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Sexual Abuse: What is it and how do we prevent it?

One out of six people will be sexually abused this year in the state of Utah, most of them teenagers.
SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 UTAH) -  One out of six people will be sexually abused this year in the state of Utah, most of them teenagers.

We first told you about Jaime Heiner a couple weeks ago. She was groomed and sexually abused by her science teacher Stephen Niedzwiecki. He plead guilty to four counts of molestation earlier this month.

"At the time of the abuse I still thought of him as Mr. Nedzwiecki my science teacher. He hadn't changed in my mind," said Heiner.

She changed her mind once she saw another student being groomed. Groomed by manipulation something she was all to familiar with. Jamie says the teacher would send classmates to bother her.

"They would say hey Nedwiski told us to tease you about this. Then all day I would think why would he do that? I'd be thinking about him all day. He actually told me later he did that for a reason because he wanted me to think about him all day," Heiner added. 

The teacher complimented her in front of her fellow students.  He would touch her inappropriately on her legs and arms or pressing his body against hers. Ultimately controlling her every move, robbing her of her teenage life.

"For those two years he controlled everything I did and every experience I ever had and now it's my turn to take that back," said Heiner. 

Lawmakers are working to help her and others to amend two bills that would protect children.  

In Jaime's case, her teacher plead out to lesser charges because he wasn't her teacher or a person of "special trust" at the time of the assault. 

Representative Brad Wilson is defining a person of special trust by job title and children interaction. Taking out language that determines when the person can be seen as a special trust figure.

The second bill deals with educating children about sexual abuse in elementary schools. It's a law known across the nation as Erin's law.

"If they feel unsafe they will know what to say and what to do to get out of that situation.  I think that if you give children the empowerment and you teach them at an early age what good touch is and what bad touch is, they are able to protect themselves," said Representative Angela Romero of District 26.

It's a protection Prevent Child Abuse Utah agrees with.

"It kind of envelops a prevention plan that would really, really be something I think would make a difference in the state of Utah.

It's a plan Heiner wishes she had when she was younger. 

"If I had the information that they want to present I feel like I would have been better prepared and I would have been able to talk to my parents and known how to get out of that situation. Verses having no idea what was happening until it was to late," said Heiner. 

The two bills being introduced are bills both Democrats and Republicans believe is a bipartisan deal that can get through this session. 
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