Family Law Prof Blog

Editor: Margaret Ryznar
Indiana University
Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Rapists and Parental Rights

From The Washington Post:

When a young woman came to the Family Services of North Alabama office last year for help with trauma, saying she had been raped by her step-uncle when she was 15, rape crisis advocate Portia Shepherd heard something that “killed me, shocked me.”

The step-uncle, who was getting out of jail after a drug conviction, wanted to be a part of their child’s life. And in Alabama, the alleged rapist could get custody.

Read more here.

June 13, 2019 in Abortion, Child Abuse, Custody (parenting plans) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Proposed Bill in Japan to Ban Parents from Physically Punishing Children

From The Japan Times:

A bill banning parents and guardians from physically punishing children is set to pass the Diet during the current session, after the ruling and opposition parties agreed on some modifications, lawmakers have said.

The bill is more or less the same as the original one submitted by the government. But it has been modified and will also urge local governments and child welfare centers to offer guidance to parents who have abused children, based on medical and psychological expertise, to prevent the abuse from happening again.

Read more here.

June 5, 2019 in Child Abuse, International, Termination of Parental Rights | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 8, 2019

Alaskans Go Blue for Child Abuse

From KTVA: The Voice of Alaska:

Alaskans wore blue on Friday to focus attention on the state's epidemic of child abuse, along with ways to report its occurrence and prevent its spread.

Anchorage residents gathered in blue attire Friday at a Midtown rally for what the nonprofit Alaska Children's Trust dubbed Go Blue Day.

According to a 2016 report from the trust, children in Alaska are 56% more likely to suffer abuse than children nationwide. Almost half of all children abused in Alaska are 4 years old or younger, with 80% of victims abused before age 10.

Trevor Storrs, the trust's president, says attention is a crucial component in preventing that abuse.

Read more here.

April 8, 2019 in Child Abuse | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

R. Kelly Makes First Court Appearance for Alleged Sexual Abuse

From NBC News:

R&B singer R. Kelly made his first court appearance on Saturday and a judge set his bond at $1 million.

Kelly, who has been charged with multiple criminal counts of sexual abuse of several underage victims, turned himself in to police on Friday night.

The conditions of Kelly's bond includes that he has no contact with witnesses or alleged victims and that he turn in his passport.

He is also not allowed to have contact with anyone age 18 or younger.

Kelly, 52, faces 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse, according to the Cook County State's Attorney's Office in Chicago. A grand jury indictment listed four victims, at least three of whom were younger than 17 at the time of the alleged abuse between May 1998 and January 2010.

Read more here.

February 26, 2019 in Child Abuse, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, February 25, 2019

Pope Francis' Sexual Abuse Conference

From Reuters:

A nun and a woman journalist delivered the toughest criticism of Church leaders heard so far at Pope Francis’ sexual abuse conference on Saturday, accusing them of hypocrisy and covering up horrendous crimes against children.

Some 200 senior Church officials, all but ten of them men, listened at times in stunned silence in a Vatican audience hall as the women read their frank and at times angry speeches on the penultimate day of the conference convened by the pope to confront a worldwide scandal.

Sister Veronica Openibo, a Nigerian who has worked in Africa, Europe and the United States, spoke with a soft voice but delivered a strong message, telling the prelates sitting before her: “This storm will not pass”.

Read more here.

February 25, 2019 in Child Abuse, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Priest Dismissed From Priesthood Over Child Abuse Claims

From BBC News:

This is a significant moment in the Roman Catholic Church's effort to address the tide of sex abuse scandals - not least because of the high status this former Cardinal Archbishop once held.

Not only was he the first cleric in more than 100 years to resign from the College of Cardinals, but his removal from the priesthood also confirms Pope Francis' assertion that anyone found guilty of abuse will be treated with zero tolerance, regardless of their status within the church.

Read more here.

February 23, 2019 in Child Abuse, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, February 7, 2019

States Move to Ease Restrictions on Child Sex-Abuse Lawsuits

From PIX 11 News:

In many states across the U.S., victims of long-ago child sex-abuse have been lobbying for years, often in vain, to change statute of limitation laws that thwart their quest for justice. This year seems sure to produce some breakthroughs, due in part to the midterm election results and recent disclosures about abuse by Roman Catholic priests.

New York state is Exhibit A. The Democrats' takeover of the formerly Republican-controlled Senate seems almost certain to produce a more victim-friendly policy in place of one of the nation's most restrictive laws.

Prospects are considered good for similar changes in Rhode Island and New Jersey, and the issue will be raised in Pennsylvania — which became the epicenter of the current abuse crisis in August when a grand jury accused some 300 Catholic priests of abusing more than 1,000 children over seven decades.

Read more here.

