Bikers form support group for child abuse victims

Monday, July 3, 2006

Burly, hairy, tattooed and tough they may be, but they've got heart.

Some local motorcyclists have recently started up a Cape Girardeau-area chapter of Bikers Against Child Abuse, an international, not-for-profit organization of motorcyclists who support children who have been abused.

"It gets us all kind of irate," said Southeast Missouri chapter board member "Casper" of child abuse.

Going by her riding name when dealing with child abuse, as required by BACA for safety reasons, Casper, 48, of Jackson said she hopes to spread the word about the newly formed chapter, which currently has about 16 members.

BACA is an extended support network for children who have been physically or emotionally abused, Casper said.

When abuse occurs, the organization is contacted by an agency, such as the Missouri Children's Division, and with permission of the family, members meet to show support for the child, according to the organization's Web site. On some occasions, members even accompany the child to court.

"The point is go put ourselves in the way of the perpetrator," said "Fatboy," a local chapter board member.

The SEMO chapter has been on a probationary period since first forming that consists of members passing an FBI background check, Casper said. But once that ends next month, chapter members will be able to go out on assignments.

Both Casper and Fatboy stressed that BACA is not a gang or a club, and they are certainly not vigilantes.

"We're not a physical force," said Fatboy, 41, of Jackson. "If we showed a force of violence in front of the child, that would be no different than what the perpetrator did."

According to Casper, BACA is about people who are passionate about motorcycles and protecting children.

"It's about the kids. That's the motto," she said. "Bikers truly care from the heart."

The group's next meeting is scheduled for July 29, after which they would resume a regular meeting schedule of the third Saturday of every month.

335-6611, extension 127

More Info?

Regular meetings third Saturday of every month at 11:30 a.m.

Daytimer Lounge, 829 S. Kingshighway

Contact Casper, (573) 722-5939

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