An Oregon couple used Facebook to seek justice for their one-year-old son, allegedly beaten and bruised by his babysitter. The sitter was finally charged after an Oregon community and countless social media users demanded action from officials.
After receiving an inadequate response from local law enforcement, Alicia Quinney and Joshua Marbury posted a heartbreaking picture of their badly bruised son, Jacob, on Facebook. The couple said they took the photo after they returned home to find him on the floor crying, while his babysitter, Markell Hilaire, was asleep.
“The first thing I saw was Jacob’s black eye,” Quinney told. “And I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, what happened?’ And he turned over and the whole side of his face was black and blue.”
Quinney and Marbury rushed little Jacob to the hospital, where he received treatment for his injuries. The doctors and social workers took statements from the couple, documented the child’s injuries, and photographed his scars. Upon leaving the hospital, Quinney and Marbury went to the Sherwood Police Department to file an official report.
The couple’s abuse case was placed under investigation and was turned over to the Washington County District Attorney, a Sherwood Police Department spokesman said.
Two months passed, and the couple had not seen any action from local law enforcement. The authorities elected not to arrest Hilaire, citing an obscure legal loophole.
This prompted Marbury to post the photos of his battered child on social media.
He wrote on Facebook:
After several days if not week of being distracted at my job (only commission sales job and only source of income) we had a confession from the abuser saying they did it. STILL this person was not arrested because they had to build a case and a jury to find him guilty BEFORE they go to jail. Side note if I’m not mistaken (if I strike a person in the face and the cops were called I would be put in hand cuffs immediately). After TWO months of waiting we only find out that charges are dropped BECAUSE my one year old cannot tell you verbally he was abused and my son did not show he was in pain OR that this person “intentionally” did this.
The horrific photos showing little Jacob’s abuse went viral, being shared more than 400,000 times. The Facebook post eventually led to the Washington County district attorney’s decision to charge Hilaire with criminal mistreatment and assault.
“Although charges were filed in this particular case, the need to fix Oregon law to protect vulnerable victims remains,” the prosecutor’s office told KPTV in a statement. “Under current Oregon law, animals are more protected from physical injury than many children.”