Friday, April 30, 2010
Dad beat 3-year-old son repeatedly before finally killing him (Annapolis, Maryland)
This piece of scum has a lengthy criminal record with "charges ranging from second-degree rape to assault, and from drug possession to theft." He is a REGISTERED CHILD SEX OFFENDER. Numerous people, including the child's mother, observed that this father had abused this child. And yet NONE of these people reported the abuse to the police or child protective services??? Is this really true? And if so, why?
Was the mother living with this guy? Or was the child visiting? That is not clarified here. If it was visitation, was this the mother's idea or the court's? That's also not clarified here.
The end result is that Daddy's left "home alone" with this poor child and beats him to death. Just sickening.
Prior abuse allegations surface in tot's death
State: Man beat his son, 3, repeatedly before killing him
By SCOTT DAUGHERTY, Staff Writer
An adult and child saw a Severn man punch his 3-year-old son in the stomach, chest and face on several occasions last summer shortly before the boy's death, according to prosecutors.
The boy's mother and grandfather told police after Charles Michael Brandley died Aug. 12, 2009, that they also had noticed some unusual bruises on the boy's legs.
And doctors at Baltimore Washington Medical Center treated Charles for some minor injuries before county police launched an investigation into the death and how Andre Clay Russell Jr. treated his son.
But despite all of the different incidents and injuries, prosecutors said this week that no one called police or Child Protective Services to see if the boy was in danger.
"Very unfortunately, most people are hesitant to report such incidents or step in to try and stop the abuse," said State's Attorney Frank Weathersbee, noting that prosecutors see this in a lot of child abuse cases. "It's important for people to remember that if something doesn't look right, if something makes you question the safety of a child, if something sounds wrong, that it's OK to tell someone. It's OK to bring it to someone's attention. It really could be the difference between life and death."
Elyn Jones, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Human Resources, which oversees Child Protective Services, seconded that.
"Reporting child abuse is everyone's responsibility," she said.
Russell, 28, of Tomlinson Court, was charged last year with first-degree murder, first-degree child abuse resulting in death, first- and second-degree assault and reckless endangerment in Charles' death. He is being held at the Jessup Correctional Institute pending a June 14 trial.
The case landed in court this week for a hearing on motions on whether the alleged incidents of past abuse will be admissible at trial.
The jury will be allowed to hear about more than just what happened Aug. 7, when prosecutors believe Russell beat his son to death. Over the objections of Russell's defense attorney, Circuit Court Judge Paul A. Hackner on Wednesday ruled that prosecutors may tell a jury about the allegations of prior abuse and how Russell allegedly lied to cover up abuse.
According to charging documents, Russell told paramedics and county police that he was home alone on Aug. 7, watching Charles, when the boy fell down a flight of stairs.
Charles was flown to Johns Hopkins Medical Center in critical condition. He never regained consciousness and died five days later.
Hospital staff told officers they believed Charles had been beaten. An autopsy found that he died of blunt-force trauma and the case was ruled a homicide.
What police learned
According to prosecutors, two people saw Russell beat Charles and at least three others saw the apparent results of previous abuse. From various interviews, police learned:
In April or May 2009, Charles' mother, Orielle Baker, saw loop marks on the boy's legs. She confronted Russell, who told her he beat Charles with a belt.
In May 2009, Russell's father, Andre Clay Russell Sr., saw his son repeatedly spank the boy very hard for urinating on himself. Later, in June, he saw unusual bruising on the boy's thighs that looked almost like burn marks. Russell told his father the marks were from laser surgery.
In late June or early July, a family friend, Shelly Parker, saw Russell punch his son several times in the chest and face. Later, on July 16 or 17, she saw Russell punch the boy so hard in the face he drew blood. And in the last week of July, she saw Russell punch him in the chest, arms and legs.
On July 17, Russell took Charles to Baltimore Washington Medical Center in Glen Burnie and told staff the boy had fallen down some stairs. He was treated for some cuts and bruises and released. After Charles' death, Russell told police he had taken the boy to St. Agnes Hospital in Baltimore and that the injuries stemmed from a pit bull attack.
On Aug. 5, a 10-year-old girl living with Russell saw him punch the boy several times in the stomach, causing him to hit his head on a bed frame.
While Russell was never charged or convicted of any crimes in connection with those incidents, Rogers said they showed intent, motive and even malice on the part of Russell.
Jason Silverstein, Russell's defense attorney, argued in court that the state is trying to get a jury to convict his client because they don't like him - not because they believe he killed his son.
"They want to try him on the prior act and they want to try him on the homicide," said Silverstein, stressing that his client was never charged in connection with any of the alleged incidents of abuse. "They want them to think he is a bad guy so he must have done this."
Hackner, however, noted that Russell repeatedly lied to cover up how Charles received his injuries.
"People don't try to cover up something unless there is something to cover up," he said, arguing that this showed a "consciousness of guilt."
Silverstein said Wednesday he did not know what defense he would put forward at trial - whether Charles fell down a flight of stairs or whether someone other than his client caused the boy's death.
According to online court records, Russell has a lengthy court record dating back to 1997, with charges ranging from second-degree rape to assault, and from drug possession to theft.
He was last released from prison Nov. 18, 2008 - nine months before Charles died.
Russell also is listed on the Maryland Sex Offender Registry as a child sex offender. Details about what landed him on the registry were unavailable. It is also unclear if Russell was in violation of his probation by watching Charles.---
Dad accused of beating up 11-year-old son over broken sprinkler part (Salt Lake City, Utah)
Murray father accused of beating up son over a broken sprinkler part
Published: Thursday, April 29, 2010 8:21 p.m. MDT
SALT LAKE CITY — A Murray father charged with child abuse is accused of beating up his son when the boy broke part of the sprinkler system.
According to charges filed in the 3rd District Court Thursday, the 11-year-old boy had been raking leaves last week and broke part of the sprinkler system, when his dad started choking the boy and threw him inside the house where he hit the ground.
The boy told police that his father, Bruce Wright Oliver, then grabbed him again and started banging the back of his head against the wall, charges state. The boy ended up with a broken nose.
Oliver told Murray police that his son hurt his nose when he tripped and fell, but when police went to ask the boy, he noticed a floor burn on the boy's forehead, a swollen and bruised nose and blood on his shirt, according to charges.
Oliver was booked into jail and was later charged with child abuse, a second-degree felony.
— Lana Groves
Dad charged with involuntary manslaughter in shooting death of 19-month-old daughter (Portsmouth, Ohio)
Father Charged In Child’s Shooting Death
by Frank Lewis 1 day 6 hrs ago
The Scioto County Prosecutor’s Office has filed charges against the 16-year-old father of 19-month-old Betty Eldridge, who died from a gunshot wound on April 23.
The 16-year-old father has been charged with involuntary manslaughter, a felony of the first degree, and child endangerment, a felony of the third degree.
The shooting incident occurred about 3:30 a.m. Friday, and according to the Portsmouth Police Department, officers responded to a call at Southern Ohio Medical Center Emergency Department. Upon arrival, officers received information that Destiny Cook, 18, and her child were victims of a shooting, which reportedly occurred at 1301 Grandview Ave., the residence of the victims.
Cook was treated and released, but the child died and was transported to the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office for an autopsy.
Portsmouth Police Chief Charles Horner said the case remains under investigation and additional charges may be filed.
Horner said anyone with information is being asked to call the Portsmouth Police Department’s Detective Division at (740) 354-1600.
Frank Lewis may be reached at (740) 353-3101 Ext. 232 or email@example.com
Police: 5-year-old son bound, tortured, killed by custodial dad, girlfriend (Gary, Indiana)
Police: 5-year-old bound, tortured, killed
Friday, April 30, 2010
April 29, 2010 (GARY, Ind.) (WLS) -- Investigators say a boy was bound, tortured, and beaten to death inside a home in Gary. He would have turned 6 years old Monday.
The child's death has been ruled a homicide.
Gary police were questioning people in connection with the boy's death Thursday evening.
Leon Walker, the 5-year-old victim, would have turned 6 years old Monday, but given how it appears his life was going, there is no evidence anyone was planning a party.
