Oregon House bill will deter reporting child abuse

This bill will deter parents from making claims of child abuse for fear of being penalized. If legislators would only read current reseach or visit Web sites like the American Bar Association, The Leadership Council on Child Abuse & Interpersonal Violence, etc. rather than rely on sterotypes, they would find out that most mothers make allegations of abuse in good faith. Sometimes the allegation may be believed by the mother but untrue. It’s a very small fraction of cases that are made for malicious reasons.

Research also finds men make more false allegations (of being unfit or of neglect) than women, but apparently the legislators aren’t concerned about mothers.

New bill on child abuse aims to halt false claims

Not in the best interest of the children

Counselor sexually abuses 3 girls and gets…probation

Juvenile Counselor Sexually Assaults 3 Teen Girls, Gets Probation?!
Sign Our Petition NOW & Help Secure Justice for Victims

Last week, Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Cassandra Mullen proposed a sentence of ten years probation with absolutely no jail time for a court-appointed juvenile counselor–Tony Simmons–who pled guilty to raping one girl and sexually assaulting two others that he was transporting to Manhattan Family Court. Court transcripts show that prosecutors from the Manhattan district attorney’s office did not object to the no-jail time plea.

In one of the instances, the assailant brought a 15-year-old girl entrusted to his custody down to the basement of the court building to rape her. Just moments after the attack he escorted her to her scheduled court appearance.

Take Action: We need you to send the message that this is outrageous!

1. Sign our petition NOW to Justice Cassandra Mullen to demand jail time for this violent offender and justice for the victims.

2. Forward the petition and the article to five friends, and post on Facebook and Twitter. The more signatures we get, the bigger our impact on this case.
Petition URL: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/now-nyc_justiceforassaultvictims/

3. Get the Daily News Article | See Our Letter-to-the-Editor: Troubling Case

Source: NOW

Child psychiatrist keeps on abusing…

The 2005 incident took place two years after the one for which Olmsted was forced to register as a sex offender.

“To find that the state board knew of not one but two complaints of impropriety with young girls and yet allowed this doctor to continue his practice with children is unconscionable,” the father wrote. “I am severely disappointed with the state of Texas right now and doubtful of its ability to stand watch over her children.”

Carona’s ire was raised after he learned that Olmsted was publicly reprimanded by the board in August and placed on probation with restrictions on his license for 10 years. A neighbor accused him of touching her beneath her clothes and sucking her toes when she was 10.

“As a father of five, it outrages me” that someone who practiced with children, then violated a child, “would somehow be allowed to retain his medical license,” Carona said.

“Holding on to that license, regardless of the restrictions that may have been stacked up on it, has an air of legitimacy, and I think could in fact further endanger others.”

Read about it here: 2nd family accuses child psychiatrist of misconduct with 10-year-old girl

And, don’t count on CPS to help children either…

Child Protective Services investigated more than three million cases of suspected child abuse in 2007, but a new study suggests that the investigations did little or nothing to improve the lives of those children.

And-

In an editorial published with the study, starkly titled “Child Protective Services Has Outlived Its Usefulness,” Dr. Abraham B. Bergman suggests some essential changes: child abuse, because it is a crime, should be investigated by the police; public health nursing services should be the first to respond to concerns of child neglect; social workers should assess appropriate living situations and work with families to obtain services, and not be engaged in law enforcement. But Dr. Bergman, who is a pediatrician at the Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, expressed considerable skepticism that such changes would happen.

Read about it in the New York Times here: Child abuse investigations didn’t reduce risk, a study finds  

Believe women

Another women who is not believed. Another child who is dead.

I’m posting the entire article. See: Family:  System failed to protect boy, 2

Family: System failed to protect boy, 2

 
  Download story podcast

06:53 PM PDT on Tuesday, August 3, 2010
By JOHN ASBURY

The Press-Enterprise

PDF: Read transcripts of the custody hearing for Isaac Gallegos

The family of a 2-year-old Inland boy who died in his father’s care has filed a complaint asking that a San Bernardino County Superior Court judge be disbarred for granting visitation to the boy’s father.

Seven months after the judge’s order, in which court records show he chastised the mother for overreacting to injuries, Isaac Gallegos was dead and his Moreno Valley father was charged with murder.

The state Commission on Judicial Performance would not confirm whether it had received the family’s complaint against Superior Court Judge John M. Pacheco. It said the proceedings are confidential and the judge had not been disciplined.

Story continues below

Terry Pierson/The Press-Enterprise
Reflected in a portrait of Isaac Gallegos are, from left, his grandmother Grace Lester, his mother, Andrea Gallegos, his aunt Jessica Gallegos, and grandfather Mike Lester, all of Ontario. The boy died in April while visiting his father — visits the boy’s mother had asked a judge to prohibit.

San Bernardino County Presiding Judge Douglas Elwell said Pacheco could not comment directly since it was part of an ongoing criminal case. He said the family court always considers a child’s safety in its rulings.

“In doing so, it’s not only based on the credibility of those testifying, but family service reports and trying to weigh all of that with an appropriate decision under the law,” Elwell said.

