WACO, Texas - A Waco man begins his 35-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to sexually assaulting a four-year-old girl.
The Waco Police Department's Crimes Against Children Unit took on the Ramon Beltran case, and many others like it.
"Everything from child pornography or internet exploitation to shaken baby or serious physical or sexual abuse of children" says Sergeant Jason Lundquist, talking about the cases the Waco PD Crime Against Children Unit work on.
Lundquist says, "Domestic minor sex trafficking is child abuse, so it's obviously going to involve Child Protective Services."
This could be the reason local CPS officials are seeing an uptick in removals.
"Obviously, this puts a burden on CPS. But the traffic was 'don't look for the kids that are in good situations to exploit', so a lot of these kids are already in some form of involvement with CPS when they are trafficked," Lundquist says.
The Crimes Against Children Advocacy Center also helps by providing things like counseling and a sexual assault hotline, along with other medical services helping with ongoing investigations.
"By coordinating forensic interviews and medical exams with law enforcement when they have had cases come forward about possible sexual abuse or child abuse, " says Dr. Soo Battle, with The Advocacy Center for Crime Victims and Children.
Sergeant Lundquist concludes, "Investigations in response to abuse neglect or maltreatment of children is different from that to other crimes. We're very fortunate in our country that we developed a Children's Advocacy Center model to deal with child abuse because I have my own agenda as a law enforcement officer. Child Protective Services has their own agenda, and what we really want to make sure, it's that we focus on the best interest of the child that's involved."
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