Bruised baby can't tell anyone he was abused, so US police won't file charges

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Imagine returning home in the evening to find your one-year-old crying - and the babysitter asleep.

For most parents, this scenario would be enough of a nightmare.

But for Oregon couple Joshua Marbury and Alicia Quinney, what they discovered the next morning was even more shocking.

Baby Joshua woke up with bruises all over his body.

Outraged, the parents reported the incident, which happened in March, to the police in Sherwood, Oregon, in the United States.

Two months later, charges have still not been filed.

Frustrated, Marbury took to Facebook to share his son's story last Friday (May 20). His post has since been shared more than 330,000 times.

Marbury wrote that he was told the charges were dropped because "my one year old (sic) cannot tell you verbally he was abused and my son did not show he was in pain OR that this person 'intentionally' did this".

He was referring to a 2012 ruling by the Oregon Court of Appeals, that prosecutors say has made it more difficult to file charges in abuse cases with victims who cannot speak, reported OregonLive.

To secure a conviction, prosecutors must prove that the abuse victim sustained a "physical injury" and had been in "substantial pain" under Oregon law.

However, appellate rulings have made it tough to prove if victims cannot describe the extent of their injuries or suffering, said OregonLive. Often, young children under the age of five are not able to describe "substantial pain", say prosecutors. The same goes for older children with mental disabilities or those reluctant to speak up about their abuse, the report added.

Washington County Deputy District Attorney Dustin Staten told OregonLive he had not previously seen the photos Jacob's father posted on Facebook.

"Seeing those photos has caused me to want to take a different path," he told the paper on Saturday (May 21).

As for baby Jacob, his physical bruises may have faded, but the emotional wounds remain.

His mother says she has noticed a lasting change in him after the incident, reported OregonLive.

"He's always been a mama's boy, very much," she was quoted as saying. "But since this happened he's been a mama's boy times 100."

She also no longer feels safe leaving her baby alone with anyone.

"My trust with so many people is shot," she told OregonLive. "This isn't something we can move on from."