Entries in Child Abuse (49)


Vikings Place Peterson on Exempt List

Tom Dahlin/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The Minnesota Vikings have announced that Adrian Peterson has been placed on the NFL’s Exempt/Commissioner’s Permission list and will not play this Sunday.

The decision comes after the team announced earlier this week that it was reinstating him while the legal process involving charges of child abuse against the running back proceeded.

The Vikings now say Peterson will not be allowed to participate in any team activities until his legal matters are behind him.

The Vikings issued the following statement:

“This has been an ongoing and deliberate process since last Friday’s news. In conversations with the NFL over the last two days, the Vikings advised the League of the team’s decision to revisit the situation regarding Adrian Peterson.  In response, the League informed the team of the option to place Adrian on the Exempt/Commissioner’s Permission list, which will require that Adrian remain away from all team activities while allowing him to take care of his personal situation until the legal proceedings are resolved. After giving the situation additional thought, we have decided this is the appropriate course of action for the organization and for Adrian.”

The statement continues: "We are always focused on trying to make the right decision as an organization. We embrace our role - and the responsibilities that go with it – as a leader in the community, as a business partner and as an organization that can build bridges with our fans and positively impact this great region. We appreciate and value the input we have received from our fans, our partners and the community.
While we were trying to make a balanced decision yesterday, after further reflection we have concluded that this resolution is best for the Vikings and for Adrian. We want to be clear: we have a strong stance regarding the protection and welfare of children, and we want to be sure we get this right. At the same time we want to express our support for Adrian and acknowledge his seven-plus years of outstanding commitment to this organization and this community. Adrian emphasized his desire to avoid further distraction to his teammates and coaches while focusing on his current situation; this resolution accomplishes these objectives as well.
We will support Adrian during this legal and personal process, but we firmly believe and realize this is the right decision. We hope that all of our fans can respect the process that we have gone through to reach this final decision."

The statement is signed by team owners Zygi Wilf and Mark Wilf.

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Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Fla. School Bus Driver Charged with Child Abuse

ABC News(BARTOW, Fla.) -- A Polk County, Fla. school bus driver who allegedly set up a fight between two teenage passengers and encouraged them to brawl in the front yard of her home is in custody, charged with two counts of child abuse, according to the county sheriff's office.

Authorities said Patrice Sanders, 29, of Lakeland, Fla., was driving students home from three different Bartow, Fla. area schools when she spotted two girls arguing in the back of the bus Thursday afternoon.

"This is going to be handled today and they just need to fight," Sanders reportedly said.

Instead of making her normal route, Sanders allegedly skipped the rest of the bus stops, drove 20 miles to her home, and ordered all 34 students on board to get off the bus. She reportedly even offered the 13-year-old and the 16-year-old who she thought needed to duke it out Vaseline or baby oil so they wouldn't scratch their faces.

The brawl, which was captured on video by another student, shows the two girls punching, kicking, and pulling each other's hair. In the recording, one of the girls is seen throwing her opponent into a barbecue grill.

Sanders did not try to stop the fight, and instead stood by and looked on until the two students decided to quit, according to a statement from the Polk County Sheriff's Office.

Following the fight, Sanders got the students back onto the bus, the statement said. But when the two girls continued to exchange blows, Sanders allegedly pulled over and refereed the second round.

"What happens on the bus, stays on the bus," Sanders reportedly told the passengers.

The 13-year-old's mother reported the incident to the Polk County Sheriff's Office and took her daughter to the hospital, the statement said. She was not seriously injured from the fight.

In addition to child abuse, Sanders was charged with false imprisonment, two counts of child neglect and two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. The two students involved in the scuffle were both charged with misdemeanor battery.

"Come on girl, what are you thinking? How in the world could you allow and promote and encourage children to fight?" Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said.

Sanders is in custody at the Polk County Jail. Additional charges against her are pending further interviews with other students onboard, according to the sheriff's office.

Sanders was due in court this morning.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Army Officer, Wife Accused of Child Abuse

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(MORRIS COUNTY, N.J) -- A U.S. Army major and his wife are facing federal child-abuse charges for cruelty to their six children, three of whom were adopted. The alleged acts of cruelty include breaking their bones, denying them medical attention, withholding water and force-feeding them hot sauce, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman said Wednesday.

