Saving Children From Abusers

Just last week, the West Virginia Child Advocacy Network held an event in Huntington to spotlight its work — and the need for it. Days later, authorities in Morgantown emphasized the point.

The WVCAN operates 21 child advocacy centers, serving 42 counties in our state. All six of our Northern Panhandle counties are in the coverage area.

Last year, WVCAN centers helped 4,445 young victims of sexual or other physical abuse. No doubt the drug crisis has much to do with the large number.

This week, Monongalia County Sheriff’s deputies arrested three men in a child exploitation sting. The three — one from Fairmont, another from Cumberland, Maryland, and the third from Lemont Furnace, Pennsylvania — went to Morgantown in the belief they could have sexual contact with a 15-year-old girl. It turned out they had been in contact online with someone posing as the minor.

If they are convicted, the three should be punished as severely as the law permits. Anyone preying on children should be locked up for a long, long time.

That protects children already harmed, as well as potential victims, from truly vicious predators.

But those already hurt need help, sometimes just to find a way to escape those hurting them. WVCAN centers can provide it.

Addresses and phone numbers for WVCAN centers serving our area are below:

Ohio and Marshall counties ­– Harmony House, 2000 Eoff St., Wheeling. 304-230-2205.

Brooke and Hancock counties — Comfort Houose, 2436 Pennsylvania Ave., Suite 2, Weirton. 304-723-0083.

Wetzel and Tyler counties — The Lighthouse, 102 West Main St., Paden City. 304-337-2120.­

If you have any reason to suspect a child is being abused in any way, contact the authorities. These are children — little girls and boys who ought to be able to rely on us to protect them. Don’t let them down.

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