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  • Writer's pictureJefferson Weaver

Stepfather Assaults Five Year Old, CCSO Says

Updated: Nov 23, 2022

The stepfather of a Tabor City area five-year-old has been jailed for sexually assaulting the child.

Zachary James Foose, 30, was arrested Nov. 18 at his place of employment in Shallotte. He was charged with indecent liberties with a child and sexual activity by a substitute parent, both felonies. Bond was set at $25,000. Foose’s home address was not listed to protect the child.

Deputies were called to Columbus Regional Nov. 8 after the mother brought the child to the emergency department. The woman told investigators that she woke up hearing the child crying, and went to check.

Foose was in the room with the child, the report said, and “appeared to be attempting to console the child.

“The child confided in their mother, telling the mother what had occurred,” a press release from the sheriff’s office said.

“This brave child did exactly as they should have and immediately told a trusted adult what happened,” Interim Sheriff William “Bill” Rogers said in the press release. “We, as adults, can help to protect our children from sexual assault by doing a few simple things.”

The sheriff’s office said that parents should educate children about sexual safety at an early age, using the proper names for body parts, and emphasizing that some parts are private.

Children should also be discouraged from ever keeping secrets, the release said. Sexually deviant perpetrators often use secret-keeping tactics to manipulate children.

“Build a strong relationship with your child so they feel comfortable talking to you about anything,” the release said. “When your child comes to you to talk, make time for them. Giving your child your undivided attention, teaches them how to communicate effectively and lets them know that you take their thoughts and concerns seriously.

“Trust your child. If they tell you something inappropriate happened, act immediately. Call 911.”

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