Talking to your kids about sexual abuse

Talking to your kids about sexual abuse

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by Stephanie Zepelin

Bio | Email | Follow: @ktvbstephanie

KTVB.COM

Posted on August 22, 2012 at 10:21 PM

Updated Thursday, Dec 5 at 1:22 PM

BOISE -- There were two cases of sexual abuse and exploitation of a child this week in the Treasure Valley. Both of the people facing those charges worked closely with children.

A Meridian Middle School counselor made his first court appearance Monday.

Mark Saltzer, 45, was charged with 10 counts of sexual exploitation of a child. Officers found child porn and a young boy in his home during their search. The boy said Saltzer abused him multiple times over the past few months, and told officers he may not be the only victim.

Wednesday, the Canyon County Prosecutor's Office charged 23-year-old Joshua Ritchie with one count of lewd conduct with a minor. Ritchie told law enforcement he sexually touched 12 more children.

"Mr. Ritchie admitted that some of the victims were family friends or children of family friends, and in some instances family members themselves," said Kieran Donahue of the Canyon County Sheriff's Office.

Ritchie was working at Idaho Arts Charter School and Cornerstone Childcare when he was arrested. He was recently hired by the Nampa School District.

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"This case is a reminder to all of us -- both in law enforcement and within the community -- that sexual abuse of children is a very real problem that needs to be addressed in all of our communities," said Donahue.

Melissa Ruth works for the Idaho Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence. She says less than 30 percent of parents talk about sexual abuse with their children.

"I would recommend to parents to start talking to their children openly, developmentally appropriate, about what sexual abuse is," said Ruth.

She said to use anatomically correct names for body parts. Ruth said your kids need to know it could be someone they know and love, but you will keep them safe, and that it is never their fault.

"The younger you start, and the more often you work these reminders in, and these brush up conversations about what's safe and what's not safe, the easier those conversations become," she said.

Ruth said it's important to keep the lines of communication open so your kids know they can talk to you. She recommends parents check into anyone whose spending time around their kids.

The Canyon County Sheriff's Office says Joshua Ritchie had no serious criminal background. His preliminary hearing is set for Sept. 5.

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