New York: The New York Times has reported on a 13-year-old autistic boy, murdered at a care facility for people who are mentally disabled. The facility is the Oswald D. Heck Developmental Center, and young Jonathan Carey was asphyxiated to death. The employee responsible for the death was a former convict who was overworked at O.D. Heck at the time of the murder. He sat on the face-down boy for 15 minutes in an attempt to restrain a fit Carey was having. He was convicted of manslaughter.
In addition to the inexcusable events of Carey’s death, the O.D. Heck center and eight others like it in New York state have a history of hiring criminals, not using federal funding appropriately, and dismissing legitimate reports of client abuse. [A similar situation in England was documented in January.]
Illinois: Two teachers at a Christian school have been charged with sexually abusing students, according to the Chicago Tribune. As is common with child predators, these sibling perpetrators had vocational access to children, and used alcohol and grooming tactics (.pdf) to prepare their victims. The two are Nelson Quintana and Eliza Martinelli, and they are pastor’s children. She is married, and currently being held on $1.5 million bail. The abuse, which happened over a period ending in 2007, was revealed by the five victims. Whether the perpetrators used spiritual manipulation on their victims the story did not say. [For more information on spiritual abuse and child abuse in general, consult the National Child Protection Training Center newsletter – Volume 2 Issue 12.]
Iraq: Among the increasing number of U.S. Army suicides, the death of a mistreated Army Specialist is now being reported by the Stars and Stripes. Specialist Brushaun Anderson, 20, shot himself on January 1, 2010 in the midst of being hazed and abused by his superiors. Anderson began his military career enthusiastic and well-praised by his commanders. He had been enlisted for a year when his first deployment came up, to a remote base in Iraq. His attitude changed there, when he was singled out in unusual punishments and infractions. His suicide note revealed a tone of regret and disappointment in himself and in the Army. His abusers remain in Army leadership positions.
New York: The World Heath Organization and the World Bank have released a report, summarized by the Washington Post, on the global population of persons with disabilities. The report mainly links disabilities and disease with poverty and aging. I liked this quote by Etienne Krug, a Belgian physician at WHO: “Disability is an interaction between the impairment and the barriers put up by society and the environment.”
On a bit of a lighter note:
Georgia: A Catholic Archbishop in Atlanta wrote a letter addressing child sexual abuse within the Catholic church. According to him, the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People study has found sexual abuse in the Catholic church greatly declined. It’s good to see a stand being taken; however, just because clergy abuse “incidents” are down doesn’t mean that abuse isn’t happening. Less than one-third of child sexual abuse victims disclose, and of those only a percentage are reported (source).
Indiana: The Indianapolis Star covered a report made by the Indiana Department of Child Services, which found child abuse fatalities down in that state. In 2009 there were 38 child deaths resulting from abuse and neglect, down from 46 the previous year .