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Child advocates advise parents to educate kids on dangers of sexual assault

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CHEROKEE COUNTY (KYTX) - In a typical year, 65,000 cases of child sexual abuse are confirmed in Texas alone. One Cherokee County man was recently indicted on two counts of sexual assault of a child which included more than 30 alleged acts. CBS 19's Katiera Winfrey explains how parents can open up the lines of communication in an effort to keep your kids safe.

In the recent case in Cherokee County, the alleged acts took place with at least two victims over a ten year period, ending in 2004. Due to the volume of acts the man allegedly committed, the district attorney is calling his case, one of the worse she's prosecuted. Similar cases often go un-reported because children are too scared -- or lack the words to explain what happened.

Having "the talk" with your children about reporting sexual abuse, is a conversation mother of four Rena trent feels is necessary...

"You always, always always tell me if someone tries to touch you in their private parts," said parent Rena Trent.

"We tell them if anyone, a family member of friend someone they don't know, if they touch those areas, you come tell mommy immediately, don't be nervous, don't be afraid," she said.

Child Advocacy Center forensic interviewer Rebecca Cunio agrees.

"The kids in your life, make sure they feel comfortable, emphasis how important it is for you to keep them safe and protected and any time they feel that they aren't it's important to come talk to you." 

In May of this year, Kevin Morris Sr. was indicted on two counts of sexual assault. A third case in pending. Altogether, the man is accused of nearly 70 acts between 1996 and 2004.

"One of the most serious, voluminous cases that I've dealt with," said district attorney Rachel Patton.

Patton promises harsh punishment for convicted child predators.

"If someone were to make the mistake of committing such a crime in this county they can expect to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law," Patton said.

Curio's advice to parents is to  teach your children the proper anatomical names for parts on their bodies, so if they ever need to report an incident, they'll be less likely to be mis-understood.

"Child sexual abuse is a crime of secrecy and that's bred in our communities because it's hard to talk about."

Trent said, whenever there is a change in baby-sitter, when a new person comes around, she again has those conversations with her children. She says the more often you have them, the better.

New laws implemented in 2007, require a person convicted of "continuous" sexual abuse of a child to be sentenced to a mandatory 25 years.

 

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