John E. Jackson, 37, and Carolyn Jackson, 35, worked at the Picatinny Arsenal Installation in Morris County, N.J. Because the alleged crimes occurred on a military base, they will be tried in a federal court.

The Jacksons are charged in a 17-count indictment with one count of conspiracy to endanger the welfare of a child, 13 counts of endangering the welfare of a child and three counts of assault.

“Carolyn and John Jackson are charged with unimaginable cruelty to children they were trusted to protect,” Fishman said in a statement. “The crimes alleged should not happen to any child, anywhere, and it is deeply disturbing that they would happen on a military installation. Along with the FBI, we will continue to seek justice for our communities’ most vulnerable victims.”

The Picatinny Arsenal Installation did not return a request for comment.

The alleged abuse occurred from 2005 until 2010, when the Jacksons engaged in a “constant course” of neglect and cruelty to their three adopted children and told their three biological children not to report the physical assaults, saying the punishments were “training” the adopted children how to behave, according to the indictment.

The indictment alleges that the Jacksons withheld water from their children and assaulted them with objects, causing fractured bones. The report also says the parents caused the children to consume food meant for suffering, including red pepper flakes, hot sauce and raw onion. They also allegedly caused one child to ingest excessive sodium or sodium-laden substances while being deprived of water, leading to a life-threatening condition.

The defense teams for the parents did not return a request for comment.

The children are in the custody of the New Jersey Division of Child Protection and Permanency.

Several support websites and online groups for Carolyn and John Jackson have been developed since the abuse allegations first became known in 2010.

One website, ReuniteJackson7, maintains the Jacksons are innocent and asks for donations for legal fees. New Jersey attorney Grace Meyer’s address is listed on the website as the place to send in donations. When ABC News contacted Meyer, she said she doesn’t know who is behind the website. She added that she had not received any donations and was unaware that her name was on the website.

Meyer said she represented the family from 2010 through last year.

“I represented them for two years in court. I believe God is in control of this and I just know they’ll be exonerated,” Meyer said.

If the Jacksons are convicted, each faces a maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison on each of the 17 counts. Each count also carries a maximum $250,000 fine.

Both are scheduled to appear in a U.S. District Court Thursday at 11 a.m. before Judge Mark Falk.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Nannycam Puts New York City Nanny in Jail

Kevin Horan/Stone(NEW YORK) -- A nanny is sitting in a New York City jail cell after a hidden camera recorded her slapping the face of a 5-month-old baby girl.

Mamura Nasirova, 52, was caught striking the tot as she sat in her baby seat, according to court papers.  The child began crying and her face was clearly red from the blow, the complaint says.

A video of the incident, which now has over 46,000 views on Youtube, shows an unharmed older child watching close by and Nasirova apparently slapping the infant’s leg and face, aggressively picking her up, and walking into the next room.

The smack was witnessed by the girl’s suspicious father who had installed a “nanny cam” inside a smoke detector, and it sent the girl’s mother rushing home to confront Nasirova, comfort her baby and call the police, the complaint says.

Nasirova was arrested on misdemeanor charges, including child endangerment and resisting arrest.  But the complaint says she didn’t go easily.

When police tried to put handcuffs on Nasirova she “refused to take her hands from her pockets and did lock her arms to her side and pull her hands away… in an effort to avoid lawful arrest,” it says.

She is being held in the city’s Rikers Island jail in lieu of $1,000 bail.  The incident occurred on Jan. 28.

The parents, identified as Mrs. and Mrs. Roman Mardakhaev, installed at least two cameras in and around their home after becoming concerned about their live-in nanny, said a spokesman for Staten Island District Attorney Daniel Donovan.

Nasirova’s next court appearance is Friday, Feb. 8.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Florida Judge Offers Plea Deal to Neglectful Mom; Requires No More Kids

Hemera/Thinkstock(WINTER HAVEN, Fla.) -- The lawyer of a Florida mother who has been ordered not to have children during her 13-year probation sentence is having second thoughts about the plea deal.

