Who Is This "Predator" Who Sexually Assaults Children? Part XVIII

By Lawrence W. Daly, MSc

“Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them”
                                                                                                                           Dalai Lama

There are mixed emotions for those who work inside the child sexual abuse industry. Many of the professionals in this field do not have the same opinion about the method and techniques which are utilized in investigating allegations of child sexual assaults. 

In fact the differences in certain aspects of the investigative process can be seen as being great and can provide others with different approaches and issues to consider. It isn’t easy changing the way you have done things in the past. However, the studies demonstrate a need for change and it is something others need to conform to and adjust the manner in which they do things i.e. interview child victims or investigate sexual assault allegations.

Just recently one of the experts in the field of child sexual assaults wrote an article stating that when approaching a child victim interview there is a need not push or direct the child towards the interviewers perception of what happened between the child victim and the “Predator.”

Law enforcement has many ideas about how to approach a child sexual assault investigation. Their attitude at times is like they are limited to a “fence” mentality where they configure their investigations to a set of ideas which can minimize their ability to thoroughly and completely approach a case with an open mind.

Too often the law enforcement officials involved in the case set guidelines which limit their ability to pursue the significant and relevant investigative issues. Who will conduct the interviews of the child victim, witnesses, interrogate the “Predator”, and analyze the biological, medical and physical evidence? These are the types of questions which an investigator will have to consider the moment he is assigned to the investigation.

Investigative strategies are calculated and re-calculated by the law enforcement investigator in deciding which will come first, the child victim interview or conducting the interviews of the witnesses or a combination of both. Further, the investigator must decide when the investigator will interrogate the “Predator?”
Everything must be precisely considered for if the investigator misses the littlest piece of evidence, than the case may be put into jeopardy. If the crime scene is not processed correctly from the beginning of learning a crime was possibly committed then there may not be a way to construct a solid foundation. The investigator must use the theme, “Do it right the first time” for if things aren’t done correctly than the integrity of the investigative process may be considered contaminated.

The “Predator” will leave little for the investigator to locate and analyze. Research and statistics have demonstrated that most child sexual assault cases have little to no biological, medical and physical evidence to analyze. Today, everyone watches television and understand the capabilities and forensic tools law enforcement has at their disposal.

One hypothesis about searching a crime scene for clues and evidence could be that the first-responder is not trained properly in how to process a child sexual assault case. The training generally comes from state operated schools which expend the majority of the time teaching law enforcement officials on how to process a murder scene.

This emphasis by the local, county, state and federal governments demonstrates the lack of intelligence and competence on the part of law enforcement agencies to provide their officials with adequate and sufficient training. Just because studies demonstrate that the evidence may not exists in some child sexual assault cases, this doesn’t mean that in ‘all’ cases the evidence does not exists. The attitude and thought process should be that the crime scene needs to be search and processed. It is as simple as that.

If the investigator interviews the medical professional who conducts the rape examination of the child, one of the questions has to be, “If studies have demonstrated that there is a high possibility that there will be little medical evidence found, why would you perform the examination?” The answer from the medical professional would most likely be is to make sure the child is medically healthy and not suffering from injuries from the alleged sexual assault.

Evidence of a child sexual assault is interrelated in some form with the case hypothesis. The issue of identification and consent in child sexual assault cases are generally not an issue because the child generally knows the “Predator” and consent is a legal consideration and a child cannot give consent.

The analysis of biological and physical evidence is an important aspect of the investigation. If first-responders do not have the necessary training and education in order to process the crime scene, then the percentage of evidence located at child sexual assaults will be minimized. In order to increase positive findings the need to search at any and all locations where the sexual assaults occurred has to be processed.

It is important that the child victim is interviewed as soon as the disclosure is made and questioned about where the sexual assaults occurred. If the locations are in the home of the child victim then the possibility of locating biological and physical evidence increases.

The percentage of how much biological and physical evidence found at a crime scene is unknown. The problem extends to the first-responder and the follow-up investigators. The emphasis placed on processing a crime scene isn’t seen as a priority because the relevance of pursuing this action is unknown to most first-responders because of the lack of understanding what finding evidence can mean to a case.

When the investigator ascertains that the first-responder failed to process the crime scene for evidence, then they should immediately have this accomplished. When evidence located at the crime scene is matched to the “Predator” than the argument by the “Predator” is that he didn’t do it is an argument which has no validity.

Some “Predators” will use the excuse that they live in the home, that they visit the home, that they had sex with an adult in the bed they are alleged to have sexually assaulted the child in and this is the reason why there was semen found on the bedding. These types of explanations make the “Predator” look like he is lying and in the long run puts his credibility and integrity in doubt.

Tomorrow, the ability to discuss the issues surrounding “Predators” shouldn’t surprise anyone who understands child sexual assault cases. There is much known about the “Predator” but how to apply that knowledge in an investigation is where the questions come into play.

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