Thursday, March 25, 2010

Update on dad, stepmom arrested in beating of 3-year-old son; boy still in critical condition (Sacramento, California)

Dad ADRIAN RAMON MCGRATH (and the stepmom) are both jailed on child endangering charges, and inflicting corporal injury to a child. The 3-year-old son is on life support, and is not expected to recover.

Note that the boy's mother had FULL CUSTODY, yet chose to let the little boy visit his father, ostensibly because her son "wanted to see his Daddy."

This is one of those cases where our culture's fixation on father exaltation--the so-called "necessity" of a child's access to his father--blinded this mother to the evidence of abuse at the father's home. I'm sure there are petty people who will condemn her. I'm not one of them. Mothers are under intense pressure these days to "encourage" their children to have a relationship with their fathers, and ignore any instinctual concerns they may have about their children's safety. If mothers are not encouraging, not doormat nice girls in every way, the courts and the fathers rights people are quick to condemn them as "alienators" and/or "liars." An increasing number of mothers are losing custody under "alienation" accusations. So you really can't win either way.

Sacramento couple held on abuse charge after boy, 3, critically injured

Published: Thursday, Mar. 25, 2010 - 12:00 am

Dayshawna Nichole Lawrence said she kept screaming the little boy's name as she was on the phone with 911 dispatchers, pleading with them to send an ambulance.

Lawrence said in a tearful jailhouse interview Wednesday that she found Jeremiah McRath, her 3-year-old stepson, lying unconscious on the bathroom floor of their Oak Park apartment Tuesday evening.

His eyes were open, she said. She scooped up his limp body and jumped into the shower, hoping the cold water would revive him. She said he grabbed her shirt as she tapped on his cheeks, calling out his name.

"I thought if he heard a voice he would stay with me," Lawrence said.

Lawrence, 22, and the boy's father, Adrian Ramon McRath, 19, were booked into the Sacramento County jail early Wednesday on suspicion of endangering the life of a child and inflicting corporal injury to a child.

The boy was listed in critical condition Wednesday night at UC Davis Medical Center.

The boy's maternal grandmother, Malvola Dupree, 48, said doctors told the family her grandson is brain-dead.

"My daughter is debating whether to pull the plug," Dupree said.

Authorities allege that the life-threatening injuries came at the hands of McRath and Lawrence on Tuesday as they disciplined the boy.

According to police, sometime after the child was disciplined, McRath left the house.

McRath and Lawrence denied the allegations in separate jailhouse interviews with The Bee.

"I discipline my child, but I don't abuse my child," McRath said. He also defended Lawrence.

"My wife doesn't even like to discipline the child," he said. "They are making it seem like we are animals."

"I love Jeremiah like I pushed him out of my own body," Lawrence said. "It hurts me because everybody thinks it's my fault, but I would never, ever dream of hurting Jeremiah in any way."

Lawrence said she organized Jeremiah's second birthday celebration and Jeremiah is "the perfect big brother" to her 5-month-old son.

Lawrence said Jeremiah was disciplined when he urinated around the house because he has been potty-trained.

"He got a whupping on his butt from dad," she said. "But it was nothing extreme."

Earlier Tuesday, Lawrence made an alphabet chart for Jeremiah to help him learn his letters, she said. Sometime later, she was resting on the couch with her 5-month-old son when Jeremiah started to whine, Lawrence said. She sent him to stand in a corner as a form of discipline. He asked to go to the bathroom and she said yes.

Moments later, she said she heard a noise from the bathroom. The noise sounded like the toilet seat, which was broken, shifting as someone sat on it. When she checked less than a minute later, he was unconscious, she said.

The Sacramento Fire Department responded at 6:43 p.m. to the apartment complex at 32nd Street and Second Avenue, police said. Hospital staff called police because of the severity of the boy's head injuries and bruising to other parts of his body.

Dupree said she first noticed bruises on her grandson from his lower back to his knee in September.

She also said Jeremiah had told her, "I don't like 'Baby' (his nickname for Lawrence). She hits me all the time.' "

Dupree said she told her daughter, Kandi, to keep Jeremiah away from Lawrence. Kandi Dupree has full custody of her son and started allowing her son to visit his father and stepmother again only recently, Malvola Dupree said.

"He wanted to see his daddy," Malvola Dupree said.

Three weeks ago, Malvola Dupree said, she noticed bruises on Jeremiah's arm. She said she blames Lawrence and doesn't think McRath would hurt his own son.

"If his son needed something, he would go get it for him," Malvola Dupree said.

Police spokesman Sgt. Norm Leong said the department isn't aware of any open cases of abuse or neglect involving the 3-year-old's father or stepmother.

In 2009, McRath received five years of formal probation for carrying a concealed weapon. He has since had multiple probation violations.

Lawrence was also booked Wednesday on outstanding warrants related to theft and failure to appear in court connected to a charge of not paying a Regional Transit fare. Her 5-month-old son was taken into protective custody as a precaution, police said.

McRath and Lawrence are scheduled to appear in court Friday.

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