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GERALD McGEE - 5 months - (2010)Goddard (W of Wichita) KS

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GERALD McGEE - 5 months - (2010)Goddard (W of Wichita) KS Empty GERALD McGEE - 5 months - (2010)Goddard (W of Wichita) KS

Post by TomTerrific0420 Wed Jan 20, 2010 6:58 pm

Authorities have launched an investigation into how a 5-month-old
Goddard boy received a serious head injury early this morning.
The child was taken to Via Christi Regional Medical Center-St. Francis
Campus at about 1 a.m., police spokesman Gordon Bassham said.
The boy's 19-year-old mother reported that he had begun vomiting after
waking up, and then he stopped breathing for a short time.
Wichita police and the Exploited and Missing Child Unit are investigating the
incident, Bassham said. No arrests have been made.


Last edited by TomTerrific0420 on Fri May 14, 2010 4:14 pm; edited 2 times in total
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GERALD McGEE - 5 months - (2010)Goddard (W of Wichita) KS Empty Re: GERALD McGEE - 5 months - (2010)Goddard (W of Wichita) KS

Post by Watcher_of_all Fri May 14, 2010 1:23 pm

The 5-month-old Goddard boy who was taken to a local hospital with a serious head injury early Wednesday morning is in stable condition today, authorities said.

"He was on a ventilator yesterday," said Sgt. Amy Osburn of the Exploited and Missing Child Unit, adding that she did not know if that was still the case today.

No arrests have been made, but the case remains under investigation, she said.

The child was taken to Via Christi Regional Medical Center-St. Francis Campus at about 1 a.m. Wednesday by his mother, police have said.

The 19-year-old woman said she fed her son and put him down to sleep. He awakened later and began vomiting, and then stopped breathing for a short time.
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GERALD McGEE - 5 months - (2010)Goddard (W of Wichita) KS Empty Re: GERALD McGEE - 5 months - (2010)Goddard (W of Wichita) KS

Post by Watcher_of_all Fri May 14, 2010 1:25 pm

On Dec. 28, the paternal grandfather of a 5-month-old boy took him to a Wichita police substation after seeing several bruises on the infant's face.

The baby stayed in police protective custody for a couple of days before being returned to his mother, police and the grandparents say. Then on Jan. 19 — about three weeks after the baby was back with his mother — he was admitted to a Wichita hospital with serious brain injuries. His grandparents don't expect him to survive.

On Thursday, prosecutors charged his mother, 19-year-old Courtney D. McGee, with aggravated battery and felony child abuse, alleging that she beat, shook or injured her baby in a severe and cruel way. She remained in jail under a $100,000 bond. Her attorney could not be reached for comment.

The Sedgwick County District Attorney's Office did not agree with an SRS plan for releasing the boy after he was in protective custody, and prosecutors called for a follow-up investigation that SRS did not pursue, a district attorney's official said Friday.

And now the grandparents fault the child-protection system for returning the baby to his mother.

After an initial investigation involving an SRS caseworker could not rule in abuse or rule it out, the system should have erred on the side of caution and kept the boy away from his mother until the situation could be investigated further, the grandparents say.

"It was so preventable," the grandfather said.

For privacy reasons, the grandparents asked that their names not be used. They said they were speaking for their 18-year-old son, the baby's father.

SRS is criticized

Their case is the latest of three ongoing cases across the state where families have publicly accused the state Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services (SRS) of failing to protect children who were killed or severely injured.

At the same time, some of the loudest criticism of SRS continues to come from people who contend that the agency wrongly removes many children from their families — the opposite of the grandparents' concerns.

SRS spokeswoman Michelle Ponce said Friday that in each case, the agency "must weigh the emotional harm to the child from being removed from the home against the likelihood of harm if he were to remain in the home. It's always a difficult decision."

A timeline

The grandfather provided this timeline: On Dec. 23, the grandparents picked up their grandson and his mother and went to a mall to have pictures taken with Santa. When the grandparents dropped off the mother and child later at her Goddard home, "everything was fine," he said.

The next day, Dec. 24, the mother told the grandparents that her son had been slamming his face against his crib, the grandparents said.

On Christmas Day, when the grandparents picked up the boy, they saw bruises on his face and took pictures of the marks.

"It was bad enough that everyone that had seen it wanted to cry," the grandfather said. "It was obvious what had happened ... some type of blunt force to his face or squeezing or something."

After debating about the situation with family and close friends, on the night of Dec. 28, after the mother requested that her son be returned home, the grandfather took his grandson to the Patrol South station on South Broadway, the grandfather said. A sheriff's deputy came to pick up the child so he could be put in protective custody.

