Talking with children about sexual abuse

CHILD-ABUSE

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With recent news accounts of the arrest of a local preschool teacher on charges of rape and child sex crimes, many parents are wondering how to approach their children about the subject.

WKBN News contributor Dr. Michael Stern said there is one thing parents should not do is ask too many questions of the child.

“It’s really difficult to interview a child. In fact, whether they have been molested or anything has happened to them sometimes parents ask leading questions and get kids to say things that happened when, in fact, it didn’t. I would be careful asking questions,” said Stern. “In terms of what I would be looking for would be for young children, some kids, if they have had a traumatic event, they tend to play them out. If you see a child playing out events that would suggest sexual abuse, that would be a possibility.”

Stern advises parents to look out for sudden changes in behavior. Stern believes parents with concerns should have their child examined by a professional.

Austintown preschool teacher Connie Ramirez, 43, was charged on Wednesday with rape and several other sex crimes surrounding photos she sent to a Niles man depicting a juvenile family member and herself in sexual activity.

Ramirez’s arrest was part of an investigation surrounding William Brock, 65, of Niles, who is facing several child sex crime charges after police raided his Mason Street home in July. Officers confiscated computers and other devices and found several images of young girls in sexually explicit scenarios. Some of those images were traced back to Ramirez’s cell phone.

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