Tag Archives: StopChildAbuse

New Child Abuse Hotline In Santa Clara County CA

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New 24/7 Child Abuse Hotline In Santa Clara County CA

Santa Clara County Launches New
Child Abuse Hotline

Santa Clara County, CA officials declared April as National Child Abuse Prevention Month, timing the announcement with the launch of a new 24-hour hotline for people to report suspected child abuse.

What they failed to mention, however, is why the county needed a new hotline in the first place:  to fix a system that, until recently, was so woefully broken that it left an untold number of children in danger.

In 2013, the county’s Department of Family and Children’s Services (DFCS) came under fire for dropping up to half the calls some months to its child abuse hotline.  From July 2012 to the following year, call center operators answered an average of just 62 percent of calls.  Only a third of the 18 percent of calls that went to voicemail were ever returned.  About one in every five people hung up, frustrated by the hourlong holds.

It’s impossible to say how many valid abuse cases went unreported.

After San Jose Inside’s parent publication Metro Silicon Valley reported on the scathing 2013 audit, the county hired more call center employees and improve its hotline metrics.

“In years past … there was a problem with the phone being answered,” county Child Abuse Prevention Council Vice Chair Steve Baron said in an interview earlier this week.  “That problem has been largely rectified.”

Under new leadership, DFCS has since seen a considerable increase in the number of calls answered, Baron said.  People reported about 3.5 million child abuse cases each year in the U.S., about 58,000 in the Bay Area and more than 1,800 verified cases in this county alone.  In 2017, the county hotline logged some 30,000 calls—virtually of which were answered.

“They’re capturing and answering, I believe, over 98 percent of every call that comes in now,” he told San Jose Inside.  “Sometimes people just hang up or they change their mind so that accounts for the 2 percent.  But now there’s a human being answering the phone and they’re capturing those calls.”

Gilbert Murillo, who oversaw the child abuse reporting center during the time it was dropping half its calls, said the county had reduced wait times to 16 seconds by last year.

For people who would rather not speak to anyone, there’s also an option to go straight to voicemail—a feature included for the newly launched hotline as well.  And according to DFCS Director Francesca LeRúe, every single one of those voicemails gets returned.

The county’s newly announced hotline—833-SCC-KIDS (833-722-5437)—will field calls around the clock and will eventually replace the current system, which consists of multiple phone numbers.

“We have three different numbers in Santa Clara County, so it’s very confusing for people,” LeRúe said.  “We just thought it was important to streamline the process, to have one number, and then decided it was important that it should be, in fact, toll-free.”

Funding will remain unchanged with the new streamlined system, she said, and may eventually save money.

But those three existing hotline numbers will stay in place for another year to give the county time to inform people about the new one.

The first big push in promoting the hotline comes as part of National Child Abuse Prevention Month, LeRúe said.  The county encourages the community to wear blue on Friday to call attention to the cause, and to attend the 36th annual Child Abuse Prevention Council Symposium on April 27 in Campbell.

“There’s still a lot of awareness that needs to come to the community to let people know some facts about what child abuse is, what child neglect is,” LeRúe said.  “Everybody in Santa Clara County plays a big role in protecting children, it’s everybody’s responsibility.”

County social workers, executives and @SupCindyChavez raise awareness about protecting children from abuse. #ChildAbusePreventionMonth event highlights new toll-free number to Report Child Abuse in #SantaClaraCounty​. Call (833) SCC-KIDS (833-722-5437) 24 hrs a day, 7 days a week pic.twitter.com/uL4yzMArpr
— Santa Clara County (@SCCgov) April 4, 2018

KS Mother Arrested In TX

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Jamey Rae Schmidt, 31

Kansas woman arrested in Lampasas; charged with Child Abuse

LAMPASAS, TX  –  A woman from Wichita, Kansas, was arrested Wednesday afternoon in the parking lot of a McDonald’s in Lampasas and was charged with continued abuse to her 13-year-old daughter, authorities say.

Lampasas police arrested Jamey Rae Schmidt, 31, after responding to reports of Schmidt abusing her daughter inside her family’s vehicle in the restaurant’s parking lot.  Schmidt faces a felony charge of injury to a child with bodily injury.

Lampasas Assistant Chief Jody Cummings said Schmidt’s husband, a 7 and 8-year-old and a dog were also inside the vehicle at the time.

Police identified evidence of a “fresh, minor” assault upon arrival, but further investigation determined the 13-year-old was a victim of prior assaults.

“We made an arrest for something we didn’t see, but determined it rose in seriousness from the evidence,” Cummings said.

Police did not say what motive was behind Schmidt’s alleged abuse.

Cummings said there were no reports of abuse to the 13-year-old’s siblings. The children were released with Schmidt’s husband.

Law Enforcement Seeing Rise In Reported Child Abuse

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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

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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.”