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ALLEGATIONS OF SEXUAL ABUSE, RAPE SWIRLING AROUND TUSCARORA CLINIC: Alleged victims were young girls; clinic employee suspected

By Mike Hudson

Allegations of repeated incidents of child molestation have surfaced at the Tuscarora Health Clinic, and the situation is considered so grave that a meeting was held for clinic workers in September where they were instructed about what to say should anyone ask them about the situation.

As of last week, none of the young girl victims has stepped forward to lodge a formal complaint with law enforcement, perhaps due to the fact that the alleged perpetrator is related by blood to the powerful "Gang of Four" that dominates most areas of life on the Tuscarora reservation.

Numerous sources on the reservation said last week that the case involves multiple victims and a former worker at the clinic, who was quietly removed from his position last month.

According to the sources, the tribal leadership is deliberately conducting a coverup of what went on at the clinic, to the point of enlisting one powerful Clan Mother to warn the victims and their families of the dire consequences they might face should they speak out about what happened.

The Gang of Four is well known for practicing a Native American form of what is known to the Mafia as "omerta," the code of silence. Since the Niagara Falls Reporter began exposing their activities in May, various Tuscaroras have been subtly threatened, while others have been rewarded with sudden permissions to connect their homes to National Grid power lines, or white envelopes containing checks.

One such check examined by the Reporter had the words "For Loyalty" written on the memo line.

Allegations against the ruling elite, which is comprised of tribal Clerk Leo Henry, the father and son team of Neil Patterson Sr. and Neil Patterson Jr., and Grand Island attorney Kendra Winkelstein, have included the mishandling of $12.5 million the tribe has thus far received from the state Power Authority under the Tuscaroras' $100 million settlement agreement, using grant money from the federal Environmental Protection Agency for purposes unrelated to the environment, and profiting by as much as $5 million on the construction of a new tribal Council House.

Human rights violations such as refusing to allow Tuscarora families electrical power at their homes or to receive service at the health clinic have also been widely reported.

But seemingly credible evidence of repeated sexual abuse at the clinic and the concerted effort to cover up the incidents is by far the most serious problem to surface on the reservation.

By all accounts, molestation and even rape are nothing new on the Tuscarora, particularly among members of one powerful family. The Reporter has learned of incidents going back as far as 20 and 30 years. The chilling accounts of this earlier abuse mirror those coming out of the Tuscarora Clinic today.

And the two alleged perpetrators of the current outrages and those that took place decades ago share more than a predilection for young girls, they also share the same last name. As criminologists and others who study sexual predators will tell you, it is not at all uncommon for deviant behavior to be passed down through the generations in families, much as eye or hair color is inherited.

Sharon (not her real name) is a full-blooded member of the Tuscarora Nation. She is also in the medical field and has on three occasions interviewed different women who told of how a person connected with the ruling elite associated with the Gang of Four has been molesting, raping or sexually abusing teenage girls.

According to Sharon, all three of the women told her they were abused by a high-ranking member of the tribe when they were teenage girls. These women were in their 40s and 50s when they told their stories, and they all said they were abused when they were between 12 and 16 years of age.

Sharon thinks this happened to many other young girls, including perhaps the man's own daughters.

Last week, Sharon told the Reporter that, if she heard of three incidents on totally separate and unrelated occasions -- without any collaboration between the women -- she suspects there are many more.

All three of the women never reported it to any officials, because on the reservation that is the way to get into serious trouble. The man in question is one of the power brokers there, and with the help of the Gang of Four could easily see to it that their parents could lose their homes, their electrical service, or worse. The girls themselves could be banished from the tribe.

So they kept quiet.

For decades they lived with guilt and torment, and only when they saw and spoke with Sharon, a mental health professional, did they reveal the shocking truth of what they had undergone from someone who in a sense represented the official Tuscarora government.

Sharon related another incident concerning the alleged child molester, one in which he was trying to deprive a family of their rightful claim to a home, a common occurrence on the Tuscarora Nation.

When someone who knew of his repeated child molestation activities told him they wouldn't allow him to steal the property, since they knew all about his child molesting, that he was nothing but a child rapist and would be exposed, the normally blustery bully went ashen white and turned tail, got in his car and drove off leaving skid marks. There have been no subsequent attempts to steal the property from the family.

If there is current abuse -- as it seems is the case -- from other and younger Tuscarora under the protection of the Gang of Four, then it is not new, but an established pattern of wrongdoing and official condoning of the worst kind of abuse: rape and molestation of children.

The only difference between this and the ongoing Penn State scandal is that the Penn State criminals prefer boys instead of girls. And while there is a chance that justice might be served in the Penn State case, here the pervasive secrecy of the Gang of Four makes it almost certain that this shameful wrongdoing will never be punished.

Niagara Falls Reporter www.niagarafallsreporter.com Nov. 29, 2011