Tag Archives: Child Endangerment

AZ Official Charged With Child Abuse In MN

.jpg photo of old Gila County Courthouse
Old Gila County Courthouse

Gila County official charged in MN with Child Abuse shortly after he was rehired

A manager for Gila County’s health and emergency services agency is scheduled to stand trial early next year in Minnesota on charges of abusing his two children, according to court documents.

Joshua Beck, 40, is charged with two counts of assault and two counts of endangering a child, according to court records in Cook County, Minnesota.  His trial is scheduled to start on Jan. 29.

Beck was the Cook County Health and Humans Services director in Minnesota before he resigned on July 21.  His charges were filed in Minnesota about a week later.

Before moving to Minnesota, Beck had worked as manager of Gila County’s Public Health Emergency Preparedness, a program within the department, in Globe.

Gila County hired him back after he left Minnesota, for the same position, a role that helps oversee the county’s 53,000 residents’ safety in event of a public health emergency.

Gila County Manager James Menlove said he was aware of Beck’s pending criminal court case.  He said Beck had applied for the job and was hired before the charges were filed.

“Gila County takes the charges against Beck very seriously, but as is the case with anyone in the criminal justice system who has yet to be convicted, Beck is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty,” according to an emailed statement.  “Gila County remains steadfastly committed to the safety of its employees and the residents it serves.”

Beck was rehired on July 18, before the charges were filed on Aug. 1 in Cook County, the statement says.  He had two previous stints with the county from November 2012 to May 2013 and again from March 2014 to September 2016.

His current annual salary in Gila County is $62,042.

‘We believe this is a witch hunt’

Through his lawyers, Beck denied the allegations.  He said the false claims of abuse are at the center of a custody dispute involving his stepson and stepdaughter and other family members.

“He adamantly disputes the allegations and is taking the steps to defend himself in court,” said Tyson Smith, a lawyer for Beck, in a phone interview.

Christa Jacqueline Groshek, another Minnesota lawyer for Beck, said in a phone interview Beck is innocent and the children’s grandmother has been seeking custody.

Groshek said Beck has three biological children with his wife and none of them have alleged they’ve been abused.  She added that Beck has worked in public health policy for a long time and he cares for families and children “so he wouldn’t hurt children.”

“We feel like he’s been wrongfully accused,” she said.  “We believe this is a witch hunt that started with the maternal grandmother.”

Groshek made these arguments on Monday to a judge in Cook County at a hearing seeking to dismiss the prosecutor’s evidence. She said she expects the judge to make a decision whether to dismiss the charges or not in the next couple of weeks.

Allegations of abuse

According to a probable-cause statement, the 10-year-old girl told a staff member at First Witness, a child well-being advocacy organization in Minnesota, Beck had abused her since before moving from Arizona.

“She indicated that the defendant calls her names, pulls her hair, throws objects at her, forcibly wakes her up, and takes away her cochlear implants so she cannot hear,” the complaint said.

In one instance, the girl told the staff member Beck grabbed her neck and choked her until she couldn’t breathe, the court document says.  The girl said the choking gave her a bruise and affected her sense of smell, the document says.

In another instance, she said Beck pulled her hair, slapped and threw toys at her face, the document says.

Both children also told the staff member, according to the court document, that while they lived in Arizona, Beck threw them both to the ground.  The boy’s head hit some rocks and his head began to bleed and one of the girl’s ankles was injured, the document says.
The children said they didn’t receive medical attention for their injuries and the girl couldn’t walk on the ankle for a few days, the probable cause statement says.

The boy also said Beck “likes to cause him pain,” the court document states.

Both children said Beck encourages the three younger children to mistreat them, too, by hurting them physically or calling them derogatory names, according to the court document.

Mother Of Sherin Mathews In Same Building As Wesley

.jpg photo of mother of Child found dead
Sini Ann Mathews was arrested on a charge of child endangerment.

Sini Mathews Arrested On
Child Endangerment Charge

Dallas, TX  –  The mother of a North Texas toddler whose body was recovered last month from a drainage culvert weeks after she was reported missing was arrested Thursday on a charge of child endangerment.

Police said she and her husband left their 3-year-old adopted child, Sherin Mathews, home alone while they went to dinner just hours before they claimed she had disappeared.

Sini Ann Mathews, who has maintained her innocence in the death of Sherin, surrendered to Richardson police Thursday and is being held on $250,000 bond on the state jail felony charge.

She was arraigned Friday morning and did not respond to reporters questions when she was transferred to the Dallas County Jail Friday afternoon.

In a statement Thursday, Richardson police said detectives learned Sini Mathews, 35, and Wesley Mathews took their 3-year-old biological daughter to dinner and left Sherin alone at home, placing her in “imminent danger of death, bodily injury, or physical or mental impairment.”

“The time that they left, she was not under the care of any other adult or of any other person, she was left home alone by herself and it’s for that reason that you see this particular charge,” said Kevin Perlich, with the Richardson Police Department.  “It’s not necessarily related to her death, it’s related to her care that she was being given while she was in that home.”

