Category Archives: Indifference

NOPD: poor handling of sex crimes and child abuse complaints

Indifference to Child Abuse
Russell Johnson and son Rida

NOPD to cite officers who quickly closed child abuse complaint case

NEW ORLEANS – A child abuse complaint filed by Russell Johnson on behalf of his 6-year-old autistic son has been closed without arrests, but action is being taken against the New Orleans police officers who conducted the original investigation.

Rida Johnson, whose autistic condition renders him unable to speak, had a large bruise over his eye when his father picked him up from school one day last year.

Despite his disappointment, Russell Johnson was encouraged this week to see the New Orleans Police Department take action against the officers who failed to properly investigate his original call.

“I was very pleased and very happy to see that finally someone really took a look at the facts and the conduct of the people involved and did what was correct, did the right thing,” Johnson said.

Johnson received a letter from the police department stating that Officer Kimara Woods was found in violation of professionalism for her cursory investigation, taking less than 24 hours to basically close the case without further action.

In addition, Woods’ supervisors were cited because it took more than a day to respond to Johnson’s call to police. Now that PIB has found the officers in violation of departmental policy, the case will now go before a commanding officer to determine the penalties.

Woods’ attorney, Donovan Livaccari of the Fraternal Order of Police, said it would be premature to comment because Woods’ penalty has not been determined. He said the discipline could range from a reprimand to a 10-day suspension.

Johnson’s complaint came after a scathing audit revealed poor handling of hundreds of sex crimes and child abuse complaints. In shoring up the deficiencies, Police Chief Michael Harrison this week changed the commander of that unit.

Johnson said that when he originally called the NOPD last August to investigate what happened to his son, a troubling sequence of events left him wondering if he was getting the same lax treatment as the hundreds of other victims who received little or no investigation after reporting sexual assaults and child abuse over the past three years.

“The toughest part is anytime a parent has to go through something where they have a defenseless child that has something like that happen to him,” Johnson said. “To have someone do that type of physical harm to him. It sends you through a lot of emotions and a lot of despair.”

The school that Johnson attended, Capdau Charter, did not return calls for comment.

Texas Man Arrested on Child Pornography Charges

Child Pornography
Aaron Hedges , 25

A man who was arrested last Spring on child pornography charges has been booked into Wichita County jail on charges in seven sealed indictments for possession of child porn.

25-year-old Aaron Hedges is jailed on $350,000 total bonds.

Last April, Hedges and another man were arrested at their home on Louann Street in Burkburnett after police obtrained a search warrant and say they found hundreds of files containing images of child porn on a laptop.

In July, a Wichita County Grand Jury declined to indict the other man.

Hedges now lists his address as Eagle, Texas

Child Abuse an epidemic in Genesee County Michigan

Child abuse, a ‘public health epidemic’ in Genesee County, needs community collaboration for prevention, experts say

GENESEE COUNTY, MI — Genesee County had nearly 2,000 child abuse victims in 2013.

The community needs to do better and needs to do more, local officials say.

Of those victims, 1,050 were under the age of 5. Of those, 35 were reported as severely beaten in 2013.

“We have to educate. You have to get mad about what’s going on,” said Robert Ennis, president for Ennis Center for Children in Flint.
Whaley Children’s Center brought together more than 75 health care professionals, law enforcement officials, businesses and school and community leaders Friday, March 13, to discuss child abuse in Genesee County.

The meeting was in preparation for the Paint Our Town Blue campaign, which kicks off in April during Child Abuse Awareness Month.

This is the second year that the community leaders were brought together to have a discussion about what could be done to prevent child abuse and neglect. This year, the hope was to produce some concrete strategies, said Kevin Roach, president and CEO of Whaley Children’s Center.

“I think what we’re really excited about is really trying to bring about awareness of this public health epidemic not only that is happening in our community but nationwide,” Roach said.

It’s time to take a step forward and turn words into action, Roach said.

Over the past three years, 21 children have died from abuse, according to a previous Flint Journal report.

Every police department in the county reported some sort of child abuse to the Michigan State Police in 2012, with 625 cases ranging anywhere from one case reported to Mott Community College police to 231 cases reported to Flint police.

“How can people neglect a child? How can you physically hurt a child? You have these statistics and you think, what can we do?” said Genesee County Undersheriff Chris Swanson. “The more you think about it, really, you can just do your part. … You can’t give up. None of us can.”

Whaley Children’s Center officials are calling on the community to do their part in getting the awareness out. They want to paint the city blue in the hopes of getting people to ask question. Whether through wearing blue, creating a blue pinwheel garden or selling paper pinwheels, they are asking the community to participate and spread the word.

But it has to be more than that, said Ennis.

“We can’t just paint this town blue this month. We have to paint this town blue every day,” he said.

April 24 is Wear Blue Day. For more information about the Paint our Town Blue campaign, click here.

There are many ways to help.

Saving children from abusive situations can start with a phone call.

The number to report suspected abuse — 855-444-3911 — is a statewide number available around-the-clock, 365 days a year.

Going forward from these discussions, Roach and other community leaders hope to see all the experts come together in one place to prevent child abuse. They want to pump up their prevention efforts and create a center to facilitate all the expertise under one roof.

An example they gave on Friday was the Chadwick Center for Children and Families in San Diego. It has forensic and medical services, a failure to thrive clinic, kids and teens court training, professional and education services and trauma counseling services — all in one place.

The hope is to create a children’s political action committee to give the issue of child abuse more attention with legislators. And to create more programs, such as Project Safe Place, which would bring training in the schools, create crisis counseling and intervention and create safe havens throughout the community for children who are being harmed or in danger of being harmed.

Swanson said he hoped the community leaders didn’t leave the discussion with a lot a great ideas that don’t result in action. There’s something that everyone can do, he said.

“When you are willing to pitch kids aside, then that community is broken,” Swanson said.

Raashanai and Scotty are never far away

When Raashanai and Scotty are with me, I work late into the night.  I never know when they leave, all i know is the creak in my neck, from sleeping with notebook still on my lap, while my head lies at some odd angle over the headboard.

When they come to visit at night, and crawl up close, so we can quietly talk, or me simply to calm their fears;  it never fails to wake the others, when I awaken in tears.

They have both been near, since the start of this site.  Raashanai was 11-years-old, I think, and Scotty was 3-years-old.  Both were killed by physical abuse, and both had 1 parent and a significant other.

I want to tell you before I leave them, if only for a short time, I haven’t looked at a note, nor any thing with their names written, for many months.  I can describe these 2 precious children, for I’ve wished a thousand times they had been mine.  I can’t imagine why this had to happen; a child can’t know or really understand, all they can do is feel the pain and hurt, and wonder what they have done wrong this time.

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.