SYLACAUGA, Ala. – Two Sylacauga men were recently arrested for sexual-related charges and are being held at the Talladega County Metro Jail.

Demetrius Redmond, 38, is accused of raping a 13-year-old girl on Kymulga Rd. He was originally charged with second degree rape because of the age of the victim, but circumstances of the alleged rape led to an upgraded charge.

Demetrius Redmond

“During the investigation, we found evidence of forcible compulsion,” said Talladega County Sheriff’s Deputy Sgt. Mike Jones. “After those findings charges were raised to rape in the first degree.”

Investigators are not aware of any other victims connected to Redmond. If convicted, Redmond could spend 10 to 99 years or life in prison.

Nineteen-year-old Elijah Bennett was also arrested by the Talladega County Sheriff’s Office. Bennett is charged with two counts of sex crimes; first degree sodomy and sexually abusing a child under the age of 12. The alleged offense took place on March 5 just after 5:00 p.m. in the Odena area.

Elijah Bennett

Jones told SylacaugaNews.com deputies were notified about an incident involving the sexual abuse of an 8-year-old boy. He said the information given by community members was key in making Bennett’s arrest on Monday afternoon. Childersburg Police Department assisted in the arrest. In Alabama, sodomy in the first degree is considered Class A felony. If convicted, Bennent would be eligible a sentence of at least 10 years up to 99 years or life in prison.

Abuse of children is becoming a major problem in our area according to Nancy Green, Director of the Talladega County Child Advocacy Center and Palmer Place. Green told SylacaugaNews.com her agency interviewed 250 potentially abused children in 2016, and have interviewed 50 children in the first two months of 2017. She said cases of abuse are becoming more prevalent everyday.

Sgt. Jones has also noticed an increase in crimes involving abused children. “This year alone we have seen more than the usual amount of these crimes,” he said. “They seem to come in cycles, but we have definitely seen an increase as of late.”

With both physical and sexual abuse crimes increasing in the area SylacaugaNews.com inquired on ways to raise awareness to prevent these horrific tragedies from continuing. Here are some key tips from Green and Jones:

  • Although it may be a tough conversation to have, make sure your children know it is never okay for anyone to inappropriately touch them in any way.
  • Never wait! Advise children to report abuse when it happens the first time.
  • Make sure children, especially young children, know this behavior is not normal.
  • Members of the community need to be aware and report instances of abuse if concerned.
  • Adults need to be aware of the signs an abused child or teen will show. Always be suspicious of a change in behavior.
  • Always be aware of who is around your children. This may not prevent the act, but it can fast-track the process of identifying the abuser and reporting the case.
  • Report any and all instances of abuse. One case of abuse is already too much on a child.

Jeremy Law for SylacaugaNews.com | © 2017, SylacaugaNews.com/Marble City Media LLC. All Rights Reserved.