KANSAS CITY, Mo. —A toddler who was severely injured in what prosecutors called a serious child abuse case has become Kansas City’s first homicide victim of 2015.
The 2-year-old boy had been placed on life support after the incident early Friday in the 1700 block of Washington Avenue. Kansas City Police Chief Darryl Forte said the boy died Saturday night.
Mirsad Hamidovic, 23, had previously been charged with two counts of child abuse and two counts of domestic assault.
According to court records, police said Hamidovic had been watching the toddler while the boy’s mother was at work. Police said Hamidovic told them he jumped on and off of a bed and landed on top of the boy. Police said Hamidovic also told them that he had shaken the boy, who started vomiting blood and became unresponsive.
Medical personnel said the toddler had brain injuries and a lacerated liver that was consistent with being jumped on.
Gina Gutierrez said she lives near the area. She said a man banged on her door to ask for help with the boy, who wasn’t breathing. She said the boy was soaking wet and she initially thought he had drowned, but the man said he put him in a shower to try to wake him up. She said she tried as best she could to revive the boy.
She said she’s been unable to get news of the incident out of her head.
“I definitely feel for that baby’s mom. Because she made a choice. She left her baby with him and I know she wishes she could take that back. You do not leave your kid with somebody,” she said.
Prosecutors had previously requested Hamidovic’s bond be set at $500,000. Additional charges against Hamidovic may be filed in the wake of the boy’s death.
DENVER – A former human services caseworker was charged Thursday in connection to a fatal child abuse case.
Rotchana Madera, 27, was charged with forgery, tampering with evidence and official misconduct.
Madera was a caseworker for Denver Human Services. She’s accused of entering false information into the official case tracking system about her work on the Kelsy Newell-Skinner case. Details about what led up to the charges were not released.
The 21-year-old mother of five was charged with first-degree murder in the beating death of her 2-month-old baby, Natalee, back in July. Police said Newell-Skinner told her mother she “didn’t like” Natalee and had a hard time bonding with the infant.
Denver Human Services said Madera was assigned the Newell-Skinner case in May of 2014, after someone reached out to DHS with concerns about the newborn. She closed the case on July 8, 2014. Natalee died on July 31.
Madera has been released from custody on a $5,000 personal recognizance bond. She is scheduled to appear in court Feb. 5.
Denver Human Services released the following statement regarding charges being filed against Madera:
Denver Human Services takes its responsibility for protecting the most vulnerable among us very seriously. The overwhelming majority of our case workers do all they can each day to strengthen families and keep kids safe. We stand behind those workers and are confident in the work they do. In the unfortunate case when a worker fails to follow the law and fails to do all he or she can to keep kids safe, we are obligated to take the appropriate action and hold that case worker accountable, which is what transpired in this case.
DHS initiates a review of all case work following the death of any child for which the agency had previously investigated a referral. During the review process, DHS identified discrepancies between the case file submitted by Madera and data received via external records.
DHS said they have reviewed other cases Madera was involved in. The agency did not say if they found discrepancies with those other cases.
How and When to Report Child Abuse/Neglect
Standardized Training Materials – Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect: What School Personnel Need to Do
In New Jersey, any person having reasonable cause to believe that a child has been subjected to abuse or acts of abuse should immediately report this information to the State Central Registry (SCR). If the child is in immediate danger, call 911 as well as 1-877 NJ ABUSE (1-877-652-2873). A concerned caller does not need proof to report an allegation of child abuse and can make the report anonymously.
What information will I be asked to provide to the hotline screener?
SCR screeners are trained caseworkers who know how to respond to reports of child abuse/neglect. Whenever possible, a caller should provide all of the following information:
Who: The child and parent/caregiver’s name, age and address and the name of the alleged perpetrator and that person’s relationship to the child.
What: Type and frequency of alleged abuse/neglect, current or previous injuries to the child and what caused you to become concerned.
When: When the alleged abuse/neglect occurred and when you learned of it.
Where: Where the incident occurred, where the child is now and whether the alleged perpetrator has access to the child.
How: How urgent the need is for intervention and whether there is a likelihood of imminent danger for the child.
Do callers have immunity from civil or criminal liability?
Any person who, in good faith, makes a report of child abuse or neglect or testifies in a child abuse hearing resulting from such a report is immune from any criminal or civil liability as a result of such action. Calls can be placed to the hotline anonymously.
Is it against the laws of New Jersey to fail to report suspected abuse/neglect?
Any person who knowingly fails to report suspected abuse or neglect according to the law or to comply with the provisions of the law is a disorderly person.
What happens after I make the call?
When a report indicates that a child may be at risk, an investigator from the Division of Child Protection and Permanency (formerly Youth and Family Services) will promptly investigate the allegations of child abuse and neglect within 24 hours of receipt of the report.
SOURCE:STATE OF NEW JERSEY-DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN AND FAMILIES
BUTTE, Montana (AP) — At least 786 children died of abuse or neglect in the U.S. in a six-year span in plain view of child protection authorities — many of them beaten, starved or left alone to drown while agencies had good reason to know they were in danger, The Associated Press has found.
To determine that number, the AP canvassed the 50 states, the District of Columbia and all branches of the military — circumventing a system that does a terrible job of accounting for child deaths. Many states struggled to provide numbers. Secrecy often prevailed.
