GREENSBORO, N.C. -- When it comes to sexual assaults and child abuse there’s one department devoted to finding criminals and helping victims in our community.
WFMY News 2 talked one-on-one with Sgt. Kenneth Johnson who heads up the Family Victims Unit at the Greensboro Police Department. He’s been a Sergeant and Supervisor there for two years.
He has lots to say when it comes to child abuse, domestic violence, sexual abuse and reporting crimes and getting help.
We asked him the following questions and here are his answers.
Q: What does your department do?
A: We investigate domestic violence, child abuse, child sexual abuse, all sexual assaults, child deaths, & missing kids under the age of 16.
Q: Is the job emotionally heavy?
A: Yes, it’s emotionally heavy stuff but their cases worth working. We get a lot of great charges from it. If you arrest someone for a child crime, you have done that child a great service and the community a great service.
Q: Have you seen an increase in the number of people reporting with sexual assaults due to what’s in the National Media with more victims coming forward?
A: I don’t know that we’ve seen an increase. Each case is its own success or failure, whether we can even make a case. There are a lot of cases that are certainly worth reporting, but we can’t potentially make cases on.
Q: What’s classified as sexual transgressions?
A: When it comes to sexual transgressions we have a battery of different charges for child cases, obviously forcible rape, forcible sex offense, misdemeanor charges for groping someone, sexual battery.
Q: How does law enforcement define sexual assault?
A: Sexual assault is a general term, but it would be any sexual contact that’s unwanted and against someone’s will. The way most of the sexual contact occurs against someone is by force. Someone is held down or forced to do something with the threat of a weapon or violence. Either, because they can’t give consent and you might have a case like that with children. They can’t give consent in a situation like that. You can have a situation where consent doesn’t occur because someone is mentally incapacitated. Like with the case of a rape at a party and a woman is inebriated. There are certain relationships that just won’t allow sexual contact they are legal by the very nature like with a teacher and a student, basically anyone who has custody of someone.
Q: What patterns/commonalities have you seen in assaulters?
A: When you talk about sexual assault in terms of domestic violence a lot of crime my unit investigates it is about control and power but not always.
Q: What should you do if you think you are a victim of sexual assault?
A: The first thing is kind of recognizing the thing that has occurred to you as a victim, is it criminal or is it civil?
If you think it’s criminal then report it to the police department. If it’s not criminal, we will still refer you to the services that you need to get past the trauma you’ve experienced in your life. If it’s criminal, then we are going to investigate it.
We investigate to pursue a criminal case against someone. Every case we deal with we typically refer someone to counseling.
If you have been a victim of sexual assault we’re going to encourage you to get a hospital’s nurses exam which can be done at any of the local hospitals.
Most of the time if they report it that night, it’s the very next thing after we take that statement and sometimes we say go right now, and we typically go with them to the hospital. Then after that, we get the statement.
Q: How should you talk to your kids about sex and sexual assault?
A: Especially when it comes to your children, don’t be afraid to talk to your kids about sexual activity. Have that conversation about what’s appropriate and what’ inappropriate activity.
Listen to your kids, follow their social media. If your kid has a cell phone then you should have the password to that phone.
You should know what apps they’re using on a regular base, and you should have that capability to take that phone away from them at any time. Make sure you’re reading exactly what they’re writing or texting.
Q: What are the statute of limitations when it comes to prosecuting criminal cases?
A: Misdemeanors are prosecutable up to two years after the offense
Felonies can be prosecuted forever
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