Tag Archives: StopChildAbuse

Say YES To Winston’s Law In Alabama

abama District Attorney
District Attorney Randall Houston

Child Abuse Legislation ‘Winston’s Law’
Gets Start In Legislature

Featured on My Brother’s Keeper, December 15, 2015

Alabama  –  District Attorney Randall Houston hopes that an early start in the effort to strengthen punishment in aggravated child abuse cases makes all the difference.

He recalls how it took three years for a bill to change the boating under the influence law to work its way through the Legislature.  He pursued that bill after a series of fatal boating under the influence accidents occurred in his circuit.

“We hope Winston’s Law can make it through the House and Senate quickly this session and go on to the governor’s desk for his signature.”  Houston, who represents Autauga, Chilton and Elmore counties, said.  “We have picked up strong support for the bill.”

Named for the now 5-year-old boy who is at the center of a high-profile Elmore County child abuse case, Winston’s Law would make aggravated child abuse cases where the victim is 6 years old or younger a Class A felony.  Reserved for the most serious crimes in the state, Class A felonies have a punishment range of 10 to 99 years to life in prison.

Aggravated child abuse is now a Class B felony, with a punishment range of 2 to 20 years in prison.

The District Attorneys Association of Alabama and Child Protect have endorsed the bill.  Rep. Paul Beckman, R- Prattville, and state Sen. Clyde Chambliss Jr., R- Prattville, are sponsoring the bill.

In September Winston was found unresponsive in the back of Scott Hicks’ vehicle in the parking lot of the Bay County, Fla., courthouse, where Hicks went to clear up some unrelated warrants.

After deputies found Winston in the vehicle, Hicks, 38, was charged with aggravated child abuse.  He remains in the Bay County Jail.  The investigation shows that the abuse occurred in Elmore County.  His mother, Hallee McLeod, 29, was recently indicted by the Elmore County Grand Jury on charges of aggravated child abuse and chemical endangerment of a child.  Hicks and McLeod, boyfriend and girlfriend, are both Wetumpka residents, Houston said

She remains in the Elmore County Jail under bonds totaling $300,000, jail records show.  She could not be reached for comment and courthouse records show she doesn’t have an attorney.  Houston said Hicks will face similar charges in Elmore County, when the charges against him in Florida adjudicated.

Hicks was a co-owner of Spa Rejuvenate which had locations in Prattville and Montgomery.  McLeod was the manager of the Prattville location.  The Alabama Board of Message Therapy suspended the business license for the Prattville location and entered a non-renewal order for the license at the Montgomery location after the couple’s arrest.

At the time Sheriff Bill Franklin called the physical abuse Winston went through “the worst I have seen.”

“It certainly is the worst I have seen, where the child lived,” said Houston, a veteran prosecutor.”

Winston is now with his father, Joey Crampton, and making a “remarkable” recovery.

“Winston is in a loving, supporting environment and from all signs is doing much better than any of us could have ever hoped,” Houston said.  “He has several more medical procedures that he is facing, and he may well face emotional troubles given the horrific abuse he went through.

“But now he is doing very well, and for that we are all very thankful.”

If passed, Winston’s Law will not be in effect for his case, since McLeod and Hicks were charged before the law was enacted.

“If anything good can come out of a bad situation, it is ensuring that justice is for everyone going forward,” Crampton wrote on the Facebook page JusticeForWinston.  “If we can have a law that protects people, humanity, children especially, that to me is what justice is about.”

KY In Top 10 Worst States For Child Abuse

.jpg photoof Child Abuse tips
Kentucky is in the top 10 worst states for Child Abuse

LOUISVILLE, KY  –  A new report shows fewer children in Kentucky died from abuse and neglect last year, but the state remains among the top 10 worst states for child abuse.

In 2007, the state led the nation in child abuse deaths.

Doctors said education and legislation both helped that decrease, but there is still room for improvement.

The latest report from the state Cabinet for Health and Family Services shows 10 children in Kentucky died from abuse and neglect, and another 32 suffered life-threatening injuries.

“It can break every socioeconomic barrier, so it can be in any family and any household,” Dr. Erin Frazier said.

The number is down significantly from 2007, when Kentucky led the nation in child abuse deaths with 41.

Health professionals said education is one reason for the decline.

“(An) article in Pediatrics that shows a 50 percent reduction in abusive head trauma when families are educated on new babies before leaving the hospital,” Frazier said. “Thus, we’re seeing less deaths and also we’re seeing an increase in reports.”

According to the state Cabinet for Health and Family Services, the leading cause of death is abusive head trauma or shaken baby syndrome in children less than 1-year-old, which Frazier said, usually coincides with the time when babies cry the most.

“Babies cry, and sometimes, they cry a lot, and parents can’t always soothe baby, and that’s OK,” Frazier said.

Frazier said strides in legislation with the passage of two House bills mandating training on child abuse have taught people what signs of abuse might look like and what to watch for, prompting them to do something earlier.

“Children don’t die from first time of abuse. It tends to be a cycle of abuse over and over,” Frazier said.

Hospitals throughout Louisville, including at Norton Healthcare, already offer training on new babies, which Frazier thinks is an idea that should spread to every facility in the state.

Frazier also cautioned parents to do research before leaving their child with someone.

If a child is being abused, report it by calling 1-877-KY-SAFE-1 (1-877 597-2331).

Child Abuse Detection Workshop Held At NWACC

,jpg photo of Child Abuse training
Child Abuse Detection Workshop at the National Child Protection Training Center

BENTONVILLE, Arkansas – Local law enforcement agencies and prosecutors came together Thursday (Aug. 13) for a training session on how to better detect and investigate child abuse cases.

Organizers said around 50 professionals from Washington and Benton County attended the training at the National Child Protection Training Center. Benton County Prosecutor Nathan Smith said the training is important to make sure all agencies are on the same page.

“This training is really about equipping officers and forensic interviewers to be able to conduct these cases in the way that leads to those results,” Smith said.

He said it’s vital that the case is handled correctly from the beginning, starting with how to identify if child abuse is happening.

“Child abuse is rampant everywhere we have lots of instances of it, much more than we want so really the goal is how do you deal with it and how do you prevent it, how do you let schools and nurses and people like that know the signs to look for,” Smith said.

U.S. Sen. John Boozman, R-Arkansas, also attended the training.

“What we’re trying to do is break the cycle, and nobody is working harder than these folks it’s a labor of love and I just have all the respect in the world for them,” Boozman said.

The National Child Protection Training Center is only one of four in our region. It serves child abuse professionals from 16 states.