PLEASE, Pardon our Appearance: We are under construction and will be launching a whole new look and expanded organization, Late Spring of 2013.
I would like to personally welcome you to our website. My name is Kathylee Forrester and I have been a Children’s Advocate and AngelicPreneur for over 20 years.
It is my belief that early communication with our children and a continuum of that communication through their childhood helps them to understand their emotions and feelings which are so important to their growth and their journey to becoming an emotionally healthy adult.
In developing Patches the Bear I wanted to make it as easy and as basic as possible for children to name, understand and appropriately express their feelings and emotions. I also wanted to make it as easy for the adult guiding the child in this learning process. There also had to be a ‘play value’ for the bear so the child would bond with Patches and feel comfortable. I believe we have done just that, as Patches is a soft, plush toy with a major Cuddle Factor and Eyes that say, “I understand.” A child may initially treat the exercise of choosing a different face to place in the front pocket as a game, so you will communicate with him/her and this is ok and is part of the learning process.
My hope for Patches Kids will be for all children to develop a healthy sense of value in who they are and who feel safe in expressing their emotions. Encouraging good habits through communication and expression will empower a child and ultimately help to ensure their safety and well being. As children experience different issues, peer pressure and crisis in their lives, they begin to develop coping skills. Therefore, it is important for a child to name, understand and appropriately express their feelings. This opportunity will help guide the child towards healthy, emotional development.
20, plus Years As Pennsylvania ’s Children’s Advocate
1990 - 1991 - Volunteer/Paid Employee - NOVA - Network of Victim Assistance Volunteer for the crisis hotline, Emergency Room Rape Crisis Volunteer,
Paid Employee - Presentations to elementary age children, “The Good Touch, Bad Touch Program,” Also to High School Level -”No Means No” and Date Rape Prevention. (Bucks County Pennsylvania )
August 1991 - My Father, Asa Culver, was arrested on Lewd and Lascivious charges for an art student of his, a nine year old girl in Florida . He pled no contest, and was convicted on lesser charges and sentenced to 40 days in the county jail.
September 1991 - I began to press the state of Florida to bring charges against my Father for the rape of my siblings and I in the 60’s and 70’s. There was major resistance from the District Attorney’s office because the case was over two decades old. I later discovered there was no statue of limitations in the state of Florida for rape. I realized at this moment I had the opportunity to stop my father and turn my horrific childhood into something that would help others, hence began my relentless pursuit of justice and legislative changes.
November 1991 - I flew to Florida to give my deposition to the current Detectives investigating my Father.I would give them the details of my childhood with multiple perpetrators. I participated in a two hour wire tap with my Father unaware he was being taped where he confessed and rationalized all of the abuse. This was a devastating event for me, as I knew my Father would now know I was bringing charges against him and had revealed the long kept family secret. This was an important step as it would encourage others in the future to know that telling is the right choice even though it is so difficult, no matter what your age.
January 1992 - The Inception of the ERIC Memorial Foundation - Everyone’s Rights Including Children - Named in memory of my brother, Eric who committed suicide, keeping a blood pact we made as children to kill ourselves if we ever tought we would hurt our own children the way we had been hurt.
February 1992 - My story goes public, via newspaper and CBS News and this actually helped to accelerate the process. Although I refused to release the rights to my “Life Story” as it was unfolding, I did allow certain media for awareness and educational purposes. The media attention put pressure on the State Attorney’s office to bring the case to trial.
March 1992 - I Co-Founded the Bucks County Incest, Sexual Abuse/Child Abuse Prevention Task Force; A think tank for preventing incest, sexual abuse and child abuse through public awareness, education and support.
April 1992 - During National Child Abuse Prevention Month (Always in April), I was able to submit a proclamation written and dedicated by the three Bucks County Commissioners, Mark Schweiker, Andrew Warren and Sandra Miller. It declared April 11 to 18, 1993 as “Incest And Child Abuse Prevention Week” in the County.
June 1992 - The first official “Think Tank” and Seminar of the Bucks County Sexual Abuse Prevention Task Force. Our purpose was to address pedophilia, child molesters and incest and to formulate recommendations for County and State action. The event was well attended and informative. In attendance were sexual abuse survivors, State Representatives, Law Enforcement, District Attorneys, Social Service Agencies, Victim Assistance agency, Education and Counseling Officials.
July 4, 1992 - “Independence Day” After a confrontation with the Chief Assistant State Attorney for Pinellas County and a ultimatum about the amount of time that had gone by without charges brought against my Father, the Florida State Attorney’s Office brought official charges against my father for the rape of three of his children in the 1960′and 70’s. He was arrested the 4 th of July weekend.
