East Side sex cases on the rise
A spike in sex abuse cases involving Summit County children have officials hoping to enter schools and churches to educate communities about the growing problem.
An adult in Utah cannot legally have sex with somebody under the age of 16, Summit County Sheriff Dave Edmunds explained.
Fourteen and 15-year-olds are not legally allowed to consent to sex, Edmunds said.
Sixteen- and 17-year-olds can consent to sex if the adult is not more than 10 years older than they are, Edmunds said.
"Pornography is often the root of sexual deviancy," Edmunds said. "The Internet’s a culprit when it comes to that."
And the problem extends countywide, he said.
Summit/Wasatch County Children’s Justice Center Executive Director Kenna Jones said several cases have emerged lately in North and South Summit.
"We’re having a big influx right now," Jones said.
The justice center provides a safe environment for officers to interview children who become victims of abuse, she said.
More education is needed in Coalville and Kamas where the number of sexual abuse cases involving children has dramatically increased, Jones told the Summit County Commission Wednesday.
"It makes me sad," she said.
New cases were investigated from eastern Summit County this week, she explained.
A 16-year-old girl on Tuesday disclosed that a man she is related to has forced her to have sex since she was seven years old, according to Jones.
The suspect was booked into the Summit County jail after he confessed, Jones added.
Commissioners were presented with a litany of 14 other sex abuse cases reported in July and August in Summit and Wasatch counties.
"I’d like to be able to come over here and provide education in schools and churches," Jones said in an interview in Coalville. "We know there is so much more that we don’t see."
Two detectives at the Summit County Sheriff’s Office are dedicated to investigating child abuse, Edmunds said.
"We have a surprising number of sex cases that we are investigating involving minor children," the sheriff said.
The Children’s Justice Center helped to investigate about 914 cases since opening in Heber in 2001, Jones said.
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