Donation Puts Harmony House Closer To Goal For Buying Equipment - WTRF 7 News Sports Weather - Wheeling Steubenville

Donation Puts Harmony House Closer To Goal For Buying Forensic Exam Camera

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Sexual assault against children, even babies, is often carried out by the very people who were entrusted with their care.

And law enforcement officers say these cases are very challenging to investigate and prosecute.

But now Harmony House is one step closer to getting a new weapon in the battle against child sexual abuse.

When they discover a child has been sexually assaulted in Belmont County, that child is taken for a forensic medical exam.

This is done by a sexual assault nurse examiner at Belmont Community Hospital.

Right now, she uses a hand-held digital camera, which is not ideal.

Harmony House Children's Advocacy Center wants to purchase an $18,000 digital imaging system which will take high resolution pictures.

This piece of equipment is on a tripod and has an arm, and the examiner can then use her foot to control where the camera is so she will have both hands free.

Belmont County Sheriff Dave Lucas reached out to gas drilling companies in the area, asking for donations for this important but expensive equipment.

The first one he approached was Hess Corporation.

"The Hess Corporation came in, wanted to talk to us," Sheriff Lucas said. "We sat down and they're very big in community service and being part of the community, and wanted to know what they could do for the community."

Hess presented $5,000 to the Belmont County Sheriff's Department for Harmony House to put toward the digital imaging system.

"When he approached us about it, it was something we could see would make a really big impact to the community as a whole," said Andrew Keck, senior land negotiator for Hess. "And one of Hess' corporate mandates is to be active in our communities."

They need much more, and here's how you can help and have fun too.

It's a Monster Mash Bash, a "spooktacular" fund raising event.

Call (740) 695-0812 to find out more.

Last year alone in Belmont County, at least 26 children were sexually assaulted and had to undergo forensic medical exams.

Some, as young as five months old, couldn't speak, so the exam and photographs had to tell the story.

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