Saturday, February 27, 2010
Dad charged in shooting death of 9-month-old daughter (Chesapeake, Virginia)
Chesapeake police charge father in shooting death of 9-month-old
Colton Luman, 26, was arrested in the accidental shooting death of his 9-month-old daughter.
By Kristin Davis
February 27, 2010
Police charged a man with involuntary manslaughter Friday, five days after his 9-month-old daughter was shot to death in their home.
Colton Luman, 26, was released on a personal recognizance bond Friday afternoon. A conviction on the felony charge would carry a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.
Makenna Luman was shot Sunday at the family's Warbler Court home, which is on the Navy's Northwest Annex near the North Carolina border. She died at an area hospital.
Luman is a Marine sergeant assigned to the Marine Corps Security Force Regiment in Norfolk. The infantryman enlisted in 2002 and was part of the 1st Marine Division in Camp Pendleton, Calif., before moving here, military records show.
He also served in Iraq and received multiple awards, including the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, a National Defense Service Medal and a Humanitarian Service Medal.
Makenna was at home with both parents when she was shot. Authorities declined to give more details about the case because it is pending.
A spokeswoman for Chesapeake police would not say what type of weapon was used or whether any other children live there, though the obituary for Makenna says she is survived by a sister.
Chesapeake Commonwealth's Attorney Nancy Parr said Luman was charged with involuntary manslaughter because he unlawfully fired a gun in a house that was occupied.
Virginia law states that a person does not have to shoot a gun maliciously to be charged.
Luman was licensed as a guard in California for much of the past three years and had a firearm permit, according to the state's Bureau of Security and Investigative Services Web site.
Parr said Luman will be arraigned in Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court, but that no date has been set. A woman who answered the Lumans' phone Friday said the family had nothing to say. An unmarked police car sat in the driveway.
A neighbor described those who live in the area as easy going people with uncomplicated lives, and the killing of a child so young left them rattled.
Makenna's death was extremely rare. The Children's Defense Fund reported that six children under the age of 1 died from gunfire in 2006, the most recent data available. All were classified as homicides. Thirteen children ages 1 to 4 died from accidental shootings that year.
Abandoned toddler's dad charged in slaying of mother (Newark, New Jersey)
Delaware crime: Toddler's dad charged in slaying of mother
Delaware officials decide options for little girl
By ADAM TAYLOR • The News Journal • February 27, 2010
The father of a 20-month-old girl abandoned in a Newark gas station was charged late Thursday with killing her mother, New Jersey officials said.
Dwayne Jackson suffocated Patricia Belizaire Sunday in New Jersey, then set her body on fire in New York state early Monday, authorities in Middlesex County, N.J., said.
Their daughter was found Sunday alone in a locked Shell station restroom at 804 S. College Ave.
The father was charged Thursday afternoon with kidnapping her.
And now that Hannah Belizaire Jackson's identity is known, officials in Delaware are reviewing options for the girl's future.
They include considering whether relatives or others who want to care for her are suitable guardians, said Joseph Smack of Delaware's Division of Child Services.
"A case like this is so overwhelming because the girl is so young and impressionable and will have so many issues," said Edwina Bell, a director for the nonprofit Professional Counseling Resources of Wilmington, who works with relatives of murder victims and children with incarcerated parents.
"I think the best course for the professionals in this case would be to take a holistic approach and deal with all her needs and recovery simultaneously."
Jackson, 25, of 3 Weldon Road in Edison, N.J., was charged about 10:30 p.m. Thursday with murdering Belizaire, also 25, of New Brunswick, N.J.
Investigators did not reveal a possible motive.
Jackson allegedly killed Belizaire in North Brunswick, then drove her body to a park in Ramapo, N.Y., where it was set on fire around 5:22 a.m. Monday, according to the investigation by the North Brunswick Police Department and the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office, both in New Jersey.
Authorities said Belizaire was asphyxiated.
Her charred and burning body was found by two newspaper carriers in the front parking lot of Manny Weldler Town Park.
Hannah was found in the gas station about 2:45 p.m. Sunday, Newark police said. Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office spokesman James O'Neill would not comment on whether authorities think Belizaire was killed before or after Hannah was abandoned.
Dad arrested after 18-month-old, 4-month-old daughters found beaten, bound, and gagged (Rubidoux, California)
Dad JEREMIAH SCOTT has been arrested after his two young daughters--just 18 months and 4 months of age!--were found beaten, bound, and gagged. He has been charged with attempted murder, torture, and child abuse.
Man arrested in child abuse case near Rubidoux
10:31 PM PST on Friday, February 26, 2010
By PAUL LAROCCO
A man was jailed Friday after his young daughters were found beaten, bound and gagged in a house near Rubidoux, deputies said.
Jeremiah Scott, 23, was booked into Robert Presley Detention Center on suspicion of attempted murder, torture and child abuse, and is being held in lieu of $1 million bail.
Riverside County sheriff's deputies went to the house just after 1 p.m. after another adult there had found the girls, ages 18 months and 4 months, tied up and left on a bedroom floor, said Sgt. Steve Brown.
"When they learned what was occurring, they contacted law enforcement," Brown said of the witness, who is not considered a suspect.
Both girls had nonlife-threatening injuries to their faces and heads and were taken to a local hospital, he said. A motive is unknown.
"This is a very unusual case," Brown said.
Scott, the girls' biological father, had fled the house before deputies arrived. He was arrested 20 minutes later, still in the neighborhood north of Limonite Avenue.
No additional details were available Friday evening.
Mom fights to change law after husband kills 3 children (Annapolis, Maryland)
Note that Amy Castillo and her children are far from the only victims of violence to be denied an order. Amy is speaking out to get the standard changed. We reported her testimony here.
Hat tip to Annie for this one.
Mother Fights to Change Law After Husband Killed Children
Amy Castillo's husband killed their 3 children
Updated: Friday, 26 Feb 2010, 12:26 PM EST
Published : Thursday, 25 Feb 2010, 7:15 PM EST
BY SHERRI LY/myfoxdc
ANNAPOLIS, Md. - When Amy Castillo's husband, Mark, killed her three children nearly two years ago she knew he'd carried out his threat.
"He said well really the worse thing I could do is kill the children and not you so you have to live without them," Castillo said.
Fifteen months earlier she told a Montgomery County judge the same story but he denied her final protective order because there wasn't "clear and convincing evidence."
Castillo says she was devastated.
The interim protective order had already angered her estranged husband, who suffered from mental illness and transcripts show had planned to violently end his own life.
"I think he would have had to have hurt them before, in the past, actually physically injured them. All along I felt that you have to actually hurt someone or prove you sexually abused them before you can get any help," Castillo said.
It's happened over and over to victims of abuse in Maryland. Victims try to get a protective order only to be denied sometimes with deadly consequences.
Yvette Cade, a Prince George's County woman was burned four years ago by her ex-husband after a judge removed a protective order as well.
In Castillo's case she said, "It went from threats to now they're dead. There wasn't anything in between."
So today Castillo went to Annapolis to fight for the protection her children six-year-old Anthony, four-year-old Austin and two-year-old Athena did not get.
She testified during a House Judiciary Committee hearing in support of a bill that lowers the standard for protective orders to a "preponderance of evidence."
Maryland is the only state that requires the standard of proof for a protective order be "clear and convincing evidence."
At least three times previously, lawmakers in Annapolis have tried to lower this standard, making it easier for someone to get a protective order. Each time it failed.
"People are in dangerous situations and in Amy's case, the dear children lost their lives because of our high standard of proof in Maryland. That's unacceptable," said Delegate Sue Hecht (D) Frederick County, the bill's main sponsor.
Historically, the judiciary committee has been hesitant to change laws.
It took Hecht seven years to get a child sex abuse crime of violence law passed and expects another tough fight on this one.
She ran a domestic violence center for 12 years.
"We had a woman shot in the face of my home county. This year she had been denied a protective order in two counties before she got shot in the face," Hecht said.
No word on when the committee will vote, but the Frederick lawmaker, is hopeful she'll have the votes to get the bill out of committee this time. Even with a protective order critics say enforcement is sometimes lacking but at least it gives victims another tool.
"You have to have something in place where not only the woman feels like she's being back up but there's teeth behind that," said Eileen King, Regional Director for Justice for Children-DC, an advocacy group for children and families.
"I never tried to get a protective order again," Castillo said after failing the first time, "because I felt like not only was it not helpful, it was useless."
By seeking the protective order, "it made him much more angry," Castillo said and without it she had nothing to stop him.
