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      Expert: Child predators follow pattern of behavior

      By Eric Eganeegan@abcnews4.com

      MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCIV) -- According to experts, sexual abuse crimes against children can cause devastating damage to a child. The act itself is often repeated by the offender, and offenders are good at what they do.

      Likewise, they often act alike. It's a profile aimed at luring victims of abuse.

      In a court affidavit, the Lowcountry Children's Center first notified police of sexual abuse allegations against Louis Neal "Skip" ReVille. Police say ReVille gave a written statement admitting multiple assaults.

      Libby Ralston, the children's center executive director, says the behavior of those accused of sexual assault can follow a pattern.

      "People who seek access to children for sexual purposes, people who seek access to children in a private kind of way, people whose focus tends to be on children," Ralston says. "They are very skilled in what we call grooming the child."

      Ralston says offenders may entice kids with gifts or special favors. In many cases they do so with two motivations.

      "One is sexual arousal to children that would be pedophile. The other is power and control, feeling not comfortable with age mates."

      Being an educator and coach, ReVille had ongoing interaction with his alleged accusers. Jolie Logan, at Darkness to Light, an organization dedicated to preventing child sexual abuse, says offenders often know their victims, and at times they may show extra interest.

      Logan said therapy can help a young victim recover, but keeping the abuse a secret can have dire consequences.

      "Those that aren't treated, yes, have a higher correlation to teen pregnancy, drug and alcohol abuse, depression and violent crime," Logan said. "You can name any of our social ills and make a correlation back to child sexual abuse."

      Experts say those predators who target kids can have as many as several hundred victims in their lifetime.

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