Over the past year the CAC served 540 children, provided 4,500 therapy sessions, and forensically investigated more than 300 cases. “Our MDT members conducted 301 forensic interviews and the victim advocates gave supports for civil and criminal justice matters and social and emotional support over 5,000 times,” said CAC Executive Director Karrie Damm. “These families need a lot of education, assistance, and support…and we are there to listen to them and lend them a hand whenever necessary.”
“We see many difficult cases,” said Damm. “We see cases where the victim did not choose to disclose, and is now forced into a situation they weren’t ready for. We see cases where the child has been groomed so much that they don’t want to see their abuser in trouble with the law, or they are too scared to tell their story. We see cases where predators hand pick kids they know will have trouble telling their story. We see cases where family dynamics make the child afraid to disclose, or keeps the family from supporting the child, leaving them with no one to turn to. But we also see incredible strength on the part of victims and their families and the tireless efforts of our Multi-Disciplinary Team.”
Each year the CAC recognizes one case that exemplifies the work of the Multi-Disciplinary Team and honors those individuals with the CAC Best Investigative Practices Award. According to Damm this year’s award represents the work on a particularly difficult case.
“A mother called to report that her boyfriend has been sexually abusing her daughter, said Damm. When members of our Multi-Disciplinary Team brought the child to the CAC for a forensic interview, she was very afraid but disclosed the abuse had been happening over the course of three months.”
As a result of the disclosure an arrest was made on 1 count of 1st degree Sexual Abuse, 2nd Degree Sexual Abuse, 2nd Degree Unlawful Imprisonment, Endangering the Welfare of a Child, and 2 counts of Forcible Touching.
Through the efforts of the CAC and its Multi-Disciplinary Team the case did go to trial. CAC staff members supported the victim during her testimony; provided trauma therapy; and offered ongoing support any time the victim had to appear in court.
“Ultimately the abuser was found guilty on all charges,” said Damm. “The abuser was sentenced to 7 years in State Prison, 10 years of post-release supervision, and will be rated under the Sex Offender Registration Act upon his release.”
“This case exemplifies the way in which our Multi-Disciplinary Team members work collaboratively to ensure justice, victim safety, and help children begin healing from the trauma of abuse. The team’s response and engagement with the CAC from the beginning was an extraordinary example of a successful investigative team approach, added Damm.”
Comprised of a cross section of law enforcement investigators, child protective services, medical providers, therapeutic professionals, victim support professionals, the district attorney’s office, and other human services agencies, the CAC’s Multi-Disciplinary Team maintains a well-coordinated, effective approach to child abuse investigation and prosecution, and service provision to families and individuals affected by child abuse. Team members share pertinent information regarding the cases, and by following the CAC’s system for monitoring cases, take necessary steps to protect children, reduce the trauma to children and respective family members and pursue positive legal outcomes that meet the best interest of the child victim and their families.
Located at 163 South First Street in Fulton, with a satellite office at 4822 Salina Street in Pulaski, the CAC of Oswego County is a non-profit charitable organization that works hand-in-hand with local law enforcement, prosecution, child protective services, medical providers, therapy providers, and victim advocacy professionals in Oswego County to protect and serve children that are victims of sexual and physical abuse. For more information on the Child Advocacy Center of Oswego County you may contact them at 315-592-4453 or visit www.oswegocac.org.