Serving Cape Cod and the Surrounding Areas

Are children in Massachusetts safe from sexual abuse?

It is natural for parents to assume that the people to whom they entrust their children, in schools and public institutions, do not pose a threat to their young ones. The notion that children, whether in Barnstable, Massachusetts or elsewhere, could be subject to physical or sexual abuse at the hands of a teacher or mentor is horrifying. Such incidents can cause emotional trauma to both children and parents, with the latter left wondering whom to trust. Sadly, since children are more easily frightened, many cases involving sexual abuse of minors do not get reported.Recently, police arrested a Somerville, Massachusetts man who taught at a school in Cambridge, Massachusetts for sending sexually explicit photographs of children over e-mail, considered an act of child pornography and punishable by federal law. Investigators also confiscated a variety of equipment from the man’s residence including cameras, computers and pictures of underage boys performing sexual deeds. Police said they were not sure where the photographs were taken, but added that there was nothing to suggest this occurred on the school premises. The man has confessed he set up a camera in a locker room to covertly record videos of children while they were undressing.While this case does not suggest that the man committed sexual acts with children, his crime is no less shocking. The school has initiated conversations with parents in the community, but the young victims may not even comprehend the magnitude of what has been done to them.It is thus necessary for parents to ensure their children can confide in them without any fear. It may not be the most savory subject to discuss, but given the statistics – one in five girls and one in 20 boys are victims of sexual abuse before becoming adults – it is an urgent necessity. Source: Wicked Local Littleton, “COLUMN: Time to open up conversation about child sexual abuse“, Nadia Colburn, April 21, 2014

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