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Source: Capital Gazette Annapolis, MD
Aziah is one of the lucky ones.
The 11-year-old who spent the last six years in 11 foster homes will share Christmas morning with his new family — his forever family that adopted him last month.
He is one of nine siblings placed in foster care to remove them from a neglectful and abusive home. He was adopted Nov. 16, National Adoption Day, along with 11 other children in ceremonies at the county courthouse.
But now Aziah has found a safe grounding place.
“I feel excited, not having to move again. I hated moving,” the sixth-grader said. “ ’Tis the season to be jolly … I am happy.”
“It has been a journey, but we made it … Happily ever after,” he said, singing the last part.
The “we” means not only his family — mom and dad, Wendy and Chris Newcomb, and a baby sister the couple is adopting as well — but a team from Anne Arundel County Department of Social Services, counselors and his court-appointed special advocate case worker, Caryn Weaver.
There were still 142 children in foster care in the county at the end of November, nearly half the number of children who were in the foster system in 2005 when numbers peaked at 266.
A statewide effort to reduce the number of children in foster care, Place Matters, launched in 2007. The lives of children caught up in the foster system — bouncing from home to home, changing schools, social workers and families — become more chaotic the longer they are in the system.
Foster care and other rules preclude the Newcombs or anyone else from providing details about the environment from which Aziah was saved. One would only say it was heartbreaking..
A former Bible study instructor at an Annapolis church was sentenced Tuesday to 10 years in prison for sexually abusing a child.
Erick Ernesto Granados-Zeledon, 39, of Edgewater, was arrested in June and charged with sex abuse of a minor and several related crimes. A 10-year-old child told investigators that Granados-Zeledon sexually abused him.
On Tuesday, Circuit Court Judge Michael Wachs sentenced him to 10 years in prison with five years probation. Granados-Zeledon is required to register as a tier three sex offender for the rest of his life and has been barred from any unsupervised contact with minors.
An Edgewater man was sentenced to 10 years in prison Monday for sexual abuse of a minor, according to the Anne Arundel County State’s Attorney’s office.
Gabriel Morales, 31, pleaded guilty to the sexual abuse of a minor on Oct. 4. On Monday, Circuit Court Judge Michele Jaklitsch sentenced him to 25 years, suspended all but 10 years of active incarceration, and 5 years of supervised probation upon release. Morales is required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life, according to the State’s Attorney’s office.
A former Maryland City youth soccer coach received an 18-year prison sentence after he was convicted of sexually abusing a player earlier this year.
Eris Murray, 56, of Hanover was sentenced Wednesday by Circuit Court Judge Cathy Vitale after he was found guilty of sexual abuse of a minor, second degree sex offense and sodomy.
The player, now a teenager, told investigators last year Murray sexually assaulted him while he was staying at Murray's home on two occasions between 2008 and 2012.
He was between 8 and 12 years old during that period.
John Vigna was a star at Cloverly Elementary School, a charismatic, gregarious teacher beloved by children and parents. “Everyone’s favorite,” his principal said. But there was a problem: He had been privately warned about crossing the line with his students.
The popular educator was admonished in 2008 for inappropriately having a child on his lap. Three months later, there was a similar incident, according to court records. After a third complaint in 2013, he signed a pledge to avoid “any physical contact at all” with students.
He stayed in the classroom — but he did not keep his word.
Vigna, 50, was sentenced this month to 48 years in prison for sexually abusing four students over the course of 15 years at the school in Silver Spring, Md. His case underscored a concern that has come up before in Montgomery County schools: Why leave a teacher with a history of suspicious conduct alone with children?
Court testimony and records point to repeated warning signs about Vigna’s behavior over a period of years, raising questions about how well he was supervised, how many incidents are too many and how effective Montgomery is at keeping students safe despite recent efforts to improve child-abuse policy and procedures.
On June 30, 2017 at 6:37 a.m. officers responded for a report of a found infant. An apparently hours old Hispanic male infant was found outside a home in the 2000 block of Forest Drive. The infant appeared to be in good health and was transported to a local hospital for care.
We are concerned about the health of the mother of the child and are asking her to come forward to receive medical care. She may need medical attention or be a victim of a crime. Anyone with information about the identity of the mother or about her whereabouts is urged to contact our detectives at 410-260-3439. Please don’t share personal information on our social media pages.
Three former Penn State officials are getting jail time for failing to report convicted sexual predator Jerry Sandusky to authorities.
Former Penn State president Graham Spanier and former vice president Gary Schultz will have to spend two months in jail. Former athletic director Tim Curley will spend three months in jail. The rest of their sentences will be served in house arrest.
Spanier, who received a sentence of four to 12 months, plans to appeal. Curley received a sentence of seven to 23 months, and Schultz was sentenced to six to 23 months. All three were also fined and ordered to perform community service.
Spanier was found guilty of one count of misdemeanor child endangerment, while Curley and Schultz pleaded guilty to endangering the welfare of children.
Sentencing guidelines had called for up to a year in prison.
Mike McQueary, a graduate coaching assistant, told administrators that he saw Sandusky molesting a boy in a football team shower in 2001. Spanier, Curley and Schultz didn't report Sandusky to child welfare authorities or police.
"Why Mr. Sandusky was allowed to continue to the Penn State facilities is beyond me," Judge John Boccabella said. "All three ignored the opportunity to put an end to [Sandusky's] crimes when they had a chance to do so."
FROM WBOC 16
DENTON, Md. – The Caroline County Sheriff’s Office has arrested a Caroline County couple for allegedly injecting a child with heroin and forcing her into prostitution.
According to the sheriff’s office, 35-year-old Darlene Allen and her boyfriend, 26-year-old Paul Owen were arrested sometime in early April after a months-long investigation into the potential child abuse.
In January 2017, the Caroline County Sheriff’s Office and the Department of Social Services – Child Protective Services Division were notified about a child abuse allegation. The victim was a 15-year-old girl.
The children were going to die. Mohamed Bzeek knew that. But in his more than two decades as a foster father, he took them in anyway — the sickest of the sick in Los Angeles County’s sprawling foster care system. He has buried about 10 children. Some died in his arms. Now, Bzeek spends long days and sleepless nights caring for a bedridden 6-year-old foster girl with a rare brain defect. She’s blind and deaf. She has daily seizures. Her arms and legs are paralyzed.
Maryland officials are taking steps to create a more welcoming foster-care system for gay, bisexual and transgender children and adolescents, including screening homes for possible bias and providing sensitivity training to case workers.
The policy directive issued this month by the state Department of Human Resources prohibits conversion therapy and urges foster parents of transgender children to call them by their preferred pronouns and to allow them to dress and groom accordingly.
The internal injuries of a 6-week-old girl who died in January must have been caused by physical trauma inflicted after she was born, a pediatrician testified at a hearing Tuesday for a former University of Tulsa football player who is charged with child-abuse murder.
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Wednesday is the Huntington Police Department's first full day of investigating the death of a 3-year-old boy.
Mariya Jones and her boyfriend Aaron Miles, both of Huntington, are being charged with child abuse resulting in death.
Emergency responders were called to their home in the 1800 block of 7th Avenue for a cardiac arrest.
According to the criminal complaint, EMS said when they showed up, the boy was already dead and cold to the touch.
Huntington Police Chief Joe Ciccarelli tells WSAZ officers have collected several pieces of evidence from the home to build their case. He also said that evidence shows several people knew the alleged abuse was happening prior to the child's death.
"We have already found, even though it's very early in this investigation, that there are people who were aware that abuse was taking place in regard to this child," Ciccarelli said. "The failing is they did not report it."