Tag Archives: child abuse

Mother convicted of murdering 4-year-old she thought was gay

Oregon jurors took a little more than an hour to convict a 25-year-old woman of murder in the death of her 4-year-old son. A prosecutor who emphasized that the boy’s sister had witnessed the fatal beating said earlier that a motive behind the violence was the woman’s belief that the boy was gay.

Sentencing for Jessica Dutro was set for April 18 in Washington County Circuit Court.

Little Zachary Dutro-Boggess died of intestinal tears caused by abdominal trauma, The Oregonian reported. He collapsed at the homeless shelter where his family was living southwest of Portland.

Jurors were told that Zachary’s then-7-year-old sister watched her mother and her mother’s boyfriend beat the boy on Aug. 12, 2012.

“They beat up my brother, then he died,” the girl told her counselor. “I seen them.”

The boyfriend, Brian Canady, earlier pleaded guilty to manslaughter and assault for his role in the boy’s death.

The case drew widespread attention after prosecutors asked the court to allow Facebook messages from Dutro into evidence.

In one message to her boyfriend, Dutro wrote using a slur that Zachary would be gay. “He walks like it and talks like it ugh,” she wrote. That made her angry, she added, and directed Canady to “work on” Zachary “big time.”

Prosecutor Megan Johnson told the court the message showed Dutro’s motive for subjecting Zachary to a pattern of abuse. Judge Don Letourneau deemed the message admissible.

Defense lawyer Chris Colburn said the message did not prove any motive on Dutro’s part. Colburn argued none of the evidence tied Dutro to the crime.

In her closing argument, Johnson focused on the little girl’s words, rather than on the Facebook messages.

In his closing, Colburn addressed the Facebook comments and Dutro’s use of a slur.

What she wrote was meant as a joke, he said. While it was offensive, he said it would be ridiculous to draw a connection between the message and the little boy’s death.

N.C. pastor says he regrets telling parents to punch away gay

A North Carolina pastor said he was using hyperbole and regrets his choice of words when he told parents during a sermon on marriage to punch any sons who make gestures that might indicate they are gay.

Berean Baptist Church pastor Sean Harris preached Sunday about marriage before next week’s vote on a state constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, The Fayetteville Observer reports.

In an online video of the sermon, Harris said: “Dads, the second you see that son dropping the limp wrist, you walk over there and crack that wrist. Man up. Give them a good punch. OK?”

The Fayetteville pastor said he does not advocate hitting children and wishes he could take back his remark, but says parents should reinforce traditional gender roles in children.

“Those weren’t planned words, but what I do stand by is that the word of God makes it clear that effeminate behavior is ungodly. I’m not going to compromise on that,” Harris said.

The pro-amendment group Vote For Marriage NC urged church leaders to preach a marriage-themed sermon last Sunday and encourage church members to cast early ballots this week in favor of the constitutional change. North Carolina’s primary election is May 8.

North Carolina already outlaws gay marriage, but adding that ban to the state constitution would make it much harder to change in the future. Supporters are waging a campaign in churches and conservative networks to pass the amendment.

Harris’ comments began drawing sharp reaction as a snippet of his animated 55-minute sermon was posted on the Internet this week. Harris said during his sermon that parents shouldn’t laugh off moments like a pre-school boy imitating girls.

Likewise, parents should encourage girls to play sports, but instruct them to be feminine, Harris said.

“When your daughter starts acting too butch, you rein her in,” the preacher said. “Sometimes you are going to act like a girl and walk like a girl and talk like a girl and smell like a girl and that means you are going to be beautiful. You are going to be attractive. You’re going to dress yourself up.”

Berean Baptist has a child discipline code on its website, supported by biblical references, that endorses spanking but adds that bruising should never be the objective, shouldn’t be applied while adults are angry, and civil laws should be honored.

The church operates a kindergarten-through-12th-grade school, Berean Baptist Academy, which graduated 18 seniors last year. Harris said the school’s discipline policy bans corporal punishment.

Harris’ remarks were criticized by children’s advocates and an Old Testament scholar at a Baptist-affiliated local university.

“Unfortunately, this pastor is telling his congregation to harm their children,” said Rosie Allen Ryan, president of the nonprofit Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina. “We know that when children are fearful and feel unsafe, that they’re far more likely to suffer emotionally, socially and physically.”

Tony Cartledge, a divinity professor at Campbell University, called Harris’ sermon “one of the most disappointing and un-Christ-like diatribes I have ever heard.”

Cartledge said while Harris’ position represents a distorted view of Christian scripture outside of Jesus’s teachings, that doesn’t mean his views are widely shared.

“We must be careful not to assume that every Baptist, or even everyone who believes homosexual behavior to be sinful, would endorse Harris’ over-the-top promotion of beating gay tendencies out of their children,” Cartledge wrote in an email to the newspaper.

