Entries in Child (31)


Mother ‘Scared to Death’ After Stranger Allegedly Slapped Her Infant Son on Flight

ABC News(ATLANTA) -- Jonah Bennett, a 19-month-old boy, is at the center of an FBI investigation after a stranger allegedly smacked him on a flight from Minneapolis to Atlanta.

The toddler’s mother, Jessica Bennett, told ABC News she was sitting in the aisle seat of row 28, alongside Joe Hundley, 60, a stranger.

“Jonah starts crying because he’s feeling the pressure in his ears,” Bennett said.

At that point, Hundley, according to court documents, told Bennett to “Shut that n-word baby up”.

“I said, ‘What did you just say?’” Bennett said. “And he was so drunk that he fell onto my face, and his mouth moved over to my ear and he said it, just directly into my ear.”

Hundley, who is the president of an aircraft parts company in Idaho, then allegedly smacked Jonah.

“When I had looked at Jonah’s face, he had, his eye was swollen…and it was bleeding,” Bennett said. “I was just scared to death.”

That’s when fellow travelers stepped in.

“Ms. Bennett received assistance from several people on the plane, including male passenger Todd
Wooten,” court documents said.

Wooten, who was seated in row 16, said he heard derogatory language coming from the rear of the aircraft and witnessed Hundley slapping the child.

Hundley was charged with assault in an Atlanta federal court.

His attorney, Marcia Shein, said nobody should rush to judgment and that Hundley would be pleading not guilty.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Man Accused of Slapping Crying Toddler on Flight

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(ATLANTA) -- A Delta Airlines passenger traveling from Minnesota to Georgia faces federal assault charges after allegedly slapping a fellow passenger’s toddler son for crying during the flight.

Joe Rickey Handley of Idaho was on Flight 721, set to land at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta on Feb. 8, according to an FBI court affidavit. He was sitting next to Jessica Bennett and her 2-year-old son, who began crying as the plane started to descend.

Bennett, who was seated in row 28 alongside Handley, told FBI agents that she tried to get her son to stop crying when Handley “told her to shut that ['N word'] baby up.”

“Ms. Bennett stated that Joe Rickey Handley then turned around and slapped [the baby] in the face with an open hand, which caused the juvenile victim to scream even louder,” court documents said.

The 33-year-old Minneapolis mother said the slap caused a scratch below her son’s right eye.

That’s when fellow travelers stepped in.

“After Joe Rickey Handley struck [the child], Ms. Bennett received assistance from several people on the plane, including male passenger Todd Wooten,” court documents said.

Wooten, who was seated in row 16, said he heard derogatory language coming from the rear of the aircraft and witnessed Handley slapping the child.

“Let’s just let the case speak for itself as it develops,” Atlanta Federal Criminal Defense Attorney Marcia Shein said.

Shein, who’s representing Handley, said her client will be pleading not guilty.

Efforts to reach Bennett and Handley by ABC News were unsuccessful.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Chicago Duct Tape Dad Given Probation for Binding Toddler

Facebook(CHICAGO) -- A Chicago judge ruled Friday that a dad convicted of aggravated battery for binding his 18-month old daughter with tape and taping her mouth shut will not have to go to prison, but serve probation instead.

Andre Curry, 22, was ordered Friday to serve 18 months probation, undergo parenting classes and submit to periodic drug tests.

Curry was arrested in December 2011 after posting a photo of the little girl on Facebook with the caption: "This is wut happens wen my baby hits me back ; )."

He was convicted in November of aggravated domestic battery and aggravated battery, and faced up to seven years in prison.

Curry has no prior criminal record and his lawyer convinced the judge to reconsider the felony conviction, dropping the charges to a misdemeanor.

Curry did not testify in his own defense, but his lawyer argued that he was just fooling around and the girl was never in danger.

"To use a child ... as a toy or a prop in an odd attempt at humor is conduct of an insulting or provoking nature," Cook County Circuit Judge Lawrence Flood said in November when Curry was found guilty.

But at Friday's sentencing Flood changed his mind, giving Curry a last minute reprieve from prison.

