Tag Archives: Children

IN Kids Talk Combating Rise In Child Abuse

.jpg photo of Child Advocacy Center
Kids Talk advocacy center

Kids Talk empowers children who
might be abused

ANDERSON, IN  –  In the three years it’s been open, Kids Talk has helped change how child neglect and physical and sexual abuse cases in Madison County are investigated.

Kids Talk has been an invaluable resource for law enforcement.
Police Chief Jason Brizendine

Kids Talk is an advocacy center that conducts specialized forensic interviews when the Department of Child Services receives reports about children who might be at risk.  Since 2014, the agency has assisted more than 1,300 children.

“Not only did we want to be reactive” when the program began, said Becky Oldham, a manager and child advocate, “but a goal from the beginning was to get out in schools and work on prevention with kids.

“That’s been really important to us, and we were really excited to launch that last year,” she added.

Those school-based presentations have been effective in helping children distinguish good behavior from bad, according to follow-up surveys.

“After a program is presented, every child gets an option to say if they want to talk to somebody,” Oldham said.

“We had 125 DCS reports come out of those presentations countywide, and we had hundreds of reports where kids came forward about things such as self harm or friends being suicidal, and we were able to refer those to guidance counselors,” she added.

About 500 children received some kind of service as a result of the school presentations.

“We were able, I think, to head off a lot of things that would have gone a lot further, as far as sexual abuse is concerned,” she added.  “I think some children came forward when they were in the initial grooming phase, (which) did not go further because they were empowered by that presentation they heard.”

Elwood Police Chief Jason Brizendine said Kids Talk has been an invaluable resource for law enforcement.

“Police just didn’t know how to investigate certain things many years ago when I first started,” the chief said.  “Over the years, they’ve figured out that you need facilities like this who specialize in the interview techniques and how to deal with the children.”

“This is a service I do not ever want to see leave,” Brizendine said.

Texas AG CEU Stops Taylor Child Pornographer

.jpg photo of man accused of Child Pornography
Stephen Gordon Holcomb, 70, of Taylor, Texas.

OAG’s Child Exploitation Unit Arrests Williamson County Man for
Possession of Child Pornography

AUSTIN, TX  –  Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced today that the Child Exploitation Unit (CEU) of his office arrested 70-year-old Stephen Gordon Holcomb, of Taylor, on three counts of Possession of Child Pornography, a third-degree felony.  Holcomb could face up to 10 years in prison per charge if convicted.

Following a CyberTipline report from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, CEU investigators executed a search warrant at Holcomb’s residence, where child pornography was found on a digital storage device.

Investigators seized several additional digital storage devices that will be examined by the attorney general’s Digital Forensics Unit.

During an interview, Holcomb admitted his involvement in the matter.  He was transported to the Williamson County Jail where he will appear before a magistrate.

The Texas Attorney General’s Office works to protect children by using the latest technology to track down some of the most profoundly evil predators online.

The CEU proactively seeks out and arrests predators who commit crimes against children using technology and online sources.

Attorney General Paxton urges all parents and teachers to become aware of the risks our children face on the internet and take steps to help ensure their children’s safety.

If you suspect someone of producing or downloading child pornography you can report it to NCMEC or The CyberTipLine

For more information on cyber safety, please visit: https://texasattorneygeneral.gov/initiatives/cyber-safety/

Sheriff Padilla – The Hero Of Hope

.jpg photo of Sheriff Padilla
Former Henry County Sheriff Jim Padilla has been named the Hero of Hope award recipient

Former Henry County Sheriff honored for
Child Abuse work

CAMBRIDGE, IL  –  Former Henry County Sheriff Jim Padilla has been named the Hero of Hope award recipient by Braveheart Children’s Advocacy Center in Cambridge.

The award was presented at Mr. Padilla’s retirement event in Kewanee presented by Henry County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Kerry Loncka, acting Henry County Sheriff, and Johanna Hager, forensic interviewer for Braveheart CAC.

“He (Mr. Padilla) was an investigator with the sheriff’s department and became involved with the CAC in the 1990s when we had a series of child abuse deaths that happened in our county and he was deeply saddened by that,” said Capt. Loncka,  Captain Loncka, a Braveheart CAC board member.  “It was then that he and several other people founded the advocacy center.”

The award honored Mr. Padilla “for going above and beyond in his efforts, dedication and compassion for the fight against child abuse.”

“My heart and soul is in that place,” Mr. Padilla said of Braveheart CAC.  “I have received awards and commendations throughout my career, but this one touches my heart the most — the most meaningful and the one I will cherish the most.