Most of the 786 children whose cases were compiled by the AP were under the age of 4. They lost their lives even as authorities were investigating their families or providing some form of protective services because of previous instances of neglect, violence or other troubles in the home.
Take Mattisyn Blaz, a 2-month-old from Montana who died when her father spiked her “like a football,” in the words of a prosecutor.
Matthew Blaz was well-known to child services personnel and police. Just two weeks after Mattisyn was born on June 25, 2013, he came home drunk, grabbed his wife by her hair and threw her to the kitchen floor while she clung to the newborn. He snatched the baby from her arms, giving her back only when Jennifer Blaz called police.
Jennifer Blaz said a child protective services worker visited the day after her husband’s attack, spoke with her briefly and left. Her husband pleaded guilty to assault and was ordered by a judge to take anger management classes and stay away from his wife.
She said the next official contact between the family and Montana child services came more than six weeks later — the day of Mattisyn’s funeral.
The system also failed Ethan Henderson, who was only 10 weeks old but already had been treated for a broken arm when his father hurled him into a recliner so hard that it caused a fatal brain injury.
Maine hotline workers had received at least 13 calls warning that Ethan or his siblings were suffering abuse — including assertions that an older sister had been found covered in bruises, was possibly being sexually abused and had been burned by a stove because she was left unsupervised.
Ethan himself had arrived at daycare with deep red bruises dappling his arm.
Still, the caseworker who inspected the family’s cramped trailer six days before Ethan died on May 8, 2012, wrote that the baby appeared “well cared for and safe in the care of his parents.”
LACK OF GOVERNMENT DATA
Because no single, complete set of data exists for the deaths of children who already were being overseen by child protective services workers, the information compiled over the course of AP’s eight-month investigation represents the most comprehensive statistics publicly available.
The AP reviewed thousands of pages of official reports, child fatality records and police documents for the period in question, which ran from fiscal year 2008 through 2013.
And, even then, the number of abuse and neglect fatalities where a prior open case existed at the time of death is undoubtedly much higher than the tally of 760.
Seven states reported a total of 230 open-case child deaths over the six-year period, but those were not included in the AP count because the states could not make a distinction between investigations started due to the incident that ultimately led to a child’s death and cases that already were open when the child received the fatal injury.
Some states did not provide data for all six years, not all branches of the military provided complete information, and no count of open-case deaths of any type was obtained from the Bureau of Indian Affairs or FBI, which investigate allegations of abuse on reservations.
The lack of comprehensive data makes it difficult to measure how well those responsible for keeping children safe are protecting their most vulnerable charges.
The data collection system on child deaths is so flawed that no one can even say with accuracy how many children overall die from abuse or neglect every year. The federal government estimates an average of about 1,650 deaths annually in recent years; many believe the actual number is twice as high.
Even more lacking is comprehensive, publicly available data about the number of children dying while the subject of an open case or while receiving assistance from the agencies that exist to keep them safe — the focus of AP’s reporting.
When asked to explain why so many children with open cases have died at the hands of their caretakers, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees the nation’s major child abuse prevention programs, said the agency had no immediate response.
But spokeswoman Laura Goulding said colleagues wanted to know more about how the AP derived its figures. “Are you willing to share your source for that?” she wrote in an email.
States submit information on child abuse deaths to the federal government on a voluntary basis — some of it comprehensive, some of it inaccurate.
For instance, a significant number of deaths were not reported to the South Carolina team reviewing child deaths in the state, said Perry Simpson, director of the South Carolina Legislative Audit Council. That meant the data the review team provided the federal government was wrong.
And a judge in Kentucky issued a scathing order last year against the state’s Cabinet for Health and Family Services for willfully circumventing open records laws and failing to release full records on child abuse deaths, fining the agency $765,000.
“There can be no effective prevention when there is no public examination of the underlying facts,” Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd said.
In some cases, states withhold information about child deaths in violation of the terms of federal grants they receive.
HHS says all states receiving grants under a prevention and treatment program must “allow the public to access information when child abuse or neglect results in a child fatality,” unless those details would put children, their families or those who report child abuse at risk, or jeopardize an investigation.
In addition, grants issued under a section of the Social Security Act are tied to a requirement that states describe how they calculate data on child maltreatment deaths submitted to the federal government.
Still, no state has ever been found to be in violation of disclosure requirements and federal grants have never been withheld, according to Catherine Nolan, who directs the Office on Child Abuse and Neglect, a sub-agency of HHS.
“Obviously, the overarching goal is always keeping the children safe from harm. It’s a matter of how the states have decided they want to do it,” Nolan said.
The information that states provide to the federal government through the voluntary system also is severely lacking. A 2013 report showed that 17 states did not provide the federal government with a key measure of performance: how many children had died of child abuse after being removed from their homes and then reunited with their families within a five- year period.
Withholding information about such fatalities allows child protective agencies to shroud their activities — and their failures. It also leaves a major void for researchers and policy makers looking for ways to identify and protect the children in risky situations.
“We all agree that we cannot solve a problem this complex until we agree it exists,” said David Sanders, chairman of the federal Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities, whose members have been traveling the country studying child deaths under a congressional mandate.
“If, for example, you want to fix something like fatalities due to children being left alone, it seems that it would be important to know how often that is happening and what it looks like to come up with a solution,” he said.
