Lubbock police tout life sentences for ‘worst people on Earth’ amid Child Abuse Awareness campaigns
LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - According to the Lubbock Police Department, so far six child abusers have been sentenced to life in prison in 2022. Most of them will not have the possibility of parole.
“I think people hurting children, hurting kids or abusing kids are probably the worst people on Earth,” Detective Jeremy Jones said. “They’re the worst kind of criminals and being able to remove those people from the public is something I feel is the most important.”
Jones is part of the Special Victims Unit’s Crimes Against Children Squad. He said the unit was sent to more than a thousand cases of child abuse in 2021, which he says is consistent for the LPD.
“We get neglectful abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse, all of it,” Jones said.
He said the way the cases are reported vary as well, including the ones that led to this year’s sentences.
“Two of those were cases where the victim had come forward,” Jones said. “One of them was one of my cases. The victim was pregnant, had a child by the suspect. Another one was an 8-year-old victim that had come forward and told the police during an assault investigation where her mother was being assaulted.”
On Wednesday a Family & Consumer Science class at Lubbock Cooper High School unveiled its service project, an awareness campaign for Child Abuse Awareness month. Outside the school you will find 970 painted rocks and blue ribbons on trees. The rocks, which are blue and include messages of hope and empathy, signify each reported victim of abuse in Lubbock County in 2021.
“We understand that it is harder for some kids to speak out, but we hope that they know we’re here to support them,” Angel Garcia, a junior student, said. “We want it to be known that everything we do, tying the ribbon on the trees and the painting of the rocks, is showing them and not to put them in a negative light or make them a statistic. We want them to feel like they’re heard. We want them to feel like they’re seen. We don’t want them to feel like just another number.”
As a survivor of child abuse, Garcia said she knows what it means to be recognized and understand there are people that will support them. Fellow student Liyah McDaniel said she has also had family and friends experience abuse.
“We just want them to know that we care for them, that we love them and that they’re heard,” McDaniel said. “They have a way through.”
Jones said the community should feel okay to report abuse if you have good reason to suspect it. He also encourages people to listen to children.
“If a kid comes up and starts confiding in you for something, just listen to them and give them a chance to talk, maybe ask some follow up questions,” Jones said. “But, don’t just jump in and ask direct questions like Is someone touching you or those kind of things. Let the kid talk on their own and see where their story goes.”
Unfortunately, until abuse is stopped, those stories will continue.
“Be that ear for kids to lean into whenever they have their stories,” Garcia said. “Even though the month is coming to an end, we still recognize it and we still see it.”
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