Thursday, December 30, 2010

Doctor and assistant jailed for selling newborn

A MALAYSIAN court sentenced a doctor and his assistant to a year in jail for selling a newborn boy in what a government lawyer said today was a rare successful prosecution over baby trafficking.

A court in southern Johor state found Dr Robert Luk and his assistant Suleiman Salim guilty yesterday of selling the baby to a couple for 10,000 ringgit ($A3151) in 2005, said prosecutor Dzul Iswari Mohamad Jaafar.

Luk, working at a private obstetrics clinic, was accused of altering the birth certificate of the boy, born to a poor woman who wanted to give him up for adoption. Suleiman acted as a middleman, taking the baby from the woman, Dzul Iswari said.

The offence - unlawful transfer of control of a child - carries a maximum penalty of five years in jail and a fine. The judge postponed the execution of the sentence to allow the two men to appeal.

Dzul Iswari told The Associated Press that the couple who bought the baby was not charged, nor was the mother.

The couple was not aware of the sale and believed they were adopting the baby legally, thinking that the money they paid was the fee to cover the boy's mother's medical bills, he said.

The mother was unaware that her son was sold for money and believed he was being given up for adoption through proper channels, Dzul Iswari said. The couple and mother appeared as prosecution witnesses.

Several people have been arrested in recent years over the sale of babies.

But it was not immediately clear if any of the accused were ever convicted. Dzul Iswari said there had been no successful prosecutions until yesterday's verdict, as all other cases were pending.

"This has become the first such case," he said.

Abdul Majid Hamzah, head of the prosecution division in the Attorney General's chambers, said he recalls some successful prosecutions but could not give details.

The act under which the doctor and his assistant were charged came into effect in 2001.

Last year, Malaysian police rescued six babies and arrested 15 people allegedly involved in a child trafficking ring, which paid women to get pregnant for childless couples. It was not immediately clear whether any of the suspects were prosecuted.

The Kuala Lumpur-based group allegedly paid Malaysian, Indonesian, Filipino and Vietnamese immigrant women 5000 ringgit (AUD$1,575) for each baby delivered.

The babies were sold on for 20,000 ringgit each (AUD$A6401). The gang is believed to have been operating for more than five years.

Dad charged with hurting baby

Infant boy hospitalized in critical condition

LAWRENCE — A father previously jailed for breaking his daughter's skull is now charged with shaking his 3-month-old son and critically injurying the infant.

Alexis Medina, 23, of 4 Inman St., apt. 19, was arrested Tuesday night and charged with assault and battery on a child causing serious bodily injury.

His son had difficulty breathing and was later diagnosed by emergency room doctors as having "broken ribs, a broken vertebrae and other symptoms associated with shaken baby syndrome," Prosecutor Jennifer Kunsch said in court yesterday.

In 2008, Medina was sentenced to 18 months in jail for causing his daughter's skull fracture, according to court and police records.

Medina told police that in an effort to quiet the baby Tuesday morning, "he placed his son face down in his crib and pushed on his back until he became quiet and fell asleep." "Medina told us he had done that in the past and it has usually worked and his son would fall asleep," wrote Detective Paul MacMillan in a police report.

He told police he regularly played "rough" with his son and "may hug him too hard at times," according to the report.

Yesterday morning, as he stood in the prisoner's dock in the courtroom at Lawrence District Court, Medina's defense attorney, Steven Van Dyke of the Committee for Public Council Services, attempted to shield him from public view and a news photographer's camera.

Van Dyke had asked Judge Kevin Gaffney to allow Medina to stand behind a courtroom door and just listen to the arraignment proceedings yesterday morning. Gaffney rebuffed his request, however.

Gaffney ordered Medina held without bail until Jan. 7 for a probable cause hearing.

Police and paramedics went to Medina's Inman Street apartment at 10:15 a.m. Tuesday after receiving a report of an "infant not breathing."

Paramedics immediately started CPR while detectives were called to the scene to investigate, police said.

The baby was taken to Lawrence General Hospital and later to Tufts Medical Center in Boston. At 5:30 Tuesday night, Tufts personnel notified Lawrence police that the "infant was in critical condition," MacMillan wrote in his report.

MacMillan, along with Detective Brian Voisine and state troopers assigned to District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett's office, went to Tufts to interview Medina.

He said that around midnight the night before "his son would not sleep so he had squeezed him and shook him, trying to get him to fall asleep." Medina told police "he was tired and just wanted his son to sleep," MacMillan wrote in his report.

In the morning, when his son cried again, Medina said he did what he'd done before; put the infant face down in the crib and pushed on his back until he stopped crying.

Medina also told police he has problems with his wife, employment and money troubles.

After speaking with doctors, police arrested Medina and brought him back to the Lawrence police department Tuesday night for booking.

Attempts to reach the baby's mother were unsuccessful yesterday.

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Boomers getting old in a crowd

It's almost 2011 -- the first year that baby boomers will officially become senior boomers.

One baby boomer will reach 65, the traditional retirement age, every eight seconds for the next 18 years, according to the U.S. Census. As a result, the population age 65 and older will increase 79 percent between 2010 and 2030.
We boomers have spent our entire lives in crowds. We were born in hospitals with maternity wings so full that many of us spent our first days in a crib in the hallway. There were routinely 50, or even 60, kids in our elementary school classes -- but we learned to read anyway.

