By Attorney David Engler
The article in the TribToday of October 5, 2011 laid it out in black and white. Relatives of a 13 month old baby girl sexually molested her during a supervised visit at the Trumbull County Children Service agency during this past summer. It is too shocking to understand. First you need to know that this baby was taken into the custody of the government from the moment she was born. The grandmother said it was because the mother could not pay any bills. Often children are lost to CSB at birth when drugs are involved and no father can be found. So a young couple, the mother, Felecia, 21 and her husband, Cody Beemer, 23 get a supervised visit at the agency’s offices. He videos or takes pictures of he and Felecia “performing sexual acts on the child.” Did I just read that? I re-read it several times till the utter depravity and ugliness of that claim registered. A 13 month old baby is raped while at the agency’s own offices.
It cannot get any worse. But it does. The sister of the 13 month old named Tammy Sue Banks was “immediately taken into CSB custody after her birth in June 2007.” She was then given, at some point by CSB, to a foster-mother, Bonnie Pattinson, who suffocated and beat her to death in the 21st month of her short life. Pattinson is doing nine years.
This is an agency that is funded by the public to protect children. How is it possible that two children from the same family either died or were raped as infants under CSB’s watch? This is not a coincidence that tragedy has come to these two little girls. The prosecutor suggested an independent investigator be hired. Much more is required. A federal investigation is required. Our youngest have a right to life. These losses are a denial of basic civil rights. There are dedicated professionals at CSB, but there are also poorly trained caseworkers who appear to lack any meaningful supervision. I have been in court with both.
The problem with CSB is that they develop an institutional arrogance. It comes from believing that because its mission is protecting children, then it can never be questioned. If their decisions go unquestioned by the courts and its appointed Board, then the immunity it enjoys under the law becomes a cloak of infallibility.
For the baby, Tammy Sue and for the little girl raped while at CSB offices, a swift and transparent federal investigation is required, not a suggestion of improvements. That will come later. Who will stand up for these children abused by the one’s who gave them life and not protected by the people who get paid to do just that?