Neighbors-- who were called to his house Wednesday night-- said he was dead long before he was taken to the hospital, a victim of neglect, abuse and worse.
In hardscrabble Gary, the neighborhood is one where even those who say they have seen it all tread warily. One neighbor who did not want to be identified reportedly had Leon and his family over for Easter Sunday dinner.
"It is a tragedy. It is terrible because I went over there, and he was just laying there with his eyes open, and he was dead. I knew he was dead when I walked in the house," the neighbor said.
The disturbance was only the latest on Virginia Avenue. Last Saturday, Gary police were called when 5-year-old Leon went missing. He was found at 2 a.m. hiding under blankets upstairs in the abandoned house next door to his.
"You have to ask yourself, 'What would make a child run away from home to an abandoned house?'" neighbor Harold Wallace said.
The coroner and the police say when an unconscious Leon was brought to the hospital, he was covered in scars, including ligature marks on his arms.
"From what we could see, [it] looked like he was tortured. He was beaten from head to toe," said Sgt. William Fazekas, who was there on another matter. "In 21 years of doing this & it was the worst I have ever seen -- for any human being."
Leon Walker lived with his father Leon Burns, his girlfriend Rochelle and her four children. The adults are being questioned by police.
"It looked like something out of --I can't even describe it--something out of a concentration camp," said Fazekas. "Someday, when the public is able to review those pictures, when they are available, they are going to be outraged."
Gary police say they continue their investigation, and they say they are confident they will be able to bring first-degree murder charges in the case.
The victim's mother, who is in rehab for drug dependency, was just told of her son's death when Sgt. Fazekas spoke to ABC7 Chicago.
Dad charged with murder for death of 2-year-old son; despite "custody dispute," child died during visitation with dad (Moreno Valley, California)
We previously reported on this case with an article dated April 14, where it was reported that the child was brain dead from a severe head injury. However, there was NOT A WORD in that article explaining that this incident apparently took place during father ALEXANDRO BAEZA's visitation, after the unmarried parents had been in a "custody dispute" for the past year (translation: after the abusive father had been harrassing the mother about visitation for the past year). Very often, the media omits any report on the custodial context of a child abuse incident, and if or when it is reported, it's not done consistently. Note also we're told that "the family had a history with child protective services," which seems to be a misleading statement as well. Notice that so far, there hasn't been a word about the mother having a history of abuse. So I think we're just talking about Daddy, but refusing to say it plainly.
The "alleged" killer's sister's explanation is complete bogus, but you need to understand something about head injuries to know this. Very, very seldom to babies fall off a bed and suffer a fatal head injury. Most of the time, fatal abusive head injuries are INTENTIONALLY INFLICTED--typically by fathers, stepfathers and boyfriends when they are alone with the baby, like Baeza was. And I have a hard time believing that the mother brought the child over to Dad's in that state. If she had, then why didn't these idiots take the baby to the hospital immediately? Believe me, you would have seen more severe symptoms than mere sleepiness. But then the sister is being totally inconsistent in her excuses anyway.
http://www.pe.com/localnews/morenovalley/stories/PE_News_Local_W_wbaby15.249cc9620.htmlFather charged with murder after Moreno Valley boy dies
11:15 PM PDT on Wednesday, April 14, 2010
By JOHN ASBURY
A Moreno Valley man was charged Wednesday with murder and child abuse after his 2-year-old son was declared brain dead.
The toddler was officially declared deceased at 9:30 p.m. Tuesday at Riverside County Regional Medical Center, Riverside County Central Homicide Detective Dean Spivacke said. Homicide detectives said the boy's father, Alexandro Baeza, 26, is suspected of inflicting the injuries that led to his death.
Family members identified the boy as Isaac Gallegos, who remained on life support in order to donate his organs.
Moreno Valley police began investigating the case when Isaac was brought to the hospital by ambulance with a serious head injury Saturday evening. Baeza called authorities when the boy stopped breathing.
Detectives arrested Baeza Sunday on suspicion of child abuse. The Riverside County district attorney's office filed a murder charge Wednesday.
Baeza appeared briefly in court Wednesday where he was appointed a deputy public defender, but he did not enter a plea.
Andrea Gallegos, the boy's mother, said she and Baeza are not married and have been in a custody dispute during the past year.
Homicide detectives said the family had a history with child protective services. Social services officials in San Bernardino and Riverside counties said any records of the family were confidential.
Baeza's sister-in-law, Jessie Barbarian, said the child was brought from his mother's home to Baeza's house for a weekend visit. She said he appeared sick, did not eat and only wanted to sleep. She said Isaac may have fallen off a bed, but Baeza never hit him.
Detectives said the injuries appeared to be intentional.
Baeza was the only person with the boy at the time he was injured, Spivacke said. Authorities do not consider Gallegos a suspect.
An autopsy is expected to be conducted, Spivacke said.
Reach John Asbury at 951-763-3451 or jasbury@PE.com
Mothers Lose Custody for Reporting Sexual Abuse -- by Linda Marie Sacks
Mothers Lose Custody for Reporting Sex Abuse
by Linda Marie Sacks
Thu Apr 29, 2010 at 07:51:05 AM PDT
It has been three years since I lost the right to be a mother to my two beautiful daughters, now ages 13 and 15. I think about all the things I have missed - caring for them when they’re sick, helping with homework and taking vacations. But mostly, I pray they are safe.
My name is Linda Marie Sacks. I’m an Ormond Beach, Florida, mother whose life began reeling out of control in April 2002 after an administrator at my daughter’s school called to tell me that my then-7-year-old was sexually acting out. I was quick to follow the school administrator's advice and took my daughter to a therapist. Then Sunday School officials called to tell me that my daughter was talking in class about performing oral sex on her father. At age 8, in her therapist’s office, my eldest daughter drew the family picture shown after the fold that depicts her father as an erect penis with legs.
Linda Marie Sacks's diary :: ::
I didn’t want to believe it. But after eleven years of marriage, I filed for divorce (Case 2004-30312 FMCI) and asked the Volusia County Court system to protect my children. Instead Volusia County Judge Shawn L. Briese called my daughter a liar, identified me as the problem for believing her and, for three years now, I’ve only been allowed to see my daughters twice a month for an hour-long supervised visit at The Family Tree House Visitation Center in Daytona Beach.
Now that I know the stories of so many other mothers like me -- Wendy Titelman in Georgia, Annette Zender in Illinois, Danielle Malmquist in Tennessee -- I’m so thankful for those two hours a month. My daughters tell me how much they love me during those hours.
I know what you are thinking: This mother has done something wrong. But I am a squeaky-clean soccer mom, no drugs, no alcohol, no arrests, no abuse, no infidelity, nothing. I was an active school volunteer - and for many years the class mom for both of my daughters’ classes.
My daughter's teacher said, "If you, of all Mothers, can lose custody of your children and be placed on Supervised Visitation, then America better wake up, because anyone can."
The only thing that I can think I did wrong was naively believe in the United States justice system.
During hearings, each time I tried to submit information about why I am worried about my daughters' safety, the court system stopped me. The father asked for and was granted a protective order on testimony from the children’s therapist who wrote in reports about suspected sexual abuse and watched as my eldest daughter drew her father as an erect penis with legs. Testimony was not allowed from the Sunday School volunteer who heard my daughter tell a classmate that "She sucks her daddy's penis." Three times, Dr. Kathy Pearce, a licensed clinical psychologist from Melbourne, Florida, has come to the Daytona Beach courthouse, ready to testify that she is concerned the father is sexually abusing the children and each time she was turned away.
Justice for Children, a Houston-based national child advocacy organization, wrote a letter to Volusia County law enforcement authorities, including Department of Children and Family Administrator Reggie Williams, expressing concern that the allegations of sexual and physical abuse of my daughters were never properly investigated.
The letter was used in a motion by the children's father to complain that I was still a problem and had not accepted the court’s ruling that no child abuse has taken place. From the bench, Judge Briese did not show concern about the points raised in the Justice for Children letter but instead wanted to know who had contacted the organization.
I’ve spent more than $130,000 in legal fees trying to help my girls. In 2008 the Florida Fifth District Court of Appeals in Daytona Beach reversed Judge Briese’s custody decision (Case 5D07-1682), and ruled that the judge had abused his trial court discretion, violated my due process rights and ordered the custody decision be retried in the lower court. Despite the appeals court ruling and numerous motions to have him removed from the case, Judge Briese has continued to deny me full contact with my children.
