Tag Archives: StopChildAbuse

Law Enforcement Seeing Rise In Reported Child Abuse

.jpg photo of Police Chief Avery Cook
It’s a problem that plagues every community, Child Abuse.

Bringing Awareness To Child Abuse

STARKVILLE, MS  –  It’s a problem that plagues every community, child abuse.

“A child is an innocent person and often times they really can’t be able to help themselves,” said West Point Police Chief Avery Cook.

Law enforcement said they’re seeing a rise in the number of reported child abuse cases.

Sally Kate Winters Family Services reports from 2016 to 2017, the organization saw a 73 percent increase in the number of child abuse interviews they conducted.

The abuse comes in different forms, and Sally Kate Winters is on the front-line in many of these investigations.

“Sally Kate Winters provides forensic interviews for child victims of abuse, so we do felony child abuse investigations and we interview kids who’ve been abused,” said Morgan Colley, Children’s Advocacy Center Advocate at Sally Kate Winters Family Services.

Now the organization is sharing its knowledge.

During a Child Abuse Investigation Training on Monday, law enforcement officers, child protective services, and first responders learned new techniques for spotting signs of mistreatment.

“We’re trying to help provide law enforcement with every tool that they need to investigate child abuse and child sexual crimes especially,” said Steven Woodruff, investigator for the district attorney’s office.  “We’re seeing an uptake in that in our community, and we don’t think that it’s just now starting to happen, we think that it’s just beginning to be reported more.”

“We’re doing two different presentations, one on corroborating evidence, so we have a child that discloses something and getting them to think about some of the minor details that a child might bring up in their testimony to make their story come alive,” said Jim Holler, who conducted Monday’s training session.  “This afternoon we’re doing one more investigative piece, especially physical abuse investigations and what the investigators can do to help the kids to help make their stories come alive.”

Holler is a former police chief with more than three decades of law enforcement experience.

He said the tools everyone learned during the training session are important and can help prosecutors be more effective.

“Just trying to put all the facts together and making sure that we’ve got the details, so we can bring a strong case to our prosecutors office, and hopefully that case will be strong enough to go proceed without a child having to testify,” said Holler.

Sally Kate Winters and the district attorney’s office co-sponsored the training session.

Five Digit Bond For This?

.jpg photo of man charged with felony child abuse after child found to have broken bones
Cruise Wesley Poole, 28

Davidson County couple charged with
Child Abuse after doctor finds 4-month-old has broken bones

DAVIDSON COUNTY, NC  –  Two Davidson County parents are facing charges after a baby was discovered to have multiple broken bones.

.jpg photo of woman charged with felony child abuse after child found to have broken bones
Lorren Adrian Moore, 28

According to the sheriff’s office, Cruise Wesley Poole and Lorren Adrian Moore, both 28, were each charged with felony child abuse after a doctor allegedly found their 4-month-old baby girl had several broken bones.

WGHP reports the child was seeing her pediatrician for a regularly scheduled checkup when the doctor saw signs of child abuse.

The baby was taken to the hospital and was found to have a broken leg, a broken rib, and two broken vertebrae.

Poole and Moore were taken into custody on Saturday by the Alleghany County Sheriff’s Office and placed in the Alleghany County Jail.

Poole is being held under a $15,000 bond and Moore is being held under a $10,000 bond.

Child Predator Freed On Technicality

,jpg photo of Child Predator freed on technicality
Michael Tracy McFadden, 46, of Grand Junction CO, sentenced in 2015 to more than 300 years in prison for sexually abusing six children.

Child sex offender serving more than 300 years walks free on ‘technicality’

GRAND JUNCTION, CO  –  A Colorado man sentenced in 2015 to more than 300 years in prison for sexually abusing six children has been freed by a court decision, and prosecutors are barred from retrying him for the crimes.

Michael Tracy McFadden, 46, of Grand Junction, was not eligible for a parole hearing until November 2330, according to data from the Colorado Department of Corrections.  Instead, he walked free Tuesday from the Arkansas Valley Correctional Facility, where he was serving his sentence.

McFadden’s freedom follows a June ruling by the Colorado Court of Appeals, which found that his right to a speedy trial was violated when the judge in the case granted a continuance, KKCO in Grand Junction reported.  Prosecutors appealed that ruling, but the Colorado Supreme Court refused to hear the appeal.

“If you’ve heard the phrase, ‘He got off on a technicality,’ this is exactly that situation,” Mesa County District Attorney Dan Rubinstein told the news station.

McFadden cannot be retried on the charges and does not have to register as a sex offender, KKCO reported.  He had prior convictions for sex offenses, but that conviction was before the registry was established.

“I am completely appalled at this decision,” Rubinstein said.  “I think the criminal justice system completely failed here.”

McFadden was convicted at trial of 19 counts of child sex offenses, including a charge of being an habitual sex offender against children.  That history was part of what led to his release, Rubinstein explained.

