Sunday, September 13, 2009

2,900,000 of child abuse cases / year on U.S.A of wich 33% is physical abuse. Second leading cause of death in child less than 5 years old.

**WARNING***
 PHOTOS CONTAINED  PHOTOS CONTAINED AT THE END OF THIS BLOG ARE EXTREMELY GRAPHIC IMAGES MAY NOT BE SUITABLE FOR ALL READERS... PLEASE BE ADVISED.


At 6:40 a.m. on November 2, 1987. The cops, along with emergency medical service personnel were dispached to 14 West 10th Street in New York City. Once inside the appartement they were met by a man holding a little girl, unconscious, bruised and blue. In the back of the room, an infant was tied to a playpen his clothes soaked with urine. Both children were filthy.  The mother was also in a poor state, her lip split, her face had cuts and her eyes and nose were bruised.  The little girl was Elizabeth Steinberg, she was the adoptive daughter of Joel Steinberg a criminal attorney and Hedda Nussbaum a former editor and writer of children's books for Random House.

Joel Steinberg was admitted to the bar without taking the bar exam under a special program that made an exception for student whose studies were interrupted by military service. Those who knew him, described him has manipulative, and in occasion verbally abusive to women. As a lawyer he was average, his clients were mostly drug related, it is alleged that he was an avid drug user himself.

Hedda Nussbaum was a public school teacher.  In 1974 she enter the Random House publishing company, she wrote two children's books, both published by Random House in 1977 and 1979. Spousal abuse, "Battered woman syndrome" was largely unknown then in the eighties . On November 2, when brought to the hospital, Dr. Neil Spiegel who examined her stated she had suffered broken nose, large bruises on her right buttock, multiple broken ribs and life threatening ulcers on her legs. Her abuse was short of been killed.

Elizabeth (Lisa) Steinberg was born on May 1981, in lower Manhattan. She was the daughter of two college student who was unable to provide for her. Opposed to abortion they trusted their physician to make arrangements for the baby to be adopted. The physician introduced Joel Steinberg as an adoption lawyer, he was to find a suitable family the the baby. No legal adoption was ever arranged , he took her home and kept her.

 Doctor and nurses who examined her discovered cuts on both her arms, legs, abdomen,stomach and head. Her feet and ankles were covered with a crust of black dirt and grime. Her hair was a mess and had not be washed for sometimes, she had a large bruise on her forehead, they also discovered unusual bruise near the center of her lower back, her upper back was covered with both old and new bruises, red,black and blue. Both calves had yellowish-brown marks. Lisa was only six years old, never regain consciousness.


Over 67,000 child abuse was reported in 1987 and at least 42 children died. So why is this case made front page. Hedda Nussbaum shocked the public to the core with her physical appearance. The abusers were part of the upper middle class, they were well establish and financially secured.  Four days after her arrival at the hospital Lisa was removed from life support and died.

Joel Steinberg and Nussbaum were arrested and charged with second degree murder, first degree manslaughter, and endangering the welfare of a child. 16 month old Mitchell, Lisa's brother and the second adopted child was turned to the Human resources Dept.  On October 25, with camera in the court room, the trial opened. A great controversy felt on Manhattan's district Attorney Robert.M. Morgenthau who decided he would not prosecute Hedda Nussbaum and use her testimony against her former lover. She could have been the little girls salvation on the night of November 2. but she chose not to pick up the phone and call for help.


During the proceedings, Dr. Douglas C. Miller of the New York University Medical Center made 
 the statement that Lisa's brain damage was "a blunt head trauma and nothing else."  He used the example of the head blows suffered by professional boxers, and who sometimes die from them, Lisa's brain had been smashed into the walls of her skull thus no fracture.
When Lisa died, the New York City's municipal government which has countless of commissions, departments, social service agencies, family courts, programs all dedicated for the welfare of its citizens were put on trial. On January 30 1989 Joel Steinberg was found "not guilty" of second degree murder,"guilty" on the first degree manslaughter. He denied any wrong doing and was sentenced to 8 1/3 to 25 years
Joel Steinberg did 18 years of a maximum of 25 year sentence.
In a report from 1997 from the CDC, the United States had the highest child homicide, sicuide and firearms-related deaths of 26 developed country, of course children have been abused all through history. Some believe we  are just beginning to face the true prevalence and significance of child abuse, others worry that many people have become obsessed with child abuse and deny personal responsibility for their problems .  
It is my believe that any child abuses are inflicted by mentally ill perpetrators these men or women regardless of race, age and social status have cross the threshold of decency when they used for the first time excessive force to discipline or any other abuse and not seek help.  Otherwise how can one justify inhuman tortures inflected to harmless infants or children.
The other big problem is the bureaucracy of the agencies responsible to protected them. Overloaded by to many cases, they sometime forget they are dealing and representing innocent and helpless children who count on them for their safety.  
The different agencies had ample warning for Lisa.  The tenants at the Steinberg's and their neighbors were very outspoken. "We reported it to all the proper agencies" one said. A neighbor said she called a child abuse hot line and responding investigator couldn't find sufficiant evidence, William Grinker then New York's commissioner of human resource said that the reports of child abuses at the Steinberg household were mishandled. I belive that Mr. Steinberg been a lawyer had a lot to do with the lack of throughout investigation.  

Child abuse prevention and recognition: Child welfare information gateway
  

Before today is over, 3 CHILDREN WILL DIE from being abused. At least one of them will be a baby - less than a year old. They other two probably haven't yet celebrated their 5th birthdays. More than 510 other children will be physically abused today and another 270 will be sexually abused.

 In total, over 2,700 children will be abused today. Tomorrow - the horror starts all over again, just as it does everyday.
Child abuse is an American epidemic. And yet - children continue to die everyday. Other children continue to be hurt. And, as they grow up - studies show that they will most likely abuse their own children, perpetuating the cycle of violence.
A blue ribbon is the international symbol for Child Abuse Prevention. The color blue was chosen to represent the bruised and battered bodies of the thousands of children that are abused everyday. It serves as a constant reminder that all of us have a responsibility to help keep children safe.



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