During a Sept. 4 custody hearing, Isaac’s mother, Andrea Gallegos, 22, of Ontario, told the court that her son came home with bruises on his buttocks and scratches on his back after a visit in Moreno Valley with his father, Alex Baeza, 23, of Moreno Valley. Isaac was taken to Pomona Valley Hospital where police and Child Protective Services were notified, Gallegos said.

Baeza told the judge Isaac had slipped and fallen on the edge of a hot tub.

A Riverside police report was inconclusive about whether child abuse had occurred, and the case was deferred to CPS, Sgt. Wayne Ramaekers said.

“Your honor, I fear for my son, he came back with all the bruising,” Gallegos said, according to court transcripts, not finishing her sentence.

“I already made my order OK?” Pacheco said. “I talked to the detective; the detective talked to the doctor. I’ve done my investigation, I feel very confident this man did not hurt his son all right? …

“I think you’re overreacting all right? Now, if you continue to act this way… I’ll have to take custody away from you and… I will give custody to the person that is most willing to cooperate with the other parent, and giving them custody OK?” Pacheco said, according to court transcripts.

“I understand you want to protect your child, and that’s fine. That’s the way moms are, and dads too. But I don’t see anything here to stop him from letting him see his son OK? I really don’t.”

Pacheco ordered the mother to continue allowing overnight weekend visits between the toddler and his father and threatened to take away custody if she made additional allegations against the father.

multiple failures

Andrea Gallegos said the child welfare system failed her at every turn.

“My boy’s dead because of that judge’s failure,” Gallegos said. “I couldn’t believe it. I thought we would go to court and they were going to help us.”

Isaac died in April of a head injury that Riverside County sheriff’s homicide detectives said was inflicted by his father.

Riverside County Regional Medical Center officials summoned police after the boy was brought to the emergency room with a severe head injury. He was declared brain dead and was kept on life support so his organs could be donated to another child.

Baeza’s family previously said Isaac was sick when he arrived at their home and that he fell off a bed while in Baeza’s care shortly before he died, but he was not abused. The family said Baeza had also filed CPS complaints against Gallegos for bruising in April.

Homicide detectives said the injuries were consistent with abuse and not with a fall. Baeza was identified as a suspect because he was the only person in a bedroom with Isaac when the injuries occurred, authorities said.

Baeza was charged with murder and assault on a child. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for this month. His attorney did not return calls seeking comment.

Gallegos moved in to her parents’ house in Ontario when she became pregnant with Isaac. She said her relationship with Baeza was distant.

After Isaac was born, Baeza wanted to become part of his life. The couple agreed to share custody, but she didn’t know where he lived. During the Sept. 4 hearing, the judge ordered them to hand off Isaac for visits at a Rubidoux sheriff’s station.

She believes Isaac had been abused at least three times before the fatal injury.

After she was unsuccessful in September at stopping the court-ordered visits, Gallegos said Isaac came back from a visit with his father with bruising on his ears. Fearful of returning to court, the family took him to a pediatrician and called Ontario police, which opened a CPS case.

A third CPS case was opened in Fontana shortly before Isaac died for other bruising, said Isaac’s grandfather Mike Lester.

In each case, CPS and authorities found insufficient evidence of child abuse, Lester said.

San Bernardino County officials said they could not confirm or deny a CPS history without a public records request because Isaac died in another county. A records request is still pending.

Riverside County CPS officials said Isaac’s only history with their office was filed April 11, the injury that caused his death.

“The whole system failed us from start to finish. All we wanted was for someone to help us,” Lester said. “This is their job. They have to investigate in order to save these kids. I don’t want this to happen to another child.”

why no investigation?

University of San Diego professor Robert Fellmeth said the case points to not just the court’s failure but to a larger indictment on the system in place to protect children from abuse. At the very least, an investigation should have been opened, said Fellmeth, who founded the Child Advocacy Institute and co-wrote the state’s CPS open record law.

“If it comes up, they’re supposed to do something. The court is tasked with protecting children with abuse,” Fellmeth said. “The mom is doing the right thing in raising the issue. To imply the mom did anything wrong, and if she did it again would lose custody, is outrageous.”

Family courts can often overlook signs of abuse because false allegations are frequent in embattled custody cases, Fellmeth said. But the courts should not deem an allegation false, solely based on whether a detective planned to file a case, he said.

“Obviously there was a failure,” Fellmeth said. “The family court judge made an imprudent remark, but the larger failure is not his. Where was CPS and the juvenile dependency court? Why wasn’t there a further investigation?”

DeAnna Avey-Motikeit, director of San Bernardino County Children and Family Services, said legislation is being proposed to remove some of the confidential barriers that surround child cases.

“We definitely need a better communication system between family court, CPS and law enforcement,” Motikeit said. “This is an issue people are becoming acutely aware of and shows the need of greater communication in a lot of the battles between the parents.”

Reach John Asbury at 951-763-3451 or jasbury@PE.com

For the record, false allegations are NOT frequent. Research finds most allegations of abuse are made in good faith and rates of false allegations in family court are not higher than other cases.  The American Bar Association and the Leadership Council on Child Abuse and Interpersonal Violence both have research citations regarding this.

