Articles on what is abuse and neglect

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Postby Marina » Thu Apr 03, 2008 3:56 pm

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A Detroit school board member denies allegations of child neglect

Chastity Pratt Dawsey • Detroit Free Press • April 3, 2008 •

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Detroit school board member Reverend David Murray said Wednesday he did not willfully neglect his six children, who were removed from his home last week by the state.

Murray, 55, was in Wayne County Juvenile Court on Monday on charges from Children's Protective Services that he neglected his four adopted children, his daughter and stepson.

The children - ages 2 to 16 - were placed with relatives, Murray said. His wife, Tanisha, a 35-year-old homemaker, had complained that Murray kept their house in University District in disrepair, stored food in his car and did not regularly feed the children.

Murray, a social worker who was elected to the school board twice, said he believes his political critics encouraged his wife to file the charges after the children broke out several windows.

Murray, who was in special education as a child and later earned three master's and two bachelor's degrees, said his adopted children have special needs as well.

Murray said he was in the hospital with heart trouble when the windows were broken and the complaint filed. He confirmed that the home's roof and plumbing need repairs, but he said the family usually lived in another west-side home.

"The kids had food. I always made sure of that," Murray said. "All of those other allegations are just that, allegations."

The file was not available Wednesday in juvenile court, and a call to the Department of Human Services about the case was not returned.

Murray is to be in court April 18 for a preliminary hearing on whether the children should become wards of the state.


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Postby Marina » Thu Apr 03, 2008 6:58 pm

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Cops shut down poker party
By Dana Yates

Two people were arrested and a 13-year-old was referred to Child Protective Services after undercover officers determined a San Mateo house was holding illegal Saturday night poker games.

Cutberto Cardenas, 42, of San Mateo is facing two misdemeanor charges for fraudulently obtaining money under false pretenses and for contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Patricia McCoy, 47, of Hillsborough, is facing one misdemeanor charge for contributing to the delinquency of a minor, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

At approximately 2:25 p.m. Saturday, San Mateo County deputies and agents from the state Department of Justice found 20 adults and one minor in a house on the 1600 block of Lexington Avenue in the unincorporated San Mateo Eichler Highlands neighborhood. Officers issued a search warrant and found three poker tables, playing chips, cards, $1,300 in cash and other paraphernalia associated with gambling, according to the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office.

The investigation began three months ago after the Sheriff’s Office received numerous complaints from residents of the Eichler Highlands neighborhood about heavy foot traffic and parking problems.

A background investigation into who occupied the house and those who visited led investigators to, a Web site that allows groups to manage public events related to a number of different hobbies or interests. The Web site had a page that touted weekly poker tournaments at the home on Lexington Avenue, according to Lt. Marc Alcantara of the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office.

The undercover investigation determined that the gaming operation was more than just a casual card game and in fact maybe an illegal gambling operation perpetrated by Cardenas to fraudulently obtain money from the unwitting participants who were recruited online, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

The poker games typically required a $25 to $55 buy-in, with re-buys. An additional “refreshment” fee of $5 was collected from each participant upon entry, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Both Cardenas and McCoy were arrested and transported to San Mateo County Jail. The two were released on bail. A13 year old who was in the residence at the time of the search warrant was referred to the San Mateo County Child Protective Services.

The San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office encourages citizens to report instances of heavy foot traffic, frequent visitors and illegal parking in residential areas by calling its anonymous tip line at (800) 547-2700.


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Postby Marina » Wed Apr 09, 2008 6:30 pm

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March 24, 2008 -- The city's child-welfare agency removed two kids from the home of a Bronx mother shortly after her ex-husband murdered their oldest daughter, the outraged family said.

Joselyn Balbi, 30, was already reeling after her ex, Miguel Matias, 34, strangled their daughter Ana, 14, last month and shoved her body into the furnace of the Bronx building where he worked as a super.

"It is impossible to believe that a city could come to you after such a tragedy and take your kids away from you - instead of providing a counselor or someone to help you," said her brother, Jose Balbi.

"It's incomprehensible. She's a good mother."

The mother's lawyer, Robert Abrams, said Balbi is being punished for leaving her children in the care of someone so unstable. But Abrams said Balbi was not aware of Matias' mental problems, except for an episode in the early 1990s where he spent seven days in a psych hospital.

Matias is accused of strangling his daughter inside his Walton Avenue apartment on Feb. 16 after catching her chatting online with her boyfriend - the father of Ana's unborn child, Abrams said.

Matias is being held at Bellevue Hospital.

Despite the gruesome death, ACS officials lured Balbi and her surviving children, Raymond, 13, and Derek, 10, to their Bronx office and separated them, her brother said.

"She went crazy," Jose Balbi said. "She was crying and screaming, 'They can't take my babies.' "


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Postby Marina » Sat Apr 12, 2008 3:34 am

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No ruling in custody case
Child to remain in state's care pending outcome of next hearing
Kris Wernowsky • [email protected] • April 11, 2008

During a dependency hearing Thursday, Erin Markes denied allegations that she neglected her 4-year-old son, who suffers from a rare brain disease.

The child, who suffers from a form of the brain disease lissencephaly, will remain in the custody of the Florida Department of Children and Families pending the outcome of a May 5 hearing.

The dependency proceedings will determine whether the court will have the authority to make decisions in the child's life, including where he is allowed to live or what type of services should be placed in his home.

Markes, 19, of Pace has a Wednesday appearance in criminal court in Santa Rosa County on a felony child neglect charge.

Investigators and doctors are trying to determine if Markes committed a crime, or if she is an overwhelmed young mother of a child who requires almost constant care and attention.

Assistant State Attorney Will Nelson said his office hasn't ruled out dismissing the criminal charge against Markes, but stressed that many unanswered questions remain.

Nelson said the investigation will focus on the nature of the child's diagnosis, his medical history and the treatment he received while he and his mother lived in Missouri.

"I've never encountered any child with this diagnosis," Nelson said. "I don't think we know enough yet about the medical history of the child to evaluate or criticize the medical opinion rendered at the time the child was admitted" to Sacred Heart Hospital last month.

