Oregon Family's Story of Child Abuse Sparks Outrage on Internet, Leads to Arrest of Suspect
When Joshua Marbury and Alicia Quinney left their son with a sitter, they never expected to come home to a battered and bruised toddler. Worse still, they never expected for it to take over two months for police to make an arrest.
However, due to an Oregon law, that’s exactly what happened.
According to a press release from the Washington County District Attorney’s Office, current state law says that “traumatic bruising alone on a child is generally not sufficient to constitute physical injury.” The release continues, stating that although “‘physical injury’ has a common sense meaning to the public, it has a different meaning for the courts,” and Oregon law requires an “impairment of physical condition” or “substantial pain,” to prove physical injury.
The problem in the case of Marbury and Quinney’s 1-year-old son Jacob, is that – because of his age – he is considered a non-verbal victim and cannot testify that he suffered substantial pain.
Despite an admission from the alleged attacker, Markell Deon Hilaire, officials dropped charges because Jacob could not verbalize the incident.
Frustrated by what was going on, Marbury – the boy’s father – took to Facebook to ask for help from the public, sharing a lengthy message that detailed what happened, along with graphic pictures of Jacob that show extensive bruising on his face.
“I normally keep my matters with family very private cause I don’t need the attention. But this is different. TWO months ago if not longer my 1 year old son was smacked across the right side of his face by our babysitter (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,” Marbury wrote on Facebook in May. “After several days if not week (sic) we had an [admission] from the abuser saying they did it. STILL this person was not arrested because they had to build a case and a jury to find him guilty BEFORE they go to jail.
“After TWO months of waiting we only find out that charges are dropped BECAUSE my one year old cannot tell you verbally he was abused and my son did not show he was in pain OR that this person ‘intentionally’ did this.”
Marbury’s post continues, pleading with Facebook users to “do [their] part” and make the story go viral, as he points out that “a dead body can’t tell you who killed them. Yet a baby isn’t held to the same standard because he can’t talk????”
The family’s wish was granted as multiple media outlets picked up the story, while social media users banded together, sharing the post more than 400,000 times so far.
He faces three charges, including first-degree criminal mistreatment, assault in the third degree and assault in the fourth degree. His bond was set at $10,000.
“This involves a case which received national attention recently. This is still an active and open case. No further information is being released at this time,” a press release from the Sherwood police read.
According to a statement from the district attorney’s office, the first court appearance is scheduled for June 6 at 3 p.m..
“Although charges were filed in this particular case, the need to fix Oregon law to protect vulnerable victims remains,” the statement added. “Under current Oregon law, animals are more protected from physical injury than many children.”
On Monday, Quinney – Jacob’s mother – shared an update on Facebook, thanking everyone for getting their story out there. However, she too acknowledged that there is still work to be done to correct the state’s law.
“To all my friends and supporters for #justiceforjacob. I am sharing with you today that Friday night the babysitter was arrested and is in custody,” she wrote. “At this point our case is in the hands of the justice system. Thank you all for you support and continued support as this case moves forward. We will keep fighting for Oregon’s law to be changed.”