According to an arrest warrant affidavit, detectives used cell phone records to show Wesley and Sini went to a North Garland restaurant on the evening of Oct. 6.  The theory is supported by a receipt obtained by police that showed the couple purchased only one child’s meal in addition to their individual meals as well as the testimony of a waiter who said only one child was present at the table.

During an interview with detectives, Wesley Mathews, 37, admitted to leaving Sherin home alone after growing frustrated she wouldn’t drink her milk and said they returned home about 90 minutes later and found her where they left her, in the kitchen.

Both Sini and Wesley told police the child was alive when they returned home from dinner, though police have not confirmed that information.

Hours later, on the morning of Oct. 7, Wesley Mathews called police and reported Sherin missing.  In a story he would later change, Wesley originally told police Sherin disappeared overnight after he ordered her to stand outside at about 3 a.m. for not drinking her milk.  When he returned, Wesley said she had disappeared and that her location was unknown.

Weeks later, Wesley Mathews changed his story and said he “physically assisted” her in drinking her milk and that she choked and died at the home.  He said he then moved the girl’s body and later called police to report her missing.

The Dallas County Medical Examiner’s Office is still working to determine what killed Sherin Mathews.

Sini Mathews said she was sleeping when Sherin disappeared and was unaware of what took place overnight between the child and her father.

Meanwhile, Wesley Mathews remains jailed on a charge of felony injury to a child and is being held on a $1 million bond.

Sini Mathews’ attorney has maintained throughout the investigation she had nothing to do with her daughter’s death and that she was distraught during her daughter’s disappearance.

NBC 5 confirmed Friday that at some point in the last month Sini Mathews was terminated from her job at Children’s Medical Center in Dallas where she worked as a case manager.

On Thursday, her attorney Mitchell Nolte thanked Richardson police for allowing his client to surrender.

“We learned this morning that the Richardson Police Department had obtained an arrest warrant for Sini Mathews for the offense of Abandoning/Endangering a Child.  The police were professional and courteous and allowed us to bring Mrs. Mathews to the Police Department and surrender herself into custody,” Nolte said in a statement.

Earlier this week, Wesley Mathews’ attorney, David Kleckner, said his client loves his children and wife and that he’s a good family man who wants custody of their surviving daughter to be returned to her mother.

Sini Mathews was in court as recently as Monday asking for custody of the couple’s child to be returned to her, but that hearing was rescheduled 1 p.m. Nov. 29.

The couple’s surviving child has been in foster care since shortly after her sister’s disappearance.  The child was expected to be placed in the care of family in the Houston area following Monday’s hearing.

CHILD SAFETY AND PREVENTION

Going To And From School More Safely

by NATIONAL CENTER FOR MISSING & EXPLOITED CHILDREN®

Millions of kids ride a bike, take the bus or walk to school every day. Help get them to and from school more safely by following this checklist.

Review the four rules of personal safety with your children.  Remind them to:

  1. Check first with you or the adult in charge before going anywhere, helping anyone, accepting anything or getting into a car.
  2. Take a friend when going places or playing outside.
  3. Tell people “NO” if they try to touch you or hurt you.  It’s OK for you to stand up for yourself.
  4. Tell a trusted adult if anything makes you feel sad, scared or confused.

Walk the route to and from school with them pointing out landmarks and safe places to go if they need help.  Tell them not to take shortcuts and to stay in well-lit areas.

If your younger children take the bus, wait with them or make sure they’re supervised by someone you trust at the bus stop.

Teach your children to recognize the tricks someone may use to abduct them such as asking for help or offering them a ride.  Tell them to never approach a car without getting your permission first.

Encourage your children to kick, scream and make a scene if anyone tries to take them.

Instruct your children to get away as quickly as possible if someone is following them.  If they are being followed by someone in a car, teach them to walk in the opposite direction from the one in which the car is driving.

Be sure your children’s school has up-to-date emergency contact information.  Learn about their pick-up procedures so only those you’ve authorized can pick up your children.

Make sure your children know how to contact you in case of an emergency.

For more information about child safety, visit MissingKids.com 

PA Man Guilty Of 2nd Child Endangerment

.jpg photo of Child Endangerment graphic
Toddler was physically Abused by Father

Bedford County man a repeat offender of Child Abuse

BEDFORD, Pennsylvania  –  For the second time in as many years, a Bedford County man has been found guilty of endangering the welfare of a child.

Cary Albright, 33, of Osterburg, was found guilty Thursday night after a day of testimony.

The most recent charges occurred after Memorial Day 2015 when Albright returned his 3-year-old son to the mother.

According to a release from the Bedford County District Bill Higgins, the mother discovered the child had been beaten.  The child had injuries that included large bruises on both sides of the face and red marks around his neck, with black and blue bruising around other areas.

The release said the child was told by his father to say that he had fallen, but later admitted that “his daddy did this to me.”

In 2012, police responded to a domestic violence incident in which Albright allegedly slammed the same child’s head into a wall while attempting to flee the scene.

Two years later, a jury convicted Albright of endangering the welfare of a child and resisting arrest.  He was sentenced to 11 months in jail.

Albright is scheduled to be sentenced on May 6 and will remain in jail on retainer until sentencing.

He remains in the Bedford County Jail on a parole violation detainer.