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D.A. Seeks Grant to Target Sex Crime

The Ventura County district attorney’s office is seeking a $150,000 state grant to help prosecute cases of statutory rape and provide educational and support services for the young victims.

The money would be used to pay for one deputy district attorney, a victims’ advocate and an investigative assistant who would work as a team on individual cases, said Lela Henke-Dobroth, chief deputy district attorney.

One key aspect of the proposal calls for the victims’ advocate to work closely with outside organizations in educating minors who have been sexually involved with an adult, Henke-Dobroth said.

“We need to re-educate people that this is a crime,” she said.

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The one-year pilot program would also help inform pregnant girls about where they can go for parenting classes and how the district attorney’s office can help them get child-support payments, Henke-Dobroth said.

On Tuesday, the agency will ask the Board of Supervisors to authorize its application for the state grant, she said.

Meanwhile, the district attorney will also ask supervisors for authorization to accept a $5,500 state grant to assist in prosecuting consumer-protection cases.

The money would pay for accessing databases of business records.

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