Sunday, September 24, 2023

RAINN President Scott Berkowitz Says that Many Child Sexual Abusers are Identified But Still Evade Justice

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Travon Marner
Travon Marner
Travon Marner is a seasoned journalist with nearly 12 years under his belt. While studying journalism at Boston, Travon found a passion for finding local stories. As a contributor to Business News Ledger, Travon mostly covers human interest pieces.

Despite increasing vigilance and robust laws, child sexual abuse remains a pervasive issue throughout the United States. Child protective service agencies substantiate a claim of child sexual abuse every nine minutes according to RAINN, a nationwide anti-sexual violence organization. In 93% of these cases, the victim knows the perpetrator.

“That could be a family member, extended family, a coach or doctor — someone who doesn’t raise any flags to be in proximity to the child,” said Scott Berkowitz, RAINN president and founder. RAINN remains an active advocate for children and their families in communities and at the legislative level. The nonprofit supports laws to protect children from predators and promotes the use of technologies to identify and process criminals.

Despite this attention, errors in existing systems and case processing can lead to perpetrators getting away with their crimes.

For example, a recent news story from NBC News highlighted by RAINN involved a 34-year-old father accused in 2023 of felony possession of child pornography and surreptitious recording. However, unknown to his current wife, his previous wife had gone to police in 2018 and reported the man had photos of “prepubescent juveniles” on his computer, according to NBC. While the police were responsive to the matter in 2018, the case got lost in a new computer software system that “had some errors when it launched,” according to a police spokesperson who spoke with NBC.

After divorcing in 2019, the man remarried and allegedly continued the lewd and criminal behavior in his new home with his new family. Having already confronted him about suspicious camera placement in their bathroom to no avail, his wife took the camera and their computer’s hard drive to the police, concerned her young children had been recorded with malicious intent. She had just given birth to their first daughter together, and she was devastated not only by what she found and the impact it had on her children, but also by the fact that the situation could have been prevented if the original charges had been prosecuted, she told NBC.

Sharing the sentiment that these issues cannot and should not fall through the cracks in the judicial system, his wife only learned about the prior allegations in the wake of reporting her own findings.

Parents and caregivers should keep in mind that sexual abuse may include more than direct sexual contact. It can also include inappropriate photos and videos. This invasion of privacy can have a profound effect on the development and outcomes for children who are victimized. Criminal punishments are designed to reduce the likelihood that offenders will be able to act again and cause harm to other children. When the police department’s software failed to track and process the original case against the plaintiff, who denied any wrongdoing, he was able to allegedly continue his patterns of behavior and bring harm to additional children. While the statute of limitations on the case had seemingly expired once the system glitch was discovered and the case was resurfaced, prosecutors confirmed the case falls within a 10-year limit. They have yet to move forward with prosecution, pending further investigation.

RAINN President Scott Berkowitz continues to advocate for children who have faced sexual abuse and exploitation, going to great lengths to support legislation in defense of children’s rights. As recently as 2022, RAINN lobbied the U.S. Congress to renew the PROTECT Our Children Act, which legalized funding and programs to support teams that identify and rescue underaged victims of sexual abuse. The act, which passed on to the White House, was lauded by RAINN: “There is a growing epidemic of sexual violence against children in the United States — we need authorities on the ground tackling this issue now more than ever before,” said Samantha Cadet, RAINN’s director of federal affairs.

A team of policy experts at RAINN also follow child sexual abuse cases across the nation and provide support and advocacy for those in need. RAINN’s published warning signs for child sexual abuse are documented for parents, caregivers, and loved ones to review and consider, since many of the signs are not clear or self-evident. Behavioral changes as well as physical signs of pain or mistreatment can tip off observers and encourage them to engage the child in conversation about their well-being. Anyone who needs assistance can call the RAINN National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-656-4673, or contact the hotline online at


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