Numerous readers of MuskogeeNOW.com have noticed a marked uptick in reports of crimes of a sexual nature, especially against children. But that uptick doesn’t mean there are more crimes of that nature going on, necessarily, so much as it shows an intensified focus on the part of the district attorney to bring the perpetrators to justice.
“When I campaigned, I promised to put together a staff of prosecutors who did their jobs,” he said. “I took that very seriously, and I think I have an excellent slate of prosecutors who recognize—among other things—the seriousness of sex crimes, especially against children.”
Working closely with local and area law enforcement, the DA’s office makes sure the cases it takes to court are as strong as possible in order to bring perpetrators to justice.
“The investigators have to put together a case and collect evidence that allows us to prove the case in court,” Loge said. “They are excellent at their jobs, and they know what to look for, how to issue search warrants and have forensic exams done. When they bring their cases to my office, they’re ready for prosecution and will stand up in a court of law.”
The combination of law enforcement investigators and a dedicated team of prosecutors means more cases are being successfully prosecuted, he said. The prosecution team includes Ryan Roberts, Tim King, Nalani Ching and Ryan Ferguson, all of whom are experienced in getting sexual predators off the streets.
And the need is urgent, he said, because sexual predators who focus on children present special needs that may be outside the wheelhouse of traditional monitoring.
“When it comes to trying to find treatment for child sexual predators, I don’t think you’re going to find much,” he said. “We can help people addicted to alcohol or drugs or who have mental health issues, but child sexual predators have to be dealt with differently. There has to be prison, and once they’re released from prison, they have to be monitored with strict rules on what they can or can’t do.”
The Department of Corrections has officers who specialize in monitoring and handling sex crime convicts, he said.
Ultimately, the increase in successful prosecution was an urgent necessity, he said.
“If we don’t stop that pattern, then there is a certainty more children will be victimized,” he said. “I can say for a fact there are cases where we have prevented that. In one case, both suspects are now in prison for the rest of their lives and because of that, no further children will be hurt by them. We know for a fact there would have been at least one more if we had not caught them.
“Defenseless children don’t understand why they’re being violated, and if the perpetrator can groom them and convince them these kinds of things should be happening, we know they’re less likely to tell anybody. So by successfully putting these predators in prison, the hope is that children will recognize this behavior is not normal, and they’ll come forward and report what’s happening to them.”
Loge was elected in 2014 and took office in 2015.