Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Depressingly common

The news reports about this case surely must have shocked a few people.  How on earth could a mother of twins, hire a babysitter, allow her to invite some friends over for the night, then leave town, but only after (allegedly) smoking some meth with one of the sitters, and (allegedly) providing a supply of alcohol and marijuana for the group?  All this resulted in a 12 year old guest dead the following morning.

I think the average person is left speechless over these allegations.  Not me.  After a few decades in this business, including a stint as the commanding officer of the Family Crimes Unit, as a member of the state Child Death Review Team, and as chair of the Nebraska Commission for the Protection of Children, I am no longer easily shocked.  The amount and extent of child abuse and neglect in this community sometimes seems staggering.  To maintain your sanity, a police officer must try mightily to put it in perspective and remember that it is still a very small percentage of families.

Still, it is incredibly disturbing.  One of the toughest things about being a police officer is learning and knowing things that you just wish you didn't have to learn and know about the mistreatment of children.  No doubt the same things is true in a few other professions: juvenile courts, child protective services, teaching and emergency medicine come immediately to mind.  So far in 2012, the Lincoln Police Department has investigated 956 reported cases of child abuse and neglect.  We're only five months into the year.

12 comments:

MRDRIVEDRUNK said...

Every day a diaper clad toddlar is wondering next to Holdredge street. Sometimes inches from vehicles that travel 35 MPH. Or the knee high tot wheeling a car tire (twice his size) down Vine street at 1600 hours rush time. Or the many six and seven somethings that ride into traffic and do not use the crossing light. Yes, many a parent are nothing more than baby production outlets for wandering dippers who need a place to practice being Johnny Appleseed. Sometimes I want to call animal controll on those parents, but, er, ah, that is some other department.

Steve said...

While there are some truly bad people out there doing these kinds of things, unfortuneately, much of it is due to ignorance or stupidity. I've seen parents put their kids in dangerous situations without a clue they were doing anything wrong far too many times. In addition, they apparently don't realize the examples they are setting through their own actions. All the laws and education in the world aren't going to make good citizens of our children if the parents don't make it a point to be good citizens themselves.

Anonymous said...

How many of those investigated child neglect/abuse cases actually turned out to be neglect or abuse?

How many of the reports were unfounded?

Anonymous said...

Years ago, starting at around 12 years old, I babysat for a woman in her 30s who would buy me cigarettes, alcohol, and ask me to have friends over,all while caring for her kids! Sometimes, she would smoke pot with me before she left. She thought it was OK once the kids were in bed.
I thought she was the coolest.
Now, as an adult with my own kids I realize she robbed me of part of my childhood and her own kids of the care they deserved. If there would have been an emergency, we would have all been in trouble. Thankfully, I never had people over because I was scared my (mean) parents would drive by to check up and see it. I've never fiured out how an adult could make such stupid choices with kids lives. Thank God for my mean parents.

Anonymous said...

While I agree that the numbers are over inflated due to the calls that come in like I had years ago that a 10 year old was climbing a tree and the caller thought it was unsafe. Ha, imagine that. Kids still climb trees but now it is child neglect.
Either way, I would rather have this over reported than under reported and have that one major case slip under the rug.

Steve said...

Hmmm? I wonder what those toddlars (sic) were wondering about as they stood next to the street (how to safely cross, since their parents didn't teach them?).

Anonymous said...

We have over 20,000 laws regulating our Second Amendment rights. How many laws are in place regulating who is allowed to reproduce? I am really surprised that the "Do Gooders" haven't jumped on this idea.

Gun Nut

Anonymous said...

Good Lord! I work in a high school and I can not believe how some of these kids have to live. Some have no homes, some have no physically-present parents, some have no mentally-present parents, some bad kids come out of good homes, and some good kids come out of horrendous conditions. I've come to believe that life is a crap-shoot for a large population of kids anymore. We all do what we can to help but I'm SO tired of people who take NO RESPONSIBILITY for anything they do, including making babies. The "It Takes a Village to Raise a Child" mentality, shouldn't mean to keep reproducing and let the world assume your responsibilities.

MRDRIVEDRUNK said...

May 22, 2012 8:42 PM: In response to this comment I have to say that our great president Obama is basing policy on the foundation that the working and responsible shall take care of the couch potatoes and loafers. Trickle down poverty and sharing what the rich have worked for are the featured menu items today. It is expected that parents who can not provide for their children that the tax from the wealthy will work just fine. Chopping pensions of police and fire and other life saving professionals are also listed as desert. Please vote this election, for the candidate that is most to help you.

The cheese stands alone said...

Frankly, I was very disappointed the Journal Star reported the details of the sexual assault on a child for the man charged. With a live victim they never would have done this. They should have stated the charge and that's it. No member of her family needs to see this in print.

Steve said...

Then we have the parents who put their infant baby in a washing machine at a laundromat. Will it never end?

Anonymous said...

How about the woman who sold her 7 and 14-yr olds to men? Or the guy who wants the government to help him pay chil support for over 30 kids he's fathered? Gotta say, we could at least stop these monsters from having more,even if it is locking the barn door too late.