Castillo says she can look back now and say "I told you so" and wonders if she got the protective order would her children be alive.
Friday, February 26, 2010
Dad "allegedly" attacked "estranged" wife with hammer, strangled her with 2-year-old son nearby (Bridgewater, Massachusetts)
Makes me wonder how the fathers rightsters would squirm on this case. Dad BRIAN T. BELLAMY "allegedly" tries to murder his "estranged" wife by attacking her with a hammer and strangling her. He does all this with his poor traumatized 2-year-old son nearby. So I get that the fathers rights people don't care about that. I know the spiel. He's just a poor misunderstood father and all that, beaten down by the "system."
But then the poor misunderstood father attacks the mother's father when he comes to his daughter's defense. Hmm. Does that make the mother's father just another expendable piece of collateral damage in this poor daddy's drama, too? I mean this is A FATHER being attacked. Oh my. How can we figure out who's the poor father here?? Decisions, decisions.
Bridgewater man allegedly tried to murder his estranged wife
By Rebecca Hyman
Posted Feb 24, 2010 @ 10:19 AM
Last update Feb 24, 2010 @ 07:01 PM
BRIDGEWATER — A 41-year-old Bridgewater man allegedly attacked his estranged wife with a hammer and then tried to strangle her with their 2-year-old son lying nearby Monday night, police said.
When the victim's father attempted to restrain the suspect, he turned on the father and attempted to strangle him as well, according to a statement issued by Bridgewater police.
The suspect was ultimately restrained by the father until officers arrived to take the suspect into custody, police said.
Police received a call from the victim's mother at 11:45 p.m. Monday, Feb. 22, reporting a burglary in progress at 141 Spruce St. While officers were responding to the call, the mother reported her husband was restraining the suspect, who had attacked their daughter.
Upon arrival, Bridgewater police officers Joseph DeMoura and Steven Kingsley observed a smashed front door window, which the suspect had allegedly broken with a hammer to gain entry.
Once upstairs, officers observed "a large amount of blood" on the floor and bed area and found the father restraining the suspect.
The female victim, 35, was lying nearby suffering from "severe facial and neck wounds as well as defensive injuries to her hands," police said.
She was transported by ambulance by the Bridgewater Fire Department to Brockton Hospital.
Brian T. Bellamy, 41, of 796 Pleasant St., was arraigned Tuesday morning in Brockton District Court on charges of two counts of attempted murder, two counts of armed home invasion, one count of armed assault to murder, one count of mayhem, one count of aggravated assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon, three counts of assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon, one count of reckless endangerment of a child and one count of intimidation of a witness.
During the booking, the suspect had blood smeared across his face, hands and clothing, according to the police statement. When asked if he required medical attention, he indicated the blood was not his, police said.
Acting Chief Michael Bois commended his officers for their handling of the violent incident.
"My officers showed great courage," Bois said.
Dad accused of throwing 3-month-old daughter from bridge placed on suicide watch (Essex County, New Jersey)
Father accused of throwing infant from N.J. bridge is placed under suicide watch
By Sharon Adarlo/The Star-Ledger
February 25, 2010, 6:42PM
ESSEX COUNTY -- The man accused of killing his 3-month-old daughter by throwing her into the frigid Raritan River last week is under suicide watch and is being held alone in a jail cell for his own protection, authorities said today.
When Shamsid-Din Abdur-Raheem, 21, exhibited some behaviors that concerned prison officials at the Essex County Correctional Facility, where he is being held, they charged a psychiatrist to watch him, said Alfaro Ortiz, director of the jail.
“Nothing serious but enough to cause concern,” said Ortiz, who would not go into detail on what Abdur-Raheem said or did. “We are concerned about his psychiatric status. We want to make sure he’s mentally safe.”
Abdur-Raheem is accused of barging into the East Orange apartment of the baby’s grandmother on Feb. 16, assaulting the woman, kidnapping the baby, and then driving to the Driscoll Bridge where he threw the child, Zara Malani-Lin Abdur-Raheem, into the river, authorities said.
He has pleaded not guilty in Essex County Superior Court for charges of aggravated assault and attempted murder for allegedly attacking the grandmother, and with kidnapping and endangering the welfare of a child. He will be arraigned for the murder charge in Middlesex County Superior Court on Monday.
Because of the severity of the charges, he is also being held alone and away from the general prison population as a precautionary measure, Ortiz said.
“He’s better off and we’re better if we put him in a single cell situation,” Ortiz said. “You want to protect him, make sure nothing happens to him.”
Abdur-Raheem is intensely supervised — wherever he goes, he is escorted by multiple prison guards, Ortiz said.
Matthew Astore, the suspect’s public defender declined to comment on Abdur-Raheem’s situation at the jail nor the case, he said through Tom Rosenthal, a spokesman for the Office of the Public Defender.
Dad with previous protective order against him strips grandmother of custody with judge's help; now boy has "disappeared" (Paulding County, Georgia)
There's a frustrating lack of detail in this article, but this is an outline of the events:
July 2009: The mother of the now missing 7-year-old boy receives a "temporary protective order" against her son's father, WILLIAM HOOVER. Presumably there is a credible threat and/or history of domestic violence.
September 2009: The mother dies. Whether this was of natural causes or otherwise is not mentioned or explained. Before the mother dies she asks her mother, the boy's grandmother, to assume care of the child.
September 10, 2009: The grandmother is granted custody of the boy.
January 15, 2010: After having no contact with the boy since the previous July, Dad shows up at the grandmother's house WITH THE SHERIFF DEPUTIES. The deputies demanded to know if the boy was there, and when the grandmother answered in the affirmative, demanded that she "get his clothes." The deputies take the boy and return him to his father. It appears that a judge in Carroll County, Georgia had granted the father custody. Judge later claims the father "lied to him during the custody hearing."
February 12, 2010: Grandmother and her attorney go before the same Carroll County judge and ask for motion to set aside judgement. After hearing the grandmother's testimony, the court sets aside the previous order granting custody to the father. Now the judge decides (belatedly) that he was lied to. The grandmother is reinstated as the custodial guardian, and the father was ordered to return the child to his grandmother.
Only one problem. Nobody has seen the dad or the son since January 15. Given the father's presumed history of domestic violence against the mother and that the father is known to "carry guns," the grandmother is very concerned about the boy's safety.
I certainly hope that the boy is still alive and well, and that he is returned to his grandmother soon. However, I have to question what the hell this judge was thinking in granting this father custody in what appears to have been an ex parte hearing without bothering to find out the facts. But of course, part of being a judge is never having to be accountable for your actions, stupidity, or incompetence.
Grandmother Worries About Missing Boy's Safety
Updated 2/25/2010 10:39:32 PM
PAULDING COUNTY, GA -- The Paulding County Sheriff's Office is stepping up efforts to find a 7-year old boy who is missing and may be in danger. He's with his father but he's not supposed to be. He's supposed to be living with his grandmother.
Julia Jeorge said her grandson Josh Hoover needs to be in school. She said the boy has had a disruptive life. His mother died this past September. Before she died, she asked George to take care of her son. On September 10th Jeorge was given custody of Josh.
Jeorge says the boy's father, William Hoover, hasn't been a part of his son's life since last July when Josh's mother got a temporary protective order against him. But William Hoover came back into Josh's life on January 15th. That's when sheriff deputies knocked on Jeorge's door. "They asked if Joshua is there and I said yes, and they said get his clothes," Jeorge said.
William Hoover, who lived with his mother in Temple, went to a Carroll County Judge and was granted custody of Josh. Deputies took the boy and returned him to his father. Paulding County investigators said the 7-year old boy was last seen January 17th leaving the Temple home.
Jeorge said she hasn't heard from Josh or his father since. She believes William Hoover is preventing her grandson from calling her.
On February 12th Jeorge's attorney went back to the Judge in Carroll County who granted custody to Hoover, and asked for a motion to set aside judgement. The Judge determined that William Hoover lied to him during the custody hearing. "If he was irrational enough to do that, I can't say what else he would do," said Jeorge.
"When the court heard Ms. Jeorge's testimony, the court set aside that order and set aside Hoover's custody," said Jeorge's attorney Michael Manely. Julia Jeorge was granted custody and Hoover was ordered to return the boy.
The Paulding County Sheriff's Office declared Josh Hoover a missing and endangered child. They said his father is known to carry guns and may be dangerous. Jeorge said she's worried about her grandson's safety. "I'm worried that he's frightened, that he's not going to school and he's not getting the care he needs," she said.
