DETROIT, Mich. (WXYZ) - Children and teens sexually assaulted by educators is something that happens far too often and many times is not recognized until it’s too late.
So with school just around the corner, or if your child has already started class, 7 Action News found out some of the warning signs and how you can protect your child.
If you think your child could never be a victim of sexual abuse meet Matthew Roth. Roth is an Assistant United States Attorney who prosecutes and investigates child exploitation cases in the Detroit area and he is far too busy.
“Unfortunately, we get them regularly. We are getting cases all the time,” said U.S. Attorney Roth.
Roth said often times sexual predators are the people you trust the most including family members, officials, and educators.
“We get teachers and clergy and boy scout leaders,” said Roth. He said predators like to go after children who are having a tough time at school because they are the most vulnerable.
“Kids that maybe don’t look as nice as the other kids or have some other issues or are shyer,” said Roth. Predators often molest kids who are bullied or made fun of a lot.
“What the predators will say is, well, I don’t care what the kids at school say about you. I think you’re beautiful. And I don’t care what your friends say, I think you’re really cool and I was just like you,” said Roth. He said predators will tell a child what the child wants to hear to gain their trust and begin to groom the child.
“The kid, enjoying that kind of praise and enjoying that kind of attention will want it to continue and maintain the friendship,” said Roth. He said parents should be aware of adults who spend a lot of alone time with their child or interact with them over the internet.
“Parents should be going through their kids emails and put software on the computer that allows them to see what they’re doing in the event it’s an online predator,” Roth said.
A negative change in your child’s behavior should be a red flag that something is wrong.
“Where the kid is isolating themselves or they stop talking to their friends, or their grades go down, those are all the warning signs,” Roth said.
We gathered some other important tips from local attorney William Seikaly who specializes in sex abuse cases in schools. He told 7 Action News some tips for parents to look out for and they include:
--Predators at school are often well liked and popular teachers, employees, or volunteers.
--Parents should listen to rumors about educators. Rumors are a good source of information.
--Adults who often molest like to exchange personal phone numbers, private emails, and social media contacts with a child.
Ultimately, parents want to do everything you can to prevent a predator from forming a bond with your child and to help keep them safe.
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