Rosarian Academy former teacher Stephen Budd arrest prompts town hall to prevent child sex crimes

Experts say parents should focus on familiar faces

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Stunned by the aftermath of sex crime allegations involving an ex-teacher at Rosarian Academy, parents and teachers got advice from experts on how to keep their children safe.

In early April, former Rosarian Academy teacher Stephen Budd was arrested for allegedly forcing several students into sex acts.

Weeks later, Rosarian Academy parents like Eliezer Hernandez sat and listened on Tuesday to a panel who hoped to prevent future sex crimes involving children.

"I mean what do you say? We're at a loss for what we say to our six-year-old," said Hernandez, who has both a six-year-old and a two-year-old at Rosarian Academy.

The Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office along with the Center for Missing and Exploited Children tried to help parents on Tuesday to prevent their kids from trusting the wrong people.

It is a situation Hernandez knows painfully all too well.

"I have replayed the events of that day and the decisions that I made that day almost daily," said Hernandez.

Hernandez was molested by the pastor of his church. He was 13-years-old and only now at 40 is starting to open up.

"I blamed myself. I definitely made a conscious decision to keep it a secret and hold it all to myself," said Hernandez.

Much like what investigators said happened at Rosarian Academy, the victims feared telling anyone.

Experts stressed to parents to let their kids know they can the tell them anything. They also told parents to be involved in who their kids are spending time with, even if it is a teacher.

"I hate 'stranger danger' because it's usually not the strange, creepy weirdo hiding behind a tree," said Nancy McBride, who heads the Palm Beach County Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Hernandez said the town hall was helpful both for what he will tell his kids and for his own journey toward healing.

"It's my mission to make sure that my kids and any other kids never go through what I went through," said Hernandez.

Investigators said Budd remains in jail where he faces several charges.

Anyone with any information should call West Palm Beach Police.

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