"That was absolutely the hardest thing I had ever done. Because I knew it would be a long time before I would ever get to see him again," the grandfather said. "But I knew it was the right thing. I had to do it for him."

That way, the boy would be safe, he says he thought at the time.

He said his grandson remained in protective custody until around Dec. 31, when the baby went back to his mother.

Capt. Russell Leeds, with the Wichita-Sedgwick County Exploited and Missing Child Unit, confirmed that the 5-month-old boy went back to his mother after being in protective custody for up to 72 hours, and that services were being provided to her through SRS.

DA's perspective

Ron Paschal, deputy district attorney for the juvenile division, said the DA's Office had "ongoing concerns" about the safety of the child and the "nature and extent and location of injuries," and did not approve of the SRS plan for releasing the boy after he was in protective custody.

Instead, prosecutors requested additional investigation by SRS, including an evaluation by a nationally recognized local pediatrician, Paschal said.

"We were told (by SRS) that that was not going to happen" and that the SRS was going to end its investigation, he said.

Paschal said that the DA's stance on the case was in line with its philosophy in such cases: "We follow the law ... but it's our position and policy to err on the side of protecting the child."

Ponce, the SRS spokeswoman, said she doesn't know details of the case and can't comment on it because of confidentiality laws.

Generally, she said, during an investigation after a child is put in protective custody, the social worker assigned to the case would speak to "anybody who would have pertinent information," possibly including a doctor, and recommend to the court whether the child should be removed from his home.

Family's perspective

The decision to return the boy to his mother appears to have rested on a state social worker's relying on a doctor's finding that abuse couldn't be ruled in or out, according to the grandmother.

"The medical system also failed him," the grandfather said. There is evidence of old injuries, he said. "They missed it."

Until it could be sorted out, the baby could have remained with his grandparents or been kept at a foster home, the grandmother said.

"That's all I ask: Be sure. And if they were sure, we wouldn't be doing this."

She said the SRS caseworker told her that "hindsight is 20/20," that the caseworker "wished she would have known then what she knew now," that a doctor couldn't prove it was abuse and couldn't prove it wasn't "and that was a big part of her assessment."

"And her I can forgive," the grandmother said. "A very tough job she has. But even though it's a tough job ... caution should go with the child... . It was a bad call, and she knows it was a bad all. I can't imagine how she's going to feel if he dies."

The grandfather said: "I have seen this woman's face, and you can tell she's tore up about it."

The grandparents say their grandson has sustained multiple "bleeds" in his brain and has been breathing with the help of a ventilator.

Although the grandparents say they have been praying for a miracle, they don't expect their grandson to survive.

"He's going to pass, it's just a matter of when," his grandfather said Friday.

"We just know he's going to be in God's hands, that's all we know," his grandmother added.
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GERALD McGEE - 5 months - (2010)Goddard (W of Wichita) KS Empty Re: GERALD McGEE - 5 months - (2010)Goddard (W of Wichita) KS

Post by Watcher_of_all Fri May 14, 2010 1:26 pm

Gerald McGee touched many lives in his seven months.

Loving hands held the Goddard baby until his last breath late Monday night. He died in a hospice unit at a Wichita hospital, about two months after he was admitted with severe head injuries.

His mother, Courtney McGee, 19, has been charged with aggravated battery. Prosecutors, who allege that McGee shook or injured her baby in a cruel way, have not announced whether they will seek amended charges because of the death.

McGee has pleaded not guilty. Her attorney, Linda Priest, said, "She's devastated by the loss of her son."

Scot Perry, Gerald's paternal grandfather, said he will lobby for a change in state law that he says could have saved Gerald's life.

On Dec. 28, Perry took Gerald to a Wichita police substation after seeing several bruises on the infant's face. The baby stayed in protective custody for a couple of days before being returned to his mother, investigators said. About three weeks after being sent back to his mother, he was hospitalized with the brain injuries.

The Sedgwick County District Attorney's Office did not agree with a plan by the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services for releasing the boy after he was in protective custody. Prosecutors also called for a follow-up investigation that SRS did not pursue, a district attorney's official has said.

Perry said he will seek a new law that would allow a child to be held longer than 72 hours in protective custody. It's not enough time to assess the risks to a child, he said. The protective custody period should last at least two weeks, maybe up to 30 days, he said.

On Tuesday, Gerald's relatives mostly talked about his impact on others' lives. His paternal grandmother, Terri Perry, recalled how strangers came to Gerald's hospital room because they were touched by what had happened to him. One was an emergency medical technician. "She was crying. Just wanted to come in and give us a hug," Terri Perry said.

