May 23, 2005

Father crusades for bill to protect children

Cincinnati Enquirer

By Dan Horn
Enquirer staff writer

COLUMBUS - Before he speaks, Mike Chakeres takes a deep breath and gently presses his hands together, as if in prayer.

He sits face-to-face with an aide for Ohio Rep. Steve Driehaus, preparing to explain why the House of Representatives should approve a new child protection bill. Chakeres has made this pitch before, but he's not a lobbyist or a salesman.

He still feels uneasy telling strangers how this particular piece of legislation became his personal crusade.

So he starts at the beginning.

"I'm just a father," he says, leaning forward in his chair. "My children have been harmed."

For Chakeres, this has been a simple and terrible fact of life for more than two years, ever since his two sons told him a Cincinnati priest molested them in the late 1970s. Now, he's here at the statehouse, on a beautiful day in early May, asking lawmakers for help.

"All we seek is a chance for justice," Chakeres tells the aide.

Posted by kshaw at May 23, 2005 03:20 PM