A check of the roster of the Potter County Detention Center reveals about ten percent of the inmates at the center are there on sexually related charges. Most of those are in jail for sexual assaults on children.
Potter County Sheriff Brian Thomas says he believes it's due to better enforcement and greater awareness. "There's probably a lot more cases that you see that are coming up and again I think that's due to the awareness and people going, wow, I think something's wrong here and they're reporting it more."
At Family Support Services, the vast majority of the sexual assault exams they conduct are done on children.
Crisis Services Coordinator Angie Stovall of Family Support Services says," "We had about 395 sexual assault exams last year, about 80% of those were child, sexual assault exams. Last month ... we had 35 sexual assaults and 33 of those were child sexual assault cases, so about 90% last month."
Secrecy helps keep predators safe. Stovall adds, "The perpetrator, the offender, he uses secrecy with a child, whoever he's offending. Also families keep secrets."
Thomas says that's why it's better to report. "We would rather go through the motions of investigating it and nothing be there than not get a phone call at all and something had been there."
Thomas adds professionals at schools, day cares and churches are better trained to recognize the signs of abuse.