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Tulsa Non-Profit Group Helps Adults Spot Signs Of Child Predators

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Magazine on keeping children safe. Magazine on keeping children safe.
Shannon Wimberly with Empowering Adults. Shannon Wimberly with Empowering Adults.
Actors in the Empowering Adults play. Actors in the Empowering Adults play.
TULSA COUNTY, Oklahoma -

A local non-profit is taking a different approach to prevent child sexual abuse. Empowering Adults uses a visual way to teach grown-ups how to spot child predators.

It's a topic that many don't like to address, but one group says interactive plays are a unique way of teaching adults how to protect children from molesters.

Empowering Adults is performing an interactive play to help protect children. In one scene, Uncle Bill comes to stay with relatives. When he arrives, his niece, Amy, asks him for a gift.

Dad: "She shouldn't expect a gift every time you visit us, especially just now."
Mom: "Bill we don't want Amy begging for gifts like that."
Bill: "Okay."

Then you see Bill slide the gift to Amy behind her parents' backs.

Shannon Wimberly, with Empowering Adults, said giving gifts with an ulterior motive is one of the eight potentially risky behaviors adults should know about child predators.

"We want to teach adults how to interrupt and intervene in the relationship that's building between a child molester and a child before anything happens," Wimberly said.

Later in the play, the uncle is watching Amy sing a song when her mother calls her to come inside the

Bill: "Let's go. I know a good place we can go and you can show me your whole song and dance."
Amy: "But I have to go help mom."
Bill: "Oh come on, you can say you didn't hear her calling. It won't take very long will it?
Amy: "I guess not."
Bill: "Let's go."

Wimberly explains ignoring parents' rules and encouraging secrets are also red flags.

"It's teaching kids that they can have an adult/kid secret without their parents involved and that's one of the things child molesters use to get access and gain trust with the child," said Wimberly.

According to Empowering Adults Protecting Children, one out of four girls and one out of eight boys admit to being molested before they're adults. Half will never tell a soul. And 90 percent of predators are people the child knows and trusts.

"Adults need to know to trust their gut," said Wimberly. "If you see another adult interacting with a child that makes you uncomfortable, don't shrug it off."

Starting this year, Empowering Adults plans to have presentations monthly.

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