To accommodate us when we got to high school, communities had to build thousands of new buildings. And when I graduated from Ohio State University in 1972, there were more than 60,000 kids on the main campus in Columbus.
When we boomer women opted to stay in the workforce after our children were born, we revolutionized how the world did business. And now we're thinking about leaving that workforce, although a recent survey by Charles Schwab found that 88 percent of boomers -- men and women -- expect to work at least part time, even though they are eligible for full retirement benefits. About 28 percent say they "need more money."

Why is that? Schwab's survey says that 44 percent of Americans on brink of retirement expect to retire with debt. And 30 percent expect to rely on Social Security as their primary source of income in retirement. With the average Social Security payment less than $1,200 per month, living on it is surely a retirement planning challenge.
My husband, who is a leading-edge baby boomer, spent part of his day today figuring out how Medicare will mesh with his company health plan. This was all new territory for the human resources people where he works, so they figured it out together, knowing that my husband is only the first of many to ask these same questions.
Growing old in a crowd should be interesting.

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Infant's death, investigation leads to warrant for arrest

— An eight-month investigation into the death of an infant led the Grady County District Attorney's office to issue a warrant Tuesday for the arrest of a 27-year-old Blanchard woman.

Court documents show that charges filed against Kasey Duverney include one felony count of child neglect and one felony count of second degree manslaughter.

Information filed by Michael Francis, an investigator with the District Six District Attorney's Office, states that Duverney failed to provide the proper care and supervision of the child by placing him in a bed which was not safe for an infant. She was responsible for him while her boyfriend, the baby's father, had gone to work.

Francis said that while in the bed, Trevor squirmed into a position where he ultimately suffocated and died.

Records show that the baby's parents were going through a divorce during March and April and the father had left the home and moved to the home of his girlfriend, Duverney.

On April 9, the mother allowed her estranged husband to have a scheduled overnight visit with Trevor. He had repeatedly reassured the mother that he had an appropriate children's crib for the baby to sleep in while in his custody.

At about 5:40 p.m. Duverney called the Grady County 911 dispatcher and advised that "the baby is dead." Records show that she told the dispatcher she found Trevor hanging from the bed stuck between the bed railing and the mattress. When emergency workers arrived on scene they were unable to save him.

The medical examiner ruled the cause of death as mechanical asphyxiation caused by being caught between a bed railing and the mattress. Documents state that according to witness statements, the bed was not a safe children's crib. It was a modified single bed frame with a board running along the side.

Francis said that as Trevor's temporary caregiver, Duverney committed child neglect when she failed to provide for the proper care and supervision of the baby and placed him in an unsafe adult bed where his injury led to his death.

Upon conviction of child neglect, the crime is punishable by imprisonment up to life in the Department of Corrections or by up to one-year in the county jail or by a fine of not less than $500 nor more than $5,000, or both such fine and imprisonment.

Upon conviction of second-degree manslaughter, the crime is punishable by imprisonment for two to four years in the penitentiary or imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding one year or a fine of up to $1,000 or both.

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Baby Jesus stolen from crib

Brighton might be Britain’s most Godless city, but an East Sussex village is sans Jesus.

Soulless thieves have stolen a baby Jesus figurine from a church in Sidley near Bexhill.

The un-Godley thieves also attempted to make off with Joseph and a sheep but were forced to drop their loot when challenged by Father Trevor Buxton.

Joseph and the sheep have since been returned to Mary and the rest of the Nativity. But the statuette of the infant Lord, pinched from his crib outside All Saints Church, All Saints Lane, is still missing.

Sussex Police were called to reports of three teenage boys removing a figurine of Joseph, a sheep and baby Jesus shortly after 6pm on Wednesday.

The youths ran off towards Ninfield Road.

Sergeant Tricia Reeve-Fowkes said: “This Nativity crib has been at All Saints Church for many years.

“This is the first time that the figures have been stolen and the members of the church are very upset that this has happened.”

The missing figurine is described as 15 inches long, made of hardboard, flat in the shape of an infant and is painted bright red, yellow and blue.

There is no detailed description of the three teenage boys other than one boy was wearing a grey tracksuit.

If anyone has any knowledge of the whereabouts of the missing figurine please contact Sussex Police on 0845 60 70 999 quoting serial 1185 of 29/12 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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Baby Crib Safety

New Baby Crib Safety Standard Slated to Take Effect in June 2011

Photo of recalled baby crib

Since 2007, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has recalled more than 11 million dangerous infant and toddler cribs. In an effort to ensure a safe sleeping enviroment for small children, on December 17, 2010, CPSC voted unanimously to approve new mandatory standards for baby cribs. The new standard will effect both full-size and non-full-size cribs.

The new federal standard will take effect in June 2011, requiring cribs being manufactured, sold, or leased in the United States to comply with the new safety standards. CPSC said the mandatory crib standards will stop the manufacture and sale of traditional drop-side cribs, will require mattress supports be made stronger, crib hardware must be made more durable, and safety testing will be made more exacting.

Child care facilities, such as day cares and home infant care facilities, and places of public accommodation, including hotels and motels, will be required to have cribs that meet the new standards in their places of business within 24 months after the new ruling takes effect.

CPSC has received reports of 32 crib related deaths due to infant suffocation and strangulation involving drop-side cribs since 2000. Faulty and/or defective hardware is also to blame for the deaths of more children.

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