Language Barrier Problems In Child Sex Cases

By: Brittany Gunter
By: Brittany Gunter

Two men are behind bars accused in separate child sexual assault cases. There are some similarities in the two cases though; both the victims’ family had language barrier problems while trying to report the crime.

The most recent case happened in the area of 34th and Lake. A mother realized she didn’t know where her daughter was. She looked through the window and what she found next door was very disturbing.

The mother allegedly found her 8 year old daughter with Kaung Tun. In a police report the victim says Tun motioned for her to come into his apartment. Then the sexual assault happened.

The child and her family are refugees from Burma, so they had to use an interpreter at the scene in order to speak with officers. It’s a challenge that Omaha officers deal with as the refugee population here continues to grow.

“Omaha is very diverse. We have a lot of different refugees that come and settle here and Omaha,” said Officer James Shade.

This isn’t the only recent case where a language barrier made things difficult. Eh Gay is accused in another case of child sexual assault involving a Burmese family, this time on a 13 year old girl.

The family contacted child protective services. In a police report it says after an interview the girl disclosed that she had been dating 20 year old Gay for almost two years and that she was sexually active with him.

Her parents said they had contacted police before, but due to a language barrier they were not able to fully communicate the situation.

Police say they do have the tools to deal with that communication barrier. They have interpreters and also a language line that can be used. “With that language line we do have an interpreter card, so they can literally point to whatever language is there’s and they will contact an interpreter through that language line,” said Shade. Even with those tools sometimes communication can be tough.

Gay is now in jail, he’ll need to post $4,000 of his bond to get out. As for Tun, he’ll need to post $5,000.

Police do have a hotline if you need to report something and there is a language barrier, that number is 402-444-5818.

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