Gary Anthony Babin, Convicted Child Rapist (Photo Source: Terrebonne Sheriff’s Office)
HOUMA, LA (SCSA) - Gary Anthony Babin, 66, of Houma, Louisiana moved next door to one of his alleged victims, Alice Crochet, upon his release from a Louisiana State prison on September 25th, 2021.
Crochet, now 56, says she has been “living a nightmare” since she was raped by Babin as a little girl. The nightmare amplified when her abuser moved to 806 Sunset Avenue, in Houma, Louisiana, directly adjacent to her home. She says “I never in a million years would have thought that he would move next door to me.” This begs the question “Why would Babin move next door to his victim?” This is where the story gets complicated. Babin owns the house, and he is Crochet’s biological Uncle. According to Crochet, her torture was exponentially multiplied because her Mother and family members assist and support Babin.
Alice Crochet sits on her porch and contemplates her next move. (Photo by Richard Windmann)
Crochet emailed this writer an audio recording on September 18th, 2021, which she claims is between herself and her mother. In the recording, the voice Crochet asserts is her Mother claims that she did not know what happened to Crochet, only minutes later saying it “happened in the bathroom,” referring to the location of Crochet’s abuse. In the recording, Crochet further asserts that Babin also raped many girls in the neighborhood, as well as multiple child relatives. This puts an emphasis on why child sex abuse by a family member is so complex. Childhood sex abuse by a family member, or someone known by the family, is the largest demographic of childhood sex abuse. While the number will always remain unknown, a recent study conducted by a university’s psychology department estimates that there are four million unreported cases of childhood sex abuse nationwide.
Others in the mental health field consider that number to be very conservative. Annette Kerr, a Licensed Professional Counselor Supervisor (LPC-S) who has a private practice in Arlington, Texas, who specializes in Childhood Trauma offers “Any kind of sexual assault is so immensely under reported for a plethora of reasons. I shall only attempt to list a few. First is based upon the old saying of "the devil you know is safer than the devil you don't know." If a child is abused by a family member, a child often greatly fears the loss of their known life-of-hell because the fear of the unknown is more overwhelming for the child. Perhaps intimidation was used by the perpetrator to keep the child silent. Grooming behaviors and mental manipulations are used by perpetrators to convince the child they will be in trouble, they are at fault for the abuse, or they somehow wanted the abuse.”
Explaining the victim experience, Kerr says “If the perpetrator is the male head-of-the-household and he brings in income, the child may fear the family will fall into poverty without the perpetrator in the family's life financially supporting them. If we dip our toes outside of the child's experience and consider why more sexual abuse is not reported, some of the fault lies squarely on the shoulders of our legal system which is not in my wheelhouse to discuss at length. But I can share that in my counseling office that I have heard too many horror stories about how the police and investigators treat victims who report rapes. Some of the reporting process my client's have endured have been MORE traumatic than the actual sexual assault crime enacted upon them.”
She continues “This is a travesty and angers me so for my clients. Let's look at what happens after a report is made in broad generalizations. I have worked as a counselor in 4 states in the US and a common factor that I see is the mental health system in this country is that is simply does not and cannot help the average citizen to recover from sexual abuse. Sexual abuse victims are referred and highly encouraged to seek counseling. Good job there. But to follow through with supporting these victims, our country is down right despicable. Community Mental Health systems are overrun in every state I have worked in, and I wouldn't be shocked to see the stats that report that this is true for every state in this country. Our health insurance companies in this country do not help ease the financial burden for victims enough when they need more than "just a few sessions." Depending on the victim's sexual abuse, especially long-term or repeated childhood sexual abuse, recovery from this form of PSTD could easily take 5 years of intensive therapy. So why would a victim want to come forward? This country doesn't make it easy."
Kerr concludes “It's sometimes easier for victims to deny it happened and shove it away into the dark recesses of their mind and try not to think about it. But often that is just a temporary solution. Sometimes this "denial solution" as I call it, will somewhat work for the victims for years, even as much as a lifetime. But the cost of holding the wall of denial up in the mind has a very high cost. Upon close examination I can see that it has affected every aspect of their life. Lastly, to get really effective counseling from a qualified professional, that's not cheap either. So as you can see the reasons for the under-reporting are many. This is not an exhaustive list, this I believe is the tip of the iceberg. If this country really understood how many people in our society are sexual abuse survivors would it change anything? I hope it would, but seeing that the infection of perversion has spread so widely (just look at how much Americans spend on porn), I think we as a society would fall complacent and resort to the "denial solution" once again.’"
