Some recent media articles and resources relating to child abuse and neglect. If you have items that you think would be helpful to include in this occasional post, please forward them to me at the email in my signature block.
These stories were chosen because of their perceived relevance to the child welfare community. MiPSAC is not responsible for the views expressed in any of these articles, nor does it take a position for or against the positions expressed in the articles. They are presented merely to provide a sampling of what the media is saying about child welfare.
Charlie Enright, JD, MSW
4907 Foster Rd.
Midland, MI 48642
This and previous posts can be found at: http://www.mipsac.org/category/can-articles
RECENT MEDIA ARTICLES
Detroit Jesuit Priest Arrested On Sex Assault Charges
Nov 22, DETROIT (WWJ/AP)
A Jesuit Priest who taught chemistry at the University of Detroit High School, has been arrested on charges of sexually assaulting a minor. Rev. Richard James Kurtz was arrested on Nov 21st in Chicago on allegations that he sexually assaulted a minor 10 years ago in Colorado. Authorities allege that the 2001 assault happened in Douglas County, south of Denver. At the time, Kurtz was teaching in Detroit. The investigation began after the Society of Jesus Chicago-Detroit Province notified the sheriff’s office in June, 2011 about the alleged assault. An arrest warrant was issued Friday. The province said in a written statement Monday that in 2001, when a report of misconduct first surfaced, it reported the allegation to authorities in Michigan. The province also has a policy under which it reports abuse allegations to authorities in the place where the conduct is said to have occurred. The province said it has been cooperating with Colorado authorities since April. It wasn’t immediately clear why the report was only made this year. Kurtz was removed from public ministry soon after the initial allegation was received, the province said. The Jesuits said Kurtz’s activities have been restricted since then. It didn’t say where Kurtz was working at the time of his arrest. The case has been turned over to prosecutors who will decide whether to charge Kurtz. Link to Article
Former Minister Admits to Sexually Assaulting 12-year-old Boy
Nov 21, WNEM:
Matthew Jordan, 51, a former minister at Center Road Church of Christ in Saginaw Twp pleaded guilty to sexually molesting a 12-year-old boy. During the abuse, Jordan was serving as minister. Court documents say FBI agents raided Jordan’s home and confiscated cameras and computers. Those documents also say that Jordan recorded himself sexually assaulting the victim. This case isn’t the first time Jordan has been convicted of sex crimes. Back in 1987 he was convicted in Tennessee of assault with intent to commit rape of a minor. Jordan is scheduled to be sentenced in a U.S. District Court in Bay City on Dec. 1. Link to Article
Kildee Says He Never Had a Close Relationship With Accusing Relative
Nov 21, Flint Journal:
U.S. Rep. Dale Kildee’s second cousin has claimed he was sexually assaulted by the congressman 50 years ago, according to a Washington Times story. But the Flint Democrat, who has said he never sexually assaulted his relative, said he also rarely saw his second-cousin’s family. Link to Flint Journal Article
Snyder to Sign Law to Nudge Foster Kids to College
Nov 21, Michigan Public Radio Network:
Governor Rick Snyder is to sign a law Tuesday that will provide some continued state assistance for college students who grew up in the foster care system. Hundreds of kids in foster care “age out” every year when they turn 18. They lose their housing subsidy and medical coverage. Jack Kresnak of the advocacy group Michigan’s Children says that has held back many former foster kids making the difficult transition to adulthood. “This will help the foster kids (who we all have a legal and a moral responsibility for) actually make it in life and I actually think we’re going to see a lot more positive outcomes because of this law,” he says. Kresnak says he would like the law to be changed in the future to let foster kids who do not opt for college but later change their minds qualify for assistance. He says colleges can also do more to help former foster children succeed. He cites Western Michigan University’s residential program as one that’s kept a lot of former foster kids from dropping out.
