ROCKY RIVER, OH (WOIO) - A 33-year-old North Ridgeville man was recently arrested and accused of raping a girl under the age of 13. It's every parent's worst nightmare, finding out someone took advantage of their child.
"A lot of kids hold this secret for a long, long time," said Clinical Psychologist Dr. Deborah Koricke.
Jessee Sink, 33, was arrested at his residence on the 7500 block of Maddock Road in North Ridgeville earlier this month. It's unknown if there are any other victims, and authorities say the investigation is ongoing.
Koricke said the key is to have conversations with your kids at a young age. By the time they start school, they need to know who they can trust.
"You could say, there's a story on the news of somebody who was touching kids inappropriately," Koricke said. "Has anything like this ever happened to you? Have you ever felt uncomfortable about anything an adult has done?"
Koricke said parents shouldn't blame themselves. However, they should be skeptical of any adult that wants to spend time with their child alone. In many cases, perpetrators see this as a crime of opportunity.
"There's no reason to be babysitting people for free that are just the neighbor up the street," she said.
In Sink's case, authorities say the incident may have taken place back in February.
Koricke said, most of the time, the crime doesn't happen right away.
"Usually it's more of what's called a grooming process. They begin touching, fondling, and they go up the scale in terms of how invasive they are with that," she said.
Children put in those situations often show signs. They might have trouble sleeping, not want to spend time with their friends, complain of headaches, stomach pains, or start suffering in school.
"They may also complain about going to certain settings in a way that they haven't before," Koricke said. "Many victims feel guilty. They feel like, I did something wrong, even though they didn't intend to have any of that happen."
Koricke said it's not uncommon for these incidents to happen more than once and for there to be more than one victim. She said the perpetrator will often scare kids, threaten them or sometimes reward them so the child doesn't talk.
Sink is being held at the Lorain County Jail on a $500,000 bond.