McMinn County Asst. DA discusses child rape, child porn


A man was arrested and charged with the rape of a child earlier this month.

According to Madisonville Police, Michael Schack raped a 6-year-old girl in a storage room at the Good Sheperd Center where he worked.

Authorities said the girl was spending the summer with her grandmother who volunteered at the center.

Local 8 News sat down with Assistant District Attorney Heather Higginbotham who prosecutes child abuse cases in Monroe and McMinn Counties.

"I probably have about 20-25 cases on my docket right now that involve some sort of sexual abuse of a child," she said.

She said in most cases, the victim knows his or her offender.
That makes it tougher for some children to come forward.

"That's part of what makes these cases difficult to prosecute. It's hard to go back and investigate a crime that happened multiple years ago," she said.

Higginbotham also pointed out, in some cases, there's a link between child porn and sex abuse.

"Either we catch someone with child porn on their computer and find out that they have prior convictions for child molestation, or we've got someone under indictment for child molestation and in the course of the investigation computers and cellphones are seized and child porn is found on there," she said.

Prosecutors are seeing more child pornography cases in East Tennessee.

"We're simply catching a lot more of them now," Higginbotham said.

And that's due to the more resources local law enforcement agencies are getting to crack down on internet crimes.

If you know anyone who may be a victim of abuse, contact your local law enforcement agency.


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