County Center Helping Increase Prosecution Rates

SNOW HILL – In just over a year, the newly opened C.R.I.C.K.E.T. Center has already been responsible for a dramatic increase in prosecution rates for child sex abuse crimes.

Before C.R.I.C.K.E.T. (which stands for Children’s Resource Intervention Center) opened in August of 2009, the prosecution rate for such crimes was under 20 percent. Currently, the rate has risen to 55 percent with almost 80 children already directly benefiting from the center. Not only are prosecution rates rising but they are getting results, including the recent conviction of a man to 60 years in prison for child sex abuse crimes.

C.R.I.C.K.E.T.  serves as an all in one resource for helping children deal with a difficult experience and for making sure those responsible are properly prosecuted and taken off the streets. The center helps all minors under the age of 18 and minimizes the harmful emotional impact of a traumatic situation by conducting any necessary medical evaluations on site with specially trained nurses.

Permanent staff at the center includes administrative staff; a state’s attorney representative; a child facilitator; and five investigators.

Because every aspect of child sex abuse crimes can be addressed through the center, the comfort and mental well-being of the child is paramount. Victims are not forced to repeat their story to several sources on multiple occasions.

“The center has made it much easier for government officials to come together to address instances of child abuse in our community,” said Peter Buesgens, director of the Worcester County Department of Social Services.  “The increase in prosecutions for child sex abuse crimes really speaks for itself.”

Funding for the C.R.I.C.K.E.T.  Center comes from grants and private donations. The center, which has a $120,000 operating budget, will be having its largest fundraiser of the year, the annual gala, on Oct. 9. The event will be held in Ocean City’s Clarion Hotel and will cost $85 per person.

The gala will begin at 6 p.m. and includes a two-hour open bar. There will also be a live auction where several items of celebrity memorabilia will be up for grabs such as a pair of boxing gloves autographed by Sylvester Stallone. Other items to be auctioned include a signed photo of the 1980 U.S.A. hockey team and a drum face autographed by all members of the Rolling Stones.

For more information or to purchase tickets, call 410-677-6872