June 24, 2012

Monsters Among Us

6-24-2012 Oklahoma:

How do we protect children from predators?

Two weeks ago, on the outskirts of Shiner, "The Cleanest Little City in Texas," a young father killed a ranch hand moments after he found Jesus Mora Flores raping his 5-year-old daughter behind a barn.

Authorities withheld identities of the father and child for privacy reasons. If the public did know that father's name, most law-abiding Americans probably would line up to shake his hand - the same hand(s) used to beat Flores to death.

The story began June 9 at a family barbecue when the little girl went off to feed the chickens. A witness saw Flores, 47, dragging the girl into a secluded area, and alerted the father who ran toward the sound of the child's screams. Yanking Flores, who had his pants down around his ankles, off the girl, the father "inflicted several blows to the man's head and neck," court documents said. After knocking Flores unconscious, the father called 911, begging for authorities and an ambulance to hurry to the scene.

Last week, a Lavaca County, Texas, grand jury decided that the 23-year-old father won't be charged. Jurors reached the same conclusion as sheriff's investigators - under Texas law, the father was justified in using deadly force to protect his child from a sexual assault, which forensic evidence had confirmed.


That grand jury's decision came on the same day that a set of trial jurors in Pennsylvania listened to prosecution evidence against Jerry Sandusky, 68, the former Penn State University football defensive coordinator, charged with 48 counts of abusing 10 boys over 15 years.

And, the ruling in Texas occurred in the same week in which a Tulsa couple were arrested in a case involving a girl who was only 6 when alleged sexual abuse began six years ago. James Leonard Woodcock, 44, faces five counts of child sexual abuse. His wife, Jennifer Louise Woodcock, 54, is charged with permitting child sexual abuse and failure to report child sexual abuse.

And the list goes on. Jason Henry Brock, 39, was booked into the Tulsa Jail on a complaint of raping a minor by instrumentation after his arrest Tuesday on claims that he molested his daughter's 10-year-old friend during a sleep-over at his house.

Not a week goes by without multiple reports of sexual abuse against children. And those are the cases that we know about. How many more children are out there whose screams aren't heard by an attentive parent such as the father in Texas? How many more fall into the same category as many of Sandusky's alleged victims - kids from a troubled home who failed to speak up because they thought no one would believe them or because they were scared? For the remainder of this story: by JULIE DELCOUR

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