EDMOND, Okla. (KFOR) – A 42-year-old man has been charged with seven counts of child sexual abuse in Oklahoma County.
Garret Wood is accused of repeatedly raping a 14-year-old girl for seven months.
According to police, it started in 2014. Wood allegedly raped the girl three to four times a week.
Police say they uncovered a phone bought for the girl by Wood with 216 phone calls and more than 30,000 text messages between the two.
“About 90 percent of the time kids are abused by someone they know, someone they love and trust. These are people who are supposed to be taking care of them and they aren’t,” said Shelby Lynch, the Education Director at the Care Center in Oklahoma City.
According to court documents, the victim disclosed the abuse to a teacher at Edmond Santa Fe High School in 2017. The school contacted DHS, but a police report states that neither the school nor DHS contacted law enforcement.
As of 2019, Oklahoma state law requires schools to report to both the Department of Human Services and law enforcement, but in 2017, the law would have only required Edmond Santa Fe to report to DHS.
KFOR contacted DHS for an explanation as to why court documents show law enforcement wasn’t contacted, but DHS officials told KFOR they were unable to comment on child abuse or neglect cases.
“At times, this can lead to what’s called a delayed disclosure, which is exactly what we’re talking about. Abuse has been happening for several months, sometimes years,” said Lynch.
Lynch says “delayed disclosure” is extremely common.
In this case, court documents show the victim also told a youth pastor, her best friend and even her own mother before finally finding the courage to tell police officers herself.
“This is something that we can all take away from this young woman’s story. We need to listen to what kids tell us,” said Lynch.
KFOR also reached out to Wood’s attorney, who tells us, “Wood vehemently denies all allegations against him and looks forward to his day in court.”
Wood was due in court for the beginning of the trial this week, but because of a “family emergency”, the court date was pushed back to April of 2021.
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