TX AG Child Exploitation Unit Gets Shepherd Man

.jpg photo of Child Pornographer
William Doyle Gant, 47,

AG Paxton’s Child Exploitation Unit Arrests
San Jacinto County Man for Possession of
Child Pornography

AUSTIN, TX  –  Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced that the Child Exploitation Unit (CEU) of his office arrested William Doyle Gant, 47, of Shepherd, today on five counts of Possession of Child Pornography, a third-degree felony.  Gant could face up to 10 years in prison per charge if convicted.

Following multiple CyberTipline reports from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, CEU investigators executed a search warrant at Gant’s home, where he was subsequently arrested for possession of child pornography.

Several digital storage devices were seized for further examination by the Digital Forensics Unit of the attorney general’s office.

Gant was then booked in the San Jacinto County Jail without incident and will appear before a magistrate later today.

The Texas Attorney General’s Office works to protect children by using the latest technology to track down some of the most profoundly evil predators online.

The CEU proactively seeks out and arrests predators who commit crimes against children using technology and online sources.

Attorney General Paxton urges all parents and teachers to become aware of the risks our children face on the internet and take steps to help ensure their children’s safety.

For more information on cyber safety, please visit: https://www.texasattorneygeneral.gov/cj/cyber-safety

IL Boy Scout Cares About Others

.jpg photo of Boy Scout Child Abuse Advocate
Gabriel Ballard is helping give Child Abuse a voice through his Eagle Scout project.

Boy Scout helps bring awareness to
Child Abuse

HERRIN, IL  –  Carterville Boy Scout Gabriel Ballard is helping give child abuse a voice through his Eagle Scout project.

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, and Franklin-Williamson Child Advocacy Center wants everyone to help spread the message.

“Abuse gets its power from silence.  When you give it a voice, you stop it,” Leah Brown, executive director of Franklin-Williamson Child Advocacy Center, said.

When Ballard and his Boy Scout Troop visited Franklin-Williamson Child Advocacy Center, the goal was for the Scouts to learn more about the center and what it does, as well as how the Scouts could help the center.

Shortly after the visit, Ballard was trying to decide what to do for his Eagle Scout Project.  His idea was to make Blue Kids, cutouts placed on a lawn, to help raise awareness of child abuse and neglect in Southern Illinois.

“I just thought about it and called to ask Mrs. Brown if we could do it,” Gabriel said.

Brown said Gabriel approached her about a year ago to see what he could do for the center.  She approved.

Blue Kids represent abused and neglected children.  They are designed to bring awareness to the problem of child abuse and neglect.  It grew out of the Blue Ribbon Campaign, which began as one woman’s tribute to her grandson after he died at the hands of his mother’s abusive partner.  The color blue symbolizes bruises on the victims of child abuse.

Gabriel designed the cutouts and developed a template.  His original plan was to cut out the figures with a jig saw, but someone suggested he contact Mike Fleming, vocational teacher and department chair at Carterville High School.

“Mike Fleming at the high school allowed us to use the shop, so we ended up with 120 kids instead of 100,” Gabriel said.

Gabriel delivered the Blue Kids to the advocacy center Thursday afternoon with some help from his parents, Kelli Ballard and Steve Battiste, and friend and fellow Scout, Eric Pfeilschifter.

“What we’re hoping is that businesses will sponsor the children for the month of April,” Brown said.

Businesses and individuals can have a pair of Blue Kids (a boy and girl) in their yards with a sign that reads,” Prevent Child Abuse one child at a time. Child Advocacy Center, http://www.wcocac.org” for a $100 tax-deductible donation.  The center will deliver signs April 1 and pick them up May 1.

“I think this is a wonderful message for Gabriel to take on a topic as child abuse at his age,” Brown said.

Franklin-Williamson Child Advocacy Center received referrals for 257 children in 2016.  All of these children are residents of Franklin and Williamson counties.  The center conducted 110 forensic interviews and 42 children and families received free counseling.

For more information, visit the center’s Facebook page, website www.wcocac.org or call 618-942-3800.

Lubbock TX CA Summit First Event Of Several Scheduled

.jpg photo of Child Abuse graphic
Covenant Children’s Hospital in Lubbock TX Hosts 5th Annual Child Abuse Summit

Covenant Children Hosts 5th Annual
Child Abuse Summit

LUBBOCK, TX  –  Today, March 24, Covenant Children’s hosted their 5th Annual Child Abuse Summit to kick off Child Abuse Awareness month; which is honored throughout April.  The Summit had a series of topics and speakers all aimed to educate physicians and the public on how to prevent child abuse here in Lubbock.

“We just got the statistics for 2016 on Tuesday and we had 1,210 confirmed cases of abuse or neglect for children here in Lubbock County.  In 2015 in the state of Texas there were 170 deaths related to child abuse,” Belinda Waters, Trauma Coordinator at Covenant Children’s said.

Majority of the participants wore blue to the event and Waters said the color blue represents the bruises on children that should be recognized as early warning signs for abuse.

“There is a study that shows typically children with 4 bruises are at a higher risk of being abused.  If you see 4 or more bruises in other areas besides the knees and shins we need to be worried about it that is some of the info we want to get out to the public,” Waters said.

Waters said one of their speakers, Jenna Quinn, at the Summit was a survivor of child abuse and she wants her team to learn from Quinn’s situation to help other kids in similar situations.