"I've been doing this for 32 years now and I, quite frankly, have never researched that particular issue, but my gut is telling me you can't do that," attorney Nathaniel White told ABC News Monday. "This isn't something that happens every day. It's a very unusual situation."

The demand shocked both the woman and her attorney, who failed to challenge the judge's request in court Friday but now says he doubts its legality.

Kimberly Lightsey, 30, was facing four counts of child abuse for an incident on Halloween 2011 when she left her four children, ages 2 to 11 at the time, at a hotel while she went out "partying," her attorney said.

She left her children with another hotel patron named Simone who also had children. Lightsey said the woman had agreed to watch the kids.

Several hours later, Simone texted Lightsey to find out her room number.

"Apparently, Simone had been doing a little partying of her own and forgot where Ms. Lightsey's room was," White said. "In the meantime, one of the children who has to use a wheelchair because of physical limitations he has, he had gotten out into the hallway and managed to turn himself over in the wheelchair, so he's out there hollering."

Authorities were called and Lightsey was eventually charged with four counts of felony child abuse. She was convicted on all counts.

Prosecutors asked for a 32-month jail sentence in court, but Judge Ernest Jones Jr. had another idea.

At Lightsey's Friday sentencing, the judge proposed two years of house arrest and 13 years of probation, with the condition that she agree not to have any more children during that time.

"I admit that when he threw that out there about no kids, that's when I was a little stunned," White said. "I just sat there and I looked at the judge without saying anything because at that point I don't want to blow it because the judge hadn't definitely decided yet what he was going to do."

White said that on the one hand, he was worried that if he spoke up, the judge might get irritated and send Lightsey to jail.

"On the other hand, my mind was screaming, 'I don't think this is legal,'" he said. "'I don't think you can do that, judge.'"

"The judge looks over at my client and says, 'Well, what do you think? Or you don't like that?'" White recalled.

"She had turned around and looked at the back of the courtroom where her boyfriend was," White said. "And she said something like, 'My boyfriend and I were thinking once things settle down of maybe having a child.'"

White said Jones answered with, "Well, you've already got four."

White added, "I think Jones' heart was in the right place. I'm not going to say that it's necessarily a bad thing for this woman to be told to have no more kids because she's got her hands full. But I don't think he could have legally prevented that."

The judge was not available to comment Monday. The American Civil Liberties Union said it is looking into the matter.

Lightsey accepted the condition.  However, after having time to think, White said he has a number of concerns about the edict.

"What happens if she gets herself pregnant?" White wondered. "Oh, my God, what a dilemma that is."

He said he plans to sit down with his client and encourage her to appeal the order.

The Florida judge's condition was not the first time this year a judge has made an unusually personal demand.

In February, a Florida judge ordered a man to take his wife out to dinner and bowling, complete with flowers. The sentence came after the couple had a physical altercation when the husband forgot the wife's birthday.

And in Oklahoma, in November, a judge sentenced a teen offender to attend church as part of his probation arrangement.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


New Evidence Against FL Teen Who Admitted Killing Baby, Hiding Him in Shoebox

Comstock/Thinkstock(TAMPA, Fla.) -- Cassidy Goodson, the teen who admitted killing her newborn baby and hiding him in a shoebox this fall, used a Santa Claus doll to show investigators exactly how she strangled him in her bathroom shortly after giving birth, according to new evidence released in Florida.

The video evidence shows Goodson, 14, re-enacting how she killed the baby boy using the doll in the very bathroom she gave birth in on Sept. 19, three days before her mother discovered the dead newborn in a shoebox and called police.

“Its eyes weren’t open, but I felt to see if it was breathing or not — and it did — so I put my hands around its throat to make it stop breathing,” she said, according to WFTS, the ABC News affiliate in Tampa, Fla.

It only took a minute before the baby was dead, she said. A detective off-camera asked Goodson how hard she had to squeeze, to which she replied, “Enough for it to stop breathing.”

An autopsy revealed that the infant died of asphyxia from strangulation and blunt force trauma, according to a police news release dated Sept. 28.

Goodson explained in the video that she didn’t want to disappoint her parents, so she hid her pregnancy with baggy clothes and gave birth in secret. According to police, she began to feel ill on Sept. 17 and realized on Sept. 19 that she was delivering. She placed a towel in her mouth and ran the water to muffle any noise she made.

