GREENVILLE, SC (WSPA) – With the school year just days away, protecting your children from predators is important to all parents.
Just last weekend, Greenville County officials say a former campus pastor at Summitt Church in Greenville inappropriately touched and molested a 12-year-old at his home.
In a rare twist, investigators say James Briley called last Friday and admitted to committing the crime.
Now, experts want parents to talk to their kids about how to protect themselves around predators.
Suzy Cole with the Children’s Advocacy Center says, “Just like the safety rules about looking both ways before you cross a street, there are also safety rules about your body.”
Cole says it’s important for kids to know the difference between safe touching and unsafe touching, even if it seems harmless.
“If someone tickles you and it starts to hurt and you don’t like it, you tell them to stop and it stops right then,” says Cole.
Nowadays, Cole says, using old methods to teach kids about stranger danger doesn’t cut it, “more than 95% of the children we see here were not abused by a stranger but by somebody they know, usually somebody they love.”
When teaching your kids about predators, it’s important to call body parts by their actual names.
“We’ve had a number of cases where kids are trying to tell somebody about the sexual abuse they’re enduring and they’re using these cutesy terms and nobody understand what they’re saying,” Cole says.
When kids go to slumber parties, Cole says it’s important to know the parents in the house and always trust your instinct.
“We give that advice not just to children, but to adults to trust their gut,” says Cole, “If you think a situation might be dangerous, there’s a good chance it is.”
Cole says it’s important to parents to report any suspicious activity to the police immediately.