Expert: Parents should talk to kids who had contact with doctor accused of child porn possession

By Haley Hernandez - Health Reporter

HOUSTON - Dr. Dennis Hughes had admitted viewing child pornography for the past 25 years. 

In that time, he's worked with children at MD Anderson Children's Hospital, a local church and as a Pearland Little League coach.

Children abuse specialist, Candice Tillman, a licensed professional counselor with the Nick Finnegan Counseling Center, said parents should take this time talk to their kids even if they don't suspect anything bad has happened.

"Approach the conversation with empathy and a very nonjudgmental tone. You want the child if there is any kind of outcry to be able to speak to the parent without fearing the reaction this coming from the parent," Tillman said.

Tillman recommends parents ask open-ended questions. That gives children the ability to answer with as many details as they can.

"You don't want to be specific, you don't put words in a child's mouth at all or give them ideas, so (ask) very open-ended kind of questions and if they start to state things about a doctor then you can say 'Were mommy and daddy in the room when that happened?'" said Tillman. 

MD Anderson and all organizations Hughes was associated with are trying to assure parents.

"To the best of our knowledge we have no evidence to any of our children have been involved in this at all," said the Rev. Monsignor William Young, St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church.

Pearland Little League released a statement that read, in part: "At this time we do not believe the actions of which Dr. Hughes is being accused had any impact on Pearland Little League including its players. However we will continue to monitor the situation and work with law enforcement authorities as needed."

"It is our job as citizens and as parents and as protectors to file a report. You can contact CPS or the police to make a report," said Tillman. 

If you suspect any individual may have had inappropriate contact with your child, you can get help through counseling. 

These are two locations you can contact for counseling: 

Nick Finnegan Counseling Center
2714 Joanel St, Houston, TX 77027
(713) 402-5046

The Child Assessment Center
2500 Bolsover St, Houston, TX 77005
(713) 986-3300

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