Benton Co. sheriff speaks out after seeing rise in child abuse cases

BENTON COUNTY, Tenn. — A sheriff in one West Tennessee county has noticed a disturbing trend.

Benton County Courthouse

Benton County Sheriff Kenny Christopher is speaking out about an increase in certain crimes being committed.

“On child abuse, on child sexual abuse, our reports are literally going through the roof. It probably went up close to 100 percent,” Sheriff Christopher said.

In fact, the sheriff says there’s an uptick in reports of child abuse.

“It’s not just us. It’s all the other counties, and we talked about this at the sheriff’s association. Most of them, we’re finding that there is something going on. It’s not just someone wanting to make an allegation about somebody, it’s true,” Sheriff Christopher said.

He says he has no doubt this is linked to the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has forced many children to stay home from school, and parents need someone to look after them, and it opens the door for abuse.

Benton County Sheriff Breast Cancer Awareness Cruiser

“I think it’s going to be a continuing problem until our children are back in school,” Sheriff Christopher said.

He says he is hoping once COVID-19 is over, these reports go down. For now, he recommends parents try to seek a daycare or make sure they are communicating with their children.

“Talk to your children when they’re at home. What did you do today? What happened when you was at your friends house? Or what happened when you were at the babysitter’s house? Or a cousin’s house, whoever,” Sheriff Christopher said.

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