Believe women…or we’ll sue you

In the Believe Women department, we have a mother who warned Child Protective Services of her ex-husband’s history of abuse and her fear for her son’s safety. They ignored her. The result? Her ex-husband killed their nine-year-old son. The woman is sueing them.

Mother sues state workers for ignoring danger signs that led to ex-husband’s 2007 murder-suicide that killed her nine-year-old son Nicholas Braman.

The state’s Failure to Protect:

The death of Nicholas Daniel Braman would have been avoided if defendants had simply done what they were obligated to do by law to protect (the boy) from further abuse and neglect …,” attorney Gregory Wix wrote in the civil lawsuit, filed earlier this month by the boy’s mother.

The suit:

The lawsuit alleges Children’s Protective Services, under the state Department of Human Services, ignored evidence the boy was at risk with his father. Both a prosecutor and the boy’s mother, Rebecca Jasinski of Saginaw, raised red flags.

A month before the deaths, Assistant Montcalm County Prosecutor Misty Davis told CPS that “An investigation should definitely be commenced … . Oliver literally ‘shocked’ his older boys with a cattle prod repeatedly. As you know abuse to one child is abuse to all. In my opinion, there is no justification for the youngest boy to remain in the care of this man.”

Two weeks later, she told authorities that Braman had pleaded guilty to child abuse charges. The response, just hours before the deaths were discovered: “We’ve never felt that Nicholas was at risk.”

Jasinski had “begged” CPS workers in Saginaw to remove her youngest son from Braman’s home, but was denied.

How long will bias continue to harm women and children? This man had a record of child abuse, the mother raised concerns and expressed fear, yet authorities felt this man was a “safe parent.”

Fathers rights do not trump women and children’s safety.

Blaming the victim

Here’s a prime example of blaming the victim. In this case, a woman who has been the victim of domestic violence is blamed for child abuse (exposure to violence committed by her husband). In this case, the perpetrator, the husband, is responsible for the abuse committed by his actions on his wife and the indirect actions of this violence to his child. She is not responsible for his actions. She is a victim. Estimates place child exposure to domestic violence at 3-8 million. Society will not hold mothers (or fathers, as the case may  be) responsible for another person’s behavior.  If she can barely keep him from beating her, how can she be expected to protect her child? Furthermore, why is he not charged with child abuse when he’s hitting the mother – isn’t it the same idea as this case? Clearly, it’s a double standard and blaming the victim mentality to charge a victim of violence, and not the perpetrator of violence, with child abuse.

Supreme Court:  Agency had no authority to place woman on child abuser list

PAS doesn’t make manual

There are always lobbyists for parental alienation syndrome, but they did not win out this time either.
PAS is not making it into the DSM-5, according to an article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Great news for Protective Parents!!
PAS, or parental alienation syndrome, is the idea that one parent (usually the mother) poisons the mind of the child(ren) against the other parent. It was created by Richard Gardner who blamed “hysterical” women for making false allegations of child sexual abuse against fathers. He was misogynist, didn’t publish in a peer-review journal, defended child molesters, and this mental health expert stabbed himself in the chest, committing suicide.
The biggest concern about PAS is that it masks child abuse (see work by Jay Silverman at Harvard). Is the parent “alienating” the child or has the other parent abused the kid, creating hostility and fear? It also serves to scapegoat women. Children experiencing divorce can be depressed or angry for many reasons – not just because Mom tells them bad things about Dad. Then, there are the “reunification centers” where they reunite children with the estranged parent (potential abuser) and cut off ties with the parent that had the closer relationship.
Now, why is it that PAS – if it’s truly a mental health condition – works on changing children’s attitudes and not the parent’s? Wouldn’t that be working on changing the “cause” of the problem? And, is PAS a mental health condition or a legal strategy for gaining access or custody?
I refer to PAS as Pedophile Acting as Scientist. There’s no doubt in my mind that this so-called syndrome is in the best interest of the abuser. It also fails to meet scientific standards. I have no doubt parents bad-mouth each other, but it is not a mental health disorder. It is not a blanket cause for relationship break-downs or failures – sometimes, it’s because the parent can’t or won’t take accountability for their past or current actions. Sometimes it’s because there’s been abuse and it’s more common for abusers to deny abuse than it is for people to make false allegations.  

False allegations land grieving mother in jail

If you follow my blog, you’ll know that I try to counter the propaganda that women make false allegations. First, this is a myth, a lie and a stereotype.  Research (see: Bala & Schumann) finds that men make more false allegations in family court than women and that the majority of claims women make in court are made in good faith. Second, you rarely read about men’s false allegations – even this article ignores the issue. Third, as a result of this lie, women and children are denied justice and can be further harmed or killed.

Here is an article about a mother jailed for killing her infant (blunt force trauma, torn intestines, vaginal damage, etc.). The judge bashes her and throws her into jail. A few years later, the lawyer admits that her then-boyfriend admitted HE DENIED the assault and falsely accused her instead…

Eight years later, new evidence surfaces in R.I.’s toddler’s murder