In the one positive development, a Michigan jury has acquitted a man who was watching his employee’s 3-month-old son so the boy’s father could work. The prosecution had applied the theory of immediate but subtle symptoms to target the babysitter, although the serious problems emerged later, while the child was with relatives. The defendant’s damning act was apparently asking his mother-in-law to check on the baby, as he thought the child was having trouble breathing. See the coverage in the Pestosky News.
A 42-year-old man in Oklahoma has entered an Alford plea, which is not strictly a confession of guilt but an acknowledgment that the prosecution would probably win at trial. The original charge was first-degree murder, reduced to manslaughter with the plea. According to the story in the Enid News, the defendant called 911 when a 7-month-old boy in his care seemed to choke on a bottle and quite breathing, in September of 2009.
A terrifying case is heading toward the death penalty in Mississippi, where a man claims to have dropped his girlfriend’s daughter after giving her a bath. He was convicted of capital murder after prosecutors argued he had both battered and raped the girl. A rape kit administered at the time showed no signs of semen, but the child’s dilated anus—a normal finding near or after death—convinced the doctors that she’d been sexually abused. You can read about this case in the Clarion Ledger coverage. In light of the prosecution of Ernie Lopez, one has to wonder if misdiagnoses of sexual abuse will now start showing up routinely in child-death cases.
In New Hampshire, meanwhile, on-line comments have been especially venomous against a young father accused of shaking his son while the child’s mother was in another room drawing a bath. I admit the young man looks like trouble in the published photographs, but the facts as reported in the Eagle Tribune coverage sound like the same old story to me.
A judge in Colorado has sentenced a father to 20 years in prison after he confessed to shaking his 2-month-old, as reported by their local channel 9 news, and a father in New Jersey has been charged in the death of his 11-week-old daughter, as reported by abc news.
A day care provider in Missouri is scheduled for trial this fall, accused of hitting and shaking a girl in her care. According to an article on Connect MidMissouri, the babysitter says she tripped over another child and dropped the baby.
And finally, an appeal in Britain has hit the usual wall, as reported in Family Law.