The Paulding County Sheriff's Office is conducting a nationwide search for Josh Hoover. Anyone who knows where he is should call the Sheriff's Office at 770-443-3010. Anyone who sees Josh or his father should call 911.
"Really stressed" single dad pleads guilty in manslaughter death of 5-month-old son; had been "single dad" for only 1 month (Sydney, Australia)
Dad breaks down at hearing on baby death
February 26, 2010 - 3:44PM
When his girlfriend died, Clifford George Shepherd believed their baby son was "all I had".
But one month later the inexperienced and "really stressed" father tossed the crying infant onto a bed causing fatal "blunt force head injury".
"I miss him terribly," Shepherd said in a statement tendered at his NSW Supreme Court sentencing hearing on Friday.
The 35-year-old has pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of his five-month-old son, Jeremy, at a Minto house, in Sydney's southwest, in October 2006.
Justice Robert Allan Hulme has allowed the child's first name to be reported.
Giving evidence, Shepherd agreed some of Jeremy's injuries occurred within hours of his death while others were within days of the tragedy.
He accepted responsibility for all injuries, which included bruising and broken ribs.
Shepherd said he had wrongly believed he could look after Jeremy himself and only had himself to blame for his death.
"I think about it every night," he said, breaking down, before telling the judge he deserved to be punished.
He said he was "suspicious" of the Department of Community Services (DoCS) when he met with staff days before Jeremy's death and feared they would take the baby away.
Someone had reported him for hitting Jeremy too hard when patting him on the back to bring up wind.
He was allowed to continue caring for Jeremy on certain conditions, including taking him to a local doctor.
Jeremy's mother died on September 7, 2006, after suffering an asthma attack and falling into a coma due to complications associated with her drug use.
"After she died, I looked after Jeremy alone and I was really stressed," Shepherd said in his statement.
"I loved Jeremy and I was doing my best to look after him properly."
He admitted he had been feeling tired and frustrated when he picked up his crying son and tossed him onto the bed.
He now believed Jeremy's head must have hit the wooden bed head or a pillow partly covering it.
In his statement, Shepherd said he was 13 when he found his 16-year-old brother hanging in the shed.
"I tried to resuscitate him," he said.
"We'd been playing cricket earlier that day. I have never understood why he killed himself, and I get upset when I think about him."
His father left the family when he was two and his mother died when he was 16.
Ron Hoenig, for the crown, agreed Shepherd had a "horrendous background", noting he was ill-equipped to look after himself, let alone a child.
Nevertheless, he unlawfully threw the baby with such force that it caused significant damage to his brain.
Shepherd's barrister, Andrew Haesler SC, said that while the manslaughter involved a "high level of objective seriousness", it was in "the low range" of offences of this type.
He will be sentenced on March 5.
Dad "linked" to murder of mom and abduction/abandonment of 20-month-old daughter (Edison, New Jersey)
Edison man is charged with abducting, abandoning daughter at Delaware gas station
By Sue Epstein
February 25, 2010, 6:30PM
EDISON — The Middlesex County father of a toddler abandoned earlier this week in the men’s room of a Shell gas station in Delaware was charged today with her kidnapping, and he may also be linked to the death of a woman believed to be her mother, authorities said.
Authorities believe that a woman whose body was found burning in a park in Mosney, N.Y., less than 24 hours after the child was discovered in Delaware may have been the abandoned girl’s mother, said Rockland County District Attorney Thomas Zugibe.
The Rockland County Journal News, citing an unnamed law enforcement source, identified the woman as 24-year-old Patricia Belizaire of North Brunswick.
Zugibe would not confirm the woman who was burned in Ramapo was Belizaire, but he said it "does appear likely" that "the murder victim found in Rockland County is the mother of the abandoned child found in Newark, Delaware."
He could not reveal the victim’s identity because "we have no positive identification of her yet."
Dwayne Jackson, 25, of Edison has not been charged with the woman’s death, but he remains in the Middlesex County jail in lieu of $750,000 bail on kidnapping and child endangerment charges. Jackson’s 20-month-old daughter was found in the men’s room in Newark, Del., Sunday after a customer heard the little girl crying, authorities said.
Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce Kaplan, whose office is overseeing the investigation, said police in Newark, Del., have also charged Jackson with reckless endangerment for leaving the child at the gas station.
The child is in good health and in the custody of the Division of Family Services in Delaware, Kaplan said in a statement this afternoon. She was identified as Jackson’s daughter after the child’s photograph was released to the news media, the prosecutor said.
He said the toddler lived with her mother in North Brunswick, but he would not identify the mother or the little girl.
The prosecutor’s office would not comment on the possible connection between the toddler’s kidnapping and the body of the woman found Monday morning.
But Detective Lt. Brad Weidel of the Ramapo, N.Y., Police Department said today "our investigation regarding this case has shifted and is now centering in Middlesex County, New Jersey."
In a press release Monday, Weidel said the Rockland County Medical Examiner ruled the woman’s death a homicide.
He described the woman as an African-American or dark-skinned Hispanic, approximately 18 years old. She was about 5-feet, 2-inches tall and weighed around 120 pounds. She had a tattoo on the lower portion of her back with the name, "Patricia."
The tattoo also had a stem of a flower with a rose on top. He said the victim had undergone gallbladder surgery in the month before her death.
Belizaire’s public profile on Facebook prominently displays a picture of a young daughter that is very similar to photos released by Delaware police of the girl found abandoned at the Shell station Monday.
Several friends posted comments mourning her apparent death late tonight. Belizaire lists herself as single and names her daughter as "Hannah Nia Jackson" on the web page.
James O’Neill, a spokesman for Kaplan, would not comment on whether Jackson is tied to the woman’s death.
Neighbors who lived near Jackson’s home on Weldon Road in Edison said Jackson was a security guard at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick. They said he lived at the Weldon Road house with his wife and two sons, but no one saw a young girl at the house.
Star-Ledger staff writer James Queally and Ryan Hutchins of the New Jersey Local News Service contributed to this report.
Dad convicted in shaking death of 9-month-old son (Brighton, Colorado)
Father Convicted In Shaken Baby Death
Prosecutors: Suspect Shook Son Who Was Teething, Crying
POSTED: 6:04 pm MST February 25, 2010
UPDATED: 6:18 pm MST February 25, 2010
BRIGHTON, Colo. -- A father has been convicted of killing his 9-month-old son by shaking the baby so severely it severed the nerves in his brain stem, prosecutors said.
Jesse Sifuentes, 21, shook the baby until the child "became unresponsive" because he was frustrated that the child was crying due to teething, prosecutors said. The baby died May 28, 2008, three days after the child was injured in a Thornton home. Sifuentes was alone with his son when the baby was shaken.
“As a mother, I understand the frustration of a crying baby. However, there are always options available to keep a child from harm," said Sarah Collins, chief deputy district attorney for Adams/Broomfield counties. "In this case, Sifuentes had the option to put his baby in a crib in another room where he would be safe. But instead he made another choice that ended tragically.”
Sifuentes claimed the baby was accidentally shaken while he was running with the child with his head unsupported.
The baby sustained severe injuries including severed nerves in his brain stem, spinal nerve root hemorrhages, subdural hematomas, retinal hematomas, retinal hemorrhages and bruises to his right ear and right arm. Prosecution experts testified that these types of injuries are not consistent with accidental shaking or the result of negligence.
Sifuentes was immediately taken into custody, where he will remain until sentencing on March 31. He faces 16 to 48 years in prison.
Dad, retired teacher convicted of physically, sexually molesting his two children (Manitoba, Canada)
Manitoba teacher who molested own children should be jailed: Crown
By Mike McIntyre , Winnipeg Free PressFebruary 26, 2010 9:03 AM
WINNIPEG — The Crown is seeking an eight-year prison term for a retired Manitoba high school teacher convicted of physically and sexually abusing his own children for years.
The 68-year-old man — who can't be named to protect the identity of his victims — will learn his fate at a sentencing hearing next month after being quietly convicted earlier this winter.
All of his crimes occurred in the late 1980s and early 1990s on two Manitoba native reserves but weren't revealed until one of his children went to the RCMP in 2002.
The girl, then 16, said she feared her father may have given her AIDS. Tests later proved to be negative.
Court of Queen's Bench Justice Colleen Suche found the man guilty of sexually abusing the girl between 1989 and 1993, beginning when she was three years old.
He was also convicted of repeatedly assaulting her and her brother during the same period, beginning when he was five years old. The incidents involved beatings and spankings.
