Child caught up in parent’s argument

Little Micah Belcher Jr. is 10 months old. He was put into the hospital Thursday. Doctors say he is in good condition.

He is the 8 th child of his mother. Authorities say his 7 siblings were permently removed from his mother in 2003 which was prior to his birth. Allegedly it was due to abuse and neglect. Authorities also say they were not aware of little Michah being born.

His mother Tonya M. Edwards, 35, was in jail Fri. for suspicion of endangering children, domestic violence and felonious assault.

Allegedly Michah Belcher, Sr. 45, told police on Thursday that he had refused to give Edwards money. And that she then threw hot oil on him and and the boy, then took little Michah into the kitchen where he was hurt. Edwards has allegedly told police that her husband punched her and that the baby was hurt accidently. She denys cutting the baby's ear. "I bit [his] ear by accident" according to a police report. Doctors have told police that the injury was caused by a sharp object, not teeth.  

It has been said that little Michah had hit an important milestone in his development on Thursday prior to the violence. He had taken his first 10 steps.

A person who answered the phone at the home told the media that he was Edwards' landlord and had known her since she was 14. He said that she was a good mother and grandmother. Her 19 year old daughter just had a baby boy two weeks ago.

Edwards has a prior criminal history. She has previous charges on her record of soliciting, abusing drugs and endangering children.

Authorities have said the chances of Edwards ever getting the child back are very slim.

http://www.cleveland.com/cuyahoga/plaindealer/index.ssf?/base/cuyahoga/1149928342191950.xml&coll=2

He said/she said and the child cannot talk to say what really happened to him. But there may be evidence at the scene and there are doctor's statements to help clarify what happened.

Little Michah wasn't arguing with his mother or his father. He was just doing what kids do naturally. Growing and learning. Yet some how he got caught up in his parents argument, through no fault of his own. What a reward for learning to walk.

What has happened, though bad may be a blessing. Little Michah may now have a chance for a loving home where he can be safe.

How the heck do you "accidently" bite a child's ear anyway?

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Foster Father

Children get removed from their homes for a number of reasons……none of them good. It may have been neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse, parents may become unable to care for them through drugs, imprisonment, or death. In every case they need to be placed in a safe supportive environment in order to help them overcome the challenges of their childhood.

I don't know why Ruth Tamas, 18, and her older sister Estera Tamas were placed in foster care. That is not why they are in the news today. Normally their names would not even be used. But they gave permission and Ruth has even talked with the media.

They were placed in a foster home in 2002, though one of the girls may have been there as early as 1998. That was the home of Enrique Fabregas, now 52.  Normally a person with a drug and weapons related criminal history would not be permitted to foster children or adopt. But in 1998, Fabregas had completed enough rehabilitation treatment that Court Commissioner Jim Doerty ruled that he be given a "certificate of rehabilitation." He was active in his church, sang in his choir, and had letters form other members and teachers praising him. He was involved with the local Big Brothers program. He was allegedly also romantically involved with the girl's mother. And there was a younger girl already in the home, a girl is is now 12. Fabregas had adopted her when she was a baby. He had met her mother in drug treatment.

Child welfare authorities have admitted that they received 8 complaints of sexual abuse between 2002 and 2004. Complaints from the sisters, and from others. But they say the girls always recanted, and the complaints were unsubstantiated. Records submitted to the court say there were a total of 26 complaints to DHS, eight of which were sexual in nature. In 2004, DHS asked Fabregas to undergo a sexual deviancy evaluation. When he refused, they removed the sisters from the home.

The younger girl was adopted however. And there were no substantiated complaints of abuse. So there weren't grounds for removing her and she was left in the home until Ruth's complaints in Feb of this year.

Though she had been removed from the home, Ruth Tamas didn't give up. In Feb. she told authorities about seeing a video of her older sister being abused. Reportedly when Estera was 12, Fabregas has begun dressing her in lingerie and photographing her in sexually suggestive poses. Allegedly within a few years that progressed fondling to having intercourse with her. Allegedly one of the girls did complain to the foster mother, but there is no indication what happened when that occurred.

Wed. police acted on a tip from Ruth Tamas and arrested Enrique Fabregas. A search of his home turned up child pornography, photos, computer records, lingerie, dress up props and videotapes most of which depicted the children in his care. They took three computers from the home and they found a file containing multiple identification cards and a checkbook, and credit cards, some of which have been identified as stolen. The youngest child who is now 12, has admitted to 2 incidents of sex assault. Allegedly the evidence shows the abuse began about 1999 and continued until 2005. Tamas has also alleged that she was sometimes forced to take alcohol and drugs such as cocaine and ecstasy.

Fabregas has been charged with suspicion of child rape, child molestation, sexual misconduct with a minor, indecent liberties with a minor, and possession of child pornography and stolen property. His attorney says that he denies the allegations.

Ruth Tamas says that she is relieved about the arrest. But says she is disgusted with the state because they ignored her complaints for so long. She explained the fact that they recanted as because they feared feared retaliation. She says they time they spent in the home was riddled with sex abuse. And she says she fears there may be other victims out there.

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/273475_foster10.html

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2003049726_foster09e.html

http://www.kingcountyjournal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060610/NEWS/606100329

Dealing with teens can be difficult. Especially teens that came from a background of abuse or neglect. They don't always tell all they know, they may even lie. They are often distrustful of any adult but especially of adults in authority. Kids have also been known to make complaints in retaliation for some perceived wrongdoing of the person, without foundation.

But 29 complaints? Complaints ranging from neglect to physical abuse to sexual abuse? Complaints made by other persons not the children? You would think that after receiving multiple complaints that more of an investigation would be undertaken, even if the girls did "recant". You would think that if they could not fully substantiate the claims of sexual abuse that they would then refer to the police for criminal investigation, if they were unable to do so themselves. The police sure didn't seem to have much of a problem substantiating.

Oh yeah, and he has denied the charges. His attorney says that things are not always what they seem. It's going to be hard for him to defend himself against the pictures and videotapes. As they say, 'a picture is worth a thousand words'.

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There may be some problems with pressing criminal charges for sexual abuse, though the child pornography are being pressed. With the older girls, there may be conflicts with the statute of limitations.

The younger girl said during her interview that her father did not abuse her. Then later she called them and said that he had abused her, but that she didn't want to get him in 'bad trouble'. Investigators plan to have a child-interview expert to interview her.

According to police, during Fabregas' interview, he told several stories to explain the pornograhy. Allegedly one of the stories was that he was doing 'undercover' work for the Drug Enforcement Agency.

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/273691_foster13.html