MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A Facebook post with WREG tagged in the comments caught the news staff’s attention; it appears to show a new father saying he has a newborn daughter and saying he’ll perform sexual acts on her when she’s 11.
WREG reported the post to authorities and to the Memphis Child Advocacy Center.
“When you really see what child sexual abuse does to kids, it can wreak havoc in someone’s life for a lifetime. It’s not something to joke about,” said Beryl Wight with the Memphis Child Advocacy Center.
Wight said she sees a lot of joking like this on social media. It is a problem, but it’s also an opportunity to spread awareness.
“Parents need to know who their children are hanging out with. In 90 percent of cases, child sexual abuse is perpetrated by someone the child already knows,” Wight said.
In fact, WREG reached the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services. A spokesperson said anyone who sees a threat against a child is required to report it by law. That included anything on Facebook.
“There have been instances in the past where people have been really worried about what they’ve seen on social media. They have let us know. One of the things we can do is collaborate with law enforcement,” DCS’s Rob Johnson said.
Officials said Memphis Police have a specialty unit that investigates. Unfortunately in Memphis, child sex abuse is all too common.
“20 percent of adults interviewed reported sexual abuse in their childhood. That’s about twice the national average,” Wight said of a recent study in the Memphis area.
She said victims of child sexual abuse are more likely to get pregnant as teenagers, be addicted to drugs and have medical problems like heart disease. She urged everyone to take it seriously and report it.
You can report any case online or by calling the state hotline at 877-237-0004. State officials said the hotline is staffed around the clock. They also said they understand those who report abuse don’t always have a lot of information but urged people to realize every bit helps.
Memphis Police did not respond to WREG’s requests for comment on this case.
DCS said it’s aware of the case and officials were “looking into it.”