Santa Rosa County Sheriff's deputies arrested Markes late last month after a doctor said her son, who is fed through a feeding tube and weighs less than 15 pounds, was malnourished.

Expert opinion

Dr. William Dobyns, a professor of human genetics, pediatrics and neurology at the University of Chicago, has studied lissencephaly since 1982. He said almost every child with the disease has feeding difficulties because the normal brain functions that regulate eating and digestion are severely impaired.

"The feeding management can be very difficult. Some kids, you put in a feeding tube, and they are fine," Dobyns said. "Most kids, you put it in, things don't work right, and it still requires complex management by an expert."

The child was admitted to Sacred Heart's pediatric intensive-care unit last month.

Sacred Heart pediatrician Dr. Thomas G. Mignerey called it one of the worst cases of neglect he had seen, noting the boy had a low body temperature of 91.1 degrees, had bed sores, and appeared malnourished and dehydrated.

Not 'doing her best'

Markes told investigators that "she felt she has not been doing her best" in caring for the child. Markes said she missed some appointments, but blamed the oversight on her physician and said she was trying to get a new primary-care doctor.

Tests revealed that none of the five drugs prescribed to the child to treat his seizures and other conditions was found in his blood.

Markes told investigators that she gave the child his anti-seizure medication two times a day as directed and could not account for the lack of medication in the child's system.

Child's weight improving

The child's weight was down 3 pounds from two years ago, an arrest report said. The child has gained weight since his admission into the hospital, Janice Thomas, a regional director of the Department of Children and Families said.

The First Judicial Circuit's Public Defender's Office asked Dobyns if he would consult on the case.

Dobyns said he would not second guess Mignerey's determination until he's seen all of the Markes child's medical files.

Dobyns said he didn't fault Mignerey for contacting authorities, but added that many doctors have little experience with lissencephaly since there are only more than 2,000 cases in the world.

"Many children with this developmental disorder require management by an expert in nutrition and gastroenterologist," Dobyns said. "Was this mother really trying to harm her child, or was she overwhelmed?"


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Postby Marina » Sat Apr 12, 2008 7:33 pm

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Protecting Children or Attacking Parents?

Friday, Mar 14, 2008 - 05:23 PM

By Carmen Coursey

Child endangerment, or police going too far? That's the question all over the country, after a Chicago mother had the charges against her dropped.
The woman says she left her sleeping two-year old in a locked car, with the alarm set, while she got out to help her older daughters drop coins into a Salvation Army Kettle.
She says she was never more than 30 feet away, and always kept the car in sight.
But an officer arrested her on the spot, for child endangerment.
After three months in the court system, those charges were dropped today, and people are speaking out.
Many say her arrest was justified, but some moms in Anderson County, don't agree.
"Which is more endangerment, you pulling them, a newborn out into the sleet or being two steps away from a car to keep your child safe?" says Katherine Jones.
A mother of a seven, a four and half and a two year old, Jones says keeping up with them can sometimes seem impossible.
"It's a struggle definitely feeling like you always need to almost have your hands on top of your children," Jones says.
Shocked to hear about the arrest in Chicago, she says this case does not sound like child endangerment.
Mom LynnAnn Gisbrecht agrees.
"It's a tough decision to make," says Gisbrecht. "I think if you can see your child then you're not endangering your child."
She has a two year old and a six month old and adds, like the mother in Chicago, getting them in and out of a car, is hard.
"Take one out, put him in a buggy to go into the grocery store, then I have to go around the car and get the other one out. Well, I'm leaving one by themselves- you know, am I endangering the life of my child? I don't think so," says Gisbrecht.
Both women say every situation and every child, is different, and it's a daily judgement call, with no room for mistakes.
"It's such a decision that parent struggle with all, all the time," says Jones. "How far is too far?"

So what are the rules?
Police in Illinois say that mom was arrested because the law there states any child under 14 can't be out of sight of a parent.
Here in South Carolina, things are different.
Assistant Solicitor Susan Reese, 7th Circuit, says it's decided on a case-by-case basis.
Reese says officers use their best judgement to decide if the child was put in risk of harm, then the case is reviewed by a solicitor.
Reese says she thinks this system is more reasonable than setting a specific age, because she believes, as the mothers mentioned, every child and every situation is different.


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Postby Marina » Tue Apr 15, 2008 7:12 pm

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School kissing debate
Sexual-contact reports jump over fear of prosecution
By Nancy Mitchell, Rocky Mountain News (Contact)
Originally published 12:30 a.m., March 7, 2008
Updated 11:08 a.m., March 7, 2008

Confusion over when Denver Public Schools staff members should call police - and why - has one principal facing charges, city social services workers overwhelmed by cases as innocuous as kissing 5-year-olds and the city's top prosecutor apparently unwilling to offer guidance.

A state law requiring DPS principals and teachers to report suspected child abuse and neglect immediately, including unlawful sexual contact, is intended to protect their students.

But applying the law has caused problems between DPS and Denver police, and conflicting interpretations in recent weeks have led school staff members to increase reports for fear they, too, could be charged.

"There's a lot of confusion over what needs to be reported and what doesn't," said Kim Ursetta, president of the Denver Classroom Teachers Association. "Obviously, we have a legal duty to report, so it's even more important to make sure there's clear direction."

A Feb. 4 attempt at clarity, though, had the opposite effect. Denver Police Chief Gerry Whitman and Chief Deputy District Attorney Lamar Simms appeared before DPS principals to discuss the issue.

On a videotape of their talk, Whitman and Simms apparently disagree, at times placing their hands over the microphone as principals begin buzzing amid their growing confusion.

The session ends with DPS Superintendent Michael Bennet taking the mic and promising guidance will be coming.

A principal charged

A case involving three seventh- graders at Skinner Middle School, in northwest Denver, prompted the most recent concerns about reporting.

Principal Nicole Veltze, 37, considered a promising young DPS principal, was told on a Friday afternoon in December that a female student was inappropriately touched by two classmates.

Sources say she followed the DPS policy for an allegation of sexual harassment, quickly notifying an administrator in human resources.

A sexual assault, according to a legal reporting bulletin used by Denver principals, is defined as "a violent physical or verbal attack."