Instead, just a few months after the Fifth District Court of Appeals ruling, Judge Briese quickly set another custody hearing, denied to admit any of my evidence or witnesses and again ruled that I be allowed only supervised visits with my daughters.
I had paid my appeals attorney more than $85,000. The appeals court concluded that Judge Briese "reversibly erred" when he took my children away. But the justice system sent me right back to the judge who the appeals court judges said had abused his trial court discretion and violated my due process rights. I again found myself in disbelief. How can this be called justice?
But these are my children, and I made a promise to them that I would do something every day to get them back, and I will never stop. I have to believe that one day justice will prevail - not only for my two wonderful daughters but for all of the children thrust into America's broken family court system.
So now, I spend hours each day teaching myself the justice system. As a pro se litigant, I filed another appeal with the Fifth District Court (Case 5D09-3752).
I also successfully requested another hearing to get my children back in the lower court. Six months ago, Judge Briese granted that hearing for this month.
Within days the father's attorneys filed a subpoena in the lower court demanding I appear for a lengthy deposition and filed a motion to end my precious two-hour-a-month supervised visit with my girls.
So now Judge Briese has changed his mind about allowing my hearing to consider reuniting me with my daughters to proceed. Instead the judge is demanding I submit to this lengthy deposition during my hearing time.
I don’t understand how this can be happening. I can learn the rules but apparently they will never apply to me or my children.
I have dutifully complied with every court order. But last week, I demanded that my hearing to reunite with my children be held and that my witnesses that I subpoenaed be allowed to testify. The hearing was scheduled for three days, so the next day I went back again to demand my hearing.
Dr. Pearce, who had long been ready to testify that an 8-year-old should not know what an erect penis looks like nor have any idea about how oral sex is performed, was again there to be heard. This time I filed an emergency motion requesting Dr. Pearce, the Melbourne therapist, be allowed to be heard about her concerns for the childrens' safety. According to Florida state law all judges must hear evidence being offered concerning child abuse.
But again Judge Briese refused to allow Dr. Pearce to be heard.
I don’t know what else to do so I’m writing. I’ve sent out press releases. I’m hoping someone with the power to help my children will hear my cries. And the cries of so many parents just like me.
All documents linked are filed with the court and public record, though I have replaced my minor children's names with D1 for my eldest daughter and D2 for my youngest. The court docket for this case can be seen at www.clerk.org, click "Search Online Records" in the upper right corner, click "Case Inquiry," accept the terms, then enter case number 2004 30312 FMCI.
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Ten reasons we know the custody court system is broken and must be reformed -- by Barry Goldstein
Ten Reasons We Know the Custody Court System is Broken and Must be Reformed
1. Mothers’ Complaints: The problem this article seeks to discuss are cases in
which a mother who has been the primary caregiver and makes allegations of
domestic violence and/or child abuse loses custody to the alleged abuser and
receives supervised visitation or no contact with her children. These cases have
increased since federal laws designed to increase enforcement of child support
orders were passed. Male supremacist groups have encouraged abusive fathers to
seek custody as a way to avoid paying child support, to pressure his partner to
stay or punish her for leaving. The courts and the often inadequately trained
professionals they rely on, glad to see the involvement of fathers in children’s
lives often fail to recognize the tactic and motivation. Courts tend to look at each
case separately and so fail to see the patterns of mistakes in these cases.
Demonizing their victim is a common strategy employed by abusers so a court
could believe there was something profoundly wrong with an individual mother to
justify the extreme outcome. When experts look at the pattern of these cases it is
evident that the unusual circumstances needed to justify a particular outcome
cannot be as common as the results would suggest. Women and children make
deliberately false allegations of abuse between one and two percent of the time,
but the court decisions support the myth that such deliberate false allegations are
common. Furthermore, domestic violence allegations are painful and
embarrassing to make and require the victims to speak about uncomfortable issues
and questions. Research demonstrates that allegations of domestic violence and
child abuse make women less likely to obtain custody. We can’t know that an
individual case was improperly decided without careful review of the case, but we
know the frequency of outcomes that give custody to alleged abusers cannot
possibly be based on objective facts.
2. Available Research: The modern movement against domestic violence is only
about thirty years old and there was little research available when it started. We
now have extensive research to demonstrate common mistakes courts and the
often-unqualified professionals they rely on use in domestic violence custody
cases. Studies show that while evaluators believe they are considering domestic
violence in their investigation of the family, in fact most fail to do so. We have
many studies proving widespread gender bias against women in the approaches
used by the courts. Evaluators regularly use psychological testing that has little or
no relevance to the issues before the court and is gender biased. Psychologists
testifying before the courts rarely inform the judges that their results are based
upon probabilities so that factors in the case that would reduce those probabilities
can be considered. Most important to the present topic is research that considers
the accuracy of the actual court decisions. Most custody cases (over 95%) are
settled more or less amicably. The problem is with the minority of terrible cases
that continue to trial and beyond. Courts often think of them as “high conflict”
cases, but in reality these are mostly domestic violence cases. Research studies
vary somewhat on the percentage of these cases that involve abusive fathers, but
all agree the majority of such cases involve domestic violence. I believe the
studies that found 90% of these contested custody cases are caused by abusive
fathers because unqualified professionals frequently miss domestic violence. In
any event, contested custody cases should be being decided overwhelmingly in
favor of protective mothers because most of the fathers are abusive, but 70% of
the cases result in custody or joint custody to the father. This does not tell us an
individual case was wrongly decided, but does demonstrate that a large
percentage of cases are being decided in a way that is harmful for the children.
3. Battered Mothers Testimony Project and Research: Several states including
Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, California, Arizona and New York City have done
studies based on questionnaires filled out by protective mothers. These surveys
have demonstrated widespread problems in the custody court system, many
common mistakes and outcomes that fail to protect battered women and their
children. This is admittedly not scientific research as the participants are
volunteers rather than randomly selected (much of the “research” cited by male
supremacist groups comes from interviews with alleged abusers, but is often
treated as if it were valid research). Sociologists, Sharon Araji and Rebecca L.
Bosek went several steps further for their chapter in DOMESTIC VIOLENCE,
ABUSE and CHILD CUSTODY. They performed a similar study in Alaska and
then compared the results from the various states that interviewed protective
mothers. The authors found the responses similar across the several state surveys.
They then compared the results of the surveys filled out by protective mothers to
scientific research performed by a variety of researchers using accepted scientific
methods. Significantly the findings from the protective mothers are strongly
supported by the scientific research. In other words, the complaints by protective
mothers that have been so often dismissed as coming from “disgruntled litigants”
actually have substantial validity.
4. Courageous Kids: If a court system wanted to determine the validity and value
of psychological evaluations, it would look for research that examined how the
recommendations and approaches used by the evaluators worked out in the lives
of the children. Without such research there is no way to determine if the time,
money and results for evaluations are useful. In fact there is no such research and
I would certainly recommend obtaining such research if evaluations were to
continue to be used in child custody cases. The closest we have to such research
is the Courageous Kids Network. The Courageous Kids are young adults who
were forced to live with abusers by the decisions of the custody court. They are
now old enough to have escaped their abusers and are speaking out about their
experiences. The stories are painful to hear because they had to survive such
awful abuse, but life affirming as they overcame the obstacles to support each
other and help change the broken system. These heroes have spoken at judicial
trainings, legislative hearings and domestic violence conferences. Their
presentations are effective because it is all too easy to discredit protective
mothers, but hard to discredit the children for whom the courts and the
professionals are supposedly trying to help. Remember these children were
forced to live with and be influenced by the abuser. In most cases they had to
endure “therapy” designed to support the abuser and discredit the protective
mother. There are many psychological, safety and other reasons to discourage
such children from coming forward and speaking out. The fact so many
Courageous Kids have spoken out demonstrates the courts are getting large
numbers of cases tragically wrong.
