Category Archives: Child Abuse
(Daily Mail) – A teacher has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for having sex with one of her former students, who was just 15 at the time.
Amanda Watkins’ mother asked for leniency, saying: ‘My daughter is not a bad person, but she is a sick person.’
Watkins, 39, was a teacher at Sheffield Junior High School in Alabama when she was found having sex with the teenager in the back seat of her car in December 2009.
She admitted to police that the pair were engaging in sexual activity, according to the Times Register, and was fired the next month.
In November last year, she was convicted of second-degree rape and second-degree sodomy, but her lawyer says she might appeal that verdict.
During sentencing, Watkins took the stand to apologise to the youth and ask for forgiveness.
Family members and two psychiatrists also testified on behalf of the former teacher, claiming that she was mentally ill and a custodial sentence would endanger her recovery.
The psychiatrists said that in prison Watkins would not have access to therapy or medication in prison.
And her mother, LaVon Dubois, said: ‘I ask leniency for Amanda so she can get the treatment she needs. My daughter is not a bad person, but she is a sick person.’
Watkins’ lawyer said that as a first-time offender who had already seen her career destroyed by her actions, the ex-teacher should be given probation rather than prison.
But the judge disagreed, handing down a 10-year sentence as well as a further 30 years on probation.
The district attorney celebrated the verdict, saying that the family of the victim was pleased to see Watkins behind bars.
Submitted to WIDK by Michael Holland
(Daily Mail) – A naked 12-year-old girl was spotted eating food out of trash cans in California Thursday after neighbours said they saw her wandering the streets with only a car mat covering her.
The girl’s mother, 40-year-old Tracy Lynn Betts was said to have taken her daughter’s shoes and clothes in an effort to keep her from leaving her BMW, police said.
Betts was taken into custody and later arrested on suspicion of felony child endangerment.
Riverside County sheriff’s officials say when police responded to a 911 call Thursday, they found the girl in a car where she was allegedly left by her mother, the Press-Enterprise reported.
The girl told authorities that her mother works as a teacher’s assistant at Vail Elementary. Betts allegedly took her daughter’s shoes and clothes so she couldn’t leave the car.
Neighbours said they found the girl rummaging through their trash can, trying to cover herself with a floor mat from the car.
Avenida de Calazada resident Dominique Prado told the Press-Enterprise that she and her husband were in their yard when they saw the girl rooting through a trash can.
Ms Prado says she gave her an apple, children’s snacks and a bottle of water.
Deputies found the child sitting famished in the car.
The girl is in protective custody and was given medical care at a nearby hospital for unspecified ailments.
Betts was held Thursday night on $15,000 bail, which she posted Friday. She will next appear in court April 12.
(Daily Mail) – A mother who says she hated her baby son from the day he was born left him to drown in the bath, investigators say.
Neha Patel of Lakeland, Florida, allegedly slapped one-year-old Ishan, then purposefully left him alone in a hall-full bathtub.
Returning 10 minutes later to find the infant unconscious, she refused to do CPR even though she knew what to do, the sheriffs office said.
Patel, 32, was arrested yesterday at the parking lot at Tampa International Airport.
She said she intended to kill herself by jumping off the garage roof, but stopped during two approaches as there were too many people were around.
The young mother has now been charged with first-degree murder.
Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said the cause of death was blunt force trauma at the hands of his mother, the New York Daily News reported.
Patel may have been suffering from post-natal depression, investigators say.
She told deputies she ‘hated’ her son since the day he was born and felt he was responsible for her ‘state of mind.’
Post-natal depression, caused by a chemical, hormonal imbalance, affects 10 to 15 percent of women.
The pharmacist was home alone with her son on Thursday when the alleged murder took place.
When he started to crawl toward her she smacked him because she hated to be near him and wanted to discourage him from coming close to her, the sheriff’s office said.
After getting him up from a nap she put him in the bath, which at the time was half full of water, and left him on his own , investigators said.