McFadden’s defense team had submitted a jury questionnaire designed to determine whether trial jurors could be fair to their client considering his past, KKCO reported.  The judge in the case failed to read the questionnaire until prosecutors and defense lawyers were already halfway through the jury selection process.

The judge decided that McFadden couldn’t receive a fair trial under those circumstances, so he issued a continuance.  Even though McFadden’s lawyers had previously sought and received two continuances in the case, they objected to the third and asserted his statutory right to a speedy trial.

The appeals court ruled that he did not get his trial in time.  In Colorado, the statute for a speedy trial requires that it take place within six months.

“Because the error here was that he shouldn’t have been tried longer than six months from the last time he waived speedy trial, there was no remedy for that, and therefore there is no ability to retry him,” Rubinstein told the news station.

The prosecutor was not the only one upset over McFadden’s release.  Kathi Raley, a victim assistance coordinator at the DA’s office, told KREX that she has been in contact almost nonstop with distraught parents.

“Several voicemails from mothers of victims who legitimately are fearful for their children and their children’s safety,” Raley said.  “I can’t even imagine the terror that these kids are now feeling.”

McFadden was accused at trial of abusing a total of six young boys and girls.

People were also angry on social media, with at least one person hoping that “street justice” gets to McFadden before he finds a new victim.  Another Facebook user pointed out that he was not freed because he was not guilty of the crimes of which he was convicted.

Others posted his photo urging people to remember his face since he is not required to register as a sex offender.

“Please share.  He will eventually end up back in (Grand Junction),” one woman wrote.  “The more people who know, the safer our children will be.

“He is smooth, he is a predator and he offers young women held with housing and childcare, something many women are grateful to have,” she continued.  “I know it is an awful subject, but the chances of him reoffending are really high.”

TX County See Substantial Increase In 2017 Confirmed Child Maltreatment

.jpg photo of Child Abuse graphic
Say NO To Child Abuse In Texas

Sharp rise in Child Abuse, Neglect cases in
Bexar County

SAN ANTONIO, TX  –  The number of cases of child abuse and neglect in 2017 has gone up almost 36 percent from 2014.

After more than 5,846 cases of child abuse and neglect in 2013, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services saw the numbers steadily drop down to 4,550 in 2016.  Last year, however, the number of cases exceeded the 2013 figure with 6,175 confirmed victims, a 35.71 percent jump from 2014 when the numbers began to fall.

“In 2017, we had the largest number of confirmed victims of child abuse and neglect,” said Anais Biera Miracle, spokeswoman for the Children’s Shelter of San Antonio.

Besides the growth in Bexar County’s population, Judge Peter Sakai, who hears many of the cases in Children’s Court, said:  “It’s drug addiction.  It’s mental health issues.  It’s domestic and family violence.”

Sakai said the Children’s Court has been dealing with the situation by “aggressively looking at the high rate of removals with more preventive measures.”  He said, for example, there’s the family preservation docket.

“We try to get custody orders for relatives and getting children out of the foster care system and back with family,” Sakai said.

But Sakai said the bottom line is more resources for prevention.

Miracle said the shelter is trying to develop more strategies to effectively reach parents grappling with substance abuse, mental illness and learned behavior from generation to generation.

Sakai said Bexar County offers numerous resources such as Family Violence Prevention Services and Family Services Association.  He also urges families to help their members to get the help they need, especially for the children’s sake.

“The more families we intervene, the more cycle of abuse and neglect we break,” Sakai said.

Below is information from the 2017 Texas Department of Family and Protective Services’ Databook:

Bexar County:

  • Confirmed victims of abuse and neglect: 6,175
  • Children waiting for adoption since August 31, 2017: 874
  • Children in adoption placements since August 31, 2017: 687
  • Children in foster/adoptive homes since August 31, 2017: 122
  • Consummated adoptions: 682

Removals of children: 2,367

  • 1,467 at Investigations
  • 900 at Family Preservation

Children in DFPS conservatorship: 5,437

Children placed in substitute care: 5,291

Kinship Caregiver Monetary Assistance: 1,157

Bexar County comparative data over the course of five years:

  • 2017 – 6,175 children
  • 2016 – 4,550 children
  • 2015 – 4,941 children
  • 2014 – 5,434 children
  • 2013 – 5,846 children

TX Man Arrested For Solicitation Of Minor

.jpg photo of Child Predator
Alberto Vazquez, 30, of Austin Texas.

AG Paxton’s Child Exploitation Unit
Arrests Travis County Man for Online
Solicitation of a Minor

AUSTIN, TX  –  Attorney General Ken Paxton announced today that the Child Exploitation Unit (CEU) of his office arrested 30-year-old Alberto Vazquez, of Austin, on one count of Online Solicitation of a Minor, a second-degree felony.

Vazquez allegedly sent sexually explicit messages to a person he thought was a 14-year-old girl, soliciting her to meet for sex.  He was arrested after arriving at a predetermined location in Georgetown where he expected to meet the child.

Vazquez was booked into the Williamson County Jail without incident.

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 is 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/