Child Abuse Cases Tell Stories of Pain, Neglect

Article excerpt

Related Story: Child welfare workers get first-hand view of tragic situations

In the past year, Oklahomans have read about weekly arrests of adults accused of harming children.

Some are horrific - children being whipped, forced into sexual acts, scalded in unattended hot bath water, beaten and shaken to death.

Those are cases the public knows about because an arrest has been made.

"For every one of those you read about, there are hundreds of others suffering from abuse and neglect you never hear about," said attorney Barbara Sears, who represents children in deprived cases.

With about 30 referrals a day coming into the offices of Tulsa County's front-line child welfare workers, the media reports represent between 1 percent to 5 percent of cases, officials estimate.

Since March 1, the following are examples of the allegations in some of the abuse cases that have been published by the Tulsa World:

The Roach family

A 6-year-old boy came into a Tulsa hospital weighing less than 35 pounds and had extensive wounds to his head and forehead. The boy's stepfather, Jessie Denton Roach, was charged April 17 with child abuse by injury and two counts of child neglect. The boy's mother, Delores Roach, has been charged with two counts of child neglect. The couple also are accused of failing to provide medical care and proper nourishment and food. The boy and his two siblings are in protective custody.

Sexual assault alleged

A 4-year-old girl was allegedly sexually assaulted in Creek County by Tommy Braden, 24, who was charged with child sexual abuse on April 19. He called police to his mobile home April 6 to report a window had been broken and someone had assaulted the girl, police say. Braden was arrested four days later. He has pleaded not guilty.

Hot sauce incident

Two Creek Nation child-care providers were charged in April with child abuse after they allegedly put hot sauce on a toddler's plate of food and then laughed as the child screamed and cried after eating the meal, police say. Tracy Owens of Boley was charged with child abuse by injury, and Rosie Hicks faces two counts of child abuse by injury.

Infant and meth

A Skiatook mother was arrested after her 8-month-old baby was taken to the hospital with methamphetamine in her system. Amy Daugherty was arrested on suspicion of felony child endangerment and is in the Tulsa Jail.

'Severe and extensive' bruising

Dance studio teachers in Bartlesville reported concerns to police April 6 about a 10-year-old girl with bruises on her arm and a previous black eye. The girl's mother, Lashawn Renee Bollenbach, 49, was arrested that day and is charged with felony child abuse. A medical exam found "severe and extensive" bruising on both legs and buttocks, including wraparound bruises that appeared to have been made with a belt.

Dead toddler

A toddler was found dead in a car that had been stopped for erratic driving on March 25 in Tulsa. Zamontay Green, 19 months old, had been dead for hours and abused over a period of time, court records show. He had subdural hemorrhage, abdominal trauma, broken ribs, multiple bruises - including loop marks around his legs, indicating being whipped with a type of rope. Jazmin Williams and Mica Shoate, both 22, have been charged with child-abuse murder, permitting child abuse and child neglect. They were taking care of the boy while his mother was staying in Arkansas, records show. They have pleaded not guilty.

Marijuana, vomit, feces

Felicia Dawn Potter, 21, was charged with child neglect on March 19 on accusations that she exposed a 2-year-old girl in her care to unsafe and unsanitary living conditions. Court filings allege she exposed the child to "marijuana, human vomit, human feces, used tampons and/or rotting trash and food."

Cocaine addiction

A woman was charged with child neglect in Tulsa County after giving birth to a child addicted to cocaine. …