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Authority Figures Accused in Separate Sexual Assault Cases | News

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Authority Figures Accused in Separate Sexual Assault Cases
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LAS VEGAS - For the second time this week, an authority figure is accused of sexually assaulting a young girl. An ROTC advisor and a Metro Police officer are accused in unrelated cases of abusing their authority and taking advantage of young victims.

The two young ladies came forward this week with separate allegations of sexual abuse against the two men. Kevin Miyasato with the Community Crisis Center of Southern Nevada says the victims at some point probably felt hopeless.

"Very, very violated - their whole world has been turned upside down. Everything they knew and trusted in has been broken apart," he speculated. "Things they used to enjoy doing, they're not doing anymore. They've basically emotionally shut down. Those are some signs and indications that something's going on."

The Metro Police officer is accused of sexually assaulting a little girl in 2008 while on a camping trip with her family. The victim says 43-year-old Garrett Vandereecken, a close family friend, groped her privates and molested her.

The girl realized what was happening was inappropriate, because she found somebody to confide in. Metro Officer Bill Cassell says the same is true for a high school student who felt she had to have sex with her ROTC advisor - 49-year-old Douglas Young - after he promised her career would soar and showered her with gifts.

"Your biggest weapon is talking to somebody else," Cassell said. "That's the biggest thing that we as parents and caregivers can give to our children, the confidence to come to us."

"The process of trusting someone again is a long one, but if they have someone who listens and hears them and understands what they're going through and helps them process through those feelings, they can get over it," Miyasato added.

Both suspects have been released from custody. Vandereecken has been suspended from duty without pay, pending the outcome of the criminal charges and an internal investigation.

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