An assault warrants immediate notification of police; harassment does not.

But the girl's mother, perhaps upset that her daughter and not Veltze notified her of the touching, called police. That Sunday, police questioned Veltze. They later charged her with failing to report the crime as the law requires, a Class 3 misdemeanor.

Worry soon spread among DPS employees. After the Simms-Whitman talk, DPS attorney John Kechriotis issued an e-mail noting the presentation "exacerbated" the issue. The issue requires additional discussion with police and prosecutors, he wrote, adding, "For now, however, you should promptly report any incident which you reasonably believe constitutes a crime."

Wednesday, members of the City Council's safety committee heard testimony from Roxane White, manager of the Denver Department of Human Services, that her staff is being overwhelmed by referrals from DPS.

Cases such as two 5-year-olds kissing at a school are among the 251 school referrals in the month of February, up from a monthly average of 142.

"What has happened . . . is a great deal of fear for schoolteachers," White told council members, adding it's creating "huge system problems" for her "stressed" staff.

Whitman attended the meeting, as did DPS administrator Bob Anderson. Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey did not.

Morrissey's spokeswoman, Lynn Kimbrough, said he did not attend because of the pending case against Veltze, who is scheduled to make her first court appearance next week.

But Kimbrough also said Morrissey does not want to be involved in setting policy for the school district.

"We can explain what the law is but not set policy," she said.

If teachers are still confused about what to report, "those would seem to be training issues to clarify what the law is and what should be reported," she said. "Two 5-year-olds kissing is pretty clearly not something you would report."

Questions about the reporting law abound, based on the videotape of the principals' presentation and the City Council committee meeting.

They include how quickly crimes are to be reported - is immediately two hours or 24 hours? - and which agency, police or social services, takes which reports.

Talks are ongoing

The issue is further confused because the law says principals are not to conduct their own investigations. So how does a principal know whether the claim made is reasonable?

In addition, the city attorney's office has issued a preliminary report saying a DPS employee can't be prosecuted unless they "willfully" fail to report an abuse or neglect claim they believe to be true.

Thursday, Bennet said there have been "several conversations," including a meeting last week in the mayor's office, to "make sure our policies reflect the desires of law enforcement."

"It's an ongoing conversation," he said. "We'd love to resolve it as soon as we can."

Linkhart and City Councilwoman Jeanne Faatz, also a member of the council's safety committee, said they have no jurisdiction over Morrissey, an elected official. Nor do they have any say over Bennet, who is appointed by the Denver school board.

But they said the reporting confusion is impacting two city agencies - police and social services. Linkhart said he hopes Morrissey will weigh in.

"The right thing is to try to get some clarity to people in terms of how they're going to prosecute," Linkhart said. "He's the head prosecutor, but that doesn't mean you essentially wait by the trap until someone falls in. You try to keep them from going into the trap."

Reporting crime

Colorado law requires school principals and teachers to immediately report suspected crimes against children, including abuse and neglect.

But the law is open to interpretation.

How quickly is immediately? And what, exactly, constitutes abuse?

Charges filed against Skinner Middle School's principal recently prompted a surge in reporting to Denver police and social services.

Here's a look at how this issue has evolved:

February 2002 - Denver Police Capt. Tim Leary publicly accuses DPS officials of delays in reporting allegations of sexual assaults on students. Leary claims, in one case, an administrator threatened to expel a student if she reported a sexual assault.

The claims prompt meetings between Police Chief Gerry Whitman and then-DPS Superintendent Jerry Wartgow.

Ultimately, Whitman and then-Denver District Attorney Bill Ritter, now the governor, meet with DPS principals to clarify reporting guidelines.

The issue, however, lingers.

September 2007 - DPS announces a shift in its discipline policy, prompted by community concerns that too many students are being referred to police for minor incidents.

The new policy, called Restorative Justice, emphasizes talking by students involved in disputes to repair the harm done.

Rather than police referrals, students and their parents meet to discuss the problems and decide on reparations, such as letters of apology.

Community groups applaud the move but it raises concerns with Denver police, who meet with DPS officials to review the policy.

December 2007 - A student at Skinner Middle School reports being repeatedly touched on her chest, buttocks and "private parts" by two classmates while the teacher's back is turned. She reports the incident to Principal Nicole Veltze.

Veltze suspends the boys and offers the girl's mother the option of Restorative Justice.

The mother opts to call police and press charges. Veltze is later charged with a misdemeanor count of failure to report a crime at her school.

January 2008 - Veltze's attorney accuses Denver police and the Denver District Attorney's Office of making his client the scapegoat in an ongoing "turf battle" with DPS over reporting requirements in suspected abuse and neglect cases. Rich Caschette said his client followed DPS policy at every turn.

February - Chief Deputy District Attorney Lamar Simms and Denver Police Chief Gerry Whitman jointly address DPS principals on the issue of reporting allegations. But Simms and Whitman appear at times to disagree with each other, prompting even more concern from principals.

DPS attorneys issue a statement to principals urging them to "promptly report any incident, which you reasonably believe constitutes a crime," while the district seeks clarity on the issue.

March - Roxane White, the manager of the Denver Department of Human Services, reports to City Council Safety Committee members that referrals from DPS jumped 76.7 percent in the month of February. She said her staff is being overloaded with reports such as that of two 5-year-olds kissing at school.

City Council members Doug Linkhart and Jeanne Faatz call on DPS, Denver police and District Attorney Mitch Morrissey to work together to resolve the confusion.

An incident with repercussions

Confusion about when Denver Public Schools staff members are to report allegations to police stems largely from the charging of a school principal in January.

Nicole Veltze, principal of Skinner Middle School in northwest Denver, faces a misdemeanor count of failure to report an allegation of child abuse or neglect at her school.

According to police reports obtained by the Rocky Mountain News, here's what happened:

On Dec. 14, a seventh-grade girl reported to Veltze that she had been touched by two boys in her class.

The girl said the boys, also seventh-graders, repeatedly touched her on her buttocks, private parts and chest while the teacher had her back turned to the class.

She said she "froze" during the incidents and, after class, ran to a friend who took her to Veltze's office.