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Wis. pastor charged with beating infants

The pastor and seven members of a small fundamentalist Christian church near Mazomanie have been arrested on charges of child abuse for beating infants as young as two months old with wooden rods.

Philip Caminiti, 53, pastor of Aleitheia Bible Church in Black Earth, and his brother, John Caminiti, 45, pleaded innocent to a dozen counts of child abuse. The alleged victims range in age from infancy to 6 years old, according to the Dane County Sheriff’s office.

“During interviews with detectives, Phil expressed his belief that the Bible dictates the use of a rod over a hand to punish children. He stated that children only a few months old are ‘worthy’ of the rod and that by ‘one and a half months,’ a child is old enough to be spanked,” according to the sheriff’s office release.

The pastor told deputies that the Bible prescribes the punishment for infants who are “being emotional, grumpy or crying.”

Six church members charged in the case also pleaded innocent. None of the children of people charged in the cases has been removed from their parents’ homes.

From AP and WiG reports

Wis. pastor charged with beating infants for disobedience

The pastor and seven members of a small fundamentalist Christian church near Mazomanie, Wis., have been arrested on charges of child abuse for beating infantsphilip_caminitti as young as two months old with wooden rods, reported AOL News.

Philip Caminiti, 53, pastor of Aleitheia Bible Church in Black Earth, and his brother, John Caminiti, 45, pleaded innocent to a dozen counts of child abuse last week. The alleged victims range in age from infancy to 6 years old, according to the Dane County Sheriff’s office.

“During interviews with detectives, Phil expressed his belief that the Bible dictates the use of a rod over a hand to punish children. He stated that children only a few months old are ‘worthy’ of the rod and that by ‘one and a half months,’ a child is old enough to be spanked,” according to the sheriff’s office release.

“Throughout the investigation, the church members were open with detectives about their ‘Spare the rod, spoil the child’ philosophy. They described using wooden dowels and wooden spoons on the bare skin of children, starting as young as 2 months old,” the sheriff’s office said.

The pastor told deputies that the Bible prescribes the punishment for infants who are “being emotional, grumpy or crying.”

Six church members charged in the case also pleaded innocent.

According to the sheriff’s office, the wooden dowels used to beat the infants were 12-18 inches long with a diameter about the size of a quarter. Former church members who brought the complaint to the attention of authorities told detectives that “redness and bruising” were the “common effects of the spankings.”

The children often were punished when they cried or failed to sit still during church services, a former church member told authorities. “Phil was very strict about children being quiet during church,” the complaint states.

John Caminiti told investigators in November that he does not allow his family to communicate with people outside his religious beliefs and has punished his wife and son by confining them to their rooms until they corrected their disobedience, according to the Wisconsin State Journal.

None of the children of people charged in these cases has been removed from their parents’ homes.

Vatican’s wrong choice

For decades the Vatican turned a deaf ear to the sexual abuse of children by its clergy and to the social changes sweeping Western civilization. As a result, one-third of native-born U.S. Catholics have left the church over the past 30 years. The Milwaukee Catholic Herald reported last week that 38,000 Milwaukee Catholics have left the church in the past year alone.

Many of the remaining faithful oppose the church’s stance on issues such as birth control, stem cell research and LGBT rights. And many archdioceses, including Milwaukee’s, face possible bankruptcy over settlements in abuse cases.

But the church has learned nothing from its emptying pews and coffers. U.S. Catholic leaders have fought laws throughout the country, including a proposed measure in Wisconsin, to temporarily suspend statutes of limitation so that victims of pedophiles — all pedophiles, not just priests — can seek justice in civil court. Bishop Jerome Listecki, the newly named archibishop of Milwaukee, testified against the measure in October.

The church also has ratcheted up its political activism against same-sex marriage in an effort to attract evangelical Christians and disaffected Episcopalians into its dwindling fold. Californians Against Hate reported last week that “Catholics appear to be the new Mormons in the fight against same-sex marriage.” In the past, Mormons were the biggest supporters of anti-marriage campaigns. Now the Mormon Church seems to be backing off while Catholics are becoming increasingly involved.

The dioceses of Portland, Maine, gave $553,000 to overturn same-sex marriage in that state, even though they recently closed five churches. Catholic Charities in Washington, D.C., has threatened to end its programs to feed the hungry if the city council passes a same-sex marriage bill.

The church’s priorities are clear. Saving money is more important than providing justice to victims of childhood predators. Denying legal protections to same-sex couples is preferable to maintaining houses of worship or helping indigents.

In this context, it’s obvious why the Vatican selected a hard-line activist like Listecki to head the Milwaukee archdiocese. But Listecki is a bad fit for a diverse, progressive urban center. His leadership will accelerate the hemorrhaging.

Catholics might be the new Mormons, but Wisconsin is not the new Utah.