LINCOLN, Neb. Employees at the Child Advocacy Center are dealing with a significant workload increase. It comes as the FBI is trying to interview as many kids as possible who went to Playful Painters Child Care.
Outside of the Child Advocacy Center in Lincoln, NE.
Former employee Titus Miller is set to appear in federal court next Wednesday, charged with production and distribution of child pornography.
Investigators say he sexually assaulted and secretly produced sexually graphic videos of his victims.
Workers at the CAC are specifically trained to interview children who may be victims of abuse. They say in a normal month they may have 100 cases and interviews but with the FBI’s ongoing investigation they have been working non-stop.
They currently have four forensic interviewers who work to interview children ages three to eighteen about potential abuse.
“We can evaluate what types of questions would be beneficial and that they have the ability to answer them,” said Jake Hedden who is one of the forensic interviews.
He says it often takes time before a child opens up about an incident and wants parents of potential victims in this case to know in children this young it may take more than one session.
“We talk to them and ask open ended questions and get whatever information they’re willing to talk about at that point,” said Hedden.
“With the understanding that there may be more information that they didn’t share during that initial interview.”
Aubrey Yost is a child advocate with the center who works as a support system for both the children and parents during this process.
She says parents who had children that attended Playful Painters and parents in general should always know the potential warning signs of sexual abuse.
“Overly adult sexual knowledge, overly adult sexual play,” said Yost. “If they are obsessive about private parts and that’s something that hasn’t really been introduced.”
Yost also says regressive behaviors like a potty trained child wetting the bed and extreme personality changes may also be signs.
She also wants to remind parents that all cases are different and that its usually not a one-step diagnosis.
“We recommend that parents have regular body safety conversations with their children as opposed to interviewing their children,” said Yost. “Just to make those conversations regular so they know what boundaries are and certainly if a child discloses to report that right away.”
The Child Advocacy Center has advocates and resources available 24-hours-a-day.
They along with law enforcement are still encouraging parents of children who attended Playful Painters during the window of 2016 and last month to file a report or reach out with any concerns.