5. Review of Bad Cases: The authors of the 25 chapters in the book have carefully
reviewed hundreds if not thousands of these cases. In their book, FROM
MADNESS TO MUTINY, Dr. Amy Neustein and Michael Lesher reviewed over
1000 cases. The Truth Commission listened to the testimony of 16 women and
reviewed records from their cases. Many other experts have studied domestic
violence cases where the alleged abuser received custody and the protective
mother received little or no contact with her children. In these cases we have
found widespread mistakes, bad practices, use of myths and stereotypes, the
failure to use up-to-date research, gender bias and outcomes that place children at
risk. The legal system works on the assumption that once a case is decided or
facts determined that the findings are established and any further consideration
should be based upon the assumption the court decided the case properly. This
assumption will lead to misinformation and inaccurate research because there is
strong evidence that most contested domestic violence custody cases and certainly
those that result in custody to the alleged abuser are wrongly decided. We are
particularly concerned with the growing court practice of retaliating against
protective mothers and professionals trying to help them for exposing court
mistakes in these cases. Frequently a mother’s refusal to believe an abuser is safe
after the court fails to recognize his abuse is used to justify severe and extreme
limitations on her access to her children without regard to the harm such rulings
have on the children.
6. Parental Alienation Syndrome: PAS is a bogus theory created based on the
personal biases of Dr. Richard Gardner. His books were self-published and never
peer reviewed. It is used only in domestic violence custody cases to prevent or
shorten investigations of the father’s abuse. PAS assumes that if a child expresses
negative feelings about the father or doesn’t want visitation, the only possible
explanation is that the mother alienated the child and the solution is to force the
child to live with the abuser and have at most supervised visitation with the
protective mother who has been the primary attachment figure for the child. PAS
is not recognized by any reputable professional organization and does not appear
in DSM IV, which contains recognized diagnosis. Dr. Paul Fink, past president of
the American Psychiatric Association wrote a chapter for the book in which he
demonstrates the invalidity of PAS. Dr. Fink points out that Richard Gardner
made numerous statements complaining that society takes child sexual abuse too
seriously and that sex between adults and children can be appropriate. This
explains why PAS is so often used to give custody to fathers who have sexually
abused their children. Dr. Fink points out that psychologists are starting to lose
their licenses for using PAS in evaluations. They are, in effect diagnosing
something that does not exist. Thousands of the cases in which alleged abusers
won custody was based upon the discredited PAS or PAS by a different name.
Any case in which “evidence” of PAS was allowed was likely wrongly decided.
7. Gender Bias: The Truth Commission recommended that rather than training
professionals with general domestic violence information, all professionals should
have training in Gender Bias, Recognizing Domestic Violence and the Effects of
Domestic Violence on Children. This is because they found that many of the
mistakes made in these cases were caused by a lack of understanding of these
basic concepts. At least 40 states and many other districts and communities have
created court-sponsored gender bias committees. They have found widespread
gender bias and particularly in domestic violence custody cases. Among the
common problems were blaming victims for their abuser’s behavior, burdening
women with higher standards of proof and giving fathers more credibility than
mothers. Other research, including the chapter in the book by Molly Dragiewicz
has made similar findings. In one New York case the court gave custody to an
abuser and denied the protective mother any contact with the children after the
evaluator used and the judge supported a certainty standard for the mother and
probability standard for the father. Few litigants could win a case when faced
with a certainty standard. At least 15-20 different judges were asked to review
this clear example of gender bias (the different standards were stated in the
evaluator’s report and repeatedly challenged in the transcript), but every judge
failed to correct this obvious error. Lynn Hecht Schafran wrote a brilliant article
“Evaluating the Evaluators” that illustrates the problem. The article describes a
new psychologist asked to perform an evaluation on a young family. She went to
the father’s apartment and found it a complete mess with no food in the
refrigerator. She wrote the father lives in a typical bachelor apartment. She went
to the mother’s apartment and found it to be somewhat messy, but not as bad as
the father’s. She had food in the refrigerator, but not as much as preferable. The
evaluator wrote the mother lives in a messy apartment with inadequate food. The
evaluator had a supervisor because she was new and the supervisor asked if she
saw what she had done. The evaluator could not believe she had engaged in
gender bias and quickly corrected the report. The article is valuable because it
demonstrates that professionals acting in good faith (including women) can easily
engage in gender bias without realizing it because of the sexism and stereotypes
so prevalent in our society. How can anyone reasonably believe the courts are
reaching fair decisions in domestic violence custody cases when gender bias is so
8. Failure to Recognize Domestic Violence: Many of the mistakes custody courts
make have to do with failing to recognize domestic violence. In fairness some of
the problem is caused because victims or their attorneys fail to present the
necessary evidence. Unqualified professionals often discount allegations of abuse
based upon information that represents a normal and reasonable response to his
abuse. In the book, Judge Mike Brigner writes about training judges in domestic
violence. They often ask him how to respond to all the cases where women are
lying about domestic violence. When he asks what they mean, they cite cases
where women go back to their abuser, withdraw petitions for a protective order,
fail to file police complaints or don’t seek medical care. In reality there are safety
and other explanations for women’s response to domestic violence and none of
these examples should be used to assume her complaints are false. At the same
time they use information of limited value to discount domestic violence,
professionals fail to use helpful and relevant information to understand the pattern
of domestic violence tactics. Too often the professionals are interested only in
physical abuse. They fail to consider a variety of controlling and coercive tactics.
They don’t understand the significance of a woman’s fear of her partner.
Domestic violence advocates are the only professionals that work full time on
domestic violence issues. The advocates receive more training and have more
knowledge of domestic violence then the professionals relied on by the courts.
Domestic violence agencies have very limited resources so they are forced to
screen clients before providing services. Accordingly when a woman is receiving
services from a domestic violence agency, it is a strong indication that she is a
battered woman, but many professionals fail to consider this information.
Although seeking custody to pressure a mother to return or punish her for leaving
is a common abuser tactic, few courts consider why a father with limited
involvement with the children prior to separation suddenly demands full custody.
Similarly unqualified professionals often fail to consider evidence that a man
believes his partner has no right to leave is a strong indication of his motivation in
seeking custody. How can courts be expected to decide domestic violence
custody cases appropriately if they don’t know what to look for when determining
the validity of domestic violence allegations?
9. Effect of Domestic Violence on Children: Every state has passed laws designed
to promote greater consideration of the effects of domestic violence on children.
Some states require domestic violence to be considered in making custody and
visitation decisions and others create a presumption against custody for abusers
(although often the laws or the courts require a level of proof or create other
restrictions that limit the effectiveness of these laws). Prior to these laws, when a
protective mother asked to limit the father’s contact with the children because of
domestic violence, the judge would ask some version of “Does he also abuse the
child?” If the answer was no, the court treated the father as if he was just as
appropriate for custody and visitation as the mother. The change in laws was
based on overwhelming research that children witnessing domestic violence were
harmed as much as children directly abused. The research found these children to
be at substantially greater risk of a wide range of dysfunctional behaviors when
they were older. In other words, domestic violence is a serious form of child
abuse. We have found, however that courts frequently place greater reliance on
other custody factors that have far less consequences to the safety and well being
of children. In fairness, the courts are not solely to blame as legislatures have
passed laws like “friendly parent” factors and failed to make domestic violence
and safety the primary factors in custody determination. There is no research that
“alienating” statements or attitudes by one parent to the children has the kind of
serious long-term harm of domestic violence and yet many of the cases reviewed
focus far more attention on alleged alienation. When mothers respond normally
to their partner’s abuse with fear or attempts to protect the children, courts
frequently treat this as the most important issue in deciding custody. This is a
common example of what was discussed in gender bias reports in that the mother
is held responsible for her reaction to the father’s abuse instead of holding the
father responsible for his abuse. This type of mistake is at the heart of the
common mistakes made by custody courts and does not serve the best interests of
the children. If children are having problems as a result of the father’s abuse,
unqualified professionals often blame the divorce and separation instead of his
abuse. They often recommend cooperation and interaction between abuser and
victim that is the opposite of what is healthy for children, but often benefit the
fathers’ cases. When children appear to be doing well, inadequately trained
professionals mistakenly assume this means the abuse allegations are false. Some
children respond to abuse by trying to be perfect and take on adult
responsibilities. Many years later the harm of the father’s abuse comes out in
debilitating ways. Similarly children will often behave well with abusers and act
out with their mothers because they know she is the safe parent. This is often
misunderstood and courts reach the false conclusion that the father is the better
parent. As long as the courts fail to understand the long-term harm to children of
placing them with abusers, the courts will continue to make decisions that ruin
10. Extreme Results: If a court were to give custody to a protective mother and limit
the father to supervised visitation because of his domestic violence, it would be
following the recommendations of up-to-date research. In other words there is a
scientific basis for such an outcome. The researchers weigh the harm of
restricting the children’s contact with their father and the harm the father is likely
to cause with unrestricted visitation and the message sent to the children by
awarding normal visitation with someone they know abused their mother.
