Massachusetts Victims

Defend The Children.Org NEW

Rest in Peace
260025km8n359t0u.jpg
Adrian and Genesis

Man kills his two young children, and himself
By Associated Press
Monday, March 5, 2007 - Updated: 04:42 PM EST

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - A father killed his two young children and himself by setting his car on fire in the parking lot of his estranged girlfriend’s workplace Monday, police said. 
 Hipolito Ortiz, 37, set the car ablaze in an industrial park in Springfield shortly before 10 a.m., police said. Inside the car, the bodies of 2-year-old Adrian Ortiz and 6-year-old Genesis Ortiz were burned beyond recognition, police said. 
 The children’s mother, whose name was not released, was at work inside Harvey Industries when firefighters responded to the parking lot at 9:30 a.m. 
 Police Capt. Robert Cheetham described Ortiz and the mother as estranged for the past month. Ortiz, however, drove the woman to work, dropped her off at 7 a.m., and planned to spend the day with their two children. 
    ”What transpired between the drop off and the murder-suicide, I have no idea,” Cheetham said.
Police didn’t rule out that the children were killed before the fire.
      ”It’s as bad as it gets,” Cheetham said of the burned crime scene.
The mother was distraught upon learning what happened, and was brought to a local emergency room, said Dennis Leger, a spokesman for the fire department.
Waltham-based Harvey Industries manufactures doors and window frames and operates a warehouse in Springfield. The company said in a statement: ”We are surprised and saddened by the events that occurred in the parking lot of our Springfield manufacturing facility earlier today.”

Rest in Peace
000whitechildangel11th.jpg
Jocelyn

Mother charged with shaking baby to death

By Julie Manganis , Staff writer
Salem News

PEABODY - A Peabody mother who lost custody of her baby at birth because both she and the infant tested positive for drugs, then regained custody, has been charged with shaking the child to death.

Prosecutors obtained a warrant for Jennifer Ward, 37, of 30 Keys Drive, charging her with murder, moments after a grand jury returned an indictment against Ward yesterday afternoon.

Jocelyn Ward Anderson, born on Feb. 22, died Nov. 21 at Children's Hospital Boston, three days after she was apparently shaken by her mother, said Karen Dawley, a spokeswoman for Essex County District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett.

The cause of death was determined to be abusive head trauma, Dawley said.

The baby was first taken to Lahey Clinic in Peabody on Nov. 18 by Ward, according to Richard Nangle, a spokesman for the Department of Social Services.

DSS took custody of Jocelyn shortly after she was born because of the positive drug tests. Nangle declined to identify the drug that was found in both the baby and her mother.

The baby was returned to Ward shortly after that, after she agreed to outpatient therapy, Nangle said, but was removed a second time after a report of neglect.

Ward went through drug treatment and a parenting education program, which she completed successfully, Nangle said.

Ward regained custody of the baby after that, Nangle said, though he would not say how long that was before the child was fatally injured.

The Lynn Juvenile Court, with the consent of the DSS, dismissed a care and protection order that gave the state agency custody.

"Everyone in this case thought it was a success story," said Nangle, who said the child's death stunned those involved with the case. "It had all the markings of something successful."

The fact that Ward was considerably older than most parents DSS is involved with was one of the factors DSS considered in returning the baby to her mother, Nangle said.

"This was in many ways a typical case," Nangle said in an e-mail. "The mother has the baby taken away shortly after birth, successfully completes drug treatment, does very well, the baby is transitioned back to the family, and the courts sign off on the case. The family has a good support network, and everyone involved believes it is right to return the baby to the mother."



Nangle said all of the signs "indicated stability and positive outcomes."

"This was a very typical case, except for the outcome," Nangle said.

Investigators from the state police unit attached to the district attorney's office spent several weeks building their case before it was presented to the grand jury yesterday by prosecutor Kate MacDougall, who is head of the district attorney's family crimes and sexual assault unit. That unit includes a team that reviews all child deaths in the county.

If convicted of murder, Ward faces a mandatory life sentence. A manslaughter conviction could result in up to 20 years in prison.

Nangle said the case should remind everyone that babies should never be shaken.

PEABODY - A Peabody mother who lost custody of her baby at birth because both she and the infant tested positive for drugs, then regained custody, has been charged with shaking the child to death.

Prosecutors obtained a warrant for Jennifer Ward, 37, of 30 Keys Drive, charging her with murder, moments after a grand jury returned an indictment against Ward yesterday afternoon.

Jocelyn Ward Anderson, born on Feb. 22, died Nov. 21 at Children's Hospital Boston, three days after she was apparently shaken by her mother, said Karen Dawley, a spokeswoman for Essex County District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett.

