CHARLOTTE, N.C.--A surge in high profile sex crimes investigations nationally is leading to a rise in reports of child abuse cases here. Experts say the explosive charges against Jerry Sandusky and the Boy Scouts are having an impact on victims in the Queen City.
The Council for Children's Rights say there were just over 13,300 reported child sex abuse cases in Mecklenburg County last year. That's up nearly eight percent from the more than 12,300 reporter in 2010.
Latolya Vann says she was abused by her parents for the majority of her childhood. It's still hard for her to talk about it,"It is a long road to recovery," said the Concord resident.
Attorney Seth Langson devotes his practice to abuse cases. He says a recent rise in reported child abuse cases is a result of high profile investigations. "Anytime a victim comes forward and is willing to confront the abuser in public, I've found it almost always encourages other victims to come forward," said Langson.
Emily says her daughter was 3 years old when she discovered her ex-husband molested her.
It's our policy to protect the identities of sex abuse victims but in this case the family wanted to share their case publicly. "You never suspect your spouse of harming your child in such a harmful way," Emily said. If it weren't for the high profile investigations, Emily says she wouldn't have taken
action as quickly as she did, "If parents don't step up and
try to advocate for our kids, who's going to?" Emily said.
Now, Emily and Latolya are sharing their stories so other families can also survive. "It's okay to face this. It doesn't have to be a family secret anymore. It's okay to let it out," Vann said.
The families of some victims are trying to increase the power of Jessica's Law. The
2008 law increased penalties for adult offenders who commit certain sex crimes against
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