Charleston Child Injury Attorneys Note National Spotlight On Sex Abuse And Additional Low Country Incidents

It is by no means new news that child sexual abuse cases have grabbed national attention in the last month. These devastating stories have brought to light a culture of sexual deviance that is not only physically abusive to the victims, but also extremely damaging in regards to emotional and mental development. In sharing these accounts of gross misconduct it is the aim of your Charleston accident lawyers at Howell and Christmas to inform South Carolinians of the unacceptable frequency in which these attacks occur, as well as implore victims of abuse to find the courage to speak out against those responsible for selfishly damaging the lives of far too many children.

Since it was discovered that a Mt. Pleasant educator, volunteer, and coach had been abusing young boys at various volunteer and work positions, a day hasn’t gone by that child sexual abuse and molestation is reported on television, in local and nationally circulated papers, and across various platforms on the World Wide Web. In the cases involving the local coach and former Penn State assistant coach, it is apparent the administrators were more concerned with the reputation of their institutions than the well being of the children their employees seriously injured. We all know the famed head football coach at Penn State decided to follow the chain of command, reporting the sexual abuse seen by of one of his graduate assistants to the school’s Athletic Director, instead of going directly to law enforcement. And it has been nationally reported that law enforcement was not contacted after former camper at the Citadel confronted administrators at the military academy, claiming that the local coach had invited him into his room to watch pornography. Both institutions failed not only the campers they intentionally neglected to protect, but also the communities they occupy by putting the “desire to protect their own” ahead of the young campers who trusted they would safe under their guidance.

Apart from these two widely covered instances of criminal sexual conduct, rape, and lewd acts, there have been several additional occurrences of equally troubling behavior involving child sexual abuse.

In mid-November a 32-year-old Moncks Corner man was arrested and charged with second-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor after a teenager and her mother reported an incident involving an online chat group. Since its inception, and even more so in its development, the internet and more specifically online chat rooms have been a popular resource for adult predators looking for inappropriate relations. But thanks to law enforcement organizations across the nation, parents are well informed to the dangers posed by unsupervised Internet access and use. Thus, your lawyers in Charleston at Howell and Christmas urge parents to keep up efforts to teach kids safe Internet usage practices and combat online predators by notifying authorities of any suspicious activity, much like the mother and teen mentioned above.

Just before Thanksgiving the Post and Courier reported that a 59-year-old man, who started a jazz program at a local private school, had his bond set at $300,000 on charges of production, transportation, and possession of child pornography. The accusations and charges were brought against him after New Jersey law enforcement officials arrested someone else on charges of possession of child pornography, according to a North Charleston police report. Local officials aided FBI agents execute a search warrant back in April and, according to court records, discover illicit photographs of a 4-year-old girl. The man posted the 10 percent of bond required for his release. The U.S. Magistrate Judge presiding over the hearing set terms for the man’s release, including home detention with electronic monitoring, no Internet access and no interaction with children without an adult present who knows the charges against him.

Last Wednesday (November 30, 2011) it was reported that a 46-year-old school janitor was arrested by Charleston County sheriff’s detectives on a charge of first-degree criminal sexual conduct. Allegedly, the janitor sodomized a 10-year-old girl and then threatened to stab her in the heart if she told anyone about the incident, according to an arrest affidavit. The charge carries a possible life sentence.

Courageously, the young girl told her mother about the alleged sexual assault, and her mother promptly took her to the Dee Norton Lowcountry Children’s Center for a medical exam. According to the Center in an article related to the coach and educator connected to the unfortunate incident at the Citadel, it is strongly encouraged for victims of child sexual abuse and their parents to seek help, despite the difficulties because there is help available and hope is not lost. While the experience can be traumatic, treatment is beneficial and can head off the ill effects associated with molestation and keep victims from turning to substance abuse to help cope, or struggle with guilt and sexual confusion.

In short, “burying problems and stifling feelings doesn’t work…(Victims) deserve to come forward…They didn’t do anything wrong and they deserve help.”

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