“Before the center opened in Cambridge, we were using a backroom in the courthouse and that wasn’t really suited for forensic interviewing,” he said.  “When the center opened it was a like a breath of fresh air.  It made it so much easier to interview the children because they felt more comfortable.  It also provided a comfortable place for families to wait.

“Those people who work daily with abused children, there‘s a special place for them,” he said.  “It takes a certain kind of special person to work with children who have been physically or sexually abused.”

Mr. Padilla served on the Kewanee Police Department eight years and the sheriff’s department for 33 years.  He was elected Henry County Sheriff in 2010.  Experienced in strategic weapons and tactics and FBI sniper training, Mr. Padilla said learning how to interview child crime victims was the most challenging, both physically and mentally draining.

He said in retirement he plans to focus on his family and hobbies of fishing, hunting, competitive shooting, riding his Harley and spending time in his RV.

“Sheriff Padilla was an original member of the Braveheart CAC of Henry County and the Protecting All Children Together (PACT) advisory board,” said Braveheart CAC Case Manager Constance King said.  “We want to thank him for over 40 years of service in law enforcement and his ongoing commitment and dedication to children and families.”

The center’s name represents the courage it takes for children to share their experiences, the education of the center’s team and “the innocence at the heart of every child and the heart of the community to speak up in partnership with us,” Ms. King said.

The name became official in 2007 when the Henry County center added services to children in Marshall, Putnam, Stark and Bureau counties.

“I was at the center one afternoon and the name ‘Braveheart’ popped into my mind,” he said.  “It’s all about the kids, and it takes a lot of guts for a child to be able to tell the story of what happened to them.

He said he would feel badly if he’d lost one of the cases involving a child victim, which was an incentive to work hard.  His most difficult case, he said, was in the 1990s when five children died at the hands of their mother’s boyfriends.  He said those were the only autopsies he ever attended, for the children.

“If there was something about my job that I didn’t like, it was that,” Mr. Padilla said.

NM Fighter Accused Of Child Abuse

.jpg photo of man suspected of Child Abuse
Gilbert Cuhen, 31

Arrest made in Child Abuse case

TUCSON, AZ  –  A three-year old is in critical condition and an arrest has been made after a child abuse call Wednesday, April 26, when a woman driving her daughter to the hospital called 911.

According to TPD, 31-year old Gilbert Cuhen, the boyfriend of the child’s mother was arrested Thursday.

New Mexico MMA fighter faces child abuse charges

The mother told police everyone was home when she heard commotion in the backyard, when she went back to check she found her daughter unresponsive and drove her to the hospital.

On her way to the hospital she dialed 911 when her daughter was getting worse, according to TPD.  Police and firefighters arrived and determined the girl’s injuries were a result of physical abuse.

When police went to question Cuhen at the house, he was not there and it was later found out he left to New Mexico to stay with family.

While in New Mexico Cuhen did speak to authorities, according to TPD.

Cuhen drove back to Tucson Thursday after speaking with a detective in the child abuse unit at TPD over the phone.

After driving to the TPD station Cuhen was taken into custody and arrested on two counts of child abuse.

TX AG CEU Stops Another Child Pornographer

.jpg photo of Child Predator
Joshua Carl Wulff, 26, of Leander TX

Child Exploitation Unit Arrests Williamson County Man for Possession of
Child Pornography

AUSTIN, TX  –  Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced that earlier this week the Child Exploitation Unit (CEU) of his office arrested 26-year-old Joshua Carl Wulff, of Leander, on four counts of Possession of Child Pornography, a third-degree felony.  Wulff could face up to 10 years in prison per charge if convicted.

Following a referral from Pennsylvania law enforcement, CEU investigators executed a search warrant at Wulff’s residence, where child pornography was found on his laptop.

Investigators confiscated additional digital storage devices that will be examined by the attorney general’s Digital Forensics Unit.

During an interview, Wulff confessed to using online social networks to solicit children.

He was booked into Williamson County Jail without incident.

The Texas Attorney General’s Office works to protect children by using the latest technology to track down some of the most profoundly evil predators online.

The CEU proactively seeks out and arrests predators who commit crimes against children using technology and online sources.

Attorney General Paxton urges all parents and teachers to become aware of the risks our children face on the internet and take steps to help ensure their children’s safety.

For more information on cyber safety, please visit:
https://www.texasattorneygeneral.gov/cj/cyber-safety