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.
Indiana – Angie Garza stood in front of lawmakers on Wednesday with a tearful plea. She asked them to prevent another child from dying as her 19-month grandson did.
Those lawmakers responded.
With a unanimous vote, the Senate Judiciary Committee took the first step toward creating what may be the nation’s first public registry of people convicted of child abuse and neglect.
The bill, authored by Sen. Carlin Yoder, R-Middlebury, requires the state to create a publicly searchable website that lists all persons convicted of crimes against children, akin to the sex offender registry.
Such information exists but access is limited to police and employers doing background checks for workers in licensed child care facilities.
The origins of the proposal lie in the tragedy of Garza’s family.
Her grandson, Kirk Coleman, died in October 2014 while in the care of an Elkhart County woman whom Garza later learned was previously charged with battering a toddler and temporarily barred from caring for children.
While the woman told Garza that her grandson accidentally choked while eating, a pathologist later ruled his death a homicide caused by blunt-force injuries to the head.
“We’ve been trying to get justice ever since, not only for him, but for all children,” Garza said during emotional testimony.
Yoder said he was approached by Garza last fall, after Jackie Rolsten of New Paris, Ind., was charged in Kirk Coleman’s death.
Garza said her family had known Rolsten for many years, but they had no knowledge of her criminal history. In 2006, Rolsten was arrested on a felony child-battery charge involving a 2-year-old. She later pleaded to child neglect.
Though her prison term was suspended, Rolsten was ordered by a judge to stop her in-home childcare business while on probation. That order expired before she started taking care of Kirk.
“We had no idea,” Garza said.
Rolsten, now awaiting trial in Elkhart County on a charge of felony-battery resulting in death, didn’t need a state license to care for Kirk. Because she never cared for more than five children in her home, she fell outside of state licensing requirements.
Officials say thousands of such unlicensed childcare providers operate across the state.
Yoder said a registry will fill a gap by giving parents a place to see if someone coming into contact with their children has any prior child-abuse convictions.
“If there’s any good that can come from this, this may be it,” he said.
Still, the bill faces hurdles.
On Wednesday, a State Police official estimated it may cost up $300,000 a year to create and maintain such a registry. At this point, Yoder’s bill comes with no funding.
Supporters of the idea – including Senate Judiciary Chairman Brent Steele, R-Bedford – promised to find it a way to pay for it.
“I don’t care about the fiscal impact,” said Sen. Greg Taylor, D-Indianapolis. “When it comes to the safety of children, I don’t care if we have to spend a million dollars.”
Other states have child abuse registries, but public access is limited.
Michigan lawmakers debated creating a public registry like the one Yoder wants after lawmakers there heard testimony from a family with a story similar to Garza’s.
That measure stalled when the American Civil Liberties Union raised concerns that the registry could have an unintended consequence: Someone may be less willing to report a spouse or family member suspected of abuse because they know the individual will be placed on the registry.
The ACLU also argued the registry is a kind of perpetual punishment, not allowing for people who’ve been rehabilitated to get off the list.
Larry Landers, head of the Indiana Public Defender Council, said a public child-abuse registry may face similar challenges. He noted that Indiana’s sex offender registry, a public website that lists the names and addresses of persons accused of sex crimes, has faced multiple court challenges.
Those issues matter little for Kirk’s mother, Anissa Garza, who wept quietly Wednesday as she sat with a dozen family members to watch the hearing.
The measure must still pass the Senate, then move to the House for a hearing, but Garza said she is relieved that it is gaining support.
“I wouldn’t want to see this ever happen to any other parent,” she said.
Daycare owners to be sentenced in heinous Child Abuse case
SAN ANTONIO, TX – A San Antonio man, his wife and his brother could serve a combined 85 years in prison, after agreeing to separate plea deals in one of the most horrendous child abuse cases in Bexar County in recent memory.
Tim Archuleta, Iliana Archuleta and Rogelio Archuleta are all scheduled to be sentenced within the next six weeks, more than three years after they were accused of starving and beating Tim and Iliana’s three adopted children inside a far northwest-side home.
According to a criminal complaint from October 2012, the then 8-year-old boy and 10-year-old twins were forced to sleep in a locked bathtub, which included a communal bucket they were forced to relieve themselves in.
Investigators determined the children were severely malnourished, at times had been forced to eat sticks of butter and pour bleach into their wounds.
One child told investigators he was forced to bite off part of his sister’s ear, according to a previous report on the case.
Authorities became aware of the abuse after one of the children was hospitalized with a bone infection.
All three adopted children, as well as Tim and Iliana’s two biological children were removed from their custody after the arrest, a CPS spokeswoman confirmed at the time.
The spokeswoman said Thursday all five children remain in foster care.
At the time of their arrests, Tim and Iliana Archuleta owned Honey Tree Daycare on Culebra Road.
Investigators have previously said the abuse did not appear to happen at the facility, which was shut down and has since changed its name and re-opened under new owners.
Tim Archuleta, 46, applied for deferred adjudication Wednesday.
It is unlikely he will avoid jail time however, since prosecutors opposed his application and have asked the court to sentence all three defendants “for a term up to the maximum allowed by the cap”.