Veltze said she talked to both boys, and they admitted doing what the girl said. Both boys were suspended.

The dispute arises over whether, and when, Veltze should have called police.

According to reports, the girl told her mother after school on Friday, the day it occurred. The mother called Denver police. Police then contacted Veltze that Sunday, Dec. 16.


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Postby Marina » Sat Apr 19, 2008 4:04 pm


Kids Back at Home after Child Neglect

Posted: 5:18 PM Apr 16, 2008
Last Updated: 5:18 PM Apr 16, 2008
Reporter: Gene Petriello


News 12 at 6 o'clock; April 16, 2008

WINDSOR, S.C. --- Four kids are back at home tonight, after being taken away from their Aiken County home. News 12 has learned this isn't the first time at least 1 of the kids has been taken from the home and placed in protective custody.

Susie and Benjamin Robinson were arrested Monday and charged with unlawful neglect. They were released from the Aiken County Detention Center on Tuesday on bond. They still face the felony charge and could spend up to 10 years in prison.

Right now, the Robinsons and the 4 kids are under South Carolina Department of Social Services supervision.

The message is clear though, you can help to make sure any kid who you think might be in danger is taken care of.

Peggy Ford works as a child advocate, so she knows how important it is to keep every kid safe.

"People everyday should be willing to get involved with children's lives," says Peggy.

That's exactly what the South Carolina Department of Social Services did. They went to Benjamin and Susie Robinson's home and found a mess. An incident report tells it all. There they found a cluttered yard with toys, gross filth on numerous surfaces inside, beds that were made but linens in need of washing, in the kitchen a garbage can overflowing with waste and more.

Now, the kids are back at home and being watched by the State's DSS. They'll be monitored weekly and services will be provided for them.

You can help to make sure something like this incident doesn't happen again.

"You look for things that sing, that say this child is having difficulty," says Peggy.

There's a simple way you can lend a hand.

"If you see people coming in and out at odd hours of the night, if you see a lot of what looks like suspicious drug activity," says Peggy. "It's important to step up and take a chance because you could be saving a child's life."

Scared to speak up? Well don't be. Report it. Tell a friend what you saw.

"It's real important for children to have a voice and they don't have a voice unless a grown up is willing to speak up for them," says Peggy.

She understands how difficult taking a child out of a home can be.

"Nobody wants to be judged as having done a very bad job for something as close to their heart as children," she says. "It's a step to help both of them. It's not a step to separate them."

We don't know specific services the Robinsons will be getting. But, we do know it will be tailored to the needs of the family.


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Postby Marina » Sun Apr 27, 2008 7:11 pm

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Published: Friday, April 25, 2008

Mom told to behave in endangerment case

By KAREN LOVETT, Telegraph Staff
[email protected]

MERRIMACK – A woman who was charged in January with child endangerment after allegedly leaving a toddler in a car has been ordered to complete parenting classes.

On April 1, at a hearing in Merrimack District Court, prosecutors reached an agreement with Nancy Perrault, 34, of 109 Middlesex Road.

Perrault must be on good behavior for six months and take parenting, newborn-care and infant cardiopulmonary resuscitation classes at Southern New Hampshire Medical Center, according to court documents.

The documents define “good behavior” as not committing a felony, misdemeanor or major motor-vehicle offense in the next six months.

Merrimack Lt. Prosecutor Paul Trepaney said the case is still open, and if Perrault complies with the requirements, the charges will be erased.

If she doesn’t comply, the not guilty plea she lodged during her arraignment remains in effect, and the case would go to trial, Trepaney said.

In January, police charged Perrault with a misdemeanor count of child endangerment, which stemmed from an incident Jan. 3 in which she allegedly left a 2-year-old child in a running car in her driveway.

Police said the child was alone for 20 minutes in freezing temperatures. They charged Perrault, officers said, because of the child’s age and alleged time unattended.

Perrault’s case generated talk in town, with some arguing kids should never be left alone in cars because of potential risks and others saying there’s no problem if they are monitored and safety precautions are in place.


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Postby Marina » Tue Jun 03, 2008 3:33 pm

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Woman Arrested For Child Neglect

Saturday, May 31, 2008 - 04:18 PM

A Spartanburg County woman has been arrested and charged with neglecting her child.

The Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Department arrested a woman and has charged her with neglect of her child.

According to our coverage partners at the Spartanburg Herald-Journal, Nicole Michelle Roseberry, 25, of 290 Triple Farm Road, tested positive for drugs after giving birth to her son. The Herald-Journal reports that Roseberry tested positive for benzodiazepine and opiates.

The South Carolina Department of Social Services sent a referral on April 14 after test results came back positive. Benzodiazepine is a type of tranquilizer.


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Postby Marina » Tue Jul 08, 2008 6:56 pm

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Mother Charged After Not Reporting Sex Offense, Police Say

POSTED: 4:41 pm EDT July 8, 2008
UPDATED: 5:05 pm EDT July 8, 2008

RALEIGH -- A Gastonia woman has been charged with felony child abuse after police said she failed to report that her 12-year-old daughter had sex with a 21-year-old man.

Gastonia Police Detective Rickey Lovingood said the man was charged Tuesday with first-degree statutory rape, first-degree statutory sex offense and indecent liberty with a child.

Lovingood said the man was a family acquaintance.

Lovingood said it wasn't a case where the mother was allowing the girl to be sexually active, but she failed to act after finding out.

Police said a family friend took the girl to a hospital Saturday, and police were notified.

The Charlotte Observer said the mother was jailed Monday but released on $30,000 bond.

Names are being withheld to protect the girl's identity. The Associated Press generally doesn't identify victims of alleged sexual crimes.


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Postby Marina » Wed Oct 08, 2008 6:26 pm ... egins.aspx

Salem Observer
News and Information for the Town of Salem

Salem dirty house trial begins


The trial for Michael and Maureen Bell, accused of housing their five children in an uninhabitable home, will begin on Wednesday, Oct. 15, in Salem District Court.

The Bells have been charged with five counts each of endangering the welfare of a child for keeping their children in the 31 Twinbrook Ave. home, which was found to be ridden with health code violations.

