Friday, April 25, 2008

Child Abuse Prevention Month

April is child abuse prevention month. The store I work at has a box to collect new stuffed animals for children who are the victims of abuse. Some people don't have stuffed animals but are giving us money to buy new stuffed animals for children. We have collected a lot of money and stuffed animals It has been a great success.

I was talking to a co-worker last night about it and my memory of the worst child abuse I witnessed. It was over twenty years ago now, I was working in the District Attorney's Office as a Legal Secretary. It was the coldest night in February and a three-year-old boy was taken to St. Mary's Hospital (the big hospital in town). He had multiple injuries and was brought in by his family. They lived in a semi and worked as OTR's. Very quickly the police were brought in. It was about seven hours later that one of the Deputy DA's was starting a warrant to search the truck when an officer walked by the truck and saw two pairs of little eyes peeking out the window. With probable cause they went into the truck. Two freezing little girls were removed and the truck was searched. That night the three-year-old boy died from his injuries. The mother and her boyfriend were charged with child abuse by a person in a position of trust resulting in death.

Evidence that was gathered was horrifying. The pictures of him in his hospital bed with bandages wrapped completely around his head, broken bones, etc. Incredibly sad. They had made a tape at some point of the little boy screaming at the top of his lungs and we could hear his mother's voice saying this was happening because he had been a bad boy. She had clipped his penis with an alligator clip for wetting the bed. There was a picture of him clinging to her boyfriend's arm from outside the window of the truck. The boyfriend was laughing, and the speedometer in the picture read 60mph, clear as could be. All attempts by any of us to maintain professional distance was gone. How could someone do that?!! The mother ended up pleading to a reduced charge and was sentenced to 30 years in prison. The boyfriend made bail somehow and skipped. It took two years to find him, by then I had left the DA's office and returned to the front range. I don't know what finally became of him, but I'm sure it was a tough sentence. The only relief that I get is that inmates are rumored to really hate people who abuse children. That's not very nice for me to think, but I hope justice was done.

My hope is that anyone who witnesses any kind of abuse reports it immediately. Children are as innocent and trusting as animals and absolutely deserve our best love and care. Sadly, those who have no business reproducing are doing so at a record pace.

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