February 7, 2019 in Child Abuse, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, January 20, 2019

What 'Surviving R. Kelly' Tells Us About Race and Sexual Abuse

From The Washington Post:

For many who watched the six-part documentary “Surviving R. Kelly,” hearing directly from several women who described sexual abuse at the hands of the R&B star prompted a troubling question: Has Kelly remained popular and largely not faced criminal consequences because his accusers are black?

Rebecca Epstein, a researcher at Georgetown University, thinks so. She co-authored a 2017 study that found black girls are viewed by adults as more sexually mature than white girls in the same peer group. As a result, when black girls are victims of sexual assault, they are less likely to be believed by those who see them as older than they actually are.

“What our research indicates is that black girls face even greater skepticism by the figures that wield such authority over their lives than other victims of sexual violence,” said Epstein, executive director at the law school’s Center on Poverty and Inequality.

Read more here.

January 20, 2019 in Annulment, Child Abuse, Divorce (grounds), Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Jayme Closs Found Alive, Escapes Captor

From USA Today:

Nearly three months after her parents were shot dead in their Wisconsin home and a nationwide search began to locate the missing 13-year-old girl, Jayme Closs has been found alive

The girl described by friends as a "sweet and shy" middle schooler was found in a neighborhood in northwestern Wisconsin about an hour's drive from her home in Barron, Wisconsin. 

The girl described by friends as a "sweet and shy" middle schooler was found in a neighborhood in northwestern Wisconsin about an hour's drive from her home in Barron, Wisconsin. 

The Barron County Sheriff's Department said that 21-year-old suspect Jake Patterson was arrested Thursday in Jayme's disappearance. 

Read more here.

January 19, 2019 in Child Abuse, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, October 22, 2018

Catholic Church Sex Abuse in Pennsylvania

From Time.com:

The U.S. Justice Department has opened an investigation of child sexual abuse inside the Roman Catholic Church in Pennsylvania, using subpoenas to demand confidential files and testimony from church leaders, according to two people familiar with the probe.

The subpoenas, served last week, follow a scathing state grand jury report over the summer that found that 301 “predator priests” in Pennsylvania had molested more than 1,000 children over several decades and that church leaders had covered up for the offenders.

Now federal prosecutors are bringing the Justice Department’s resources to bear, according to two people who were not authorized to discuss the investigation publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

Read more here.

October 22, 2018 in Child Abuse, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Bill Cosby sentenced to 3 to 10 years in prison for 2004 Sexual assault

From CNN:

Bill Cosby, once known as "America's Dad," was sentenced Tuesday to three to 10 years in a state prison for drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand at his home 14 years ago.

Cosby's bail was revoked and he was escorted from the courthouse in handcuffs.
"This was a serious crime," Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, Judge Steven O'Neill said. "Mr. Cosby, this has all circled back to you. The day has come, the time has come."
 
Read more here

September 26, 2018 in Child Abuse, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Court rules chemical castration for convicted paedophile

From The Mirror:

A paedophile in Kazakhtan is set to be the first in the country to be chemically castrated.

It comes months after a new law was passed permitting the method as punishment for paedophilia.

The unnamed man from the Turkestan region is to undergo an injection supervised by the country’s health ministry, officials announced.

President of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, has allocated £20,500 for some 2,000 injections on men who commit child sex attacks this year.

Read more here

September 25, 2018 in Child Abuse, International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Oklahoma School Shuts Down After Parents Threaten Transgender 7th Grader

From Time:

A school district in southern Oklahoma was forced to shut down for two days after parents used a Facebook group to threaten violence against a transgender seventh-grade student.

Superintendent Rick Beene closed Achille Public Schools on Monday and Tuesday after parents posted claims on a Facebook group “Achille ISD Parents Group” that the student, who identifies as a girl, was looking over the stalls in the girls’ bathroom.

“Heads up parents of 5th through 7th grade,” parent Jamie Crenshaw said in a now-deleted post. “The transgender is already using the girls bathroom. We have been told how the school has gone above and beyond to make sure he has his own restroom yet he is still using the girls. REALLY… Looks like its going to be a long year.”

Read more here.

September 11, 2018 in Child Abuse, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Childhood Trauma Brings its Own Health Problems for Foster Families

From The Washington Post:

“Raise your hand if you think every child deserves a loving home,” the social worker said.

She held up a photo of five brothers and sisters, all teenagers.

I glanced around the room and tried to read the eyes of other potential foster-care parents at the information session. A dozen couples and a handful of singles ranging in age from late 20s to mid-50s sat in the conference room of a private nonprofit agency in Maryland that handles foster placements. Did they feel as uncertain as I did?

