A Clinton man has been charged with a felony offense stemming from statutory rape allegations, just the latest arrest that has come as a result of local law enforcement and child advocates teaming together as part of an investigation.
Christian Akoye Vann, 24, of 206 Jacobs St., Clinton, was charged Wednesday with statutory rape, stemming from a warrant issued Sept. 2. He turned himself in and was served at the magistrate’s office and placed in the Sampson County Detention Center under $200,000 secured bond.
Vann was given a court date of Sept. 23.
“This was a case that was reported and investigated jointly through the coordination of the Sampson County Child Advocacy Center,” said Clinton Police Capt. Donald Edwards, noting that the case, like many child sex abuse cases, involved “very sensitive information.”
Shannon Blanchard, director of the Child Advocacy Center, said she did work with the Clinton Police investigators just as she regularly does with Sampson County Sheriff’s deputies.
“A forensic interview was completed at the Child Advocacy Center. This case was also reviewed with the multidisciplinary team before charges were made,” Blanchard remarked.
That multidisciplinary team (MDT) consists of members of several disciplines that work together on these cases, to include law enforcement, Social Services, prosecution, medical providers, Guardian ad Litem, mental health professionals and school officials.
“The use of the multi-discipline approach when interacting with juvenile victims of sexual abuse has been extremely beneficial. I don’t think our investigators can imagine conducting one these cases without the help of the CAC,” Clinton Police Chief Jay Tilley said. “Law enforcement investigations have gotten better with the CAC and we are able to identify and treat other problems that these victims may be suffering that traditionally the old process would miss.”
Vann’s arrest is the most recent in a series of sexual abuse cases investigated by local authorities, with those investigations coordinated by the CAC. Including Vann, five men have been charged in five separate cases since the end of August. The other four cases were investigated by the Sheriff’s Office. Charges have included statutory rape, incest, first degree forcible rape, sexual offenses, indecent liberties and crimes against nature.
The MDT uses its resources to review all cases and provide assistance, advocacy and protection to victims, with the CAC playing a key role in that effort.
“The team meets monthly to review the work completed by each party involved in the case,” Blanchard pointed out. “This case is an example of the collaboration by this team in ensuring suspects are held accountable and, most importantly, that a victim receives the services needed to overcome such a traumatic event.”
“Children that are victims of this horrible abuse need the services of the CAC,” the chief said, “and the CAC needs community support to continue.”
Reach Managing Editor Chris Berendt at 910-249-4616. Follow the paper on twitter @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.