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Charitable donation aims to help sexually abused children


IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - The Fraternal Order of Eagles (F.O.E) presented a check for $6,717.03 to the Building Hope Today Foundation founder, Matt Morgan, on Thursday night.

F.O.E members collected every penny of the donation through various auctions and fundraisers throughout the year, despite setbacks and shutdowns due to the pandemic. 

“This is the second time that they have helped us with a fundraiser for Building Hope Today and helped us with a gift,” Morgan said. “It’s truly amazing when that happens. These people have huge hearts, they’re very warm-hearted people. And I appreciate them very much.”

“It’s something that we’ve always done and something that we’re proud of,” Scott MacKay, chairman of the Eagles’ charity committee said. “Our motto is ‘people helping people’ and that’s just what we do.”

The Eagle Riders spent every Saturday and Sunday cooking fundraiser meals for an entire month for Matt Morgan and his organization, Building Hope Today.

“It was actually brought up by a fellow Eagle Rider member. She heard about the charity and presented it to the floor,” MacKay said. “We all just agreed that it was definitely a wonderful charity and a wonderful cause.”

Building Hope Today Foundation is a nonprofit organization that advocates against sexual abuse of children through awareness and training. They participate in various conferences around the country to include the Dallas Crimes Against Children Conference. Building Hope Today also collaborates with the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force Program. 

Founder, Matt Morgan, was sexually abused by his uncle in the eighth grade and for many years, he carried that trauma silently. 

“Children that are abused suffer from the lasting effects of abuse. Those children grow into adults,” Morgan said. “There’s a profound need in healing for your abuser to take accountability for what they’ve done. And you look for and want apologies and those just don’t come very often.”

Morgan chose to speak out against his abuser in 2012 and spent three years fighting for justice through the civil legal system. 35 years after the abuse, the court ruled in Morgan’s favor, charging the uncle with fraud for grooming young Morgan and stealing his innocence. The case was a paramount decision given the statute of limitation and Morgan says it felt like justice, as well as the truth and apology he always wanted to receive from his uncle.

“It was a really big gift because, as it turned out, I was the only person in the United States that ever prevailed in a case like that, looking for justice from the painful things in my childhood,” Morgan said. “I decided that I was gonna give back and I was gonna do everything I could to help these kids."

In 2015, the Morgan family founded Building Hope Today to help other victims of childhood sexual abuse.

“I feel all of those unfortunate experiences that were very painful in my childhood, when I look at those today as I’m going through ongoing and will for the rest of my life, through the healing process, they were blessings and silver linings for children,” Morgan said. “It’s given me the opportunity I have to work with and talk to other adults at different times where I'm able to help them realize that there’s hope and with a lot of work and persistence and some professional help, you can work through these things that are in your past and you can move on.”

Examples from Morgan’s case have been used recently against a local man who was charged with sexual abuse against children. The man was granted an appeal and the three young girls, now grown women, did not want to speak out against him again in court. 

The prosecuting attorney was able to use Morgan’s case to take a different approach and reviewed six year old evidence to prevail in this new case. The man went back to prison with no further chances for appeal.

“I had been going all over the country, trying to figure out what to do to help these kids. I couldn’t find it,” Morgan said. “It was actually my own court case right under my nose.”

The Building Hope Today Foundation travels across the United States training various law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, and child advocacy centers to investigate child sex crimes through focusing on the grooming aspect of child sexual abuse. 

“You’re not looking for a smoking gun or blood splatter because it’s usually a delayed disclosure thing,” Morgan said. “You have to listen to the manipulation because the children will talk about that. You listen to the things that they’ll say, you have to pick up on that. That’s where your evidence is, in the behavior of manipulating a child and instilling an overwhelming fear so they will do what I did and spend most of their life not speaking about it.”

Morgan says Building Hope Today planned 13 training seminars across the country this year. He says the first training event of the year took place in March in Pismo Beach, California with Bonneville County Prosecuting Attorney Daniel Clark leading the training on behalf of Building Hope Today. There were roughly 200 law enforcement officers and prosecutors from Los Angeles County in attendance. The other training sessions have been postponed due to the pandemic.

“As COVID happened, the calls that come in to law enforcement for crimes against women and children went way, way, way down,” Morgan said. “And when I first heard this on one of our Zoom meetings, I asked, ‘How did COVID make this better?’ and they said, ‘It’s not better. It’s because they’re at home with their abusers.’ It’s usually in schools or friends or family where people will say something’s wrong and now nobody’s there to pick up on some of this,” Morgan said.

Morgan says 1 in 4 little girls and 1 in 6 young boys experience sexual abuse during their childhood and 85% of them know their abuser. He says that equates to 44 million people today. Morgan says only 6% of those cases end with convictions. Building Hope Today aims to increase the number of convictions to bring justice for abused children.

“In all our work, we’re hoping to make changes in the world and have a safer, brighter, happier, healthier environment and society, in our communities, for our children,” Morgan said.

You can learn more about Building Hope Today here.

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Chelsea Briar

Chelsea is a reporter and producer for Local News 8 and KIDK Eyewitness News 3.


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