Physical Signs Of Sexual Abuse: Important To Know For Young Students

Five very young children were allegedly sexually abused by a former employee of an early learning center they were attending in 2019.

Their parents sued the learning center and the school's former director, alleging the county police and State's Attorney's Office "closed the case without thoroughly investigating."

According to the families' attorneys, the case should be reopened because there is video evidence and accounts from some of the victims and other staff members at the school who allegedly said they witnessed the former employee "touching the children under their blankets during nap time."

The alleged victims are between the ages of four and five, according to their family lawyers. The plaintiffs allege the school and its former director were negligent because they kept the alleged perpetrator employed after they had been made aware of the accusations. The state's attorney's office denies there was enough evidence to criminally charge the former worker. WMAR Staff "Lawsuit alleges sexual child abuse at a Howard County church's early learning center" (Jun. 08, 2020).

Commentary and Checklist

One in nine girls and one in 53 boys under the age of 18 experience sexual abuse or assault by an adult.

In 93 percent of child sexual abuse cases, perpetrators of the abuse are known to the victim.

In this case, the alleged perpetrator was an employee of the school when the alleged incident happened. What makes it more difficult is the fact that the alleged victims were only four to five years old. These young children may not know what happened to them is sexual abuse and so they may not report it. Therefore, safe adults should know the signs of possible sexual abuse in young children.

What are the signs that a very young child may have been sexually abused?

  • The child has pain, itching, bleeding, or bruises in or around the genital area.
  • The child has difficulty walking or sitting, possibly because of genital or anal pain.
  • He or she suffers from urinary tract infections.
  • He or she is reluctant to take off his/her coat or sweater, even on a hot day, or insist on wearing multiple undergarments.
  • The child demonstrates sexual knowledge, curiosity, or behavior beyond his/her age (obsessive curiosity about sexual matters, for example, or seductive behavior toward peers or adults).
  • Child sexual abuse victims may go back to younger behaviors like soiling their pants or wetting the bed, have eating problems, or have problems at school.
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