Sippy Cuppin Away Again In Margaritaville

Child Abuse
Mom shares Margarita

Lynn woman accused of giving margarita to toddler

SALEM, Mass. — A Lynn woman was arrested after allegedly letting her 2-year-old daughter drink from a glass of margarita and pouring some of the cocktail into the child’s sippy cup, officials said.

Sheldy Nelson, 41, pleading not guilty at her arraignment in Salem District Court Thursday to charges of reckless endangerment of a child and providing liquor to a person under 21, said Carrie Kimball Monahan, spokeswoman for the Essex district attorney’s office.

Bail was set at $1,000 and Nelson was ordered to remain alcohol free, submit to random screenings, and abide by the orders of the Department of Children and Families, the state’s child protection agency, Monahan said.

The incident allegedly occurred in August at the Salem Waterfront Hotel & Suites, said police Lieutenant Marc Berube.

A hotel employee saw Nelson order a margarita and allegedly share some with her toddler and pour it into the girl’s cup, Berube said. When the employee asked her to stop, Nelson said she was only trying to get ice into her daughter’s cup.

Both mother and daughter needed medical attention and were taken to a hospital, Berube said. He would not say what made them ill.

The Department of Children and Families took custody of the daughter in August and she remains in state custody, the agency said.

Sister’s new friend is Sister kidnapped 17 years earlier

Child kidnapped
Celeste Nurse, Mother of kidnapped Daughter

South African teen kidnapped at birth found at same school as biological sister.

JOHANNESBURG – A newborn was kidnapped from a Cape Town hospital in 1997 but her parents never gave up hope and now, 17 years later, they have found her.

The family had always celebrated their missing daughter’s birthday on April 28, and following her remarkable discovery the girls’ biological family is planning a festive celebration for her first birthday with them.

“We have to plan something very big,” the girl’s aunt told South Africa’s Cape Talk radio station after it reported that DNA tests confirmed she was the child kidnapped from the Groote Schuur Hospital.

A 50-year-old woman was arrested and appeared in court Friday on charges of kidnapping and fraudulently pretending to the child’s biological mother, police spokesman Andre Traut said. The woman will again appear in court on March 6, after she has gone through an identity parade, according to the South African Press Association.

The girl, who turns 18 in April, was raised by the arrested woman and her husband as their only child. She was living just a couple of miles (kilometers) from her biological parents but, as the Cape Argus newspaper reports, the amazing discovery happened by chance when she became friends with her younger biological sister, when they attended the same school.

In her final year of high school, friends told her about a new student who had an uncanny resemblance to her, her biological aunt said. The two girls met and bonded instantly, despite the four-year age difference.

“There was just an incredible connection,” her aunt told the radio station.

The younger daughter told her parents about her new friend who looked just like her. Still hopeful, the family invited the girl to their home for coffee, the Cape Argus reported. After seeing her, the father immediately contacted the police who revived their investigation into the kidnapping, the newspaper reported.

The police found that the couple claiming to be the teenager’s parents could not prove she was their biological daughter, and DNA tests were carried out, the Cape Argus reported.

Biological mother and daughter were reunited for the first time on Thursday, the mother weeping, the child’s elated aunt told the Cape Talk radio station.

“When she saw (her) yesterday, she knew, ‘This is my child.’ She said DNA wasn’t necessary, she just knew,” the child’s aunt told the radio station. The child’s biological mother, Celeste Nurse, has given a number of interviews in the years since the kidnapping, often when other babies were snatched.

Recovering from the birth of her first child 17 years ago, Nurse woke up to find a woman dressed as a hospital nurse sitting by her hospital bed, her newborn baby still in the cot, she told the Cape Times in 2011. She drifted off, groggy from the cesarean section operation.

“When I woke up there was a nurse saying my child is gone. You can’t imagine the feeling,” Nurse told the newspaper. “I just hope one day someone will realize something or see something and bring her back to us.”

The Nurses had three other children, but continued their search for their eldest daughter, never giving up hope.

“I’ll never, ever give up hope. I can feel it in my gut — my daughter is out there and she is going to come home,” biological father Morne Nurse told the Weekend Argus newspaper five years ago. The family threw a birthday party for their kidnapped daughter each year, her siblings blowing out the candles on her cake.

The girl has not been identified by The Associated Press because she is a minor and a judge has ruled that the press should not publish the name under which she was raised. She is still in the custody of social services, according to police, but as soon as she is home, her newly found family plan to celebrate her birthday with her for the first time.

Iowa Senate panel weighs changes in child sex abuse lawsuits

Child Sex Abuse
Iowa Capital

Victims of child sexual abuse would have more time to file civil lawsuits, and the statute of limitations for child sex crimes would be eliminated, under a bill advanced by an Iowa Senate subcommittee following emotional testimony Thursday.

