Sexual Abuse Cases On The Rise - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

07/01/31 - Smith County

Sexual Abuse Cases On The Rise

Smith County prosecutors will pick up where they left off with convicted kidnapper Adrian Rosales Wednesday morning. Rosales faces six charges; five for indecency with a child and one for possession of child pornography.

A judge postponed Rosales's trial last year when doctors discovered he had a brain tumor. With his health back in order, Rosales is going back on the court's agenda.

Advocates for children say the unfortunate part is Rosales represents only one case in a growing epidemic.

The number of Smith County child abuse case increased 25 % over last year," says Carol Langston with the Children's Advocacy Center of Smith County. Case workers have received 208 reports so far this year-- 156 involve sexual abuse.

Smith County Detective Peggy Scott and two Tyler officers investigate the cases full-time under the Advocacy Center's roof.

"We never know what the day is going to bring," says Detective Scott. "We might interview eight children in the morning, but we also have to interview siblings to make sure that nothing has happened to them."

The average victim of sexual abuse is a seven year old female, according to the Center. But Langston says, in the past few years, they've noticed an alarming increase in the number of reports involving children ages three to four.

One of the center's recent cases involved Edwin Lee Smith, who is now convicted in the sexual assault of a 14-month old. Smith will be behind bars for the next 40 years, but the cases never end for investigators.

The Children's Advocacy Center originally had two full-time detectives investigating abuse reports, but larger case loads prompted them to add another Tyler police detective full-time.

Kerri Panchuk, reporting.

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