BRYAN, Tex. (KBTX) - From sexual assaults and physical abuse to accusations of abandonment and neglect, crimes against children in the Brazos Valley are on the rise.
The Brazos County district attorney’s office says in recent years the number of resolved cases has more than doubled.
Assistant District Attorney Kara Comte is the chief prosecutor for the crimes against children unit in the DA’s office.
"People don't want to believe that as human beings we would hurt children,” said Comte.
Despite her growing docket, Comte says she’s dedicated to finding justice for children in the county.
"You can't sit in a room and listen to a child talk about physical and sexual abuse and not go home and think about it,’ she said. “Especially when you have a child of your own."
At the time of our interview with Comte, there were 81 child cases pending in Brazos County. More than half of the cases were sexual offenses. There were 18 cases where a child was injured, 6 where the child was abandoned and 11 cases dealing with internet crimes like child pornography.
Comte says despite harsh punishments in these cases, the numbers keep growing.
"These cases are hard because you’re dealing with children who have been put in a situation by no choice of their own,” she said. “Oftentimes, they can't speak up for themselves."
Those tragedies are becoming all too common. Just last year, we learned of 3-year-old Rayven Shields. Her body was discovered in a shallow grave in her mother's backyard
Comte says crimes against children are usually committed by a relative or someone the child knows.
“A lot of times, you'll see the child try to step in to help mom, to get between mom and dad or stepdad and the kid gets hit, pushed or punched,” said Comte.
Along with the consequences comes education and Comte’s end goal is to break the cycle of abuse.
"Making sure they understand that this life that they've been in is not the only life there is and that there is something better,” she said.