Rape, killing raises questions about child safety

    The murder of 9-year-old Skyler Kauffman in Montgomery County has people wondering if her death could have been prevented.

    The girl’s mother reported an incident three weeks ago with the man now accused of rape and murder. Skyler had told her mother that their neighbor in Souderton tried to lock her and a friend inside the man’s apartment after using his bathroom. Police interviewed James Lee Troutman, but did not file charges at that time.

    The Philadelphia Children’s Alliance conducts forensic interviews with children who report sexual abuse. Spokesperson Chris Kirchner says many times parents have suspicions, but moving forward with a prosecution can be problematic.

    “We see a lot of cases where there’s strong suspicion that, indeed, something did happen, but maybe because of the child’s age they don’t have the vocabulary or they don’t exactly remember the time frame, or all of the details. And so, there’s a lot of frustration about not being able to proceed because children are just unable, for various reasons, to give the kind of detail they need to proceed,” said Kirchner.

    Meanwhile, Skyler’s father does not blame authorities, but her mother says the police response to the earlier incident was inadequate.

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