From a legal perspective, the United States Department of Justice estimates that in 1999 alone, there were 285,400 cases of unreported child sex abuse. Kathryn Robb, an Attorney and the Executive Director for Child USAdvocacy, who was instrumental in getting the Statute of Limitations for child sex crimes completely eliminated in Louisiana told me “Given that 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 13 boys are sexually assaulted before their 18th birthday, that number, given the population in the United States, is likely quite low. The unspeakable pain, fear and shame suffocates the voice of so many victims of child sexual abuse - many for an entire lifetime.”
We see stories of institutionalized childhood sex abuse every day in the media. Stories of child sex abuse at the hands of the Boy Scouts of America and the Catholic church are too numerous to individually mention. Unlike cases of institutionalized sex abuse, sex abuse by a family member, whose relationship of trust is already established with the victim, there is little or no grooming by the family member. Essentially, it just happens in an instant. More often than not, the families keep it a secret because of the feelings of guilt and shame, as in Crochet's case.
Alice Crochet stares at the house of her abuser after Hurricane Ida. (Photo by Richard Windmann)
Crochet registered for membership at Survivors of Childhood Sex Abuse (SCSA), an advocacy and support Nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, for support. Jessica Green Brown, a Licensed Social Worker and Member Intake Specialist for SCSA, offered her observations of Crochet. “Alice was petrified about her child rapist pedophile Uncle being released from prison. She was confused why she couldn’t get any protection against him if and when he got out. She felt overwhelmingly terrified and helpless to protect herself, let alone her family or anyone else when he was going to be moving in next door to her upon his release and was being enabled by her family and their betrayal of her.”
Crochet reported her child sex abuse to the Houma Police Department, and officer Donald Aubrey Jr. and officer “Ellis” took her statement on September 12th, 2021. In her sworn statement, she reveals that she first reported her abuse to Detective Cher Pitre, a juvenile detective at the time. She lamented her treatment by the officers, “Officer Ellis had a very loud and stern tone with me, as if I was lying." Crochet went on "If I reported it as a child and pointed to the groin area on a ragdoll, I would be believed and he'd be in jail right now. But as a full grown adult with vivid memories and knowing the difference between right and wrong, they make me feel as if I am lying." He repeatedly harassed me by demanding over and over why it took so long for me to come forward, and that he didn’t have any DNA.” She added “The other officer said that there was a ‘Grandfather Clause.’” This writer reached out to Chief Dana T. Coleman, Assistant Chief Duane Farmer, and Professional Standards Lieutenant Christina Farmer of the Houma Police Department via email on 09/13/2021, and have not received a response as of this writing.
According to Crochet, on a more positive note, she later reported her abuse to the Terrebonne Parish Sheriff’s Office, and in her opinion, they are taking a more proactive and serious approach. Detective Silas Guidry sent her a text message on 10/07/2021 saying in part “Just wanted to give you an update been working on the report all day and walking it up to the district attorney office right now for review...”
Police Report filed by Alice Crochet (Photo Source: Alice Crochet)
I conducted a cursory examination of Louisiana's Aggravated Rape law, RS 14:42, which seems to apply to Crochet's case, has no prescriptive period, otherwise known as the "Statute of Limitations," and has a mandatory penalty of life in prison if the capital penalty is not pursued by the District Attorney:
"A. Aggravated rape is a rape committed upon a person sixty-five years of age or older or where the anal, oral, or vaginal sexual intercourse is deemed to be without lawful consent of the victim because it is committed under any one or more of the following circumstances:
(1) When the victim resists the act to the utmost, but whose resistance is overcome by force.
(2) When the victim is prevented from resisting the act by threats of great and immediate bodily harm, accompanied by apparent power of execution.
(4) When the victim is under the age of thirteen years. Lack of knowledge of the victim's age shall not be a defense."
