Experts: Sexual Predators Often Known By Victims

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The Youngstown police officer  accused of soliciting sex from a 14-year-old  is the second law enforcement agent to be charged with inappropriate conduct with minors this year.

Detective Sgt. Robert Lodwick  was assigned to investigate a rape involving a 14-year old girl, but he’s now accused of possessing naked photos of her and soliciting sex from her online. Back in February, a probation officer with the Mahoning County Juvenile Justice Center found himself behind bars as well.

Sherod Holmes was charged with three counts of sexual battery for having sex with a 16-year-old and sending sexually explicit messages to two other teens. His case is currently being reviewed by a Mahoning County grand jury.

Judy Jones of SNAP, an organization started to help victims abused by priests, said sexual predators are often people with some kind of power who the victims know and even trust.

“It would be comforting if it was the odd, creepy person sitting in the corner of the party. But that usually isn’t the case. They are usually the ones throwing the party,” Jones said. “They are known to do a lot of good things.  They are very well loved by people in the community. They have to be, in order to not get caught.”

Lynn Bilal, program director of the Rape Crisis and Counseling Center, agreed.

“I think that’s one of the biggest myths, is it’s the scary person in the trees or bushes or at the mall that’s gonna jump out and grab you. And that happens, it does.  But I think the bigger issues are the people you trust, who you believe are there to help or serve you,” Bilal said.

But rape survivor advocates at Compass Family and Community Services said victims need to speak up regardless of who the perpetrator is.

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