less tended to.” “Kids naturally like a lot of attention, and when you put a kid on a set who is unsupervised and getting attention from someone who is powerful, it creates a vulnerability for a very dangerous situation,” she said.
Arngrim said that the problem is extremely difficult to expose thanks to the lucrative nature of Hollywood. “Nobody wants to stop the gravy train,” says Arngrim. “If a child actor is being sexually abused by someone on the show, is the family, agents or managers – the people who are getting money out of this – going to say, ‘OK, let’s press charges’? No, because it’s going to bring the whole show to a grinding halt, and stop all the checks. So, the pressure is there is not to say anything.”
Peterson praised Feldman for breaking the silence in the landmark interview, a decision he called “pretty brave.”
“It would be really wonderful if his allegations reached through all of the protective layers and identified the real people who are a part of a worldwide child pornography ring, because it’s huge and it respects no borders, just as it does not respect the age of the children involved,” he said.
Read the Fox News article here.