Escambia County, Florida – Escambia County Deputies arrested Lincoln Park Primary School kindergarten teacher Brenda Morris on Thursday for allegedly committing child abuse on a developmentally delayed child. Morris was released shortly after booking.
The State Attorney’s Office charged the 68-year-old Morris with one count of child abuse without great bodily harm, which is classified as a third-degree felony.
“She was alleged to have touched the child in an illegal manner, which may constitute child abuse,” said Greg Marcille, assistant state attorney.
Escambia Deputy Superintendent Norm Ross said the alleged incident occurred Monday at the school. Lincoln Park administration notified the Florida Department of Children and Families, whose agents responded to the scene. Morris was escorted off school property.
Ross said the School District suspended Morris with pay, pending the outcome of the investigation.
“We’re at the mercy of another agency,” Ross said. “One thing people need to be made aware of is how badly these programs (such as DCF) are understaffed considering the workload these guys have.”
Marcille said he expects Morris to be arraigned in three weeks. Her case will then be put on the trial docket for two to three months after her arraignment.
MURFREESBORO, TN — A Murfreesboro detective has found his hands legally tied in a case of child sexual abuse. According to the report provided to The Daily News Journal, the investigation began in January, but the incident took place from 1988 to 1992.
“I discussed the case with the District Attorney’s Office and it appears that the statute of limitations prevents me from charging (the suspect),” the investigating officer wrote.
According to the report, the victim would have been between the ages of 11 and 15 during the years of the abuse, and the suspect was between 17 and 20. The officer went on to note that “the suspect is currently around minors and the victim was 11 to 15 at the time he was molested, therefore a DCS referral was made.”
“DCS is not a law enforcement agency,” Rob Johnson, director for communications for the Department of Children’s Services, told The Daily News Journal. “But anyone who suspects that a child is being abused or neglected must report those concerns to the DCS child abuse hotline at 877-237-0004.”
Texas toddler diagnosed with HIV, genital herpes & chlamydia after being assaulted by uncle
March 18, 2016 – HOUSTON, TX – David Wilson was found guilty of child sex assault in a Houston court.
Wilson, a previous sex offender, was accused of molesting two young girls. The jury deliberated about an hour.
Wilson was found guilty of the sexual assault of a child in 2005 and sentenced to four years in prison. Six years later, Wilson has been found guilty again in a case that has lifelong consequences for two more children.
He was charged with super aggravated sexual assault of a child. The enhanced charge is because of the age of the victim. She was only 23 months old at the time. We have also been told that the child is Wilson’s niece.
A court document states that the assault occurred last year. The toddler’s parents are said to have lived out-of-state, had drug problems and sent their daughter to live with family in Houston. The child is the daughter of Wilson’s sister.
Last November, the toddler was taken to a doctor, where she was diagnosed with HIV, genital herpes and chlamydia. Re-constructive surgery was performed because of infection to her private parts. A doctor told investigators that she had to have been sexually abused because of the sexually transmitted diseases that were detected.
Four people in the home where the child lived were tested. Only one tested positive for HIV. It was David R. Wilson. It’s unclear why Wilson was not arrested at the time.
A 14-year-old girl spoke to the Children’s Assessment Center, telling a caseworker she had been having sex with a man for two years. She identified the man as David R. Wilson and said she was pregnant. An exam of the girl showed that she was HIV positive, had herpes and chlamydia.
Indianapolis Public Schools changes Child Abuse procedure
INDIANAPOLIS, IN – The district’s delayed response to an official accused of having sexual encounters with students has prompted Indianapolis Public Schools to strengthen its procedures for handling reports of suspected child abuse or neglect.
Superintendent Lewis Ferebee said Thursday that school officials are now required to report any allegations of abuse or neglect to the district’s police department. School officials were previously required to report such allegations to the Indiana Department of Child Services.
The policy change is the result of problems with the district’s handling of child sex abuse allegations against a former counselor.
Shana Taylor is accused of engaging in sexual conduct with one student in multiple locations, including the school, between October and February. The encounters began when the student was 16 and continued after he turned 17, according to the Marion County prosecutor’s office.
Taylor also is accused of having a sexual encounter with a second student who was 16 at the time.
Court records and interviews indicate that at least six district officials, including Ferebee, learned of the allegations as early as Feb. 17, but no one reported the allegations until Feb. 23.
Ferebee said he didn’t report it himself because he didn’t have “relevant facts about the allegation.”
“I did not have age, name, text messages, photos, anything that was associated with this claim,” he said. “So I just want to be clear about that. If I had that type of information, obviously I would have an obligation there. But I did not have that information.”
