Category Archives: Child Sexual Abuse

Every State Should Have Sophies Law

.jpg photo of child abused by babysitter
Sophie was abused by her babysitter at just four months old.

NKY mom ‘heartbroken’ by 3-year-old’s case pushes for child abuse registry

BELLEVUE, KY  –  A Northern Kentucky mother said cases like her daughter’s, and a case from last week in Butler County, are the reason she’s fighting to create a child abuse registry in Kentucky.

The new 2018 bill has been dubbed ‘Sophie and Kylie Jo’s Law’

She said her daughter was abused by her babysitter at just four months old.

Jennifer Diaz said her heart is broken for the family of Hannah Wesche.

Sheriff: 3-year-old ‘hanging on by a thread;’ babysitter charged with abuse

She worked with lawmakers in Kentucky last year to help create a child abuse registry, but the bill died.

Now, she is working with them again and hopes a new bill could make it a reality.

“Society needs to know who these horrible human beings are,” Diaz said.

Jennifer and her daughter, Sophie, have been sharing a story of abuse for years, hoping to save young ones from being hurt by someone they trust.

“We were fortunate that, you know, we’re survivors.  My child is a survivor,” Diaz said.

Sophie is in preschool these days, but she was four months old when her babysitter, Desiree Rankin, abused her, sending her to the hospital.

Rankin was convicted and sentenced in the case.

Jennifer said her heart broke when she saw 3-year-old Hannah’s story.

Investigators said Wesche was abused in Butler County on Thursday, to the point she isn’t expected to survive.

She’s currently in intensive care at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and her family says she is brain dead.

Hannah’s babysitter, Lindsay Partin, was arrested but is out of jail.

Jennifer said she prays for Hannah’s family.

“You fight, you fight and get that justice that child deserves and just keep fighting,” Diaz said.

Diaz and her daughter are fighting too, to stop babysitters who’ve been convicted in similar crimes from ever doing it again.

Last year, Diaz worked with lawmakers in Kentucky to help create a child abuser registry.

She testified in Frankfort, but the 2017 bill died.

Now, she’s working with lawmakers in the 2018 session.

She testified just last week, with Sophie by her side.

“I’ll go 100 times if I have to, you know, whatever it takes to pass this law, it’s going to get passed,” Jennifer said.

Jennifer said the registry would operate much like the sex offender registry, with information online.

She said there are some big hurdles ahead, including figuring out ways to pay for the registry everyone can agree on.

The new bill has been dubbed “Sophie and Kylie Jo’s Law,” in honor of the two girls who were abused by their babysitters.

It has now been referred to the House Rules Committee.

Jacksonville NC Focusing On Preventing Child Abuse

.jpg photo of Jacksonville NC
“If you want to change the lives of children, you have to change the lives of the people who are taking care of them… “

Jacksonville council looking into Child Abuse task force

Jacksonville, NC  –  District Attorney Ernie Lee addressed the Jacksonville City Council and showcased the circumstances that contribute to child abuse and mistreatment.  Although it wasn’t listed in the slideshow reasons, Lee told the council, “Some people are mean. Some people are bad.”

Other contributing factors include a lack of intelligence and education as well as a cycle of abuse, marriage problems, unemployment and illness, among other reasons.

Some people just aren’t equipped to raise children, Lee continued, adding that it was amazing what someone has to go through to get a driver’s license, and yet anyone can have a child.

Lee said he currently has 32 people awaiting trial for more than 100 charges that include child abuse and exploitation of a child.

“We need to get in front of this.  We need to do something to prevent it from happening,” Jacksonville Director of Public Safety Mike Yaniero said.

Yaniero and Lee, along with several others with them at the council workshop, were there to promote the idea of a task force that focuses on preventing child abuse.

Malea Rose-Waters with Prevent Child Abuse N.C. said she’s worked with New Hanover, Cumberland, and Halifax counties to create child abuse prevention plans using community leaders with a passion for helping kids.

The focus of those task forces is finding ways to give adults the tools they need to overcome the stresses of life and become better parents in order to give their children happy and healthy homes, like learning how to create a nurturing relationship with your child, classes for parenting skills, how to build resilience, and learning to only allow positive relationships, instead of toxic ones, around your children.

“If you do want to change the lives of children, you have to change the lives of the people who are taking care of them, Rose-Waters explained.

These communities hope to offer ways for parents to ensure basic needs are met, and help them learn it’s okay to ask for help while also ensuring they know where to go to get the help they need.

“I think all of us would agree that a child being hurt is not okay, and it’s 100 percent preventable,” said Dawn Rochelle with Onslow County Partnership for Children.  “I believe that the resources are here.”

Jacksonville Mayor Sammy Phillips noted that the child abuse issue in Onslow County has just as much, if not more, of a devastating impact on the community as the opioid epidemic.

Council members agreed that it’s an issue that needs to be tackled and unanimously approved having the city staff look into a task force and partnerships between the city, the county, and the organizations and people represented at the meeting before reporting back with their findings within 90 days.

Feeding Child Predators

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Three and a half years ago we thought it was just indifference….

Child abuse poll a ‘mistake’ – Facebook

In what has become a seemingly regular occurrence, Facebook is being asked: how on earth did this happen?