Instead what we are seeing is alleged abusers receiving custody and protective
mothers having supervised or no visitation. Obviously, in these cases the courts
are assuming the mother’s allegations of abuse are false. They justify the
visitation restrictions by their concern the mother will continue to believe she was
abused and say negative things about the father. Where is the research that the
harm to the children of hearing such statements is greater than the harm of being
denied a normal relationship with their mother? Even in intact families the
children often hear negative comments about the other parent. In other words,
these extreme court decisions are based upon the belief systems and biases of
court professionals and not up-to-date research. Many children have been denied
any contact with their mothers in these cases. Ironically fathers are often granted
custody based on the belief they are the friendlier parent and will promote the
relationship between the mother and children, but he proceeds to terminate all
contact once he has control. Many courts that jumped all over mothers for
requesting the court restrict the father’s access have done nothing in the face of
the father preventing visitation or other contact between mother and children.
Rapists and even murderers frequently receive some supervised visitation and yet
mothers who sought to protect their children from an abuser are completely cut
off from their children. The extreme outcomes faced by protective mothers are
unsupported by any research, but demonstrate serious flaws in the custody
Bail denied to dad for attempted murders of twin daughters (Mohlakeng, South Africa)
Bail denied to dad for attacking his twins
29 April 2010
THE man who stabbed and left his own child for dead has a history of violence, the Randfontein magistrate’s court heard yesterday.
The accused, aged 26, who was denied bail and remanded in custody in the Krugersdorp prison, will appear in court on May 20.
Arrested two weeks ago after allegedly stabbing his three-year-old twin daughter in the neck and attempting to strangle the other twin a few metres from their grandfather’s house in the West Rand township of Mohlakeng, the accused was described as a man with “violent tendencies”.
Warrant Officer Karen Nel said the accused should not be granted bail.
Nel told the court a witness had seen the attempted murder suspect standing over his bleeding child, with his hand grasped around the neck of the other.
State prosecutor Thulani Ngubane told Judge Ettienne van Niekerk that “it would not serve the interests of justice if the suspect was awarded bail”.
Ngubane said the accused could seek access to his victims and other family members with the intention of harming them.
The sombre-looking accused, dressed in a black tracksuit, told the court he wanted bail to “work for my children”.
He also said he wanted to “correct” the mistake he had made.
When Ngubane asked him which mistake he was referring to, he answered: “The one I have been arrested for.”
Before denying him bail Van Niekerk told the accused that “you cannot handle your liquor, so you are a danger to yourself and others”.
Th e man had earlier blamed alcohol for his actions. The victims’ mother told Sowetan that the children’s father would turn violent after drinking heavily.
The judge, when denying bail, said: “The community demands that those people who commit crimes against children should not be given bail.”
He said that the state had a “strong case” against the accused.
The victims’ grandfather said he was “relieved”.
“Now my kids will be safe,” he said. “There’s no need for them to hide anymore.”
Lifetime registered sex offender dad arrested for molesting 6-year-old daughter (Evansville, Indiana)
EPD arrest sex offender dad on molestation charge
Apr 29, 2010 11:37 AM CDT
David W. Lawson Sr.
Posted by Rachel Folz
EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE) - A lifetime registered sex offender is arrested after his daughter tells police she was touched inappropriately.
According to Evansville police, the girl, who is 6, told police at Holly's House that her father, David W. Lawson Sr. had touched her genitals two times.
Lawson is a lifetime registered sex offender, according to police, on an out of state child molestation charge.
Click here to see his page on the national sex offender registry.
Police say that when they questioned Lawson, he admitted that he touched her.
He is being charged with child molestation.
Dad sentenced to 17 years in prison for leaving kids in trash dumpster (Dayton, Ohio)
Dad sentenced for dumping kids in trash
Tommie Johnson, Jr. will go to prison for 17 years
Updated: Wednesday, 28 Apr 2010, 5:55 PM EDT
Published : Wednesday, 28 Apr 2010, 5:55 PM EDT
DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) - The man who threw two children into a trash can will be heading to prison.
A Montgomery county judge sentenced Tommie Johnson, Junior to 17 years in prison.
Johnson pleaded no contest to charges against him earlier this week. Those charges included two counts of attempted murder and four counts of kidnapping.
Police say Johson took his girlfriends 23-month old daughter, and 8-month old son and threw them into a dumpster. Those kids were in that dumpster for 13 hours.
In court on Wednesday afternoon, Johson broke down and cried, saying he was sorry, and asking for forgiveness.
Part of the crime was caught on tape by surveillance cameras behind East Second Street, in Dayton.
The children were found when two electricians in the area heard them crying.
Authorities said Johnson took the children after a domestic dispute with their mother, and threw them into the trash.
Montgomery County prosecuters said, it's ironic this sentencing takes place during Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention Week.
Prosecuters said, Johnson's tears and apologies come a little too late in the case.
"Those tears were for the benefit of the court today, since he was caught, but having worked this case when he had the opportunity to tell them where the children were, he led them on wild goose chases all over the area," said Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Erin Claypool.
"Today the defendant mentions he's sorry it was a grave mistake that he made, well it was not a mistake, it was intentional act. Sorry is too late," said Montgomery County Prosecuter Mat Heck.
Prosecuters said both of the children were now in foster care, in Montgomery County.
Police: 3-week-old infant injured by father; dad blames "low blood sugar" for baby's broken bones (York County, Pennsylvania)
Police: 3-week-old's injuries caused by father
Infant had two fractured legs and a broken collarbone.
By RICK LEE
Daily Record/Sunday News
Updated: 04/28/2010 11:27:51 PM EDT
A York County judge has granted a defense request to retain a forensic pathologist to review the medical files of a 3-week-old boy who authorities say was injured by his father.
Brandon Scott Krichten was charged with aggravated assault, simple assault and reckless endangerment after doctors examined Jordan Krichten and suspected child abuse was the cause of his injuries, according to court records.
At Hershey Medical Center, where the infant was transferred from York Hospital on March 28, 2009, doctors determined the boy had fractures above and below both knees and also had a broken collarbone.
According to Newberry Township Police reports, a professor of pediatrics examined Jordan's x-rays and determined "the injuries are the result of abuse." Doctors at Springdale Medical Center, where Jordan was first taken, and those at Hershey all suspected child abuse, according to police.
Krichten, 28, of Dover, told investigators that Jordan's bruises were the result of low blood sugar and not abuse. Jordan's mother, Kara Penn, told police Jordan had no known medical conditions and "has been a good baby without any difficulties."
Penn told police she left Jordan in Krichten's care March 27, 2009, when she, her daughter and her mother went out to eat.
She said that, when she returned, Jordan was crying uncontrollably. She said she was able to calm him down. When she later tried to give him formula, he threw up and there was blood and/or blood clots in the vomit, according to court documents.
On Tuesday in Common Pleas Court, Judge Gregory M. Snyder authorized up to $2,500 for a medical expert to review Jordan's hospital records for the defense.
Krichten's attorney, first assistant public defender Clasina Mahoney, said she had received the medical report on Jordan and wanted it reviewed by another medical expert "to make sure those conclusions are sound medical science."
Mahoney said it was her understanding Jordan's broken bones were not serious compound fractures but incomplete greenstick fractures common in children.
She said there is a possibility the injuries might have resulted from "rough handling" rather than intentional child abuse.
"There's also an indication the baby has some other medical issues, a potential genetical disorder," Mahoney said.
