MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Child therapists are sending a warning to parents when it comes to keeping their children safe from predators.
Advocates say parents need to keep their ears and eyes open and remain vigilant when it comes to their children.
This warning comes after four men were indicted for sex crimes against children, all under the age of 4.
Investigators say they have statements from the defendants and cell phone recordings as evidence of the crimes. Investigators say in October of 2016, Isiah Hayes admitted he was recorded and directed by Daerius Ice to inappropriately touch a 9-month-old girl.
Hayes was 17 at the time of the incident.
Youth Villages Dogwood Director Colby Jonas says parents and caretakers must be fully aware of the signs of sexual abuse.
“Behaviorally, they could start acting out,” Jonas said. “Physically they could be more aggressive. They could have more sexualized conversations. They could be touching themselves in more of a public setting.”
Jonas says it’s common to see older children sexually abuse younger children, mainly due to unresolved trauma.
“Their boundaries are poor,” Jonas said. “They may have or may not have received treatment when their trauma occurred. So, they’re more susceptible to engaging in risky behavior, abusive behavior as they get older.”
In separate incidents, court documents show both Antoine Wilson And Antonio King admitted to filming themselves committing sexual acts with children. Authorities say Wilson allegedly kidnapped his 4-year-old victim from her yard in southwest Memphis.
Jonas says while predators are lurking, child sex crimes can be preventable with proper vigilance.
“If you are leaving your child in the care of someone else that you know and checked in on who that person is, you’re going to want to know if they are having anybody else over to their home while you are leaving your child with them,” Jonas said.
Child advocates say if you have any suspicions a child is a victim of abuse, you should report it to authorities or a mandated reporter such as a doctor or a teacher immediately.
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