However, a proposed amendment to Senate File 107 would remove a key provision that says victims of alleged child sexual abuse who are now barred from filing civil lawsuits under Iowa’s statute of limitations would be given a three-year window to commence lawsuits.

The bill was sent to the Iowa Senate Judiciary Committee following testimony from three men who spoke of being sexually abused by clergy members as minors.

Bill LaHay, of Des Moines, who participated as an adult in a lawsuit against the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles after sexual abuse he experienced as a child, urged lawmakers to open a window for abuse victims to file civil lawsuits. He said it would help restore the balance of justice.

“That window gives daylight,” said LaHay, who wiped away tears as he spoke. “Prevention is part of what you want to do with this.”

The removal of the window would eliminate some of the most serious concerns about the bill from the Iowa Catholic Conference, which represents the Catholic bishops of Iowa, and the Iowa Association of School Boards. They contend it would be nearly impossible to mount a legal defense against lawsuits involving incidents that occurred perhaps 30 or 40 years ago after witnesses have died and records have been destroyed.

Opening a window for lawsuits in Iowa would likely have its biggest effect on the Catholic Church, which has paid out more than $2.5 billion in damages nationwide because of past incidents involving more than 16,500 victims allegedly abused by religious members.

The Archdiocese of Minneapolis and St. Paul filed for bankruptcy in January after the Minnesota Legislature approved the Minnesota Child Victim’s Act. The Minnesota law, passed in 2013, opened a three-year window for filing new lawsuits alleging sexual abuse that otherwise would have been barred by the statute of limitations. About 20 alleged victims of clergy abuse have filed civil suits against the Minnesota archdiocese because of the law, and church officials have reportedly received more than 100 notices of potential claims.

Paul Koeniguer, of Des Moines, also urged support for the bill, explaining how he couldn’t even acknowledge being sexually abused by a clergy member until he was nearly 50 years old. He said he had been too embarrassed to talk about it with anyone.

Sen. Janet Petersen, D-Des Moines, who chaired the subcommittee, thanked the abuse victims and told them not to apologize for their tears. But she said with deadlines for legislative action approaching, she is considering amendments to make progress on a bill that can win approval in the House and Senate and be signed by Gov. Terry Branstad.

“Sometimes we can’t get as far as I would like to go,” Petersen said. However, she added that she wants to have another conversation with lawmakers about including the open window for lawsuits in the bill.

Sen. Kevin Kinney, D-Oxford, joined Petersen in supporting the bill, but Sen. Julian Garrett, R-Indianola, said afterward he was still struggling to make a decision. He said he greatly sympathizes with abuse victims. But as a lawyer he also recognizes it could be difficult for a church or school to defend itself in a lawsuit alleging wrongdoing that occurred decades ago.

Under current Iowa law, criminal charges must be filed within 10 years after a victim reaches adulthood in cases of first, second or third-degree sexual abuse. Under the proposed amendment to the bill, perpetrators of such crimes would never be off the hook.

In addition, the bill says the time for filing a civil lawsuit relating to sexual abuse of a minor would be extended from the current one year after a person turns 18 to a period of 25 years after a person reaches age 18.

Bikers Against Child Abuse launch Calgary chapter

Child Abuse
Bikers Against Child Abuse Calgary Chapter

Motorcycle enthusiasts empower abused children

They’re not a gang, but they do wear black leather jackets and ride motorcycles in large groups.

“When they look at us [and] see all these big burly guys, they know that we’re there for them. That’s a lot of empowerment to them,” said William Hebert, whose road name is Wheels.

He is referring to the children that he and his biker friends watch over. Wheels is the president of the Calgary chapter of Bikers Against Child Abuse (BACA).

The not-for-profit organization is new to Calgary but has been around for more than 20 years in Canada and the U.S., as well as chapters across Europe and Australia.

Police, social services and therapists connect motorcycle enthusiasts with kids who have experienced abuse.

Tough-guy guardians

The tough-guy guardian angels provide friendship, moral and physical support for the children, whether that be parking their bikes outside their home or escorting them to and from the courthouse to testify.

“At a glance out of their eye they know that they’ve got all their friends standing, waiting for them, cheering them on,” said BACA Calgary member Brian (Woody) Woodhouse.

“Just giving them the strength that they need within themselves to be able to carry on and work the steps through the justice system in order to begin the healing process,” adds Woodhouse.

Woodhouse joined BACA after his six-year-old stepdaughter, Meika Jordan, was killed.

The girl’s biological father Spencer Jordan and his girlfriend Marie Magoon have been charged with first-degree murder.

The trial for the couple starts March 23 in Calgary. That day BACA members from across Alberta and Saskatchewan are planning a rally in the city.

BACA Calgary is still training and educating new members and doing criminal record checks. The chapter expects to be fully up and running by the fall of 2015