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Doctors Call for Ban on Infant Walkers

More than five babies per day are injured in infant walkers, according to a new study. Although this number has dropped a significant amount over the past three decades, researchers still say the number is far too high.

About the Infant Walker Injury Study

According to estimates based on data from the national Electronic Injury Surveillance System, there were 230,676 infant walker-related injuries between 1990 and 2014 that impacted children younger than 15 months.

However, there may be more infant-walker related injuries than recorded because the study only included injuries that were treated in hospital, said study coauthor Dr. Gary Smith, director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

“Baby walkers give quick mobility – up to four feet per second – to young children before they are developmentally ready,” Smith said in an email. “Baby walkers remain a serious and preventable source of injury to young children and should not be used. There are safer alternatives, such as stationary activity centers that spin, rock and bounce, but do not have wheels, and good old-fashioned belly time, where a child is placed on their belly on the floor and allowed to learn to gradually push themselves up, then crawl and eventually walk.”

According to the study published in Pediatrics, most injuries occurred while a child in a walker fell down stairs, injuring their head or neck.

Are Infant Walkers Safe?

Probably due to voluntary safety standards by manufacturers, the amount of injuries declined by 84.5% between 1990 and 2014. During the same period, injuries related to falling down stairs decreased by 91 percent. The number of walker-related injuries decreased again by 22.7 percent in 2010 when a mandatory federal safety standard was established.

However, 2,000 children were still injured in 2014.

The question is, why do parents still buy infant walkers?

“Many parents believe baby walkers offer their children entertainment, promote walking and providing a baby with an activity while the parents are busy doing something else,” Smith said. “Baby walkers do not promote walking skills. In fact, other studies have demonstrated that baby walkers can transiently delay mental and motor development.”

Ultimately, Smith said, “baby walkers provide no substantial benefit to children and pose significant injury risk. Because of the lack of benefits and the serious injuries that can result from the use of baby walkers, we support the American Academy of Pediatrics’ call for a ban on the manufacture, sale, and importation of baby walkers.”

Dr. Leticia Manning Ryan would also like to see a ban infant walkers.

“Although there have been efforts to reduce injuries, which have been successful in reducing some, we’re still seeing them,” said Ryan, who directs research in pediatric emergency medicine at Johns Hopkins University. “Given that the product offers no benefit and there are safer alternatives, I support the recommendation to ban the manufacture and sale of baby walkers.”

Children can zip around in these walkers, Ryan said. “Parents might not realize that until the moment they are trying to prevent a child from reaching the stairs or something else unsafe,” she said. “We actually still do see these injuries in pediatric emergency. The injuries can be quite serious. You sometimes see skull fractures.”

In fact, Smith said, “a previous study we conducted on baby walker-related injuries treated in the emergency department of Nationwide Children’s Hospital found that about one out of every ten injuries was a skull fracture. In addition, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reported that there were eight child deaths associated with baby walkers from 2004 to 2008.”

Has Your Child Been Injured by an Infant Walker?

If your child was injured by a defective or unsafe toy, contact Thomas J. Henry. Our child injury attorneys have represented children across the country who have been injured by toys that are dangerous and unfit to be around children. Parents should not have to fear for their child’s well-being and safety when playing with a toy. Manufacturers are tasked with providing safe toys and clear instructions.

Our firm has offices in Corpus ChristiSan Antonio, and Houston, serving clients across Texas and nationwide. Call us today if your child was hurt by an unsafe toy — our lawyers are available 24/7, nights and weekends to evaluate your claim and provide you with a free case review.

New Details Surface In Lafayette Diocese Sex Abuse Case

A civil lawsuit was filed by the family of a teenager who accused a Diocese of Lafayette priest of sexual assault, despite a church official’s threats to cut off counseling payments in the event of a lawsuit.

Details of the Sexual Assault Case

The alleged threat made by a church official is included one of the many new details that were released in the case, which originally surfaced in June. It began when the diocese made an announcement that they had received a complaint regarding Father Michael Guidry of St. Peter Catholic Church in Morrow. A week after the allegations were released, Guidry surrendered to the St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s Office and confessed to molesting a 16-year-old altar boy in 2015.