"It happens very rarely that a judge will take a look, do something, take a look at that and saying having heard what you've said I was wrong in the first place," said Curry's lawyer Sam Adam Jr., according to ABC affiliate WLS-TV. "There wasn't such and such evidence. The judge did that today."

A contrite Curry apologized to the court for taping up his daughter.

"I would like to thank everybody from the bottom of my heart," Curry said. "I'm very sorry for all of the pain that I put everybody through."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Toddler's Death Points to Other Killings

Hemera/Thinkstock(MANASSAS, Va.) -- Police investigating a Virginia man in connection to the death of his 15-month-old son are also looking to see whether he played a role in the mysterious deaths of two other people: his mother and an ex-girlfriend.

Joaquin Rams, 40, became the focus of a Manassas Police Department investigation last month when his son, Prince McLeod Rams, died during a three-hour unsupervised visit.

Police have called it a "suspicious death" while they await the results of a medical examiner's report.

Rams has not been charged.

That case remains an "active and open investigation," police spokesman Lowell Nevill said, but it prompted cops to look into the 2008 suicide of Rams' mother and the 2003 shooting death of his ex-girlfriend.

Rams has not been named a suspect in any of the three deaths, but Prince's mother believed the man was dangerous, requesting last year that a Maryland judge order his visits supervised. The judge denied the request.

McLeod, an intelligence analyst and former contestant on the CBS reality-TV show The Amazing Race, ended her engagement with Rams about two weeks after their son was born.

She mentioned the women's deaths at a custody hearing, but a judge dismissed the concerns, calling them, "smoke that's been blown that I can see through," according to court documents.

Police have not formally re-opened an investigation into the death of Rams' mother, Alma Collins, whose death was ruled a suicide in 2008. Rams, however, remains a suspect in the still-unsolved 2003 shooting death of his ex-girlfriend Shawn K. Mason.

Rams did not respond to email and phone requests for comment.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Tasered 10-Year-Old Boy Sues Police

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(TULAROSA, N.M.) -- A 10-year-old boy attending a Tularosa, N.M., Intermediate School’s Career Day expected it to be fun and educational, but instead he ended up in the emergency room.

The boy, identified as R.D., blacked out after receiving 50,000 volts of electricity when struck by a police officer’s Taser gun.

Rachel Higgins, a guardian appointed by the court to protect the child’s privacy filed a lawsuit Oct. 26 in 1st Judicial District Court in Santa Fe County against Police Officer Chris Webb and the New Mexico Department of Public Safety on behalf of R.D., claiming that Webb fired his electronic control weapon at the boy on May 4, 2012.

Webb has been charged with battery, failure to render emergency medical care, unreasonable seizure and excessive force.

Higgins will appear in court to represent the boy because the family members live in a small town and do not want to reveal their identities.

The lawsuit claims police officers drove their patrol cars onto the intermediate school campus, where Webb asked a group of boys which one would like to clean his patrol unit.

R.D. raised his hand to say he did not want to clean the police officer’s car.

Webb then said, according to the lawsuit, “Let me show what happens to people who do not listen to the police.”  He then “shot his Taser gun at the boy’s chest,” said the family’s attorney Shannon Kennedy of the Kennedy Law Firm of Albuquerque.

Kennedy said instead of calling paramedics over, who were also on campus for the Career Day event, Webb pulled the barbs from the Taser out of the boy’s chest.

“He grabbed the wires, he yanked them and it came out of the prongs, and then he went up to me and he ripped the prongs out of my chest,” R.D. told ABC News in September.

The boy said the officer then took him to the restroom to wash off and then to the nurses office.

“R.D.’s mother arrived at the school in absolute shock and rushed him to the emergency room,” said Kennedy.

The lawsuit claims that as a result of the battery, the boy now has symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.

“He wakes up in the middle of the night holding his chest afraid his heart will stop,” said Kennedy. “He says, 'Mommy I’m afraid I’ll never wake up again.'”

According to the police report, Webb said a group of students had asked him to show them his Taser gun, and when he pulled it out, it accidentally went off and hit R.D. in the chest.

Webb stated in the report that he immediately shut off the power switch, removed the cartridge and threw the Taser gun to the ground.

