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Investigators Claim Pedophiles Often Lure Potential Victims With Gifts

Posted August 13, 2003

— Childhood is supposed to be a time of feeling safe and secure, but children are in danger close to home. Investigators say pedophiles often use attention, gifts and even trips to gain a child's trust.

"They will find a connection with a child [and] give them special attention. They'll become their friend," said Becky Wrisley of Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina. "They'll build a solid foundation for a relationship and unfortunately, they take advantage of that relationship."

Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina

has created a pamphlet to help parents warn kids about molestation. It also urges parents to be aware of adults who pay too much attention to your child.

"Sometimes, it may be somebody close to the family pointing it out to you asking why is this particular individual spending so much attention with your child. Pay attention to that. Don't blow it off," said Maj. T.S. Matthews of the Wake County Sheriff Office.

Zebulon elementary school teacher Christopher Journigan is accused of having sex with a 12-year-old male student. Police say Journigan bought expensive gifts for his alleged victim and even took him to Disney World.

Rick Gammon, Journigan's attorney, said that does not make his client guilty of sex abuse.

"Simply because he was a good teacher does not mean he committed any of the heinous crimes he was accused of," he said.

Journigan made his first court appearance Tuesday and then was released from jail on bond. A judge reduced his bond from $1 million to $500,000.

While awaiting trial, Journigan will live in Wake Forest with his parents, and he cannot have any contact with schoolchildren.


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