They’ve been free on personal recognizance bail since their arraignments, and their children, ages 2 through 9, have been staying with relatives.

The Bells were renting the splitlevel home for $2,000 a month for just under two years when their 2-year-old daughter was found wandering naked down Oakridge Avenue, which intersects with Twinbrook Avenue.

An Oakridge Avenue resident found the little girl on the evening of July 4 and called police, who returned her to her parents, Michael and Maureen Bell, ages 33 and 32 respectively.

When police arrived, the Bells were watching three of their own children – two of them, ages 5 and 9, were not home at the time – and three of a relative’s children. The Bells were allegedly not sure how many children were in their home, and had not seen their 2-year-old leave.

Police began investigating when they saw the condition of the home, reporting seeing spoiled food throughout the home, smelling a nauseating odor of food and trash, and finding soiled diapers strewn on the floor.

Police also reported seeing raw sewage in the sink and toilet on the second level, and ants in the kitchen. Old appliances and trash were strewn across the yard.

On July 7, Salem health inspector Brian Lockard deemed the home uninhabitable after investigating with police and representatives from the state’s Division of Youth and Family Services.

Salem health officials had already been to the house three times because of litter in the yard while the Bells were renting it, but had not been inside.

Lockard said at the time of his investigation it looked as though the house had gone neglected for more than a year.

Salem police brought charges against the Bells, who turned themselves in on July 10.

Kim Poirier of Peterborough, owner of the home, said the Bells always paid their rent on time, and although she’d received calls from Lockard about the yard’s condition, the Bells always assured her the house was being properly maintained.

Poirier and her husband, Dan Poirier, have been working to clean up the home. In August, Lockard deemed the home livable again.

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Postby Marina » Wed Nov 26, 2008 8:10 pm ... artner=RSS

Estates mother cleared of child neglect

The state Department of Children and Families found she’d done nothing wrong, prompting a prosecutor to drop the felony charge

Originally published 8:38 p.m., Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Updated 8:38 p.m., Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Amelle Morisma

NAPLES — Amelle Morisma wasn’t a neglectful mother, just a harried one.

It was May 28, just hours before the 33-year-old mother’s graduation ceremony at Lorenzo Walker Institute of Technology and she was cleaning her apartment at Fairway Preserve in North Naples and cooking for her graduation celebration. That night, Morisma, a certified nursing assistant for 13 years, was to accept her certificate to be licensed as a practical nurse.

She’d asked the oldest of her many children to watch the youngest boys, ages 2 and 3, but, unbeknownst to her, the toddlers slipped out the door of the second-floor apartment and the teenagers didn’t notice.

Morisma, who also operates M & A Financial Destination Inc. with a relative, never made it to her graduation ceremony.

The crying woman, who had called the Collier County Sheriff’s Office after she realized her kids were missing, was charged with felony child neglect. An investigation showed the children had been gone more than two hours. Morisma, who has no criminal record, faced a maximum of five years in a state prison.

This week, Morisma learned she’d been cleared.

Naples defense attorney John O. McGowan arrived in Collier Circuit Court on Monday for a check on whether she was accepted into the pretrial diversion program and discovered Assistant State Attorney Chris Klink had dropped the charge Friday.

“She didn’t do anything wrong,” McGowan said as he left court, adding that he’d pushed for charges to be dismissed. “She was in the house, she’s got many kids and the teenagers were supposed to watch the young ones.”

McGowan said the toddlers slipped out to visit their uncle, her husband’s brother, who lived in the apartment complex, but they got lost. Reports show they were found 300 yards from their apartment and had traveled across a parking lot, across a road and climbed a fence into a playground.

McGowan said the state Department of Children and Families investigated and found she’d done nothing wrong, prompting the prosecutor’s decision to drop the charge.

Sheriff’s reports say a man driving home initially spotted the children at 5:30 p.m. in the gated park, playing on a backhoe and trying to climb a fence into a pool area. He walked back to the park and asked the toddlers where their parents were, but they couldn’t tell him, so he called 911 and Deputy Joseph Billig arrived at 6:02 p.m.

The children were unable to tell Billig where they lived. “I also asked them where their mommy was (and) they could not tell me,” Billig wrote in his report.

He combed the neighborhood asking everyone to no avail.

A victim advocate arrived and picked up the children as Billig continued his search, finally finding someone who suggested they could be Morisma’s boys. But when he knocked on her door, her 13-year-old son said he did have two small brothers, ages 2 and 3, but they were home and his mother was cleaning, so Billig left.

Twenty-five minutes later, at 7:40 p.m., Morisma called the Sheriff’s Office to report her two children missing. When asked how long they’d been gone, she thought it was five or 10 minutes.

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Postby Marina » Sat Dec 06, 2008 8:20 pm ... 7.html?npc

Couple investigated by CPS for making kids walk to school

11:43 AM PST on Thursday, December 4, 2008

First on

NINE MALL FALLS - A Suncrest couple has removed their five school-age children from Lake Spokane Elementary School after a school official there reported the mother to Child Protective Services in mid-November.

Parents, school district want issue settled In response, the Nine Mile School District - which borders northwest Spokane and Stevens County - is investigating the incident.

Dan and Maree Koolstra said the incident began on Nov. 17 when their two oldest children missed the bus.

The couple claims they have told their 8- and 10-year-old children that if they miss bus then they have to walk to school as punishment. They allege this is a form of punishment they have set in the past and have enforced from time-to-time.

On Nov. 17 the children missed the bus and were forced to walk the 1.4 miles to school.

The children walked along a dirt path off Highway 291 to get there.

Maree Koolstra said she followed the children along as she drove in her car to monitor their progress.

Upon seeing the boys walking to school, a school official there contacted CPS and that agency contacted the Koolstras.

A meeting with Nine Mile Falls School District Superintendent Brian Talbott occurred Monday.

Dan Koolstra wanted the school employee immediately fired. Talbott told KREM 2 News that nothing would be done until an investigation was complete.

The Koolstra's then decided they would keep their children from school until the matter is resolved.

