On Friday, April 1, a child abuse awareness event, sponsored by the Rutherford County Coalition Against Child Abuse, was held on the square at the Historic Courthouse.
Chief Glenn Chrisman presents District Attorney General William C. Whitesell, Jr. with an award for Outstanding Dedication to Justice for Child Abuse Victims from the Rutherford County Coalition Against Child Abuse.
Murfreesboro Police Chief Glenn Chrisman presented District Attorney General William C. Whitesell, Jr. with an award on behalf of the Coalition, for dedicating his career to prosecuting child abuse perpetrators to the fullest extent of the law.
This award, named the “General William C. Whitesell, Jr. Award for Outstanding Dedication to Justice for Child Abuse Victims” will be presented every April in honor of Whitesell to a deserving child abuse professional in the community.
“Working on behalf of children who have suffered abuse and neglect is one of the most difficult jobs in our community,” said Tonya Hobbs from Murfreesboro City Schools. “The Rutherford County Coalition Against Child Abuse is proud to recognize General Whitesell for his tireless efforts to ensure justice for victims of child abuse. And we are equally proud to name this annual award in his honor so that the spirit of his commitment and dedication to children will be honored for years to come.”
Every month the Rutherford County District Attorney’s Office receives 40-50 new child abuse referrals, including child sexual abuse, extreme physical abuse, child pornography, and child homicide cases.
Whitesell and the prosecutors in the District Attorney’s Office work child abuse cases as part of a multidisciplinary team with the Child Advocacy Center, Department of Children’s Services, mental health counselors from the Guidance Center, law enforcement detectives from Murfreesboro Police Department, Smyrna Police Department, LaVergne Police Department, and the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office.
Over the last ten years, Whitesell and the Child Protective Investigative Team have worked more than 6,000 child abuse cases.
Over his 30-year career, Whitesell has worked tirelessly to advocate on behalf of child abuse victims and prosecute offenders to the fullest extent of the law.
Whitesell has been the driving force in establishing Child Advocacy Centers in Rutherford and Cannon Counties, the Child Protective Investigative Teams in Rutherford and Cannon Counties, Child Protective Investigative Management Team, and in getting all the agencies to work together and function effectively.
Whitesell’s passion about child abuse victims is contagious.
Every person in our community from law enforcement to Department of Children’s Services to the Child Advocacy Center Board of Directors to community leaders all share his passion and his vision for building a collaborative multidisciplinary approach to responding to child abuse cases.
Highlights of Whitesell’s accomplishments for the last 30 years include:
• Aggressively prosecutes child abuse, child sexual abuse, and child homicide offenders for the last 30 years.
• Serves on the Rutherford County and Cannon County CPIT Teams and supervises the prosecutors that serve on the Rutherford and Cannon County CPIT Teams.
• Driving force behind the development of the Child Advocacy Center of Rutherford County and the Cannon County Child Advocacy Center and currently serves as the President of the Board of Directors and as a member of the Nominating Committee to recruit dedicated board members.
• Led the development of the Rutherford County Child Abuse Investigative Protocol in collaboration with other members of the CPIT Management Team.
• Speaks to local newspapers, radio stations and to community groups about child abuse, the CPIT Team and the Child Advocacy Center.
• Assisted in the development of new fundraising events — such as the Duck Derby, the Duck Derby Bash, the Rutherford County Andrea Walks, and the Cannon County Andrea Walks — to raise funds to expand Child Advocacy Center program services.