File Photo – Marengo Police Department | LMCS File

The state’s attorney’s office and local police departments have formed a new McHenry County Crimes Against Children Task Force to help investigate and prosecute child abuse.

The McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office announced the formation of the task force on Wednesday.

The task force is being led by the state’s attorney’s office in conjunction with 20 local McHenry County police departments to ensure “the most thorough and comprehensive” investigations for reports of physical or sexual abuse to a child.

Child abuse can be one of the most difficult crimes to investigate and prosecute, prosecutors said.

The crime is often committed behind closed doors without any independent witnesses.

“The victims are our most vulnerable and helpless members of society who often have a difficult time disclosing abuse,” the state’s attorney’s office said in a statement.

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“Due to this, these investigations not only require an extraordinary amount of time, but also investigators with a specialized knowledge and skillset,” the office said.

With the creation of the task force, all reports of child abuse within the 20 participating jurisdictions will be turned over to the specialized unit comprised of investigators who are trained and experienced in abuse investigations.

The task force’s time will be dedicated to investigating the offenses and pursuing justice on behalf of the victims.

Amy Bucci was appointed as the Director and Lead Investigator of the Crimes Against Children Task Force. Jason Greenwald was appointed as an Investigator with the task force.

The state’s attorney’s office has also assigned an assistant state’s attorney to work with the task force.

The prosecutor will work daily with the task force to assist in reviewing investigations, providing input regarding follow-up or investigative leads and deciding if criminal charges are appropriate.

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The task force will work out of the McHenry County Child Advocacy Center.

The child advocacy center assists all local law enforcement agencies and DCFS by conducting child-sensitive, forensic interviews of children.

“The McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office recognizes the magnitude of child abuse cases and is committed to bringing perpetrators to justice while providing support and care for the children affected. The Crimes Against Children Task Force is a significant step towards achieving this goal,” the office said.

The partner agencies involved in the task force include the Barrington Hills Police Department, Bull Valley Police Department, Cary Police Department, Crystal Lake Park District Police Department, Fox River Grove Police Department, Hebron Police Department, Holiday Hills Police Department, Island Lake Police Department, Johnsburg Police Department, Lakemoor Police Department, Lakewood Police Department, Marengo Police Department, McHenry County College Police Department, McHenry County Conservation District Police Department, Oakwood Hills Police Department, Prairie Grove Police Department, Richmond Police Department, Spring Grove Police Department, Union Police Department and the Wonder Lake Police Department.

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