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Postby Marina » Sat Dec 13, 2008 7:49 pm

District Court judge takes accused Willmar teacher’s case under advisement

By Gretchen Schlosser, West Central Tribune
Published Wednesday, December 10, 2008

WILLMAR — District Court Judge Michael J. Thompson took under advisement Tuesday an appeal by the Willmar teacher accused of maltreatment of a child.

After hearing arguments on Lisa Van Der Heiden’s appeal of a decision by the Minnesota Department of Education that she committed maltreatment by denying a child ac-cess to the restroom, Thompson said that he would issue a decision as soon he could get it completed.

During the hearing, Van Der Heiden’s attorney Rebecca Hamblin, who is an attorney for Education Minnesota, argued that the decision by the commissioner of education was in error as a matter of law and that the decision was arbitrary and capricious.

Hamblin argued Van Der Heiden was addressing the child’s individual education plan during the incident. The IEP included that behavior of running from adults was to be addressed, she said.

“Mrs. Van Der Heiden was addressing the child’s IEP,” Hamblin said. “There was no evidence that Mrs. Van Der Heiden was not going to let the child go to the bathroom.”

The child’s running “was targeted behavior to be addressed when it happened,” she argued.

The child later wet her pants in a time-out room in Van Der Heiden’s special education classroom at Lincoln Elementary School in Willmar. Van Der Heiden no longer teaches at Lincoln. She is currently assigned to the Lakeview School at the adolescent treatment unit at the Willmar Regional Treatment Center.

The investigation stemmed from a 2004 incident reported in spring 2005.

Martha Casserly of the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office argued that Van Der Heiden’s decision to not allow the child to continue down a hallway to use the restroom, but to bring her into the classroom, was the maltreatment.

“I don’t understand why you can’t deal with a biological necessity and then deal with the behavior,” Casserly said. “It was a denial.”

Casserly argued that the commissioner’s decision was based on core facts in the case and that reasons why the commissioner disagreed with a previous decision by an administrative law judge were given, making the decision neither arbitrary nor capricious.

An initial investigation found that Van Der Heiden had committed maltreatment by denying the child access to the restroom. She appealed and requested a hearing before an administrative law judge who recommended overturning the initial finding.

The deputy commissioner of education later ruled that the administrative law judge had erred, and she upheld the finding of maltreatment against Van Der Heiden.

Van Der Heiden appealed the ruling in Kandiyohi County District Court last summer.

In briefs filed in advance, Hamblin and Jess Anna Glover claim that the commissioner exceeded her authority and made a decision that was not supported by the evidence. They also claim the long timeline of the investigation and hearings has been unfair to their client.

The attorneys wrote that the final decision was focused more on the initial investigation than on testimony at the administrative hearing. The commissioner also failed to address the credibility of the witnesses.

They also wrote that Van Der Heiden did not deny access to the toilet but told the child she needed to calm down before she went to the restroom.

Delaying access to the toilet is not the same as denying access, they wrote.

In the state’s response, Martha Casserly of the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office said the act of turning the child away from the restroom toward the classroom constituted a denial of access to the toilet.

There was no explanation given for why the child couldn’t have been escorted to the restroom before her behavior was addressed, she wrote.

Casserly wrote that two other investigations, including one by the Willmar School District, also found that Van Der Heiden had denied the child access to the restroom.

The state’s stance is that the commissioner’s ruling was supported by the facts and correctly applied the law. The initial complaint was filed well within the three-year statute of limitations, she wrote, and Van Der Heiden did not establish that she had been harmed by the timeline of the investigation.

Van Der Heiden has been the focus of a federal lawsuit alleging that she violated the civil rights of a student. That lawsuit has been dismissed, but the plaintiffs are appealing the dismissal.

She has also been the subject of an investigation by the Department of Education’s division of special education compliance and assistance, which found numerous violations of state and federal regulations in her classroom. The state Board of Teaching is also monitoring her performance as a result of the investigations.

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Postby Marina » Sat Dec 13, 2008 7:58 pm ... 7/1002/rss

Mom charged with neglect of 11-year-old daughter

By TAVIA D. GREEN • The Leaf-Chronicle • December 11, 2008

A Clarksville mother was arrested Tuesday and charged with child neglect after she allegedly left her 11-year-old daughter in charge of her 1-month-old and 1-year-old siblings.

Shetoiri Vernice McClay, 29, who gave a 423 Wooddale Drive address, was charged with three counts of child neglect and one count of contributing to dependency.

According to a Clarksville Police Department report filed by Officer Candace Daugherty, the 11-year-old's father said he was notified by his daughter's school that she was not present.

When the father called his daughter at 8:30 a.m., she said she was caring for her 1-month-old and 1-year-old siblings while her mother went to a doctor's appointment, according to the report.

The 11-year-old had missed seven days of school and been tardy 10 times, according to the report, which added that the Department of Children's Services has been notified.

The 11-year-old said her grades were slipping because she is often busy caring for her siblings and no one helps with her studies, the report stated.

McClay returned home at 10:54 a.m. and said she didn't want to take her newborn in the rain and didn't see a problem with leaving her 11-year-old in charge.

McClay was released from the Montgomery County Jail Tuesday after posting a $2,000 bond.

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Postby Marina » Sat Dec 13, 2008 8:20 pm ... rlisl.html

Felony charges dismissed against Carlisle-area mom

by MATT MILLER, Of Our Cumberland County Bureau
Thursday December 11, 2008, 4:14 PM

District Judge Paula Correal dismissed felony child endangerment charges this afternoon against a North Middleton Twp., Cumberland County, mother and her boyfriend.

Jessie Head and Michael Barksdale Jr., both 20, were charged by township police last month after burns, a toe injury and bite marks allegedly were found on Head's 20-month-old son.

But after a preliminary hearing, Correal ruled that prosecutors hadn't provided evidence that Head or Barksdale had deliberately harmed the child.

Head's mother, who was called as a prosecution witness, said Head told her the boy was burned when he fell into an electric heater, that he cut his toe on a carpet tack strip and that the child was bitten by a playmate.

"At best we have examples of a young child getting injured (accidentally) as most young children do," said Janan Tallo, Head's attorney.

