Toddler's death leads to abuse awareness campaign

September 29, 2012 12:25:35 AM PDT
The death of a South Valley toddler who police say was abused at by her mother's boyfriend has prompted a family member to begin a crusade against child abuse.

This, as the preliminary hearing continued for Christopher Cheary. He's the South Valley man accused of torturing and sexually abusing Sophia Acosta.

Kathy Cruz came to court Friday to support her family as they heard graphic details about the trauma that little Sophia Acosta endured before she died.

For the first time she listened as a doctor who examined Sophia testified about the brutal injuries.

"It's hard, it's a lot of details. A lot of things that no child need to go through. It's just heartbreaking," Cruz said.

But Kathy isn't just Sophia's cousin, she is also the child abuse prevention specialist for Kings County.

"Nine out of the ten abusers are family and friends," Cruz said.

Kathy's personal experience and Sophia's death have made her even more passionate about preventing child abuse. Now she begins her presentations with a powerful video about Sophia's tragic story.

As an advocate Kathy teaches parents how to take care of their children and make sure they are safe.

"It's all about prevention, teaching them who they are leaving their kids with because you don't know who when you leave your child there who you are because you don't know when you leave your child there, who else is coming into the house," Cruz said.

Her family's personal loss has made Kathy's career a calling. She wants parents and babysitters to know, it's ok for them to take a time out too, when things are getting too overwhelming.


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