Woman charged with Child Abuse after jumping gate to attack neighbor kids
WEST VALLEY CITY, UT – A woman is facing child abuse charges after police said she jumped over the neighbor’s fence and attempted to assault two juveniles Saturday evening.
According to charging documents, police were called by a juvenile to a home on Redwing Street in West Valley City around 5:45 p.m. on a child abuse report.
When police arrived, they were told by two juveniles that Jessica Bawden had thrown multiple branches from a tree at them while they were playing in their own backyard and then she ran to the front of their home and jumped over a gate in the side yard that leads to the backyard.
The victims told police that the suspect then chased them around the backyard, screaming “I’m going to kill you!” and attempted to grab one of the juvenile’s neck but missed his neck and grabbed his shirt.
The juvenile was reportedly able to break free of Bawden’s grasp, enter his home, lock the doors and call the police.
When police approached Bawden and attempted to detain her, she resisted and pulled away from the officers. Officers had to use physical force in order to take her into custody.
Officers said Bawden smelled strongly of alcohol at the time of her arrest.
Bawden is facing charges of child abuse, interfering with arresting officers, the threat of violence and intoxication.
AG Paxton’s Child Exploitation Unit Makes Child Pornography Arrest in Wharton County
AUSTIN, TX – Attorney General Ken Paxton today announced that on Wednesday the Child Exploitation Unit (CEU) of his office arrested 37-year-old Jeremiah Joshua Pace, of El Campo, Texas, on one count of Possession of Child Pornography.
A CyberTipline report from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children® (NCMEC) notified the Child Exploitation Unit that Pace reportedly uploaded child pornography to an e-mail account.
On October 9, 2019, CEU investigators executed a search warrant of Pace’s residence in Wharton County. When interviewed, Pace admitted to possessing files of child pornography on his cell phone and email account.
Investigators examined Pace’s cell phone and found an image of child pornography and seized several digital storage devices to be examined by the Digital Forensic Unit.
Pace was transported to the Wharton County Jail without incident.
Attorney General Paxton’s office works to protect children by using the latest technology to track down some of the most profoundly evil predators online.
Since its inception, the Child Exploitation Unit has made 342 arrests and obtained 593 convictions on charges for possession of child pornography.
Attorney General Paxton urges all parents and teachers to become aware of the risks children face on the internet and take steps to help ensure their safety.
If you suspect someone is producing or downloading child pornography, you can report it to NCMEC. CyberTipline 1-800-843-5678
Texas lawmakers want to protect families wrongly accused of Child Abuse
In response to an NBC News investigation, lawmakers want families to be allowed a second medical opinion before a child is taken from a home.
HOUSTON, TX – Texas lawmakers are calling for stronger safeguards in the state’s child welfare system after an NBC News and Houston Chronicle investigation found children had been taken from their parents based on disputed medical opinions from doctors trained to spot child abuse.
The reporting showed that child welfare workers removed some children from homes after receiving reports from state-funded child abuse pediatricians that were later called into question, leading to traumatic family separations and months-long legal fights.
Rep. James Frank, chairman of the Texas House of Representatives committee that oversees the state’s Department of Family and Protective Services, said the investigation exposed serious problems.
“I’m very concerned with the premature, unnecessary removal of children, and I think it happens a lot more than people in Texas understand,” said Frank, a Republican from northern Texas.
Frank said he plans to call for a series of legislative hearings in the coming months to explore potential improvements. Some legislators have suggested creating a way for courts, child welfare workers or accused families to request a second medical opinion before the state removes a child from a home.
Texas provides $5 million in grants each year — including $2.5 million from the agency that oversees Child Protective Services — to support the work of child abuse pediatricians, a small but growing subspecialty of doctors who examine children who come into hospitals with suspicious injuries. The Texas grants deputize some of the doctors to review cases on behalf of child welfare investigators, who then rely on their reports when deciding whether to remove children from parents.
Frank acknowledged that these state-supported physicians have a difficult job and that they play a critical role in protecting abused children, likely saving lives. But he said he’s heard from numerous parents in recent years whose children were removed by Child Protective Services based primarily on a report from a child abuse pediatrician and despite contradictory opinions from other doctors.
In those cases, Frank said he thinks child welfare workers are sometimes too deferential to agency-funded abuse doctors and fail to complete a thorough investigation before taking children.
“In most cases, the doctors aren’t saying ‘This is child abuse,’” Frank said. “They’re saying that they are concerned that it’s child abuse. And so I don’t know there are enough checks and balances to make sure that we have confirmed that it really is child abuse.”
Rep. Harold Dutton Jr., a Houston Democrat and lawyer who has represented a mother who says she was wrongly accused by a child abuse pediatrician, said he has begun discussions with Frank to figure out potential improvements.
“We haven’t come up with anything yet, but we’re working towards it,” he said. “One of the things that needs to happen is we need to better define when CPS should remove children. We’ve got to do a better job of that.”
In a statement, Patrick Crimmins, a spokesman for the Department of Family and Protective Services, said the agency relies on the expertise of child abuse pediatricians when its caseworkers and other medical specialists are unable to determine if a serious injury is a result of abuse.
“We believe this process has worked well to detect abuse in complex cases and has protected children,” Crimmins said. “But any process — particularly one with the lives of children and their families at stake — can be improved, and we want to work with legislators and stakeholders to do just that.”
