When one Round Rock father lost his child for a few seconds at a San Antonio biker rally, he had a moment of panic.
“Then I saw [my son] with some of the meanest looking bikers I had ever seen,” said the father, who goes by the biker nickname Slice. “I thought, ‘What has he gotten me into?’”
He soon learned that members of Bikers Against Child Abuse had found his 6 year old, called security and now planned to guard the boy until his father came.
That was more than four years ago. Slice was intrigued enough to join the Austin chapter of BACA, which includes Pflugerville.
Last year, Round Rock-area members started the Sam Bass chapter, and in March, Slice became the chapter’s president.
An international organization, BACA was founded in the 1990s by a Utah man, known by his biker friends as Chief. As a child therapist, Chief noticed that about 90 percent of perpetrators tried to intimidate their victims from testifying against them in court, so one day he asked some of his friends to escort a child to a hearing.
The roaring-engine entourage was an intimidating set of bodyguards dressed in full leather, and BACA was born.
BACA members come from varied backgrounds, such as engineers, paint contractors, technology professionals and social workers, but if a parent or guardian asks for their involvement with an abused child who has an open court case, their professional affiliation can take a back seat in a matter of minutes.
“When they rip off that tie, they have got full leather,” Slice said.
Through what they call an adopting process, Slice said abused children receive visits from a hoard of BACA members to empower them not to be afraid to testify in court against the defendant.
“The kids get excited when we come,” he said. “It’s fun, so people will come from chapters all over the place. I have been to an adoption where they have had 60 riders or so. It’s a beautiful thing.”
Then the child is given a teddy bear everyone has squeezed to “fill it with hugs,” and at any point, a child can ask for a refill. He or she also receives a certificate welcoming him or her into the BACA family.
“They are going to know they have sisters and brothers that will be there for them,” said Cobra, a member of the Sam Bass chapter of BACA.
BACA members will escort a child wherever necessary, such as to school or court. Often they will even keep watch over a child’s house. The group’s policy is never to harass and only guard, but if a perpetrator approaches a home where an adopted child lives, BACA members block the way.
“We’ll stand at the door, and they will have to get through us to get to them,” Cobra said.
Become a BACA member
Those wanting to join BACA are invited to come to a meeting where they can get more information and an application. The membership process also includes a thorough background check by the FBI. To become a patch member, attendance at 80 percent of the chapter’s official events is required during a year. Once that level is reached, members can be a child’s primary contact. Other membership opportunities are also available.
Sam Bass chapter, (877) 609-5798
Austin chapter (includes Pflugerville), (877) 719-2988
Bikers Against Child Abuse, www.bacausa.com