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By Kimberley A. McCabe

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In 1989, Jacob Wetterling was an 11-year-old boy from Minnesota who was abducted while riding his bike. Jacob has never been found. Although neither Adam nor Jacob were confirmed cases of sexual assault, most law enforcement McCabe: Child Abuse SEXUAL ABUSE page 33 33 officials and researchers in the area of child abductions assume the cases to be ones of molestation and murder. In 1993, Polly Klaas was a 12-year-old California girl who was abducted from her home during a slumber party. Her abductor was convicted of her rape and murder.

In particular, Megan’s Law provides law enforcement the ability McCabe: Child Abuse 48 page 48 CHILD ABUSE AND THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM to detain known sex offenders in the event of a missing or sexually assaulted child. S. courts, with the exception of the matter of computer-generated children, have been, for the most part, accommodating of the legislation against child sexual abuse. In the case of US v. Reedy (1988), the Supreme Court supported the conviction of a stepfather charged with taking pornographic pictures of two young girls.

Those external inhibitors may be the amount of supervision of the child or the child’s social support system. A child with little adult supervision or without the foundation of someone to confide in is the ideal child for a sexual assault. Precondition IV is the final stage prior to the sexual abuse of the child. The factors that eliminate the child’s resistance are the focus of the perpetrator (Finkelhor, 1984). Whether creating an environment of powerlessness or a trusting relationship between the perpetrator and the child, the abuser must develop an atmosphere to eliminate the child’s resistance to sexual activities with the adult.

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