Judge Judy

And An

Old Memory

By

Bonnie M. Wells

I have no desire to open old wounds so I am going to attempt to tell this story without using any names. The reader can rest assured all the names are remembered though, and that none shall ever be forgotten ...... ever.

September 13th, 2002

One case on Judge Judy's show was about a couple who were suing the woman's ex-husband for attorney fees, court costs, etc. The case stemmed from an abuse charge the former husband had filed against the woman's current husband.

The ex-husband was the father of a little three year old boy, and when the child's step father took a belt to his son and left bruises, the father contacted children services and filed a complaint.

Needless to say, Judge Judy promptly asked the step father if he had in fact punished his step son with a belt and the man readily admitted that he had.

He explained that the local Children's Services had intervened and given he and the child's mother a few hours of "parenting classes" which he didn't seem to think were necessary to begin with. Judge Judy disagreed and it didn't take her very long to cut to the quick of things and inform the man that had she been "on the case" to begin with there surely would have been a different outcome.

She used the term "beat" several times when describing what the man had done to the little boy, and said a child of that age should never be corrected with a belt.

She insisted the child's father had done the correct thing by notifying local police and children's protective agencies, and said that he had an obligation to protect his child.

A Little Blond Haired, Blue Eyed Boy

Of course I agreed with Judge Judy, and my mind went back to a time in which an almost identical situation occurred here in Washington County Ohio.

I was very close to the "situation" and I have waited patiently a long, long time to tell the story of a little blond haired, blue eyed boy who was two years old when his parents divorced.

Within a short time his mother met a man whom she began living with. The man had a "history," so to speak. He'd been in jail and in prison and he had some emotional baggage of his own that should have been taken care of before he ever dreamed of taking on the responsibility of a small child.

The first thing the "boyfriend" done was to stop the woman's visits to her parents. This deprived the little boy of seeing the two people who had been his rock, his shelter; his only protection.

The little fellow had now lost his daddy, his grandparents and for all intents and purposes his mother, because it seemed her only thoughts were for the new man in her life and how she could please him.

A Thug Takes Control

The couple began living together almost immediately. This concerned the child's grandmother but there wasn't much she could do about it.

And within a few weeks the "boyfriend" was "in charge" of every aspect of the child's life.

There were drugs being bought, sold and used in the child's presence. All the grandmother could do was watch. The child's father wasn't any help either because every time anything was brought to his attention he made a beeline for the child's mother and helped her cover it up!

Things went from bad to worse in a very short time until one evening, the grandmother went to see the child and was helping her daughter bathe the child before putting him to bed. That's when she saw the black and blue marks on his buttocks and lower back.

The little fellow had soiled his pants earlier that day when the "boyfriend" had him out running the streets for hours on end, and it had made the man angry so he took his belt off and he beat the child with the belt and the buckle of the belt until he was black and blue.

The child's mother did absolutely nothing. No one did anything.

Next, the boyfriend began picking the child up and tossing him into the air and catching him in a bear hug that squeezed the breath out of the child as he plummeted toward the floor. He would hold the child for a few seconds and then drop him from waist level, allowing him to crumple to the floor. When the child cried, he would kick him and call him a little sissy. He was not quite three years old, and the grandmother feared he would never see his third birthday. When the grandmother contacted an attorney (M.W.) who served as a court appointed guardian for children, and told the woman what the boyfriend was doing, the attorney informed her that "a lot of people toss their children into the air. They are just playing and there is nothing wrong with it!"

It wasn't long until courts across our nation began calling this "tossing" child abuse. In more severe cases, which this might have been had the grandmother not been so stubborn, the children were shaken to death; tossed into the air and allowed to crash to the floor thus breaking their necks and other bones in their bodies; etc. It seemed the only place that paid no attention to it was Washington County Ohio!

But the final straw came when the child was dragged down four or five steps by his heels, thus tearing the skin off his backbone in a six inch strip!

Enough was enough and the grandmother filed a report with the police in the city in which the couple lived. That report was followed up with another to the local Children's Service agency, and thus began the biggest nightmare that anyone had ever heard of.

Idiots In High Places

Children's Service agent (A.V.) investigated the report and interviewed the "boyfriend" but never spoke with the grandmother or any of the witnesses she had to the abuse.

The boyfriend admitted to using marijuana in the child's presence. No big deal.

He admitted that he used a belt on the child and bruised him, and in the agents own words ...."He admits to using a belt on the child, but in my opinion the "beating" was not severe!"

The agent interviewed the police officer (B.H.) who had told the grandmother to call Children's Services (something he was supposed to do, not the grandmother!) and the officer told the agent "he had no concerns over the child!" This same officer informed the grandmother that the abuser could smoke as much marijuana in his home as he wanted to and there was nothing she could do about it!