Another new detail includes Guidry allegedly “pushing” alcohol on the victim on multiple occasions. The victim later struggled with an alcohol addiction, which strained his relationship with his family. The victim’s brother apparently told him two months ago that he believed the drinking was a coping mechanism after something bad happening, which prompted the victim to tell him about his assault.

The diocese chose not to comment on the litigation when they made a statement to the media on Monday, including the alleged threat about the counseling payments.

The diocese statement to the media states, “From the beginning, pastoral outreach and counseling has been offered to the victim and his family. At the time of the complaint, there had been no previous claims of any abuse concerning Father Guidry during his 47 years as a priest.”

History of the Case

Guidry, 75, befriended the victim’s father, who is an ordained deacon, about 5 years prior to the assault. Guidry began hiring the victim to do some of his household chores, at which time he served the boy alcohol while he worked. The lawsuit claims it was at this time that Guidry “started hugging (the victim), rubbing his stomach and keeping his hand on (the victim’s) back.”

According to the lawsuit, their relationship transitioned into nighttime visits, during which time Guidry increased the amount of alcohol he served to the victim under the guise that it was “their secret”. One night in April of 2015, Guidry pushed the victim to drink “pure gin” as they watched a movie. The victim passed out as a result of the excessive amount of alcohol he had been served.

The victim was woken up to find Guidry sexually assaulting him. When he confronted Guidry the following day, the priest promised him that he would never do it again. However, Guidry continued to attempt contact with the victim through calls and text messages. The lawsuit alleges that the victim tried to brush Guidry off and eventually stopped going to church altogether.

The lawsuit details, “(The victim) was fearful of telling anyone what had happened to him and he began to drink heavily, causing deep concern with his parents and older brother. It got to the point that every time they confronted him about his alcohol problem (the victim) would get mad and leave, all of which caused a breach in the close and loving relationship he and his family had before (Guidry) came into their lives.”

The lawsuit has been filed in the 27th Judicial District Court and is seeking unspecified damages.

Guidry was arrested in June on counts of molestation of a juvenile as well as contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile, and was placed on administrative leave, according to the diocese.

The allegations against Guidry coincide with information that one of priests incriminated in the Pennsylvania grand jury report on sexual abuse among several diocese also served in the Lafayette diocese. Father John Bostwick was transferred to the diocese in 1992, after he refused to get counseling. He transferred after the alleged abuse, but the reason for recommending him to counseling is unclear.

Bostwick, who came to Lafayette at the invitation of then-Bishop Harry Flynn, was immediately removed by Flynn’s successor in 1996 when the allegations surfaced, according to the diocese.

Contact an Experienced Child Abuse Attorney

If you believe that your child has been the victim of sexual abuse, contact Thomas J. Henry. For over two decades, Thomas J. Henry has been an advocate for sexually abused children across the state of Texas. Our experienced child injury lawyers are available 24/7, nights and weekends to take your call. Contact us today for a free legal consultation.

Daycare Worker Accused of Slamming Child into Wall Faces Judge

In South Windsor, Connecticut, a daycare worker facing child abuse charges related to babies between the ages of 12- and 18-months of age.

Details of the Windsor Daycare Abuse Charges

According to WFSB, 25-year-old Ashley Swietek faces three felony risk of injury to a minor charges for abuse allegations at Mother Goose Children’s Center in South Windsor. The arrest warrant says the three victims were only 1 to 1-and-a-half years old and abused under Swietek’s care between 2016 and 2018.

The documents say Swietek threw one victim into a wall resulting in “his head snapping backward and slamming into the wall.” A teacher also reported Swietek forcefully restraining a 27-pound child, and later that day the child’s mom reported noticing “unexplained bruising on his lower back.

The owner of the daycare and two others were arrested for failing to report the alleged abuse. Mother Goose Children’s Center had no comment on Thursday. Swietek will be back in court next month.

Daycare Abuse Statistics

According to the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System, more than 3.5 million reports from CPS agencies were received in 2013 alone.

  1. The majority of these reports dealt with neglect, followed by physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, and medical neglect trailing closely behind.
  2. In 2016, the Department of Health and Human Services reported 1,700 fatalities resulting from child maltreatment, marking a 7 percent increase from the 1,589 reported fatalities in 2015.
  3. A 2005 report states that 47.3 percent of all abused kids were male, while 50.7 percent were female.
  4. The age group most likely to be abused is children between the birth and 3 years of age.
  5. The same report states that 49.7 percent of all child abuse victims were white, 23.1 percent were African-American, and 17.4 percent were Hispanic. American Indians accounted for 1.2 percent of abused children, while Asian-Pacific Islanders accounted for less than 1 percent of victims.