The child welfare system is fragmented, with hundreds of different agencies — from state governments to county offices, tribes and the military — operating by their own set of standards.
Some states, like New York and Ohio, have county-administered systems, with data collection and retention scattered. In others, a state agency provides child welfare services. And still others, such as Florida, have privatized some child welfare operations.
And because there is no single definition of what constitutes abuse or neglect, what is counted as maltreatment in one locality may not be in another.
Nowhere was the AP’s challenge steeper than Montana, where the state’s confidentiality law allows the child protective services agency to operate with impunity. The AP discovered the Department of Public Health and Human Services’ involvement in Mattisyn Blaz’s short life, and her death, only by examining hundreds of pages of court files from the criminal trial of her father.
The state makes public only the number of children who died from maltreatment in a given year. Officials said state law prohibits them from releasing details on the number of children who died after having a prior history with child protective services.
Department spokesman Jon Ebelt acknowledged Montana law conflicts with federal disclosure requirements and said officials would seek a change in state law to allow for the disclosure of more information.
As part of the blanket secrecy, it is not clear what, if anything, child welfare authorities did to help Mattisyn Blaz.
Based on information obtained from the court file, it is clear that Matthew Blaz’s violent streak was known to authorities. His former girlfriend had accused him of assaulting her while she cradled their 9-week-old son in 2011. He attacked his wife, Jennifer, at least twice in 2012, on one occasion dragging her around the house by her hair. She told authorities he regularly threatened to kill her.
Mattisyn’s older half-sister— 10 at the time — cowered under a bed after Blaz threatened to come after her and was so afraid she began sleeping with a knife nearby, the children’s grandmother said.
The protective order issued in July 2013 should have prevented Matthew Blaz from remaining in the home, but soon he was back with the family. “I honestly thought after I bailed him out and we talked, and with the no alcohol, you know, and him going to AA, I really thought things were going to change,” his wife said.
When Jennifer Blaz went to work on Aug. 16, 2013, she left her husband to care for the girls. For reasons still unknown, he became enraged and threw the baby, fracturing her skull and causing other devastating injuries, according to prosecutor Samm Cox.
Later that day, he loaded the children into his car and drove across town to pick up a chain saw that had been repaired and then stopped for some sandwiches. He dropped one off to his wife at work, but never mentioned anything was wrong with the baby.
When Matthew picked his wife up that afternoon, he calmly told her that a 12-year-old neighborhood boy had dropped Mattisyn earlier in the day. Jennifer noticed the baby didn’t look right and called for an ambulance.
By then, it was too late for little Mattisyn.
Last month, Matthew Blaz was sentenced to life in prison, with no possibility of parole.
A SYSTEM STILL FAILING
When President Richard Nixon signed the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act into law in 1974, it was seen as a sign of federal commitment to preventing child abuse through state-level monitoring.
But in 1995, a board reviewing the progress that had been made issued a scathing report headlined “A Nation’s Shame: Fatal Child Abuse and Neglect in the United States.”
The report called for better information and transparency, and flagged “serious gaps in data collection.” ”Until we develop more comprehensive and sophisticated data, our efforts to understand and prevent child maltreatment-related deaths will be severely handicapped,” it said.
Nearly 20 years later, the AP found that many such problems persist.
Michael Petit, who was appointed by President Barack Obama to serve on the federal Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities, said meetings have been fruitful but will bring no substantive change unless Congress requires states to do more.
“The child safety net in this country is not equal to the size of the problem that’s coming at it,” said Petit, the former head of Maine’s child protective services agency and founder of the advocacy group Every Child Matters. “The system overall is in crisis.”
That system is plagued with worker shortages and a serious overload of cases. For instance, a caseworker in Texas who investigated abuse reports about a 2-year-old who eventually died in the care of his mother was juggling 37 cases a few weeks before he died.
— Budgets are tight, and some experts say funding shortages lead to more deaths. Conditions improved when Alabama spent more money on child welfare as part of a 15-year federal consent decree. But since 2007, when the decree ended, funding has shrunk nearly every year — and the number of open-case deaths has started to climb, from one in 2009 to five in 2013.
— Insufficient training for those who answer child abuse hotlines leads to reports being misclassified, sometimes with deadly consequences. In Arizona, a June 2013 call about an 8-month-old with a suspicious broken arm was logged incorrectly and not investigated. The girl died of a brain injury about a month later, after being burned on the face with a cigarette lighter and shaken violently.
— The lack of a comprehensive national child welfare database that would allow caseworkers to keep track of individual cases, child by child, means some abusive caregivers known to authorities can slip through the cracks by crossing state lines.
— A policy that promotes keeping families intact plays a major role in the number of deaths, because children remain in abusive situations. According to Vermont police, 2-year-old Dezirae Sheldon was left in her home even after suffering two broken legs under suspicious circumstances. Caseworkers said they’d felt “an overwhelming push” to keep the family together, based on their general training. Dezirae died in February from blunt force trauma to the head; her stepfather is charged with second-degree murder. A police detective wrote: “This focus on reunification very often puts the needs of the parents often above the needs and interest of the child or victim.”
— Worst of all, nearly 40 percent of the 3 million child abuse and neglect complaints made annually to child protective services hotlines in the U.S. are “screened out” and never investigated.
