Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Recent child abuse cases raise question

Recent child abuse cases raise question
Updated: March 28, 2007 03:57 PM MST
Two cases of child abuse have shocked Tucson this month.
This week, Diane Marsh was charged with murdering her 5-year-old son, Brandon Williams.
Marsh is accused of tieing his hands and feet, standing him in hot water, and, on the night he died, of giving him 12 Tylenols.
Earlier this month, Christopher Payne was charged with murdering his 4-year-old daughter, Ariana, and 5-year-old son, Tyler.
Ariana's starved body was found abandoned in a storage unit. Tyler has never been found.
The cases raise the question, "How could a parent do that to their own child?"
Gil Velez is a program manager at child and family resources, an agency that deals with abuse and neglect cases. Velez says abuse happens all the time.
Velez says nationwide, "Every 10 seconds, there's a report being made of child abuse, and three children die daily."
Velez insists that there is no excuse for what marsh and Payne are accused of doing, but he says abusers do have charactistics in common.
He says that many abusers were abused themselves.
Velez says, "it's behavior that seems acceptable to these parents. 'I got hit as a child, so this is how I'm going to discipline my child.'"
Velez says that many abusers are mentally ill.
He says, "i don't think your normal person could beat a child, torture a child. You would have to assume something is wrong with this particular parent."
In both Brandon Williams' case and the Payne children's case, Arizona Child Protective Services had been involved, but CPS refuses to discuss the cases.
News 4 asked Velez whether CPS failed these children.
He says, "You would have to ask yourself that, Who was monitoring this family to prevent this abuse?"
But Velez believes there's broader blame for the young deaths.
He says, "As a community, I think we need to take responsibility for these actions. Who saw the signs of abuse? Who saw this child with wounds, with bruises?"
Velez says everyone must report abuse.
He says, "We have to stop being polite and start taking care of our children."