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Abuse Numbers Still High

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A new state report tracking child abuse in Idaho finds that particular crime still on the rise in the Gem State. Attorney General Lawrence Wasden said researchers for his office found a rising number of sex crimes against children. Prosecutions against adult abusers were on the rise, a trend that hasn't changed in years.

Wasden's researcher, Dr. Robert Marsh of Boise State's Department of Criminal Justice Administration, briefed the Legislature on the report this week. In the period between July 1, 2005 and June 30, 2006, some 324 cases were filed against adult defendants, an increase of 51 cases from the previous year. The report does not include data or estimates on unreported child sexual abuse or reported cases that do not result in criminal prosecution. But research found that 145 cases were filed against juvenile defendants, a decline of 18 cases from the previous year.

This is the 18th such report, and the long-term trends are not encouraging, Wasden said in a prepared statement.

"The report again draws our attention to a disturbing fact that has not changed since the first report," Wasden said. "The abuser is almost always a person known and trusted by the victim and the victim's family. Less than 6 percent of the defendants were strangers to the victim."

More than half of the victims of adult defendants were between 12 and 15 years old. For victims of juvenile defendants, 61 percent of the victims were 11 years old or younger.

"I found the report deeply disturbing," said Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter. "I support strong sanctions aimed at deterring and appropriately treating those who would abuse our children."