People often say they can’t be a foster parent because it would be too painful to grow close to a child only to say goodbye. But with more than 430,000 kids in foster care in the United States and a decline in the number of available beds in licensed foster homes, according to the Chronicle of Social Change, I wondered whether the real reason for the shortage of foster parents stems from the unspoken fear I harbored: concern about the health and behavioral challenges of kids who had experienced trauma.

Read more here.

September 4, 2018 in Adoption, Child Abuse | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, August 20, 2018

Vatican Expresses Shame and Sorrow Over PA Child Abuse Scandal

From the Guardian:

The Vatican has expressed “shame and sorrow” over the sexual abuse of at least 1,000 children by more than 300 Catholic priests in Pennsylvania, and has said Pope Francis is “on the side” of survivors.

In response to the publication on Tuesday of a detailed grand jury investigation into abuse in the state over a 70-year period, the pope’s spokesman issued a statement on Thursday saying “the Holy See condemns unequivocally the sexual abuse of minors”.

“There are two words that can express the feelings faced with these horrible crimes: shame and sorrow,” said the statement issued in the name of Greg Burke, the director of the Holy See press office.

“The abuses described in the report are criminal and morally reprehensible. Those acts were betrayals of trust that robbed survivors of their dignity and their faith. The church must learn hard lessons from its past, and there should be accountability for both abusers and those who permitted abuse to occur.”

Read more here.

August 20, 2018 in Child Abuse, Religion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Texas Opens Investigation of Child's Death After Leaving ICE Custody

From ABC News:

Texas state officials are investigating allegations that a child died after being detained in unsanitary conditions at an Immigration and Customs Enforcement family facility, the state's child welfare agency announced.

The incident was publicly reported earlier this month and drew the attention of the media and state legislators, but no case was opened because authorities did not know the identity of the child, officials said.

Texas Department of Family and Protective Services said it formally opened the investigation Thursday after receiving the name of the child.

Read more here.

August 18, 2018 in Child Abuse, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Reunited Migrant Families Share Experiences

From USA Today:

At a sparkling mid-century office building in the heart of Phoenix's financial district, an unusual scene continues to play out.

A van pulls up multiple times each day and out climb several pairs of parents and children, each clutching their belongings in duffel bags or clear plastics bags stamped with the words Department of Homeland Security on the side.

Their arrival at the office building marks the last agonizing chapter as well as the start of an uncertain future for hundreds of asylum-seeking families separated at the border and now being quietly reunited in Phoenix before a fast-approaching, court-ordered deadline. 

Read more here.

August 11, 2018 in Child Abuse, Current Affairs, International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

11-Year-Old Girl Raped By 17 Men in India

From ABC Channel 13 Eye Witness News:

There is shock in the city of Chennai in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu after 17 men were arrested for allegedly raping an 11-year-old-girl, CNN reports.

Anger at the accused was clear when a group of lawyers charged at them as they were exiting court.

The men, who range in age from their 20s to their 60s, could potentially face the death penalty. This is after the government rushed through an emergency law in April introducing capital punishment in rape cases involving minor girls under 12.

That measure was in response to growing public outrage at a string of sexual assaults involving minors.

Now the police say the girl in this latest case suffers from a hearing disability and she was attacked by men who worked in the building where she lives with her family.

Read more here.

July 25, 2018 in Child Abuse, International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Faith-Healing Couple Pleads Guilty to Negligent Homicide After Child Dies

From The Daily Beast:

Two members of an Oregon church that believes in faith healing pleaded guilty to negligent homicide this week in the death of their newborn daughter, who spent hours struggling to breath without ever receiving medical treatment.

Travis and Sarah Mitchell—who prayed over their dying child instead of seeking medical care—were sentenced to six years and eight months in prison on Monday, Clackamas County District Attorney John Foote said in a statement.

“We should have sought adequate medical care for our children and everyone in the church should always seek adequate medical care for our children,” the couple said in a statement.

Read more here.

July 24, 2018 in Child Abuse, Religion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, July 20, 2018

London Protests Against Trump for Women's Rights, Refugees, Climate Change

From Reuters:

With colorful banners, loud chants and pots and pans banging, tens of thousands of people marched through central London to protest U.S. President Donald Trump’s stance on climate change, refugee policies, and treatment of women.

Organizers estimated more than 80,000 people demonstrated in London against Trump’s first official visit to Britain as president, and other protests were expected in major cities around the country.

“Trump represents everything I hate: racism, bigot, misogynist, xenophobe. As a mother of daughters I want to show that he can’t treat women like he does,” said Diana Yates, 67, as demonstrators cheered and drivers honked horns in support.

Read more here.

July 20, 2018 in Abortion, Child Abuse, Current Affairs, International | Permalink | Comments (0)