Crime
Crime

Stepdad Arrested For Failing To Report Abuse (Photo)

| by Michael Doherty

A Florida stepfather who was arrested for not reporting his stepson's abuse gave a disturbing reason for why he didn't help the neglected 5-year-old.

"He is not my responsibility," said 29-year-old Brian Hall of his stepson, reported the New York Post. "I'm not his father. I come from a rich and white family."

The man faces charges of failing to report suspected child abuse after his wife, 24-year-old Naomie Hall, was arrested in June for child neglect causing great bodily harm.

Naomie was arrested after investigators working with the Florida Department of Children and Families came to the couple's home in an investigation of suspected child neglect, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

The 5-year-old boy weighed only about 25 pounds and was seriously malnourished and dehydrated; he could not stand up or speak when authorities found him. He was also still in diapers and had been eating cereal off of a floor that Daytona Beach police described as filthy.

When asked about the abuse, Brian allegedly pointed at his own children and said: "Those two are taken care of." The stepdad was legally obligated to report his stepson's abuse.

Naomie told police that the young boy had gone up to four days without food, and that she had not tried to feed him. She said that he could not communicate but that she could tell he was hungry because he would "chew on his hands."

The 5-year-old had been prescribed a medication to stimulate his appetite, but Naomie hadn't used it because she said it didn't work and made the boy sleepy. Police reported that the child's clothes were dirty and he hadn't bathed in "quite a while."

The condition of the other two children from the home is unclear.

"We're of course investigating thoroughly to ensure the safety of these children," said a spokesman for the DCF. "We're still working to gather information but our focus is on keeping these children safe and healthy."

The 5-year-old has been hospitalized and is receiving physical and speech therapy, according to authorities.

In May, four educators in Michigan were charged for failing to report a 12-year-old boy's suspected abuse, according to MLive.

Principal Heidi Clark, guidance counselor Matt Cook, and teachers Sherrie Bender and Diane Balling were each charged with two counts of failing to report suspected child abuse, one count for 2015 and one for 2016.

The young boy was only 47 pounds, and had bruises, a cut lip, and cigarette burns on his body.

The Three Oaks Elementary School employees reportedly had information about the student's suspected abuse, including "the boy's weight, aggressive behavior in obtaining food, and physical well-being over an extended period of time," according to Berrien County prosecutor Michael Sepic.

"When interviewed, the child told police his father and step-mother kept him from eating," explained Sepic.

Sepic added that the boy said he ran away because he was "tired of being treated like a dog" and feared he would not live to turn 13.

The child's parents, Aaron and Alicia Zemke, were sentenced to 20 to 80 years in prison for first-degree child abuse.

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