Healing Hearts Helping Lock Up Predators

(Memphis) A Hernando man is facing life in prison, accused of molesting children in DeSoto County.

Investigators say they were able to quickly charge James Marchand because of a new child advocacy center in Southaven called Healing Hearts.

The Desoto County District Attorney’s Office says the center on Getwell Road has quadrupled the number of child predator prosecutions since it opened.

“This is actually my favorite part of the interview,” said forensic interviewer Brittaney Baskin.

Baskin showed News Channel 3 what she calls “buttons of bravery.”

Every child who comes through these doors of Healing Hearts certainly deserves one.

“I let them know that they are brave for sharing whatever they shared with me that day and I just want to honor their bravery so then they pick out a button and put it in my wishing jar and make a wish.”

Brittaney says she has interviewed more than 100 children since the center opened in March.

It’s a place they can tell their story in a comfortable and safe environment, and helps prosecutors quickly get the children’s alleged perpetrators in court.

“Prior to Healing Hearts, Memphis, Oxford and Tupelo all helped out giving forensic interviews to children. They did the best they could with the resources that they had,” said Prosecutor Steven Jubera.

Jubera says Healing Hearts helped increase the number of cases making it to the district attorney’s office by 400 percent.

“Just having DHS, law-enforcement and the district attorney office together, we’ve been able to do a much better job of getting more complete cases together.”

As for Brittaney, she’s heard a lot of painful stories and plenty of wishes.

“One girl came in and said she was just ready for it all to be over,” she said.

Brittaney has a wish, too.

“I wish people would listen. If a child ever discloses something that happens to them and they’re brave enough to do that, we need to, as adults, we need to take that opportunity to listen.”

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