When she returned and found the infant unconscious she allegedly did not attempt CPR or call 911 but instead dressed the child and took a bizarre drive around the area. With the child’s body in the car she went to nearby supermarket, then home, then to Ocala, then to Tampa International Airport, the sheriff’s office said.
Patel knew her son was dead because he had turned ‘blue’ and was ‘cold to the touch.’
Patels’s husband, Rasesh Patel, had last seen his son alive at 7.20 am Thursday when he left to take the couple’s four-year-old daughter to preschool and go to work.
He attempted to phone home between 10.30 am and 12.30 pm before returning home at 1.30 pm to find them gone, deputies said.
That evening he called police to report his wife and son missing, saying Neha was depressed and he was worried as she hadn’t been taking her medication, Eleazer said.
Around 2am Friday morning she returned home and put the baby boy in his crib, telling her husband she drowned him, investigators say.
But when she heard him on the telephone to relatives she took off again for the airport telling her husband she would rather die than go to prison.
‘I will be dead by tomorrow,’ she told her husband, the Miami Herald reported.
The mother-of two had been acting strangely all week.
She resigned from her job as a CVS pharmacist on February 12, and talked about suicide. She said she would like to die in the Smoky Mountains, her husband told authorities.
(Daily Mail By PAUL THOMPSON And RACHEL QUIGLEY) – An elementary school teacher has been jailed for 40 years for having sex with a 14-year-old student.
Shannon Alicia Schmieder, 39, was told she will have to serve 20 years – by far the toughest sentence ever handed out by a U.S. court to an educator accused of underage sex.
Legal experts said the jail term was the same for manslaughter and other serious crimes.
The 39-year-old knew the boy since he was born and was at one stage like a mother-figure to him, according to his family.
His mother said: ‘She was a close family friend. We had gone to the same church together for 10 years. Our children were friends. Our families were friends. We did everything together. It’s impossible to describe how we felt to find out this was going on.’
The victim’s parents noticed a change in the relationship between their then 13-year-old son and Schmieder, saying she was acting more like a friend than a parental figure.
It was when they opened the boys Facebook page they realized something was wrong.
The mother said: ‘Never in a million years did I think I would find what I thought was evidence of inappropriate behavior between them. But there it was.’
The sentence was handed out after the mother of his young victim spoke of her ‘heartache and betrayal’ after discovering her son was involved with Schmieder.
In an emotional impact statement to the court, the mother spoke of the loss of innocence of her son and how she is struggling to come to terms with what happened to him.
The mother said: ‘As a mother of five boys, there are some things I’ve thought I would never have to worry about. April of last year our world was turned upside down.
‘We were told by investigators that our 14-year-old was a victim of child molestation. This was horrifying and unbelievable. I prayed that this was not true.
‘The more evidence that came out the truth became real, and I began to deal with grief, denial, guilt and so many other emotions.
‘During this time I still was trying to maintain being a wife and mother. How could I have missed this… what mother can’t protect her child? I trusted so much and believed that this friend was a gift from God.
‘Words can’t begin to explain the heartache we’ve experienced this past year and the betrayal we’ve endured. Messages that were recovered showed me more and more evidence and it became a living nightmare. I couldn’t bear the thought of my boy trusting someone that had clearly manipulated him.’
Coweta Superior Court Judge Jack Kirby imposed the sentence on the recommendation of the DA’s office.
Coweta Judicial Circuit Senior Assistant District Kevin McMurry said of the harsh penalty: ‘The state of Georgia has very strict sentences against child molestation. When I was negotiating this sentence, I treated her like I would a male perpetrator.
‘We believe that children deserve to be protected. This woman groomed and enticed a young boy she knew from birth to engage in these sexual acts. I crafted the sentence to take these things into account.
‘We want to send a message that this will not be tolerated. I actually reduced the charge from aggravated child molestation – which carries a maximum sentence of 25 years – to child molestation – with a maximum of 20 years – but wanted to ensure she would still receive a harsh sentence which recognized the life-long impact and damage done to this child.
‘Children are important and they deserve to be protected. She abused her position and the trust bestowed on her from the family and she had to be punished for this.’
The victim’s mother said her son had trust issues as a result of the affair.