Tim Archuleta agreed to a plea deal which caps his punishment at 20 years in prison.
He was facing five counts of injury to a child, causing serious bodily injury.
“It’s up to the judge at this point,” James Tocci, Tim Archuleta’s attorney, said via telephone Thursday.
Tocci declined to discuss details of the abuse case until the plea deal was finalized.
Iliana Archuleta, 43, applied for deferred adjudication in December.
Her application has been opposed by prosecutors.
Iliana Archuleta’s plea deal caps her possible prison sentence at 30 years.
She remains free on bond, but did not respond to a request for comment left at her last known address, a home in the 7900 block of Oak Pointe where the abuse took place.
Rogelio Archuleta, 30, faced six count of injury to a child, causing serious bodily injury.
He applied for deferred adjudication in October.
His application has also been opposed by prosecutors.
Rogelio Archuleta’s possible prison sentence has been capped at 35 years.
Attorneys representing Iliana and Rogelio did not respond to calls for comment Thursday.
Tim and Rogelio Archuleta remain at the Bexar County jail.
The district attorney’s office declined comment until after the trio was formally sentenced.
Colorado hotline expands reporting of suspected Child Abuse and Neglect
Child abuse reporting
State and local officials encourage Coloradans to report suspected child abuse and neglect.
People living anywhere in Colorado can call the state child abuse/neglect hotline: 1-844-CO-4-KIDS (1-844-264-5437), to speak to a representative 24 hours a day, every day.
People suspecting abuse of children or at-risk adults living in Boulder County can also call the county’s own hotline: 303-441-1309, also 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Information about Boulder County’s child welfare programs and services: bit.ly/1PmW8Uz
Colorado Department of Human Services information about preventing and reporting child abuse and neglect: bit.ly/1FiAkQH
With the approaching first anniversary of the launch of a toll-free statewide telephone hotline for reporting child abuse and neglect, child-welfare officials are urging Coloradans to stay vigilant if they’re concerned about a child’s safety and well-being.
The Colorado Department of Human Services announced that as of Dec. 20, state and county officials had received nearly 205,000 reports of suspected child abuse or neglect since the hotline went live on Jan. 1 — both through the new state hotline and from people contacting counties’ and the state’s human services offices.
“There is a growing understanding in our community that we all play a role in keeping our kids safe,” state Department of Human Services Director Reggie Bicha said in a news release.
Bicha said the 1-844-CO-4-KIDS hotline is integral to help Coloradans spot and report signs of child abuse and neglect. “One call can save a child,” he said.
Of the total 204,983 calls received by Dec. 20 about possible child abuse or neglect, 26,461 were made on the state hotline, according to Department of Human Services spokesman Lee Rasizer. Of that total, 4,516 came from Boulder County, 706 from Broomfield County and 5,395 from Weld County.
Under a system in which calls are evaluated and determinations made about whether further assessments and investigations are merited, and how rapidly those assessments and investigations need to be made, 88,441 of the total calls to the state’s hotline and Colorado counties were accepted for assessment and 32,709 were assessed and investigated, Rasizer said.
Accepted for assessment and possible further action, he said, were 1,678 of the original 4,516 reports originally received about possible child abuse or neglect in Boulder County, 183 of the 706 reports received about situations in Broomfield County, and 1,793 of the 5,395 reports about possible abuse or neglect in Weld County.
The state child abuse and neglect hotline links callers at all hours to the appropriate official. All calls are confidential and will be routed to the county where a child resides.
Boulder County also has its own child abuse hotline, 303-441-1309, said Jim Williams, spokesman for the County Department of Housing and Human Services. But in emergencies, call 911.
“The hotline technology allows callers to be connected around the clock with screeners who can discuss their concerns with them,” Williams said.
Lead Investigator in the case, former GBI Agent, facing Child Abuse charges
Monroe County, Georgia – Prosecutors are no longer seeking the death penalty in a deadly child abuse case because the lead investigator in the case is facing child molestation charges.
Amanda Hendrickson is the woman accused of killing her 5 year-old daughter Heaven Woods in May of 2014. Lawyers argued more than 100 pre-trial motions this afternoon as Amanda Hendrickson sat quietly in court.
District Attorney Richard Milam says one reason they dropped the death penalty is because of the lead investigator in the case. Milam says that’s former GBI agent Charles Woodall, is facing child molestation charges. “(If we) call him in as a witness brings into the trial all of the things that he’s accused of doing. So therefore, we’re going to try to avoid that as much as possible but when you’re asking a jury to make that consideration you really need to give them everything,” said Milam.
Milam says now they’re seeking life with or without parole in the case.
One of Hendrickson’s defense attorney’s Burt Baker says dropping the death penalty is appropriate in this case. Baker says Hendrickson has an intellectual disability. “Our client was given an IQ test, in the I believe it was the third grade, where she scored in the intellectually disabled or mentally retarded range,” said Baker.
Woods died in a Monroe County hospital with a broken arm and five broken ribs. Hendrickson’s boyfriend, Roderick Buckner, pleaded guilty in June to first degree child cruelty in the case, he received a life sentence. “Milam says Hendrickson’s trial is currently scheduled for September.