Category Archives: Physical Abuse

One of the 5 forms of Child Abuse

The Seldom Mentioned Side Of Opioid Addiction

.jpg photo of woman in labor
Number of Opioid-Addicted Women Giving Birth Quadruples

Number of Opioid-Addicted Women
Giving Birth Quadruples

By Dennis Thompson
HealthDay Reporter

The number of pregnant women addicted to opioids as they give birth has more than quadrupled since 1999, a disturbing new report shows.

In 2014, for every 1,000 hospital deliveries, 6.5 were mothers who arrived at the hospital with opioid use disorder, up from 1.5 per 1,000 in 1999, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention researchers found.

This increase is likely linked to America’s ongoing opioid epidemic, said study co-author Jean Ko, an epidemiologist with the CDC’s division of reproductive health.

“With the opioid overdose epidemic, it’s natural to see increases in opioid use disorder among the general population,” Ko said.  “Our data tell us that women presenting for labor and delivery are no different.

Opioid use during pregnancy has been tied to maternal death during delivery, stillbirth and preterm birth, the CDC researchers noted.

Even babies born healthy might have to go through opioid withdrawal, a condition known as neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS).

Babies with NAS can experience tremors, convulsions, seizures, difficulty feeding, breathing problems, fever, diarrhea and trouble sleeping, according to the March of Dimes.

The CDC study used data from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, focusing on 28 states with at least three years of data available for analysis.

Between 1999 and 2014, all 28 states saw significant increases in opioid-addicted pregnant women entering labor.

Vermont and West Virginia had the most cases of opioid-affected pregnancies in 2014.  Vermont had 48.6 cases for every 1,000 deliveries; West Virginia had 32.1 cases per 1,000.  On the low-end, Nebraska had 1.2 cases per 1,000 and the District of Columbia had 0.7 per 1,000.

The average annual rate increases were highest in Maine, New Mexico, Vermont and West Virginia.  Those states all had growth of more than 2.5 cases per 1,000 each year — six times higher than the national average of 0.4 cases per 1,000.

The states with the lowest increases were California and Hawaii, with fewer than 0.1 new cases per 1,000 each year.

The new information “is very alarming and is a call to arms regarding this national health crisis,” said Dr. Mitchell Kramer, chairman of obstetrics and gynecology at Huntington Hospital in Huntington, N.Y.

“We are well aware of the association of opioid exposure and abuse with adverse pregnancy outcomes including preterm labor and delivery, stillbirth, neonatal withdrawal syndrome and maternal mortality,” he said.

But Ko said concerns about babies with NAS should not dissuade pregnant women from taking medicines appropriately prescribed to treat chronic medical disorders, or from taking medications like methadone or buprenorphine that aid in addiction treatment.

The CDC recommends a number of strategies for countering this dangerous trend:

  • Making sure opioids are prescribed appropriately.
  • Strengthening state-level prescription drug monitoring programs.
  • Requiring substance abuse screening at the first prenatal visit, as recommended by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
  • Ensuring that pregnant women with opioid use disorder have access to addiction therapy, and that new opioid-addicted mothers receive postpartum care that includes mental health and substance abuse treatment.

Kramer pointed out that “the implications of this startling CDC data are that coordinated national, state and provider efforts are necessary to prevent, monitor and treat opioid use disorder among reproductive-aged and pregnant women.”

The report was published in the Aug. 10 issue of the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

MO Man Charged With Cruel Child Abuse

.jpg photo of man charged with Child Abuse
James L. Hays Jr., 48

Sedalia man charged with Child Abuse

SEDALIA, MO  –  A Sedalia man has been charged with physically abusing three children.

James L. Hays Jr., 48, of the 300 block of East 14th Street, was arrested Monday afternoon at his residence and was charged Tuesday in Pettis County Circuit Court with three counts of abuse or neglect of a child.  He is at the Pettis County Jail on a $1 million bond, cash or surety.

According to a Sedalia Police Department report, an officer took a report July 23 in reference to several allegations of child abuse to three children.  Detective Travis St. Cyr began an investigation and a search warrant was served at Hays’ home Monday.

The probable cause statement indicates the children’s grandmother took them to Bothwell Regional Health Center after she noticed large bruises on them and they disclosed to her that a man known to them, identified as Hays, had been physically abusing them.  The children are ages 12, 9 and 8.

All three children were interviewed at Child Safe of Central Missouri on July 27, according to the probable cause statement.