Calls to the New Mexico Motor Transportation Police Department by ABC News were not returned.

Kennedy said she received a response to a public records request that showed an officer had tested the Taser gun to check for any malfunctions.

“Officer Michael Walker generated a Taser X26 report showing that the Taser had no problems with its battery, that it fired correctly, and that it did not deploy when shaken from side to side,” said Kennedy.

Kennedy said there was no monetary cap for damages in the lawsuit, but because it’s a federal case it could end in a multi-million dollar verdict.

ABC News did reach out to Tularosa New Mexico Intermediate School, but the school said it couldn’t comment because of the pending litigation.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Parents: Indiana Boy Sexually Abused by Second-Grade Classmates

Creatas Images/Thinkstock(MUNCIE, Ind.) -- The parents of an Indiana boy allege that their 8-year-old son was the victim of "horrific and ghastly" sexual abuse by his second-grade classmates.  The parents say the boys acted out scenes from pornographic videos that they watched at school without supervision.

The parents are identified only as John Doe and Jane Doe in order to protect the identity of their son, identified only as Junior Doe.  They filed the lawsuit on Friday in Delaware County, Ind., against Ball State University, which runs the Burris Laboratory School, where the alleged abuse took place.

The alleged abuse and molestation occurred on at least 11 occasions over a three-month period in the fall of 2011, the parents say, and involved four boys (including their son).

The parents say they discovered the abuse when another parent overheard her son talking to another boy about what was going on in the bathrooms at school.  When she asked her son for names, Junior Doe's name came up and she called his parents.

"You hear something of that nature, that your child basically lost his innocence forever engaging in the most private sexual acts possible with other students at school," Jason Delk, the attorney for John and Jane Doe, told ABC News.  "They were absolutely horrified."

"The Does discovered that due to Burris and Ball State's complete lack of supervision and institutional controls over their eight (8) year old son during the school day, Junior Doe was forced, on multiple occasions, to engage in explicit sex acts with other children and forced to perform oral sex on other children his age," the lawsuit alleges.

The parents allege that the school gave the young students "unfettered access" to the Internet, where the boys would view the videos and then "act out" the scenes on one another.

The parents believe the abuse took place in the school's bathroom, library and classroom.  They are suing the school for negligence, violation of Title IX and deprivation of constitutional rights.  They are seeking compensatory and punitive damages.

The parents claim that students approached their teacher "on more than one occasion" to inform her that certain boys in the class "were doing things to other boys' private parts," according to the lawsuit.  The teacher, who is also being sued, allegedly told the students to sit down, stop "tattling" and took no other action.

Ball State denies the allegations.

Ball State spokesman Tony Proudfoot said in a statement that the university could confirm that it "became aware of reported concerns about allegations of inappropriate behavior among four second grade students at Burris."  He said that the concerns were reported to the Indiana Department of Child Services and local law enforcement.

The attorney representing the defendants did not immediately respond to request for comment.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Washington Woman Forces 10-Year-Old Son to Burglarize Home for Drug Money

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(LYNNWOOD, Wash.) -- They are a modern-day Bonnie and Clyde, only with a twist.

A Lynnwood, Wash., woman was arrested Tuesday for allegedly coercing her 10-year-old son to burglarize homes so that she could buy drugs with the money.

Lynnwood Police told ABC affiliate KOMO that 33-year-old Marie Shafique forced her son to slither through an open window to try and rob a home. However, she didn’t know she was being watched by neighbors across the street and by a security camera that caught the whole incident on tape.

The homeowner, Michelle Geronimo, was inside her house when the boy allegedly tried to break in and told KOMO the boy was “peering inside” her window, which was “wide open.”

“I was just shocked that it was a little boy, and when you figure out what’s going on, it’s sad,” she said.

Shafique and her son tried to get away, but Lynnwood police apprehended her. When she was found, she was in possession of crack cocaine and a stolen computer.

She was arrested and bail was set for $25,000. Shafique is currently facing burglary and identity theft charges.

Rodeo Inn-Lynnwood manager Steve, who did not want to disclose his last name, confirmed to ABC News that Shafique had been living in a filthy motel room with her four young children and four dogs.

