• Lack of funds causes Child Advocacy Center to close doors

    By: Ken Lemon


    GASTONIA, N.C. - A funding shortage has forced a Child Advocacy Center that helps children who are victims of crimes to close its doors.
    Eyewitness News reporter Ken Lemon talked to a  mother who said the center helped get her child justice.
    The mother of a 9-year-old sexually assaulted by David Scott begged for someone to find a way to keep the Children's Advocacy Center in Gastonia open.

    "Please reconsider,” the mother, who did not want to be identified, said. “We need help out there when things like this go wrong in our lives."
    In December, Scott pleaded guilty and confessed to having sex with the girl.
    He gave the girl rides to church.
    "I have sinned against the holy, holy, holy," Scott said.
    The mother believes he wouldn't have been convicted if her daughter hadn't opened up to counselors at the advocacy center.
    "She talked to them easier than she talked to anybody," she said.
    Abused children are interviewed at the center by trained specialists with guidance from police.

    They also receive additional support and therapy.
    Prosecutors, police and social workers were told the center Tuesday it closed.
    A lapse in donations and a loss of grants forced the decision.
    Officers believe it will have a huge impact in court.
    "We probably use the CAC in 80 percent of our sex abuse cases involving children" Sgt. Gene Weaver with the Gastonia Police Department said. "There is a good likelihood that won't get disclosures from children and those that offend against them may not get prosecuted."
    A group from Gaston County asked the county funded center in Lincoln County Wednesday to provide some of the same services.
    The mother hopes somehow the center in Gastonia will reopen.
    '"I'm not sure what families will do without them," she said.

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