Sex-abuse victims urged to seek help

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Sex-abuse victims urged to seek help
By Glenn Smith

With the sexual molestation case against coach Louis “Skip” ReVille likely to grow, a local youth treatment center wants parents to know that help is available and hope is not lost.

The Dee Norton Lowcountry Children’s Center in Charleston has reached out to the many places where ReVille worked and volunteered over the past decade, offering advice and assistance in treating potential victims. The agency offers medical exams, counseling and other help free of charge, said Libby Ralston, the center’s director emeritus.

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Louis ReVille

ReVille, 32, has been charged with sexually assaulting five boys he coached in Mount Pleasant. Police have indicated more charges are on the way, but Capt. Stan Gragg said Tuesday he had no information on when that might happen.

The Dee Norton center initially notified police of allegations against ReVille that led to his arrest Oct. 28. Ralston wouldn’t discuss specifics about the case, but she said she would not be surprised if a number of additional people come forward in the case, given ReVille’s association with hundreds of children over the past decade.

ReVille, 32, graduated from The Citadel in 2002 and went on to work as a coach and educator in private schools, churches and recreation programs throughout the Lowcountry.

While sexual abuse can be traumatic, victims can and do benefit from treatment, Ralston said. In many cases, therapy can head off ill effects associated with molestation and keep victims from turning to substance abuse or struggling with guilt and sexual confusion, she said.

“We really want a message of hope to be out there. Kids aren’t doomed by this,” Ralston said. “If you have been touched, molested, had your trust or physical being violated — that doesn’t define who you are.”

How parents react to the news can have a serious effect on how their child copes with the situation, so parents should strive to be calm, supportive and reassuring, Ralston said. The only person deserving blame is the predator himself, she said.

Some parents might be tempted to not report abuse to keep their child out of the case and avoid any associated stigma. But it is most important to get that child help so professionals can spot and treat symptoms before they become serious problems, Ralston said. Burying problems and stifling feelings doesn’t work, she said.

“(Victims) deserve to come forward,” she said. “They didn’t do anything wrong and they deserve help.”

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