She described to police that she used a pair of scissors to “pry the baby out,” before the 9.5 pound boy dropped into the toilet, according to the September news release.

“I was scared of what was going to happen and if I was going to get in trouble,” she said in the new video evidence.

Although Goodson’s mother, Teresa, told her to take two home pregnancy tests, Goodson faked them both because no one was in the bathroom with her.

“I thought she was just getting fat and gaining weight, honestly,” Teresa Goodson said. “If I would have known, this would never have happened.”

Goodson was arrested on Sept. 27 and charged with premeditated first degree murder and aggravated child abuse. She will be tried as an adult and could face life in prison without parole.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Former Olympic Swim Coach Charged with Child Abuse

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md.) -- A once-prominent swim coach who trained Olympic athletes and thousands of other young hopefuls was charged Thursday with abusing one of his teen swimmers 30 years ago.

It is the latest blow to USA Swimming, the sport's national governing body, since ABC News broke news of a sexual abuse scandal within its ranks.

Rick Curl, 63, who founded Maryland's Curl-Burke Swim Club in 1978, is alleged to have had a four-year sexual relationship with swimmer Kelley Davies beginning when she was 13 in 1983. When Davies' parents discovered the relationship in 1987 by reading her diary, Curl paid them $150,000 in return for their silence, according to the terms of a 1989 settlement revealed by the Washington Post earlier this year.

"The sexual abuse progressed to an inappropriate sexual relationship," the Montgomery County Police Department said in a statement. Curl has been charged with one count of child abuse, and surrendered to police Thursday.

Davies, now 43 and known by her married name, Kelley Currin, swam with Curl until she was 18 and is cooperating with the investigation. Her attorney Bob Allard, who has represented other victims, said she "is pleased that justice is going to be carried out."

Curl's lawyers, Thomas J. Kelly and Bruce L. Marcus, released a statement that said Curl is "a good man" and "a devoted father and husband."

"When the allegations were made public," said Kelly and Marcus, "many of the swimmers and their families reached out to us to offer their support and to reiterate that Rick was an excellent coach, a good person, and a man that provided them and their children with strong moral leadership. We look forward to having Mr. Curl's positions made clear in the coming weeks."

USA Swimming banned Curl for life in September. In a statement, USA Swimming said that it believed its report to the Montgomery County Police Department had "sparked the action" against Curl.

"USA Swimming's Director of Safe Sport, Susan Woessner, reported the information USA Swimming received on Rick Curl to the Montgomery County PD on July 24, 2012 via phone, and via follow-up email," said the statement. "USA Swimming has also completed its investigation and review process, which resulted in the organization permanently banning Rick Curl from USA Swimming membership on Sept. 18, 2012. "

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


After Sandusky, Florida Passes One of Nation's Toughest Sexual Abuse Reporting Laws

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(TALLAHASSEE, Fla.) -- The Penn State scandal helped shape a new Florida sexual abuse reporting law that has been called the toughest in the nation, holding universities and individuals financially and criminally liable for failure to report suspected abuse.

Under the law, which went into effect Oct. 1, colleges and universities that "knowingly and willfully" fail to report known or suspected child abuse or prevent another person from doing so will be slapped with a $1 million fine for each failure.

"We learned we didn't want to take a chance on [them]," said Ron Book, president of Lauren's Kids, a nonprofit that helped spearhead the legislation.

That began with mandating that schools report all allegations, not just conduct their own investigations. Book pointed to allegations from Penn State, Syracuse University and The Citadel that were known to administrators but not reported to authorities.

"What we learned after the Sandusky indictment was even though we prided ourselves as being a true mandatory reporting state, we found we weren't," Book said.

Aside from the university financial penalties, Book and his daughter, Lauren, a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, also helped closed loopholes in the legislation for individual reporting.

"Applying Penn State to the old Florida law, would Mike McQueary [have] had to report what he saw?" Book said, referring to the former Penn State assistant coach who witnessed Sandusky raping a boy in the school's showers.

"The answer was he would not have."

Previously, a person who called the state abuse hotline to report a suspected incident involving a child would have been asked to call law enforcement if the suspected predator was not a care taker or parent of the child, Book said.

