Friday, February 15, 2008

Child sex-abuse numbers were wrong

AG?s office says mistake in Blaine County data caused by clerical error

Express Staff Writer

A clerical error led to incorrect numbers for Blaine County in a report on child sexual abuse that was released last month by the Idaho Attorney General's Office, a spokesman for the attorney general said Wednesday.

How far the numbers are off is still being determined, but attorney general spokesman Bob Cooper said numbers for Bingham County in eastern Idaho were inadvertently added to the tally for Blaine County.

"They're going to be off by the number of cases filed in Bingham County," Cooper said.

He said correct numbers for Blaine County will likely be available within the next week.

The Idaho Mountain Express inquired into the accuracy of the numbers for child sexual-abuse cases for Blaine County following recent news media reports that questioned the accuracy of data in several other counties.

The report in question is the annual "Prosecution of Child Sexual Abuse" report issued in late January. The latest data are for the state's fiscal year 2007, which ran from July 1, 2006, through June 30, 2007. The report is a compilation of statewide data based on the number of child sex-abuse cases filed in each county. The data cover nearly 20 different sex crimes but are only applicable to crimes against people under 18.

The Idaho Mountain Express reported in its Jan. 25 edition that the report stated that the number of child sex-abuse cases in Blaine County for fiscal year 2007 was nearly triple the rate of the previous year.

Cooper said the error for Blaine County was clerical in nature and attributed it to the research group contracted to compile and write the report.

He said there is no indication that incorrect numbers were provided for the report by court personnel with the Blaine County Clerk's Office.

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