The man has two other older boys who claimed they were never assaulted and actually supported their father at trial. However, several former teachers, neighbours and child-welfare officials testified that all four children have displayed extreme "sexualized behaviour" throughout their lives, which included inappropriate incidents toward other children at school and in the community.
They list a number of disturbing incidents including graphic drawings, sexually explicit language, exposing their genitals in the classroom, masturbating in public, as well as frequently running around their home and yard naked.
All of this was occurring while the father was employed as a teacher.
His professional career began in 1976. He married the sister of one of his former students. The couple had four children but their relationship was dysfunctional. The mother was deemed to be extremely "low functioning" and battled alcohol abuse, which often took her out of the home for long periods, court was told.
Police finally laid charges in 2005 following a lengthy investigation. The case dragged through the courts before finally going to trial in 2008. It was adjourned on several occasions, finally concluding last November.
"This was an enormously complex and difficult case," said the judge. She noted how conflicted the man's children were over their testimony against him, with his now 23-year-old daughter often waving and smiling at her father in court while giving damning evidence against him.
"She began her evidence by saying she 'came to tell the truth and get this over with so I can forgive my father,' " the judge said in her written verdict. She rejected the accused's testimony, saying he "lacked credibility" and appeared to have tried to influence his children to change their stories by writing them several letters since his arrest.
The man's lawyers claim the 33 months he has already spent behind bars is more than enough of a penalty and are seeking his immediate release from jail.
Dad charged with assaulting 2 children, mother (Burlington, South Carolina)
Man charged with child abuse, assault
February 22, 2010 6:12 PM
A Burlington man was charged Sunday with assaulting two children and their mother after a daycare worker noticed bruising on the 5-year-old.
Burlington Police Department was contacted by the Department of Social Services at about 9:57 p.m. Sunday. DSS had been notified by an employee at a daycare center who reported that a 5-year-old showed up at the center with “unexplained injuries,” according to a Burlington Police Department news release.
After police investigated, it was determined that William Clinkscale, 28, of Birch Court, allegedly assaulted the 5-year-old and a 16-month-old child during a dispute with their mother.
Clinkscale is the father of the 16-month-old, who was admitted to Alamance Regional Medical Center to be observed. The 5-year-old was treated and released from the hospital. Police say that the children’s injuries were not considered life threatening. The mother’s injuries didn’t require medical treatment.
Clinkscale, who was in a relationship with the mother but didn’t live at her residence, was charged with assault on a female, felony child abuse, assault on a child under 12 and assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury.
He is being held at Alamance County jail without bond on the assault on a female charge. He was given a $50,000 bond on the other charges.
Dad jailed for 3 months for slapping, hitting 1-year-old son (Singapore)
Feb 23, 2010
Dad jailed for hitting son
By Elena Chong, Courts Correspondent
A MAN who slapped his year-old son and hit him on the right arm was jailed three months on Tuesday for child abuse.
The 36-year-old former packer, who cannot be named, had earlier admitted to ill-treating the boy at his home on Feb 18 last year.
The court heard that the accused's wife was trying to put the baby to bed but he refused, continuing to play and jump on the bed.
The accused, who had taken two cans of beer, tried to quieten the toddler but he continued to make a lot of noise and started crying. The father then picked up the boy and carried him to the next room, locked the door and hit him.
After several minutes, he opened the bedroom door and his wife found redness on the victim's cheeks, right hand and left eye.
The next day, she took him to a polyclinic which subsequently referred him for further examination at KK Women's and Children's Hospital in view of the serious injuries.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Toh Puay San urged Community Court Judge Ng Peng Hong to impose a jail sentence as the courts had taken a serious view of such offences on vulnerable children.
The accused could have been fined up to $4,000 and/or jailed for up to four years for the offence
Dad charged with scalding 5-year-old son over candy; child has severe 3rd-degree burns (St. Paul, Minnesota)
Scalded St. Paul boy says dad punished him over candy
Updated: 02/22/2010 11:22:29 PM CST
A 5-year-old St. Paul boy who was treated at Regions Hospital with severe burns told medical staff his father had punished him for getting into a candy drawer.
The father, Trumaine Willie Ollie, 26, of St. Paul, brought the boy to the hospital on Feb. 9, telling staff his son had spilled hot water on himself from the stove a week earlier.
Third-degree burns covered 13 percent of the boy's body and would require skin grafts, according to a criminal complaint filed in Ramsey County District Court on Friday. The complaint charges Ollie with three counts of felony malicious punishment of a child.
One of the counts pertains to the 5-year-old, identified in the complaint by the initials J.M.O. The other two pertain to his two brothers, ages 5 and 6, who had numerous scars on their bodies that were indicative of child abuse, the complaint said.
In addition to the burns, J.M.O. also had two healing broken ribs, X-rays showed.
Ollie told police that his son had spilled hot water from a pan onto his legs. He said he put the boy in water to treat the burns, but must have made a mistake by not checking the water temperature. He said he would never intentionally harm his children.
One of the boy's brothers corroborated J.M.O.'s story of being punished for getting into the candy, according to the complaint.
— Emily Gurnon
Dad throws 1-year-old, 2-year-old to the floor during custody exchange (Utica, New York)
Custody dispute over children brings charge
A custody dispute at Park Drive Manor II Monday landed a Utica father in City Court Tuesday on accusations that he threw his two young children onto the floor.
Police said Bob W. Szewcyzk Sr., 25, of 766 Mary St., Utica, went to the apartment at 12:45 p.m. without permission for a custody exchange with his ex-girlfriend. In a statement to police, Szewcyzk’s ex-companion said that her brother owned the apartment, and she was visiting when Szewcyzk drove up with their two children, a 1-year-old boy and a 2-year-old girl.
The woman said she brought the children inside, which is when Szewcyzk decided that he wanted the children back, she told police.
Authorities said Szewcyzk pushed past the woman when she tried to block the front door and trespassed inside the residence, despite both his ex-girlfriend and her brother telling him to leave. Authorities said Szewcyzk picked up his two children and tried to carry them out of the residence.
When he was blocked once again by his ex, police said Szewcyzk threw the young children onto the ground. The woman told police that he eventually picked them back up and ran out the back door of the apartment to his vehicle, but by then police had arrived.
Szewcyzk is charged with one count each of endangering the welfare of a child, second-degree harassment and trespass, police said. Bail was set and not met at $500 cash or bond by City Court Judge Daniel C. Wilson on Tuesday, and his case was adjourned to March 3.
Thursday, February 25, 2010
"Nice" dad shoots mom, two teen daughters in murder-suicide (Queens, New York)
Notice there isn't one damned word here about the mother or the two teenage daughters here and what they were like. Are they somehow less human than the piece of sh** who gunned them down in their beds?
Guess the mainstream media would have you think so. Nothing here but praise for the Nice Murderer.
This has become a common motif in domestic violence murder reporting. If a man slaughters a stranger, nobody is quoted as saying how "nice" he was. But if he slaughters his own family, suddenly the scum bucket is a misunderstood Mother Teresa. Sickening.
Wife Feared For Her Safety Before Queens Murder-Suicide
Just months before high-school administrator Dionne Coy-Bailey and her two teenage daughters were found murdered in their Queens home, the assistant principal said she didn't feel safe since her husband had bought a gun. Coy-Bailey even moved out of the 230th Place residence for a few weeks in December with her younger daughter because her husband wouldn't get rid of the high-powered assault rifle. Officials say Mark Bailey used that kill his wife and children yesterday before shooting himself once in the forehead.
Police discovered the bodies of Coy-Bailey, 42, Stony Brook University student Yanique Bailey, 19, and Cardozo HS student Yolanne Bailey, 14, after Coy-Baily's relatives rang the bell yesterday morning and no one answered the door. According to the Post, a relative was able to crack-open a first-floor window and peer into a bedroom. "I looked in and saw someone under the covers ... I reached in and felt a leg and felt it was kind of stiff." The relatives called police, who found the wife and daughters dead, each shot once in the head in their beds. Bailey—a bus driver in Long Island—was found on a living room chair with the 9-millimeter weapon at his feet, according to the Times. A note was found on the kitchen table, stating: "I am sorry. Love, Mark."
It's unclear what lead the Springfield Gardens man to commit the act. Although Bailey had been arguing with his wife about the rifle—which is illegal to carry in New York City—and whether or not they should spend $1,500 on braces for one of the girls, Coy-Bailey's relatives said the bus driver always appeared to be a peaceful man. "They were working things out," said Coy-Baily's sister. "He was nice. He wouldn't do anything. He wasn't threatening anyone."
