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Missouri babysitters accused of sexual abuse

Two men and a woman in St. Charles County, Missouri, have been arrested and charged with committing sexual abuse. Police allege that they abused three young girls that they were babysitting. The three children are age 5 or younger.

Prosecutors have charged the two men, 25 and 27, and the woman, 30, with child molestation. According to prosecutors, the woman held down the children while one of the men raped them. The other man also committed sexual assault against the girls, police claimed. All of the defendants and victims live near O'Fallon, Missouri.

The three were held in jail, each on a $200,000 bond. The girls' mother also sought orders of protection against the three defendants.

The allegations were brought to the attention of authorities after someone placed a call to a hotline run by a state agency. An investigator with the county sheriff's department claimed that the three provided babysitting services for other people, so he feared that there may be more victims.

It is unpleasant to think about these kinds of allegations, particularly where the alleged victims are so young. Still, people should remember that children so young are not necessarily reliable witnesses. Experts have said that kids in this age group are susceptible to suggestion, especially when parents or other relatives are present during the interview. Additional pressure can exist if the interview occurs at school. There are many reasons why someone may be accused of criminal sexual conduct, but these defendants are still entitled to a fair trial.

Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, "Baby-sitters accused of sexually assaulting three young girls in St. Charles County," Susan Weich, June 1, 2012

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