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Postby Marina » Wed Dec 31, 2008 5:10 pm ... s+to+fight

Police say Derry dads urged sons to fight

Union Leader Correspondent
Monday, Dec. 29, 2008

DERRY – Two Derry men have been arrested for encouraging their sons to fight other juveniles in two separate incidents, police said.

Both fathers are accused of endangering the welfare of a child and were taken into police custody last Monday.

George Primeau, 46, of Al Street, is accused of driving his son to a nearby address on Nov. 7 and encouraging the boy to call a youth who lived at the address outside so the two boys could fight. Primeau reportedly instructed his son to beat the youth up and "knock him out," police said in a news release.

The second father, Robert Dearborn, 35, of Frost Road, faces endangering the welfare of a child and disorderly conduct charges following a fight between his high school aged son and another youth on Oct. 23 at 2:30 p.m. near a school bus stop on South Range Road.

Dearborn is accused of encouraging his son to "smash" the other juvenile's head against the pavement and to "step on his head," police said.

This second fight took place in the middle of the road and was not stopped by others at the bus stop. Instead, a spectator caught the fight on their cell phone video camera and posted it online at In the video, a passerby honking her car horn could be heard. This is what stopped the fight, according to police.

Both men were released on $2,000 personal recognizance bail. Primeau is scheduled for an arraignment on Jan. 13 at Derry District Court. Dearborn will go before the court on Feb. 3.

Police said the two fights are not related beyond the fact that they are similar in nature. In both incidents, the youths sustained minor scrapes and bruises.

Derry police said the investigation into Dearborn's behavior was prompted when the video was brought to their attention by school counselors. WMUR also received a copy of the video and notified police.

Videos of teenagers and young adults fighting are prevalent and popular online, mainly because their peers use video cameras on their cell phones and digital cameras to record physical and verbal disputes.

Derry police officials said they have noted fights similar to the South Range Road fight recently on social networking Web sites. The Derry Cooperative School District and Pinkerton Academy have been made aware of the incident near the bus stop.


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Postby Marina » Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:27 pm ... /901060332

Charges against mother dropped in case involving grandchild
Daughter had been convicted in 2005 child neglect case.

Tribune Staff Writer

SOUTH BEND — Prosecutors have dropped charges against Elaine Schrock, whose grandchild in 2005 suffered life-threatening injuries at the hands of Schrock's daughter.

A jury in October found Schrock's daughter, 36-year-old Barbara Schrock, guilty of two felony counts for inflicting injuries on her 3-month-old daughter.

Barbara Schrock faces six to 20 years in prison on each Class B felony count and is to be sentenced Jan. 13.

Elaine Schrock, 63, had been charged with neglect of a dependent resulting in serious bodily injury after an investigation indicated she had failed to seek help for the child when the child showed symptoms of being seriously ill.

Barbara Schrock's child was rushed to a hospital in July 2005 with severe injuries that included a chronic brain injury, an acute brain injury, a detached retina, and leg and wrist fractures.

But prosecutors have dropped charges against Elaine Schrock, which means she has been cleared of any wrongdoing.

In court documents, a deputy prosecutor wrote that during Barbara Schrock's trial, experts testified that the first injury to the child had been such that any other subsequent brain injuries had no "discernible effect" on her health.

Because the child was placed in Elaine Schrock's care after she sustained the first injuries, Schrock could not be held responsible for the seriousness of the child's injuries.

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Postby Marina » Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:45 pm ... feedID=155

Mother of Baby Left Near Dumpster Can't Take Him Home

Caron Brookens

January 5, 2009

The mother of a baby found near a dumpster on Friday afternoon came to family court today to try to regain custody of her five-month-old son. Child Protective Services placed the baby in temporary foster care after a delivery driver found the child alone sitting in a baby walker behind Collins Elementary School.

However, Yvette Diallo left court today in tears after hearing that she would not see little Alpha Omar for at least another day. Child Protective Services told the judge it wants to run more criminal background checks on the family before releasing the baby boy.

The family's attorney, Bradley Tilton said, "They're just happy that there's going to be a resolution, and that's all I'm going to say right now."

The grandfather, Roy Garza, is behind bars for child endangerment. Police say Garza had been drinking while babysitting Alpha Omar, and his two-year-old sister, Kayla. Garza told police that Kayla ran away while they were walking near Collins Elementary School. When Garza chased after her, he mistakenly left the baby behind. Alpha Omar's grandmother, Gloria Ruiz, says her family was frantic when Garza returned without the baby.
"I was crazy, you know, but I can only imagine how she felt," said Ruiz.

Ruiz says her ex-husband lived "off and on" with his daughter and helped care for his grandchildren. Now Garza can no longer babysit the children, and can only be around them, if supervised. Yvette Diallo told the judge that she planned to quit work to stay at home and take care of her children, but she'll have to wait at least another day until 5-month-old Alpha Omar can join them. "It's a little disappointing, but it's okay, it's alright," Ruiz said. "I just know he's coming home."

The baby could be released to go home by 5 o'clock tomorrow. Garza is due in court Tuesday to face charges of endangering a child.

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Postby Marina » Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:55 pm ... y_driver_6

6-year-old takes family car after missing bus

Tue Jan 6, 3:44 pm ET

WICOMICO CHURCH, Va. – A 6-year-old Virginia boy who missed his bus tried to drive to school in his family's sedan — and crashed. His parents were charged with child endangerment.


His parents, Jacqulyn Deana Waltman, 26, and David Eugene Dodson, 40, are each charged with child endangerment, Wilkins said. Waltman is being held without bond. Dodson was released on a $5,000 bond.

It was not clear if they had attorneys.

The boy and his 4-year-old brother were placed in protective custody.


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Postby Marina » Thu Jan 15, 2009 3:42 pm ... source=rss

Saturday, January 10, 2009
Man charged in DCF confrontation

$1,500 bail, no contact order for allegedly striking girl, 12, with belt

[email protected]

WORCESTER — Bail was set at $1,500 cash yesterday for a Penn Avenue man accused of striking his 12-year-old daughter with a belt, then refusing to turn her and her two siblings over to the state Department of Children and Families.