Gerald's father, Dustin Perry, 19, who did not live with Gerald's mother, said it was important for people to try to comfort Gerald in his last days.

Gerald's grandmother sang to him, slept with him.

"There was very rarely a time when he was not being held by somebody," Dustin Perry said.

When he told his classmates at South High School about what had happened to Gerald, he said, "They were just as hurt and upset as I was about the whole thing. We all just rallied around."

Dustin's father, Scot Perry, said the young people learned "so many life lessons" while visiting Gerald at the hospital.

Courtney McGee's grandmother, Beverly Richardson, said her granddaughter "loved that child. Gerald was, in her eyes, a gift. And she is ... absolutely devastated."

"Of course, there's two sides to every story, and it's unfortunate we can't speak our side. Courtney was a good mother, and she loved her son. ... He was a sweet little boy, and he will be missed."

Scot Perry recalled the joy the baby brought.

"There was something about Gerald that was very, very special. He just lit your day up. You were who he wanted to see, no matter who it was. He never met a person he didn't smile at.

"He meant so much to me.

"Nothing that life's ever going to throw at me is going to be harder than this."
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GERALD McGEE - 5 months - (2010)Goddard (W of Wichita) KS Empty Re: GERALD McGEE - 5 months - (2010)Goddard (W of Wichita) KS

Post by mermaid55 Wed May 18, 2011 11:53 pm

Posted on Sun, Nov. 21, 2010


Grandfather to push for change in Kansas custody law



Scot Perry is not a professional lobbyist.
He's an unemployed aircraft parts inspector. But the 42-year-old Wichita man is about to become a lobbyist of sorts for a personal reason.
It's for his grandson, Gerald McGee, who at 7 months old became a homicide victim.
The grandfather will push for a change in state law to give the child protection system more time to determine a child's fate after police have put a child in temporary protective custody. The system is responsible for determining whether a child has been abused or neglected, whether he can safely go back to his family or whether he needs to be placed in state custody.
Now, investigators and social workers have 72 hours or three days to determine the facts, decide on a temporary placement and hold a hearing if the state is seeking custody.
Perry wants the period to be extended to at least two weeks. In his view, it would give authorities enough time to thoroughly investigate and determine what's best for a child.
Such a change, he said, could have saved Gerald's life.
Wichita Deputy Police Chief Tom Stolz and Deputy District Attorney Ron Paschal agree with Perry's general thrust — that more time would help ensure that children are safe.
Because of Perry's intervention — he drove Gerald to a police station after he saw bruises on his face — Gerald was put in protective custody. By the end of the 72 hours, the 5-month-old boy was released to his mother. Three weeks later, on Jan. 19, an EMS crew rushed him from the Goddard mobile home where he was staying. A hospital examination found severe brain injuries.
Gerald never recovered from his injuries and died two months later. A coroner ruled his death a homicide.
Stolz, the deputy police chief, said the 72-hour window "does pressure law enforcement to ... go in and get quick investigations done." He said he would like to see 24 hours added, for a total of 96 hours.
The goal is to have a reasonable amount of time for investigating. But it takes time to sort through cases that often involve complicated, sometimes volatile, family dynamics, Stolz said.
"You don't want to take a child away from a house for a minute longer than you have to," he said.
"We're not in the business of splitting up and fragmenting families."
In recent years, parents across Kansas have mounted a vocal, organized effort to convince legislators that police, state social workers and judges have been too quick to take steps leading to removing children from their families. They contend the state has been heavy-handed. They have accused foster parents of doing more harm than good. The system deals with difficult choices: Removing a child from his family, even for a few days, can traumatize him and his parents. Not removing a child, or not doing it soon enough, can lead to his death.
Paschal, the prosecutor who heads the district attorney's Juvenile Division, provided written testimony to legislators in 2006 arguing that 72 hours wasn't enough to determine the facts and viable placement options.
Paschal wants prosecutors to have the option of asking a judge for an additional 72 hours in certain cases — doubling the investigative period.
"We would give all the fact-finders more time to determine the facts" and figure out if a child could be placed with a relative, he said.
Some cases are so complex that even doubling the time might not be sufficient, he said.
"We want to get the kids to where they need to be, as soon as possible, safely," Paschal said. "A child can always be returned home — if they're safe."