The cause of death was determined to be abusive head trauma, Dawley said.

The baby was first taken to Lahey Clinic in Peabody on Nov. 18 by Ward, according to Richard Nangle, a spokesman for the Department of Social Services.

DSS took custody of Jocelyn shortly after she was born because of the positive drug tests. Nangle declined to identify the drug that was found in both the baby and her mother.

The baby was returned to Ward shortly after that, after she agreed to outpatient therapy, Nangle said, but was removed a second time after a report of neglect.

Ward went through drug treatment and a parenting education program, which she completed successfully, Nangle said.

Ward regained custody of the baby after that, Nangle said, though he would not say how long that was before the child was fatally injured.

The Lynn Juvenile Court, with the consent of the DSS, dismissed a care and protection order that gave the state agency custody.

"Everyone in this case thought it was a success story," said Nangle, who said the child's death stunned those involved with the case. "It had all the markings of something successful."

The fact that Ward was considerably older than most parents DSS is involved with was one of the factors DSS considered in returning the baby to her mother, Nangle said.

"This was in many ways a typical case," Nangle said in an e-mail. "The mother has the baby taken away shortly after birth, successfully completes drug treatment, does very well, the baby is transitioned back to the family, and the courts sign off on the case. The family has a good support network, and everyone involved believes it is right to return the baby to the mother."



Nangle said all of the signs "indicated stability and positive outcomes."

"This was a very typical case, except for the outcome," Nangle said.

Investigators from the state police unit attached to the district attorney's office spent several weeks building their case before it was presented to the grand jury yesterday by prosecutor Kate MacDougall, who is head of the district attorney's family crimes and sexual assault unit. That unit includes a team that reviews all child deaths in the county.

If convicted of murder, Ward faces a mandatory life sentence. A manslaughter conviction could result in up to 20 years in prison.

Nangle said the case should remind everyone that babies should never be shaken.

Published: March 03, 2007 12:00 am     

Beverly mother gets 15-18 years in child sex abuse case

By Julie Manganis , Staff writer
Salem News

SALEM - Mary Jean Armstrong, the Beverly mother who prostituted her 8-year-old daughter for more than a year in exchange for cocaine was sentenced to 15 to 18 years in state prison yesterday by a judge who said Armstrong had "damaged her daughter for life."

"I'm sorry that I had to put my kids through that," a tearful Armstrong, 38, said at the end of a nearly two-hour hearing in Salem Superior Court yesterday, a hearing marked by repeated delays as Armstrong's lawyer had to stop to explain each of the 22 charges.

Those charges include seven counts each of child rape and indecent assault and battery (while Armstrong did not commit the acts, she enabled co-defendant Richard Lapham to do so and was therefore also charged); two counts of inducing a minor into prostitution; four counts of child endangerment; and two counts of posing a child in the nude.

Those last two charges were based on two photos that led police to discover one of the most shocking child sexual abuse cases in recent memory, a case prosecutor Elizabeth Dunigan said left even veteran police officers traumatized by what they found one summer night in 2004. Most of those investigators from the Salem Police Department attended yesterday's hearing.

Dunigan described how the case came to light after a woman named Jill Pena-Contreras visited Lapham's Salem apartment, where he showed her photos of himself engaging in sexual acts with a dark-haired little girl and boasted of how he gave the girl's mother crack cocaine in exchange.

Horrified, Pena-Contreras later returned to the apartment and stole the pictures, then brought them to police, an act Dunigan called heroic.

Police used the photos to get a search warrant for Lapham's apartment, expecting to find more photos. They walked in on a horrific scene: the little girl, 9 at the time, naked under a blanket, Lapham dressed in his underwear, a pornographic video playing on the television.

Armstrong was in a bedroom with her other child, a 12-year-old boy who is autistic. And, said her lawyer, she was already high on cocaine and painkillers.

The little girl told police officers that Lapham had undressed her and made her touch him and that it had happened many times. Armstrong would tell police that it happened as many as 50 times during a 16-month period, sometimes in Lapham's apartment and sometimes in her Beverly apartment.



"She was the person that started this," said Dunigan, who asked for a 25- to 30-year prison term. "She was the person who did not stop this, and she is the person who is taking responsibility for this today."

But defense lawyer William Martin said it was Lapham who was the true villain in the case.

"This was not her idea," Martin said. "This came from Richard Lapham. This sick idea came from him. He was the ringmaster in this terrible, sick circus."

Lapham is now serving a 15- to 18-year prison term imposed in 2005 after he pleaded guilty.

Martin said Armstrong is taking responsibility and wanted to spare the children from having to testify in court. But he urged Judge Leila Kern to impose a shorter, eight- to 10-year prison term, saying there were mitigating factors, including Armstrong's low IQ of 59 and the fact that Armstrong was herself molested as a child.

