A former Iowa journalist has written a novel that use a fictional plot to highlight the serious problem of child abduction. Mark Mills worked in TV news in Iowa in the 1980s and covered the disappearance of Johnny Gosch. He says the abuse and abduction of children by strangers is a larger problem than most people realize. Mills says only one out of 30 child molesters will be arrested and charged, and says 90-percent of such cases aren’t reported at all. Mills is visiting bookstores and libraries in Iowa signing copies of his book, titled “To Protect the Innocent.” Mills says he studied a lot about pedophilia and sex offenders as he prepared to write the book. Mills says he sympathizes with people who can’t resist the powerful urges they feel…but says when it comes to the safety and welfare of our children versus the rights of abusers “we need to just forget about these people’s rights and put them in prison, keep them a way from society.” Noreen Gosch is the mother of the boy who disappeared in September 1982. Gosch says Mills told her he was moved by her story as he covered the case, and it stayed with him through the years after he moved from Iowa till he decided to write a book that gives information about pedophiles, but weaves it into a fictional novel. Gosch says she doesn’t have a problem with the fictional story based on real events and facts. She says if people didn’t step forward to talk and write about what’s happened to missing children, there wouldn’t be progress in solving the heartbreaking cases. From her own work the past 22 years, she says if advocates hadn’t fought hard to get legislation passed we wouldn’t have the Amber Alert program today, or other progress like the national Center for Missing Children. In addition to publishing a book, Mills is a professor of mass communication at St-Cloud State University in Minnesota. Tonight (Monday) Mills will read from his book and sign copies at Des Moines’ southside library, and he’ll be signing books on May 15 at the Borders store in Ames.
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