WCHS Eyewitness News Home Charleston Eyewitness Newsroom Charleston Storm Team Weather Sports News TV Program Schedule Community Mobile: Smartphone,Tablet and SMS text Get Connected SMS Text Facebook Twitter See-It,Shoot-It RSS News Feed Email List Tumblr

State Police Hoping For More Crimes Against Children Investigators

Reported: Mar. 5, 2014 6:13 PM EST
Updated: Mar. 5, 2014 11:17 PM EST

News Image

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Leslie Rubin) -- Crimes against children are are some of the most heinous and disturbing crimes police investigate. Whether it's child pornography, internet crimes, physical or sexual abuse, they are cases that are growing at such an alarming rate that investigators say they are overwhelmed and severely understaffed.

The Crimes Against Children Unit consists of 18 uniformed members who handled 508 criminal investigations just last year.

Megan Shobe was one of those cases. Shobe, just 20 years old, is raising a 1-year-old baby girl named Sadie and trying to provide a life for her as different from her own childhood as possible. Shobe's childhood was one of sexual, physical, and emotional abuse that she is opening up about for the first time.

"The abuse started when I was like 12 and it didn't end until I was like 17," she said.

Her step-father, George Jones, is currently serving more than 100 years in prison. Shobe said she's no longer afraid to talk about the years of abuse she suffered at the hands of her step-father, knowing he will likely die behind bars.

She talks about how he would force her to have sex with him, take away her "privileges" as he called them, and would even chain the kitchen cabinets so she was not able to eat.

"He called it 'my job.,' " she said. "It was 'my job,' that's what he called it. 'Come do your job.' Basically, if I wanted to do something then I'd have to go and either have sex with him or do other things. That's how it was."

Shobe's story is not unique. Just in 2013, the unit conducted 1,375 interviews, 475 of them were children who were being sexually and/or physically abused.

"I never have a week where I don't have at least five cases I'm looking into," Sgt. Adam Scott said.

He helped secure a conviction against Jones. He's just one of 14 investigators in the 18 member unit trained to handle those types of cases.

"It's almost impossible to effectively cover the whole state and do this," he said.

Exploring any avenue to help them better protect children, state police were recently awarded a $30,000 grant to create a mapping system for registered sex offenders in the state.

The WV Technical Assistance Broad Brand Grant Program awarded the grant last month. The award was part of solicitation offered by the West Virginia Geological and Economic Survery that oversees the WV Broadband Mapping Program.

Right now, there are more than 4,000 sex offenders in the state. Type in your address on websites like FamilyWatchdog.com and you'll likely find one living very close to you. It's a new tool that will open a whole new set of doors when seconds matter.

"One of the first avenues of an investigation of an abducted child, is to investigate sex offenders in a regional area," 1st Sgt. Daniel Swiger, the deputy director for the Crimes Against Children Unit, said.

"Statistically and from past cases, often times we've found, children that have been abducted have been abducted by previously convicted sex offenders," he said.

The system will provide troopers with vastly more information than what's available on public websites.

Last year, troopers conducted a sex offender compliance check and made contact with more than 1,800 offenders, finding more than 500 violations. The only way that compliance check was possible was also through a grant.

"We do not have the manpower to adequately do compliance of those sex offenders," Swiger said.

The unit was created in 2006 and state police continue to ask for more funding to grow the unit. They would like to have 85 troopers assigned to the unit by 2018.

Troopers have been collaborating with members of the Women's Legislative Caucus in an effort to better staff the unit. Their goal it to ensure a new class of state troopers graduate so they can move experienced troopers to the Crimes Against Children Unit. Nineteen cadets will graduate Friday with 30 more slated to go through an accelerated program.

On Tuesday, legislation was introduced to have an additional 25 cadets this fall but that's no guarantee just yet.

It's estimated that training and equipping a class of 50 new troopers comes with a price tag of $5.7 million.

"Kind of robbing Peter and robbing Paul to put into general revenue, and it going to be tight," Del. Linda Phillips, who is a chairwoman on the committee, said.

"Obviously it's not going to happen overnight. It may not happen in the 2015 budget," she said.

Many believe this is an issue that goes beyond monetary value. How do you put a cost on a child's life or livelihood, something Shobe wonders daily.

"I've accomplished a lot of things and I've had a lot of people there for me and supported me, but it's gotten a lot better since I got out of that situation," she said.

West Virginia American Water To Conduct Public Tour
Jul. 28, 2014 11:58 AM EDT
A water company whose Charleston treatment plant was ...
Full News Story

Tennant Spoofs White House's Power In New Ad
Jul. 28, 2014 11:10 AM EDT
U.S. Senate hopeful Natalie Tennant pretends to cuts ...
Full News Story

Putnam Deputies Locate, Arrest Escapee
Jul. 28, 2014 11:03 AM EDT
Putnam County deputies said they located and arrested ...
Full News Story

