Topic: child abuse
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November 26, 2013 at 4:27 PM
Two Thurston County girls Tuesday sued the state Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS), claiming the agency mishandled complaints that their mother was abusing them.
The mother, Theresa Ann Hutton, was convicted in 2009 of second-degree criminal mistreatment after a court found she withheld the “basic necessities of life” from one of the girls, who was forced to sleep outside, denied food and made to perform difficult chores.
Hutton had gained sole custody of the girls after their father died in a car accident. At the time, she was pregnant with the younger daughter; the older daughter was 5.
The lawsuit, filed in Thurston County Superior Court, alleges DSHS received “numerous complaints and referrals regarding Ms. Hutton’s treatment…but negligently, carelessly and unlawfully failed” to adequately respond.
As a result, the suit claims, the girls “suffered both physical and mental pain, disability, discomfort and anguish.”
The girls’ lawyer, Stephen Bulzomi, said public records indicate DSHS was alerted about potential issues at least 24 times.
An appeals court ruling in Hutton’s criminal case noted that Child Protective Services “sent investigators to the Hutton property many times” and “found Hutton’s home cluttered, dirty and smelling strongly of urine or ammonia,” and “did not attempt to remove the children, however, because there was adequate food and shelter, and there were no reports of physical abuse.”
The older daughter eventually ran away.
The girls, now 18 and 12, are in the custody of their paternal aunt, who filed the suit on behalf of the younger daughter.
The suit requests an unspecified amount of compensation for the girls.
A DSHS spokeswoman said the department does not comment on pending litigation.
October 29, 2013 at 11:13 AM
The Associated Press
MOUNT VERNON — A Skagit County couple accused of starving, beating and forcing their adopted daughter outside as punishment were sentenced to prison for decades Tuesday for her death.
Carri Williams was sentenced to just under 37 years, the top of the standard sentencing range, by a judge who said she probably deserved more time in prison. Her husband, Larry Williams, received a sentence of nearly 28 years.
The couple were convicted Sept. 9 of manslaughter in the death of a teenage girl they adopted from Ethiopia.
Hana Williams was found dead May 12, 2011, in the backyard of the family home in Sedro-Woolley. The autopsy found she died of hypothermia, with malnutrition and a stomach condition as contributing factors.
Prosecutors had recommended a sentence of 27 to 37 years for Carri Williams, who also was convicted of homicide by abuse. They sought a sentence of 14 to 18 years for Larry Williams, who wasn’t home at the time of the death, the Skagit Valley Herald reported.
Both also were found guilty of assault of a child for punishing a boy they adopted in 2008 from Ethiopia at the same time as Hana.
Larry and Carri Williams were convicted after a seven-week trial in Skagit County Superior Court. Defense lawyers told jurors that questionable parenting practices didn’t necessarily amount to a crime.
On the rainy night Hana died, Carri Williams called 911 and reported Hana was not breathing, saying the girl had refused to come into the house. Hana was found face-down in the backyard with mud in her mouth.
Hana is believed to have been 13, but no documentation of her birth in Ethiopia was available.
The trial was postponed several times, and her body was exhumed in January. Tests on her teeth and bones gave varying estimates, and experts were unable to agree on her age. Her age was significant because the homicide by abuse charge applies only if the victim was younger than 16.
The boy from Ethiopia testified that the parents used sticks or belts to beat him all over his body as punishment. He also described being sprayed with a water hose if he wet his pants.
After the arrests, the boy and six biological children were placed in foster care or with relatives.
May 28, 2013 at 8:48 PM
The Associated Press
TACOMA — Bail has been set at $1 million for a 25-year-old Washington man accused of putting his 6-week-old daughter in a freezer for about an hour to stop her crying.
Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist says doctors believe the baby will survive but it’s too soon to know potential complications.