Earlier this month, Ferebee said the district would “aggressively” pursue disciplinary action against school employees who failed to immediately report the allegations against Taylor. The school board hasn’t taken any action against those employees because it’s waiting from recommendations from Ferebee, according to board president Mary Ann Sullivan.
On Thursday, Ferebee said some employees are involved in disciplinary action, but he didn’t share any additional information.
Sullivan declined to comment on whether the board would pursue disciplinary action against Ferebee.
Finding the public has a right to know about child-abuse deaths and serious injuries, a state Appeals Court panel has issued a forceful ruling in a case brought by the state’s two largest newspapers.
In a major rebuke to state officials who fought to withhold such records, the Appeals Court ruled the Cabinet for Health and Family Services must pay legal costs and penalties of nearly $1 million to The Courier-Journal and Lexington Herald-Leader.
Calling the cabinet’s conduct “egregious,” Appeals Court Judge Irv Maze, who wrote the opinion for the panel, said the case reveals “the culture of secrecy” at the cabinet and “its misguided belief that the Open Records Act is merely an ideal, a suggestion to be taken when it is convenient and flagrantly disregarded when it is not.”
“It’s a terrific ruling, just terrific,” said Jon Fleischaker, who represented The Courier-Journal in the case. “We hope this puts an end to it.”
The administration of Gov. Matt Bevin on Friday blamed the outcome on his predecessor, Steve Beshear, whose officials denied access to the records in the case that dates back to 2010.
“The court’s opinion is based on a serious coverup during the Beshear administration that has now led to an unfortunate million-dollar liability for the commonwealth’s taxpayers,” Bevin spokeswoman Jessica Ditto said. “In the Bevin administration, things will be very different – we will hold ourselves accountable and be accessible to the public, particularly regarding the most vulnerable members of society.”
In his opinion, Maze cited the cabinet’s “systematic and categorical disregard for the rule of law” as grounds for upholding penalties of $756,000 against it for refusing to follow the open records law or previous court orders of the trial judge in the case, Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd.
The panel also included Judges Jeff Taylor and Janet Stumbo.
Shepherd had sharply criticized the state Cabinet for Health and Family Services for withholding key records in several high-profile child abuse cases in which it had been involved.
One involved the 2011 death of Amy Dye, 9, who was beaten to death in her adoptive home in Todd County. The other involved the 2009 death of Wayne County toddler Kayden Branham, who died after drinking drain cleaner from a meth lab in a trailer where the child’s teenage parents were staying.
Shepherd at one point found the cabinet “intentionally adopted a legal strategy designated to delay, obstruct and circumvent the court’s ruling,” a finding cited by Maze in his opinion.
Friday’s Appeals Court ruling comes after a legal battle of nearly six years by the newspapers over access to the cabinet’s records in such cases.
It also comes after a similar ruling in December by the same Appeals Court panel, upholding an award of $16,625 in legal costs to the Todd County Standard in a separate case where that newspaper had sought records related to the Amy Dye death.
In that case, the cabinet first ignored the records request from the weekly newspaper in Western Kentucky, then denied having any such records before eventually producing them at the order of Shepherd, who released them.
In the case decided Friday, The Courier-Journal and Herald-Leader had requested two years worth of records of child-abuse death and injuries, totally about 140 cases.
The cabinet initially refused to release any of the records, citing confidentiality. After a series of rulings by Shepherd in favor of disclosure, it began releasing some heavily redacted material. It eventually began disclosing nearly all material requested by the newspapers.
While the cabinet’s investigations of child-abuse and neglect cases are confidential, federal and state law make an exception when the abuse or neglect results in a death or life-threatening injury to a child.
The Appeals Court did not rule directly on the issue of the cabinet’s duty to release the records, finding the issue to be moot because the cabinet already has begun providing such records upon request, acting on Shepherd’s orders.
But the cabinet also challenged the newspapers’ legal fees of about $300,000 as well as $765,000 in fines.
Taylor concurred with the overall finding but dissented over whether the cabinet should pay the fines as imposed by Shepherd.
Under open records law, an agency may be fined up to $25 per day for every day it “willfully” withholds a public record.
Shepherd, finding that the cabinet had willfully withheld 140 cases, fined it $10 a day for the 540 days he calculated the cabinet had wrongly withheld records from the newspaper for the total of $765,000.
But Taylor, in his dissent, argued the fines should have been calculated by the number of persons requesting them – in this case, the two newspapers – rather than by all 140 cases, which would have resulted in a much lower fine.
The case now returns to Franklin Circuit Court for Shepherd to rule on the issue of the fines and legal fees.