Contact an Experienced Child Injury Attorney

If your child has been injured after an accident or abuse at a daycare center, contact Thomas J. Henry. Parents put their trust in the staff of a daycare facility to keep their children safe and out of harm’s way. It is unacceptable for a child to be subjected to abuse or an unsafe premises while in their care. If your child was seriously injured due to the negligence or abusive actions of daycare staff, call our experienced child injury attorneys today. Thomas J. Henry has the legal and financial resources necessary to develop your child’s case properly. Call for a free case review.

Report: Widespread Sexual Abuse by 300 Pennsylvania Priests; Victims Number “in the Thousands”

A grand jury investigation into sexual abuse by Pennsylvania clergy members was released in an interim redacted form on Tuesday, revealing decades of mass sexual child abuse and cover-ups by six of Pennsylvania’s eight Roman Catholic dioceses.

Reports Implicates 300 “Predator Priests” in Pennsylvania Alone

According to NPR, the report is approximately 900 pages long, not including exhibits, and is considered to be the most comprehensive report of its kind. In the report, the grand jury details “criminal and/or morally reprehensible conduct” by roughly 300 “predator priests” across the state of Pennsylvania.

Additionally, the report reveals cover-ups by the dioceses of Scranton, Allentown, Harrisburg, Greensburg, Erie, and Pittsburgh.

The grand jury reviewed a half-million pages of internal church documents and “secret archives” which it says were readily available to bishops. A review of the documents found credible allegations by more than 1,000 victims; however, the grand jury suggests the real number of victims “is in the thousands.”

The grand jury said the abuse occurred in hundreds of parishes in 54 of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties with allegations dating back at least 80 years. It also cited a pattern of cover-ups, including shoddy investigating by fellow clergy members and bishops often siding with priests over the victims.

Abusive priests were often shuffled around to protect them from repercussions and their actions often went unreported to the church officials overseeing the churches where the priests were moved.

Victim Accounts Paint Horrifying Picture of Repeated Abuse

One of the cases details the actions of a priest in the Diocese of Harrisburg who abused five sisters in a single family. Another priest, in the Diocese of Greensburg, married a 17-year-old girl he impregnated only to divorce her a month later.

In a third instance, a priest in the Diocese of Erie admitted to assaulting more than a dozen young boys. Despite this, the priest was later thanked by his bishop for “all that you have done for God’s people.”

The report also named Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the archbishop of Washington, D.C., as contributing to the pattern of cover-ups. Wuerl served as the bishop of Pittsburgh from 1988 through 2006 and allegedly was one of those who moved priests to new locations when allegations of abuse arose while also failing to report the instances of abuse.

In a letter released on Monday, however, Wuerl claimed he acted to protect children after learning of the abuse, saying he imposed a “zero tolerance” policy for clergy sex abuse.

What’s to Follow the Clergy Abuse Report?

In the report, the grand jury recommended eliminating the statute of limitation for child sexual abuse victims and called for a “civil window” law that would give victims a two-year period to retroactively file civil charges.

Currently, any victim of sexual abuse in Pennsylvania who turned 18 before August 27, 2002 is barred from filing criminal charges. Child victims also only have until their 30th birthday to file civil charges, regardless of when the sexual abuse occurred.

As for those implicated in the grand jury’s report, it is likely that long legal battles will follow, both in criminal and civil courts.

Reporting Suspicion of Sexual Child Abuse

Time is of the essence when reporting and prosecuting child sex abusers. The quicker you report abuse, the quicker it stops. In addition, depending on what state you live in, there are deadlines for filing a lawsuit in an abuse case – also known as statute of limitations. Here are some reasons why you shouldn’t wait another day to come forward:

  • You can stop the abuse now.
  • You can achieve closure (an opportunity for recovery and healing).
  • You have a responsibility to make the public/community aware of the perpetrator and keep this abuse from happening to someone else.
  • Depending on where you live and your role in the child’s life, it may be required by law to report the suspicion of abuse.
  • To hold perpetrators, and those who could have prevented the crime(s), accountable for their actions.
  • You can secure compensation for damages, money spent on therapy, etc.