FAILURE AT ITS EXTREME
The case of 10-week-old Ethan Henderson — whose family in Arundel, Maine, had been the subject of at least 13 calls to child protective services — presents a particularly telling example of a repeated systemic failure.
Only two of those calls were investigated — one involving Ethan and his twin brother, and the other, their sister. In addition, more than a half-dozen physicians, nurses and other caregivers failed to report signs that the blue-eyed boy with wispy blond hair was being terribly hurt. Some have escaped scrutiny and punishment to this day.
Maine child welfare officials said the state’s confidentiality law prohibited them from discussing details about their involvement in Ethan’s case. Records obtained by AP, however, suggest the state missed numerous opportunities to properly assess the safety of Ethan and his siblings, neglecting to follow up promptly even after identifying warning signs.
According to evidence produced as part of the criminal case against Ethan’s father, Gordon Collins-Faunce, the police made two of those calls but hotline workers decided that neither merited a response.
Ethan’s grandmother, Jan Collins, said she called the hotline just before the twins were born because she feared her son and another man who frequented the family’s mobile home could hurt the children.
“I said I thought Gordon was delusional. They just dismissed that,” she said. “I kept thinking that tomorrow I will find out that the state has gotten involved.”
The twins were born a few weeks premature on Feb. 21, 2012 — and just four weeks later, Ethan’s mother took him to a nearby hospital with a broken left arm. She told his pediatrician that Ethan’s father had accidentally twisted it lifting the baby from his crib. The doctor never reported the injury, even though Maine law requires physicians to immediately report possible child abuse.
About a month later, Ethan arrived at daycare unable to move his neck and with dark bruises on his right arm. Workers took photos of the bruises, but never reported them, said Maine Police Det. Lauren Edstrom, who investigated Ethan’s death. The next week, Ethan arrived at daycare with such a high fever that workers called his mother to take him to the hospital, evidence shows.
When Ethan was nearly 10 weeks old, a family friend finally called the hotline to report bruises on the twins and a white, blistering burn on their sister’s hand. Edstrom said the friend decided to tell hotline workers she was a daycare volunteer so that they would take the report seriously. That represented the second report worthy of investigation.
Melissa Guillerault, the child welfare agency worker dispatched to the gray double-wide trailer on May 2, called ahead to let the family know she was coming. Still, she found Collins-Faunce and his wife had five bags of trash on the porch.
Though the state later acknowledged Guillerault learned of Ethan’s earlier broken arm during that visit, records show she found the couple to be “cooperative and engaging.” She said the children “appeared clean, healthy and comfortable,” although she didn’t inspect them for bruises. In a section of her report designated for the listing of “signs of danger,” the worker wrote: “None at this time.”
Three days later, according to Collins-Faunce’s confession to police, he grew so frustrated by Ethan’s cries that he picked up his son by the head and threw him into a chair, causing severe brain damage. Before calling 911, evidence shows he went outside to smoke and play the video game “Police Pursuit.”
Ethan died three days later, on May 8, 2012. His father was convicted of manslaughter last year; his siblings were placed in foster care and adopted.
Virginia McNamara, a pediatric nurse who visited Ethan at his home and never reported the signs of possible abuse, lost her license to practice in Maine. Ethan’s pediatrician, Dr. Lisa Gouldsbrough, was never disciplined, although she received a letter of guidance from the Maine board that licenses osteopathic doctors aimed at helping her “in avoiding complaints of this nature in the future.” Guillerault was promoted to a supervisory role within the department, a position she still holds.
None of them responded to AP’s requests for comment, and neither did the Maine Department of Health and Human Services.
The records that spell out the state’s involvement with the family remain secret.
The AP National Investigative Team can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
LAMAR, COLO. (AP) — Colorado has launched a statewide hotline to increase reporting of suspected cases of child abuse and neglect.
The hotline is based in Lamar with 12 staff and began operating on Thursday. State officials say the Lamar center will be a hub for Colorado’s first child-abuse hotline of its kind. It’s part of Gov. John Hickenlooper’s Child Welfare Plan.
The Lamar center will direct callers to the appropriate county to handle their report. The hotline will also assist the deaf and callers who don’t speak English or Spanish.
Callers to the hotline will be assisted 24 hours a day year-round.
The hotline phone number is 1-844-264-5437
Video of a baby playing with a handgun, at times putting the muzzle into her mouth, was found on her father’s cell phone, Indiana police said.
Michael Barnes, 19, was arrested Saturday along with the 1-year-old’s mother, Toni Wilson, 22, and charged with neglect, criminal recklessness with a deadly weapon and allowing a child to possess a firearm. Evansville cops found the disturbing footage after arresting Barnes for allegedly trying to sell a handgun to an undercover officer.
Both parents can be heard encouraging the child to say “Pow” and “Bang” as she points the gun and then puts it in her mouth. The mother claimed the weapon was a pellet gun. Police said it was a .40-caliber handgun.
Officers said the magazine had apparently been removed, but a round could have been in the chamber.
SOURCE: NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
A strong woman, child advocate, educator, and author, Rose Morrisroe, was today named New Yorker Of The Week. She deserves this honor because, in the words of NY1 News, “she encourages children to become their own advocates.”
