Weeks after a 1-year-old Oregon boy was allegedly assaulted by his babysitter, a twist in the case has spurred the toddler’s parents to use social media in their search for justice.
Jacob Marbury’s mother and father, Alicia Quinney and Joshua Marbury, left him in the care of a family friend for about two hours in March, KATU reported. When the couple returned to their Sherwood home that evening, they said, the child was crying as the babysitter slept on the couch.
“The next morning, he woke up and that’s when I saw Jacob,” Quinney told the TV station. “The first thing I saw was a black eye.”
The parents took their son to a hospital and filed a police report.
Jacob “was smacked across the right side of his face by our baby sitter (keep this person anonymous) to the point where MULTIPLE doctors (who in fact showed us hand prints) and the detective said it could have killed him,” Joshua Marbury said Friday on Facebook, adding that “we had a confession from the abuser saying they did it.”
The post, which includes two photos of the boy’s apparent injuries, was published as the alleged assailant remained uncharged and out of custody. It has been shared more than 300,000 times.
According to The Oregonian, the father claims that the babysitter was shielded by a 2012 Oregon Court of Appeals ruling, which prosecutors say has made it more difficult to bring charges in cases involving abuse victims who cannot speak. Such victims may include infants, the developmentally challenged or those afraid to testify against a suspect.
“It’s giving a license to those abusers to injure children,” attorney Paul Mones, who is not involved in Jacob’s case, told KATU. “If those children were in California, for example, or across the border — across the bridge up in Washington, that would not be the situation because the mere fact of the presence of bruises. The mere fact of the presence of scratches, etc. is an objective indicator of the injury.
“To really look at the issue of whether a person can verbalize the emotional pain or can verbalize ‘Oh, I can’t move my arm’ is really against everything we know about modern understanding of child abuse and the effect on children,” Mones added.
The Washington County District Attorney’s Office said a formal decision has not been made on whether to prosecute the accused person, the TV station reported.
A Change.org petition, which describes Jacob’s ordeal, has been created in an effort to have the Oregon Supreme Court overturn the lower court’s relevant ruling.
“The abuser is able to walk away with no charges solely because the victim … cannot verbally (attest) to his abuse,” the petition states. More than 14,000 people had signed the online document as of Monday afternoon.