The little girl was nine years old at the time.
Her mother had a boyfriend.
He liked the little girl way too much, eventually branding her as his “property.”
That is where Bikers Against Child Abuse, BACA, came rolling in.
That was the beginning of one of the success stories told by Macaw and Cricket, to BACA members who gave a presentation to 18 Centralia Kiwanians August 23, at the Centralia Golf and Social Club.
Those are not the two ladies’ real names.
All BACA members assume pseudonyms “Its protection for us, if we go to court and people get upset,” Cricket said. “The perpetrator might find out who we are and come after us.”
She said the kids are given “biker names,” too. “We don’t know their real names and they don’t know ours.”
She said they are not like the groups portrayed in the television show, “Sons of Anarchy,”
“They are a motorcycle club We are an organization. We are a 501C-3 nonprofit organization, formed to help kids.”
BACA was started in 1995, by John Paul Lilly, a child therapist at Brigham Young University, Cricket said.
“He saw some pieces missing in to our support system for kids. . . He was raised in a biker community. There was an eight-year-old kid,” she said. “so scared of his perpetrators that he would not leave his home. He got to thinking, ‘I wonder what I could do, I wonder what bikers could do. They came around and made friends with this little boy and made him feel protected.”
She said the child eventually began to feel protected and a member of a family.
“Within a couple months the kid was outside riding his bike around, laughing and everything.”
BACA, she said is put together so its members can fill in where law enforcement can’t.
“When a child is terrified and a perpetrator is being clever about when he is trying to get to the child. . . The police can’t be there all the time, but we can.”
Missouri was the third state to start a BACA chapter, she said. It now has 12 chapters. Macaw and Cricket’s, Mid-Missouri BACA, covers 17 counties. It is in 47 states and 17 countries. “We are the largest biker organization in the world.”
Besides protection, she said BACA helps with therapy.
“Many kids that go through the courts don’t qualify for therapy funding,” she said.
That she said, is where the majority of their funding goes.
“We are all volunteers,” Cricket said.
BACA riders do not receive reimbursement for gas, food or lodging, she said.
According to their website bacaworld.org. “B.A.C.A. also finances a therapy assistance fund to support children’s therapy when they are left without resources. B.A.C.A. contracts with licensed therapists known for their expertise in working with children and pays them a discounted rate for their services. The therapy assistance fund is also used to help finance activities that will help empower the child to feel more secure in their environment. Examples are karate lessons, cheerleader camp etc. No one in B.A.C.A. is ever compensated for their efforts in B.A.C.A. 100 percent of all monies donated to B.A.C.A. goes to support the Mission.”
Social workers, police, school officials and family members refer the children who need BACA’s help, Cricket said.
“Anybody who knows a child that has a case,” she said. “We have to have a case number for them.”
Somebody can call their toll-free number 800-455-0677, or contact a child liaison.
The child liaison takes a fellow BACA member and visit the child’s residence.
They talk to the child and the parents about what they do, which includes a video.
If everybody is agreeable BACA sets up what they call a “Level 1” visit.
That is mass visit to the child’s home.
“We get as many of us together as we can on the bikes. We roll in in front of the kid’s house,” she said. “We have different things we present him with.”
According to the website, those include:
B.A.C.A. mementos such as a vest, patches, pins, a stuffed B.A.C.A. bear or monkey, a blanket, and toys to give the child a sense of security and belonging. The vest has a small patch on the back that identifies the child as part of our B.A.C.A. family.”