Man to stand trial for Child Abuse after
HUDSONVILLE, MI – The father accused of manslaughter in his son’s death was ordered Friday to stand trial for two counts of child abuse.
In a Hudsonville courtroom, Judge Judy Mulder dismissed a third count – child abuse in the presence of another child — that Timothy Koets faced.
“(Koets’) daughter was not present when (Samuel Koets) was left on the porch,” Mulder said in court Friday afternoon. “So the acts the defendant did to commit the child abuse in this case — the act of leaving his child alone on the porch unsupervised — was not done in the present of a child. It’s very unfortunate that his daughter had to find her brother alone in the pool in the way she did, but the act of child abuse …. was not done with the other child present so I am not able to find that there’s probably cause to bind over on count 3.”
Mulder did, however, bound Tim Koets over on two child abuse counts, one of which is a felony punishable by up to four years in prison.
“The facts presented that supported this at the time of the preliminary examination were that Samuel was left on a porch unattended, that the defendant did not assure that his wife was awake to care for Samuel,” said Mulder from the bench.
“There was some testimony that he awoke her. There was also some competing testimony that he texted his daughter during the course of the time he was gone indicating that he thought his wife was sleeping. I’m paraphrasing… but that’s how those texts read. There was also testimony that Samuel Koets functioned as an 18-month-old, that he was a nonverbal child and that he was attracted to water. So … a reasonable jury listening to those facts could find that this was a reckless act that caused a serious injury to his son, Samuel. So, therefore I’m going to bind it over on count 2 (felony child abuse in the second degree).”
Sam drowned after climbing into the backyard pool at the family’s home near Hudsonville. Authorities say his father, a professor at Grand Rapids Community College, left him unattended when he went to work on March 28, 2019. When one of his daughters texted him that Sam was in the icy pool, he allegedly texted back, “would you make sure the freak is OK?”
Koets and his wife Michelle Koets told “Inside Edition” in an interview that aired earlier this week that he woke his wife up before he left for work but she fell back asleep.
“It is not a reckless act for one parent to leave a child in the care of another parent,” Koets’ attorney argued Friday before his client was bound over. “He woke his wife up. He thought she was awake.”
In the “Inside Edition” interview, the Koetses rejected the notion that Tim Koets was negligent or uncaring. But investigators told News 8 that Sam Koets was also living in “disturbing” conditions before the drowning.
Outside the courtroom Friday, Koets’ attorney said while he knew Michelle Koets and a daughter had been contacted by “Inside Edition” and might do an interview, he did not know beforehand that Tim Koets would participate in the story.
“Had a discussion with my client and that will not be occurring again,” defense attorney David Kallman said.
Also Friday, both Tim and Michelle Koets were arraigned on charges that they kept filling their son’s Ritalin prescription for months after he died. Authorities say they were taking the drugs themselves.
Daycare worker arrested, charged with
2 counts of aggravated Child Abuse
BRANDON, FL – A daycare worker in Brandon was arrested on Friday for two counts of aggravated child abuse, officials say.
The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office say on Dec. 18, the parents of an infant took their child to the pediatrician when the baby turned pale in color and began throwing up. The baby spent the say attending Shepherd Day Care at 208 Terrace Drive in Brandon.
The infant was in the sole care and custody of 20-year-old Sarah Loria at the daycare.
The pediatrician initially diagnosed the baby with a stomach virus.
On Dec. 20, when Loria was caring for the baby, the infant became unresponsive. Loria then contacted the parent’s who transported the baby to a local hosital.
After an evaluation, it was confirmed that the infant suffered from shaken baby syndrome from both incidents.
On Friday, detectives with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office located and arrested Loria for two counts of aggravated child abuse.
She was transported to the Orient Road Jail without incident.
Battle Creek stepmother charged with
Child Abuse of twin girls
BATTLE CREEK, MI – A Battle Creek stepmother is facing up to life in prison if convicted of child abuse of twin sisters.
Ashley Swartout, 25, was arraigned Thursday in Calhoun County District Court on one count of first-degree child abuse and one count of second-degree child abuse.
She faces up to life in prison on the first-degree charge and 10 years in prison on the second-degree charge.
Swartout was arrested Monday after Battle Creek police obtained a warrant following an investigation which began Dec. 16.