Mom shot by husband in critical condition; was picking up children from visitation (Niles, Illinois)
How freaking obvious does it have to be? It's a standard power-and-control case. Dad losing power and control over "his" woman (but not over his children, thanks to the idiots who awarded him visitation). So in reality, this woman was set up. And for God's sake, how can the police scratch their heads like morons when police were called to the home 4 TIMES in the weeks before the shootings for domestic violence? And in one incident, it seems Daddy was successful in convincing the police that Mom was the aggressor, which probably just embolded him even more. (This is typical of abusers, that they try to muddy the waters by counter-accusing.) Looks like y'all made the wrong call on that one, huh?
NILES POLICE: Woman shot by her husband in critical condition
February 23, 2010
By JENNIFER JOHNSON
A Niles mother of three remained hospitalized and in critical condition this week after she was shot Feb. 16 by her estranged husband in an attempted murder-suicide outside the home they once shared just north of Park Ridge.
According to Niles Police Sgt. Tom Davis investigators do not have a motive for why Gregory Vaughn, 46, of the 8100 block of Prospect Avenue, in Niles, shot his wife, Amy Vaughn, 46, in the face before turning the gun on himself, said Sgt. Tom Davis.
"We don't really know what was going through his head," Davis said, stating only that the couple were going through a divorce. Court documents indicate Amy Vaughn had filed for divorce in mid-January.
Gregory Vaughn did not leave behind a note of any kind, Davis said.
According to police Amy Vaughn, who was staying with a relative in Northbrook, was inside her vehicle, waiting to pick up her children for a visitation about 3:40 p.m. when Gregory Vaughn approached her. Amy Vaughn reportedly told investigators that she lowered her window a few inches when her husband held up a gun and fired it at her, striking her in the left cheek.
When police officers arrived at the scene they found Gregory Vaughn dead in the street from what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound to his head and recovered a .32-caliber pistol, police said. An autopsy found that Gregory Vaughn died of a gunshot wound to the mouth and his death was ruled a suicide, according to the Medical Examiner's Office.
At the time of the shooting the Vaughns' three children, ages 11, 13 and 16, were inside the home, according to police.
In the weeks leading up to the shooting and suicide, Niles police were called to the Prospect Avenue home four times. On Jan. 21 and 22, police responded to domestic disputes involving the Vaughns, one leading to the arrest of Amy Vaughn, and on Jan. 29 police were called to a reported visitation interference involving Gregory Vaughn, Davis said. On Feb. 16, a little more than two hours before the shooting, police responded to a motor-vehicle accident at the address.
Emerson Middle School in Niles and Field Elementary School in Park Ridge, two of the schools the Vaughn children attended, sent home letters to parents last week advising them of the incident and offering support services to any students in need.
Gregory Vaughn was the owner of Owner's Choice Auto Body, which had locations in Des Plaines, Highland Park and Elk Grove Village.
A funeral mass for Gregory Vaughn was held Saturday at Our Lady of Ransom Catholic Church in Niles. Amy Vaughn remained hospitalized at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, where a hospital spokesperson listed her condition as critical Monday.
Dad convicted of misdemeanor child abuse in shaking of 5-month-old son (Lake Elsinore, California)
For this he gets "anger management" and parenting classes, and a chance to "build a relationship with his baby."
Barf. Yes, we're really tough on daddy child abusers, aren't we?
LAKE ELSINORE: Father acquitted of felony child abuse
Man freed from jail after jurors convicted him of misdemeanor charges
The Californian wire services Posted: February 23, 2010 8:42 pm
A Lake Elsinore man accused of shaking his 5-month-old son and throwing him head-first into a playpen was acquitted Tuesday of felony charges but found guilty of misdemeanor child abuse.
Jurors deliberated about a day before clearing 23-year-old David Anthony Gutierrez of two felony child abuse counts. They instead found him guilty of two counts of misdemeanor child abuse.
He was sentenced to a year in jail and five years' probation, but was immediately freed from custody with credit for time served.
Gutierrez must also take anger management and parenting classes.
"It's what we were expecting. It's what we were hoping for," said Christina Crowder, the defendant's aunt. "Now he can get back on track and build a relationship with his baby."
"He has a good support group behind him, so I think he'll be just fine," she added.
Gutierrez's son, who will be 2 next month, is healthy and lives with his mother, Crowder said.
Gutierrez, who could have faced 24 years in state prison if convicted of the felony charges, was arrested at Riverside County Regional Medical Center in Moreno Valley on Aug. 27, 2008, after being questioned about his son's injuries.
A doctor testified that the infant had a bruise to his head, bleeding on the brain and a broken rib, leading the physician to suspect child abuse because the infant was too young to crawl and too old to have been injured that way at birth.
Dr. Frederic Bruhn said the baby had a rib fracture that was healing when he examined the infant. He said he became concerned because the baby could not have bumped his head while crawling, as older children often do, and any bones broken during birth would have been healed by then.
"Actually having force enough to produce a brain injury was worrisome," Bruhn said, although he added that the injury itself was not major.
Earlier this week, a pediatrician testified that the baby's injuries were non-life-threatening, although almost certainly caused by physical abuse.
"If your baby doesn't move, it doesn't get bruises," said Dr. Carol Berkowitz.
Gutierrez had been watching his son while the child's mother, Jeopardy Judge, was away. When she returned home to their Lake Elsinore apartment, she found a spongy spot on the side of the infant's head and rushed him to the hospital, Deputy District Attorney Julie Baldwin told jurors.
Doctors found two injuries to the child's head, including bruising on the surface of the brain, and the broken but partially healed rib, according to testimony.
During the investigation, Gutierrez admitted squeezing the baby's torso and shaking the child two weeks before he threw him into his playpen, Baldwin told the jury.
Supreme Court: Police reinterrogation of dad suspected of sexually assaulting son no violation to suspect's right to an attorney (Washington, DC)
High court overturns Maryland child molestation decision
By Bill Mears, CNN Supreme Court Producer
February 24, 2010 -- Updated 1621 GMT (0021 HKT)
Washington (CNN) -- The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that a police reinterrogation of a Maryland man suspected of sexually assaulting his own son did not violate the suspect's right to an attorney.
The man confessed to the crime nearly three years after first refusing to cooperate with detectives without legal representation present.
The justices walked a delicate legal line when deciding how long a suspect's constitutional right to counsel should remain valid. The court concluded that a two-week period after questioning is enough to satisfy "any residual coercive effects of his prior custody."
Michael Shatzer at first denied the allegations, and the case went cold. But when new evidence surfaced, he was questioned again behind bars and admitted the abuse. He then tried to suppress the confession at trial.
A Maryland appeals court ruled that because Shatzer remained in jail the entire time police were investigating the child molestation claims, there was "no break in custody" by authorities that would allow incriminating evidence to be used from the second interrogation, when no lawyer was present. The judges threw out the confession.
State officials then appealed to the Supreme Court, which reversed the decision.
The case from Hagerstown, Maryland, began in 2003 when a social worker told police she suspected that Shatzer had forced his then-3-year-old son to perform sex on him. By that time, the man was in state prison on an unrelated offense of molesting another child. When detectives met with him in jail, Shatzer invoked his Miranda right to an attorney and refused to talk. The interview ended.
The investigation soon stalled, but three years later, the social worker went back to police and said the child had grown old enough to make specific allegations against the father.
Confronted by another police officer in two subsequent jailhouse interviews in March 2006, Shatzer waived his right to an attorney before confessing to child molestation. Officials said that at no time did Shatzer request a lawyer.
He was later convicted of second-degree sexual offense, sexual child abuse and second-degree assault, among other charges.
Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for a unanimous court, said, "The duration of the break in custody here (2½ years) was plainly enough to eliminate the residual coercive effect of his prior custody. But would one year be enough? Or one week?"
Scalia said it is important for lower courts to have some guidance on an acceptable period, so the justices settled on 14 days, "plenty of time for the suspect to get reacclimated to his normal life, to consult with friends and counsel," after being in custody.
The conservative justice also said that the fact Shatzer remained in prison, under state control, between the two interrogations did not mean there was no break in custody as defined in connection with this issue.
"When sentenced prisoners are released back into the general prison population, they return to their accustomed surroundings and daily routine," Scalia said. "They regain the degree of control they had over their lives prior to attempted interrogation."