Doctors and nurses had concerns over the child, but the police officer and the CBS agent both accused the grandmother of filing "bogus reports," and said that her claims had not been substantiated .... even though the man had admitted to both that he had done exactly as the woman had reported!

The grandmother vowed then and there that the day would come when she told her story to the world so that everyone would know what kind of people were "in charge" in Washington County Ohio. That day has come folks ..... that day has finally come!

Another 'Investigator'

When the grandmother finally realized the city cops were not going to do anything to help the child, she turned to the county sheriff's department. And she spoke with an investigator (R.S.) whom she would never, ever forget.

Mid way through the woman's statements about the mistreatment of her grandson, the investigator interrupted her to ask if she had seen the movie JFK!

She told him no, she had not seen the movie and wasn't interested in discussing it. The investigator informed her that anyone who could see that movie and believe any of it had to be nuts because he didn't believe in conspiracies! His personal opinions were of no more importance to the grandmother back then than they are today. He hasn't changed, and neither has she.

System Leaches

The grandparent's hired an attorney and they took their case into the court room! They would save that little boy if it was the last thing they ever did on this earth.

Seven witnesses lined the hall way that day. Each had seen something that they felt the court needed to hear.

The grandmother pulled a slick one .... she was noted for that! Instead of waiting for the perpetrator to be called for the other side, she had him subpoenaed for her side. She reasoned if he'd admitted to the cops and to the Children's Service agent that he had indeed done all these things, then he'd be stupid enough to brag in the court room too!

It was a smart idea, but it wouldn't work in Washington County Ohio.

Judge W.H. refused to hear any of the witnesses. He allowed the perpetrator to sit in the court room behind the child's mother and was apparently under the misguided notion that he was the child's father .....who didn't bother to show up in court that day!

He looked at the child abuser and asked if he visited ..... the woman and her boyfriend both nodded their heads, indicating he was the child's father instead of the abuser. The grandmother's attorney sat like a wet noodle and said not a word!

But, the grandmother won a partial victory that day .... not because the system works in Washington County, but because it doesn't work!

She was granted visitation rights to her grandson, which forced the boyfriend to allow the woman to see the child and to keep an eye on him. It was not an easy task, but nothing in her life had ever been easy, and the only thing that really mattered was that little boy.

If Anything Happens To That Child --

Children's Service agents (D.C.) (A.M.) and (A.V.) branded the grandmother a liar and an insane woman because she "believed she was psychic." The woman would have liked to laugh at their foolishness, but she didn't have time. She had to do her job, the cops' jobs, the court's job, the attorney's job, and her daughter's job!

And so she did. She informed Children's Services that if the man seriously injured or killed her grandson she was going to sue the entire department plus each individual agent who had neglected safeguarding the child. They thought they were safe, but they weren't. While wearing the attorney cap the grandmother searched the laws of Ohio and discovered exactly what she needed to take their asses down if the need ever arose!

Then she donned her cop hat and went in search of the needed information concerning the drug use and sales and it wasn't too long until she spoke to yet another cop (J.W.) in the sheriff's department. He was a new comer to the department although she had seen him before ....in a court room ... and somehow she knew that this cop knew she was no liar, no crazy woman and had more courage than most people he'd ever met ......and she might very well be "psychic" to boot!

Then Along Came John

One cop listened and a drug using, drug dealing abuser went to jail and a little blond haired, blue eyed boy began telling his grandma that he wanted to be a cop when he grew up.

Perhaps it was the admiration and respect he saw from his grandmother toward the one and only cop who acted upon her words and proved to anyone willing to look that the woman had been telling the truth all along.

A Few Noteworthy Changes

A few things have changed over the years. Most aren't worth mentioning, but some are .....

The little boy is now nearly twenty years old and has graduated from high school. He still spends a lot of his time with his grandmother.

The "boyfriend" eventually became his step father and they get along fairly well. Other than that the guy hasn't changed much. Grandma continues to monitor and take action when it is needed. I suppose she will until the day she dies. He's her only grandson, and he's quite a young man.

The judge who refused to hear the witnesses lost his next election, retired [and is now deceased]:

The cop who didn't believe in conspiracies turned out to believe in very little and eventually retired from law enforcement.

The cop who said he had no concerns is no longer a cop:

The cop who listened and acted is still "tops" with the grandmother, and probably always will be. And sooner or later he will take his place at the head of the line and lead as he is destined to do ..... provided you believe the grandmother is "psychic," that is! [This 'cop' is now a Major in the sheriff's department, and 'granny's' right again!]