July - September 1992 - I made many trips to Florida to keep the pressure on the state to keep things moving so that we would actually go to trial. There were many scary upsets but having the media attention definitely weighed heavily and kept the momentum that was now taking place with the subject of child sexual assault out in the public eye. People were outraged to know the laws were so poorly set up when it came to child sexual assault and the punishment of the offender. Also the knowledge was now made known of the high recidivism rate of sex offenders. I continued to keep the dark secret in the “Light.”
October 1992 - I began doing presentations for High School Juniors and Seniors talking about sexual abuse of boys and girls and the effects and how important it is to come forward and get help and recognize it is not your fault. There were many who came forward as the direct result of my talking with these students.
March 1993 - We finally went to trial. The experience of the trial was almost as devastating as the abuse itself, but I kept reminding myself of why and who I was helping by pursuing this cause and justice. And justice finally came on the 4th day of the trial, when Asa Culver, my father was convicted on all three counts of rape of his children. This day was bittersweet…..
April 1993 - Again, while national attention was focused on this rape case, sentencing was now to be handed down. Once again with much difficulty and emotion we were able to give victim impact statements and ask the judge to impose the maximum sentence for our father, which the Judge decided was best. Asa Culver, my father received 3 consecutive life sentences, without parole or chance of release from prison. This case set a precedence, and there have been a few successful convictions of older rape cases since our trial. This has also helped with bringing delayed charges for children who do not come forward until after they are adults and away from the offender or emotionally ready. The trial was covered in it’s entirety by Court TV. Over the next several months I continued to do different televised and media interviews if I felt they would help to continue to educate the public about childhood sexual abuse.
July 29, 1994 -7 year old Megan Kanka was raped and murdered by a twice convicted sex offender living right across the street who lured her into his home with the promise of seeing his new puppy. Megan’s Law ( Notification of a sex offender living in your neighborhood) was passed in NJ and was immediately challenged.
August 1994 - With all the media attention of my pursuit of my Father’s case, and my reputation as an advocate and voice for children of sexual abuse I began to pursue legislature for our Pennsylvania Megan’s Law. With many supporters we gathered signatures on petitions to take to Harrisburg . With the ground work already in place we held the Pennsylvania Megan’s Law Rally. The rally was attended by many including the newspapers and news channels.
September 1994 - I began working very closely with Senator Stuart Greenleaf, Senate Judiciary Chair, who has a wonderful passion for helping children for years. We wanted to develop a stronger, less likely to be challenged version of Megan’s Law. To also ensure we could pass a Bill which would amend the Constitution and ease the trauma for child victims by allowing them to give court testimony through video or closed-circuit television. Voters voted yes to a referendum and the law was passed many years later. We also wanted a comprehensive sex offender web sight but this would also take years.
November 1994 - I began working closely with Lt. Governor elect, Mark Schweiker and Governor Elect - Tom Ridge, to help insure with other victim advocates that he would sign into law in January 1995 strong legislation for victims rights. For example, 3 strikes your out for felony convictions. Also we still wanted a Sex Offender Web sight as the state of Florida and New Jersey had which would tell the public about the sex offenders living in their communities. Governor Elect Tom Ridge was compiling a comprehensive Crime Bill which was focused on crime and violence in Pennsylvania .
January 1995 - Governor Ridge & Lt. Governor Mark Schweiker are sworn in and take office. The first task at hand was to sign into law the Crime Bill and I was asked to be there and participate in the capacity of PA Child Advocate for the prevention of child sexual abuse.
October 1995 - Governor Ridge signs into law Pennsylvania ’s Megan’s Law. I was asked to be there, the Governor thanked me. I received the first copy of the Bill signed with “admiration and appreciation,” from the Governor. It was an honor and a feeling of accomplishment.
November 1995 - Governor Ridge calls a special session of the House and the Senate. He wanted to recognize the implementation of his Crime Bill and all its components. He also wanted to personally thank those of us again who had worked very closely on certain aspects of the bill and recognized and thanked us in this special session.
January 1996 - Challenges to our Pennsylvania Megan’s Law had now begun and would end up taking several years to amend and keep in place. Also there was no chance at this point of having the State Police Sex Offender Web Sight put into place, so all I could do was take a much needed sabbatical, and whenever the opportunity arose continue to push the need for Megan’s Law and the Sex Offender Web Sight.
May - 2002 - After four Bucks County Prison Guards were accused of having sex with female inmates, then charged with the crime and awaited their trials, I realized this part of Law Enforcement had been left out of Megan’s Law and needed to be amended as this is still an abuse of power and was illegal. I went to Senator Greenleaf and he began working on an amendment to the Megan’s Law.
June 2002 - I participated in a few forums and debates regarding the Catholic Church and the problem with the priests and sexual abuse. It was this same month that my own Episcopal Priest in Florida whom I grew up listening to, was arrested for the molestation of several boys he allegedly had been abusing since the 60’s. He was later convicted and received a life sentence since the trial took place in Florida where there was no statue of limitations at the time.