Justice John Paul Stevens broke from his colleagues on the time question, suggesting that the two-week break in custody was not enough time to satisfy the Miranda protections. On the other hand, Justice Clarence Thomas suggested that the 14-day standard was too long.
The landmark 1966 Miranda v. Arizona ruling by the Supreme Court established standards for questioning suspects, giving them the right of refusal to talk and the right to a lawyer.
Attorneys from both sides in the Shatzer case noted that federal and state courts have been at odds over the time and custody question involving police interrogations.
The case is Maryland v. Shatzer (08-680).
Dad accused of burning 2-year-old for potty training "miscues" (Fort Mill, South Carolina)
Potty training has surfaced as a common "trigger" for abusive male caretakers. Check out the diapers/potty-training tab below for similar cases.
Fort Mill-area dad accused of burning toddler
Medical experts say scolding could be potty training punishment
By Kimberly Dick - The Herald LANCASTER CO. -- A Fort Mill-area father faces child abuse charges after police say his 2-year-old son was scalded with hot water possibly as a punishment for miscues in potty training.
A childcare employee alerted Emergency Medical Services on Monday after the finding blisters on the boy, said Lancaster County Sheriff Barry Faile. The child was taken to Springs Memorial Hospital with burns on his rear end and private areas, according to the sheriff’s office report.
Medical officials believe the burns and blisters are consistent with punishment for a child having difficulty during potty training. Christian Brown, 23, of Fortson Drive in Indian Land off S.C. 160 near the York County line, was arrested Monday after his son was hospitalized with the first- and second-degree burns, Faile said.
“We were alerted by the emergency room staff at the hospital about a kid that had been burned,” Faile said. “We spoke with hospital personnel and the child’s parents. The story the father was saying didn’t match up to what had taken place.”
The child’s father, Brown, initially told officials the boy’s redness was a result of diarrhea, the report stated. He said the burns could have resulted from the children turning the hot water on themselves while briefly alone in the bath tub. But the child told a nurse that he was hurt by “daddy,” according to the report.
A nurse told deputies the child’s injuries are consistent with dunking burns, when someone is dipped in hot water as a punishment, the report said.
The child’s mother told authorities they were in the process of potty training the child and he was not doing well, the report said. Children generally start using a toilet between the ages of 18 months and 3 years old.
Brown was charged with unlawful conduct toward a child, Faile said. The charge could carry a sentence of 10 years in prison.
The child’s mother has not been charged in the incident, Faile said, which is still under investigation.
Other children, ages 3 and 4, live in the house. It’s not known if previous abuse has occurred.Brown was incarcerated in the Lancaster County Detention Center on Tuesday on $45,000 bond, he said. Brown has no felony criminal history in South Carolina, a State Law Enforcement Division background check shows.
Faile said it’s been quite a while since he’s seen a child abuse case similar to this.
Peggy Payne, executive director of Safe Passage, an advocacy group for the abused, said discipline in a parenting situation like potty training depends on the family.
While some offer small rewards for completing the task successfully, she warned punishment for not going to the bathroom could cause the child to be afraid of going at all.
This type of abuse, like others, is a power and control issue, Payne said.
When consequences include being dunked in hot water, Payne said, it’s like using “terrorist tactics” against your child.
The child was being held at the hospital for observation. The Department of Social Services is involved in the case.
Dad arrested for child abuse had recently become "primary caretaker," baby in coma (Las Vegas, Nevada)
Glad to see that just for once, we don't have the kings and queens of denial with their "he was such a good daddy" schtick. At least one man chewed out the father for playing mommy instead of getting a job and supporting his family. Good for you, sir! We rarely hear from the "old school" gentlemen anymore. Just the gender neutralists who ignore the babies and young children killed or severely injured while in the care of unemployed fathers or live-in boyfriends.
Grandmother of infant bitten and beaten wants payback
Posted: Feb 23, 2010 08:43 PM CST
Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) - A three-month-old boy is in critical condition and police say his father is to blame for the despicable abuse. Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Detectives describe the infant's injuries as severe, including human bite marks on his body and blunt force trauma to the abdomen.
21-year-old Andrew Mendoza was booked in jail on 11 felony charges, including eight counts of child abuse.
Mendoza reportedly called paramedics when his son went unresponsive inside at an apartment in the 3900 block of South Decatur on Monday. Police were called a short time later following suspicion that he had been abusing the baby.
The infant's grandmother says she wishes her grandson was never left alone with the man she now calls a devil.
"He's going to go away for life. He deserves it, and they're going to take care of him in jail," said Julie. "My daughter's in a lot of pain."
Julie says her daughter had been staying in Arizona during the suspected abuse. Police believe Andrew Mendoza had recently become the primary care taker of their son.
"She's a great mom. She didn't have a clue. She's the best mom in the world, and I'm the best grandmother in the world," explained Julie.
The apartment where the baby went into a coma is now signified with a homemade sign to keep away. Neighbors in the area say they mind their own business but can't help but ask questions about the reprehensible allegations against this young father.
"What's going through his mind? Baby screaming, I can't do it. This is not my job. My job is to go out there and provide my family, not be taking care of a child," speculated neighbor Alfred Fuenzilda, who knows Mendoza.
Family members of baby Alexander Angel Mendoza say the infant is in the ICU, however relatives do not want to elaborate on his condition.
Dad denies murder charges in death of 6-week-old son (Peterborough, England, United Kingdom)
Court: Father denies causing death of his baby son
24 February 2010
By Stephen Briggs
THE Peterborough mother of a six-week-old baby boy, who was allegedly shaken to death by his father, broke down in tears as she told a court how she found his lifeless body lying on the sofa.
Monika Spiewak (24) took to the witness stand on the first day of Ryszard Spiewak's trial at Cambridge Crown Court yesterday (23 February).
The 29-year-old Polish national, of Clarence Road, Peterborough denies charges of murder, manslaughter and causing grievous bodily harm with intent to baby Piotr Spiewak.
He died on September 2, 2008, after suffering severe brain damage and a cardiac arrest four days earlier.
He was also found to have 10 broken ribs caused weeks before he suffered his fatal injuries.
Unable to hold back her tears, Mrs Spiewak sobbed as she told the jury how she found Piotr's fatally-injured and lifeless body lying in the living room of their house in Adderly, Bretton, in the early hours of August 29, 2008.
She said: "I was sleeping upstairs while Ryszard slept in the living room with Piotr.
"Ryszard came to wake me at 5am, and said Piotr wasn't breathing and we had to call an ambulance.
"I ran downstairs and I saw Piotr lying next to his carry cot on the sofa.
"He was not breathing.
"He was blue, he looked swollen and his eyes were closed. He was not moving. He was cold.
"I tried to reanimate him by blowing into his mouth, but he didn't start breathing."
Mrs Spiewak, who moved to Britain from Poland in 2007, said her husband said he had been woken by Piotr's crying and as he held him in his arms to comfort him the tot started choking.
When the paramedics arrived they took Piotr to Peterborough District Hospital but after tests were carried out the doctors decided to move him to Leicester Royal Infirmary for further treatment in intensive care.
But four days later his parents had to take the heart-breaking decision to turn off his life support machine.
The court also heard how further tests after his death revealed that Piotr had 10 broken ribs, suffered in a violent incident that happened some weeks before his death.
Prosecuting counsel, Karim Khalil said: "The rib injuries indicated he had been squeezed with more than an appropriate force.
"The brain damage suggests that the cause of death was excessive shaking.
"We say that this was a deliberate infliction of violence.
"It is one of those sad cases when a baby has died because of a violent act and the perpetrator just won't own up."
Ryszard denies all of the charges laid against him.
The trial continues.
Testimony of Amy Castillo, M.D.: Lower the burden of proof for final protective orders (Annapolis, Maryland)
Before her husband killed their children, Castillo tried to get a protective order to keep him away. A judge denied her request. Maryland law requires "clear and convincing evidence" to grant protective orders. The bill would lower the bar to "preponderance of the evidence."
Efforts to apply that standard to protective orders have failed in the past in the Maryland legislature. Maybe this time it will finally pass.
Testimony in Support of HB 700 / SB 823
Family Law – Protective Orders – Burden of Proof
Submitted by Amy Castillo, M.D.
February 25, 2010
Dear Chairman Vallario and Members of the House Judiciary Committee:
Thank you for the opportunity to testify in support of HB 700 which would lower the burden of proof from "clear and convincing" to "preponderance of the evidence" for Final Protective Orders in Maryland.