Recently featured on NY1 News, film crews captured Morrisroe, educating students against child sexual abuse at P.S. 18 Edward Bush. http://www.ny1.com/content/shows/nyer_of_the_week/219348/nyer-of-the-week–rose-morrisroe-educates-children-to-protect-themselves-from-abuse/
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A brutal Brooklyn baby-sitter savagely beat a helpless 3-year-old girl to death Saturday after she accidentally went to the bathroom in her pants, police sources said.
Cops found the dying girl after a 911 caller reported bloodcurdling screams echoing from the apartment in a city homeless shelter at 38 Cooper St. shortly before 4 p.m., cops said.
Defenseless little Jeida Torres, 3, died at Wyckoff Hospital after her mother’s enraged boyfriend “punched and choked” the tiny child — who suffered injuries to her head and body, sources said.
“She either pooped her pants or peed on herself, and he got agitated,” a source said.
Suspect Kelsey Smith, who fled the scene and left the mortally injured child behind with her battered big brother, has a rap sheet with with 14 prior arrests dating to 2008, cop sources said.
Jeida’s 5-year-old brother, Andrew, was also beaten black and blue by Smith, 20, although a police source said the boy’s injuries were possibly inflicted before Saturday.
Kelsey Smith, 20, who was in custody Saturday night. Kelsey Smith, 20, who was in custody Saturday night.
Neighbor Marilyn Cruz said the afternoon killing capped two solid weeks of fighting and violence inside the apartment.
The dead girl’s mother, Kimberly Torres, and grandfather wept inconsolably outside the building after hearing the heartbreaking news about the beloved child.
Smith was busted just across the Queens border after the NYPD received a tip on the fugitive’s whereabouts. Cop sources said he tried to slash himself in a failed suicide try.
Smith, who also went by the first name “Shawn,” had multiple collars for robbery and grand larceny, along with a gang assault charge and a bust this year for criminal mischief.
No charges had been filed early Sunday in the fatal beating.
The pedophile former Catholic bishop Jozef Wesolowski has been placed under house arrest at the Vatican.
He is only the second person to be arrested in this way in recent history. The first was Pope Benedict’s former butler, Paulo Gabriele, subsequently sentenced to 18 months in prison for leaking private documents. It is the first Vatican arrest of a high-ranking prelate involved in child sex abuse.
Polish-born Wesolowski, former Nuncio in the Dominican Republic, was recalled to the Vatican a year ago and investigated for sex abuse allegations.
In June, the first stage of his canonical trial ended with him being found guilty of child sex abuse and laicisation, or defrocking, by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. He appealed against the decision. This week the Vatican began criminal proceedings against him, placing him under house arrest during the trial rather than in custody because of concerns about his health.
Wesolowski, aged 66, was arrested at the Vatican with the permission of Pope Francis, who had received a personal appeal from the United Nations Committee Against Torture in Geneva to intervene.
Vatican spokesman Fr Frederico Lombardi said: “This arrest is due to the express will of the Pope.” He said the case was “serious and delicate” and must be addressed without delay and “with the right and necessary rigor, with full assumption of responsibility on the part of the institutions that are part of the Holy See.”SOURCE-CHRISTIAN TODAY
A Georgia judge had tough words for a woman who pleaded guilty to helping her boyfriend rape and molest her two young daughters.
“I don’t know that I have ever said a curse word from this bench, but you may be the vilest bitch that I have ever met,” Bibb County Superior Court Judge Howard Simms told Amanda Arellano on Thursday, The Macon Telegraph reported.
Simms then sentenced Arellano to 30 years in prison and lifetime probation.
The 29-year-old Fort Valley woman was arrested along with her boyfriend, 29-year-old Daniel Kelly Copeland, in January 2012, after Copeland’s father reported them to police.
Copeland’s father told authorities his son had admitted to sexually abusing Arellano’s two daughters, then ages 6 and 8, according to The Albany Herald.
The sex acts, authorities said, took place between Sept. 1, 2011, and Jan. 18, 2012.
According to Bibb County Prosecutor Nancy Scott Malcor, Copeland told police he and his girlfriend started doing drugs in September 2011, which made them “especially sexual.”
Arellano, the prosecutor said, would help the 8-year-old girl perform sex acts with Copeland, including sodomy and oral sex. She would also hold the girl down while Copeland had sex with her.
The 6-year-old was subjected to similar abuses, including oral sex and attempted rape, authorities said.
In April, Copeland pleaded guilty to rape and four counts of aggravated child molestation.
As a condition of a plea agreement, Copeland was sentenced to 25 years in prison followed by lifetime probation. Copeland also agreed to testify in Arellano’s case.
Arellano, who was scheduled to go to trial later this month, opted to plead guilty on Thursday, to a number of offenses, including rape and aggravated child molestation.
During Thursday’s hearing, prosecutors said Arellano confessed to participating in sex acts with Copeland and her daughters, and also admitted taking photographs of the sex acts.
“I’m so sorry and I will punish myself more than you can probably ever punish me, sir,” Arellano said in court Thursday, according to The Digital Journal.
Simms was unmoved by Arellano’s words and told her there is a “special place in hell” for people who do what she and Copeland did.
Per the conditions of their plea bargains, neither Arellano or Copeland will be eligible for parole. Once they serve their entire sentences and are released on probation, they will be classified as sex offenders.
In just five minutes, a child will learn how to protect and empower him/herself – No Secrets Between Us Short Video!
A vicious Queens couple savagely beat, kicked, tortured and starved their 12-year-old daughter — until the gutsy little girl finally dimed out the depraved duo, officials said.