"What we've learned is it's hard enough to get a victim or observer to call once," he said.

Under the new law, witnesses, like McQueary, or people who suspect abuse, are required to call a centralized hotline run by the Florida Department of Children and Families or face third-degree felony charges and a $5,000 fine.

Jennifer Dritt, executive director of the Florida Council Against Sexual Violence, said the stricter reporting law won't necessarily reduce the number of cases of abuse.

"Bad people are going to do bad things," she said, "but I think we can reduce it and we can make it very clear to every citizen that we're all responsible for the welfare of our children."

The Florida Department of Children and Families reported a 25 percent increase in calls since the law went into effect on Oct. 1.

While other states have mandatory reporting laws, there are still loopholes, Book said.

He'd like to see the Florida law he helped pass be used as a model for other states, especially for how they handle situations at colleges and universities.

"If you don't back it up with financial and criminal penalties, you've done nothing and we've gotten nothing out of Sandusky," he said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Mom Who Glued Daughter's Hands to Wall Faces Life in Prison

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(DALLAS) -- A Texas mother who grew frustrated with her 2-year-old daughter's slow progress in potty training faces life in prison Monday for gluing the girl's hands to a wall and beating her, leaving her in a coma.

Elizabeth Escalona, 23, pleaded guilty in July to injury to a child for the 2011 incident in which she was accused of kicking the girl in the stomach, hitting her, and gluing her hands to a wall, according to ABC News affiliate WFAA.

The girl was in a coma for two days and in the hospital for a week. Dr. Amy Barton, a former pediatrician who treated the girl, testified at the sentencing hearing Monday.

"This was one of the most shocking cases I have ever seen," she said, crying, according to WFAA.

The prosecution showed photos of the injured girl and the "extensive" bruising to her body.

"I have no comment and only God can judge me. That's all I got to say," Escalona said in July, after entering her plea.

The girl and the woman's other children have been placed with a relative and are in the care of Child Protective Services.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Parents Charged in Nationwide Child Pornography Investigation

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(SALEM, Ore.) -- A nationwide manhunt for a suspect in a child pornography investigation has resulted in two people arrested in Oregon and two girls rescued from an allegedly sexually abusive home.

Last month, agents from U.S. Immigration Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) sought public help to identify a "Jane Doe" suspect who had been identified in videos depicting two young girls under the age of 10 who the agents said were sexually victimized.

Michael Serapis Freeman and Michelle Lee Freeman turned themselves in to local police after the campaign resulted in tips identifying Michelle Freeman as the Jane Doe suspect.

An acquaintance of the married couple told Michael Freeman that he or she would turn in him and his wife to law enforcement, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials said.

On Tuesday, Michael Freeman contacted the local police in Salem, Ore., to tell officers that his wife was sought by federal law enforcement officials.

Last month, ICE agents obtained a criminal complaint and federal warrant from a U.S. District Court judge in Washington, D.C., to arrest the woman who was unknown to investigators besides her picture.

ICE agents from Los Angeles had been working on the investigation since June 2011, when they executed a search warrant and seized a computer with images said to depict two girls being abused.

A break in the investigation came in June 2012, when the FBI in Colorado seized a computer that had more than 200 images and two videos of the child victims with the images of the female Jane Doe suspect.

After the initial awareness campaign, ICE agents received tips that the Jane Doe lived or worked in the Pacific Northwest. With this information, ICE conducted a more targeted awareness campaign in Oregon and Washington state.

Both Michael and Michelle Freeman have been charged with the sexual exploitation of children for the production of child pornography.

According to ICE officials, an Oregon state search warrant was obtained Tuesday to search the Freemans' home, where law enforcement seized the couple's computers from their residence in Salem, Ore., according to a criminal complaint.

Michael Freeman allegedly told ICE agents that he was in "a bad place," the complaint said.

"I started it. Somehow she [Michelle Lee Freeman] got involved," Freeman allegedly told ICE agents.

Calls to the federal defender's office in Portland to request comment on behalf of the couple about the charges were not immediately returned.

If convicted of the charges, the couple could face 15 to 30 years in prison.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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