Contact an Experienced Child Abuse Attorney

If you or your child were the victim of sexual abuse, contact Thomas J. Henry. For over two decades, Thomas J. Henry has been an advocate for sexually abused children across the state of Texas. Our experienced child injury lawyers are available 24/7, nights and weekends to take your call. Contact us today for a free legal consultation.

CPSC Urges Action as Lane and Virginia Maid Chests Linked to 14 Deaths

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is urging consumers to “immediately replace or remove” latches and locks on recalled Lane and Virginia Maid cedar chests. The chests have been linked to the deaths of at least 14 children.

Million of Dangerous Chests Remain Unfixed

According to a release, the CPSC originally recalled 12 million cedar chests manufactured by Lane and Virginia Maid in 1996 after noting that the automatically locking latches pose an entrapment and suffocation hazard to children. However, millions of these dangerous products remain unfixed.

Federal authorities state that between 1977 and 2015, 14 children have suffocated to death after becoming locked in the recalled chests. However, because the chests were initially manufactured in 1912, it is likely that additional deaths remain unrecorded.

The Lane Company and brand were recently acquired by United Furniture Industries, Inc. who is now distributing free replacement latches and locks to affected consumers.

Until a replace lock and latch is received, consumers should remove old style latches to eliminate the hazard.

Consumers should remember that in many cases, these recalled chests are handed down or purchased second-hand.

Child Choking, Suffocation, and Strangulation Statistics

The following statistics are provided by SafeKids USA:

  • In 2013, 1,268 children under the age of 19 died from airway obstruction injuries and suffocation.
  • Sadly, 77% of children who suffocated were under 12 months old and 60% were boys.
  • 819 children under the age of 1 died from accidental suffocation and strangulation in bed and 155 died from choking on food or foreign objects.
  • Cribs and playpens are responsible for 20% of all nursery product-related injuries among children ages 5 and under.
  • An additional 24,000 children are treated in hospital emergency rooms for nonfatal suffocation or inhalation annually.
  • Button batteries are particularly dangerous because when they gets stuck in a child’s throat, saliva triggers an electrical current
    that causes a chemical reaction resulting in burns to the esophagus.

Contact an Experienced Child Injury Attorney

If your child sustained a choking or strangulation injury due to someone else’s negligence or due to a defective or dangerous product, contact Thomas J. Henry. Thousands of children are injured each year after being choked or strangled by a defective product, unsafe toy, or due to the negligence of daycare or school staff. Let us help you and your child get justice and the compensation you deserve. Call our experienced child choking hazard attorneys today for a free case review.

Church Finds One Instance of Alleged Assault During Daycare Investigation

 

A Chesapeake, Virginia daycare is under investigation following alleged reports of child abuse.

Details of the Chesapeake Daycare Abuse

According to WAVY, the investigation into the alleged abuse began on June 12, after the Chesapeake Department of Human Services informed Deep Creek United Methodist Church of “allegations of inappropriate discipline of children by staff members,” according to a letter sent by parents.

The letter did not go into detail about the allegations, but it did note that the staff members involved were put on administrative leave.

The church’s head Trustee, Tom Ambrose, stated in an interview that the church is cooperating with DHS and that it conducted an internal investigation. Their investigation found one instance of physical abuse of a child by a staff member. The incident involved an employee “touching a child’s neck,” and was reported to DHS immediately.

However, parents have been saying that they believe the problem runs deeper than what the church is presenting to the public.

Parents Recount Suspected Instances of Abuse

Sara Jacobs said that on June 11 her husband went to pick up their 2-year-old son from the daycare. When he arrived, the child was shirtless and had a mark on his back. Jacobs’ husband confronted a teacher who told him that she grabbed the toddler by the wrist and drug him out from under a desk because he wasn’t listening.

Jacobs reported the incident to DHS the day before they began their investigation and they reported the incident to the police on Wednesday.

The Chesapeake police confirmed they are investigating two allegations stemming from the daycare center — one involving a student being drug from under a desk by a church employee. The other was referred to police by DHS and involves alleged abuse between two juveniles.

