Davidson County couple charged with
Child Abuse after doctor finds 4-month-old has broken bones
DAVIDSON COUNTY, NC – Two Davidson County parents are facing charges after a baby was discovered to have multiple broken bones.
According to the sheriff’s office, Cruise Wesley Poole and Lorren Adrian Moore, both 28, were each charged with felony child abuse after a doctor allegedly found their 4-month-old baby girl had several broken bones.
WGHP reports the child was seeing her pediatrician for a regularly scheduled checkup when the doctor saw signs of child abuse.
The baby was taken to the hospital and was found to have a broken leg, a broken rib, and two broken vertebrae.
Poole and Moore were taken into custody on Saturday by the Alleghany County Sheriff’s Office and placed in the Alleghany County Jail.
Poole is being held under a $15,000 bond and Moore is being held under a $10,000 bond.
Criticism raised over ending Child Abuse prevention program
Lewiston, Maine – The LePage administration is being criticized for its decision to end a statewide program aimed at preventing child abuse and neglect, even as Maine has witnessed its second horrific case of child abuse in three months.
State officials say the $2.2 million Community Partnerships for Protecting Children program duplicates other Maine prevention programs and is not evidence-based.
Maine Department of Health and Human Services officials surprised nonprofit leaders in a meeting a few weeks ago by saying the program that launched more than a decade ago would not be renewed, and did not give clear reasons why, said officials with Opportunity Alliance, the South Portland-based nonprofit that started the program.
“It is our duty to the Maine taxpayers to ensure that programs we fund are not duplicative of one another,” DHHS spokeswoman Emily Spencer said Wednesday in an email response to questions from the Press Herald.
“Their money needs to be spent in the most effective and efficient ways possible.”
The decision by DHHS preceded the death Sunday of a 10-year-old girl in Stockton Springs, who authorities say died of battered child syndrome. It came after a Wiscasset woman was charged with depraved indifference murder in connection with death Dec. 8 of a 4-year-old girl in her care.
Ken Kunin, superintendent of South Portland schools, which works closely with Opportunity Alliance on the program, said DHHS is “wrong” that the program is providing services available elsewhere.
“It doesn’t duplicate. They offer direct help and support for families and communities,” Kunin said. “It’s been a tremendous asset in South Portland. More kids attend school, are healthier and parents have really been connected to services. It’s really been a tremendous program.”
Debra Dunlap, regional director of Community Partnerships for Protecting Children in southern Maine for Opportunity Alliance, said it makes no sense to eliminate prevention programs that can stop family problems from becoming acute.
“It would be like building hospitals with only emergency rooms,” Dunlap said.
In southern Maine, where the program has been established for about a decade, CPPC partners with about 60 groups, including schools, nonprofits, law enforcement, local governments, churches and others to identify and help families at risk of abuse and neglect.
Opportunity Alliance officials argue the program has saved children from difficult circumstances, although they acknowledge that like many prevention programs, the benefits are difficult to measure. Just two years ago, the state expanded the program to other communities, such as Bangor and Belfast, which makes the move to end the program all the more puzzling.
“The safety of kids in Maine is in jeopardy, and supportive services for families who need help will be vanishing,” said Mike Tarpinian, executive director of Opportunity Alliance.
Child abuse has been in the spotlight in Maine recently with some high-profile cases, most recently in Stockton Springs, where Sharon Carrillo, 33, and Julio Carrillo, 51, were charged in the beating death of Marissa Kennedy. She was Sharon Carillo’s daughter and Julio Carrillo’s stepdaughter.
Police reported the 10-year-old received daily beatings from the Carrillos for months before dying on Sunday. The Office of Chief Medical Examiner performed an autopsy and determined that Marissa died of battered child syndrome.
The Carrillos have been charged with murder, and made a court appearance in Belfast on Wednesday.
Neighbors from when the family lived in Bangor said they called police and Maine DHHS over concerns about child abuse, but it’s not clear why Marissa was allowed to continue to live with the Carillos. The couple moved from Bangor to Stockton Springs last fall.
Tarpinian said it doesn’t make any sense to end a program that had been helping to reduce the number of abuse cases in the state over the past decade. In Cumberland County, where CPPC has been established the longest — for about a decade — substantiated cases of child abuse or neglect plummeted from 445 in 2008 to 261 in 2016, the most recent year available, despite DHHS launching more child abuse investigations during that decade.