On Sunday Facebook asked an unspecified number of users their thoughts on how child abuse images should be handled on the network.

It gave a scenario in which an “adult man” asks a 14-year-old girl for “sexual images”, and then a list of possible answers.

One option read:  “This content should be allowed on Facebook, and I would not mind seeing it.”

A follow-up question offered options on how policies should be enforced, such as “Facebook decides the rules on its own” or “external experts decide the rules and tell Facebook”.

As noted by the Guardian, none of the options allowed the user to suggest that the proper course of action in this scenario would be to inform child protection agencies or call the police.

“We run surveys to understand how the community thinks about how we set policies,” said Guy Rosen, Facebook’s head of product.

“But this kind of activity is and will always be completely unacceptable on FB. We regularly work with authorities if identified.  It shouldn’t have been part of this survey.

“That was a mistake.”

Data set

The company is no longer running the survey.

The BBC understands Facebook’s team was instructed to find out how users felt was best appropriate to deal with illegal content on the network.  The site is not, of course, considering changing how it deals with child abuse imagery.

Over the network’s head looms the prospect of more regulation.

By asking users if they feel more comfortable with Facebook determining the rules on how unacceptable content is handled could be an attempt to build data to back up its likely argument that it can regulate itself.

Another option, whereby experts advise the network, is also a possibility.  In the past, Facebook has turned to outside experts when developing new technologies, particularly those aimed at younger users.

However, the site as criticised over its choice of experts – many of which it had funded, as reported by Wired magazine.

Facebook has had a tough time dealing with negative publicity recently.  At an event for US conservatives last month, in the wake of another school shooting, the company demonstrated a virtual reality shooting game set in a train station.

It later pulled the demonstration, saying it regretted its inclusion on its stand. 

Two NC Daycare Workers Charged with Child Abuse

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Mary Neal Winchester, 55

Another Daycare Worker Charged With
Child Abuse in Rockingham Co.

WENTWORTH, NC  –  A second daycare worker is facing child abuse charges in Rockingham County.

The Rockingham County Sheriff’s Office confirms Mary Neal Winchester, 55, has been arrested and charged with two counts of misdemeanor Child Abuse.

The charges stem from an ongoing investigation into abuse at Lil’ Daydreamers Child Development Center in Reidsville.

The warrant for her arrest accuses her of “grabbing the child by one of the child’s arms and slinging her up against a cabinet and then picking her up and dropping her violently on the floor.”

Winchester was placed in the Rockingham County Detention Facility under a $10,000 secured bond.

Earlier this month (Feb. 15) detectives charged Nekeisha Latwanna Walton, 39, with two counts of misdemeanor Child Abuse.

The warrant for Walton’s arrest accuse her of “forcefully grabbing the child by the arm, jerking her, and then pushing her over.”

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has also been involved in this investigation.  A spokesperson says it is aware of the allegations and is considering next steps.

Winchester and Walton were both employees of the Lil’ Daydreamers Child Development Center at the time the alleged abuse occurred.  Attempts to reach the daycare’s owner for unsuccessful.

WFMY News 2 reached out to the Pastor of Noah’s Ark Full Gospel Baptist Church, where the daycare is located, but our call wasn’t returned.

No Demonstrations No Angry Voices To End Child Abuse

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Lisa Eck, the Child’s mother, spoke out about the crime saying she never saw it coming.

When to get help:  A Specialist’s advice on
spotting signs of Child Abuse

TOLEDO, OH  –  Twenty five-year-old Zach Shadix , the man accused of killing 8-month-old Gabrielle Walker, appeared in court Thursday.  Walker’s mother Lisa Eck spoke out about the crime saying she never saw it coming.

“I had woke up and went and made the baby a bottle like I do every morning.  I went to her bassinet to get her and she was black and blue all over the right side of her face,” said Eck.

Eck told NBC 24 Shadix lived with her, the infant, and her 9 year-old son for 6 months without any problems.  Child behavior experts at the Family and Childhood Abuse Prevention Center in Toledo say the one’s closest to you often commit crimes.

“A child is more likely to be hurt and killed by someone they trust,” said Dr. Christie Jenkins CEO of the center.

She deals with victims and their families, warning them of red flags.

“They’re scared, they cry they can be very clingy to the caregiver that’s not abusing them,” said Jenkins of the behavior of abused children.

While children might show a change in behavior there’s also the physical signs with odd-shaped bruises.

“When it’s abuse there’s typically circular motions there’s indentations of actual pieces of objects,” said Jenkins.

Even if an abuser isn’t harming a child psychically, there are often signs in the way they treat adults including getting easily frustrated along with being emotionally and physically abusive.

In addition to short tempers abusers will often have a rocky past.  Court documents show Shadix had prior charges in Lucas County for violent behavior.

“If they’re going to do that with you when you’re gone and that baby is completely helpless, they’re going to do that with that child,” said Jenkins.

Right now Shadix is in custody, while Eck says she’s still processing what happened to her child.

If the above signs sound familiar or you have questions about child abuse the center offers free counseling and one-on-one sessions.  You can visit their website to find more information.