Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Dad charged with battery in death of 2-year-old daughter (South Bend, Indiana)

This is a prime example of the subtle (and not so subtle) bias that creeps into child abuse articles. Notice that the focus of this article is all about Mom. To glance at this carelessly, you would think that she was the one accused of killing her 2-year-old daughter.

Now read the text carefully. What are the specific charges cited? Note that Mom's actually on trial for "child neglect," and the nature of that neglect is not specified at all. Is it some vague failure to stop the father, VALENTIN ESCOBEDO, from beating this child? Because if you read all the way to the second to the last line, you'll find out that DAD, not Mom, is actually the one charged with battery in this little girl's murder.

In our dreams, we'd all like to think we would be fearless superheroes who could stop any violent crime in its tracks. In reality, that's not always possible (check out the little boy from South Africa in the post below this one, who tried to stop his father from murdering his mother, but to no avail.)

In addition, we can make all kinds of self-righteous noises about how she should have left him, but since these guys are coddled by the courts, released on bail before any victim can get away, awarded visitation or even custody upon separation, it's no longer an easy decision to leave.

You think this is an extreme assumption? Then also note that the psychiatrist said that the parents (i.e. Dad) were "not a danger." Can you hear Daddy's would-be attorney echoing in your ears had the mother left him and tried to get sole custody with no visitation? "Well, your honor, Ms. Byers-Escopedo is clearly delusional and obsessed with blocking this father's access to this child. We know her fears are irrational, because a board-certified psychiatrist, Dr. Nitwit, has told us that Mr. Escopedo is not a danger to this child. We would recommend, therefore, that Mr. Escopedo be awarded custody, with liberal visitation for the mother." (Of course, this last part would be a private joke, because abusers consistently block visitation with the non-abusive parent.) And the Judge would buy this argument, because a psychiatrist obviously has more legitimacy or weight than a "mere mother" who is visibly upset and shaken.

Do you see how this works now?

South Bend mother goes to trial for child neglect charges
South Bend, IN

A South Bend mother will head to trial at the end of the month to face charges stemming from the death of her young daughter.
Posted: 3:51 PM Jan 12, 2010

A South Bend mother will head to trial at the end of the month to face charges stemming from the death of her young daughter.

Kristina Byers-Escobedo is accused of neglect of a dependent.

Tuesday in court, that charge was upgraded from a class B felony to a class A felony, which could mean 20 to 50 years behind bars instead of six to 20.

Back in December of 2008, 2-year-old Maya Escobedo was rushed to the hospital.

After a few days there, the toddler was declared brain dead.

Officials say she died from severe brain damage.

It was later discovered the young girl was beaten several times during her short life.

The department of child services took her away and returned her to her parents on several occasions.

DCS eventually closed the case, partly because a psychiatrist said the parents were not a danger.

Kristina Byers-Escobedo will go on trial January 25th.

The child's father, Valentin Escobedo, faces battery charges in Maya's death.

His trial starts February 1st.