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Amid sex abuse cases, expert cautions parents against rush to panic

November 29, 2011

As police continue to investigate a 19-year-old babysitter who was charged this week with repeatedly molesting an 8-year-old boy and his 3-year-old brother over an eight-month span, parents should avoid a rush to panic, a child psychiatric expert said.

Multiple reports of sexual molestation against Jerry Sandusky, former football assistant coach at Pennsylvania State University, reportedly prompted the boys’ mother to have a conversation with her eldest son about inappropriate touching, police said.

The mother then read news reports detailing the alleged sexual abuse to her son, who began to cry and confided that Liu allegedly sexually abused him.

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But despite all the media attention of the abuse, some experts caution parents against rushing to worst-case scenarios and relaying graphic examples of molestation in an attempt to ensure their children know what inappropriate touching is.

Child Psychiatrist Michael Brody, a member of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, said the recent Sandusky scandal has prompted hysteria among parents who want to find out if their children have been molested, especially because he was a trusted community member and it allegedly occurred over years.

Parents, he said, should first look for behavior changes, including distraction, isolation and sleep and eating disorders, before discussing sexual abuse with their children.

Young children especially are easily influenced by outside factors, and “have difficulty separating falsity from reality,” Brody said.

No additional alleged victims have come forward today following reports that Jordan Liu of Alhambra molested two Glendale boys, whom he cared for after being hired from the babysitting services website Sittercity, Glendale Police Sgt. Tom Lorenz said.

-- Veronica Rocha, Times Community News

Twitter: @VeronicaRochaLA

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