Friday, July 21, 2017

Prosecuting Domestic Violence against children: Two recent Lebanon Indiana cases

Domestic Violence is a crime that falls into a special class based upon an uncommon dynamic between the perpetrator and target. Similarly, there are criminal or ethical violations which receive special consequences when the relationship is between a medical provider and patient or school teacher and student. This is because offenses within the confines of these relationships are a breach of trust and the parties have accepted responsibility of the relationship roles.

When a perpetrator targets or uses his or her child in a violent manner to achieve the ends of a Domestic Violence agenda then that crime should be dealt with in the harshest manner. Two Domestic Violence cases which occurred in Lebanon, Indiana in this month exemplify this point.

On 17 July 2017 Fox 59 News reported that a Lebanon man is facing two felony counts of domestic battery for allegedly striking his wife and son.

The wife complained that on 10 July her husband struck the boy twice with a charging cord to an electronic device and then began hitting and kicking her when she intervened to protect the child. She said that this was the most recent event of her husband's physical abuse toward her and their son which has been ongoing for multiple years.

This incident was apparently prompted by the child, who is age 3, wanting to play with his tablet which was not charged. The boy was told that he couldn't because it was being charged. That is when he expressed his impatience by getting upset and pulling the charging cord from a wall.

This apparently enraged the husband who, according to court documents, “became angry and took the charger from (the boy’s) hands and then struck (the boy) twice,” as if it were a whip. He then directed his attack toward the wife by hitting and kicking her.

The wife indicated that she never contacted police because her husband threatened to take the child and leave for Mexico, and she would never see him again.

You likely didn't hear the story of a similar incident which occurred on 15 July 2017 which was allegedly perpetrated by a Lebanon woman.

That involved Elissa Summers, the embryonic host and birth parent to a boy who is eight months of age, allegedly attempting to physically attack the child's father in the child's presence at their home and harming the child during that attempt.

Her first attack of the day occurred away from the residence when she repeatedly struck Father in the back as witnesses looked on and encouraged her to stop the assault. The subsequent incident occurred at Father's house where he cohabited with Ms. Summers.

This happened as a Lebanon City Police Department officer was attempting to get a statement from her in regards to the earlier attack. When Father arrived home Ms. Summers became enraged and spewed forth a verbal tirade laced with obscenities toward Father and another resident. As witnesses looked on she tried to push her way past the officer.

According to witnesses I spoke with, as she was being restrained by the officer she threw the baby to the ground, apparently to divert the officer's attention by having him check on the welfare of the infant. As Ms. Summers attempted to again physically attack Father the officer attempted to restrain her. She then battered the officer who called for back-up and she was subsequently placed under arrest. This was not before she snatched the baby off the ground, fled into the house and proceeded to destroy items for use by the baby along with smashing jars of baby food against the walls.

At this time she is being held in the Boone County Jail without bond. A Domestic Violence Protective Order has been issued on behalf of Father. Additionally, the prosecutor has issued a No Contact Order against Ms. Summers on behalf of the baby and Father.

It was not uncommon for police to be at the residence as there had been three previous police responses in the recent past upon her request. There was an open CHiNS case at the time of this latest incident based upon an allegation Ms. Summers made against Father two weeks earlier. However, that allegation was determined to be unsubstantiated when a Lebanon City Police Department officer heard one of Ms. Summers older children make a statement contradicting what he said while in her presence. After further investigation it was determined that Ms. Summers had coached the children to lie.

The Boone County Department of Child Services has placed the boy with his father and is recommending that Ms. Summers parental rights be terminated along with the two older children she has by a different father. The Termination of Parental Rights proceedings will be quite familiar to her as she has already lost custody of four other children in four previous actions.

These incidents both convey the severity and trauma of Domestic Violence. Here, it is the use of children and infliction of physical harm toward them to coerce a trusting target into complying with the desired objectives of the perpetrators.

This is a crime that has victims. People are harmed both physically and psychologically. This is not a status offense such as those proscribed in the marijuana trade where no victim exists. Consequently, society would be better served by resources being devoted toward remediation of Domestic Violence offenders.

That young boy learned to defy his mother and yank the charging cord out of the outlet from someone near him. He also learned that when someone doesn't do as you wish then the appropriate response is to physically attack that person. In both incidents violence was directed toward small children. I have previously written about violent parents in Societal Acceptance of Domestic Violence Against the Most Vulnerable.

I am not an advocate of punishments. I find that case specific consequences are more effective that static punishments. In these cases both perpetrators should face jury trials. The common fare of plea bargains to probation is not appropriate. Society benefits by the jurors personal exposure as well as the potential media coverage. The perpetrators are forced to confront their actions and must attempt to defend against what has no defense.

If convicted they are under the coercive control of the court as well as Child Protective Services. They should be removed from the environment in which they caused the harm and the people whom they harmed. These restrictions should remain in place until such time, if ever, that they can demonstrate a high likelihood that a similar offense would not occur again. Violation of those conditions may warrant incarceration or termination of parental rights.

I have expressed these sentiments to our county prosecutor. The next step is up to him. These alleged offenders may face a jury or these alleged perpetrators can be told it's no worse than speeding; pay a little money to the state and all is well.

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1 comment:

christababy2005 said...

Elissa deserves to lose her kids permanently, she is an awful person. She cares about getting her next fix over the welfare of her kids. The best thing for her kids is to never be returned to her.