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Child Sex Predators Are Usually Not Strangers

April 7, 2009

LJWorld.com (Kansas) : Child sex predators not usually strangers – Family members, friends responsible for most assaults.

It’s easy to find the address and photo of any of the 51 registered child sex offenders in Lawrence.
But it’s more likely that the person with the most potential to prey on a child is someone within a family’s circle of trust.

In the past five years, more than 200 child sexual assaults have been reported to the Lawrence Police Department, according to a Lawrence Journal-World and 6News investigation. In many of the cases, the offender was a relative — parent, uncle, cousin — or someone the family knew well, such as a boyfriend or baby sitter.

“We have this big sex offender registry in our country. Those people in my opinion don’t make up the majority of the risks,” said Yolanda Jackson, a clinical child psychologist and Kansas University associate professor. “In the majority of the cases of sex abuse that we see, the perpetrators are going to be people the child knows, not a random guy who just got out of prison.”

In fact, national statistics show that 85 percent to 95 percent of the time, the offender is someone the child knows.

“It’s not the green monster around the corner. It’s usually the people your child is getting familiar with or has a relationship with,” said Phaedra Wade, social work supervisor for Douglas County Child and Family Services.
Wade’s agency, which is under the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services, works with police to investigate many of the sexual assaults reported in Lawrence.

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