Accompanying the 18-year-old woman who said Richard W. Wickline sexually abused her from the time she was 10 until age 14 were members of "Bikers Against Child Abuse, Keepers of the Children," or B.A.C.A.
Members of the group were present during the trial that saw Wickline found not guilty. They said they were present to provided safety and emotional support to the woman.
B.A.C.A. takes a firm stand against all forms of child abuse. According to “Bear,” the road name of one of the B.A.C.A. escorts, there are six chapters in Illinois. The East Central Illinois Chapter attended the Shelby County trial.
“We exist to provide a safe environment and work with the court system and the police," Bear said. "Child advocacy groups and agencies refer a child to us. Children that meet the criteria become part of our biker family. We want everyone to not be afraid of the world.”
Two B.A.C.A. members are assigned as the child’s primary contact. They remain in close contact with the child and provide support based upon their individual needs and the needs of the family.
Some of these services physical presence at the home, visiting the child at school, and therapy. B.A.C.A. is available to accompany a child to court and parole hearings. They also maintain a therapy fund for children needing assistance.
B.A.C.A. was founded by John Paul “Chief” Lily, a licensed clinical social worker, registered play therapist/supervisor and part-time faculty at Brigham Young University. The majority of his 20 plus years of practice has been spent in the treatment of abused children.
B.A.C.A. reports that children they support have improved self-confidence, diminished regressive behavior, increased feeling of safety, empowerment to testify, better communication, reduced feeling of guilt, decreased negative behaviors, and a sense of belonging, acceptance, independence, and more.