By Tyler Hutchison
Members of Bikers Against Child Abuse were kicked off a flight from Denver to Salt Lake City on Sunday, Jan. 25, after trying to stop a parent from disciplining her child.
According to a representative from Frontier Airlines, the bikers were trying to stop alleged rough discipline of a child. Frontier Airlines pilots felt the safety of the passengers was in jeopardy and asked the BACA members and the child and parents to leave the plane.
BACA has shown their support for children through incidents such as this one since 1995. The group helps abusive children throughout the nation get the help they need.
JP Lilly, a child therapist from Provo, founded BACA in 1995. Lilly said he felt he could not provide abused children all the help they needed with once a week office visits. Many of the children felt scared throughout the day and needed more support. Lilly decided the best way to help the children was to provide them with a larger support group.
Lilly contacted his biker friends and set up the organization to give support to kids who needed it. BACA gives children a chance to contact someone who could listen to their problems and support them through hard times. Members of the group often accompany children to court hearings and visit their houses to help them feel more confident.
Paul Dubois, public relations representative for BACA, said the group tries to help children in anyway they can.
“We go to court with the kids, we go to the parole hearings when the guys are coming up for parole, and we just support the kids right through to the end,” Dubois said.
He said the group”s image is helpful when handling abusive adults.
“Usually when people find out we are involved they get a little scared because they hear the word ”bikers”,” Dubois said.
The group was originally set up only in Utah County, but word soon spread to Salt lake County, and a chapter was set up there. As people moved away and the Web site was established, the group slowly spread throughout the United States. BACA currently has chapters in 15 states.
BACA has grown to over 1,500 members, 106 in Utah County alone. Members undergo an in-depth background check and must ride with the group for one year before they are admitted as members.
“You have to kind of show your devotion for about a year,” Dubois said.
The group is completely funded by donations and has no paid members. Lilly said each local chapter is in charge of their own financing. In Utah County BACA raffles off a motorcycle that is donated to them by a local store every year to raise funds.
Lilly said the group has created a great relationship with the police department and judges. The local law enforcement regularly calls BACA to support children going through abusive situations.
Lilly continues to be active in the organization. He is also a part-time professor at BYU and works in Provo.