My name is Amy Castillo, and I am the pediatrician and mother whose children were drowned by their father in March 2008. I want to thank you for letting me come testify today as to my own experience with protective orders.
Three years ago, I spent Christmas Eve and Christmas day at the Commissioner’s Office trying to get a protective order because my husband, Mark Castillo, had told me that the worst thing he could do to me would be to kill the children, and not me, so that I would have to live without them. Also, he took Austin, who was then 3 years of age, out of his bed and out the door, and told me afterwards on the phone that he would not tell me where they were going, where they were staying, or when Austin would be back.
On January 10th, 2007, while trying to get a final Protective Order, I was telling the Judge how 6 months prior Mark had been involuntarily admitted to a psychiatric hospital for a suicide attempt and manic-like destructive behaviors, and how he still was having mental health issues and had refused to get any help. He also was living in a car at the time and not working on any kind of regular basis. He was already very angry at me because he blamed me for being placed in the psychiatric hospital and for taking his children away.
Some excerpts from the transcript:
"He told me he could make it more difficult for me after I had the children."
"He said he could sabotage the house if he wanted to."
"He told me what could be worse is if he killed all of us, and then he said actually worse than that, if he killed the children and not me so that I would have to live without them."
"I see him being more upset and frustrated and angry and saying, 'What does it matter anymore'. So that is why it really concerns me."
"I called the police, I went to court, and nobody would help me with this situation."
"I’m not going to wait until they get hurt to take them away."
My attorney asked me, "Do you feel safe in your home?" I said "no."
My attorney asked me "Are you still residing there?’ And I said "No, I am not. The locks are broken out. The window’s broken out. The deadbolt’s been broken, and so I don’t feel safe living in the house because of the conflict we are having."
My attorney asked if I was fearful that he may at some point harm me and the children. I answered "Yes."
My attorney asked me, "Are you worried for the physical safety of your children?’ And I answered, "Yes."
Mark said during the hearing, "I wanted to help myself deal with my wife, who was able to get me very angry. With these protective orders as well, I got more angry."
The judge stated that, "There is not clear and convincing evidence that the alleged acts of abuse occurred."
The judge also said, "I am concerned about the three children in this case, and I am concerned about the situation that they are in."
At this time, I had been living in a hotel and at a friend’s house because I was scared to stay in my own home after filing for the Temporary Protective Order. When Mark found out about the Temporary Order filing, he was much angrier at me. I was afraid he might hurt us, or kidnap the children, and the nanny was afraid to come to the house anymore to watch the kids.
On January 10th 2007, the final Protective Order was not granted, and it left Mark twice as angry, and took everything up a notch, and I was left unprotected. The situation now was worse.
Over the next 15 months, as I continued to fight for my husband’s mental health and for the safety of myself and the children, I did not try again to pursue a protective order, as I found the whole process to have been a damaging experience and useless attempt. I actually started hiding the children in other people's homes for protection so Mark could not find them, instead of trying to seek protective orders, and then was sanctioned for not following proper procedure.
On March 29th, 2008 Mark Castillo drowned Anthony who was 6, Austin who was 4, and Athena who was 2 years of age in a bathtub in a hotel in Baltimore.
I am not saying that this situation alone led to the death of my children. I tried many more times to get help for my family. However, I do feel that there is a great discrepancy in this state between the encouragement to come forward to fight against abuse and the ability to actually get protection. This contradiction is a discouragement for people to make the move to get out of a frightening situation, and some just stay in an unsafe environment. I would never want to see any parent, father or mother, have to go through the Hell that I have been through, and that my children went through. I am hoping that a change in the ability to get a protective order will make a difference in other children’s lives in the future.
Amy Castillo, M.D.
Dad arrested after 3-month-old son found "unresponsive"; baby in critical condition with bite marks, abdominal trauma (Las Vegas, Nevada)
Posted: Thursday, 25 February 2010 9:12AM
Father Arrested For Child Abuse
A father has been arrested after police found a three month old child unresponsive. Officers were called out around 7:00 PM on February 22nd to a home on South Decatur to investigate a report of an unresponsive male child. Metro's Abuse and Neglect Detail began an immediate investigation into the incident after finding sustained injuries on the child consistent with blunt force trauma to the abdomen and human bite marks. The child had been taken to a local hospital and is currently in critical conditions. The father, 21-year-old Andrew Mendoza has been arrested and faces one count of Child Abuse with Substantial Bodily Harm, Child Neglect and Child Endangerment and eight counts of child abuse.
Dad slaughters mom in murder-suicide; daughters were hiding in bathroom (Tampa, Florida)
Murder Suicide in Tampa while children in home
February 25, 11:39 AM
Tampa Crime Examiner
Charisse Van Horn
A horrific tale of a murder-suicide has unfolded in the Tampa Bay area. According to a report by the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, the unnamed couple were fighting in their Tampa home, a condo in the Stone Creek Point complex between 56th Street and Fletcher at 13374 Arbor Pointe Circle.
The report says that neighbors heard the couple arguing and shortly before 6:00 a.m., Thursday, February 25, 2010, gunshots were fired. Deputies were notified and upon arriving at the scene they found the man had died, the woman was clinging to life and had been transported to the University Community Hospital. She died later.
Reports say that two children, 10 and 14 year-old-girls were hiding in the bathroom during the argument and subsequent murder-suicide. Authorities stated that the two girls are the couple’s children. The children were not harmed and the identity of the victims has not been released.
The investigation is underway as detectives continue to speak to witnesses.
Babysitting dad charged with felony child neglect for pushing 4-year-old son in stroller while drunk (Charleston, West Virginia)
Wednesday February 24, 2010
Police say man was drunk when he was pushing son in stroller
by From staff reports
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A South Charleston man is charged with putting his child in danger by walking him in a baby stroller along a busy roadway while under the influence of alcohol.
Kanawha Deputy J.R. Hatfield was dispatched to the Go-Mart convenience store in Jefferson Sunday when concerned store clerks called police after a man purchased beer in the store with a small child in tow, deputies said.
Witnesses at the store told Hatfield the man, later identified as Richard Lee Craddock, 30, of Kentucky Street, left pushing a baby stroller carrying his 4-year-old son eastbound along U.S. 60, according to a complaint filed in Kanawha Magistrate Court.
Craddock was spotted pushing the stroller on the north side of the roadway. As the deputy got closer, the man crossed the five-lane road to the south side with the stroller and the child inside, the complaint said.
Deputies stopped the man and questioned him, the complaint said. A preliminary breath test showed Craddock's blood-alcohol level to be .167, twice the legal limit, according to the complaint.
Deputies could not comment on where the child has been placed.
Craddock was charged with felony child neglect creating the risk of injury and is being held at South Central Regional Jail.
Monday, February 22, 2010
Trial set for custodial dad accused of beating 2-year-old son to death (Las Vegas, Nevada)
According to a 2007 article, this father had gained custody only 3 months before the murder. Just two weeks before the murder the mother sent a letter to CPS expressing her concerns about the father's abusive treatment of the children, but obviously, the agency never followed up. Sounds like this young mother had an exceptionally bad attorney who gave her exceptionally bad advise.
Trial set for man accused of beating toddler with hammer
By Cara McCoy
Monday, Feb. 22, 2010 11:31 a.m.
The trial of a Las Vegas man accused of beating his toddler son to death with a hammer in 2007 has been reset.
Richard Martino is accused of murder in the death of 2-year-old Zander Martino, who was found unresponsive by his live-in girlfriend, Brandi Reeves, on July 10, 2007.
Reeves in November pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of child abuse and neglect with substantial bodily injury in Zander’s death. She had initially been charged with second-degree murder.
Reeves is expected to testify at Martino’s trial, which is now set for Nov. 29. It was scheduled to begin next week but Martino’s former attorney recently took a job with the attorney general’s office and his new attorney on Monday told District Court Judge David Wall he needed additional time to prepare.
Records indicate authorities responded to the home Reeves and Martino shared with three children and found one of the children, Zander, to be unresponsive. Responding paramedics told police they believed the boy had been dead for six to eight hours before they arrived at the house.
At the time of Martino’s and Reeves’ arrests, a Child Protective Services worker interviewed one of Martino’s other children and asked if the girl knew how Zander got his “owies.” An arrest report indicates that the child responded, “Dad hit Zander with a hammer last night,” and said the hammer was in the back yard.
The girl also told the CPS worker that Zander had an injury on his stomach.
An autopsy revealed that the toddler had suffered a series of “trauma-related” injuries, including bruising to the abdomen, a belly full of blood and lacerations and hemorrhages.
