The headquarters for the Staten Island chapter of Bikers Against Child Abuse has eight American flags, two portraits of Christopher Columbus and a stack of laminated Virgin Mary wallet inserts. Earlier this summer, a teary-eyed Billyjoe Contreras led a meeting there.
“Look at this email I just got,” he announced to the group. “It’s from a single mom of two kids who were sexually abused.”
Rows of people with leather vests, snug bandannas, tattooed arms and tomato-red sunburns watched Mr. Contreras, whose road name is Demo, in silence. “Be ready,” he said. “Because this is what we signed up to do.”
The nonprofit, known for its unique approach — its motorcycle-riding volunteers work in large, menacing numbers to protect at-risk children — was founded nearly 30 years ago in Provo, Utah. There are currently over 220 chapters across the United States, led by bikers with road names like Toad, Shredder and Mr. Clean. The group also has a presence in 18 countries. Members respond to emergency calls, raise funds for therapy sessions and escort vulnerable children to court.