Police said Swartout and her husband, Nathaniel Callahan, 28, the father of the twin seven-year-old girls, brought one of the children to Bronson Battle Creek hospital at 9:49 p.m. Dec. 16 for treatment.
Doctors notified police after finding severe bruising and swelling to both sides of the girl’s face as well as bruises on her arms, front and back of her torso and a bloody lower lip.
The girl said her stepmother was angry because the child was not doing her chores and grabbed her by the hair and banged her head against the walls and floor. The girl said the woman also twisted her arm behind her back and told the girl she would break it.
Swartout told police she has seizures and does not recall the incident. She said she remembers being angry at the girl about homework and chores but blacked out and remembers nothing until she was on the bathroom floor and her husband was over her.
Callahan told police his wife has a long history of seizures and doctors have been unable to diagnose the cause. She is not able to have a driver’s license because of the condition.
However the girl said her stepmother was talking to her when the reported assault first began and then had a seizure and began to throw up.
Callahan came home from work and both he and Swarthout took the girl to the hospital.
This was posted on our website December 6, 2018. Chicago Lakeshore Hospital’s 60-bed children’s unit is Uptown. The hospital faces state and federal scrutiny after a rise in complaints alleging sexual and physical abuse by hospital employees and patients.
A federal lawsuit filed Wednesday by the Cook County public guardian alleged that children as young as 7 were sexually abused, while others were injected with sedatives to control them and physically attacked, at a Chicago psychiatric hospital. Child welfare officials, meanwhile, allegedly worked with the hospital to cover up the abuse.
Charles Golbert, the Cook County public guardian, filed the lawsuit on behalf of seven children who are in the care of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services and who had been involuntarily admitted to Chicago Lakeshore Hospital in 2017 and 2018.
“These kids are entitled to justice for what happened to them at this facility,” Golbert said in an interview Wednesday. “DCFS knew perfectly well about all of the problems and dangers at this hospital.”
He added that he hoped the lawsuit sent a strong message to DCFS: “You cannot keep kids at placements once you know the placement is dangerous.”
ProPublica Illinois and the Chicago Tribune in separate investigations last year revealed numerous allegations of sexual abuse, assault and patient safety violations at the hospital. In response, state lawmakers and the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, which monitors DCFS as part of a federal consent decree, demanded the agency take action.
DCFS’ acting inspector general had previously raised concerns with the agency about the safety of children at Lakeshore. The ACLU took DCFS to federal court following the news reports, and late last year the agency agreed to stop sending its children to the hospital and removed those who remained there.
“We support this effort to hold responsible those who have done harm to children in the care of DCFS,” the ACLU’s Heidi Dalenberg said on Wednesday.
Chicago Lakeshore Hospital CEO Patricia McClure-Chessier said in a statement that officials “have always placed the health and safety of the children we treat as our top priority.” She said it was “tragic” that Golbert chose to “malign health care providers instead of addressing the root of this statewide crisis: a lack of state funding which prevents children from getting appropriate care at the right time and in the right place.”
She said she will “vigorously defend Chicago Lakeshore Hospital using facts rather than the egregious distortion that has been portrayed before the press.”
DCFS takes allegations of abuse seriously and has not allowed children to be placed at Lakeshore this year, spokesman Jassen Strokosch said in a statement. He said the agency, which has a new acting director, has hired more than 300 employees since April and has “begun to make dramatic improvements to overcome the challenges that have plagued the department for decades.”
“DCFS is committed to protecting the children of Illinois and providing the best possible services to the children in our care,” Strokosch said.
The lawsuit detailed abuse at the hands of employees and other patients, alleging children found themselves at a “hospital of horrors” instead of a safe environment where they could focus on their treatment.
One 14-year-old girl, according to the lawsuit, was allegedly sexually assaulted multiple times by a nurse who showed her pornographic videos as well as allowed her and others to fill out their own medical paperwork and to use the nurse’s vaping device. The girl and others reportedly escaped from the hospital and were missing for several months.
That nurse, according to the lawsuit, was charged this year with attempted murder in an incident involving her housemate. Her nursing license was revoked.
The lawsuit also claims a male hospital employee entered the room of a 12-year-old girl and forced her hand on his genitals and grabbed her breasts. A 7-year-old boy was allegedly forced to perform oral sex on his older roomate, who had previously physically abused him. And the hospital didn’t put precautions in place to protect an 8-year-old girl who also was sexually assaulted by a peer, the lawsuit alleges, despite the hospital knowing the boy had previously sexually assaulted his roommate.
