FOX16.com

Protecting Child Sex Victims

Victims of child sex abuse in Arkansas must speak up by age 28 or lose any chance to see their abuser face justice. A senate panel advanced a bill Wednesday to give power back to these victims.
LITTLE ROCK, AR - Victims of child sex abuse in Arkansas must speak up by age 28 or lose any chance to see their abuser face justice. A senate panel advanced a bill Wednesday to give power back to these victims.

On the baseball field a young Matt and Mark Smith played the game they loved and at the same time, suffered years of sexual abuse from their coach.

"At 34 years old I was ready to do it, I wasn't ready at 28," Mark Smith told the Senate judiciary committee Wednesday.

It wasn't until Mark Smith was coaching his own son's little league team when he saw his alleged abuser out on the same field he played on as a kid, still coaching first base. It was then he knew he had to step forward.

"I left the ball field and called the (Texarkana) chief of police and told him I needed to give him a statement," Smith says,.

Smith was too late coming forward, the statute of limitations had run its course but his statement still led to the arrest and guilty plea of Richard Roberts, 61, after detectives realized Roberts took one of his Texarkana victims across state lines for sex.

"Had we not been able to prosecute him under federal law, Richard Roberts could have packed his things in a UHaul, he could have moved to Foreman, he could have moved to your district and signed up to coach a baseball team," Matt Smith told the committee.

Senator Jimmy Hickey from Texarkana where this scandal occurred calls his bill common sense legislation to protect victims of child sex abuse.

The Senate is expected to vote on the measure by the end of the week.
Page: [[$index + 1]]
comments powered by Disqus

Weather Right Now

73°F
Partly Cloudy
High: 75°F
Low: 73°F

7 day forecast