Every year, more than 3 million reports of alleged child abuse are made in the United States involving more than 6 million children throughout the country.1 While child abuse can be committed in a multitude of forms, the punishment for a conviction can be severe.

The following cases of alleged child abuse shed light on how vast the realm of this crime is. Ideally, these examples will prevent others from intentionally, or negligently committing an act of child abuse in the future.

1. Daycare Director Sexually Assaults Children in His Care

child molestation
You face severe punishment for child molestation.

Joseph Renander was arrested and charged for sexually assaulting six girls at a daycare center he ran and operated in Colorado between 2000 and 2005.2

In his own defense, Renander’s attorney told the jury that his client studied pedophiles and child porn because he was “writing a manual to help parents prevent sexual abuse of their children, planning to use the manuals at workshops for parents.”3 Renander titled his self-published books, All About Touches and I Just Said No.

The jury, however, did not buy Renander’s defense, and he was convicted of sexual assault on a child by a person in a position of trust. The former daycare director was sentenced to 78 years to life.

If Renander’s crime had occurred in California, it is likely that he would have been charged with lewd and lascivious acts with a minor under Penal Code 288(a). The punishment for a PC 288(a) conviction is a fine of up to $10,000 and imprisonment for up to eight years. However, because Renander was charged for sexually assaulting six victims, under penal code 667.61(b), he would be subject to imprisonment for 15 years to life for each victim.4 Therefore, Renander would have faced a sentence of up to 90 years to life.

2. Man and Five Brothers Abuse Girl, Parents Aware of Crime and Said Nothing

A North Carolina man, Eric Jackson, and his five brothers were arrested and charged with multiple counts of sexually abusing a child over a 10-year period.5 Jackson’s parents, who were allegedly aware of the ongoing abuse but did not report it, were also arrested and charged with felony child abuse.

In California, being accused of sexually abusing a child is a serious accusation. Had Jackson been charged with felony sexual abuse within the borders of California, he would have faced up to 16 years in prison under penal code section 288.5 (a).6

3. Couple “Obsessed” with Video Game Sentenced to Prison for Child Neglect

A Southern California couple became so obsessed with the computer game “World of Warcraft” that they neglected to provide adequate care for their two daughters, ages five and ten.

unusual cases of child abuse
Playing video games and unusual cases of child abuse.

According to the Orange County district attorney’s office, the two girls were neglected and forced to live inside an unsanitary mobile home. It was alleged that while the parents endlessly played the video game, the children were not allowed to leave the home nor were they given any form of education. When the girl’s were discovered, their hair was knotted, their teeth were destroyed beyond repair, and their bodies were infested with dirt.7

The gamers, Lester and Petra Huffmire, both pleaded guilty to child abuse under PC 270 (a),8 false imprisonment under PC 237 (a),9 and contributing to the delinquency of minor charges under PC 272.10

Lester Huffmire was sentenced to five years in prison and Petra Huffmire will serve three years and four months behind bars.

4. Man Gives Marijuana-Laced Cookies to Children

In November of 2013, Denver resident Davirak Ky allegedly baked cookies laced with marijuana and served them to a 13-year-old and 11-year-old at his home.11 Upon consuming the cookies, the unsuspecting victims became ill and were treated at a local hospital.

According to one of the victims, Ky was fully aware that the cookies were made with marijuana before he supplied them to the children.

After the alleged incident, Ky was charged with two counts of child abuse, two counts of second-degree assault, and two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.12 He later pleaded guilty and was sentenced to three years of probation. As part of his probation, Ky must undergo drug and alcohol treatment and take a class on the effects of drugs on children.13

Had Ky committed these crimes in California, he would have likely faced child abuse charges under penal code section 273a(b), furnishing a controlled substance to a minor under health and safety code 11353(c), assault under penal code section 240, and contributing to the delinquency of a minor under penal code section 272. His punishment, however, may have been much harsher as he could have also faced up to six years in state prison.14

5. Mother Abandons Newborn in Trash

murder charges
You could even face murder charges for child abuse.

According to court documents, 22-year-old Indianapolis resident Briana Holland gave birth to a baby boy at work and abandoned him in a bathroom trashcan.15 Later that night, her coworkers located the newborn barely alive. The coworkers informed the police that the baby’s neck was tightly bound with toilet paper, and a plastic tampon applicator was jammed into its mouth with a paper bag over his head. The baby was blue in the face and not breathing.

Fortunately, the coworkers were able to revive Holland’s baby and take him to a nearby hospital.

Due to her actions, Holland now faces attempted murder charges, several counts of neglect of a dependent, and battery resulting in serious injury on a child under 14 years old.16

If Holland were to be prosecuted in California, her charges would have likely included attempted first-degree murder. Under California penal code section 664,u she could have been sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole.17 She could also have been charged with felony child abuse under penal code section 273a(a) and the allegation of causing great bodily harm under penal code section 12022.7, which adds an additional three year consecutive prison sentence.18

Call the Child Abuse Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich Today

Child abuse is a major problem in our society. It is a serious crime with serious consequences. If you or someone you love is accused of a committing an act of child abuse, it is critical that you call an attorney at Wallin & Klarich as soon as possible. At Wallin & Klarich, our attorneys have over 30 years of experience successfully defending persons charged with child abuse crimes in Southern California. We will fight to get you the best possible outcome in your case.

With offices in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Tustin, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, there is an experienced Wallin & Klarich attorney near you no matter where you work or live.

Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 a free phone consultation. We will be there when you call.


1. [http://www.childhelp.org/pages/statistics]
2. [http://blogs.westword.com/latestword/2014/05/joseph_renander_child_sex_assault_conviction_again.php]
3. [Id.]
4. [http://law.onecle.com/california/penal/667.61.html]
5. [http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/brothers-charged-n-sexual-abuse-child-lasted-10-years-article-1.1790798]
6. [http://law.onecle.com/california/penal/288.5.html]
7. [http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-couple-world-of-warcraft-prison-child-neglect-20140812-story.html]
8. [http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/displaycode?section=pen&group=00001-01000&file=270-273.75]
9. [http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/displaycode?section=pen&group=00001-01000&file=236-237]
10. [http://criminal.findlaw.com/criminal-charges/contributing-to-the-delinquency-of-a-minor.html]
11. [http://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/local-news/davirak-ky-sentenced-to-probation-substance-treatment-for-feeding-kids-pot-cookies07282014]
12. [Id.]
13. [http://www.9news.com/story/news/crime/2014/07/28/man-sentenced-for-giving-pot-laced-cookies-to-teens/13286303/]
14. [http://law.onecle.com/california/penal/272.html]
15. [http://www.wthr.com/story/26205327/2014/08/05/woman-accused-of-abandoning-baby-in-trash-can-due-in-court-wednesday]
16. [Id.]
17. [http://codes.lp.findlaw.com/cacode/PEN/3/1/6/s664]
18. [http://law.onecle.com/california/penal/12022.7.html]

Author

Author: Paul Wallin

Paul Wallin is one of the most highly respected attorneys in Southern California. His vast experience, zealous advocacy for his clients and extensive knowledge of many areas of the law make Mr. Wallin a premiere Southern California attorney. Mr. Wallin founded Wallin & Klarich in 1981. As the senior partner of Wallin & Klarich, Mr. Wallin has been successfully representing clients for more than 30 years. Clients come to him for help in matters involving assault and battery, drug crimes, juvenile crimes, theft, manslaughter, sex offenses, murder, violent crimes, misdemeanors and felonies. Mr. Wallin also helps clients with family law matters such as divorce and child custody.

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