12.20.2011

The Many Roles Of The Private Investigator In Investigating Child Sexual Abuse Allegations - Part XVIII

Child Sexual Abuse
Image by cathyjonelson via Flickr


By Lawrence W. Daly, MSc
“All action results from thought, so it is thoughts that matter”
                                                                            Sai Baba


The assignment a private investigator accepts can be enjoyable, exciting, interesting and most importantly challenging. Every assignment brings about new approaches, ideas, suggestions and resolutions. Some assignments require the mere presence of the investigator, where other assignments require the investigator to review documents and demonstrate that they are intellectual and thoughtful. The need to be directed in how to complete an assignment speaks loudly that just maybe the investigator is not competent for the task at hand.

Imagine for a moment that the investigator has the responsibility of body-guarding a 10 year-old female to a social event.  This child may have been sexually abused by her older male cousin and rumor has it he might be attending the same social event. This will require the investigator to plan ahead in reference to the layout of where the investigator will be monitoring the child’s behavior and the individuals at the social event. Further the investigator will need to know specifically who the child will be having contact with, why and is anyone else a threat to the child.

The investigator has the responsibility to not walk the child into a situation where she or the investigator could be sexually molested, raped, injured or killed. In order to prevent the child from being harmed the investigator needs to ascertain if there is a guest list and who is on the list. If the cousin is on the guest list, than a decision will have to be made if the child should be taken to the event. The client and investigator will have to make this decision.

Danger comes in all shapes and sizes and has no limits or boundaries. An investigator who is trained in weaponry and self-defense will be an asset to any situation. Although no one can guarantee the protection of an individual from being harmed, being proactive in the selection of the investigator by the client is a necessity. An investigator who does not keep him/herself in shape may not have the agility, strength or endurance to take on a physical encounter.

The decision to take a healthy child into an environment where harm could come to her is not logical or reasonable. The investigator must consider the strengths and weaknesses of the situation and then discuss these concerns with the client. It is important that the client understand the potential dangers of the event not only to the child but to the investigator. Once all of the scenarios have been considered than the ultimate decision about the child attending the event should be made.

One of the considerations by the investigator is to conduct backgrounds on the potential threats that will be present at the event. If the cousin who possibly sexually abused the child has a criminal record, than the investigator may want to notify law enforcement and ascertain if they are willing to assist the investigator in initiating an investigation. It may take additional information to get the interest of law enforcement involved.

Other factors may contribute to specifically what type of background the investigator should perform prior to having the child attend the event. Conducting interviews who know the child’s cousin may prove to be of value. The information the investigator will want to obtain should focus on the cousin’s propensity towards violence. Further the investigator needs to know if he is known to carry any type of weapons i.e. knives, guns and so forth.

In conducting the background interviews the investigator can ascertain what triggers the cousin may have such as having a temper, anger problems, disrespecting authority, prior sexual assault allegations and so forth. Each aspects of this information provides the investigator with a clearer picture of what the investigator is dealing with. Some sexual offenders find pleasure in controlling and over powering their victims. However, in the real world, the offender is an individual who has little possibilities of being successful in any scenario where he/she has to physically defend themselves against someone their own age and size.

Motivated by fantasy, sexual ideas and thoughts, the sexual offender tries to isolate their victims. In the environment where the event is to take place the investigator must examine all isolated places. This observation is crucial as if the child was to become separated from the investigator and the cousin found her in a crowd of people and manipulated her by force and threats to go with him, the investigator would know where to search.

Always expect the unexpected should be the motto of the investigator. No matter how many times you prepare for a given situation something may go wrong. This is why prior planning prevents poor performances.

As an audience it is important to understand that investigators work endless jobs generally performing the same functions on a daily basis. However, when an assignment comes along where the investigator has the opportunity to do something positive for someone than being an investigator is well worth the education, training and experience obtained over the years.

Tomorrow, the continual changing of assignments in the child sexual assault world for the investigator makes the job fascinating. In a couple days the investigator may be investigating for the defense of a man who professes his innocence and next week working for a 10 year-old female who was sexually assaulted by her cousin. Being an investigator is physically and mentally challenging and for every hour an investigator puts in the field, the more intelligent and competent they become.





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