Helpless Maya Ranot — her weight down to a skeletal 58 pounds as the relentless violence escalated — survived to spill the gory details of the house of horrors where she was tormented for nearly three years.
Dad Rajesh Ranot, 46, and stepmom Sheetal Ranot, 31, of Ozone Park, were behind bars Tuesday after their arraignments last week on multiple charges of assault and child endangerment.
“Thank God,” said one of Rajesh Ranot’s former in-laws. “It’s about time they locked him up. Everyone is afraid of him . . . . How could he do this to his own daughter?”
Heroic Maya was beaten with everything from a rolling pin to a baseball bat to a broken metal broom handle — but never said a word because she feared her four step-siblings would be sent to foster care, officials said.
“Fortunately, she found the courage to speak up,” said Queens District Attorney Richard Brown. “It is not too hard to imagine that this case would have ended in the child’s death.”
Neighbors described Rajesh Ranot, who lived in the area for the last 10 years, as a volatile cab driver with a foul temper and a mean streak.
“He was the kind of guy who would be your friend and smack you at the same time,” said a 51-year-old neighbor who gave his name as Trinny. “You could not trust him.”
Local residents recounted seeing skinny little seventh-grader Maya playing near the family’s residence, with no signs of her family or any friends.
“I feel terrible for her,” said neighbor Annette Persaud, the mother of two boys.
The investigation began after EMTs called to the family home above a garage in Ozone Park found Maya lying in a pool of blood from a gash deep enough to reveal the bone on her left wrist.
Authorities say stepmom Sheetal opened the deep laceration by slashing the girl with the jagged end of a broken metal broom handle on May 6. The bleeding child, dressed in filthy clothes, was rushed to Elmhurst Hospital for wrist surgery and stitches to her knee after the attack.
Read more at http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/nyc-crime/queens-parents-jailed-unspeakable-child-abuse-da-article-1.1892446?cid=radiumOne#xLK0zyBLjJd6b12w.99
Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/nyc-crime/queens-parents-jailed-unspeakable-child-abuse-da-article-1.1892446#ixzz39jDhSqvp
Can you keep a secret?
Many children can, and that can be problematic. “No Secrets Between Us” teaches Kindergarteners through 3rd graders to empower themselves by sharing their secrets. ‘No Secrets Between Us” is a picture book that uses fiction to address a real-life situation. It takes a gentle, practical approach to teaching child abuse awareness backed by theoretical support. Our protagonist Sammie learns that telling a trusted adult is the right thing to do when she needs help. At the beginning of the book, she is on a fun play date, which eventually leads to trouble. At the end of the book, she comes to understand that there should never be secrets between a child and her parents. Sammie knows she made the right choice in telling her parents the secret and is praised for her courage.
Rose Morrisroe: one of the top educational instructors for the state of New Jersey and founder for one of the leading non profits on child abuse prevention – Soldiers Against Child Abuse. She encompasses vision, awareness, passion and accomplishment to the world she touches…. She saves the world around her and embraces the hurt with healing, guidance and compassion. ~Michael Reagan
“The Governor is grateful for your interest in offering your book, No Secrets Between Us, and curriculum for use in schools throughout the State and has shared the information you sent with the appropriate staff in the Department of Education. The Governor is grateful for your support and joins me in offering you best wishes.” ~Governor Christie’s Office via Staffer
“Rose Morrisroe is a revered educator and survivor of child sexual abuse. She advocates for empowering children and families. Her wonderful book, No Secrets Between Us, is an important tool to the prevention of child abuse. No Secrets Between Us teaches children to empower themselves when they feel unsafe. CSA is an uncomfortable topic which needs to be discussed and this book is an effective means to do that.” ~Kathleen Shelley, LSW – School Social Worker
“As a Licensed Certified Social Worker I plan on using the book, No Secrets Between Us, at home as well as with my clients at work. You have provided me with an educational tool that will be heard by many children and recommended to every parent I know.” ~Jacqueline Russak, LCSW- School Social Worker
“This is a must book for all parents, guardians and educators. Rose Morrisroe not only demonstrates the need for children to be proactive but she prepares parents in how to empower the family. I wish this book was available when my kids were younger. This book is empowering for all children.” ~Michael John Sullivan — Award winning author and creator of The SockKids Children’s series
“No Secrets Between Us is a great introduction for parents and children to begin a dialogue about safe and unsafe touches. It is child friendly and well written which encourages honest and open dialogue. I recommend Mrs. Morrisroe’s book for all children.”~Wanda Merchant, LPC – Licensed Professional Counselor School Counselor, Anti-Bullying Specialist
“No Secrets Between Us by Rose Morrisroe is a great tool for parents and educators in assisting with this challenging topic. Mrs. Morrisroe is clearly dedicated to her cause and through her book has created a child friendly way to deliver a powerful message. This book is designed to empower children and families.” ~Nicole C. Syperski, M.A. School Counselor, Intervention & Referral Services
ATLANTA, Ga. – A father has been charged with murder in the death of his 2-year-old child after he allegedly left the toddler in a hot car for eight hours.
Police said Justin Ross Harris, 34, was supposed to drop the child off at daycare, but forgot.
He then drove to work around 9 a.m. Wednesday and left the toddler in the car. It wasn’t until Harris left work and started driving home that he looked in the backseat and saw the child still strapped in the car seat and unresponsive.
