Last year, in Angelina County alone, investigators with the sheriff's office worked on almost 270 sexual assault cases.
Assistant District Attorney Ken Dies with the DA's office and Libby Hancock, an investigator with the Angelina County Sheriff's Office, both say that's an alarming number, making it almost one a day.
"Well if you look at those numbers, 270 were investigated, worked on by the sheriff's office, all members of the sheriff's office, that's about one a day. It's almost one a day if you stop and think about it," Dies said.
Dies says in a recent trial in Angelina County courtroom, Hancock testified to a jury that almost 270 cases involving sexual assault were worked in 2017.
"I mean, I knew it was a lot because, give or take, my partner Detective Weaver and I, we get about, I would say, on average 1 or two a week, and I don't really sit down and think about the number until it's told to me, so it did shock me a little bit but at the same time, we get so many at a time it shouldn't have," Hancock said.
Dies said he believes one of the reasons more cases are reported is because there are more resources available such as social media for authorities to learn how a person is victimized.
"The challenge is to getting folks to understand since sexual assault of children and even grown men and grown women is a forbidden story, no one at first wants to believe it," Dies said. "My first challenge is credibility."
Dies added the second challenge is finding supporting evidence from the crime scene based on the initial outcry to help build a case. As the workload continues to pile up, both said that in situations such as this, silence is not golden.
"These are tough cases. They are tough for the victims," Hancock said. "They're tough for the families of the victim, and they're even tough for the families of the suspect. I feel a lot of empathy for them. I mean they can't get the help that they need if they don't make that voice heard."
Both Dies and Hancock said to get involved in your child's life.
Hancock said to look for unexplained injuries on your child's body or a change in emotional behavior as a key indicator. Furthermore, she said to teach children about body safety and internet safety.
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