News Power Outages Reported In Some WV Areas; Possible Tornado In Ritchie County
Jul. 28, 2014 11:01 AM EDT
News Rock Beats Paper: Study Says Fist Bumps Spread Fewer Bacteria Than Handshakes Or High-Fives
Jul. 28, 2014 10:40 AM EDT
News Human Trafficking Conference Set In Morgantown
Jul. 28, 2014 10:29 AM EDT
News WV Awarded With 23 Litter Control Grants
Jul. 28, 2014 9:37 AM EDT
News WV Man Arrested After Child Found In Hot Car
Jul. 28, 2014 9:27 AM EDT
News Two Men Die In Boone County Crash
Jul. 28, 2014 9:22 AM EDT
News Real Life Rapunzel Cuts Hair For Cancer
Jul. 28, 2014 8:54 AM EDT
News Dollar Tree Buying Peer Family Dollar Stores For About $8.5 Billion
Jul. 28, 2014 8:57 AM EDT
News Dozens Treated For Illness At Keith Urban Concert
Jul. 28, 2014 8:58 AM EDT
News Cable On Ohio Amusement Park Ride Snaps, Injuring Two
Jul. 28, 2014 11:40 AM EDT
News Fourth Avenue Reopens Following Huntington Fire; 9th Street Plaza To Remain Closed
Jul. 28, 2014 9:04 AM EDT
News Fundraiser To Aid Teen Recovering From Brain Cancer
Jul. 28, 2014 9:02 AM EDT
News Tornado Watch Issued For WV Counties Until 3 a.m.
Jul. 27, 2014 9:47 PM EDT
News U.S. House Candidates Secure Prominent Endorsements
Jul. 28, 2014 9:13 AM EDT
News One Dead, Two Injured In Pike County Shooting
Jul. 28, 2014 9:14 AM EDT
News Emergency Officials Offer Advice On What To Do In Case Of Tornado
Jul. 27, 2014 6:45 PM EDT
News Clay Center Hosts Family Fun Day
Jul. 27, 2014 5:58 PM EDT
News On-Site School Review For Grading System To Debut
Jul. 27, 2014 4:58 PM EDT
News Art Project To Aid Huntington Children's Hospital
Jul. 27, 2014 4:57 PM EDT
News Both Directions Of I-77 Tunnel Near Bluefield Reopen After Fire
Jul. 27, 2014 4:54 PM EDT
News Fans Welcome Saints To The Greenbrier
Jul. 26, 2014 11:36 PM EDT
News Discovery Channel Storm Chaser Headed To WV
Jul. 26, 2014 11:29 PM EDT
News Police Shoot Man During Alleged Altercation At Huntington Restaurant
Jul. 26, 2014 6:59 PM EDT
News Huntington Hosts Hot Dog Festival
Jul. 26, 2014 11:37 PM EDT
News Artists Spruce Up Capitol Market
Jul. 26, 2014 11:37 PM EDT
News Old Crow Medicine Show Plays Power park
Jul. 26, 2014 11:49 PM EDT
News Police Searching For Missing Logan County Woman
Jul. 26, 2014 9:41 PM EDT
News Boil Water Advisory Issued For Montgomery Area Customers
Jul. 26, 2014 9:16 PM EDT
News Traffic Returning To Normal On I-77 Near WV-Va. Border
Jul. 26, 2014 7:07 PM EDT
News Kayakers Celebrate Coal River Cleanup
Jul. 28, 2014 9:14 AM EDT

Advertise on WCHS-TV Online

West Virginia News
W.Va. water company to give treatment plant tours

A water company whose Charleston treatment plant was contaminated by a coal-cleaning agent is January is holding a public tour next week.
Full Story

Kentucky News
US cities clean up after powerful storms

Communities across the U.S. are cleaning up after strong storms destroyed homes, knocked out power for thousands of people and toppled power lines and trees.
Full Story

Ohio News
Ohio agency requests $80K to replace Smokey Bear

State officials are seeking to replace the 55-year-old Smokey Bear figure that greets visitors by name at the Ohio State Fair.
Full Story

Fugitive Files Tuesdays at 6 PM on Eyewitness News

West Virginia Wildlife Wednesdays at 6 PM on Eyewitness News

ABC News web site

Send Mail Send email to news@wchstv.com for information or comments concerning WCHS-TV Eyewitness News.
Copyright ©2014, WCHS-TV8. Portions are Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or distributed.

WCHS ABC 8 provides local news, weather forecasts, traffic updates, notices of events and items of interest in the community, sports and entertainment programming for Charleston and nearby towns and communities in the Tri-State area, including Huntington, Dunbar, Marmet, Montgomery, Nitro, South Charleston, St. Albans, Cedar Grove, Chesapeake, Clendenin, East Bank, Glasgow, Pratt, Cross Lanes, Elkview, Pinch, Sissonville, Big Chimney, Cabin Creek, Chelyan, Davis Creek, Institute, Jefferson, Loudendale, Mink Shoals, Pocatalico, Quick, Quincy, Rand, Buffalo, Eleanor, Hurricane, Nitro, Poca, Winfield, Culloden, Fraziers Bottom, Hometown, Red House, Scott Depot, Teays Valley, Danville, Madison, Hamlin, Logan, Chapmanville, Man, Delbarton, Kermit, Gilbert, Matewan, Williamson, Summersville, Richwood, Flatwoods, Gassaway, Sutton, Spencer, Ravenswood, Ripley, Mason, Point Pleasant, Ashland, Pikeville, Ironton, Portsmouth, Gallipolis, and Athens.