Joe DiPietro spent more than two years working on his prized 1966 Ford Mustang. He describes it as his "love." And now he's giving it away to protect children from sexual predators.
"I’m the co-founder and president of Protect Mass Children, born here in North Andover, and (child advocacy) is dear to me; my wife and family have been personally affected by sexual abuse," DiPietro told selectmen Monday night as he announced the fundraiser.
Protect Mass Children, a nonprofit advocacy group that promotes tougher penalties for sex offenders and public education about sexual abuse, will hold a fundraiser next month in which that Mustang -- valued at more than $48,000 -- will be raffled off.
Proceeds from the raffle will go toward the organization's various efforts including education programs for parents and children, support programs for sexual abuse victims and legislation efforts to enact tougher mandatory sentencing for sex offenders.
Tickets are $100 and can be purchased on the organization's Web site, protectmasschildren.org. The winner will be announced on Sept. 17 at the organization's "Voice for the Victims" fundraiser event at Boston Harley Davidson in Revere. The motorcycle run will go from Revere to Salem. Participants in the raffle do not have to attend the event to win.
"We know times are tough," DiPietro said. "But we’re just asking people to help us; help us help your kids."
Sex Offense Stats
- Accoring to the U.S Department of Health and Human Services, in 2009, Massachusetts had the highest rate of confirmed cases of child abuse and neglect in the country, twice the national average.
- In Massachusetts alone, an average of hundreds of children are reported abused every day, according to the Massachusetts Department of Social Services.
- Massachusetts has an average of more than 30 sex offenders per city and town. North Andover has 21 offenders who are "level 1" and one offender who is "level 3." Level 3 is reserved for the more severe crimes and perpetrators most likely to re-offend.
- According to the National Institute of Mental Health, the average pedophile has nearly 250 victims in their lifetime.
- Only one to two percent of child sexual abusers are strangers to their victims.