Opportunity Alliance officials say because so many factors go into the trends, including state policies, cultural trends, overall declining crime numbers, demographics and other issues, it’s impossible to know exactly how much the prevention program helped.
“We know we played a really critical role,” Dunlap said. “We know more kids are living safely with their families because of this program.”
By the numbers
Statewide, substantiated abuse and neglect cases dropped from 2,521 to 2,268 from 2008 to 2016, although most of the CPPC programs outside of Greater Portland are much more recent — starting after 2015.
The $800,000 per year state contract with Opportunity Alliance is slated to end Sept. 30, as are contracts with four other nonprofits, including Penquis in Bangor, Community Concepts in Augusta and Broadreach Family and Community Services in Belfast, either in September or this summer.
The state spends a total of $2.2 million per year on the prevention program, Tarpinian said, and a quality prevention program will save the state money as fewer children end up in crisis and need Child Protective Services and in foster care. The state announced on Wednesday that it was operating with a $128 million surplus.
The CPPC program began as a pilot program in Portland by the Opportunity Alliance in the mid-2000s, and a comprehensive program launched in 2008 in South Portland’s Redbank Village and Brickhill apartments. The program has since expanded to all of southern Maine, Lewiston, Augusta, Bangor and Belfast.
Spencer said the programs duplicated the state’s Child Abuse and Neglect Councils, which are entities created by the Maine Legislature to prevent child abuse and neglect.
“Maine’s (Child Abuse and Neglect) Councils serve the same families that the CPPCs were intended to serve,” Spencer said.
Dunlap said the Child Abuse and Neglect Councils do not have the resources to conduct community-based programs like CPPC does, and the programs do not duplicate each others.
Spencer said the program is not “evidence-based” and that there was also a question of funding.
“When originally established, DHHS believed that the CPPCs were an evidenced-based program,” Spencer said. “Upon further research as we considered renewing and expanding, it has been determined that they are not evidenced based, but are seen as a method for engaging communities with the goal of preventing child abuse.
“This is the same goal of Maine’s statutorily established CAN Councils.”
‘Best that’s available’
But Dunlap said that CPPC, while not meeting the rigorous scientific standard of evidence-based, is the best that is available. There are no community-based prevention programs that meet the evidence-based standard DHHS is seeking, she said.
“Every aspect of the model we are using is based on research that shows what families need to keep kids safe from abuse,” Dunlap said.
“It’s not a simple recipe where you can put the ingredients in and get a cake. How do you prove something that didn’t happen?”
It is difficult to count how many people are served by the community-based programs, Dunlap said, but in South Portland, at least 1,630 individuals are helped per year.
The community-based prevention programs provide many services and are difficult to explain, Dunlap said, but one example is the Neighborhood Resource Hub on Westbrook Street, between Redbank and Brickhill in South Portland. The hub is a combination food pantry, and a place where people can connect to social services that they may not be aware of, such as signing up for federal heating assistance, Medicaid or Affordable Care Act insurance. Employers will post job listings looking for workers.
Becky Morse, a volunteer at the Neighborhood Resource Hub, said she has seen how the service benefits families.
“It’s a safe place, and it gives people a sense of security where people can go and get their questions answered, find out where to get help. They can be instantly directed,” Morse said.
She said the food pantry is also a great resource to have within walking distance, as people can pick up bread and fresh vegetables.
Capital murder child abuse case highlights
who’s most vulnerable
SAN ANTONIO, TX – After sobering up at the hospital, the suspect police say was found intoxicated on a bed next to a four-year-old boy who had been beaten to death is now charged with capital murder.
Michael Arroyo, 32, is accused of murdering his girlfriend’s son, four-year-old Cash Briones. The little boy had blunt force trauma to the head.
Arroyo is also charged with injuring his girlfriend’s two other children, ages one and three.
All three kids were left in his care February 16 at a Days Inn hotel on the city’s east side.
Arroyo is now being held on bonds worth more than a million dollars.
Child abuse cases rose sharply in Bexar County last year. Counselors say single moms especially need to be aware of the dangers.
“The child is oftentimes left alone because the individual needs to work or needs to go to school or they’re trying to better themselves or just supply for their family,” says Randy McGibeny from ChildSafe.
He says that leaves room for someone who wants to do harm to gain a mother’s trust.
“If they’re capable of doing that, then oftentimes we’re going to open our doors to those individuals,” McGibeny says.
He says it’s incredibly common for a mother’s boyfriend to become the perpetrator.
