Mouth That Roars

Bill Liblick has made a name for himself of National TV Talk Shows where he spouted his outspoken views from the front row. Now he offers you his opinion every week in the "MOUTH THAT ROARS" Column in the Sullivan County Post.

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April 17th, 2014

RISE Needs Our Support

Statistics show that sexual assault and abuse continues to be a grave concern in Sullivan County. Our law enforcement agencies along with District Attorney Jim Farrell have taken these crimes very seriously.

Sexual assault is a disgusting crime to comprehend. Lives of victims and their families are literally destroyed when such a humiliating offense occurs.

In Sullivan County one organization has always been there to assist and comfort those victims who have undergone such a traumatic and dreadful experience, RISE (Rape Intervention Services and Education). This highly respected program of intervention and counseling has been there time and time again to help victims of these violent and humiliating crimes.

April is a month dedicated to raising awareness about sexual violence and increasing the public’s understanding about sexual violence in our society. It also provides opportunities for our community to be directly involved in supporting victims and survivors, their families, and organizations that provide crisis intervention throughout the year.

The Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event to raise funds for the Rape Intervention Services and Education (RISE) program of Sullivan County, administered by Catskill Regional Medical Center (CRMC), is taking place on Saturday April 26, 2014 at the Sullivan County Government Center in Monticello. Registration begins at 9 a.m. and the walk kicks-off at 10 AM. Everyone is urged to attend.

Sarah E. Dittmar, RISE Program Manager, at Catskill Regional Medical Center (CRMC) said, “Men, women and children – many of them wearing red shoes – participate in this fun annual event, which takes a light-hearted approach to a very serious subject that increases awareness of how sexual assault impacts individuals and families in Sullivan County.”

The registration fee for this important event is only $20 and participants may also secure contributions through pledges.

RISE almost closed its doors several years ago and thanks to the grassroots efforts of Thompson Councilman Richard Sush, Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther and CRMC the program was saved.

I cannot begin to tell you how vital it is for all of us to support programs like RISE. As many of you are aware, the past several years have been one of the most difficult, tragic, and challenging chapters in my life.

My 62-year-old severely and profoundly functionally and developmentally disabled sister Paula Liblick was raped while living in a state run group home. Horrendous black and blue marks were noticed on her thighs when a caretaker at her day program was changing her diaper. Blood was also visible in her diaper.

Paula was rushed to a rape unit in Orange County and that is where women from an organization such as RISE assisted and comforted the two of us.

I continually relive the day when I lifted Paula as they conducted the extensive examination. With tears in all of our eyes, the worst of our fears materialized. The exam proved trauma in several places in her vagina. Paula was sexually assaulted. I thanked God my parents were not alive to witness this, but I also thanked God these women were there to comfort us.

Paula died in April of 2011 after becoming severely ill from strongyloides, a sexually transmitted parasite native to the Caribbean, which was the result of the rape. Five employees from the Hudson Valley group home were fired and the facility has since closed down. No one was ever arrested for the assault because there were no video cameras, or ways to track visitors.

When it comes to protecting our most vulnerable, New York State looks the other way and that’s reprehensible. I have since been on a mission to make certain our most vulnerable are protected.

Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther, who is Chair of the Assembly’s Mental Health Committee, along with State Senator David Carlucci have introduced legislation entitled “Paula’s Law,” (Assembly Bill 1715/State Senate Bill 2000) requiring the Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPDD) to place video cameras at the entrances and exits of all its facilities as a way to prevent abuse and protect both patients and staff.

“Paula’s Law” has bipartisan support in both the Assembly and Senate but has yet to move out of committees for a vote. State buildings, hospitals, convenient stores and everywhere we look there are cameras for protection, so why not group homes? Cameras are cheap and will save money in the long run. It is not even a privacy issue.

I am grateful that the Sullivan County Legislature, and the Towns of Liberty and Bethel have gone on the record in support of Paula’s Law.

Please support Paula’s Law by signing the online petition

I share my story with you about Paula because there is a need for all of us to support RISE and their efforts in assisting those who have been sexually assaulted.

For more information on RISE please visit, or call 845-794-3300, ext 2442, and donate all you can.

Bill Liblick has made a name for himself on National TV Talk Shows where he spouted his outspoken views from the front row. Now he offers you his opinion every week in the “MOUTH THAT ROARS” Column in THE SULLIVAN COUNTY POST.

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