Once again, on the occasion of Child Abuse Prevention Month, we have a dad, TERRY LAY, who was convicted of beating his 3-year-old son to death. And a mother WHO IS PROMINENTLY NAMED BELOW and who is serving 35 years in prison for "neglect" (failure to protect a child from a homicidal maniac). This is longer than many dads serve in prison for committing actual murders.
Vigil keeps focus on child abuse
Promoters worried interest may be fading
By Dan Latini
Evansville Courier & Press
Posted April 2, 2011 at midnight
On the third anniversary of the death of 3-year-old Kalab Lay, members of the community gathered to renew focus on Kalab and other victims of child abuse.
But the observance Friday evening at the Vanderburgh 4-H Center's Garden of Angels, which also marked the beginning of Child Abuse Prevention Month, was attended by only a handful of people.
One of those attending the vigil was Angela Egnew-Groves, a member of Break the Silence, a Tri-State child abuse awareness organization formed after Kalab's death.
She said the low turnout at Friday's event suggests the initial outpouring of public interest in child abuse prevention may be starting to fade from the community consciousness.
Kalab died April 1, 2008. Terry Lay, Kalab's father, was sentenced to 100 years in prison for his son's beating. Kalab's mother, Amanda Lay, was sentenced to 35 years in prison for the neglect that resulted in his death and the beating of his twin sister, Kayla.
Break the Silence still exists, Egnew-Groves said, to spur the action needed to prevent other children from enduring the same fate.
"Kids who go through this are never going to be the same again," she said.
Political challenges dominated the dialogue at the vigil, though.
Vigil attendee Carole Davis expressed frustration at the state's political climate, which has slowed reforms intended to prevent abuse.
"Politics has no place in children's issues like this," she said. "Safety should be first."
Davis is the founder of Children — Hostages in Life's Derangement, also known as C.H.I.L.D. The nonprofit, housed in Innovation Pointe in Downtown Evansville, focuses on advocacy for disadvantaged children and families caught in the systems meant to protect them.
C.H.I.L.D. and Break the Silence championed Indiana House Bill 1422, more commonly known as "Faith's Law." The bill would provide notice to non-offending parents, guardians or custodians of a child named in an investigation of child abuse or neglect in which a child was named in the written report of the crime as the perpetrator, victim or witness.
The bill received bipartisan support from Rep. Gail Riecken, D-Evansville, who co-sponsored the bill in the Indiana House of Representatives, and Sen. Jim Tomes, R-Wadesville, who co-sponsored it in the state Senate.
Davis testified in support of the bill before the General Assembly, but it has been held up in the recent stalemate over right-to-work legislation and has not yet moved forward.
"Legislators can go on strike for unions' and workers' rights and all these other things, but who is striking for these kids?" she questioned. "Kids have no collective bargaining."
The vigil ended with the release of 10 balloons honoring Kalab and the nine other Tri-State children who have died of abuse after him. Two other balloons were released for the victims of abuse who go unreported.
"The community's attention may fade," Egnew-Groves said, "but the issue isn't going away."