“It was pretty trashed. There was garbage everywhere and it was nasty,” he said.

Another hotel manager for the Rodeo Inn-Lynnwood Maria Santana told KOMO Shafique was staying at the hotel to get away from a bad relationship.

“She said, ‘I don’t have a lot of money, but I’m working for my kids,’” Santana said.

Santana said a nearby woman’s shelter paid some of the hotel costs. Steve, the hotel manager, said her boyfriend called to say he would come by sometime Friday to pay the remaining balance.

Shafique’s four children are currently in the care of their father.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Four-Year-Old Allegedly Stabbed to Death by Teen Cousin

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(INDIANAPOLIS) -- Police have arrested an Indianapolis teenager and preliminarily charged her with murder in connection to the stabbing death of her 4-year-old cousin.

Indianapolis Metropolitan Police say they were called to a house where they found the little boy, Leon Thomas III, suffering from multiple stab wounds. The home belonged to his grandparents. Officers on the scene began administering CPR, and an EMS crew rushed him to IU Riley Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.

“He was limp as he came out, and you also heard the police as the ambulance and people was coming up, you also heard them say, ‘It’s bad,’” a neighbor, Kevivah Parker, told ABC’s Indianapolis affiliate, WRTV.

Police later said they found the 14-year-old suspect a few blocks away, walking down the street “covered in blood.”  Her name is being withheld because she is a juvenile.

“It certainly is one of those cases that is just a tragedy for the family, and certainly for the first responding officers that had to witness that,” Indianapolis police spokesman Officer Kendale Adams told WRTV. “The hope is that [the 14-year-old] will get the services they need to become a better person. Obviously, this person needs a lot of social services and professional services.”

The children’s grandparents are believed to have been upstairs at the time of the incident. The victim’s 11-year-old sister was also present at the time of the attack.

The suspect could be charged as a child or an adult.  Indiana state law allows children as young as age 10 to be tried as adults in murder cases.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


New Jersey Mom Arrested After Taking 5-Year-Old to Tanning Salon

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NUTLEY, N.J.) -- A New Jersey mother was arrested after her 5-year-old daughter sustained burns from time she spent in a tanning booth.

Patricia Krentcil, 44, is out on bail following her arrest on a second-degree child endangerment charge.

“The little girl went to school and reported she had these burns and that caused the school to contact authorities,” Katherine Carter, spokesperson for the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, told ABC News.

Carter declined to name the Nutley, N.J., tanning salon, citing the “ongoing investigation.”

Krentcil’s daughter is in the custody of her father, Carter said.

New Jersey law prohibits anyone under the age of 14 from using a tanning booth. Older teens are allowed to tan but only with parental consent.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


9-Year-Old Called for Jury Duty for Second Time

Comstock/Thinkstock(YARMOUTH, Mass.) -- For the second time in his life, 9-year-old Jacob Clark was recently invited to join a jury of his peers.

But that jury wasn’t congregating on the elementary school playground: Clark was summoned to appear in Orleans District Court in Massachusetts on April 18 for jury selection.

“I looked at it and said, ‘This is ridiculous!’” Jacob’s grandmother, Deborah Clark, told ABC News.

The Yarmouth, Mass., third grader was summoned to jury duty once before, when he was 2 years old.

Clark said her grandson’s birth year had been listed as 1982, instead of 2002.

When Jacob got home from school last week, Clark told Jacob about the notice.

“At first he thought of jury duty and going to court meant he did something wrong,” Clark said.

She and the boy’s father, Robby Clark, used the experience as a way to teach Jacob a lesson about civic duty.

“We explained to him what it is … When a bunch of people get together and sit and listen to the pros and cons and decide whether a person is guilty or not guilty,” she said. “I asked him if he wanted to go. I said it’s a day off from school and you get lunch.”

The 9-year-old then became excited.

“He goes: ‘I want to be a Yarmouth police officer so maybe this will help me,’” Clark said.

As for the court? Clark said they had no trouble believing Jacob was only half the minimum age to serve.

“My son filled out the bottom half and sent it in stating his age,” Clark said.

One follow-up call later, Jacob was in the clear and free to go mingle with peers closer to his own age.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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