The Citadel gets child sex abuse prevention award

Published: Aug. 14, 2013 at 10:32 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 14, 2013 at 10:52 PM EDT
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MOUNT PLEASANT, SC (WCSC) - The Citadel joined nearly 50 other organizations from all over the state Wednesday to receive an award for participating in a child sex abuse training program sponsored by Darkness to Light.

"This is an issue that is very sad, very taboo even to this day," said Liz Boeschen, prevention program manager with Darkness to Light.

It's difficult to talk about child sex abuse, but experts say discussion is the first step to prevention, and employers can have a big voice.

"It is vital to have employers involved to push the agenda," said Boeschen. "There is that theory that everything comes from the top down."

In order to get the award, an organization much have trained at least 90% of their staff in child sex abuse prevention. The Citadel went above and beyond that.

"There were people who looked and said,'How are we going to do this?' 3,000 folks in six months," said General John Rosa of the Citadel.

"We had 97% of our faculty and staff, 99.7% of our cadet core, and 100% of our contractors," said Stephanie Hewett an associate professor with at the Citadel.

The work that The Citadel is doing with Darkness to Light is extremely important, especially given that they have had some issue with child sex abuse allegations in the past.

Back in 2007, a sexual abuse complaint was filed against Citadel staff member Louis "Skip" Reville for abusing a number of boys during summer camps at the military college.

"Before that individual, and before that horrible incident, we had been training staff," said Rosa. "What this does is reinforces the importance."

Officials with Darkness to Light say child sex abuse prevention is ongoing and continues beyond training sessions.

"They can prevent this," said Boeschen. "By preventing it, they can help a child escape a lot of other consequences that can happen when they are abused

Select Health of South Carolina got an Honorary Partner and Prevention award for their work.

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