Longmont nonprofit produces PSA about sexual abuse

LONGMONT — His voice is soothing.

He seems knowledgeable and versed in the art and craft of model rocketry.

It doesn’t require much imagination to see how a child might easily end up at his knee, fascinated and engaged in the colorful hobby. But within 30 seconds of meeting the inmate at the Colorado Department of Corrections, he tells you he is a pedophile. His face is obscured.

A 30-second public service announcement intended to educate the public about sex offenders who target children is scheduled to hit the airwaves on Comcast channels in and around Boulder County today. The spot is the work of Blue Sky Bridge, a nonprofit organization that provides services for victims of childhood sexual abuse, and Boulder-based ad agency TDA_Boulder.

While the script isn’t based on a real case, the man in the video is an inmate who interviewed for the chance to be in thevideo.

Blue Sky Bridge executive director Judy Toran Cousin said the organization’s board and staff had decided to put more effort into prevention and, about 18 months, ago embarked on the PSA project.

“The reaction (to the spot) is powerful,” Cousin said of those who have seen it. “It gives people goose bumps.”

The spot itself is intended to highlight that adults who offend against children are typically known to the family, not a stranger.

“It is not the person people expect,” Cousin said. “It is not the stranger in the dark.”

Alli Gerrish, a Blue Sky Bridge board member who served as the agency’s producer on the piece, said Boulder County District Attorney Stan Garnett helped Blue Sky Bridge contact the Colorado Department of Corrections to access inmates. Four interviewed and one was selected. She said the spot was filmed in a single day in a Cañon City maximum security facility, and the inmate read through the script on film 20 times. The man is in therapy, Gerrish said, but they were not allowed to know exactly what he did to be incarcerated.

The PSA is intended to bolster interest in Blue Sky Bridge’s website, which offers information about preventing child sexual assault and resources for those who have been victimized. Comcast is donating the airtime for the PSA, filmed by Futuristic Films, and Cousin said it is expected to reach two-thirds of viewers by the end of its six-week campaign.

For more information about Blue Sky Bridge, visit blueskybridge.org.

Pierrette J. Shields can be reached at 303-684-5273 or pshields@times-call.com.