To the Editor:
Recently I wrote a guest commentary for the Columbia Missourian (Oct. 3, 2011), part of which was critical of the Missouri attorney general's disposition of the Ken Storla prosecution. (Storla had admitted to sexually assaulting his two granddaughters.)
As a result, a few days later, I and two other directors of Grandparents and Others on Watch, Inc., met with Matt Dameron, the attorney general's chief of staff.
Also at the meeting were the deputy attorney general, who approved a plea deal with Storla, and the senior prosecutor who brokered the deal. They reviewed the case and their process with us.
The Attorney General's office had a well-reasoned purpose in the course of action settled upon. We were most impressed with their passion for protecting children, their support for what GrOW is trying to do and their determined professionalism.
As the meeting broke up, the senior prosecutor asked GrOW to take three things back into our communities.
1. "Every Child — Every Time." Far too often children who have been sexually assaulted do not receive medical attention, she said. It is very important that they do, and if at all possible, have it include a "sexual assault forensic examination."
2. "The forensic interview is only the beginning." Too often, it is presented to the child as if it will conclude the process.
3. "Advocate for children in the community." GrOW asks the community to join us in this advocacy and in support of child advocacy centers and the dedicated public officials in the Attorney General's Office.
Dan William Peek lives in Columbia and is a member of Grandparents and Others on Watch, Inc., www.grow-america.org.