The lawsuit, which seeks monetary compensation for the children, alleges that DCFS relied so heavily on Lakeshore because it “had worn out its welcome” at other psychiatric hospitals in the Chicago area. Psychiatric hospitals were reluctant to admit DCFS children because state budgetary constraints delayed payments to them, and DCFS routinely kept children in psychiatric hospitals after they had been medically cleared for discharge, according to the lawsuit.
In June 2018, ProPublica Illinois first reported on children trapped in psychiatric hospitals because DCFS struggled to find them appropriate placements. Golbert filed a lawsuit last December on behalf of the hundreds of children who remained in psychiatric hospitals after being cleared for release. That lawsuit is pending. DCFS said at the time that finding appropriate placement for children is challenging and that the agency was working to reduce the need for hospitalization and build up additional places for children.
DCFS’ desperation for a psychiatric hospital that would accept its children led agency officials and Lakeshore to engage in “concerted efforts to cover-up or discredit the allegations of abuse,” according to the lawsuit, which also alleged the hospital failed to repair broken video cameras and destroyed existing video in an attempt to hide evidence that could corroborate the allegations.
The lawsuit names Lakeshore, its owner Signature Healthcare Services, former hospital CEO David Fletcher-Janzen, a number of hospital employees who worked there at the time of the allegations and several DCFS officials, including former department chief Beverly “B.J.” Walker.
Last December, the hospital was days away from losing federal funding. Officials said they would terminate Lakeshore’s Medicare agreement because the hospital could not ensure its patients were free from sexual and physical abuse and it did not have sufficient policies to investigate the allegations.
One year later, the hospital finds itself in a similar position. Federal officials notified Lakeshore that they plan to terminate its Medicare agreement on Monday, the latest deadline in a long list of dates that have been extended. The hospital has filed temporary restraining orders and preliminary injunctions in federal court to fight the termination. Lakeshore officials have said losing the federal funding could force the hospital to shut down.
An inspection last month by the Illinois Department of Public Health on behalf of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services found deficiencies that “immediately jeopardize the health and safety of its patients,” federal officials wrote in a letter to the hospital.
In her statement, McClure-Chessier said Chicago Lakeshore Hospital “has always cooperated with regulators in a transparent way and we work diligently to correct any problems that arise while treating the most difficult and troubled populations — populations other hospitals cannot or will not treat because of acuity or inadequate reimbursement.”
SHALER TOWNSHIP, PA – A Shaler Township mother is facing felony charges for allegedly abusing her child in “one of the most violent cases” Children’s Hospital doctors have seen.
Katie Easley is now facing charges alongside father Jamie Easley for the alleged abuse of their newborn daughter, who was admitted to UPMC Children’s Hospital with severe injuries in September.
According to police, the 4-week-old girl was taken to Children’s Hospital after her primary care doctor found multiple bruises on her face and abdomen.
The child’s mother allegedly told the doctor the little girl had not eaten in nearly two days.
At the hospital, doctors found the girl had skull fractures, subdural hemorrhages, 19 rib fractures and other fractures to her left arm and her legs. She was admitted in critical condition to the hospital’s Pediatric Intensive Care Unit.
According to the criminal complaint, Jamie told investigators during a police interview that the baby’s older sibling pulled her off a bed. However, doctors said a fall from a bed would not cause the kind of injuries she had.
Police say Jamie later told them he grabbed the baby girl by the arm while she was crying, held her up, squeezed her and gave her “a quick shake.” Soon after, the baby stopped crying.
Now, police are charging Katie with a felony endangering the welfare of children. The criminal complaint accuses Katie of not taking her critically injured baby to the hospital until the 31-day-old newborn stopped eating all together.
It also says detectives later searched Katie’s phone history and allegedly found Google searches from earlier in the month including “bruising on baby” and “why isn’t my baby eating?”
Police say Children’s Hospital doctors said “given the age of the victim, it was one of the most violent cases of child abuse they have seen, bone in arm completely snapped in half, and the worst rib fractures they have seen.”
KDKA’s Meghan Schiller reports charges against Jamie still stand. Katie was released on non-monetary bond and is slated to go before the judge for her preliminary hearing on Dec. 19.