38-year-old Catholic priest, John Praveen remains behind bars Wednesday night on a $100,000 bond.
Of course we want our kids to respect and listen to adults, especially those who they should trust. But officials tell us we must also encourage them to speak up to protect themselves against physical or sexual abuse.
In the case involving 38-year-old Catholic priest John Praveen, who allegedly made sexual contact with a 13-year-old on two separate occasions in September, Rapid City police say the investigation started, only, after the alleged victim came forward.
“When a child comes to you with some type of disclosure or has some type of concern, the first thing you should do is thank the child,” Teresa Thie with Children’s Inn said.
Experts say in almost 90 percent of abuse cases, the victim knows the abuser in some way. As parents, experts say we should be prepared to start a conversation with your child if he or she is acting strangely.
“How is everything going, everything okay at school or church and see if you can’t open up that conversation,” Thie said.
If your child still doesn’t open up, you may want to seek professional help like reaching out to counselors at the Children’s Inn. But here’s what you don’t do.
“If you feel there’s a concern with your child in any environment, you don’t want to send your child back to that environment until you know they’re going to be safe,” Thie said. “Because it is very scary for the child to feel that they have to stay in that space.”
Experts also say teach your kids to trust their instincts. If something feels wrong, it probably is. If an adult asks your child to participate in a behavior and keep it a secret, then something is probably wrong there, too and should be treated as a warning sign. There are several resources for parents to get help if they feel like they need it. Children’s Inn or Child’s Voice