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September 30, 2014 • Headlines

The winner of the Gold Star Chili chili-eating contest received a free 3-way chili every week for 52 weeks.
Versailles Pumpkin Show princess and prince candidates enjoyed riding in the parade to the courthouse square. First graders representing their school competed in the contest Thursday evening. For a complete list of candidates, pick up today's Osgood Journal at your local newsstand.
Garrett Gray of South Ripley, Tiffany Burton of Jac-Cen-Del and Ashley Guthrie of Milan ate enough Gold Star chili dogs to win first place in the contest on Saturday at the Versailles Pumpkin Show. Garrett ate six, missing the local record by one, and the girls tied eating four and a half each.
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Versailles Pumpkin Show winners
2014 Pumpkin Show Prince and Princess winners
Versailles Pumpkin Show Prince and Princess 2014 winners are pictured from left: second runner-up Tyler Linville of Jac-Cen-Del; first runner-up Keegan Clark of Milan Elementary; Prince Daymon Speer of South Ripley Elementary; Princess Meg Ritter of St. Louis School; first runner-up Madison Noel of Sunman Elementary; and second runner up Iris Kopp of Batesville Primary. The contest is sponsored by Ripley Publishing Company, Inc.

Pumpkin winners


At left, Virgil Napier of Paris Crossing, set a Versailles Pumpkin Show record with his 999 pound pumpkin. It’s all in the family, as his daughter and son-in-law placed and his grandchildren won in the youth category. Pictured is Sydney Huff of Deputy, Indiana, who came in third place in the kids category of the Versailles Pumpkin Show pumpkin growing contest. Her pumpkin weighed 338 pounds.

Center helps kids share painful memories

Mary Mattingly

Editor’s Note: First in a two-part series.

When you walk into the Children’s Advocacy Center in Dillsboro, you feel like you’ve entered someone’s home, a home with small children that is. There’s a plush couch on soft carpet, a coffee table, comfy chairs, a chalkboard, a bookshelf filled with picture books, and even toys interspersed. It’s all very warm and cozy. It’s intended to look and feel that way, so their young clients and families will feel comfortable. That’s because what their young clients have to say is often far from comfortable, but painful.

Childrens Advocacy Center
Kelly Bridges, forensic interviewer and Sarah Brichto, executive director at CAC, try to make the facility a kid-friendly center. The back rooms are equipped with discreet visual and audio equipment so law enforcement can see and hear what occurs.

Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) of Southeastern Indiana was created to minimize the trauma suffered by victims of child abuse. The center is designed to use a multi-disciplinary approach, which facilitates the prevention, detection, investigation and treatment of child abuse. What is not visible initially are the rooms down the hall, the smaller rooms where children are interviewed about unpleasant and intimate things, painful memories they probably would rather not talk about. These rooms too are child-friendly. The youngsters don’t know the windows and walls are soundproof or wired so detectives can watch and hear the forensic interview. It’s high tech but it means child victims do not have to repeat their experiences many times to law enforcement, thereby reliving the pain of the initial trauma. With the creation of this model, children recount their experience only once.

“Our mission is the child first,” said Kelly Bridges, forensic interviewer. A former educator, she has conducted over 300 interviews with local children. She was trained in the Indiana ChildFirst Protocol technique. “We are the only one like this in the state that handles a region,” said Sarah Brichto, executive director. The CAC was created in 2009 and serves families of Ohio, Dearborn, Jefferson, Ohio, Ripley Switzerland and Jennings Counties. The center has been nominated for a national award for demonstrating positive results from the Council of State Community Development Agencies.

A $426,793 Community Focus Fund grant, which they successfully received after the third attempt through the Office of Community Rural Affairs, with a local match of $102,334, helped convert the former law office into a kid-friendly, child interviewing center. There is a conference center below, two interviewing rooms, three staff offices, a medical exam room, discreet entrance for law enforcement, a kitchen, shower/tub and restroom, beside the closet that holds the audio and visual equipment for the interviews. The staff is on call 24/7, as some cases need immediate attention. A board of directors oversees the non profit corporation.

Is there a need for CAC?
To protect the confidentiality of children involved, child abuse cases are not publicized, but that doesn’t mean they don’t happen. In Ripley County, the CAC served 190 children from 2009. In Dearborn County, it was 524; 367 in Jefferson County, 294 in Jennings, 119 in Switzerland and 42 in Ohio County, with a total of 1837.

When the CAC was created, they had 64 cases. Five years later, they have seen over 1,800 children. Brichto, who initially was hired by the Regional Service Council to develop a regional CAC, said, “We’ll probably have 500 this year,” hitting the 2,000 mark at the end of the year. Ric Hertel, Ripley County prosecutor and a founding board member, said it’s “reassuring in one way, but disheartening in another” that the CAC numbers have increased. Their caseload has increased by 100 almost every year. Brichto attributes the increase to taking on Jennings County in 2012, their reputation and increased awareness in law enforcement. The detectives have observed the two forensic interviewers in action (Stephanie Back is the other interviewer but is out on maternity leave) and see their extensive training in action. “We recommend police and the division of child services take children there for interviews. This is where you can get the most accurate information,” Hertel said.

Editor’s note: The second part of the article will look at court savings and interviewing techniques.

Pick up this week's edition of the Osgood Journal for the stories below and more local news. Subscribe by clicking the subscribe link or call 812-689-6364.

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• Ask SHIP: State health assistance programs (page 4)
• Ripley County represented at Aurora Farmers Fair (page 8)

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