Superior Court Judge candidate Kevin McMurry spent his time at LaGrange Rotary on Wednesday educating members on how to keep their children safe from child molesters, which can haunt victims into adulthood.
“There were 40 cases of sexual abuse in Troup County last year alone,” McMurry said. “We see a steady stream of cases, and it spans all socio-economic groups.
Pete Skandalakis, Coweta Judicial Circuit district attorney, endorses McMurry in the judge race and says he’s the expert in the office on sex abuse cases.
McMurry and his cases have been featured on national television stations like CNN and shows like “48 Hours” and “Snapped.” Recently, McMurry prosecuted and tried Robert Ewell for repeated acts of child molestation and Alec McNaughton for the murder of McNaugton’s wife. Both cases resulted in convictions with Ewell receiving seven consecutive life sentences.
Showing Rotary members a photo of his family, which includes four children under the age of 7, McMurry said, “For me, these cases are personal.”
McMurry said it’s important for parents to be educated on potential predators.
“The perception is, it happens from a stranger, but the vast majority know their victims well. They have access to the child,” he said.
Many victims also are “easy targets” because their emotional needs aren’t being met at home. Make sure children aren’t being emotionally neglected, he said. And online dangers are everywhere.
If a parent believes their child may fall into a bad situation, say something, McMurry said. When his two daughters began gymnastics lessons, he went to the gym and introduced himself to the coach, saying he worked for the D.A.’s office and he prosecuted child sex crimes. He then went to the owner and told him the same thing and asked if the business did background checks on the coaches. Then he asked to see them.
“Follow your gut,” he said. “That’s what it’s there for. Don’t ever be too embarrassed to stand up for your child.”
Before joining the District Attorney’s office, McMurry was a civil attorney at the litigation firm of Hollberg & Weaver. He has over a decade of trial experience in civil and criminal law. Skandalakis hired him in 2006 and he works out of the Newnan office.
McMurry earned a joint J. D./ M. B. A. degree from Georgia State University and holds an undergraduate degree in business from Baylor University.