FORT SILL, OK (KSWO) - A mother says her daughter was sexually abused by another child while a student at Freedom Elementary on Fort Sill.
She called us the day after an associated press report revealed six child-on-child sexual assaults on post in the last 10 years. Five of those assaults were found to be true, while one was unsubstantiated.
We do not know if the girl is one of those cases investigated but the mother told us when she tried to report her child's claims in 2017, she got the runaround
The mom said when her child told her she had been sexually assaulted by a classmate for six months at Freedom Elementary, she went right to the Lawton Police Department. That was the first stop on what turned out to be an unending and frustrating journey for justice. She said the police department told her to report the assault to freedom
When she did, she claims a school official sent her to the Fort Sill Police Department, but her journey didn't stop there. She said she was directed to the criminal investigation division, which is the investigations division of Fort Sill Law Enforcement.
"When I asked CID for help, they told me because the children were the same age, there was no jurisdiction over it because they were the same age. When a male attacks a female at 21 years old, that's not OK for that to happen, but it's OK for children of the same age to attack each other? That's confusing to me," the woman said.
She says no one allowed her to file a report. She claims they all said her case wasn't in their jurisdiction. The Oklahoma Department of Human Services was called in to investigate the child's home life. 7NEWS obtained a copy of that DHS report, which found no evidence of abuse taking place in the family's home
We did some digging and found out Lawton Public Schools and Fort Sill have an agreement surrounding freedom elementary.
"Fort Sill and Lawton Public Schools take any crimes against children seriously. With Freedom Elementary School being on Fort Sill, Fort Sill has jurisdiction for any crimes that happen at the school," said Monica Guthrie with Fort Sill Public Affairs.
They said there are resources on post that can assist people going through situations of sexual assault.
"Our sexual harassment, assault response prevention team has a fantastic group of professionals, who are able to assist in anything that anyone might have, not just soldiers on post. they have said they won't turn away anyone who calls, so if anyone has any situation they're going through or they know someone is going through, they are free to call Fort Sill's SHARP office," Guthrie said.
Former Oklahoma State Representative Joe Dorman, who now runs The Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy, said this mom's experience is not uncommon
"We see widespread problems with abuse overall. Generally, you hear about an adult abusing a child. But every now and then, you hear about circumstances with a child abusing or mistreating another child," Dorman said.
Dorman said there is new legislation that went into effect this year to help clear up confusion over who is supposed to investigate abuse claims
"There were two pieces of legislation that went through this year that require schools to contact DHS immediately. In the past, the legislation, the statutory language said they had to promptly call DHS. It's been changed where an immediate call has to be made by a teacher or school personnel of a suspected abuse case," Dorman said.
Dorman said DHS should always be the first person you contact if you suspect abuse or sexual assault, but if the investigation stops there, there are more options.
"It's their job as DHS to investigate the situation but if a person is not satisfied with how DHS handles a case, there is also the Oklahoma Commission on Children and Youth who will investigate DHS to ensure they did their job correctly," Dorman said.
The mom who contacted us hopes new laws will help other families and hopes they won't face the struggles her daughter continues to fight.
"She's very adamant about not letting people into her bubble. When I say bubble, I mean normal child's play of tag you're it is not acceptable with my child thanks to this. She is still working very, very hard with her anxiety but the effects on her are lifelong. She has no trust in people anymore. Her trust is gone," she said.
She hopes by telling her story, she can prevent this from happening to other families.
"I really hope that no family has to endure this crap again. Realistically, it's just so much stress. The children are scarred for life. I would never fathom my family going through this. I could not sit back and just let another family have this happen to them. This is not okay. I told my family I'm reaching out because I don't want this happening to another family," she said.
We reached out to both Fort Sill and Lawton Public School officials to see if there were any reports filed during the time frame the woman said these assaults happened. She did not want us to give officials her name, fearing repercussions for her family. Because of that, we were unable to confirm if any reports were ever filed.