Read more: http://www.kansas.com/2010/11/21/1598067/grandfather-to-push-for-change.html#ixzz1Mke33kOP

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GERALD McGEE - 5 months - (2010)Goddard (W of Wichita) KS Empty Re: GERALD McGEE - 5 months - (2010)Goddard (W of Wichita) KS

Post by mermaid55 Wed May 18, 2011 11:56 pm

Posted on Thu, Jan. 13, 2011


Mother of slain baby on 1-year probation


Even with the sentencing of his mother Wednesday, the question of who killed Gerald McGee remains unresolved.
No one has been charged with killing the 7-month-old even though his death last March has been ruled a homicide caused by a traumatic brain injury.
But as Gerald's mother stood in court Wednesday, awaiting her sentence after pleading guilty to a reduced charge of aggravated endangerment of her son, her attorney in effect pointed a finger at someone else.
"We welcome a further investigation ... because the true perpetrator does need to be brought to justice," said Mark Orr, a deputy public defender representing Gerald's mother, Courtney McGee.
Sedgwick County District Judge Patrick Walters sentenced McGee to seven months in prison but placed her on a one-year probation.
Before the judge announced the sentence, Orr, in defending his client, articulated a timeline leading up to bruises that Gerald suffered in December 2009. At the time, McGee was 19 and in a relationship with a man — not Gerald's father — who was mentally and physically abusive to her, Orr said.
Orr referred to the man as a "gangbanger" — a member of the Folk gang.
Orr described McGee's situation this way: that "she was very afraid" of the man, that she couldn't explain bruises on her infant son's face, that the man told her Gerald rolled over and hit his face on his crib, that Gerald's father's family became concerned over the bruises and contacted police, and that after an investigation, authorities couldn't conclusively find that Gerald had been abused.
And there was more, Orr said: After an SRS investigation, McGee became suspicious of the man because he had abused her. She wouldn't let the man be alone with Gerald. McGee was trying to get away from the man. (She was staying with him in Goddard.) She was just days away from moving in with her mother.
But, according to Orr, she got sick with flu and was bed-ridden. During this time, Gerald woke up fussy, and when the man said he would pick up Gerald, she told him to bring Gerald directly to her.
Something happened to Gerald between the nursery and her room, Orr said.
The man threatened her, saying if she told her "story," he or his "Folk buddies" would shoot her, Orr said, adding that his client knew she should have left the man but was ill and fearful.
After hearing Orr's version, Walters asked McGee if she wanted to speak.
As she stood by her lawyer, through tears, she uttered one sentence —"I didn't do it."
In November, after McGee pleaded guilty to the endangerment charge, the prosecutor said that the endangerment of the child occurred during a period before Gerald suffered severe injuries and died.
Asked in November why no one has been charged with the boy's death, Deputy District Attorney Marc Bennett said: "The homicide of this child remains under investigation. ... No suspects have been eliminated at this point."
In court Wednesday, the judge silently read a letter from the family of Gerald's father, Dustin Perry. Perry and Gerald's paternal grandfather, Scot Perry sat in the courtroom.
The letter, a copy of which was given to The Eagle by the Perry family, is written in the voice of the grandfather: "I am here today to ask the court to impose the maximum sentence possible on Courtney McGee. Because of her actions, inactions, my beautiful, innocent grandson is dead.
"Gerald was a bright, shining light in our family. Simply by entering our lives, he helped bring our family closer together because who could possibly care about petty things when he smiled that smile ...
"Courtney was fully aware of the home situation in which she kept Gerald. She was his mother. She was supposed to protect him. ... She could have kept him safe by taking him some where else or leaving him with us ... . "
Partly because of her lack of a criminal history, McGee faced a maximum of seven months in prison, and a plea agreement recommended probation. Based on sentencing guidelines, she was expected to receive probation. Prosecutors had originally charged McGee with aggravated battery and felony child abuse — crimes that would have carried a longer sentence.
Before Walters announced the sentence and granted her probation, he told McGee that she "had a duty to protect that child above all else," but that she seemed to put herself and her child "in a very dangerous situation." She put her "desire to protect herself" over her child's safety, he said.
With the death of a defenseless infant, the sentence "doesn't seem adequate," Walters said.
Walters told McGee she would have to follow a number of requirements, including that she get a mental-health evaluation and follow its recommendations, take a parenting class (she does not have other children) and get a job or seek employment.
And he gave her a warning: "You stay away from gangbangers. You stay away from people who harm other people. ...
"If you don't comply with my probation, I'm going to send you to prison."

Read more: http://www.kansas.com/2011/01/13/1672146/mother-of-slain-baby-on-1-year.html#ixzz1MkegywiG
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