Tyler James Deutsch pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges of child assault, criminal mistreatment and interfering with reporting of domestic violence. The prosecutor says Deutsch fell asleep after putting the child in the freezer Saturday, then awoke and was removing the baby when the child’s mother returned. He’s accused of taking the phone away when the mother tried to call for help from their trailer in Roy, Pierce County. The mother took the child and got neighbors to call police.
Prosecutors say the child’s core temperature fell to 84 degrees in the 10-degree freezer. She also had a broken arm and leg and a head injury.
April 3, 2013 at 4:49 PM
A Tacoma man claiming his girlfriend’s 2-year-old son was a rambunctious child who bruised easily has been charged with murdering and raping the toddler.
The child died Saturday after Jake Joseph Musga, 19, babysat him for a girlfriend he met in rehab, according to the Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. He pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder and first-degree rape today in Pierce County Superior Court and is being held in jail on $2 million bail.
An autopsy revealed that at the child’s time of death, the toddler had a blood alcohol level of .12 and “injuries too numerous to count,” including injuries consistent with the penetration of an object, according to court papers.
Charging papers say Musga told police that he was babysitting the toddler for his girlfriend while she went out to celebrate her birthday. Musga said the child had sustained accidental injuries on March 28 and seemed to be getting more bruised and withdrawn on Friday.
While responsible for watching the toddler Friday night, Musga told police he had a drink with vodka in it that the child may have consumed while he briefly stepped out of the room. Musga said later that night, the child fell out of bed and only realized when putting his hand on the toddler’s chest that he wasn’t breathing.
Someone who saw Musga out in the apartment lobby crying and holding the child called 911, court papers say, but it was too late to save his life.
Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist said Musga is facing 22-30 years for the murder charge and 10-14 years for the rape charge. But Lindquist says, given the vulnerability of the victim, he may end up asking for an exceptional sentence that could put Musga away for life.
January 31, 2013 at 6:08 PM
The stepfather of a 4-year-old Lynnwood girl, who is suspected of hog-tying her and shooting her dozens of times with an Airsoft BB rifle, was charged with second-degree child assault in Snohomish County Superior Court on Thursday.
The 26-year-old man continues to be held at Snohomish County Jail on $25,000 bail. A judge ordered that he have no unsupervised contact with his children, according to the Snohomish County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.
A grandmother first thought she noticed chicken pox on the skin of the 4-year-old girl while bathing her on Jan. 12, according to charging papers. The girl informed her that the marks and welts were from having her wrists and “feet wrists” tied while being shot repeatedly by the stepfather, and that she did not want to return home, the papers say.
The various stages of healing in her wounds indicated that she had been tied up and shot at on more than one occasion, according to a medical analysis cited in the court papers.
When a deputy interviewed the stepfather about the marks, he said his son had fired at the girl with an Airsoft rifle he’d been given for Christmas and that it had since been taken away, according to a Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office report. The stepfather said he’d bound the girl’s wrists and ankles with duct tape for 30 minutes as punishment, according to the report.
He also said in an early written statement to police that hog-tying is part of a video game he plays — one with a promotional website that asks visitors to verify their age before entering. The statement is included in court papers.
“I play Red Dead Redemption, and one of the key features to getting max payment for collecting bounties is hog-tying the person which is spoken in game and [the child] has heard it said,”he wrote according to court papers.
When asked by a child-interview specialist why her mother doesn’t intervene, the sheriff’s report says, the girl “said her mom doesn’t care about her getting shot and tied up and said her mom leaves because she doesn’t want to hear her cry.”
Detectives who on Jan. 24 searched the Lynnwood home where the man, his wife and four children live, found zip ties in the garbage that had been chewed at, according to charging papers. Feces were also smeared on the girl’s bedroom door, something the charging papers said could be an indication of how long she and her siblings were sometimes locked away in their rooms.
The girl also endured other odd punishments at the home, according to a sheriff’s report. Sometimes she and a sister were told to lean against a wall with squatted legs for 30 minutes until their feet and legs hurt “really bad.” One time when her room was messy, she said she was forced to pick up her room with her teeth, according to the report.