In Wake of Penn State Scandal, Muskegon Nonprofit Teaches Parents How to Keep Kids Safe:
Nov 18, Muskegon Chronicle:
The child abuse scandal at Penn State has prompted questions about how a coach allegedly molested children for years without anyone reporting it. In Muskegon, those who work with abused children hope the scandal provides a “teachable moment” for parents about how to keep kids safe. Many abusers “groom” a child and family before committing abuse. That includes winning a family’s trust and convincing the child they have a special relationship, possibly by presenting gifts or cultivating a “shared interest.” Often, they choose children who are lonely or lack strong parental relationships. Link to Article
Flint Father to Stand Trial in Toddler Daughter’s Death
Nov 16, FLINT (WJRT):
A Flint man facing murder, child abuse and torture charges in the death of his toddler daughter, has been bound over to circuit court for trial. The toddler’s father, Donovan Haynes, is charged. His attorney, objected to the bind-over Wednesday morning because he says the prosecutor’s witnesses did not show who, if anybody, caused the injuries to the child. The standards of proof for child protection trials (civil) and criminal prosecutions are quite different. Link to Article
Prosecuting Child Sexual Abuse is Not Simple
Nov 16, Morning Sun:
“It depends on the age (of the child) first and foremost, and it depends on the (accuser’s position). Are they in a position of authority over the child or are they now? That makes a difference,” Mt. Pleasant police officer Jeff Browne said. “There are four categories (of criminal sexual conduct): first, second, third and fourth,” Browne said. “Second and fourth are touching, and first and third are any time you’re talking about penetration.” Link to Article
Comparing and Contrasting Sex-Abuse Cases in Kalamazoo and Happy Valley
Nov 16, Kalamazoo Gazette:
Like Sandusky, Terrence Bell was a popular football coach. Like Sandusky, he was a trusted member of an educational institution and had unfettered access to its facilities. Like the allegations against Sandusky, Bell appeared to exploit his position to foster a sexual relationship with a minor. In Kalamazoo, when the 17-year-old victim disclosed the sexual relationship to her family this past April, they went promptly to police, who promptly investigated. Before Bell was even charged, he was put on leave by Kalamazoo Public Schools. Within six months of authorities’ first hearing about the accusation, Bell was convicted. Link to Article
Day to Honor Families
Nov 15, The Alpena News:
Thousands of foster care children across the United States are set to have their adoptions finalized on Fri, Nov 18th, in conjunction with National Adoption Day, and Alpena County Circuit Court will join the celebration with festivities of its own. Link to Article
Should Babies Co-Sleep With Their Parents?
Nov 10, NPR Blog Post:
Co-sleeping is back in the news. It’s understandable that public-health officials want to do everything they can to reduce infant mortality. When a doctor’s advice is a stark pronouncement that a baby “should sleep alone in a crib by themselves.” However, in a wish for greater clarity and context, the stakes are high and solid, scientific evidence suggests that certain patterns of co-sleeping are beneficial for babies and their parents. Link to Article
Many Infants At Risk In Unsafe Sleep Settings, Poll Shows
Nov 8, U of M Health.org, Ann Arbor:
Most parents are aware of the national Back To Sleep message, but many parents still place infants in unsafe sleep settings. The study found that 89 percent of parents believe that placing an infant on his back in a crib is a safe sleep position. That’s the recommended position. However, 40 percent of parents believe that it is safe for an infant to sleep in the same bed as another person, which is not recommended. A similar proportion of parents – 40 percent – report that they “often” or “sometimes” have fallen asleep with their infants.
Tips for parents and other family members about infant sleep safety:
- Babies should always sleep in their own space, in a crib or bassinette with a firm mattress and tight fitting sheet.
- There should be nothing in a baby’s sleep space, other than the baby with a thin blanket or sleep sack.
- Caregivers should not fall asleep while holding their babies.
‘SNL’s’ Darrell Hammond Reveals Cutting, Abuse
Nov 7, NPR: In 14 years on Saturday Night Live,
Darrell Hammond did many impressions, including Bill Clinton, Al Gore and Sean Connery. Few of his cast members knew that Hammond struggled with drugs, alcohol and self-cutting as the result of childhood abuse. Link to Broadcast/Article
MICHIGAN APPELLATE COURT CASES
Court: Michigan Court of Appeals (Unpublished)
Case Name: In re Fowler
The trial court properly terminated the respondent-father’s parental rights to the minor children. Appellant and his wife are the parents of four children. His and the mother’s rights were terminated. The mother did not appeal. Respondent has been unavailable to parent since 2004 because he has been serving a prison sentence of 20 to 40 years for a conviction of CSC I. There was no evidence that appellant made alternative plans for the children’s care when their mother’s inability to care for them became apparent. Due to his lengthy prison sentence, respondent will not be available to provide care and custody until 2023 at the earliest, by which time the youngest child will be 20 years old. Appellant argued that the termination should be reversed because he was not offered appropriate services to reunify even though he is incarcerated. He cited In re Mason, an appellate case where a termination was reversed for failure to provide reunification services to an incarcerated parent. The court of Appeals found contrary to his contentions, that the case was distinguishable from Mason, in which the incarcerated father was due to be released in a few months and had participated in services to ready himself for reunification. Decision to terminate affirmed. Link to Opinion (pdf)