I was recently a part of a speakers series, where I met fellow participant Joshua L. Jenkins, Assistant Attorney General for the State of Virginia who vigorously prosecutes child predators. He told me that "Criminal child sex abuse cases that are decades old are very difficult to develop and prosecute because of the absence of evidence."
To address why victims and survivors of childhood sex abuse didn’t report it sooner, I offer my experience as a survivor of childhood sex abuse at the hands of the Boy Scouts of America, a New Orleans Police Detective, and a Jesuit High School janitor and Priest. These accounts were concluded by the conviction of the Boy Scout Scoutmasters, deemed credible by a Federal Judge, and by the Jesuit Order by settling with me and demanding my silence. I am no longer an “alleged victim.” I came forward about my abuse at 47 years of age.
I have come to understand that a victim of childhood sex abuse finds coercion, deception, excuses, double or floating or moving standards, mystification, low self-esteem and self-medicating to be natural aspects of their world. Without these dysfunctional features in their lives, they would not have been able to survive for as long as they have. It affects their quality of life and relationships. Victims and Survivors are left to live a life of perpetual fear that their constructed world view can be torn down at any moment, and thus they must forever be on guard against any who attempt to encourage them to question the fallacies of their childhood. Trust and truth for them is and always will remain a convoluted concept that must never allow for the facts and reality or reason to exist.
In my ten year experience of being a victim and survivor advocate, they live in a world of misplaced guilt and shame. They believe it is actually their fault. Without exception, they have generalized anxiety, clinical depression, and post traumatic stress disorders (PTSD). Some have dissociative disorder, a way of taking a short vacation from the horrors that they experienced as a child. Because they must keep it a secret and cannot ask for help, they often self-medicate with alcohol and/or drugs, and when that doesn’t work, and it will stop working, suicide. And they commit suicide in numbers. Fortunately for Crochet, substances and suicide were not her experience.
What's worse, just like all the mental health conditions described in the DSM-5, there is no cure. The only thing victims and survivors like Crochet can do is to try to successfully manage it by taking a holistic approach to their healing of these co-occurring disorders; medication, therapy, support organizations and fellowship with other survivors - or a combination of any or all of those support mechanisms. Some even become childhood sex abuse advocates. A healthy dose of Justice administered is always soothing to the victim's soul, but tragically, it is often fleeting or just out of their reach.
So, what’s next for Alice Crochet?
Barney and Alice Crochet, standing in front of the for sale sign in their front yard. (Photo by Richard Windmann)
On Saturday, October 9th, 2021, I was invited to visit and stay the night at Crochet’s home in Houma, Louisiana. There is a sectioned-off portion of her home where she never visits. She asked me if I wanted to see where she was abused. Tears running down her face, she was trembling, leaning on her husband for support. I said yes. She led me to the bathroom where she was raped by Gary Anthony Babin, her Uncle. Trying to hold her up, she collapsed. She was abused in the very same home in which she lives today. Barney Crochet, Alice Crochet’s husband, told me that they are leaving, that his wife is having an emotional breakdown and is tormented by her surroundings. They plan to move to the northshore of Lake Pontchartrain, far away from Babin, where they will both finally experience a life of peace.
There was some feedback that Alice Crochet didn't need the pain of this story being done. When I asked her why she wanted the story done, she said "I want to make sure this never happens to a child of Houma again." She is dedicated to protecting your children, so that they do not experience the horrors she endured as a child. I talked to her the night that the story published, and she said that the weight of the world had been lifted from her shoulders, and that she received nothing but emails and text messages in her support.
In response to the story, the very next morning Terrebonne Sheriff's officers converged on Babin's home to tell Babin that he could not live there anymore. So Alice Crochet's mission to protect the children of Houma was swiftly accomplished. Alice Crochet now lives in the Pantheon of Survivors of Childhood Sex Abuse Advocates, and has become a Warrior.
The distribution or reprint this article, in part or in whole, is expressly permitted and encouraged.
Disclosure: This writer is the Co-Founder and President of Survivors of Childhood Sex Abuse (SCSA).
Disclosure: SCSA never reveals the identity or personal information of its members. This story and all of the content was requested and written for Alice Crochet, with her express written consent and permission.
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