New; 2008 Story:

Many Abused Kids In Ohio Die On Government Watch

December 21, 2008: COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) One in three Ohio children killed by abuse or neglect were being assisted or monitored by government social workers on or near their deaths, a newspaper investigation has found.

The Columbus Dispatch reported Sunday that 87 of 234 children who died from 2002 to 2007 had contact with county children-services workers.

"As a general rule, the child-welfare system is broken," said Michael Fox, a former state representative who is now director of Butler County Children's Services. "And it has been broke for years."

The paper also found:

County child-fatality review boards are underreporting the number of children dying from abuse and neglect.

The state failed to review nearly 30 percent of abuse and neglect deaths over a six-year period.

Of the reviews that were done, the state faults county agencies for major flaws in their response to abuse reports, including placing children with unsuitable caregivers and then not checking their safety.

Many of Ohio's children-services agencies, particularly in smaller, rural counties without local tax levies, are underfunded by the state.

In addition, foster care placement agencies licensed by the state have failed to screen or run checks on foster parents, the investigation found.

"We accept that we have work to do," said Barbara Manuel, assistant deputy director at Ohio's Office for Children and Families.

The state is helping counties train caseworkers so the focus stays on child safety. Ohio is also creating a new "alternative-response" program to find ways to address a family's needs and reduce the danger of abuse.

County agencies received 70,752 reports of child abuse and neglect last year. About 4 percent of the complaints led to the removal of children from abusive homes and placement in foster care.

Eleven-month-old Nicholas Goodrich died Dec. 12, 2006, after his mother's boyfriend picked the baby up by the throat and threw him across the room.

The boyfriend was playing a "Madden NFL 06" video game and became angered by the baby's crying, the paper said. People concerned about the child's welfare made at least 12 calls to officials in Franklin and Delaware counties over four weeks to stop the abuse.

"It's like he was a punching bag for somebody," one caller complained. Another said the baby would end up dead if nothing was done.

The baby's mother is serving 13 years in prison for child endangering. The boyfriend is serving 15 years to life for murder.

"It was not our finest hour," said Eric Fenner, Franklin County Children Services executive director. "Any child harmed in our care is unacceptable. We can do better."

The director of an association representing children's services agencies defended caseworkers whom she described as overworked and subject to high rates of burnout.

"It's still a complex system. It's a very difficult job. You can never predict human behavior," said Crystal Ward Allen, executive director of the Public Children Services Association of Ohio. "Hindsight is perfect."

The paper's survey was based on a review of all 88 county children services agencies, an examination of death certificates, child-fatality reports, other public records and media accounts.

A Few Comments Made On The News Papers Commentary Section:

Moonwick wrote: I too have seen that happen. Why on earth would they call the "abuser" and announce their planned visit? They not only call them, they then give them several days before they go. Thats plenty of time to clean up, finish off the drugs, and threaten the child should it speak out about the abuse. It's crazy. I know a couple who chose one child out of many to abuse. The rest are simply neglected. They get the standard visits and CPS pays the bills and the rent and provides rent vouchers for the monthly evictions. Problem solved! Not quite. The kid still gets abused and the parents still don't work and still drug it up. I've called 4 times..They have an open case they just won't fix the problem. Slipping throug the cracks? More like falling off the face of the earth. And if the CPS workers are suffering burnout, get a NEW job.. Try suffering fists, belts, burns, hunger and filth and cronic headlice.

raindrop wrote: Ahhhh! Government run programs. Dontcha lov'em? In fact, let's have more Government run programs. They work real swell!

Child welfare agencies which have shipped out services to the private sector have proven to be huge failures. Check out the status of child welfare in Florida. One of the most horrific deaths of a child in Ohio occurred when services were contracted to a private agency. So your solution is?????

drdsgirl9 wrote: Dear God, I do hope they do something here in this county..I know of a few that need protection and of course they have been looked into by calling the family up and making an appt to see them..Giving the family time to clean the filthy home, throw away trash, find the time to get food in the fridge and make it look as if there is nothing wrong. If someone reports this to them, they need to take the time to investigate and follow through. These kids are our future and deserve protection. So many familys want kids, and those who dont want them mistreat and abuse theres. Its heartbreaking to know that our kids are being beaten beyond recognition, thrown like dolls, verbally and mentally abused.IT NEEDS TO STOP..I would rather my tax dollars go towards this cause to stop this, versus paving holes in the streets. Funding needs to focus on our kids, what if it was your kids?? Oh yeah some of those yahoos in CPS dont even have kids...LETS MAKE A DIFFERENCE MANSFIELD

Bonnie M. Wells:

Starlight Inner-Prizes

Pure Coincidence

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Posted/updated: 6-09-06 / June 2008 // BMW

This story can be found in PC Book # 25 -

Justice For All, by Bonnie M. Wells