A 35-year-old man from Fort McCoy was arrested on child abuse charges on Monday. Police say the man was on drugs, repeatedly used a taser on an 11-year-old boy’s genitals and kicked him in the head.
This is just one of the arrests made in the past few weeks for crimes against children in Marion County. Marion County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Paul Bloom said the cases have been worsening.
Kimberly’s Center for Child Protection is a children’s advocacy center that serves children in the aftermath of child neglect and abuse. The Ocala-based center has also been dealing with more severe cases.
Executive Director Dawn Westgate said the rise in child abuse cases are because kids are coming back to school and telling teachers what has been going on at home after their families struggled from the pandemic.
“A kid comes in, and they receive a forensic interview with one of our staff so that they have someone that they can tell the details of what’s been happening,” Westgate said. “We have a medical team right here at Kimberly Center that can do a medical exam so that they don’t have to go to the emergency room, they receive that service on site with us.”
The organization also sends people into classrooms in Marion County where they teach how to prevent child abuse.