Click HERE to watch today’s CrimeLine, Jon Leiberman and I interview Dr. Frank Spinelli, the alleged victim of a child sex abuse predator with eerie similarities to Jerry Sandusky. William Fox was a decorated New York City cop who won “Father of the Year” after talking a teen boy out of jumping off a building on Bowery and later adopting the boy. Fox wrote a book titled “The Cop and the Kid” about their journey together and went on to adopt several other boys, some without families, some mentally challenged. Yet, what many didn’t know was that this revered cop was also allegedly molesting not only his own adopted sons, but also young boys in his Staten Island Boy Scout troop.
One of those boys, Frank Spinelli, tells The CrimeLine about the pattern of behavior that Fox allegedly used to prey on him. First, Fox started inappropriately discussing sex with an 11-year-old Spinelli in car rides alone, discussions that Spinelli now says were part of the “grooming” period. Then, he began inviting Spinelli into his bedroom, as Fox’s own mother sat downstairs, and molesting him. Spinelli says being in the boy scouts, Fox emphasized the idea of loyalty and secrecy to keep his alleged victim silent. He says Fox would both reward him and pit him against other boys in the troop.
Spinelli allegedly endured two years of molestation before telling his parents. Sadly, in a similar scenario to the Penn State scandal, his parents told administration officials in the Boy Scouts instead of going to the police. The officials did nothing and Spinelli was shocked to later find out Fox had gone on to adopt several boys. One of those adopted kids did go to police, in 2008, and while the statute of limitations was up on Spinelli’s case, Fox ended up taking a plea deal for sexually abusing two of his adopted sons. In 2011, 66-year-old Fox was sentenced to up to 35 years in prison, where he will likely die.
Spinelli says while watching the Sandusky trial unfold brought back memories of abuse at the hands of Fox, the case also shined a spotlight on child sex abuse. He says we need to educate ourselves, both about the warning signs and how to speak out. He says parents need to be aware that young boys who suddenly start wetting the bed, reverting back in behavior, doing poorly in school may have something else going on. He says parents need to know they must go to the police with any concerns of child sex abuse. And he says he hopes the lessons learned from the Sandusky trial are not forgotten.
I see so many sad parallels between Jerry Sandusky and William Fox. Both revered men in their communities, one as a football coach, the other as an NYPD cop. Both men took on leadership positions that kept them close to young boys, one in The Second Mile, the other in the boy scouts. Both men adopted vulnerable boys from broken homes and allegedly molested them. Both men had family members around them that must have known something, were in the same home when the alleged abuse occurred, and did nothing. Both men were part of organizations that protected them instead of believing the victims and carrying out a proper investigation. Let’s hope now that this national case has made us aware of this pattern of behavior and given us in inside look into the mind of a sexual predator, we all take away lessons and continue to raise awareness about child sexual abuse.