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Posted October 8
Fact finders is digging deeper into a story from earlier this week-- where we detailed a program to help kids with sexual behavior problems. We built our coverage around a 10-year-old boy accused of sexually assaulting a dog. His case went to court on Wednesday.
"I haven't seen him since August 8," said the child's mother. "I haven't talked to him or a had a chance to communicate with him."
In juvenile court, she told the court she's in Alcoholics Anonymous -- sees a therapist and is going to school -- and asked for supervised visits with her son.
The judge denied the request saying he's waiting for a psychological exam of her son first.
In the past -- this court decision would often keep a young offender from treatment.
But because the RSafe program in Omaha is specially designed to fast-track treatment to those between the ages of 10-14 -- one of three in the country -- the young boy is already getting help.
The hearing did shine a light on the heavy workload facing juvenile court.
Referring to the missing reports, judge Vernon Daniels told the room full of lawyers and administrators: "Our calendar is a bottlenneck. Everyone has a responsibility to ride shotgun to make sure everything is supposed to be done."
In this case it wasn't. The delay won't affect the 10-year-old's treatment -- but it does keep his mother away. "He cries a lot with is sisters cause he wants to come home."
There was one major development in juvenile court -- the grandmother who was the guardian of the 10-year-old and his sisters doesn't want to do it anymore citing health concerns. The 68-year-old has suffered three strokes in two years. Her husband, who also helped care for the boy, died in the last year.
The judge was serious about the heavy caseloads. This case won't be back in court until the end of January 2013.
Fact Finders uncovered court documents as the jumping off part of this story. In August, a babysitter witnessed a 10-year-old boy upstairs sexually assaulting her standard black poodle.
The boy was immediately removed from the foster home.
Investigators worried what was next. There were three girls in the house. All younger than the 10 year old.
There is help for the child -- a special program -- that often starts by getting past a parent's disbelief.
"I feel they are messing up his life," said the child's mother. "They're piling up all this stuff on him."
Reporter: "Do you feel the baby sitter is lying?"
Mom: "I think she's lying. I think she's lying. I've never had a problem -- ever. This is the first time I've ever heard anything like it and when I did -- I was so shocked. He's been around his sisters. He's been around animals. He's never done anything like that."
We aren't identifying the 10-year-old's mother -- so as not to identify him.
Fact Finders has learned that he's now part of a groundbreaking treatment program in Omaha -- one of only three in the country.
RSAFE -- run by Lutheran Family Services -- has a new grant that fast-tracks those between the ages of 10-and-14.
"Research supports that most children who have acted out sexually will not act out sexually again if there's appropriate intervention," said Vickie Peyton, coordinator of RSAFE.
"In the 8-years that I've been here, we've probably investigated 4-or-5 bestiality cases involving juveniles," said Mark Langan with the Nebraska Humane Society. "Definitely sad cases. You wonder where the kids learned this behavior to begin with."
Investigators aren't saying with this 10-year-old, but add there's just so many ways to be exposed to this behavior.
It could be as simple as getting the idea from pornography.
"There's the misconception that children are just miniature adults and that their motivations are the same as an adult and we know that is just not true," said Peyton.
For a child, the acts are not about power or control as much as simply understanding what's not appropriate.
"For children, it's much more about the impulsive behavior," said Gene Klein with Project Harmony.
Of the 60 young people -- most of them boys -- who have gone through the program, none have re-offended.
And what is learned in the metro about treatment will be shared with the nation.
That's little comfort to his mother.
Mom: "My son is not like that."
In order to be most effective, according to the experts, families are a part of the treatment too.
The Douglas County Juvenile Court will still hear the case. After all, Juvenile Court is all about rehabilitation.
So did Omaha get the grant because we have a worse problem among young offenders? We're told the answer is no -- that RSAFE has an established reputation of successful treatment.