Krichten, who remains free on $25,000 bail, is tentatively scheduled for trial in June. His bail conditions call for no unsupervised or one-on-one contact with Jordan.
Jordan remains in his mother's custody, according to senior deputy prosecutor Jennifer Russell.
Child homicides soar; most committed by fathers, stepfathers, and boyfriends (Los Angeles County, California)
The recent rise in child homicides is driven by mostly unemployed "caretaking" fathers, stepfathers, and boyfriends who are "not skilled or trained at taking care of very young children."
Child homicides, suicides rise in county
By Troy Anderson, Staff Writer
Posted: 04/28/2010 09:16:18 PM PDT
Child homicides in Los Angeles County soared 31 percent and suicides jumped 70 percent from 2007 to 2008, a troubling trend that experts say may be a consequence of the economic downturn.
The annual report released today by the Inter-Agency Council on Child Abuse and Neglect said 34 children were killed by parents, relatives or caregivers in 2008, compared with 26 the previous year.
Suicides among local youths jumped from 10 to 17.
The ICAN study period coincided with the mortgage meltdown, leading to the collapse of the real-estate market and triggering a deep recession. Some experts suggested a link between money troubles and increased violence against children.
"We do know that financial difficulty has a negative impact on family functioning and the often-stressful work of being a parent," said Trish Ploehn, director of the county Department of Children and Family Services.
"This stress often reverberates through and affects all the members of a family - and sadly, sometimes it finds the family's weakest link. Knowing this, it is important that we don't wait until bad things happen; it is imperative that we reach families before matters escalate."
Still, some experts pointed to additional statistics that indicated not all the news was bad.
Deanne Tilton Durfee, executive director of ICAN, noted that the number of child homicides in 2007 was significantly below the 15-year average of 39, which may help explain the significant increase for 2008.
And the number of reports of child abuse and neglect in the county fell slightly from 167,325 in 2007 to 166,745 in 2008.
However, she suggested that the stress of losing a home or job could have been a factor in some of the cases.
"It could be a result of the economy," Tilton Durfee said. "There were 18 domestic-violence-related child homicides. More than half involved the father, stepfather or mother's boyfriend versus seven involving the mother.
"Men, in general, have been the primary perpetrators in child abuse homicides and, in general, are not trained or skilled at taking care of very young children."
Tilton Durfee said she was particularly troubled by the dramatic jump in suicide among youths.
"I think that may very well have to do with the economy and with the increased usage of the Internet - exacerbating or intensifying negative messages to children," she said. "It could have to do with cyberbullying, the Internet and drugs."
Tracy Webb, a senior trial attorney for child abuse in the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office, noted a "huge increase" in recent years in Internet- related crimes against children.
"Now that children have cell phones with cameras and Internet access, it's a hugely fertile ground for sex offenders and other predators to prey on children," Webb said.
The City Attorney's Office is working with local schools to educate teachers and parents about Internet predators and the growing problems with "sexting" and cyberbullying, which is the use of online technology to harass, intimidate, stalk or verbally assault others.
"One of the things we are trying to pay attention to is whether, God forbid, the suicides we're seeing have any relationship to cybercrime," Webb said.
The report's authors also noted that school and mental-health budgets were cut significantly in 2008, which may have affected suicide prevention efforts. The previous five years had seen a continual decline in the numbers of youths who took their own lives.
Disturbingly, 12 of the 17 youths who committed suicide hanged themselves, the report said. A dozen also had experienced the recent loss of a boyfriend, girlfriend or other friend, although the report did not say whether those two figures were related.
Three of the youths tested positive for drugs, three experienced academic problems, three had received special education services and two had school discipline or truancy problems. Three of the youths had a criminal or juvenile delinquency record.
Of the 34 child homicides in 2008, 14 had prior contact or an open case with DCFS, up from 12 in 2007.
Despite this increase, Tilton Durfee said DCFS and other agencies in the county are working better now than they ever have in preventing child abuse and neglect.
"There is much more that can be done, which is why there is an interagency focus on the new issues related to cyber crimes, suicides and homicides," she said. "The need for inter-agency information sharing is a key issue now and that's why we have such a focus on cross-reporting and making sure whatever one agency knows about a child or family is also known by every other agency."
Over the last year, Ploehn said DCFS has enhanced its units that investigative allegations of abuse and neglect.
"The focus has been on quality interactions with families, more comprehensive interviews, making sure families have access to community and other resources, and fostering trusting relationships between social workers and the children and families they serve," Ploehn said.
Dad "snaps" and leaves 6-week-old son with permanent brain injury (Derby, England, United Kingdom)
Thursday, April 29, 2010, 07:30
Shaken baby is left with brain damage after father 'snapped'
AN exhausted father snapped and shook his six-week-old crying son – causing permanent brain damage.
The 37-year-old wept in the dock as Derby Crown Court heard how he had shaken the child for three to four seconds after it became inconsolable in the early hours of the morning.
The baby started having fits the following day and, after his parents took him to the former Derby City General Hospital, medics discovered he had suffered a subdural haematoma to the left side of his brain. This is where a large amount of blood collects around the brain and brain membrane. The child continued to have fits for three days but made "a remarkable recovery" and was discharged from hospital two weeks after the incident.
Jeremy Janes, prosecuting, told the court the left side of the child's brain had been "permanently damaged" but that the right side could adapt and take over.
The court heard that the child, who was now 18 months old, was walking and talking and appeared to be "a happy and healthy child".
Mr Janes said: "It's not possible at this stage to give a definite prognosis for the child as he is still very young."
He said that as the boy continued to grow he could develop symptoms, such as behavioural disorders or severe learning difficulties. Mr Janes told the court how the man had worked a 12-hour shift the previous day, before returning home to help with the housework and feed the baby.
He had been due to leave for work for another 12-hour shift that morning. He had felt extremely tired.
Mr Janes said: "The dynamics of the relationship between him and the mother was that he would often come back and carry out duties and make meals and would assist with the feeding."
He said that when the baby was admitted to hospital "he was relatively well, outwardly, although he had a bulging fontanel and a rash to his head".
The man admitted what he had done to a social worker and his family, two months after the incident. He told the police: "I can remember shaking him. I don't remember getting there. I don't know what triggered me. Something just went bang and I stopped because I knew what I was doing was wrong."
Giving the man a 51-week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months, and ordering him to do 250 hours of unpaid work Recorder Richard Hedley QC said: "This is a tragic case.
"There's no suggestion that before this incident took place, and indeed subsequent to it, you have been nothing other than a loving and caring father to your children. But there is no doubt the result of what you did in shaking your son for a period of no more than perhaps three to four seconds was to cause him really serious harm."
He added: "Those three to four seconds will doubtlessly live with you for the rest of your life."
The Derby man pleaded guilty to child cruelty. The Telegraph cannot name him because of a court order banning identification of the child. The judge said this was needed to protect the child in future.
Dad sentenced to 36 years in jail, 24 strokes for raping daughter (Singapore)
By Channel NewsAsia, Updated: 29/04/2010
Man sentenced to 36 years’ jail, 24 strokes for raping daughter
SINGAPORE: A 43—year—old odd—job labourer has been sentenced to 36 years’ jail and 24 strokes of the cane for raping his biological daughter.
As a result, the girl, who is now 17—years—old, became pregnant with her father’s child and delivered the baby in September last year.
The man first raped her when she was 14—years—old in their flat in 2007.
He raped her again on two more occasions in December 2008 and on June 22 l
He also sexually abused the girl the following day (June 23).
He originally faced eight charges in all but four of them were taken into consideration.
For each charge of committing rape, he could have been sentenced to 20 years’ jail and fined, or caned.
Dad wants change of venue for upcoming murder trial; accused of killing two sons (Hillsboro, Ohio)
4/29/2010 8:19:00 AM
Coonrod requests change of venue
Man charged in deaths of sons
Brown News Services
HILLSBORO - Alleging that news coverage has included "suggestive details that will prevent a local jury from being unbiased," Wesley Coonrod Sr. has filed a motion requesting a change of venue for his upcoming murder trial.
Coonrod, 42, is facing charges of murder, arson and child endangering following the March 7 fire that killed his sons Thomas, 4, and Steven, 3, at the family's Greenfield home.
