Child sexual abuse on the rise in Texoma

By: Jalah Gray Email
By: Jalah Gray Email

SHERMAN, TX - It's a thought that terrifies parents, your child as the target of a sexual predator, and it's happening more and more often, right here in Texoma. Just this week 2 Sherman men were charged with possession of child pornography.Paris police say over the weekend they arrested two men for child sexual assault, and experts say child sexual abuse cases have continued to increase over the last year.

Forensic interviewer, Bobbi Wieck, says their case load has almost doubled over the last year at the Grayson County Children's Advocacy Center.

"I've been doing forensic interviewing since 2005 and I've interviewed one child that it was an actual stranger, the rest have been either family members or friends, somebody they knew." said Wieck.

She says out of 500 cases last year, 90% were sexual abuse, so she warns parents to communicate with their kids.

"Usually if you have a open relationship with your child, that child is going to share information that made them uncomfortable." Wieck said.

Just a few days ago, 39 year old Terrell Gillilan Junior, from Sherman, was indicted with possession of child pornography, and sexual activity with a child.
And 46 year old registered sex offender, Craig Bitzer, from Sherman, was indicted on another charge of child pornography.

"He was already a registered sex offender for possession of child pornography, the additional child pornography not only violated his parol, but also initiated a whole new set of charges." said Sergeant Dawesy.

Sergeant Bruce Dawsey says Bitzer was caught when he took his computer in for repair, and the store reported disturbing images to police.
Bitzer had been taking pictures of kids in public places like dressing rooms.

"He was using a hidden camera device to take some questionable photos that are believed to be child pornography." Dawsey said.

Dawsey and Wieck both say parents need to be vigilant to keep their kids safe.

"If you see people coming up to your kids and being very friendly to them and you have no idea who they are, that's a red flag." Wieck said.

"In public settings, always knowledge is power, talk to your kids about suspicious activity or circumstances, if you're in a public area, such as a changing room, be aware of your surroundings." said Dawesy.

For more information on how to keep your children safe visit the link below.

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