Parents Concerned about Children's Safety

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Being a kid isn't always fun and games. There's also a darker side to childhood that can really make a parent's head spin.

"If a stranger came up to them they would not say no, especially if they had candy or if they had a toy," Carla Minney, a parent, said.

Minney is the administrator of Pioneer Pete Day Care and also has two daughters of her own. And like many parents, she worries about the possibility of child abuse.

Many parents commented on a recent story posted on our Web channel about Paul Christopher who was accused of raping an 11-year-old girl.

The rape charges were dropped and in six months Christopher will be out of jail.

It's these types of incidents that have mothers like Minney concerned

"I'm just making sure I'm teaching them what they need to be taught about strangers," Minney said.

But strangers aren't always the problem.

"The reality is children are much more likely to be abused by someone they know, a family member, a close friend," Dr. Mary Barnas, a developmental psychologist, said.

So to prevent this from happening, there are a few things parents can keep in mind.

"Make sure you know their whereabouts. Make sure you know who they're spending time with. Make sure you anyone you are allowing them to be watched by or spend time with is someone that you absolutely trust," Barnas said.

"I try to get them to talk to me openly, and hopefully they'll keep an open relationship, so if anything ever happens, they won't be afraid to say anything," Minney said.

Taking early steps today in hopes of a safe tomorrow.

Paul Christopher's lawyer, Rolph Baumgartel, said that children are safe around his client.

Baumgartel said that just because someone is accused of a crime, doesn't mean they're guilty.

"False accusations occur every day. I mean does anyone really think that everyone accused of a crime is guilty? Are we really at that point?" he said.

Baumgartel said Christopher has denied from the beginning any type of sexual contact with the minor.

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