Opp police shed light on recent child sex abuse cases
Opp, AL (WSFA) - Multiple women stand accused of sex crimes involving teenage boys in Opp. Three Opp women have been arrested in the small town in a matter of days. Now, officials are shedding new light on the arrests and the number of victims involved in what the police chief describes as an in-depth investigation by his department.
Mandi Brianna Harrison, 25, of Opp, was arrested Friday and charged with rape second degree and sodomy second degree.
Kristina L. Burroughs, 30, of Opp, was arrested Jan. 26 and charged with rape second degree and sodomy second degree. Tiffany Ann Blair, 35, of Opp, was arrested Jan. 24 and charged with four counts of chemical endangerment of a child, rape second degree and sodomy second degree.
Because the victims are underage, Opp Police Chief Mike McDonald can't talk in depth about what his investigators have uncovered, but he did reveal that less than two weeks ago, the department received a report of a woman having sexual contact with a child. Things expanded from there.
"As we began the initial case, the second case was developed during interviews with the victim and so they began to pursue the second case which again led to a third case. As a result of the investigation, we have made three arrests. We have a total of two victims," the chief said.
Police say the two victims are under the age of 16, which is the age of consent in Alabama. All of the suspects and victims know each other. Chief McDonald said two of the women are accused of having sex with one of the victims and the third woman is connected to the other victim. He declined to elaborate further due to the nature of the investigation.
Opp resident Steven Hodges says he was surprised when he heard about the arrests.
"Especially in Opp. I mean this is Opp, small town. You wouldn't think adults would be messing around with the youth like that," he said. "Parents should know who their kids are talking to."
Chief McDonald hopes the investigation sparks dialogue between parents and their children.
"Most crimes are preventable, particularly when they involve a child, whether the child is the victim or the perpetrator. We need to know where our children are. We need to know who our children are with. We need to sit down with our kids and figure out what's going on," he said.
According to Alabama law, a person commits rape in the second degree if:
1) Being 16 years old or older, he or she engages in sexual intercourse with a member of the opposite sex less than 16 or more than 12 years old; provided, however, the actor is at least two years older than the member of the opposite sex.
2) He or she engages in sexual intercourse with a member of the opposite sex who is incapable of consent by reason of being mentally defective.
The law also indicates that a person commits the crime of sodomy in the second degree if:
1) He, being 16 years or older, engages in deviate sexual intercourse with another person less than 16 and more than 12 years old.
2) He engages in deviate sexual intercourse with a person who is incapable of consent by reason of being mentally defective.
Both are Class B felonies.
"We are following the law as it has been established in the state of Alabama. We have conducted the investigation and it will be turned over to the Covington County District Attorney's Office. It will be decided in court," Chief McDonald told WSFA 12 News. "I hope it will generate with parents and caregivers the motive for talking to their kids and making sure their kids understand that things can happen in our world and if something happens to them, they need to come directly to them immediately and tell them what has happened."
All three women have posted bond and are out of jail as they wait for their cases to go to court.
Tiffany Blair's bond was set at more than $1 million. She is also charged with four counts of chemical endangerment of a child. Bond for Burroughs and Harrison was $400,000.
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