“She is a survivor of child sexual abuse and helped get a law passed in 2009 that has made it mandatory now that children receive appropriate child education from kindergarten through 12th grade. There are a lot of people who are survivors of child abuse or sexual abuse who aren’t willing to speak up,” Waters said.

This was the first of several events that will be held throughout the end of March and April.  If you are looking to attend, all of their events are listed on:


3 Years For Nearly Killing Boy With Fists????

.jpg photo of Child Abuse victim
Nikko Bellazetin, 8, was nearly beaten to death by a grown man.

Utah mom calls for stricter Child Abuse laws
after man convicted in brutal beating gets
‘light sentence’

PROVO, Utah  –  A Utah county prosecutor calls it one of the worst child abuse cases he’s ever seen: an 8-year-old boy nearly beaten to death at the hands of his mother’s ex-boyfriend.

The man was sentenced to 3 years in prison, and now the boy’s mother is pushing for stricter child abuse laws.

Ashley Bellazetin leans on her sister as she recounts the nightmare that played out in her Provo home on July 25, 2016.  Her boyfriend at the time, Metua Ngarupe, was babysitting her four children.

When she got home from work, she found her 8-year-old son Nikko laying on the couch, covered in a blanket and vomiting.

“Every inch of him was just covered in bruises, there were hand marks,” Bellazetin said.

Ngarupe admitted to spanking the boy for falling outside and chipping his tooth on a sprinkler, but Bellazetin’s 7-year-old daughter confirmed the horrific details.

“He kicked, punched Nikko, that he was stomping on him.  Just yelling horrible names at him,” Bellazetin said.  “He hit his head into the faucet, and that’s how his front teeth were chipped.”

Nikko was Life-Flighted to Primary Children’s Hospital and suffered a concussion and numerous internal injuries.  Bellazetin says the man who her children looked up to, showed no remorse.

“He even made the comment that Nikko is going to be so much stronger because of going through this,” Bellazetin said.  “He’s a little kid. He shouldn’t be made stronger.  If anything, it broke him.

Last week, Ngarupe pleaded guilty to three lesser charges of second-degree felony child abuse.  The judge sentenced him to three years in prison with credit for time served, due to mitigating factors such as a lack of a criminal history.

Right now, Utah does not have a first-degree felony child abuse law on the books.

“Even in court, they said had he done that to an adult it would have been attempted murder,” Bellazetin said.

Bellazetin’s family is fighting to change the laws.  She has reached out to lawmakers to ensure other children don’t have to suffer.

“This was an 8-year-old boy, maybe 45 pounds,” Bellazetin said. “Small, little boy that he almost killed. And he could be out in as little as 3 years.  It’s ridiculous.”

Ashley’s next step is to ask the Utah Parole Board to extend Ngarupe’s sentence.  She has created a Facebook community to connect with others who are willing to join her fight.

Action For Child Abuse Victims: Protecting Our Families

Pain Management Is More Drugs On Streets

.jpg photo of Tennessee State Capitol
Tennessee State Capitol

Opioid-related Child Abuse cases clogging up judicial system

Tennessee  –  Opioid-related child abuse cases are placing strain on some of East Tennessee’s courts.

On Tuesday, Blount County deputies found Kendra Crain, 28, passed out while parked in front of an apartment building.  A police report claims her 10-month and 23-month-old infants were left unattended in the backseat for hours after witnesses say she snorted opioids to the point of unconsciousness.

Administrators at the Knox County Juvenile Court say those types of child abuse cases are all too familiar, leaving judges and magistrates handling drug-related child abuse cases nearly every day.

“It places a strain on courts because of the number of cases we see each day, and it puts a strain on resources for the community and for the taxpayer,” said Knox County Juvenile Court Magistrate Irene Joseph.

Joseph is one of three juvenile court magistrates for the county, all of whose dockets are filled exclusively with dependence and neglect cases — many stemming from drug abuse.  She said each magistrate has a full docket each day that often includes a trial regarding severe abuse.

“I wish I could say that’s an anomaly, and that’s simply not true,” she said.

It’s an issue that’s grown in recent years.  In December, an analysis by WBIR 10News’ partners at The Tennessean found a 51 percent spike in the number of parents losing their rights to their child between 2010 and 2014, the latest year available.

There are more opioid prescriptions than people in Tennessee

“Parents are either being transported to the emergency room or they’re being transported to jail,” Joseph said.  “It makes you wish there was more you can do, but you do what you can, and then you move on to the next case.”

Brittany Hudson is a former drug addict whose addiction sent her in and out of jail after delivering a drug-dependent baby in 2014.

“I can feel her pain because … I’ve been there,” Hudson said.  “When you already have that guilt and shame, your disease tells you you’re not good enough and you’re never going to get clean.”

But finding long-term treatment proves difficult for many East Tennessee addicts.

“These are long-standing problems, and they aren’t cured with five-day, 10-day or even 30-day in-patient treatment,” Joseph said. “There’s waiting lists for almost every agency or treatment provider.”

Joseph added Knox County does have several available treatment programs, including at the Helen Ross McNabb Center, the Renaissance Recovery Group, Cherokee Health Systems and several others, but because of the extent of the problem, she said resources are quickly exhausted.

Despite long wait lines, Hudson, who now helps addicts at Renaissance, is now clean and has custody of her kids with another on the way.

Her message for Crain or any other parent struggling to fight addiction:

“This isn’t it.   You don’t have to give up.  You can still fight.  It’s not impossible,” she said.