Child cases such as abandoning or endangering children and physical or sexual abuse increased from 248 cases in 2010 to 589 cases in 2012.
District Attorney Luis V. Saenz organized a Child Abuse Unit that began work July 1, 2013. The Unit consists of three prosecutors and an investigator with specialized training in child abuse cases. In addition to providing special, immediate and consistent attention to these cases, the Unit provides county-wide training to law enforcement and school districts. Training includes encouraging a streamlined, sensitive process that aims to minimize the emotional impact on the victim.
With about 20 percent of court dockets pertaining to child abuse, the Unit will review all incoming child abuse cases, and they will maintain control over the more egregious cases. Additionally, the Unit will provide resources to all prosecutors handling child abuse cases.
The Unit will focus its attention to these cases exclusively. This type of consistency is much-needed and helps the District Attorney’s Office to successfully prosecute defendants.
The Child Abuse Unit consists of Assistant District Attorney Melanie C. Palomo, Paralegal Gabriela Cruz, and Investigator Sergio Padilla.
The Child Abuse Unit works closely with the Cameron County Children’s Advocacy Center and Monica’s and Maggie’s House. The center is a non-profit agency serving child victims and their families. Investigator Sergio Padilla also joins the Unit and has extensive law enforcement experience.
To contact the Unit, please call (956) 544-0849