January 25, 2013 at 4:53 PM
A Lynnwood man who allegedly hogtied a 4-year-old and shot her 36 times with a pellet gun has been arrested by the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office.
The 26-year-old man is being held for investigation of second-degree child assault and unlawful imprisonment after the girl told her grandmother and a child-interview specialist this month that she had been punished for waking him up early, according to the Sheriff’s Office. His bail is set at $25,000.
A Sheriff’s Office report says the man “knowingly inflicted bodily harm which by design caused pain as to the equivalent of that produced by torture.”
A deputy was first alerted about the treatment after the girl’s grandmother took her to Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett with what she thought was chicken pox. But the girl told her grandmother, and later a child-interview specialist, that the man had bound her hands behind her back and tied her “feet wrists” with Zip Ties before shooting her several times.
The man and the girl live at the same Lynnwood home, but the Sheriff’s Office has not specified what relation they have to each other.
When a deputy interviewed the man about the marks, he said his son had fired at her with an Airsoft rifle he’d been given for Christmas, and that it had since been taken away.
When asked to show the rifle to the deputy, the sheriff’s report says the man took a black, AR-15 style rifle off the upper shelf of a master bedroom closet. The man acknowledged that he’d bound the girl’s wrists and ankles with duct tape for 30 minutes as a punishment, according to the report.
The girl later told a child-interview specialist at Dawson Place, a nonprofit center for child-abuse victims, that the man had shot her with a “BB” gun several times in her bedroom as well, according to the sheriff’s report.
When asked why her mother doesn’t intervene, the report says the girl “said her mom doesn’t care about her getting shot and tied up and said her mom leaves because she doesn’t want to hear her cry.”
She also told the interviewer about other odd punishments at her house. Sometimes she and a sister are asked to lean against a wall with squatted legs for 30 minutes until their feet and legs hurt “really bad.” One time when her room was messy, she said she was forced to pick up her room with her teeth, according to the Sheriff’s Office report.
According to the report, the girl said the family shops for Zip Ties at Fred Meyer and she gets to hold them “because they are mine and [redacted] stuff.”
The girl and her siblings have been taken into protective custody, according to Child Protective Services.
December 12, 2012 at 2:57 PM
Pierce County prosecutors have charged a Washington state trooper with two counts of failing to comply with mandatory reporting laws, alleging that he waited nearly three weeks to report child-abuse allegations against his father, The News Tribune’s Adam Lynn writes today on the newspaper’s Lights & Sirens blog.
Justin Hamrick, 25, has been summoned to Pierce County Superior Court on Christmas Eve for arraignment.
Prosecutors contend Hamrick learned June 4, 2011, that his father, Scott Hamrick, allegedly was abusing two of the elder Hamrick’s adopted daughters at the family home in Eatonville. Scott Hamrick, a lieutenant with a local fire district, later committed suicide.
Read the full blog post.
November 7, 2012 at 11:50 AM
A 24-year-old Kent man accused of injuring his infant twins has been charged with two counts of second-degree child assault, domestic-violence.
Jason M. Dodd was booked into the King County Jail on Tuesday and ordered held in lieu of $250,000 bail.
According to criminal charges, which were also filed on Tuesday, Kent police began investigating Dodd after his seven-week-old son was taken to Seattle Children’s hospital on Nov. 1. The baby’s mother had called 911 after finding him “spitting up blood and gagging” in the middle of the night.
The infant was later transferred to Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital in Tacoma, according to criminal charges.
King County Senior Deputy Prosector Cecelia Gregson wrote in charges that a doctor said the infant boy could have died “because he bled so much.” State Child Protective Services officials were contacted and a medical evaluation was performed on the boy’s twin sister, who was found to have “acute” rib fractures as “the result of intentional trauma,” charges said.
