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Normal PD uses recent sexual abuse cases to highlight children’s safety

Written by on November 6, 2023

NORMAL, Ill. – Over the past month, the Normal Police Department has concluded three major cases pertaining to child sexual abuse after convictions and sentencing. 

NPD Detective Kendra DeRosa says that these three cases are a demonstration of three distinctly different types of cases that they receive at the department.  

DeRosa is part of a special task force within the department focused on preventing internet crime against children. Through the state’s attorney general’s office, this task force is given special extensive training focused on preventing internet crimes.

One of the three cases was mainly pursued by a detective in southern Illinois, who was interacting with the offender online. That southern Illinois detective was then able to establish the offender’s IP address, which was an address located in Normal. After being contacted by the detective, the NPD was able to charge and convict the offender.

Another one of the cases was engaged by the LaSalle Police Department, and they contacted NPD believing a Normal resident was attempting to conduct a meetup with a LaSalle youth in town.

“That’s similar to the majority of cases we get here in the Bloomington-Normal area. Where the child is exploited or physically abused and they make an outcry to a friend, a counselor or somebody that they trust about the abuse,” said DeRosa. “From there we step in and use the Child Advocacy Center to connect with the child and learn more about the situation.”

Frequent collaborations between the McLean County Children’s Advocacy Center and the NPD prove effective, with both benefitting from each other’s abilities and areas of expertise.

DeRosa credits the MCCAC for providing a safe space for children who are victimized through their various healthcare programs. The MCCAC provides free therapy and counseling for victims and their families. Additionally, the MCCAC provides court advocates for victims going through trials in order to assist with the sensitive and private process.

A spokesperson for the MCCAC says that the NPD provides information and closure for the families that they work with.

“Our families are always wanting to know where the investigation is at or if they have a suspect, there are a lot of unknowns in their life at that point,” said an MCCAC spokesperson. “Because of the NPD, we have direct access to a lot of those answers and can often provide immediate information for the families.”