Lawmakers, investigators working on ways to prevent sex crimes against children
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Louisiana leaders are reporting a sharp increase in the amount of sex crimes committed against children.
At a special committee meeting Tuesday, Feb. 14, one investigator described the fight as “a war the state is losing.”
“There are so many cases it’s a tidal wave of tragedy,” said Davis Ferris, an investigator from the Attorney General’s office.
Ferris says the state’s six cybercrime agents are working close to 6000 cases on top of new ones coming in every day.State leaders believe that number has tripled since the start of the pandemic.”They ran four search warrants today. They are making arrest. They are doing the best they can to save these children. What’s their reward? They get to go back and see the 50 more cases that were assigned to them today,” said Ferris.
Lawmakers are actively working to address the problem through a task force led by Sen. Regina Barrow.
Barrow sponsored a bill a year ago that would have allowed for the surgical castration of sex offenders whose victims were younger than 13.
After the bill failed to pass, Barrow decided to form a committee to examine the best ways to better protect our kids.
“This whole world that we’re living in now is totally different from the world we grew up in,” said Barrow.
After hearing testimony at the most recent meeting, Barrow says it’s clear that we have to get the state more manpower and more resources.
”There is definitely a resource issue put into the preventative side of this. Not only, from being able to process rape kits, put law enforcement officers on the street, but to actually target things like the internet side of what these individuals are doing because that’s giving you a window into their soul,” said Ferris.
”We have to get them more. We have to get them more,” said Barrow.
Barrow says we have to take a more proactive approach.
That includes educating parents and kids about the different signs to look out for, especially when it comes to the dangers that are online.
”I can see myself working on this another year, maybe longer, because there are multiple layers that need to be done,” said Barrow.
The task force will hand over a full report with ideas and recommendations to lawmakers next month.
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