Time critical when reporting sex abuse crimes

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Fresno Police say, while it might be tough, it is crucial to report sex abuse crimes right after they happen because its the best time for detectives to gather evidence. (KFSN)

Harvey Weinstein victims have kept their sex abuse allegations bottled up for years, but one by one, they've slowly started to come forward.

"It's happening every day, its happening every second, it's important so that the individuals doing this they can be held accountable," says Rape Counseling Services programs director Raquel Garcia.

The successful movie producer, once a top dog in Hollywood, now out on a 10 million dollar bail for sex crimes charges. It is news long awaited by his alleged victims.

Local law enforcement and agencies are hoping Weinstein's case inspires other sex crime victims to come forward. "All it takes is that one victim to come forward," says Sgt. Israel Reyes with the Fresno Police Department.

Sgt. Reyes says they've had cases where people well known in the community are accused of sexual misconduct, like a Fresno chiropractor charged with having inappropriate sexual contact with several of his patients last year.

"Because one victim felt strong enough to say this dead ends here and now we have several more victims saying 'I was a victim too of this person,'" says Sgt. Reyes.

While it might be tough, he says it's crucial to report these crimes right after they happen because its the best time for detectives to gather evidence.

The information of all sex crime victims is kept confidential, but for those afraid for their safety, there are state services available to protect them, and help with expenses.

Rape Counseling Services also provides free help to victims in Fresno.

LINK: Rape Counseling Services of Fresno

"We do our 24 hour counsel line, 24/7 you're connected with a crisis counselor, we have crisis intervention if you ever feel like walking into our agency you would directly contact a counselor, we do offer advocacy if you have to talk to law enforcement and you're afraid of going alone we can go with you," says Garcia.

If a sex crime did occur within the period of California's statute of limitations, it's important for victims to come forward while the suspect can still be prosecuted.

Sgt. Reyes says, "I would tell victims come forward at least report the incident even though you don't want to follow through with prosecution I guarantee you that most of these offenders it's not their first time and it won't be their last time."
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harvey weinsteinsexual assaultfresnorapefresno police departmentFresno
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