“If there’s a situation where an individual that you’re dating or an individual that you’ve brought into your home is violent toward you – verbally or physically – know that the situation can progress,” McGibeny says. “And oftentimes, if they’re violent toward you – they’re eventually going to be violent toward your children.”
Gena Nicole Sanchez, 22, is charged with two counts of child abuse, a second-degree felony, accusing her of seeing signs that her children were being abused but not doing anything about those signs, KSL reported.
Last week, Isaiah Weaver, 17, was charged as an adult with aggravated murder, a first-degree felony, in the death of 21-month-old Jaycieion Sanchez.
He is also charged with two counts of child abuse, a second-degree felony.
For about a month, police say Weaver, Sanchez and Sanchez’s three children were living with Sanchez’s mother in West Valley City.
On Jan. 16, police were called to the apartment on a report that Jaycieion was unconscious and unresponsive.
Police found the baby, who was cold to the touch, lying on his back on the bathroom floor with his eyes partially open and a large bruise on his cheek, according to charging documents.
He was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.
A doctor at the hospital determined “it was likely that (Jaycieion) had been deceased for some time before emergency personnel had arrived,” the charges say.
Medical personnel observed bruising and scars “all over” the boy’s body as well as severe head trauma, according to the charges.
At the apartment, police found “fresh blood droplets on the walls, ceiling, and many other pieces of furniture in the bedroom shared by Weaver and Sanchez.”
A 5-year-old sibling of Jaycieion told police that Weaver, who watched the younger children while Sanchez went to work, would discipline them by heating a clothing hanger with a lighter and then spanking them with it, according to court documents.
Weaver, who “admitted that he had a bad temper,” also said he was throwing Jaycieion in the air “because he wanted him to be quiet,” and the boy hit his head on the ceiling, the charges said.
In addition, a few times in the days before his death while he was throwing Jaycieion, the boy landed with his head hitting the floor, police say the teen told them.
Sanchez said she “noticed Weaver seems jealous” of her relationship with Jaycieion, the charges said.
She said she watched as Weaver allegedly spanked Jaycieion’s bare bottom and one time kicked her son in the back.
She also observed marks on her 2-year-old child’s chest and watched Weaver hit him in the mouth once, the charges state.
The mother told police she “had a weird feeling” about going to work on Jan. 16, but went anyway “because they needed the money.”
TX AG Paxton Unveils New Training Video
to Mobilize Texans in the Fight Against
AUSTIN, TX – Attorney General Ken Paxton today introduced a new comprehensive training video to educate and mobilize all Texans in the fight against human trafficking. The nearly hour-long video was developed over the last year by the attorney general’s Human Trafficking/Transnational Organized Crime (HTTOC) section and debuted during a public screening at the Austin ISD Performing Arts Center.
“This remarkable training video represents my deep conviction to inform, educate and empower Texans to prevent, recognize and report human trafficking,” Attorney General Paxton said. “‘Be the One in the Fight Against Human Trafficking’ was created to enlist citizens from every walk of life to help Texas in its nationwide leadership role to combat and ultimately eliminate this horrific and dehumanizing crime.”
Texas is responsible for the nation’s second highest number of calls to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, and recent research indicates that at any given time there are more than 300,000 victims of human trafficking in the state.
At the screening, Attorney General Paxton announced that his office is providing the human trafficking training video to all Texas state agencies, with the potential of reaching 315,000 state employees. The video is mandatory viewing for the 4,000 employees of the attorney general’s office. “I am challenging my fellow state agency heads to follow suit,” he said.
Attorney General Paxton applauded the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services for being the first state agency to use the video in the training of all 8,000 of its front-line caseworkers.
“Be the One in the Fight Against Human Trafficking” shares the compelling and often deeply emotional stories of human trafficking from the perspective of survivors, experts, law enforcement, and good Samaritans, including a Texan who helped authorities shut down a major human trafficking operation in his own neighborhood of The Woodlands. The training video is available for anyone to watch at www.texasattorneygeneral.gov/human-trafficking.
Launched in January 2016, Attorney General Paxton’s HTTOC section has assisted or consulted on dozens of cases, such as the arrest of the CEO of Backpage.com, whose online “adult” ads were linked to sex trafficking of women and children.
It also partners with Truckers Against Trafficking and the Texas Trucking Association on an innovative public-private-program to put more eyes and ears on the road to catch human trafficking. Since its inception, HTTOC has provided human trafficking awareness training to more than 15,000 people across the state of Texas.