She said: ‘We’ve all been in counseling for several months and we’ve been made aware of so many others that are victims of child molestation and sexual abuse.
‘We were forced to realize that role models of our community like preachers, teachers, scout leaders, coaches, and even mothers that you love and trust, and have known for years, and you would believe would never hurt your child could be a sex offender. This is physically and emotionally hard to accept.’
In a final address to the judge Jack Kirby before he imposed the sentence, she added: ‘We are continuing to hurt. We will struggle in fully trusting again and we will never understand the betrayal… and still today the dishonesty.’
Schmieder worked as a teacher’s assistant at Jefferson Parkway Elementary school in Coweta County, Georgia.
She pleaded guilty to two charges of child molestation following her arrest last April.
The parents of her victim, who was not a pupil at her school, found out about the affair when the discovered a series of explicit messages on his computer.
After alerting police a forensic examination of the boy’s home computer revealed Schmieder was involved in a sexual relationship.
She was arrested and charged following an interview with detectives.
Schmieder’s case – though unique because of its harsh sentence – is by no means a rare incident.
There have been countless reports of female teachers in schools across America abusing their relationship with male students and engaging in sexual relations with them.
Leading child psychologist, Dr Michael Oberschneider, who sees both teenagers who have been sexually abused and the adults who sexually abuse, said having sex with older women, especially women in a position of power is a badge of honour for some boys and their peers.
‘There is a certain mystique around the older woman in our society,’ he added. ‘If it was a man (who is abusing) in our society we are harsher, but when it’s a woman we kind of wonder about it.
‘It’s still a horrible thing, but I think there is also a little bit of unconscious permission in society. It seems to be not quite as bad when an older woman does something with a younger boy.’
Dr Oberschneider is not connected with the Schmieder case.
(Daily Mail By MEGHAN KENEALLY) – A one-year-old girl died and her five-year-old sister remains in critical condition after their mother allegedly tried to drown them in a baby bath in their Los Angeles home.
Police suspect that Lorna Valle, the mother of the two girls, ‘snapped’ when she decided to try to drown her daughters Marian, 5, and Lindsay, 1.
Valle was stopped by her husband who returned to their south Los Angeles home from the grocery store around 7.30am Wednesday morning after going to pick up juice and milk for his daughters.
When the father arrived in the house, neighbours heard screams of ‘My babies! My babies!’ and police were called.
Both girls were not breathing and unconscious when police arrived and found them in the bathroom of the family’s converted garage. They were taken to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, and Marian remains there in extremely critical condition.
Witnesses said that ‘the little one’ was ‘in really bad shape’ and almost purple when police arrived.
The mother was arrested Wednesday evening on suspicion of murder and attempted murder. She remains in custody on $1.5million bail.
‘We believe she is responsible for what happened to these two children,’ said Los Angeles police commander Andy Smith.
The family emigrated from Guatamala to California about 10 years ago, and neighbours said that they were hard working and friendly.
Now questions are being raised about Lorna Valle’s mental state, and some say that she had appeared depressed in recent weeks.
‘A neighbour said she told her that if anything happens to her, she would leave the girls to the father or to them,’ said Dina Ceballos.
‘She was asking for psychological help and she didn’t receive it. It’s a sad story. It’s a sad ending. She needs help.
Ms Ceballos was nearby at the time of the incident and heard the father scream ‘If I didn’t get out, my girls would still be alive! Why didn’t she kill herself instead of trying to kill my girls?’
Others also suspected mental issues, like neighbour Jennifer Houston who told The Los Angeles Times that the mother seemed ‘like she was disturbed’.
The name of the father has not been released, by another neighbour had good things to say about him.
‘He’s quiet. He’s the one who seems more adept,’ said Judy McCann.
‘He’s the one who had all his marbles.
‘She stays in the house. She never comes out.’
Because the police department found the scene so traumatic, the first responders from the police and fire departments are being offered counselling services to help them cope with what they saw.
‘This is a tragic and horrific incident. Something no one likes to see,’ said deputy police chief Pat Gannon.