Experts Analyze Surge Of Sex Crimes Charges

CHARLOTTE, NC– “The reality is for every case that’s reported there’s probably ten that are not,” said UNCC Professor and Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Rick McAnulty.

A disturbing reality in a week where there have been five arrests of suspected child predators. The latest, Bryce Benning, Director of Bands at Chesterfield-Ruby Middle School. He’s accused of kissing and fondling a 14-year-old girl.

“These are usually authority figures, these are people in a position of status,” said McAnulty.

UNC Charlotte professor and Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Rick McAnulty says parents have to talk to kids about boundaries even with adults they trust.

“How to deal in a healthy way with problem situations, if something makes you feel uncomfortable with how an adult is interacting with you,” said McAnulty.

Then there’s predators of smaller children.

“We certainly want parents to talk with children starting at a very young age about their bodies about boundaries about safety,” said Janet Harmon with Pat’s Place Child Advocacy Center.

Harmon says she’s not sure if there’s been an increase in child sex abuse cases or just more exposure.

“I think sometimes when there’s one story in the news then maybe that prompts conversations and maybe children realize it’s something ok to talk about or that happens to other children,” said Harmon.

Experts say our increasingly sexualized and social media oriented culture could be part of the problem.

“It does loosen the boundaries, if it’s ok for you to post a semi nude picture is it not ok for someone to want to take it a step further,” said McAnulty.

McAnulty says for older kids, prevention starts with parental supervision.

“Even if your daughter is 17, you need to be aware of what’s she posting on social media,” said McAnulty.

 

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