Coonrod's attorney, assistant state public defender William J. Mooney, filed for the change in location, saying that comments from the community on local news websites "reflect the already biased attitude of local citizens against Mr. Coonrod."
"Because the news coverage of Mr. Coonrod's case has been extensive and inflammatory, Mr. Coonrod moves this court for a change of venue," a memorandum attached to the motion states. "As the media has reported on this case from Columbus to Cincinnati, Mr. Coonrod respectfully requests that the venue be changed to a court that is outside of the area where media has reported on his case."
The memorandum included copies of local stories, including six Times-Gazette stories that ran in multiple Brown News Service papers, on the fire, the deaths of Coonrod's children and the circumstances surrounding the incident.
The Highland County Prosecutor's Office filed a memorandum Monday on behalf of the state, citing case law that "does not require a change of venue merely because of extensive pre-trail [sic] publicity. It is within the sound discretion of the trial court to determine whether a change of venue is necessary."
According to the memo from the state, "Simply asserting that because there has been pretrial publicity is not enough to demonstrate the defendant will suffer any prejudice."
The memorandums regarding a change of venue were just two out of more than 40 motions filed by Coonrod and the state since Coonrod's indictment last month.
A hearing on all motions is scheduled for May 3 at 9 a.m.
Dad accused of murder in death of infant daughter; case to move to grand jury (Richmond, Kentucky)
April 29, 2010
Grand jury to hear infant murder case
By Brian Smith
Register News Writer
RICHMOND — The attorney for a Berea man charged with murder in the death of his infant daughter waived the case to a grand jury Wednesday.
Paul Sanlan Farthing Jr. is facing a murder charge in connection with the April 14 death of his daughter from injuries sustained in an alleged April 11 incident.
Farthing and attorney Meena Mohanty appeared in Madison District Court on Wednesday for a scheduled preliminary hearing in the case.
Mohanty told Madison District Judge Charles Hardin that her client had decided to waive the hearing, sending the charge on to a grand jury for possible indictment.
Farthing chose to waive the hearing after receiving a copy of the police report filed by Detective Joie Peters of the Kentucky State Police, Mohanty said.
Mohanty also asked Hardin to consider modifying the $100,000 cash bond to a lower amount, a request Hardin denied.
Farthing has been held in the Madison County Detention Center since his April 14 arrest, shortly after the child died of her injuries at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington.
State police and child services personnel had responded to a home on Meadowlark Drive in Richmond on April 11 to a report of an infant being assaulted by her father, a state police news release stated after Farthing’s arrest.
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Dad charged with child neglect; 3-month-old son has broken collarbone (Manatee, Florida)
Manatee baby breaks collarbone, father arrested
By ROBERT NAPPER - firstname.lastname@example.org
MANATEE — Authorities arrested the father of a 3-month-old baby who suffered a broken collarbone, according to a Manatee County Sheriff’s Office report.
When the baby son of Danilo Rivas-Melendez, 31, was brought to the hospital by the child’s mother, doctors found the broken bone. Rivas-Melendez told investigators he had been sleeping in the bed with his son, and said the baby must have rolled off the bed.
A doctor who examined the child said the baby’s injuries could be consistent with a fall, but the child was too young to have rolled off a bed himself. Rivas-Melendez also took two drug tests, the first of which he tested positive for cocaine, and on the second for Ecstasy.
Detectives arrested Rivas-Melendez on a charge of child neglect. He was being held in the Manatee County jail without bond. Read more:
Read more: http://www.bradenton.com/2010/04/28/2242737/manatee-baby-breaks-collarbone.html#ixzz0mQxVhZRd
Another unemployed "caretaker" dad beats infant child; dad arrested on aggravated child abuse charges (Miami, Florida)
The poor baby has fractured ribs, a fractured hip, severe cerebral edema, and multi-organ failure. He is only 2-months of age.
When are we going to finally get decent maternity leaves, so moms can stay at home with the baby, and send deadbeat idiots like this guy off to break rocks or something? Healthy, virile young men are NOT suited to infant care. They just aren't.
Apr 28, 2010 3:27 pm US/Eastern
Police: Miami Father Beat Infant Son
Miami-Dade Police have arrested 25-year-old Michael Eugene Cutler on charges of aggravated child abuse and child neglect causing great bodily harm to his two-month-old son. The case was so troubling that Cutler's judge in bond court said in her 41-years as a judge, she had never seen anything like this.
According to Miami-Dade Police, on April 21, Cutler became frustrated with his son after the infant awoke from a nap and would not drink from his bottle. Police said Cutler then grabbed the baby around his midsection and "aggressively shook him."
Police say the infant went limp and became unresponsive after being shaken; and that the baby's eyes rolled backwards into his head. According to the arrest report, Cutler then hit the baby in the face with an open hand approximately 5 or 6 times and the baby's body tightened up.
Cutler then allegedly forced the infant to sit on his lap by forcibly bending his legs. After the attack, Cutler took the infant to a babysitter where he left the child for two hours while he was out on a job interview. Police said Cutler never informed the babysitter of anything that had happened to the baby before he dropped him off.
The infant was later taken to the hospital and was diagnosed with fractured ribs on his left-side, a fractured rib on his right-side, a hip fracture, severe cerebral edema, and multi-organ failure.
Cutler remains in jail on $200,000 bail for the child abuse charges.
Dad sentenced to prison for abusing 2-month-old son (Nevada)
Dad sentenced for abusing infant
by F.T. Norton
Despite his continued denials and a no-contest plea to the charge, Danny Maxfield Jr. was sent to prison Tuesday for injuring his infant son.
“It's difficult for me to imagine sending someone to prison if I didn't believe they committed the offense. I do believe you committed the offense,” said Judge Jim Wilson in sentencing Maxfield, 33, to a maximum of 28 to 72 months in prison on a charge of child abuse with substantial bodily harm.
Maxfield was arrested in April 2009 after he took his then 2-month-old son to the emergency room when the boy coughed up blood.
X-rays revealed the child had a broken arm, leg, ribs and skull fractures in various stages of healing, according to court documents.
In interviews with detectives Maxfield initially denied he had done anything, then eventually admitted he had lifted the baby by one arm from the crib.
“He said it wasn't his night to watch the child and he tried to wake the mother but couldn't. So he just got aggravated, grabbed the baby by one arm and lifted him to eye level,” said Detective Dave Le Gros upon Maxfield's arrest.
Deputy Public Defender Stephanie Travis said Maxfield only made statements of guilt to investigators after he was told if he didn't admit wrongdoing the child would be removed from the home. She alluded to the possibility that the child's mother, Jessica Tully, could be responsible for the baby's injuries.
“I shouldn't have said what I said. I would never hurt my kid,” said Maxfield.
Lori Jackson of the Division of Child and Family Services said she was the investigator at the time of the incident and for weeks after Maxfield's arrest. Jackson said she never saw anything while the baby was in his mother's care to indicate Tully was responsible for the child's injuries.
Assistant District Attorney Gerald Gardner noted Maxfield has four felonies, three gross misdemeanors and 12 misdemeanor offenses. While the bulk of the charges are related to theft and drugs, Maxfield also has a convictions for domestic abuse, escape and brandishing a weapon, Gardner said.
“He's dangerous to the community, he's a danger to other people ... and he absolutely deserves to go to prison in this case,” said Gardner.
Sleepy "caretaking" dad manages to lose 2-year-old son for 6 hours; child found outside wandering (Otsego County, Michigan)
Wandering 2-year-old with protective services
By Michael Jones, Staff WriterTuesday, April 27, 2010 2:50 PM EDT
BAGLEY TWP. - Troopers from the Gaylord Michigan State Police (MSP) post turned a 2-year-old Bagley Township child over to Otsego County Children’s Protective Services Sunday after they responded to a report the young boy was wandering alone behind a McCoy Road residence near Orange Grove Avenue.
Sgt. Denny Reynolds said troopers responded around 2 p.m. to a complaint in which a McCoy Road resident found the child, dressed only in a sweatshirt and soiled diaper, playing in the backyard with a dog.
According to records from the Gaylord National Weather Service, the temperature in Gaylord at that time was 49-degrees, with winds of 13 mph and wind gusts of up to 25 mph reported.
