INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Feb. 4, 2016)-- If you see something you feel is inappropriate between a child and an adult, you need to say something.
“You need to call that as soon as you become aware of suspicious and let the professionals do the investigating,” said Sandy Runkle of Prevent Child Abuse Indiana.
Especially if you are aware of illegal and inappropriate behaviors like the child exploitation allegations against former Park Tudor basketball coach Kyle Cox. Police say he was sending sexually explicit pictures and messages on Instagram and Snapchat to a 15-year-old female student.
“With social media, even if nothing has happened physically yet…emotionally and predatorily it has,” said Runkle.
The girl’s father did what experts say parents need to start doing more often. He looked through his daughter’s phone, found the messages from Cox and met with school administrators at Park Tudor to show them what he found.
“If there is reason to believe, then you make the report,” said Runkle.
The next day Cox resigned but Park Tudor did not hand over any of the incriminating messages including graphic pictures to police and DCS. The school also did not even include that information in their report, making it potentially more difficult for police to investigate whether a crime had been committed.
“Anytime there is any kind of suspicious behavior between an adult and a child, it should be reported. Then let the professionals sort through it,” said Runkle.
Under Indiana law, all Hoosiers must report suspected child sex abuse to police or the department of child services. That includes school officials who are legally obligated to report the abuse. Stop Child Abuse Indiana says the report needs to be filed immediately so the professionals can help better protect these young victims.
“If a child has been brave enough to come forward about something and they sense that something is not going to happen about it, they are not believed, or if they do not get the appropriate response…it can set them back,” said Runkle.
To report a case of child abuse, call the Indiana Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline at (800)-800-5556. You can remain anonymous.