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Child sexual abuse costs Florida an estimated $1 billion a year

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A billion dollars! Really?

I have to admit that when I first saw the release from, I was a little skeptical. Despite the fact that I love the work Lauren Book is doing on behalf of kids and the very real fact that her work has earned national ink, the actual number itself – (cue your best Dr. Evil) “ONE BILLION DOLLARS” – jumped off the page.  We all know how these kinds of reports can pile on the numbers and if one adds in some soft estimates or a few multipliers, the figures can climb rather quickly.

My skepticism, as tempered as it was, was misguided and to some degree after reading the actual report, the “billion” might even be, dare I say, a little conservative.

For starters, the report was researched and compiled by Sachs Media Group’s big brain Dr. Karen Cyphers (a former contributor to SaintPetersBlog). Second, it appears from a read of the report that only data taken from public and peer-reviewed reports (nearly two dozen in all) were used in compiling those figures.

A BILLION dollars a year!

How did they get there? At one level it seems pretty complex, yet at another, it was pretty simple:

  • Lost wages/earnings +
  • Added medical/mental health expenses +
  • Added costs to the criminal justice system =
  • A lot of money!

Here’s the ironic part … they could have thrown in lost taxes generated to the state. But they didn’t. They could have thrown in collateral costs, like the cost of having the state raise a child of someone who is incarcerated. But they didn’t. They could have even added things like costs to the schools for remedial education. They didn’t do that either.

The point is, they stuck to direct and immediate costs and still they arrived at the cost for child sexual abuse in Florida coming to ONE BILLION DOLLARS a year. That’s a chunk of change.

Of course, this does not include what the legal system dubs “pain and suffering.” That is simply not something I could ever put a figure on.

Kudos to Team Lauren! They continue to impress even those of us in the media who, every now and then, can be skeptical.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.

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