Here’s what to look out for when it comes to child predators
By WVUA 23 News Reporter Gracie Johnson
Parents are always looking out for their children, but sometimes something nefarious slips through the cracks.
Recently in West Alabama, a 64-year-old Cottondale man was arrested and charged with sexual abuse, accused of offering alcohol and gifts to teenagers, hosting parties and taking advantage of those teens.
It’s easy for an abusive situation between children and predators to go unnoticed for a long time, but there are warning signs, said Turning Point Educational Outreach Coordinator Savannah Tatum.
“Perpetrators are typically already in a position where they are close to the children, so it could be a bus driver, a coach, someone they’ve already got that emotional dependency with,” Tatum said. “And they usually use it to their advantage.”
It’s most common for a predator to have a close relationship with those they abuse, and they may use manipulative behavior to guilt their targets into accepting their suggestions or provide them with compensation or rewards so they comply.
The most important thing for parents to do is educate their children, she said.
“We tell parents to educate their kids on what is and is not appropriate touching, be that physically or when it goes into sexual touching,” said Tatum. “We also tell them to tell a trusted adult. You don’t always have to tell your parents. You could tell a teacher, police officer, people like that.”