Dunigan urged the judge to consider the victim, however.

"She is changed forever," Dunigan said of the victim, who has since been adopted, along with her brother, by a new family. "We will never know the woman she would have been."

The girl is slowly beginning to understand the abuse that happened, said Dunigan, who described how shortly after the abuse was discovered, the little girl was questioned by a team of investigators. On a tape of that interview, the little girl is curled into a ball, clutching a teddy bear tightly to her chest and fidgeting.

Almost two years later, the girl was interviewed again. This time, she would describe the abuse and then say, "That's bad, that's bad," Dunigan said.

The girl's adopted mother said in a victim-impact statement that she cannot fathom how a mother could so badly use and abuse her own child.

"I wish I could erase (her) memory of all those things," the girl's adopted mother said in her statement.

Armstrong's prison sentence is identical to that received by Lapham back in 2005. She received twice as much probation as Lapham, who will be on probation for five years after his release from prison.

And it is longer than what sentencing guidelines suggest, an eight- to 12-year prison term.

Kern said in a sentencing memorandum that she would exceed the guidelines because of the damage done to the girl.



"While I am disturbed by the fact that society as a whole has failed Mary Jean Armstrong and in turn to a much greater extent, her daughter, what the defendant did has damaged her daughter for life and it is only with the love of her adoptive family and extensive counseling that the child can hope to mature into a healthy person," Kern wrote in a sentencing memorandum.

Another defendant in the case, Patrick Doyle, was sentenced last month to a year in jail for his role in the case. During one episode of abuse in Armstrong's apartment Doyle was present and having sex with Armstrong and another woman as the crying girl was being raped by Lapham. Doyle did nothing to stop the rape, then threatened Pena-Contreras after learning she had gone to police.

His sentence drew outrage and was a heated topic of discussion even on a national cable television program. It also led to the filing of legislation earlier this week to increase the penalties for child endangerment.

In spite of that furor, few showed up yesterday to watch the Armstrong sentencing. Other than the police investigators who worked the case, Armstrong's mother and a friend, there was just one other member of the public who came to watch the hearing.

Robert L'Italien, the final defendant in the case, is scheduled to plead guilty on March 19

Rest in Peace
peace.jpg
Rebecca Riley.

A chronology of involvement by the state Department of Social Services with the family of 4-year-old Rebecca Riley.

December 2002: DSS receives a complaint that the Rileys' oldest child had been neglected while the family was living in Springfield. DSS substantiates the complaint and opens a file on the family.

June 2005: DSS investigates allegations that Michael Riley had sexually abused Carolyn Riley's 13-year-old daughter from another relationship and refers case to Norfolk district attorney's office. DSS also investigates whether Carolyn Riley had neglected the couple's three children.

June 2006: The oldest child, an 11-year-old boy, is taken to the hospital by ambulance. DSS is assured by doctors and neurologists that he was not abused or neglected.

June 2006: A therapist working with Rebecca and her 6-year-old sister files a complaint with DSS after Rebecca's 6-year-old sister said during a home visit that Michael Riley had hit her. DSS had already investigated and did not substantiate the report

July 2006: The therapist files a second complaint with DSS, saying that during another home visit that Carolyn Riley appeared drugged and pointed out a puddle of urine where Rebecca had wet the rug while napping. DSS says doctors treating the Riley family say the mother and children are receiving appropriate medication.

October 2006: DSS investigates and substantiates reports from relatives that Michael Riley grabbed his son by the neck and slammed his head against a car window. Carolyn Riley seeks a restraining order.

November 2006: DSS meets in the agency's Weymouth office with Carolyn Riley, who says she plans to move to Hull and assures them the restraining order against her husband is still active.

Dec. 13, 2006: Rebecca Riley is found dead on her parents' bedroom floor. An autopsy later indicates she was poisoned by prescription medicine. DSS removes her siblings and places them in foster care. The agency also begins taking steps to seek a second medical opinion on the treatment and diagnosis of Rebecca Riley and her two siblings.

SOURCE: State Department of Social Services, State Police

Sign my Guestbook

Please email admin@defendthechildren if you wish to join or to correspond with us.  Also if you would like to give suggestions or ask questions please email us.  Thank you

coa.jpg

This site  The Web 

The information on this site is not to be copied,  transferred or changed in any way without express permission of the owners/managers. Please feel free to link to us.

Much information is copywrited and while we have been granted permission to use it on this site, we do not have permission to transfer that permission to others.

We are grateful and thankful to those allowing us to use their information and strongly recommend that one checks out their websites and our links.  By all of us working together, we can help the children.