APD is urging parents to talk with children who could’ve had contact with a sexual predator

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ABILENE, Texas (KTAB) – The Abilene Police Department is asking parents to talk to their children if they could’ve been in contact with Benjamin Roberts, the man arrested on child pornography and indecency with a child charges.  However, hat conversation does not come easy.  KTAB talked with a counselor at the Regional Crisis Center about how to approach these conversations.

“In cases like this and in this case in particular there is an extremely high likely hood that there are other victims that we don’t know about right now,” Abilene Police Sergeant, Lynn Beard said.

How do parents approach that conversation?  RVCC licensed professional counselor, Monica Reid said it’s important to stay calm and ask open-ended questions.

“Perpetrators make themselves trustworthy so they may not know and you can talk about secrets as well. Good secrets and bad secrets.  When you talk about touching it’s not always good to say good and bad because that kind of puts moral reasoning on the child or guilt so it’s better to say healthy or safe and unsafe touches,” Reid said.

Sometimes children can feel uncomfortable talking to a parent.

“They may have been threatened about telling a parent so it’s important they also have other trusted adults to talk to.  We say five people, five trusted adults,” Reid said.

The way parents or other trusted adults handle the conversation can be critical.

“How you handle the initial outcry of that kid, not only will it effect the longterm recovery of your child, it also effects our ability to get a good interview of that child later and successfully prosecute this offender or any other in any other case,” Sgt. Beard said.

“If a child does disclose that’s there’s been some unsafe touching or something that raises a lot of red flags, it’s real important to stay calm.  It’s really important to believe the child and it’s better to ask open ended questions and just let them know I’m really glad you told me,” Reid said.

Reid said starting these conversations early and having them often can make children feel more comfortable speaking up if they ever do feel uncomfortable.  If you do suspect or find out that your child has been sexually abused by Roberts to contact APD immediately.

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