Another mother, Ashley Tucker, says she withdrew her toddler from the daycare on Monday, adding that she’s been told stories that terrify her by four different former employees. Another parent, who chose to remain anonymous, stated that he took both of his sons from the church’s childcare center more than a year ago after he became concerned about the way staff disciplined the children.

He told interviewers about an incident where a student bit his toddler-aged son, school administrators used Tabasco sauce as a form of discipline, with the parent’s permission.

As a result of this allegation, the interviewers independently confirmed that Tabasco sauce was used regularly by the school to discipline children who bit.

Daycare Abuse Facts and Statistics

Child abuse in America takes on many forms, and the statistics tell a very unsettling story. There are thousands of daycare centers in the country that are licensed to care for children. That being said, some of these facilities harbor abusers who have easy access to our children, giving them the opportunity to carry out heinous acts of child abuse.

Data from 2006 (gathered from a collection of 39 states) showed that 5,321 daycare providers were found to be abusing and neglecting children in their care.

It’s estimated that boys and girls are equally likely to be victims of child abuse. A 2005 report states that 47.3 percent of all abused kids were male, while 50.7 percent were female. The age group most likely to be abused is children between the birth and 3 years of age.

The same report states that 49.7 percent of all child abuse victims were white, 23.1 percent were African-American, and 17.4 percent were Hispanic. American Indians accounted for 1.2 percent of abused children, while Asian-Pacific Islanders accounted for less than 1 percent of victims.

Contact an Experience Daycare Abuse Attorney

If your child has been injured after an accident or abuse at a daycare center, contact Thomas J. Henry. Parents put their trust in the staff of a daycare facility to keep their children safe and out of harm’s way. It is unacceptable for a child to be subjected to abuse or an unsafe premises while in their care. If your child was seriously injured due to the negligence or abusive actions of daycare staff, call our experienced child injury attorneys today. Thomas J. Henry has the legal and financial resources necessary to develop your child’s case properly. Call for a free case review.

Texas Deputy Arrested for Sexual Abuse of Undocumented 4-Year-Old Girl

An off-duty Bexar County Sheriff’s Department deputy has been arrested on a felony charge of sexual assault of a child. The deputy is accused of using the mothers status as an undocumented immigrant to cover for his crimes.

Mother of Abused Child Feared Deportation

According to CBS News, Jose Nunez, 47, who is a detention deputy, has been with the department for 10 years. The sheriff, Javier Salazar, states that the victim’s mother is an undocumented immigrant, and the suspect took advantage of that, due to the mother’s fear of deportation.

Nunez, is being charged with super aggravated assault. This is a charge that is applied when the victim is under the age of six. Salazar says the victim, who is four, cried out to her mother on Saturday. He stated that the mother had decided to report the abuse to a local fire station.

After this occurred, investigators quickly arrested Nunez, at about 3:00 am Sunday. Investigators believe that the abuse could possibly go back months or years. Nunez has been placed on administrative leave, pending an investigation. Internal affairs will also be conducting a separate case. Salazar also stated that “When one person or persons individually demonstrate like they did in this case that they’re not worthy to be part of this agency, then we’re going to, quite frankly, get them out of here. Cut them out like cancer.”

Javier Salazar said he encourages undocumented immigrants to continue to report crimes. He said there could be more victims in Nunez’s case.

What to Do if You Suspect a Child Is Being Abused?

Child sexual abuse is a crime that often goes undetected. You have the power to make a positive difference in a child’s life. Here are some tips to follow if you suspect a child is being abused:

  • Recognize the signs, both physical and behavioral:
    • Behavioral signs: Shrinking away from or seeming threatened by physical contact, regressive behaviors like thumb sucking, changing hygiene routines such as refusing to bathe or bathing excessively, age-inappropriate sexual behaviors, sleep disturbances, or nightmares
    • Physical signs: Bruising or swelling near the genital area, blood on sheets or undergarments, or broken bones
    • Verbal cues: Using words or phrases that are “too adult” for their age, unexplained silence, or suddenly being less talkative
  • Talk to the child:
    • Choose a safe space away from the person you may suspect of causing the abuse. Speak to the child in a casual, non-threatening tone to keep the child at ease. Talk to the child directly, using words that the child will understand. Avoid judgmental statements and questions and avoid blaming the child. Be reassuring to the child and let them know that you are concerned for them.
  • Report it to authorities:
    • Before reporting, tell the child you are going to talk to someone else who can help. Make sure the child is in a safe place, and if you are concerned about the child’s safety, be sure to let the authorities know. If you are not concerned that the parents are the ones causing harm, consult with them prior to reporting to authorities.