A witness saw Harris pull into the Akers Mill Square shopping center, stop his car straddling two lanes of traffic, jump out and begin CPR on the toddler.
“He was constantly saying, ‘What have I done, what have I done.’”
Harris is charged with murder and cruelty to children, both felonies and is currently being held without bond at the Cobb County Adult Detention Center.
Anyone with information about this case which may assist detectives is asked to call 770-499-3945.
Temperatures in Atlanta topped 90 degrees Wednesday afternoon. Temperatures inside a hot car could go as high as 130 to 140 degrees in a few hours.
Sarasota, Florida — A 2-year-old girl died after she was left inside a hot car, and now her father is facing manslaughter charges.
Sarasota Police detectives say 23-year-old Uriel Hernandez forgot about Alejandra Hernandez in a car for several hours Sunday morning when the temperature outside was between 85 to 95 degrees.
On Instagram, her mother, Valeria Hernandez, says she’s “mi mundo” my world. On Facebook, Uriel Hernandez is seen adoring Alejandra. The two shared custody of the little girl.
“She was always so pretty and very bright,” says neighbor Juanita Sifuentes. “He seemed like an excellent father.”
But Sifuentes says Hernandez’s apparent negligence is inexcusable. “That was very irresponsible of him.”
Alejandra would visit her father on Sundays at the mobile home park off North Orange Avenue, but this Sunday would be her last.
Investigators say Uriel Hernandez came home around 6 a.m. Sunday, went inside for a moment to get a phone charger, but fell asleep leaving his daughter in a hot car for five hours.
Police say when Uriel Hernandez woke up he found his daughter lifeless. Police say it’s not clear if he called 911 before he called the child’s mother, but by the time both of them were called — it was too late.
SOURCE: 10News, Tampa Bay Sarasota
In a sting that was New York’s biggest to-date, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) arrested 71 individuals involved in child sexual exploitation, all of whom stand accused of possessing, distributing and/or producing child abuse imagery. In addition to the 71 arrests, investigators lawfully seized nearly 600 computing devices during the execution of 87 search warrants, including desktop and laptop computers, tablets, smartphones and thumb drives containing more than 175 terabytes of data that includes tens of thousands of sexually explicit images and videos of children.
“People children are supposed to trust”
The sting, codenamed “Operation Caireen,” shed light on the type of individuals sexually exploiting children. Many of those arrested held positions of public trust, including a police officer, a paramedic, a registered nurse and an individual who served as both a den master with the Boy Scouts of America and as a little league baseball coach. Speaking on behalf of the joint operation, special agent in charge of HSI’s New York office, James T. Hayes Jr., said, “The sheer volume of confirmed and suspected instances of individuals engaging in the sexual exploitation of children identified through Operation Caireen is shocking and the professional backgrounds of many of the defendants is troubling. We can no longer assume that the only people who would stoop to prey on children are unemployed drifters.”
Using Technology to Fight Child Sexual Exploitation
The sting, which involved U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement as well as New York law enforcement, began as part of an undercover operation into peer-to-peer (P2P) networks. As the agencies surreptitiously infiltrated P2P networks, they were able to identify users in the New York City metropolitan area who sought to acquire or distribute known or suspected images and videos of children engaging in sexually explicit activities. Throughout the course of the operation, investigators identified nearly 150 unique IP addresses registered to users in the NYC metropolitan area, actively sharing explicit images of children. Techniques used by law enforcement agencies in this operation are on the cutting edge of technology in the fight against the sexual exploitation of children in the Deep Web. At Thorn, we have been working with tech companies to implement the use of a shared hash system, which allows companies to share digital fingerprints of abuse images via a cloud-based tool in order to more quickly clear their system of content and report it. We also collaborate with more than twenty technology companies through our Technology Task Force, bringing them together to help put an end to child sexual exploitation.
If You See Something, Say Something
In the wake of “Operation Caireen,” Otis E. Harris Jr., special agent in charge of the Coast Guard Investigative Service, New York Field Office, offered a call to action for all individuals. “The Department of Homeland Security is asking for the public to be watchful, to help identify those individuals responsible for child pornography, and we’re counting on those with information to come forward. No bit of information, no matter how seemingly insignificant, is too small. Each piece moves us forward toward justice and disrupting the crime of child pornography. It is extremely important to contact authorities with any information regarding child pornography.” We applaud HSI for their efforts in disrupting this network of child exploitation. We also urge you to learn more about our work, to educate yourself on the issue and read the facts about child abuse imagery. A better-educated community is the first step in raising awareness about this issue.
- See more at: http://www.wearethorn.org/hsi-arrests-71-in-new-york-for-child-sexual-exploitation/#sthash.nMKLcJPM.dpuf
NEW YORK CITY –
A slice of the New York City area mainstream – a police officer, a fire department paramedic, a rabbi, a nurse, a Boy Scout leader – used the Internet to anonymously collect and trade child pornography, federal officials said Wednesday.
The six were among at least 70 men and one woman charged in a five-week operation by the Homeland Security Investigations arm of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Federal officials, who planned to announce the arrests a news conference later Wednesday, call it one of the largest local roundups ever of people who collect images of children having sex – and a stark reminder that they come from all segments of society.
