Some cases that involve the abuse of children are unbelievable to those of us who have children. In one case, which occurred on July 31, 1997, a woman was asleep on the sofa in the living room of her apartment with her small son. Her live-in boyfriend, who was the father of the little boy went into the bedroom of the eight year old daughter of his girlfriend. The little girl shared her room with her four- year- old sister. The four-year-old was sleeping in the room in the only bed in the room.
The man went into the room of the two small girls and brutally raped the eight-year-old child while her little sister slept beside them. The eight-year-old rape victim left the bedroom and went to her mother in the living room. She was holding herself tightly and she was bleeding profusely from her vaginal region. Her mother took her into the bathroom and supervised her daughter taking a shower. The eight-year-old child was then wrapped in a towel by her mother who placed her on the bed in her room. Because the eight-year-old child was bleeding so severely, her mother put a sanitary pad on her.
Rather than taking her baby girl directly to the emergency room for treatment, the mother sat down with her boyfriend, the child’s rapist, and discussed the situation with him. He obviously did not want her to take the child to the emergency room because he did not want to be arrested for raping her. The child, who was suffering from severe pain, bled through several towels and the sanitary pad. She began to vomit. It was obvious to the couple at that point that they would have no choice but to take the eight-year-old rape victim to the hospital. Before leaving to take her to the hospital, the mother and her boyfriend devised a cover story to attempt to explain the injury to the girl. They decided to tell the emergency room staff that the child had been trying to get out of bed when she tripped over a chair and one of the legs penetrated her.
One of the many reasons that the couple concocted this ridiculous story to try to cover the rape was that the mother was aware that the boyfriend had already been named accused of sodomizing the little girl in the past. Children’s services had investigated that incident. However, according to New York law, it is required that the department takes every opportunity that they can to reunite a family. This includes parenting classes, and counseling. The ultimate goal is to ensure that birth parents are kept together with their children. However, the sodomy charge was not the only sexual assault that this man had done. The eight-year-old victim was not the only victim. The mother’s own mother had notified the authorities that the boyfriend had sexually assaulted the eight-year-old victim’s younger sister. The same little girl who was in the bed with her eight-year-old big sister when she was raped by her mother’s boyfriend. The grandmother’s complaint had initiated an arrest of the boyfriend and an investigation by the police. With a pattern of pedophilia rapes in his history, the mother and her boyfriend decided that the mother would lie to the emergency room staff and tell them that he was not in the apartment at the time that the eight-year-old victim was raped.
Still, the couple did not take the desperately injured child to the hospital. Rather, they cleaned up the blood and hid the mattress where the boyfriend slept. Next, the mother put the girl in a taxi cap and had the driver take them to a particular clinic 115 blocks away from the apartment. This particular clinic was on the other side of city from where the couple lived. When they arrived, the clinic, the clinic staff called an ambulance immediately to transfer the child to Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan where she was listed as likely to die. After several hours of surgery, her shredded vaginal walls were repaired and she remained in the hospital for an additional nine days. The couple was arrested at the hospital. The police officers told the mother that her boyfriend had confessed to raping her eight-year-old child. The mother purportedly kissed the boyfriend and told him that she would see him later at his mother’s house.
Child Services took the three children, into protective custody. They were ultimately placed into foster care. The boyfriend pled guilty to rape in the first degree and was sentenced by the court to serve 15 years in prison for raping the eight-year-old little girl. The mother was arrested for making false statements about how the little girl became injured. The mother was charged with reckless endangerment in the first degree because she did not immediately seek medical care for the little girl. The delay in treatment could likely have been fatal to the child. The mother was sentenced to one to three years in prison.
Because New York statutory law seeks to ensure that the parents of a child are reunited with that child if it is at all possible. In situations such as this, common sense leads the rational person to believe that reuniting this family would not be in the best interest of the child. It would also not be in the best interests of the other two children. In order to address the termination of parental rights, the court must have a hearing to evaluate the merits of the case with the ultimate goal of protecting the children from any additional abuse. Child abuse proceedings were started against the two parents of the children. Ultimately, the children were only removed to protective services for a period of one year. The state initiated permanent parental rights termination proceedings . The state makes the contention that this conduct had been endured by the children for many years and that the parents were not going to stop abusing these children in the future.
The court recognizes that while it is important in most cases to return a child to its birth parents in order to preserve the family unit, in cases like this one, it is not responsible to return a child to its parent. Clearly, these parents will continue to harm these children. In 1999, New York adopted the Adoption and Safe Families Act, this statute mirrored the federal statute by the same name. This act allows that in cases of severe abuse, there is not as much red tape to terminate parental rights. Another option that was available to the prosecutors in this case was the option to show that the case involved aggravated circumstances.
The court ruled that the eight-year-old rape victim was severely abused, but found it more difficult to determine that the other two children in the home were as severely abused. The court in Long Island determined that the younger female child was obviously at risk and that her brother was at a lessor risk. The goal to keep the siblings together was going to be hampered by different findings of the severity of the abuse. Therefore, the parental rights were terminated in the case of all three children.
At Stephen Bilkis & Associates their child abuse lawyers, have convenient offices throughout New York and Metropolitan area. Our criminal Attorneys can provide you with advice to guide you through difficult situations.