Contact an Experienced Child Abuse Attorney

If you believe that your child has been the victim of sexual abuse, contact Thomas J. Henry. For over two decades, Thomas J. Henry has been an advocate for sexually abused children across the state of Texas. Our experienced child injury lawyers are available 24/7, nights and weekends to take your call. Contact us today for a free legal consultation.

 

5-Month-Old Girl Mauled by Babysitter’s Dog

A family in Georgia is in morning after their babysitter’s dog killed their five-month-old daughter. Clayton County Police Sgt. Ashanti Marbury stated that the dog, a German Shepard, mauled the little girl Tuesday at a home in Forest Park, Georgia.

Details of the Fatal Dog Attack

According to ABC News, the babysitter, a longtime friend of the baby’s family, told police that he put the baby down to sleep and then fell asleep in another room. Around 3 o’clock Wednesday morning, someone reported the little girl had been killed by the dog.

According to the family of the child, the dog had been around the baby since she was born. 

The police stated that no charges have been filed; however, the dog was euthanized

Statistics on Dog Attacks and Bites

Each day in the United States, there are approximately 1,000 people that require emergency treatment for injuries related to dog bites and attacks. Data compiled from government agencies, insurance companies, and NGOs show:

  • Approximately 4.5 million dog bites occur each year.
    • Approximately 300,000 emergency room visits each year involve a dog bite.
    • Approximately 9,500 extended hospital stays each year are attributed to dog bites.
  • Children and men are the most at risk to suffer a dog bite.
  • Dog bites are one of the most common causes of injury for walking postal workers.
  • Biting dogs are 6.2 times more likely to be male, 2.6 times more likely to not be neutered, and 2.8 times more likely to be chained.
  • According to the CDC, over half of dog bite injuries occur at home with familiar dogs.
  • Adults with two or more dogs living at home are 500% more likely to suffer a dog bite injury than those living without dogs.
  • According to the CDC, approximately 18% of all dog bites become infected.

Contact an Experienced Dog Bite Attorney

If you or your child are a victim of dog bites, you may be entitled to compensation for your physical, emotional, and mental pain and suffering. Negligent property owners and dog owners could owe you damages. Our experienced personal injury attorneys are available 24/7 to hear your case. If you were injured by a dog, contact Thomas J. Henry for a free case review.

Sexual Abuse Lawsuit Against Oklahoma School Allowed to Continue

 

A federal judge has refused to dismiss a lawsuit alleging that officials at an Oklahoma school did nothing to stop sexual attacks against a middle school student.

About the Oklahoma Sexual Assault Ruling

Monday’s ruling allows the lawsuit against Washington Public Schools to continue forward. The judge, Stephen Friot, did, however, remove from the lawsuit school Superintendent A.J. Brewer and Principal Stuart McPherson in their official capacities.

According to the Seattle Times, the attorney for the school and the two officials did not immediately return a phone call for comment.

The suit alleges that school officials did nothing to stop the attacks against a student, 11 at the time the abuse began, during an eighteen month period that began with shoving and escalated into sexual assault.

What to Do If You Suspect a Child is Being Sexually Abused?

Child sexual abuse is a crime that often goes undetected. You have the power to make a positive difference in a child’s life. Here are some tips to follow if you suspect a child is being abused:

  1. Recognize the signs, both physical and behavioral:
    • Behavioral signs: Shrinking away from or seeming threatened by physical contact, regressive behaviors like thumb sucking, changing hygiene routines such as refusing to bathe or bathing excessively, age-inappropriate sexual behaviors, sleep disturbances, or nightmares
    • Physical signs: Bruising or swelling near the genital area, blood on sheets or undergarments, or broken bones
    • Verbal cues: Using words or phrases that are “too adult” for their age, unexplained silence, or suddenly being less talkative
  2. Talk to the child:
    • Choose a safe space away from the person you may suspect of causing the abuse. Speak to the child in a casual, non-threatening tone to keep the child at ease. Talk to the child directly, using words that the child will understand. Avoid judgmental statements and questions and avoid blaming the child. Be reassuring to the child and let them know that you are concerned for them.
  3. Report it to authorities:
    • Before reporting, tell the child you are going to talk to someone else who can help. Make sure the child is in a safe place, and if you are concerned about the child’s safety, be sure to let the authorities know. If you are not concerned that the parents are the ones causing harm, consult with them prior to reporting to authorities.

