FRANKLIN, Ind. – A program that teaches young students what molestation is and how to report it is resulting in thousands of arrests across central Indiana.
Body Safety was developed by Sgt. Terry Hall, a retired veteran of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, about 30 years ago. Since then Hall has been going into elementary schools across the area and teaching children the difference between ‘good touches’ and ‘bad touches’ and why it’s so important to tell someone if they are being molested.
“We talk about the good touches; mom’s hugs or grandma and grandpa giving us hugs. We talk about doctors having to check our private parts. Mom and dad having to help us wash. Maybe grandparents putting medicine (on). We talk about that with the younger kids and we let them know… that’s perfectly okay,” explained Hall. “But if it’s a touch… it’s private parts for no good reason or someone tricking you into touching theirs, even though you’re a kid, you don’t have to put up with that.”
Then he teaches the students how to tell someone, what to do if that person does not believe them and to always know that it’s not their fault.
Sometimes, kids will tell someone they have been molested almost immediately after Hall’s talk.
“You see the shock on their face. You see the hurt.”
His program has resulted in thousands of arrests, including that of Chad Gordon in Delaware County. According to court documents, the 8-year-old victim attended Hall’s Body Safety program and requested to speak to someone right after the presentation. She told the Department of Child Services that her dad’s boyfriend, Gordon, had “touched her with his fingers on her bottom.” She reported it happened in her dad’s Muncie home in the bathroom with her clothes off and that “it did not feel good.”
“‘I’ve had kids disclose very heartbreaking situations,” said Ellen Paris, a school counselor at Northwood Elementary in Franklin. In her time at the school, she has seen about 50 reports of molestation and many have come as a result of the Body Safety program.
“I had a guy arrested once, here, the day of,” she said.
She said many children don’t speak up, because they don’t want to hurt their parents or create problems for the family.
The number one lesson Hall wants parents to learn is to be supportive of their children and to have open and honest conversations with them.
“The biggest reason kids don’t tell is, because they’re too embarrassed about their body,” he said.
If you’d like to bring Hall and his Body Safety program into your child’s school, contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.