FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) — A local child advocacy group is speaking out after a Hoke County man remains jailed on a $20 million bond for sex crime charges officials say involve at least 133 children.
Protecting children from child predators is part of the job for child advocates like Roberta Humphries with the Child Advocacy Center in Fayetteville.
She says latest findings show the number of reported child abuse cases in Cumberland County increased by 20 percent from the year before for a total of 876 cases.
“Unfortunately, we are seeing the numbers constantly increase,” Humphries said. “I think a lot has to do with people being isolated at home.”
Investigators say one of the biggest cases to ever hit the area involves Joshuah Taylor Bradshaw.
He’s accused of various sex related crimes involving at least 133 children, all under 12-years-old, says Hoke County Sheriff Dr. Hubert Peterkin.
“A lot of times when children are extremely young, they can’t help themselves, so when we get something like this we don’t take it lightly, we go to work,” Peterkin said.
He says some of the children were physically assaulted at a home on Fairfield Circle in Raeford, while others were exploited online.
Child advocates provide free tools for children and families to help heal from crimes.
They also provide prevention classes and therapy.
“Here we provide the opportunity for the child to come in a neutral environment to talk about what happened to them, to provide advocacy services for the child and the non offending family members,” Humphries said. “It’s really important to listen to them…and to make that report on their behalf because usually they’re not able to make that report.”
Peterkin said he expects more charges and possibly more victims as they continue investigating Bradshaw.
Deputies haven’t said how Peterkin gained access to so many children.
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