To find out how this dad got custody, you have to go back to July 2007.
Jul. 20, 2007
Las Vegas Review-Journal
TODDLER DEATH: County warned about father
In letter, boy's mother expressed 'great concern' about parenting skills
By DAVID KIHARA
About three weeks before 33-month-old Zander Martino was allegedly beaten to death by his father, the boy's mother sent a letter to Clark County child protective services noting that she had "great concern" about the father's parenting skills.
Joanna Cunningham, 21, wrote that she was worried that Richard "Todd" Martino was disciplining their three children too harshly, including forcing Zander to stand in a corner until he passed out.
"I ... have great concern as to Mr. Martino's parenting skills, such as the overly excessive use of timeouts, sending our children to be(d) without dinner," she wrote.
Speaking Thursday from her home in Ukiah, in northeastern Oregon, Cunningham said she sent the letter because she was worried that Martino would hurt Zander, 3-year-old daughter Hailey and 1-year-old son Alan.
The children were in Martino's custody when Zander died.
"He was very rough with the kids," Cunningham said Thursday.
Still, she and her mother, Nancy Burr, 41, had not thought any of the children's lives were at risk.
"We were concerned about how he (Martino) disciplined the kids, but I never in a million years could believe he would do this. What would possess a man to take a hammer and beat your child to death?" Burr said.
That's what Las Vegas police allege the 25-year-old father did.
Martino and his live-in girlfriend, 22-year-old Brandi Reeves, have been in the county jail since Wednesday on charges of murder by child abuse.
Police allege Martino beat Zander to death on July 9 or 10. Hailey told a child protective services worker that "Dad hit Zander with a hammer" the night before paramedics were called to the home and found the boy dead, according to the arrest report.
Authorities charged Reeves with murder because, they allege, she didn't stop the abuse.
Martino and Reeves told police that they weren't responsible for Zander's death.
Martino gained full custody of the children in April.
A county official signed for the acceptance of Cunningham's certified letter on June 22, according to the receipt. Christine Skorupski, spokeswoman for the Department of Family Services, said the letter didn't contain anything indicating that the children were in immediate danger.
She wouldn't say what, if any, action was taken by county child welfare workers in response to the letter.
"Any kind of parental concerns brought to a case manager are addressed," she said.
On June 19, Zander and the other children were pulled out of their father's home when authorities discovered an injury to the boy. A family court hearing master returned Zander and his siblings to their father on June 28 because authorities couldn't determine that the injuries they had red-flagged were caused by abuse.
When Zander was an infant, child protective services determined that he had been abused.
In December 2004, when Martino and Cunningham were still together, Zander and Hailey were removed from the couple's care after the boy was found to have a broken femur, several broken ribs and a broken collarbone, Cunningham said.
She said in court in 2005 that she was responsible for Zander's injuries, but she said Thursday that she had falsely confessed because her attorney told her that confessing would get her children out of protective custody.
She said she never abused Zander or the other children.
After being born about a month premature and having to overcome breathing problems, "Zander was my angel child," Cunningham said.
She said that she believed Martino had hurt Zander in 2004 but that she had no evidence to support her claim.
A Family Court judge ordered Cunningham to stay away from the family in 2005, she said, so she moved to Oregon to live with her mother.
Since then, Cunningham has taken parenting, anger management and domestic violence classes in an effort to regain custody of her children, she said.
She has remarried and is living in a three-bedroom trailer next to her mother in a mobile home park.
She said she had been speaking to her children from Oregon about once a day. Zander's siblings are back in the custody of the county. Cunningham's mother hopes to win custody of them.
On Thursday, Cunningham asked authorities in Las Vegas to send Zander's body to Oregon instead of cremating him, as requested by Martino.
Hearing for doctor-dad accused of killing two children (Montreal, Canada)
Hearing for doctor accused of killing his 2 kids
Children of cardiologist Guy Turcotte found dead in Piedmont home in Feb. 2009
The Gazette February 22, 2010 3:42 PMStory
MONTREAL – A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Monday in the case of cardiologist Guy Turcotte, 37, who is facing two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of his two children in February 2009 in Piedmont, about 15 kilometres northwest of St. Jérôme.
The hearing is to be held at the St. Jérôme courthouse.
On Feb. 21, 2009, Turcotte’s two children, Olivier, 5, and Anne-Sophie, 3 were found dead in the Piedmont home of their father and mother, who had been separating at the time. Turcotte, 36, a cardiologist, was found lying on the floor from a drug overdose.
After initially being brought for treatment to the St. Jérôme hospital where both he and his wife worked as doctors, Turcotte was transferred to Sacré Coeur Hospital in Montreal because medical staff at the St. Jérôme hospital did not want to treat him.
The children’s mother, Isabelle Gaston, is an emergency-room doctor. She is a native of the Quebec City area, and was skiing at Le Massif, east of Quebec City, on the weekend when police were alerted to potential trouble involving the cardiologist.
A physician interviewed in the St. Jérôme hospital’s cafeteria the week after the children’s slayings said he had heard the crime-scene evidence suggests Turcotte may have gone into "some kind of fit of delirium" in the moments before the killings.
In the year since his children’s deaths, Turcotte has been hospitalized twice for suicide attempts while in prison.
Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/opinion/editorials/Hearing+doctor+accused+killing+kids/2596644/story.html#ixzz0gItWl89e
Teen locked up by custodial dad, stepmom weighed only 90 pounds (Phoenix, Arizona)
In addition to the horrible conditions we've heard of at the home of her custodial father SCOTT BASS, note some of the new details that are coming to light. Dad has a history of domestic violence (what a big surprise that is). And that the girl hasn't seen her actual mother since she was 8.
I can find out little about this, except on another blog (True Crime Report), a respondent claiming to be the mother says she lives in California and has been searching for her children for years.
Teen who was locked up weighed only 90 pounds
by Jessica Testa - Feb. 22, 2010 02:04 PM
The Arizona Republic
As the parents of a 14-year-old Phoenix girl pleaded not guilty to charges of child abuse and kidnapping Monday morning, new details have emerged surrounding the suspected imprisonment of their daughter.
The couple was indicted by a grand jury last week on three counts of child abuse and one count of kidnapping. They pleaded not guilty to all the charges in the Maricopa County Superior Court arraignment Monday.
According to the police report filed following the arrest of Scott Bass, 33, and Andrea Bass, 31, the teenage girl, who was 5-foot-8-inches tall, was only 90 pounds when she left the home.
The Basses are suspected of keeping their daughter locked in a bathroom for two months with no running water, feeding her canned food once every few days, forcing her to exercise and beating her when she became too exhausted.
In his report, Phoenix police Officer Vincent Lavia reported that the 14-year-old girl would hysterically cry whenever she thought of returning to her parents' house. According to the officer, her living conditions "were barely suitable for an animal."
Police interviews with the 14-year-old girl, the parents and other children in the Bass home - including an 11-year-old girl - revealed a history of family tension.
The 14-year-old said her father once spent a night in jail for domestic violence against Andrea, according to the report. The girl said she hasn't seen her biological mother, Treasure Adams, since she was 8 years old.
She said Andrea Bass' appearance in her life five years ago felt like her "world turning upside down." She told police Andrea Bass, who gave piano lessons and massages from home and taught toddler classes as a volunteer at the YMCA, turned her father against her.
Scott Bass said his daughter was only being disciplined for bad behavior - behavior sparked by the family's move from their apartment in Glendale to a house in Phoenix, near 27th Avenue and Durango Street. He said he gave his daughter a bucket to urinate and defecate in because he was fed up with attempting to talk to her. He said living in seclusion was her choice.
Andrea Bass, Scott's wife of five years, said Scott Bass tried to kill himself after Child Protective Services took his five children away prior to his arrest. She told police that she alone had been involved in at least 15 prior reports with CPS.
At the time of Scott and Andrea's arrest, police did not believe the other children in the house - ages 3, 4, 11 and 12 - had been abused. The 14-year-old told police the other children were emotionally abusive toward her.
When the girl's younger sister, 11, was asked if she cared about her older sister, the girl told police, "In certain situations, no." The 11-year-old said she didn't know what happened behind her sister's locked bathroom door. She said she never saw her older sister exercise with her parents, but she knew she did because the Basses were, according to the police document, a "healthy family."
The 11-year-old, however, admitted that she has lied to social workers before. She said she knew what it felt like to be locked in the bathroom.
Scott and Andrea Bass will have their next court date on April 6.