Category Archives: Indifference

Cameron County TX DA’s Office Making A Difference

.jpg photo of Cameron County Assistant DA and Child Abuse Investigator
Cameron County TX DA’s Office Cares About All Children

Cameron County Child Abuse Unit works to aid those in need

Cameron County, TX  –  Often, the person who sexually abuses a child is someone the child knows or trusts.

When Cameron County Assistant District Attorney Patrick Rodriguez first started working for the Child Abuse Unit, he was surprised to find that many times, the sexual abuse is happening quietly.

“I always felt that sexual assaults were something loud and vicious, but a lot of what we see is a silent horror,” Rodriguez said.  “It’s quietly an uncle (or another family member) molesting a child.”

Right now, the CameronCountyDA’s Office is working on 50 cases pertaining to child abuse, but more are always coming in.

Not every incident that is reported makes it to court or even the Child Abuse Unit’s desk.  Investigators may determine that there is not sufficient evidence for a case, or if the case does reach the unit, witnesses may drop the charges or change what they say, said Brandy Bailey, supervisor of the child abuse unit.

“We’ve had quite a few cases where the mothers or grandmothers will say that it didn’t happen.  That’s why it’s so important we all have that relationship with the therapists and professionals,” Bailey said.

Law enforcement helps, too, with the amount of evidence and statements it is able to provide for a case, Rodriguez said.

Gabriela Cruz, the Child Abuse Unit’s paralegal, helps keep the unit running, too, said Yvette Vela, public information officer for the DA’s Office.

OK Parent Of The Year In Prison Instead

.jpg photo of woman recognized as DHS Adoptive Parent of the Year in NE OK
Deidre Matthews, 50

Oklahoma woman formerly named DHS Adoptive Parent of the Year gets prison time in Child Abuse case

JAY, OK  –  An Oklahoma woman who was formerly named DHS Adoptive Parent of the Year received prison time in connection to a child abuse case.

In 2006, Deidre Matthews, 50, and her former husband, Jerry Matthews, were recognized as Department of Human Services Adoptive Parents of the Year for northeast Oklahoma, the Tulsa World reports.

While the two were married, they reportedly lived with nine children, ages 4 through 17, in an animal feces-infested mobile home in Jay, Oklahoma.

The couple also owned more than 50 animals, including three spider monkeys and 11 lemurs.

According to the Tulsa World, court records show that under the care of Deidre Matthews, the oldest teen was forced to kill her pet kitten by bashing its head into a tree; another child was handcuffed and placed in a dog cage; children were made to stand outside or walk around the house naked; and children were kept home from school to avoid detection of bruises, welts and wounds.

Matthews is also accused of beating the children, allowing pet monkeys to bite the two teen daughters, and withholding food and water as punishment.

Her husband, Jerry, pleaded no contest to two counts of child neglect in 2016.  He received a suspend life sentence in exchange for testifying against his former wife.

This week, Deidre Matthews pleaded no contest to 12 counts of child abuse, child neglect and child endangerment.

According to the Tulsa World, Matthews received a life sentence, all but four years of which was suspended.

The local assistant district attorney said Matthews will receive credit for the year she spent in county jail and that she will only have to serve 85 percent of her sentence.

TX Attorney General CEU Stops Rice Child Pornographer

.jpg photo of accused Child Pornographer
Michael Allen Carter, 29, of Rice Texas.

OAG’s Child Exploitation Unit Arrests Navarro County Man for Possession of
Child Pornography

AUSTIN, TX  –  Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced today that the Child Exploitation Unit (CEU) of his office arrested 29-year-old Michael Allen Carter, of Rice, on five counts of Possession of Child Pornography, a third-degree felony.  Carter could face up to 10 years in prison per charge if convicted.

Following a CyberTipline report from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children® (NCMEC), CEU investigators executed a search warrant at Carter’s residence, where child pornography was found on a digital storage device.

Investigators seized additional digital storage devices that will be examined by the attorney general’s Digital Forensics Unit.

During an interview, Carter admitted to operating the account reported to NCMEC, but declined to answer any additional questions.

Carter was transported to Navarro County Sheriff’s Office, and appeared before a magistrate.

The Texas Attorney General’s Office works to protect children by using the latest technology to track down some of the most profoundly evil predators online.

The CEU proactively seeks out and arrests predators who commit crimes against children using technology and online sources.

Attorney General Paxton urges all parents and teachers to become aware of the risks our children face on the internet and take steps to help ensure their children’s safety.

If you suspect someone of producing or downloading child pornography you can report it to NCMEC.

For more information on cyber safety, please visit: https://texasattorneygeneral.gov/initiatives/cyber-safety/

NM Reports Increase In Child Abuse, Neglect

.jpg photo of Child Abuse graphic
There’s no excuse for Child Abuse

Child Abuse, Neglect strain New Mexico
protection program

SANTA FE, NM  –  New Mexico’s child protection system is straining to keep pace with an increase in abuse and neglect cases, despite increased public spending, according to a report from state analysts released Tuesday.

The report from the nonpartisan Legislative Finance Committee shows the protective services program for children in state custody has failed to meet seven out of eight performance goals.  For the fiscal year ending in June, the program missed benchmarks for reunifying children with parents in under a year, the number of children returning to foster care and the speed of adoptions.

The number of children placed in protective care in New Mexico increased by 6 percent to 2,674 during the one-year period ending in June.  The state spends 21 percent more on protective programs for children than it did four years ago.

Children, Youth and Families Department Secretary Monique Jacobson said her agency has been encouraging the public to report child abuse — possibly pushing up case numbers in the process.

“We’re asking people to make child abuse their business,” she said, noting other factors in New Mexico including an opioid addiction epidemic have influence caseloads.

Jacobson acknowledged improvements in the state’s child welfare system are needed, while highlighted progress toward a more stable workforce and an increase in the number of field workers who visit homes to detect maltreatment and determine whether a child may be in danger.

The job turnover rate dropped to 25 percent this year for child protective services workers, down from 34 percent in 2014, Jacobson said.

She cautioned that efforts to reunify mistreated children with parents cannot be rushed or incentivized, and that her agency is working with the court system to streamline adoption procedures. Jacobson noted year-over-year statistical progress in six out of eight evaluation categories for child protective services.

The analysis from the Legislature notes that the state could save tens of millions of dollars in the short run with just a 10 percent reduction in child maltreatment and foster placements.

Generally high evaluation marks were given to the performance of early childhood services including programs that promote high-quality child care.

MI Father Charged With Child Abuse

.jpg photo of Child found to have been abused
Matthew Lee Virgin, 27, was arrested for first degree child abuse.

Baby’s checkup leads to Child Abuse charges against metro Detroit father

HARRISON TOWNSHIP, MI  –  Deputies from the Macomb County Sheriff’s Office were called to St. John Hospital in Detroit for a child abuse complain involving a two-month-old from Harrison Township.

The child was originally taken into her doctor’s office for a scheduled visit and then transferred to the hospital after showing possible signs of abuse.

She is currently in stable condition.

Deputies and detectives searched the child’s home and spoke with several people, including the child’s parents.

Her father, 27-year-old Matthew Lee Virgin was taken into custody and lodged at the Macomb County Jail for child abuse.

He was issued a warrant for one count of first degree child abuse by the Macomb County Prosecutor’s Office.