October 10, 2008

Molestation cases on rise

By Tiffiny Woo, Eufaula Tribune

October 10, 2008

Barbour County deputies state that cases involving child molestation have increased significantly this year. Chief Deputy Eddie Ingram said the department investigated three cases of child molestation last year. So far, they have investigated 14 cases in 2008.

Ingram believes the increased number of cases is due partly because more people are reporting these crimes. "I think more people are coming forth now because of an increased confidence in the sheriff's department," says Ingram. "I've spoken to two victims who have said they felt more comfortable with us working the case. They know we will investigate it and do what we can to stop the abuse."

All of these cases reported have been for children under 16 years of age, with some victims being as young as 1 year old. "The sad thing is that a lot of these victims are being abused by (a close family member)," says Ingram.

Ingram says the sheriff's department now has an officer dedicated to criminal investigations. "Sgt. (David) Morris does a good job of getting on these cases," said Ingram. "It's an asset to the department to have someone with his experience on the team." Ingram adds any crime committed against a child is given high priority at the sheriff's department.

A rampant drug problem in the county could also be contributing to the increase in these abuse cases, adds Ingram. He expects to see more of these cases as the economy continues to falter. The BCSO has made four arrests on child molestation cases this year.

Tristan Kennith Parmer, 18, of 28 White Oak Church Road was arrested in August and charged with felony rape second degree. Joseph Thompson, 42, of 4080 Lot 38 on Hwy. 431, was arrested in May and charged with felony rape first degree. William Samuel Evans, 39, of 35 Summerhill Road in Eufaula was arrested in August on two separate counts of felony sexual abuse first degree. Jessie Lenard Kelley, 23, of 204 Cottonhill Road in Eufaula was arrested in August and charged with felony rape second degree.

"Unfortunately, there haven't been any bogus cases out of all the reports of molestation that we've received," said Ingram. Several cases are still under investigation.


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