The family of a young child who was reportedly abused has gone public with their complaints about a legal system that denied them the opportunity to hold the alleged child abuser accountable in court.
Joshua Marbury and Alicia Quinney live in Oregon with Jacob, their one-year-old child. The parents went out for a date in March 2016 and left their young son in the care of a longtime family friend.
When the married couple returned home from their date, they heard their son crying. Upon inspection the following morning, the parents saw that their child had a black eye, scratches and deep bruising across his face.
The distraught parents contacted the police and filed a report. Now, after three months of waiting for Oregon police and prosecutors to take action, the family has learned the hard way that sometimes laws are written in such a way as to make it very difficult for prosecutors to bring formal criminal charges.
According to authorities, a prior Oregon court ruling bars the State from pursuing criminal charges against the babysitter. An earlier case held that one of the required elements that the prosecution must prove in a felony child abuse case in Oregon is that the child suffered “substantial pain.” In this case, the victim was deemed too young to testify about the degree of pain he suffered; as a result, it would be all but impossible for prosecutors to meet their burden of proof in a potential criminal case against the babysitter.
This case highlights a major problem faced by prosecutors when a victim is either too young to explain what happened or unable to speak due to a mental incapacity or disability.
After finding out that local law enforcement would not be able to pursue felony charges against the alleged abuser, Marbury, the victim’s father, posted on social media accounts, including Facebook, pictures of their child’s face. The images showed bruises, which Marbury said were a result of violence by their son’s babysitter.
Meanwhile, Quinney, the boy’s mother, is pushing for state legislators to change the law and provide greater protection to victims who cannot testify about their abuse.
For more information, see the USA Today article, “Tot Can’t Testify: Outrage at Loophole in Baby Assault.”
NJ prosecutors won’t hesitate to file criminal charges in child abuse cases and NJ judges often impose maximum penalties against offenders. If you’ve been arrested and charged with child abuse, endangering the welfare of a child or any other crime in New Jersey, it is imperative that you talk to a qualified criminal defense attorney immediately. Contact the experienced criminal defense lawyers at the Law Offices of John W. Tumelty now to schedule a free consultation about your case.