SENATH, MO (KAIT) - Senath police say the city has seen a rash of sex crimes involving minors over the past few months.
In a recent case police charged 36-year-old Ruben Reyes, Jr. with forcible rape, forcible sodomy and statutory rape in the first degree against a 13-year-old girl.
Senath police chief Omar Karnes said the number of cases he has worked during the past two years involving sex crimes against minors is a stark contrast to the first three months of 2012.
"Last year we had just one. The year before we had one, and got a conviction on him this year. He got a 12-year sentence out of it," Karnes said. "We've had three child molestation, rapes reported this year these are seven to nine, 10-year-old children."
Chief Karnes said the 13-year-old girl told a school counselor about several incidents that happened from August to November 2011. "They think they've done something wrong to cause it, and a lot of times the perpetrator will tell them 'It's your fault. You did this or you did that," or they'll tell them 'If you tell somebody I will do this to you.'"
Zolio Sanchez is charged with first degree statutory sodomy and child molestation. Chief Karnes said the 11-year-old accuser said the abuse had been going on for several years.
"Lot of times they don't want to talk. They're ashamed. They think they have done something wrong. They don't understand really they are the victim. Something has been taken from them."
Chief Karnes encourages more people to come forward.
"Talk to a parent, if that doesn't work, talk to another adult or somebody. Come to the police if they have to. Come to a counselor to an adult and say, 'I need to tell somebody something.'"
The Senath Police Department telephone number is (573) 738-2818.
The Missouri Child Abuse Hotline number is 1-800-392-3738.