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What Physical Acts Constitute Child Sexual Abuse?

An Arizona county sheriff's office reports that one of its former deputies has been arrested for allegedly touching two young girls inappropriately.

Law enforcement was first alerted to the incidents in July 2017, when they responded to a 911 caller who reported that a former deputy had touched two girls inappropriately on multiple occasions, with the most recent being in June 2017.

The two victims were interviewed by county officials and confirmed this. The parents of the victims, who also spoke with the detectives, told the detectives that when they confronted the perpetrator about the allegations and according to them, the former deputy made incriminating statements.

However, when the detectives contacted the former deputy, he invoked his Constitutional right to remain silent and refused to be interviewed.

After a year-long investigation, the 62-year-old former deputy was taken into custody. There are no known additional victims at this time, but the detectives are still investigating.

The sheriff noted that investigating crimes that involve children is not an easy job, and it is "especially difficult to learn that one of (our) former employees is the suspect in this case." The arrested man worked as a deputy sheriff at the County until his retirement in 2001. ABC15.com staff "Former MCSO employee arrested for child molestation, sexual abuse" abc15.com (Nov. 30, 2018).

Commentary and Checklist

All sexual touching between an adult and a child is sexual abuse. Sexual abuse is not limited to actions that involve penetration, force, pain, or even touching. If an adult engages in any sexual behavior, whether it involves looking at, showing, or touching, a child to meet the adult's sexual needs, it is sexual abuse. One in nine girls and one in 53 boys under the age of 18 experience sexual abuse or assault at the hands of an adult.

This case illustrates that sex offenders can be any person in any job position. Safe adults should be observant of all adults, no matter their jobs or professions.

What are some of the physical signs that might indicate a child has been sexually abused?

  • Vaginal or rectal bleeding
  • Genital pain
  • Itching, swelling, or discharge from a child's private parts
  • Rashes on or near a child's private parts
  • Difficulty with bowel movements
  • Painful urination
  • Reoccurring complaints of stomach or headaches
  • Trauma to breasts, buttocks, genitals, lower abdomen, or extremities
  • Sexually transmitted infections and diseases
  • Pregnancy
  • Trouble walking or sitting
  • Self-mutilation in the forms of cuts or slashes
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