The 9-year-old said Hays would “kick them, make them do punishments and drown them” when their mother wasn’t home.  The child showed the Child Safe interviewer a bruise and a knot on her leg from Hays kicking her, explaining it happened when she was eating granola bars.  She said Hays took the food away, spanked the child a few times, kicked her and made her do push-ups.

The girl said he “yells at them, kicks them a lot, and spanks her” when the children try to get food, court documents state.  Hays barely feeds them, she said.

The child also talked about occasions when Hays forced her to eat hot peppers, poured water over her head causing her to be unable to breathe, hit her with a belt, and called her names.

The 8-year-old said Hays makes him do “up-downs, push-ups, jumping jacks and gets spankings with a belt” when he’s in trouble.

All three children told the interviewer about numerous occasions when he would hit, kick or spank them, usually leaving bruises.  The 8-year-old recalled a time when the 9-year-old’s legs were hurt so badly she could barely walk, and another time the 12-year-old was shot with green bullets, which detectives later discovered with an airsoft gun during the search warrant.

The children all also talked about Hays locking them in the bathroom and forcing them to sleep in a closet in the bathroom.  The 9-year-old said Hays locks the door with a bar on the outside.  The 12-year-old drew pictures of the two metal bars she said Hays uses; one is black with “Hays” written on it while the other is red with Neo-Nazi symbols, court documents state.

The 12-year-old said they’ve been sleeping in the bathroom for four years.

Two children said their mother isn’t allowed to do anything about Hays locking the children in the bathroom.  The 9-year-old talked about their mother “sneaking food to them while locked in the bathroom.  She specifically mentioned peanut butter and jelly.”  The 12-year-old said a few times their mother either tried to call someone or get the children out of the bathroom, but Hays wouldn’t let her.

According to court documents, during the search warrant SPD officers found the black metal bar, the red metal bar, belts matching the children’s descriptions, and a long rifle airsoft gun with green plastic BBs loaded inside, all consistent with the children’s disclosures.

The bathroom door didn’t have metal brackets attached, “but it was clear that they were recently removed.”  Officers found brackets inside a toolbox that matched up with the holes on the door frame.

Online court documents do not list an attorney for Hays, and a hearing has not been scheduled.

No Protests For These Two Little Boys????

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Francois Browne, 35, served 2 years and 11 months for murdering his 7-month-old Son. HOW IS THIS JUSTICE????

For the second time, Baltimore man is
charged in the death of a Child

BALTIMORE, MD  –  The two baby boys died five years apart, both of them bruised and beaten.

Seven-month-old Kendall Brown suffered fractured ribs and bleeding in his brain in December 2012.  Then 18-month-old Zaray Gray died with a broken clavicle and internal injuries last week.

The father of the first child, a Baltimore man who spent almost three years in prison for his son’s death, has been charged in the death of the second child, his girlfriend’s son.

Francois Browne, 35, of Woodbourne Heights, was charged Saturday with murder in the death of Zaray Gray.  Browne remains held without bail.

Online court records did not list an attorney for him.

The second case against Browne has focused attention to the prison sentence he received after his son’s death.  After Browne was convicted of child abuse resulting in death, Baltimore Circuit Judge Timothy J. Doory sentenced him to 15 years in prison with all but four years suspended.

Browne served two years and 11 months in prison.

“This guy should still be in jail,” said Dr. Dylan Stewart, director of pediatric trauma at Johns Hopkins Hospital.  “The penalties are far too lenient.”

Recent years have brought an uptick in the number of children killed in Baltimore by a parent or guardian.  While there were two such deaths reported in 2007, there were at least eight in 2016, according to the latest report by the Baltimore City Child Fatality Review Team.  More than 40 children have been killed by a guardian in the last decade, according to the city health department.

“I have a huge amount of concern for the level of child abuse in Baltimore,” Stewart said.  “Murdering a child should not have a different penalty than pulling the trigger and murdering an adult.”

One youth advocate said the case could spur efforts to tighten a new law aimed at alerting social services agencies if someone becomes a parent after being convicted of killing a child.

The new law, which takes effect Oct. 1, requires courts to notify the state health department when someone is convicted of the murder, attempted murder or manslaughter of a child.  Later, if a birth certificate lists that person as being the parent of a newborn, the local social services department is to be notified so officials can provide an assessment of the family and offer services if needed.

Jennifer Bevan-Dangel, executive director of the nonprofit group Advocates for Children and Youth, said the law is aimed at protecting children whose parents have killed or seriously harmed a child in the past.

But a limitation, she said, is that it applies only to people convicted of three crimes: murder, attempted murder and manslaughter.  That means it wouldn’t kick in for someone convicted of child abuse, even in a case that resulted in death.