September - 2002 - Working with Senator Greenleaf and his staff in regards to introducing a Bill to amend Megan’s Law to include “Institutional Sexual Assault” as part of the registration. This would now cover the Prison Guard Law Enforcement definition.
September - 2002 - I began to push for a language change in the definition of a sexual predator so in turn we could be notified about a larger number of sex offenders in Pennsylvania. Still fighting for a web sight that would give us more information. Many states now had such a web sight.
October - 2002 - On recommendations from many of our Pennsylvania Legislators I was invited by President Bush to The White House Conference on Missing, Exploited and Runaway Children. I met our President, he shook my hand and he commended me on the work I have done for abused and exploited children. Almost ten years after my Father’s trial this was an amazing honor for me to participate in such an event and to meet so many of the people in this country who have made a difference in abused children’s lives. It was humbling and special.
November -2002 - I have now joined in the fight to have a National Amber Alert put in place so we would not loose valuable time when a child is abducted.
April -2003 - I was invited by President Bush and the White House to now attend the signing and enactment of a National Amber Alert. After meeting so many parents who have lost their children to sex offenders I felt honored to be a part of something so valuable and to help so these children did not die in vain.
June- 2003 - Megan’s Law was amended to now include, “Institutional Sexual Assault.”
October - 2003 - I orchestrated the Sexual Abuse Awareness Conference held in Bucks County to help bolster support for a Sex Offender Web Sight that would include all sex offenders when they are released from prison. The Pennsylvania State Police were very supportive and informative for the public to understand how difficult this type of crime is in all aspects and how the web sight could help them do their job better.
November - 2003 - A front page media push showing the state of Pennsylvania would at present time only be notified about 1 % of the 7, 000 sex offenders in the State. Again people were outraged .
November - 2003 - Fox News did a piece on Sex Offenders and interviewed me so that I was able to push the need for changes.
November - 2003 - I received devastating news, my step-mother, who had really been a real Mom to me since I was 12, had just committed suicide. I had just spoken to her two days prior. I flew to Florida for another very sad death by suicide and more fall out from our traumatized lives.
November - 2004 - Governor Ed Rendell signs a new law to take effect in January 2005 to allow a Sex Offender Web Sight that would identify all sex offenders released from prison.
January - 2005 - After just two weeks on the internet, the Pennsylvania State Police Sex Offender Web Sight received 575,000 hits. In another front page interview I was asked if I was surprised by how many people went to this sight. My reply was that I was very happy to see this progress and it only confirmed parents want to know where the sex offenders are, what they look like so they can warn their children and take the precautions they need to keep them safe.
August - 2006 - I feel my contributions as a children’s advocate have brought me to a point where I would like to continue to help many children stay safe and build a strong foundation through core communication skills.
“Living Light Kids” is my new mission and Patches the Bear is the ambassador!
October 8, 2006 - PATCHES the BEAR Debuts! A perfect fall day in beautiful Bucks County, PA, aprox. 100 people celebrated the birth of Patches, with fun, food and lots of gifts and prizes! Over the next two years Patches found his way into the hearts of several thousand children as a cuddly companion to an emotional support tool for The Philadelphia’s Childrens Hospital, Abused and Neglected Children and even our Soldier’s Children. Truly, Patches is a special messenger and gift from God to help children communicate their feelings.
February 21, 2009 - Kathylee was presented with the “Champion for Children” Award in appreciation for her years of Advocacy by the Washington, DC area Chapter of Childhelp.
November 2011 - This is an exciting time for us as I am embarking on another new road in this journey as a Child Advocate. I will be releasing a new book in early summer, 2012. I am also currently working with a couple of very talented screen writers for my life story. It is very important to me that the story is told in a way that validates the journey of an abuse survivor and also leaves the message of HOPE.
April 2012 - The release of our new Music Video Featuring Singer & Song Writer Keith Dudley in “You Don’t Have To Be Afraid Tonight”. This video is dedicated to the month of April which is National Child Abuse Prevention & Awareness Month and in memory of my brother Eric.
“God never gives us more than we can handle and I have grown to believe this and know his plan in my life is to use these tragedies to help others have hope and safety and find the joy and “Light” in their lives.” This is especially my wish for children. This world is desperate to experience the Love and compassion of our GOD. Be a cheerful giver.
“Patches is more than a lovable bear. He is the spirit of a child’s innocence. Patches is a gift of love created to empower our children to endure challenges, through life’s journey of happy times and painful moments. Thank you for taking the first step to help a child gain understanding, enabling them to express their emotions.”
Kathylee Forrester - AngelicPreneur, Child Advocate, Author, Speaker & Creator of Patches the Bear & His 8 Special Emotion Face Helpers.