Police this year will aggressively target men who prey on underage girls for sex and prosecute them, Superintendent Stephen Dean declared yesterday.
Dean urged parents whose daughters are involved in sexual relationships with older men to contact the police and to not hide the crimes because of embarrassment.
“We are putting the warning out to you that police are going to be more aggressive this year in pursuing you, prosecuting you,” he said at a press conference geared toward raising awareness of teenage sexual activity.
“These are not cases that we are going to work out or sort out; immaterial to the victim and what they are saying, we want to prosecute you.
“We have to put a dent in the cases of young girls, underage, having sexual intercourse. We ask parents to report these matters. Don’t worry about the shame.”
His comments came at a press conference to announce the PACE Foundation’s Talk to Me Week, an initiative that will encourage parents to speak to their children about sex, in an age appropriate way. PACE officials said the best time to talk to children about sex is during family mealtime.
Last November, PACE reported that there are an average of 700 teen pregnancies in the country every year with 20percent of that figure comprised of girls who become pregnant a second time while still in their teens.
PACE President Sonia Brown said many parents are afraid to broach the subject with children, which is a factor behind many teenage pregnancies.
Brown said teens in the PACE program have consistently reported that their families did not place any expectations on them or give them information about sex.
“I know that in our society there’s a lot of discomfort when it comes to talking about sex,” Brown said.
“In some families the word is not even said at all. And for those parents who may be having a difficulty about talking to their children about this specific topic, there is help to be gotten.”
PACE will host a seminar next Thursday at St. Anselm’s Church on Bernard Road at 6:30 p.m. for interested parents.
By Taneka Thompson
Guardian Senior Reporter