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Child abuse advocates share possible reasons for flurry of child sex cases

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CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) -

Child abuse advocates say there may be several reasons behind this recent flurry of sexual abuse cases.

"When one child finds the courage to disclose, and is believed and protected, other children then find the courage," said Libby Ralston, executive director of the Dee Norton Lowcountry Children's Center.

Ralston said sometimes it takes just one child to report sexual abuse to encourage other victims to do the same. She said this could be one reason behind the recent increase of reported child sexual abuse cases.

"This is a greater risk to kids than cancer or car accidents," Ralston said.

She said one in four girls and one in six boys are victims of sexual abuse and said another possible reason the recent abuse cases have come to light is because more adults are taking notice.

Ralston said what these cases show, is the majority of sexual abuse victims know their abusers. For example, admitted child predator Louis Skip ReVille was an educator, camp counselor and coach.

Convicted sex offender Tyrone Moore was a pastor at Full Word Ministries in North Charleston when he molested two children. Fernando Rivas, a Sesame Street composer and former jazz teacher at Porter-Gaud School, has been charged with three counts of child pornography.

"The people who sexually abuse children are not the stranger in the trench coat.  It's people the child knows, very often in a position of authority, and it's an individual that the family knows and trusts," Ralston said.

She said child sexual abuse is a bigger problem than most people even realize, both locally and nationally.

"I invite our community to be aware and to know this is a possibility, and when they suspect or hear a child has been abused that they seek help for that child," she said.

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