Why was this 4-year-old girl living with her custodial father and stepmother, who apparently beat her to death? (Notice that nobody is hassling the father about child endangerment in this case--fathers are seldom bothered with such things, though mothers are held responsible for everything any adult male does under their roof.)
Why wasn't this little girl with her mother?
It's pretty clear, actually. Her mother lives in Haiti, and is probably poor. Almost everyone in Haiti is poor, and most are wretchedly poor with no way out out of poverty unless they can emmigrate. The mother no doubt wanted a better life for her little girl, a life where she would have a nice home, toys, plenty of food, a chance at an education. So with pain in her heart, she made the supreme maternal sacrifice and sent off the little girl to be with her Daddy in America. And what she gets instead is a funeral for her 4-year-old baby girl, and visa hassles about whether she can stay for the trial. Just disgusts me. My heart truly goes out to this mom.
But this isn't the only case where something like this has happened. Where children from poor countries, stripped of their mothers, are left vulnerable to abuse by their custodial fathers and/or new steps. Here are some similar cases I have observed:
1) Charlenni Ferreira, whose mother was from the Dominican Republic. The girl was viciously abused and finally murdered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania while living with her custodial father and stepmother:
2) Unnamed girl, whose mother was also from the Dominican Republic. She was sexually abused and neglected (not sent to school) by her drug-addicted custodial father in Miami, Florida:
4) And now Naticia Laurent, whose mother lives in Haiti. She was murdered while living with her custodial father JEAN ROBERT LAURENT and stepmother in Beaufort, South Carolina.
By CASSIE FOSS
Published Monday, May 3, 2010
A 25-year-old Beaufort woman expected to plead guilty for beating her 4-year-old stepdaughter to death in October instead opted to go to trial during a hearing Monday.
Naticia Laurent was arrested and charged Oct. 8 with child abuse and neglect, but the charge was elevated to homicide by child abuse after Giselle Laurent died Oct. 10at the Medical University of South Carolina. She died from blunt force trauma to the head that investigators say she sustained at her stepmother's hand.
Fourteenth Circuit Solicitor's Office prosecutors recommended that Laurent serve a 20-year sentence if she pleaded guilty to the homicide charge. If convicted, she faces 20 years to life in prison.
Laurent had no prior arrests in South Carolina, according to a S.C. Law Enforcement Division background check.
"I agreed that I would recommend 20 years, which I believe was a fair offer under the circumstances," said Angela McCall-Tanner, a prosecutor for the Solicitor's Office. "The injuries to the child were quite severe. The state will not be offering anything else."
McCall-Tanner said she expects the trial to be later this year, although a date has not been set.
After her arrest, Laurent's bond was set at $250,000, according to the county's jail log. Her bond was lowered in March to $50,000 with an option to pay 10 percent in cash for her release. She posted the $5,000 bond March 23 and now lives with her husband, Jean Robert Laurent -- the child's father -- in Beaufort, authorities said.
"She is an intelligent woman who is here today with support from her family and friends and has decided to plead not guilty and go forward with a jury trial," said Laurent's attorney, Helen Roper, a Beaufort County public defender.
Laurent, her husband and family members would not comment.
Paramedics arrived at the couple's home on Stone Martin Drive at about 11:50 a.m. Oct. 8 to find the girl on the bathroom floor unconscious and not breathing, according to a Beaufort Police Department report. Giselle was rushed to Beaufort Memorial Hospital, where a nurse reported the injuries to authorities.
Police reported "numerous fresh bruises" to the child's stomach, chest and legs. Doctors also performed a CT scan on the child before taking her to MUSC.
The youngster's mother, Carmelite Jean-Pierre of Port Au Prince, Haiti, was granted a special visa to travel to the U.S. for the child's funeral, McCall-Tanner said. The visa is set to expire soon, and it is unclear if she will be able to stay in the country for the trial, McCall-Tanner said.
"Hopefully, they will extend her visa," she said.
Read more: http://www.islandpacket.com/2010/05/03/1228186/woman-accused-of-homicide-in-4.html#ixzz0mz2C1b9O