According to Reynolds, the incident report filed by troopers indicated the child had last been seen by his father at the family’s Orange Grove Avenue residence about six hours prior to his son being found by the McCoy Road resident.
Reynolds indicated the boy’s mother had been at work and the father was sleeping during the time of his son’s disappearance and was unaware the toddler was missing.
As a precautionary measure, Reynolds said, the toddler, who appeared healthy, other than having a number of scratches, was taken to Otsego Memorial Hospital for a routine exam.
After interviewing the father, troopers contacted Children’s Protective Services and the boy was taken into their custody. Reynolds said a copy of the investigative report has been forwarded to the Otsego County prosecutor’s office for review.
Contact Michael Jones at 732-1111 or email@example.com
Three arrested for taking baby from neglectful custodial dad, returning child to out-of state mother (Bay County, Florida)
But notice that Daddy isn't getting hammered for neglect. The people who intervened on this child's behalf are being charged with "interference with child custody."
But how or why did sleeping beauty dude get custody? No explanation. Needless to say, it's INSANE that an out-of-state father would even get visitation with an infant this young. And notice that all the comments are pro-daddy. I'm sure if mom was caught snoozing while a one-year old was wandering around unattended, there would be NO sympathy.
3 charged with taking baby from sleeping dad
April 28, 2010 6:46 AM
Florida Freedom Newspapers
BAY COUNTY -- A woman and her grown children were arrested Tuesday on charges of taking a one-year-old child from its father and sending it to Birmingham, Ala., according to the Bay County Sheriff’s Office.
Jeannette James, 49, of Harbor Boulevard, was charged with interference with child custody. Her daughter, 25-year-old Christina James, also was arrested on the charge. Her son, 24-year-old Joshua James was charged with being a principal to the crime.
The child’s father (Joshua James’ roommate) called 911 from his home on Beach Drive about midnight Tuesday when he couldn’t find his child, according to the BCSO. Authorities issued a lookout alert.
Deputies arrived and spoke with Joshua James, who said he didn’t know where the child was, but his sister Christina might. Deputies then found Christina and her mother Jeannette, who eventually said she came over to the Beach Drive home and saw the child’s father asleep and no one awake to watch the child, who was playing in the living room.
“Jeannette James stated she was concerned for the welfare of the child and that she and Christina and Joshua took the child without telling the father,” BCSO spokeswoman Ruth Corley wrote Tuesday.
Jeannette said she met the child’s grandparents at the state line and gave them the child. The grandparents, in turn, were to take the child to its mother in Birmingham.
Authorities in Alabama made contact with the mother, who did have the child. She and the father agreed to make custody arrangements later, Corley said.
"Caretaking" dad "left baby daughter brain-damaged after hitting her head with the force of a cricket bat" (Leicester, England, United Kingdom)
Father 'left baby daughter brain-damaged after hitting her head with the force of a cricket bat'
By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 1:15 PM on 28th April 2010
A father smashed his seven-week-old daughter's skull so hard it was like 'hitting her with a cricket bat', a court heard.
The little girl suffered severe brain damage and was left a crack running the entire length of her head.
Her father Zak Whitlock, 21, is also accused of breaking one of her ribs by squeezing her chest to 'half its size' when she was two weeks old.
A jury at Leicester Crown Court heard how Whitlock smashed the little girl around the head on February 21 last year - his 20th birthday.
He had been looking after her at their home in Wigston, Leicester, despite being banned from being alone with her after an earlier attack when she was just two weeks old.
Dr Timothy Jaspan, a consultant paediatric neuro-radiologist, said the child's chances of making a full recovery were 'dire'.
He said: 'It's extremely poor, her brain damage was untreatable. The fracture was of such magnitude the tough dural membrane protecting the brain was torn.
'This doesn't happen with a normal skull fracture. We don't see trauma like this very often. It would require very unusual major force.
'It would have needed hard impact at high velocity. The head would have been struck against something, smashed against a wall, or a table or struck very hard with something like a cricket bat.'
The little girl, now 15 months, has still got a 'grossly misshapen head' and has no idea of her surroundings, he added.
The court also heard evidence from Dr Stephen Chapman, a consultant paediatric radiologist.
He said 'very considerable force' would have been needed to fracture the back of the baby's seventh rib.
He said: 'You'd have to squeeze the chest to about half its size.'
Whitlock told police he accidentally dropped the child as he lay her on a bed, claiming she banged her head on the bed's protruding wooden frame.
The child's mother, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has admitted cruelty by leaving the child with Whitlock, and is awaiting sentence.
Whitlock denies inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent and actual bodily harm. The trial continues.
Grand jury indicts custodial dad, girlfriend for murder by abuse; dad had previous record of cocaine abuse, but got custody anyway (Gresham, Oregon)
Grand jury indicts dad, girlfriend for murder by abuse
By Mara Stine
The Gresham Outlook, Apr 27, 2010, Updated 12.5 hours ago
A Gresham father has been charged with murdering his 5-year-old daughter in what is described as a pattern of abuse spanning more than three years.
Multnomah County grand jurors indicted Christopher “Andy” Rosillo, 23, on two counts of murder and two counts of murder by abuse in what law enforcement officials are calling the worst case of child abuse and neglect they’ve investigated.
Gresham police found the victim, Oleander Labier, unconscious and not breathing at about 11:45 a.m. Tuesday, April 13, after responding to a report of an injured child at 418 S.E. 169th Ave., just north of Southeast Stark Street.
Officers arrived as the girl was being taken to Adventist Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead.
The girl was 2 when her father and his fiancée, Guadalupe “Lupé” Quintero, 23, began abusing her around her second birthday in February of 2007, according to court documents.
Grand jurors also indicted Quintero, Rosillo’s girlfriend of five years, on two counts of murder by abuse. She is not the victim’s biological mother but does have two children, a 3-year-old girl and 1-year-old boy, with Rosillo.
Both children have been taken into protective custody and do not appear to have been abused, police said.
A total of 26 people testified before the grand jury over three days between Wednesday, April 21, and Friday, April 23, said Nathan Vasquez, a Multnomah County deputy district attorney prosecuting the case.
The murder-by-abuse charges allege that Rosillo and Quintero are responsible for the girl’s death as a result of a pattern of assault, neglect and maltreatment.
The murder charges against Rosillo allege that he caused the girl’s death by assaulting her.
Although the medical examiner’s office won’t release the girl’s official cause of death until its investigation is complete, it has concluded the girl died of homicidal violence.
Rosillo and Quintero are being held without bail at the Multnomah County Detention Center.
Rosillo’s criminal record dates back five years and includes convictions for cocaine possession, driving under the influence of intoxicants, reckless driving, criminal mischief and driving with a revoked license. He also faces a charge of felony cocaine possession resulting from his April 16 arrest.
Quintero has no criminal record and was crowned Miss Teen Clackamas County in 2006.
Both entered not-guilty pleas during their arraignments on Tuesday, April 27.
The Oregon Department of Human Services, which is responsible for looking into reports of child abuse, is investigating the girl’s death, said Gene Evans, department spokesman. He could not disclose whether any reports of abuse had been made regarding the girl due to the ongoing investigation.
Custodial dad, stepmom accused of abusing 10-year-old daughter (Modesto, California)
Modesto step-mother, father accused of child abuse
C. Johnson Last updated 13 hrs ago
MODESTO, CA - The detective handling the case of a 10-year-old Modesto girl who was allegedly abused at the hands of her step-mother and father says the child is doing much better.
Det. Marta Delgado said the girl and her siblings were removed from the home of Steven Michael Andrews, 28, and Jessica Nicole Leyva, 23, during of the course of the investigation which began April 4. That is when Modesto police were called to the residence to investigate a report of child abuse.
According to police, the 10-year-old not only had recent burn marks and bruises but older injuries suggesting ongoing abuse. She has been treated at a local hospital for her injuries, say police.
Andrews and Leyva were booked into Stanislaus County Jail Sunday and were scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday. Leyva faces accusations of torture, assault on a child causing great bodily injury and child endangerment. Andrews was booked on assault on a child causing great bodily injury and child endangerment.
The 10-year-old and her siblings are now in the care of Child Protective Services, according to Delgado.