Consuming child porn “is not something that is just done by unemployed drifters who live in their parent’s basement,” said James Hayes of ICE’s New York office. “If this operation does anything, it puts the lie to the belief that the people who do this are not productive members of society.”
Authorities say an alarming number of the defendants had access to young children, though there were no reports of abuse. The Boy Scout leader also coached a youth baseball team. The rabbi home-schooled his children and others. Another person had hidden cameras used to secretly film his children’s friends.
VATICAN CITY — The Vatican commission advising Pope Francis on sexual abuse policy will develop “clear and effective protocols” to protect children from pedophile priests, including procedures to hold church authorities accountable if they neglect to act on cases of abuse, Vatican officials said Saturday.
The commission will advise the pope on adopting policies developed from the existing “best practices” for the protection of minors, which can be used worldwide. Recommendations to the pope will also include ways of better educating the clergy about the issue of child abuse and its devastating consequences.
“The protocols will address everyone,” regardless of their status in the church, “and will provide clear ways of dealing with those who perpetrate the abuse, and those who were negligent in protecting children,” Cardinal Sean O’Malley, the archbishop of Boston and one of the eight members of the commission, told reporters at a news briefing on Saturday.
Existing canon laws had not adequately or sufficiently addressed this issue, he acknowledged. “Our concern is to make sure that there are clear and effective protocols to deal with situations where people of the church did not fulfill their obligation to protect children,” he said.
Advocacy groups have long harshly castigated the Vatican for refusing to systematically discipline clerics who covered up pedophilia crimes. Over the years, the church has adopted a series of measures to address the abuse of children by priests, but critics say that the Vatican has protected its reputation over the interests of the victims by refusing to sanction church officials.
Pope Francis announced the creation of the commission last December. Its members include lay people, among them psychiatrists, a canon lawyer for the Vatican congregation that handles sex abuse cases, a moral theologian and a woman who was a victim of sex abuse by a priest as a child, who has become an advocate for accountability in the church. Four of the eight members are women.
The pope “was anxious that the group be independent,” Cardinal O’Malley said.
He said that the commission would not deal with specific cases of child abuse, nor would the protocols necessarily relate to existing child abuse laws in specific countries. “Accountability should not be dependent on the legal obligations of a country, but upon moral considerations,” he said.
The commission will make proposals to the pope, but Cardinal O’Malley said that a specific time frame had not been decided upon. “The one thing that this meeting showed is how many issues there are to deal with and how complex they are,” he said. Though the commission was established to advise the pope, it could also be “of service” to national bishops conferences. “Everyone is anxious to have positive results,” he said.
The commission met for the first time last week at the Vatican to discuss its purpose, functions and goals, and to propose additional members, to be chosen on the basis of their expertise as well as their geographical provenance.
“The commission wants to make sure that in the future, the issue of child abuse will be addressed worldwide, not patchily, and adhering to the highest standards,” said Marie Collins, the commission member from Ireland who was abused by a priest when she was 13.
Cardinal O’Malley said vigilance would be required. “The church needs to always be reviewing what we have done, trying to improve what we have done, monitoring what we have done because it’s possible to have beautiful policies but if they are not implemented it’s only window dressing,” he said.
“I know many survivors are hoping, that they have high expectations for what the commission will do,” Ms. Collins said. “I can’t make any concrete promises, but I am hopeful.”
NEW YORK (WABC) — Prosecutors have confirmed they now plan to seek a murder indictment against a woman already charged with abusing a 4-year-old New York City boy.
Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Nicole Blumberg told a judge Wednesday she plans to seek the new charge against Kryzie King.
Defense lawyer Bryan Konoski declined to comment.
Story: Myls Dobson’s dad back in New Jersey jail after furlough
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The boy, Myls Dobson, died Jan. 8. He was in King’s care while his father was jailed.
Medical examiners ruled his death a homicide this month. They determined he died of child abuse, including dehydration.
Before the finding, King was charged with assault and pleaded not guilty.
According to prosecutors’ court documents, King told police she beat the boy with a belt and wires, bound him with shoelaces and locked him on a freezing terrace because he misbehaved.
(Copyright ©2014 WABC-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)
Police arrested Megan Huntsman, 39, of Pleasant Grove, on Saturday following a gruesome discovery at a residence formerly occupied by the woman who they say moved out in 2011.
WATCH: 7 Babies Found Dead in Utah Home; Woman Arrested
Officers responding to a phone call from a family member who is currently living at the Pleasant Grove residence arrived at the home to find the first baby which “appeared to be a full term,” according to a police statement.
“A family member was cleaning out the garage and came across a box that looked suspicious. Upon opening the box they found the infant inside,” Capt. Michael Roberts of the Pleasant Grove Police Department told ABC News.
Authorities obtained a search warrant to inspect the home, where they found six more infant bodies inside, packaged in separate containers, the police statement said.
Roberts said that through their investigations, they had reason to believe that Huntsman had given birth to the six other babies in the period between 1996 and 2006 and murdered them.
Authorities arrested Huntsman and booked her at the Utah County Jail on six murder counts, but did not comment on why she was not charged with seven counts.
The adult residents of the home claimed to have no knowledge of the dead babies, police said. Roberts could not confirm whether Huntsman had any other children or if she was married.
“It’s still an ongoing case so we’re still working on some information we’ve received,” Roberts said.
SOURCE- ABC News