Contact an Experienced Child Abuse Attorney

If you believe that your child has been the victim of sexual abuse, contact Thomas J. Henry. For over two decades, Thomas J. Henry has been an advocate for sexually abused children across the state of Texas. Our experienced child injury lawyers are available 24/7, nights and weekends to take your call. Contact us today for a free legal consultation.

Sexual Abuse Lawsuit Filed Against Boy Scouts Chapter in Arkansas

A man is suing the central Arkansas chapter of the Boy Scouts of America on the claims of sexual abuse and negligence.

Details of the Lawsuit and Alleged Sexual Abuse

In a lawsuit filed on Wednesday, a man accused a leader of Boy Scouts Troop 16 and Webelos Unit 13 in Hot Springs of sexually abusing him on eight different occasions between 1979 and 1980. The plaintiff was between the ages of 10 and 12 at the time of the abuse.

The scout leader at the time of the abuse, who was in his mid-40s, was not listed as the defendant in the lawsuit.

However, the Quapaw Area Council, which oversees the entire region of Boy Scout groups, is listed as the defendant in the lawsuit. The lawsuit accuses the council of allowing the scout leader to volunteer even though they knew he had been accused of sexually abusing another young boy in Georgia.

After learning that the scout leader had sexually abused the plaintiff, the Quapaw Area Council had allegedly covered up the abuse by telling the plaintiff to not tell his family and by “facilitating and encouraging the payment of a severance for [the scout leader] to help ensure that information about his abuse of boys was kept secret,” the lawsuit states.

According to the lawsuit, the council did not report the abuse to law enforcement. The lawsuit also says that the purported abuse in Hot Springs is part of a systemic problem in the Boy Scouts of America. The organization has “aggressively marketed the wholesomeness and safety of its programs” but concealed “certain knowledge that pedophiles had been infiltrating [Boy Scouts groups] in large numbers for many years,” the lawsuit says.

The plaintiff has accused the council of negligence and fraudulent concealment. He has requested a jury trial and is seeking compensatory damages for years of “emotional distress and mental anguish.”

What Do I Do If I Suspect a Child Is Being Abused?

Child sexual abuse is a crime that often goes undetected. You have the power to make an enormous, positive difference in a child’s life. Here are steps to take if you think a child is a victim of sexual abuse:

  1. Recognize the signs, both physical and behavioral (see the list above)
  2. Talk to the child
    • Choose a safe space away from the person you may suspect of causing the abuse.
    • Speak to the child in a casual, non-threatening tone to keep the child at ease.
    • Talk to the child directly, using words that the child will understand.
    • Avoid judgmental statements and questions and avoid blaming the child.
    • Be reassuring to the child and let them know that you are concerned for them.
  3. Report it to authorities
    • Before reporting, tell the child you are going to talk to someone else who can help.
    • Make sure the child is in a safe place, and if you are concerned about the child’s safety, be sure to let the authorities know.
    • If you are not concerned that the parents are the ones causing harm, consult with them prior to reporting to authorities.

Suing Child Molesters in Civil Court

As is the case with many crimes, those responsible for child sex abuse can be tried in both criminal and civil court. In criminal court, they may be sentenced to jail time, prison time, or probation. In civil court, they can be sued for damages caused by their actions. Damages for sexual abuse cases may include:

  • Personal injury
  • Lost income and other financial losses
  • Past and future trauma and emotional distress
  • Past and future medical, counseling, and psychiatric bills
  • False imprisonment
  • Assault and battery
  • Exploitation
  • Loss of consortium
  • Punitive damages

Contact an Experienced Child Injury Attorney

If you believe that your child has been the victim of sexual abuse, contact Thomas J. Henry. For over two decades, Thomas J. Henry has been an advocate for sexually abused children across the state of Texas. Our experienced child injury lawyers are available 24/7, nights and weekends to take your call. Contact us today for a free legal consultation.

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