Kent police Detective Steve Kelly interviewed Dodd on Friday and during the interview Dodd said he had applied possibly five to six pounds of pressure to his son’s face after the child had a crying fit, charges said. Dodd said he also shook and squeezed both babies “on multiple occassions,” charging documents said.
Dodd told police that when he squeezed his infant daughter he once heard “a pop,” charges said.
In seeking the high bail, Gregson also requested that Dodd not have any contact with either infant.
September 13, 2012 at 1:44 PM
A Seattle minister and musician charged last year with the sexual abuse of young boys pleaded guilty today to 22 counts.
Timothy L. Dampier, 39, abused 10 boys between 1997 and 2011, some members of his congregation, other members of youth programs he played a role in, according to the King County Prosecutor’s Office. He pleaded guilty to charges that include: first- and second-degree rape of a child; first-, second- and third-degree child molestation; sexual exploitation of a minor; and possession of child pornography, said Dan Donohoe, prosecutor’s office spokesman.
Dampier has served as a foster parent and worked at the Bellevue Boys & Girls Club, according to court documents. Seattle police say he once worked at Samuel House, a group home in Kent, and the Union Gospel Mission.
Dampier came under investigation by Seattle police after one of his alleged victims came forward in April 2011. This victim told police that Dampier had started sexually molesting him when he was 10 and continued for three years, until 2002. The man, now 21, told police the molestation occurred in Dampier’s van after church functions throughout King County, authorities said.
The man said he had reported the abuse to a minister at Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church last year. When the alleged victim and the minister confronted Dampier about the abuse allegation in October, Dampier said he’d engaged in “playful touching” but denied any molestation, according to court documents.
Other alleged victims and witnesses came forward during the investigation, according to court documents. Another man alleged Dampier raped him, masturbated in front of him and showed him child pornography when he was between 12 and 13 years old in 2001 and 2002.
When questioned by police in May 2011, Dampier acknowledged he had inappropriately touched three boys and performed oral sex on one of them multiple times when the boy was around 12, according to court documents.
Prosecutors will be seeking a sentence of 22 years in prison for Dampier. Dampier faces a sentencing range of 20 to just over 26 years in prison.
Executive staff at the Bellevue Boys & Girls Club are out of town this week and unavailable for to comment.
June 14, 2012 at 12:04 PM
A 23-year-old woman accused of starving her 2-month old son did not appear for arraignment this morning because of concerns about her safety.
Katherine A. Mattern has been held in solitary confinement at the King County Jail since shortly after her June 5 arrest because other female inmates have threatened her, according to the King County Prosecutor’s Office. Mattern has been charged with criminal mistreatment.
This morning’s hearing at the Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent has been postponed until Monday so she can be arraigned individually, instead of during a large multi-defendant arraginment calendar, prosecutors said. One prosecutor said that the threats stem from Mattern’s alleged crime.
Officials at the jail could not be reached for comment.
Mattern moved to Burien last year while she was being investigated by child-welfare officials in Oregon for allegedly neglecting another child, a daughter, according to the King County charges. Mattern became the target of an investigation by Washington state Child Protective Services (CPS) workers earlier this year after her daughter suffered scratches to her face, according to charges filed in King County Superior Court. In March, Mattern gave birth to a son.
On May 15, doctors at Seattle Children’s hospital contacted the King County Sheriff’s Office to report concerns that Mattern’s younger child was failing to thrive, charges said. At just 7.9 pounds, the baby had lost weight and was suffering from scabies, charges said.
Less than two weeks after his birth, the boy had weighed 8.1 pounds, charges said.
Doctors also examined Mattern’s now-2-year-old daughter and found that she too had scabies, charges said.
Mattern faces a potential sentence of up to five years in prison if convicted.
Both children have been removed from Mattern and are in state care, according to state child welfare officials.
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The Today File is a general news blog featuring real-time coverage of Seattle and the Northwest. It is reported by the news staff of The Seattle Times and edited by Assistant Metro Editor Nick Provenza.
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