The former music minister at St. Eugene’s Catholic Church pleaded guilty yesterday to coercing a 13 year old girl to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing a child porn video. Paul Lawrence Berrell, 29, faces between 15 and 30 years in prison. Hopefully, the Federal District Court Judge who sentences him will give him the maximum prison term.
Unfortunately, sexual abuse of children happens much more often than most people think, and the statistics of child sex abuse are shocking!
According to the advocacy group Darkness to Light, 1 in 4 girls are sexually abused and 1 in 6 boys are sexually abused before they reach age 18. Thirty to forty percent of children are abused by a family member. Another 50% are abused by someone outside of the family that they know and trust. Approximately 40% are abused by an older or larger child whom they know. That leaves only 10% to be abused by a stranger.
Child sexual abuse is the least known epidemic in our society. The biggest thing that you can do to protect your children and prevent this from happening to a child that you know is to get actively involved in the prevention effort. Darkness to Light is a national non-profit organization dedicated to preventing child sexual abuse. If you want to stop child sex abuse, go to their website and get involved.
Here are the 7 steps that Darkness to Light has developed to help prevent child sex abuse:
Step 1: Learn the facts Realities–not trust–should influence your decisions regarding your child.
Step 2: Minimize Opportunity If you eliminate or reduce one-adult/one-child situations, you’ll
dramatically lower the risk of sexual abuse for your child.
Step 3: Talk about it Children often keep abuse a secret, but barriers can be broken down
by talking openly about it.
Step 4: Stay Alert Don’t expect obvious signs when a child is being sexually abused.
Step 5: Make a Plan Learn where to go, who to call and how to react.
Step 6: Act on Suspicions The future well-being of a child is at stake.
Step 7: Get involved Volunteer and financially support organizations that fight the tragedy
of child sexual abuse.
At Davis Law Group, we have represented many victims of sexual abuse. Just like the