Javier Ortiz, 41, of 91 Penn Ave., was arraigned in Central District Court yesterday on charges of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and three counts of kidnapping of a minor by a relative.

Assistant Chief Probation Officer Timothy White, who asked that Mr. Ortiz be held without bail pending a violation of probation hearing, told Judge Steven Thomas that the suspect’s 12-year-old daughter reported to a counselor at Seven Hills Charter School that her father struck her with a belt for violating curfew.

The school reported the allegation to the Department of Children and Families, which, in turn, notified the district attorney’s office, according to Mr. White. When DCF told Mr. Ortiz they wanted to take temporary custody of all three of his children, he refused, Mr. White said.

The probation official said Mr. Ortiz, who is on probation for an earlier conviction for driving after suspension of his license, was arrested Thursday night after failing to respond to repeated requests to bring his children to Worcester Police Headquarters.

Lawyer Julie Buszuwski, who represented Mr. Ortiz at yesterday’s arraignment, said her client had full custody of the three children and placed them with relatives after being contacted by DCF. Describing Mr. Ortiz as “a panicked father worried about losing his children,” she said he offered to bring them to the police station yesterday, but was told that was not acceptable.

Judge Thomas found probable cause to believe Mr. Ortiz had violated the terms of his probation, but did not order that he be detained pending a final probation surrender hearing. The judge set $1,500 cash bail on the new charges and continued the case to Feb. 9.

Mr. Ortiz was ordered to have no contact with his daughter if he posted bail.

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Postby Marina » Sat Feb 14, 2009 9:46 pm ... public_rss

Kids taken from 'compulsive' mum

By Caroline Overington
January 18, 2009 11:31pm

THEY were the kind of children who normally end up in an institution: they could not speak or feed themselves; they had to be rolled over in their beds; they would never walk or get out of nappies.

For six years, they lived in the sun-filled home of a registered nurse on the New South Wales central coast - and then, on December 12, with no warning, all three were removed from her care, The Australian reports.

The foster mother, who cannot be named because it would identify the children, says she's still stunned by the reason given.

According to social workers, she'd become "greedy" for as many disabled children as possible, revelling in the fact that others saw her as a "superwoman" who could take on any burden, and using the children to fend off "feelings of worthlessness".

Officially, she'd become a "compulsive caregiver".

"I never knew such a syndrome existed," says the woman.

She says she is the victim of "revenge" by social workers with whom she'd been in dispute for many years

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Postby Marina » Mon Feb 16, 2009 8:25 pm

Children Fathered By Woman's Half-Brother Removed From Home
Authorities Cite Children's Safety

POSTED: 5:48 pm EST February 14, 2009
UPDATED: 6:15 pm EST February 14, 2009

FORT WAYNE, Ind. -- Indiana child welfare workers have removed five children from the home of a woman who authorities said bore the children by her half-brother.

Authorities said the 30-year-old woman gave birth to a total of seven children fathered by her half-brother beginning when she was 14. She hasn't been accused of a crime.

Her half-brother, 46-year-old Donald Medsker, was released on bail this week after he was charged with incest and child solicitation.

The woman has had custody of five of the children, who range in age from 1 to 10. The other two were adopted.

Department of Child Services spokeswoman Ann Houseworth says when alleged offenders are released, officials take necessary actions to ensure the safety of the children.

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Postby Marina » Sat Mar 28, 2009 7:20 pm ... 9b45f70ef5

Mom disputes child abuse charge

By George Jones
The Reporter

Published March 5, 2009

A Guntersville woman was arrested this week on a warrant charging her with abuse of her child.

Marshall County sheriff’s deputies were asked in 2007 to assist the Department of Human Resources in the investigation of alleged abuse of a child then 5 months old.

That led to the arrest Monday afternoon of Amanda Jean Jones, 21, of 3401B Perry St.

Deputy Heath Thomas, Walls’ public information officer, said a Marshall County grand jury indicted Jones in July for first-degree child abuse.

She was arrested Monday at the DHR annex in Guntersville, where she was applying for some type of assistance.

Before her arrest Monday, sheriff’s office investigators had been unable to locate Jones, as she apparently had changed locations several times since the indictment.

The original investigation stemmed from a complaint of possible neglect being filed with DHR.

“In this joint investigation, we concluded that the child, who was 5 months old at the time of the complaint (in 2007), was suffering from medical neglect and it was obvious that the child was not being fed,” Walls said in a statement.

“The child was placed into foster care during the investigation by DHR and is expected to be returned to family members soon.”

In a recent interview with WAFF, Jones said she never starved her son, and it was medical issues that caused his weight loss.

“Skylar was put on a feeding tube, and was still decreasing in weight.” Jones told the television station.

“He had a feeding tube, and they swore up and down that I wasn’t feeding him. … How would they know, if they did not check his records to see if I took him to the doctor, if I was feeding him. … I’d hurt myself before I’d hurt my kids. They’re everything to me."

Jones also said when “Skylar, was born, he had problems eating. … He still could not hold it down, I tried burping him; I tried sitting him up.”

Jones said she repeatedly took her child to the doctor, and that’s when they installed a feeding tube to help the child eat.

Thomas said medical testimony by doctors during the grand jury proceedings weighed heavily in obtaining the indictment against Jones.

Jones was released from jail Tuesday after her husband made a $10,000 bond.

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Postby Marina » Sat May 02, 2009 10:12 am ... 3e801.html

Woman Who Allegedly Breast-Fed While Drunk Faces Charges
May 1, 2009

A prosecutor in North Dakota has filed child-neglect charges against a 27-year-old woman for allegedly breast-feeding her baby while intoxicated, the Associated Press reported April 28.

Police responding to a domestic-disturbance call in February reportedly observed Stacey Anvarinia of Grand Forks breast-feeding her six-month-old child and asked her to stop because she was drunk. No blood-alcohol test was taken at the time, however.

Prosecutor Carmell Mattison said the breast-feeding incident and other factors led the state to file felony child-neglect charges against Anvarinia, who, Mattison said, "wasn't in a position to care for the child properly."

Anvarinia pled not guilty to the charges this week.

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