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Crimes Against Children Unit Overwhelmed By Growing Number Of Cases

Reported: Mar. 5, 2014 3:31 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Leslie Rubin) -- They are some of the most heinous and disturbing crimes police investigate: Crimes against children.

They are cases that are growing at such an alarming rate, State Police investigators said they are overwhelmed and severely understaffed.

In the entire state of West Virginia, there are just 18 uniformed members of the Crimes Against Children Unit, who handled 508 criminal investigations just last year. Many times, they were forced to choose which case was more important.

Megan Shobe was one of those cases.

In an Eyewitness News special report Wednesday night at 10 p.m., you'll meet Shobe and hear her open up for the first time about the years of sexual abuse suffered at the hands of her stepfather, who is now serving more than 100 years in prison.

Shobe's case is not unique. Just in 2013, the West Virginia State Police crimes against children unit conducted 1,375 interviews, almost 500 of them were of children who were being sexually and/or physically abused. State Police would like to have 85 troopers assigned to the crimes against children unit by 2018, but that's a number that's far from being met.

You'll learn how the unit is coping with the severe staff shortage and case overload, and how state lawmakers are also handling the situation.



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