Sunday, October 18, 2009

Recent Child Molestations Draw Attention to Knowing Parents

This week the Webster County Prosecutor charged Johnny Shwartz with statutory sodomy and child molestation. His wife Fannie Schwartz was charged with child endangerment for knowing about the relationship between her husband and two young relatives.
Webster County Sheriff Roye Cole believes the Schwartz's Amish heritage kept the molestations quiet until someone from outside their community reported it to law enforcement.

"If you go and confront them they will be truthful and forthcoming with their information, but if you don't go to them, they won't come to you," said Sheriff Cole. For that reason, the sheriff visited the Amish community this week to make sure its members understand reporting abuse is state law.

"I don't know if they've ever been held accountable for it, and I don't know if they even knew about mandated reporting laws. With a whole community that's just unsafe," said Cole.

But whether in the Amish community or outside of it, child advocates say there are many factors that play a role in a parent keeping such information under wraps.
"Often times people want to handle it themselves, or within their family or community. So, it's unfortunately very common for both parents to know what's going on, and try to make that choice between protecting the person that's hurting their children, or protect their children, or both," said Zach Adams with the Child Advocacy Center.
Later this week another couple in Rogersville was charged for similar crimes.
Wade Perkins was charged with child abuse, statutory sodomy and statutory rape. His wife Amy Perkins was charged with child endangerment for not reporting the abuse.
The Child Advocacy Center says most child abuse cases don't happen with someone the child doesn't know, but it usually happens with someone the child does know. In fact, statistics show nearly 94% of all child abuse cases happen with inside the home.

"We hear a lot of times kids say, I love this person. I just want them to stop doing what they are doing to me. So, it makes it tough on the non-offending parent to have to hear that and still try to make the right decision for their kids," said Adams.
Sheriff Cole says the best thing a non-offending parent can do is put him or herself in that child's shoes.

"If somebody in your family is hurting you, and you can't go to your parents, and you can't go to your church, or you can't go anywhere else to get help, where are you going to go? Adults have to step up and protect them," said Cole.

Sheriff Cole says anyone who has care, custody, or control of a child is a mandated reporter of abuse.
If not reported, the non-offending parent or family member can face up to one year of jail time.

No comments: