Child Molester is Behind Bars, How to Talk to Kids About Dangers


Published 07/30 2014 10:10PM

Updated 07/31 2014 08:14AM

A Wabash County man is behind bars accused of the unthinkable, taking a child's innocence.

Indiana State Police Investigators in the City of Wabash, are telling WFFT that a nearly 2 month long criminal investigation uncovered that a 12 year old girl had been sexual molested.

The man accused of this crime is 44 year old Juan Martinez. State Police said it was a tip that led them to Martinez. He's now charged with child molestation and sexual battery of a minor and he's being held without bond in the Wabash County Jail.

"We refer to them as weirdos bad people and if a stranger comes up to them you scream and you run,” said Tammy Northrup.

Northrop brings her 4 and a half year old granddaughter to Hamilton Park and said she has explained the importance of what to do if a stranger approaches her.

Braigan, at a young age, knows what to do. "Scream...(And then what),” said Braigan.

Kurt Hoffman, a licensed psychologist, said there are several aspects of sexual assaults. "Sexual abuse is not necessarily the physical touching of the child of a individual who is older it could be inappropriate expose to sexual material or sexual behavior," said Dr. Hoffman.

Carrie Hilger, a mom of 6, told her children to remember the buddy system at the park. "Tell them run straight away and get me or their dad or aunt or uncle whoever they’re with at the park," said Hilger.

Often times, the molester is someone the child knows, a family member or a family friend, and to often, the child may be scared to come forward. There are several signs that parents can look for if they feel their child has been sexually assaulted.

"Changes in behavior, changes in mood, changes in clothing or absence in clothing, bloody clothing, are the children sleeping or not sleeping, having night mares, eating more, eating less and being clear the child is not in trouble or being punished for what's taking place," said Dr. Hoffman.

Dr. Hoffman said children will react how parents react, so parents should take this seriously, but remember to stay calm.

"Don’t overreact take it very seriously be supportive make sure they know they aren't in trouble," said Dr. Hoffman.

Hilger's children Owen and Grant know what to do.

"Scream and then tell adult," said Owen.

"Tell the parents and um watch for them again," said Grant.

Once your child told you what's going on, Dr. Hoffman said there are several places for you to go. Dr. Hoffman suggests, "Potentially seek professional help somebody who has experience with children sexually abuse victims."

Dr. Hoffman said it’s crucial that you have a strong trusting relationship with your child so they can tell you if someone is inappropriate towards them.

Having that open line of communication with your child is really what it's all about, that way they will always feel comfortable telling you anything.

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