A man is behind bars, accused of sexually assaulting his friend’s 13-year-old daughter multiple times since last Sunday.
The girl told investigators it started when 28-year-old Mark Mascilli spent the night in their home.
In this case, the girl made an outcry, someone listened - and it led to an eye-opening arrest.
"We're in a situation where perpetrators of these crimes - this is where they thrive,” says Randy McGibeny from ChildSafe, a group that works with children who make outcries of sexual abuse.
The arrest highlights experts’ fears that during COVID-19 pandemic, it would be very hard for kids in bad situations to get help.
"This is just the perfect storm for someone who is sexually assaulting a child because they have continued access to that child, and that child doesn't have access or an outlet to tell somebody what's happening to them,” McGibeny says.
He says hotline calls are way down all over Texas, likely because educators - people who by law must report signs of abuse - haven’t laid eyes on kids since spring break and probably won’t until late August.
Meantime, the kids who are coming through ChildSafe’s doors are speaking with investigators through new social distancing guidelines.
"We're putting children in one room and we're putting forensic interviewers in another room, and we're interviewing children through a telehealth session there,” McGibeny explains. “And the reason that we have to do that is we have to maintain the integrity of the forensic interview. What we don't want to do is have children being interviewed from their home and then have an alleged perpetrator who has access to the child and is impacting the interview in some way."
He says it’s more important than ever to report abuse and to take kids seriously who make outcries. You can call the Texas Abuse Hotline at 1-800-252-5400.