Since it opened 16 months ago, the Children’s Advocacy Center of Parker County has served 309 children, but over the last six months, staff traveled to Italy and Colorado for a unique case involving the U.S. Air Force.
“The incident happened overseas, but the family lived in the area, they had come back to stay with family members while the person was overseas, and we had an outcry here to a professional,” CAC of Parker County Executive Director Cheryl Bullock said. “Since it was a military matter, they contact [Child Protective Services] and set everything up.”
The indecency with a child incident occurred with a 4-year-old female victim, who was interviewed by CAC Forensic Interviewer Brittany Lain.
Lain and CAC of Parker County Therapist Amber Lopez both traveled to Italy to testify in the case, which is where the incident took place.
“So often in this field, you feel like you are fighting a losing battle and you may not truly be making a difference. But then you have a case like this one where you have an opportunity to speak for the child and let your work speak for itself,” Lain said. “Being able to see a child get the justice she deserves due to the work that myself and my team put in is one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever experienced.”
Lopez and Lain then traveled to Colorado, where the family moved, to finish the case, which led to a dishonorable discharge of the accused and a 40-year prison sentence.
“I am proud of all the services the CAC offers,” Lopez said. “Not just the therapy I am able to provide for children and families, but also the ability to help ensure that the youngest victims get justice. It is an honor to work with such an amazing team of professionals.”
Out of the 309 children served by the CAC of Parker County, 72 percent have been sexual abuse; 13 percent have been physical abuse; 12 percent have been witness to domestic violence, which is where a child witnessed a parent trying to kill the other parent and got injured in the process; and 3 percent have been drug endangered. The CAC of Parker County has also provided 1,123 units of resources for families and have served 363 total people, which includes siblings and caregivers.
“I just want to say what an outstanding job [Lain] has done because we’ve heard nothing but praise from other people about what an outstanding interviewer she is and then, of course, our counselor, [Lopez] — we have a rock star team and I truly believe that,” Bullock said. “We’ve picked these individuals for a reason and I just feel like they are people that really care.”