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An Oregon family is finally seeing some justice after the arrest of the babysitter suspected of assaulting their one year-old son.
Markell Deon Hilaire, 27, was arrested for criminal mistreatment and assault charges on Friday for the incident that occurred nearly three months ago, KPTV reported.
The arrest came after parents Alicia Quinney and Joshua Marbury took to social media to demand action to be taken by authorities on the alleged mistreatment of their son that left him with a hand-shaped bruise across his face and head.
The Sherwoood couple said they returned home to find Hilaire, a family friend they trusted, fast asleep on the couch and the baby, Jacob, crying on the floor in his room, according to KPTV. After Jacob awoke the next morning covered in bruises, the parents alerted police.
But after months of not being able to prosecute the case, a frustrated Marbury reached out on Facebook, posting photos of Jacob with the bruises and drawing attention to a loophole in Oregon laws that prevents protection of children.
According to KPTV:
“To prove that a child is physically abused in court, prosecutors said they must produce evidence a child was in substantial pain, or there was an impairment of a child’s physical condition.
As Oregon law stands now, it also requires victims of abuse to be able to explain how they suffered.
If victims are too young to communicate what happened, prosecutors said it’s difficult to charge their abuser with a crime, even if they have a confession and even if the crime is caught on camera.”
The babysitter’s arrest came after weeks of outrage on social media as Jacob’s pictures went viral. Prosecutors had initially told the parents the case would be difficult to pursue because of the existing law, KPTV reported.
“They were able to do more research and speak with the doctors and try to figure out if they had enough evidence that Jacob was in substantial pain, so they felt like they had enough to prove that,” said Quinney, who followed up with a note of thanks on Facebook after the arrest.
The Washington County District Attorney’s Office called on changes to be made to the current law.
“Although charges were filed in this particular case, the need to fix Oregon law to protect vulnerable victims remains. Under current Oregon law, animals are more protected from physical injury than many children,” prosecutors said in a statement, according to KPTV.
Hilaire made his first court appearance Monday where he was charged with Criminal Mistreatment and 3rd and 4th Degree Assault.
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Video from KPTV.
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