Two charged with Child Abuse Friday
OMAHA, Neb. —Mary Frederickson, 25, and Courtney Washington, 28, were charged with two counts of child abuse.
Washington was also charged with sexual assault of a child.
Police brought an 8-year-old child to Children’s Hospital, malnourished and alarmingly underweight. The child weighed only about 25 pounds, about 50 pounds lighter than the child should be, according to medical experts.
A police report said her parents had “no known medical factors to explain” the weight loss, and that “failure to feed the child is the only explanation.” “As mandatory reporters, if we do have concerns about abuse or neglect, we have to report that to the authorities,” said Dr. Suzanne Hanley, medical director of the Children’s Hospital Children’s Advocacy Team.
Washington is now in Douglas County Corrections, charged in this case and in another investigation involving a 2-year-old boy. A second report said police observed bruises on the child and a black eye.
Frederickson faces two charges of child abuse causing serious injury in connection with the reportedly malnourished 8-year-old child.
Haney said the first thing doctors at Children’s Hospital do in every case of child abuse is run tests, determine the level of potential abuse and whether the effects will be long term. “Malnourishment is well-defined,” Haney said. “There’s mild, moderate and severe, and it depends on how far the child’s weight deviates from the expected norms.”
Haney couldn’t talk about the case specifically but said that when she hears about malnourishment, she worries that there may be more issues than hunger. “So then it’s going to be (possible) emotional and psychological neglect,” she said. “That does have a significant impact on children as they grow and develop.” Haney said malnourishment at a young age can hinder brain development. But said in the right hands, with the right care, a malnourished child can bounce back. “I always say kids need to do two things: They need to learn and need to grow. And they can’t do either one of them if they’re not being appropriately fed,” Haney said.
As for the sexual assault case, the Douglas County Attorney’s Office said it can’t give any details. Both Washington and Frederickson will be in court on Monday. Washington was also jailed in 2006 on a child abuse charge.