Child Sex Abuse cases up in Montgomery County, OH

DAYTON, OHIO — Although the number of child neglect and physical and emotional abuse investigations declined in Montgomery County last year, sexual abuse cases slightly increased, officials announced.

But child abuse can be prevented if everyone in the community helps, Montgomery County leaders stressed at Thursday’s kickoff to Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Month.

“We always want you to call, and call our (937) 224-KIDS number whenever you have a concern about possible abuse or neglect,” said Deb Downing, assistant director for children’s services at Montgomery County Department of Job and Family Services. “We have staff who are dedicated and trained to make those determinations as to whether or not investigation is warranted.”

The number of such investigations in Montgomery County fell from 3,621 in 2013 to 3,450 in 2014. And while neglect, physical and emotional investigations dropped, sexual abuse cases rose slightly. Overall, officials said the numbers are consistent from year to year.

Montgomery County Prosecutor Mat Heck Jr. said that nationally, an abuse report is completed every 10 seconds, nearly 1,700 children in the United States will die as a result of abuse or neglect in 2015 and that 30 percent of children who are abused will abuse their own kids.

“These are kids that are never given a chance,” Heck said at the gathering at Haines Children Center at 3304 N. Main St. “And that’s just so tough, I think, to really understand unless you deal with it every day. These are not just stats, but these are living people. These are children that you’re dealing with and helping to make a difference.”

Montgomery County Commissioners Debbie Lieberman and Judy Dodge and CARE House director Libby Nicholson joined Downing and Heck at the event. They were surrounded by case workers and other children services employees.

Thousands of calls of suspected abuse or neglect come into children services and are evaluated each month. Downing said, “Sometimes, those calls are just … we can connect people with community services so that we can strengthen them and get them the services they need.”

Downing said the causes for child abuse and neglect vary but reflect problems in society.

“Of course drugs are a huge issue in our community, but it’s (also) family isolation, not having support systems, the stresses of modern-day life,” she said. “If a parent is having drug or alcohol issues, oftentimes that becomes their priority rather than tending to the needs of the children,” Downing said.

Some calls result in connecting families with resources.

“Our focus is on working with that individual family and trying to strengthen that family and … what services are needed to help them, and of course sometimes despite our best efforts, you know we can’t help that family and so we have to make alternate plans for the child,” Downing said.  ”A lot of our cases never rise to the level of a criminal prosecution, so those criminal cases are really the most extreme cases that we deal with.”

Heck echoed others’ comments that it takes someone to take a stand and have courage to report child abuse.

“It takes all of us,” Heck said. “Not just children services case works, not just law enforcement, not just the cops, not just prosecutors, it takes all of us to be involved if we’re going to prevent child abuse and hold those responsible for child abuse …. and bring them to justice.”

Police charge man with assault, child abuse

Man charged with Child Abuse and Domestic Violence
Luis Hernandez, 26 years old

Memphis, Tennessee – A 26-year-old man has been accused of choking a 1-year-old girl with a cable and duct taping the child’s mouth when she started to cry during an assault on her mother, according police.

Luis Hernandez was arrested Friday and charged with aggravated assault domestic violence and aggravated child abuse.

According to the arrest affidavit, the incident occurred Wednesday at an apartment in the 4400 block of Macon Road. The victim told officers that she and Hernandez, who is her boyfriend, got into an argument after she picked him up and took him to his apartment.

The woman told officers that when she stopped the car, Hernandez pulled her by the hair into the apartment. When her daughter began to cry, she said it bothered Hernandez and he put duct tape over the child’s mouth. She said she pulled the tape off her daughter and then Hernandez used the tape to bind her legs. She freed herself and told the suspect to leave her daughter alone.
The mother told officers Hernandez then grabbed a cable and wrapped it around the child’s neck, choking her. At that point, the victim said she grabbed a gun and pointed at Hernandez until he took the cable off the child’s neck, according to the affidavit.

She told police that Hernandez then choked her. Hernandez was arrested and remains in jail on a $40,000 bond. He was scheduled to make his first court appearance Monday.

Child abuse leads to arrest of Buffalo woman

Buffalo, New York  –  A 29-year-old Buffalo woman has been arrested after Northeast District police accused her of striking her three young daughters repeatedly in her Westminster Avenue home Sunday night.

The girls, between the ages of 7 and 10, were struck on their heads and bodies, leaving pain, swelling and visible scratch marks, police said.

Officers charged Markita Wright with multiple counts of third-degree assault, endangering the welfare of a child and harassment, according to police reports.

Authorities placed the children in the custody of their grandmother, pending further investigation.