In interviews, leading child abuse pediatricians said they are careful to rule out underlying medical conditions and accidental causes before issuing their opinions. The doctors acknowledged that a mistaken child abuse diagnosis can result in a child being taken from caring parents. But overlooking warning signs, they said, could lead to a child being left in a dangerous home, with potentially fatal consequences.
To state Rep. Gene Wu, the issues raised by the NBC News and Chronicle reporting were familiar. Wu, a Houston Democrat and lawyer, sometimes handles cases involving Child Protective Services and allegations of abuse.
“I have personally dealt with a couple of cases … where you had day-to-day physicians who said, ‘This is a typical type of bone break that is common in children of this age because they’re learning to walk,’” Wu said. “Then the case gets looked at by the child abuse expert and they say it might be child abuse, and then everyone sort of freaks out.”
In those instances, Wu said, “CPS is sort of caught in this damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don’t situation.”
Child abuse pediatricians are trained not only to identify abuse, but to identify medical conditions that can mimic abuse. The doctors say they rule out or fail to confirm abuse more times than not.
But Wu said when medical specialists are focused on finding and preventing child abuse, it’s natural that some run-of-the-mill injuries may appear more sinister.
“If you’re a hammer, then everything is a nail,” Wu said.
In many cases, the only doctor consulted by Child Protective Services and called to testify in court is the child abuse expert who initially flagged the concerns, in part because many families do not have the money to hire seasoned lawyers or outside medical experts.
To address that, Frank and other lawmakers have suggested requiring Child Protective Services to seek additional medical opinions in some instances before removing children. Another fix, Wu said, might be to create a mechanism for courts across the state to bring in independent experts to evaluate medically complex cases and offer a second opinion.
“We could create a pot of money that courts could dip into,” he said. “One party could make a motion to the judge to request an independent expert, and the state could have a list of medical experts to take a look at it.”
There are no “easy solutions,” he cautioned.
“I’ve described the CPS system as a very finely balanced seesaw,” Wu said, “and if you tip it too much you’re going to take kids away from good parents, and if you tip it the other way, you’re going to have dead kids. … Whatever we do, we need to make sure that this policy solution doesn’t tip the balance.
Man charged with murder, Child Abuse in Midland toddler’s death
MIDLAND, MI – A Kalamazoo County man is charged with murder in connection with the death of a Midland toddler.
Damian A. Garrett, 23, of Augusta, on Friday, Sept. 20, appeared in Midland County District Court for arraignment on charges of first-degree murder and first-degree child abuse. Both are life offenses, with the former mandating no possible parole if convicted.
The arraigning judge denied granting Garrett bond.
Police had arrested Garrett in the early morning hours of Thursday, Sept. 19. Two days prior, at about 3:05 p.m., police responded to an apartment in the 5200 block of Hedgewood Drive for a report of a child not breathing. They arrived to find emergency medical responders in the process of rendering CPR to an unresponsive girl.
The 21-month-old girl, identified by Midland County Prosecutor J. Dee Brooks as Skylar N. Papple, was transported to Mid-Michigan Medical Center where staff pronounced her dead.
Garrett was in a dating relationship with the child’s mother, police have said.
Brooks said Skylar died due to drowning and also suffered some secondary head trauma. Garrett had been home alone with Skylar, giving her a bath, Brooks said.
At some point, he ran to neighbors’ homes seeking help, then flagged down a UPS driver, who called 911, Brooks said.
Garrett is to appear for a preliminary examination at 2 p.m. on Oct. 15.
The Louisiana Department of Education today revoked the license of an early learning center in Ouachita Parish and terminated its public funding after escalating instances of children being mistreated by staff members, resulting in employees being terminated and arrested for cruelty to juveniles. The center also failed to timely report the most recent incident to the appropriate state agencies and to the parents of the children involved.
“Early childhood education centers have the responsibility of not only preparing our youngest learners for success in Kindergarten and beyond, but also prioritizing their health, safety and well-being,” said State Superintendent John White. “This center has proven it is unable to protect our children.”
Most recently, in August, the Department’s Division of Licensing inspected The Assembly Kidz Care, located at 1007 Glenwood Drive, after learning a staff member mistreated three 3-year-old children.
The center’s video showed the staff member picking up one child by the shirt before dropping them to the floor, causing the child to hit their head.
The staff member was then seen aggressively grabbing a second child while attempting to put the child down onto a sleeping mat, and dragging a third child across the room and onto a sleeping mat.
The center’s video also showed the staff member hitting and shaking the children.
A parent watching the center’s video observed the mistreatment and brought it to the attention of the center’s director. The center did not notify the state education department, the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services or the parents of the children involved within the required time frame.
This center is now ineligible for public funding through the Child Care Assistance Program, which helps make child care more affordable for working low-income families. The education department has alerted families affected by this action and is working closely with them to identify safe, quality alternative options.
The Assembly Kidz Care has 15 calendar days from receipt of the notice of revocation to appeal the decision. Providers who have had their licenses revoked are ineligible to apply for licensure for two years. Operating a child care center without a license may result in an order to cease and desist, as well as an injunction from a court prohibiting the continued operation of a child care center without a license and placement on the statewide registry of individuals prohibited from operating a child care center.