Perpetrators Seek Opportunities To Be With Children

A former county sheriff's deputy has been given a life sentence in prison for abusing children.

The 26-year-old was convicted in November 2019 for "the transportation of minors with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity."

The abuse came to light when a member of a church in New Mexico reported that a fellow member identified as the defendant, had sexually abused a child.

The defendant, who served as volunteer in the children's ministry, admitted to "unlawfully touching an eight-year-old child on multiple occasions."

He also owned a Tae Kwon Do (TKD) studio where he instructed several young students. He admitted "engaging in illicit sexual conduct with a 13-year-old at the studio and with another TKD student between the ages of nine and ten.

The defendant also drove two minors from New Mexico to Farwell, at his residence, to spend the night. While the children were in his home, the perpetrator performed sexual acts on the 10-year-old and the 11-year-old. He also gave the 10-year-old pills to induce unconsciousness, according to court documents.

Investigators of the case determined that the defendant had abused and sexually exploited seven children.

During sentencing hearing, the court how the accused had leveraged power and trust through his positions as a sheriff's deputy, childcare volunteer and Tae Kwon Do instructor.

According to the victims, they were afraid of him because he was "big" and they thought he might "hurt" them.  Matthew Watkins "Former Parmer County sheriff's deputy gets life sentence for preying on children" (Jun. 12, 2020)


Commentary and Checklist

Sex offenders will seek jobs where they will be in close contact with children. The perpetrator in this case worked as a sheriff’s deputy, which gave him access to many members of the public including children; as a childcare volunteer, which put him in direct contact with children; and as a Tae Kwon Do instructor, which he used for physical proximity and for the ability to intimidate.  

Although criminal background checks are a good idea for employees, that is just the first step. Safe adults must be vigilant at all times. This means paying attention to how the other adults around you interact with children.

What are some other child sexual abuse prevention steps for employers:

  • Hire only qualified employees.
  • Always perform a thorough background check to make sure there is nothing that could indicate a risk for children.
  • Always interview job references.
  • Check all representations made on the job application and resume.
  • Be observant of all interactions of other adults in your workplace with children.
  • Make sure those who work with children know how to report suspected child sexual abuse to your local legal authorities.
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