Another limitation is that the law would alert authorities only if the convicted person became a parent, not if someone simply was a caretaker of a child.  The law matches court records with birth records.

Bevan-Dangel said the law might need to be broadened to cover more scenarios. “Potentially there is more work to be done on this statute to make sure it’s is casting the right-size safety net,” she said.

Meanwhile, the deepening opioid epidemic has heightened concerns about child abuse in Baltimore.  In March, Anne Kirsch, 37, was sentenced to 30 years in prison after police found her infant son beaten, starved and dead at 9 days old.  She admitted to using heroin during her pregnancy and on the night before her son died.

Browne’s son was hospitalized on New Year’s Eve 2012 with bleeding in his brain. Doctors pronounced the baby brain dead three days later.  Browne had been alone with his son the night the boy was hospitalized, police wrote in charging documents. Browne was convicted of child abuse resulting in death.

He was released from prison in December 2015, officials said.  He also received five years of probation.

On Wednesday night, police found 1½-year-old Zaray Gray injured in a home in the West Forest Park neighborhood of Northwest Baltimore.  Browne had taken the boy and two other children to the playground earlier that day, police wrote in charging documents.

Once home, they wrote, Zaray began throwing up.  Officers wrote that Browne told them he was alone with the boy in the home while the other children played outside. He heard the boy moaning and later that night the child stopped breathing, officers wrote.

Doctors found bruises on the boy’s face, chin, neck and mouth.  The boy’s left clavicle was broken, police said.

Browne told police the boy had fallen while going down a sliding board, bumping his head and back.

Doctors also found tears to his bowels, police wrote, “likely caused by multiple blows to the abdomen.”

MD Teacher Charged With Child Abuse, Sexual Assault

.jpg photo of MD teacher arrested for child abuse and sex abuse
Scott Thomas McCruden, 31, was charged with child abuse and sexual assault Tuesday.

Baltimore County substitute teacher
arrested on Child Sex Abuse charges

Baltimore, MD  –  Baltimore County police charged a substitute teacher with child abuse and sexual assault Tuesday morning.

Police say Scott Thomas McCruden, 31, of Essex had “inappropriate physical and sexual contact” with a 9-year-old girl he was babysitting and tutoring.  He was arrested and charged with sex abuse of a minor, third-degree sex offense, fourth-degree sexual contact, and second-degree child abuse of a child in his custody.

Police investigators concluded that he had “inappropriate physical and sexual contact” ranging from “disciplinary” pinching to inappropriate touching and pinching of the girl’s buttocks.

McCruden was employed by Baltimore County Public Schools as a substitute teacher between September 2017 and June 2018, working mainly in schools in eastern Baltimore County.  Police and Baltimore County school officials said they do not believe he behaved inappropriately with children while working as a substitute teacher on school property, but are asking parents to speak with their children and notify police if they learn of inappropriate behavior.

McCruden began babysitting and tutoring a 9-year-old girl in September 2017, police said.  Her parents ended his employment this past May when their child began to show signs of anxiety and distress at times when he was scheduled to babysit, police said.

McCruden is no longer employed by Baltimore County Public Schools, police said. He was being held at the Baltimore County Detention Center awaiting a bail review hearing.

He did not have an attorney listed in online court records.

Justice for KS Toddler Cooper Clark

.jpg photo of Father sentenced to 30 years for abuse and murder of Son
Benny Clark was charged with Child Abuse and first-degree murder in the death of his 6-month-old son.

After Kansas child’s death, father
sentenced to 30 years in prison for
abuse, murder

The father of a Kansas boy who died in August 2017 was sentenced to 30 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and child abuse.

Benny William Clark, 23, of Reece, pleaded guilty in March to intentional second-degree murder and child abuse, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said in a release Thursday.

He was sentenced to 364 months in the Kansas Department of Corrections.

Clark had been charged in August with first-degree murder in the death of his 6-month-old son, Cooper Clark,  The Eagle reported at the time.

Greenwood County Sheriff Heath Samuels had said deputies were called to the emergency room at the county hospital, where they were told the infant had injuries inconsistent with the parents’ story.

In court, Clark said he “vigorously shook” Cooper for 6 to 7 seconds after the baby took off his diaper and urinated over his bedding, the Eureka Herald and Emporia Gazette reported.

Clark also said that he was putting a fresh diaper on Cooper when he fell off an ottoman and hit his head.

The Wichita Police Department’s Exploited and Missing Child Unit assisted the Greenwood County Sheriff’s Office with the investigation.