Sherwood, Ore. (KATU) — A stay-at-home mom of two, Alicia Quinney doesn’t get out too much. So, it was a rare night back in late march when she and her boyfriend stepped out for two hours, leaving her kids in the care of a family friend to babysit.
When they got home, the babysitter was asleep on the couch and Alicia’s son Jacob was crying. “The next morning, it was 8:30 and that’s when he woke up and that’s when I saw Jacob. The first thing I saw was a black eye. First thing I saw,” said Alicia.
They rushed Jacob to the hospital, where he had several tests. They also filed a police report. Sherwood Police say they don’t believe the parents were responsible for the bruises, instead pointing the finger at the babysitter.
KATU is not naming the sitter, because he hasn’t been charged. That was back in march.
With no arrest, the parents turned to social media — detailing their ordeal. A day later, it’s been shared more than a 100,000 times.
While the Washington County District Attorney’s Office says a final decision on whether they can file charges has not been made, a spokesperson for Sherwood Police say they received information late last week that because of Oregon law, it would be difficult to prosecute.
They’re referring to the 2012 ruling by the Oregon Court of Appeals which makes it difficult to prove “substantial pain” in child abuse cases where the victim can’t speak.
Paul Mones is an Oregon attorney specializing in children’s rights. He’s not connected to the case but has seen issues with the court’s interpretation from the start. Mones said, “To really look at the issue of whether a person can verbalize the emotional pain or can verbalize ‘oh, I can’t move my arm’ is really against everything we know about modern understanding of child abuse and the effect on children.”
Alicia said, “His whole face. His arm, his back, bruises everywhere — he was screaming! He was crying! How does a baby communicate? They cry.”
In an email to KATU news, the Washington County D.A. said they’re continuing to evaluate how the ruling would affect their ability to prosecute the case.
Alicia said, “Like it’s not fair and I want my son to have justice and I want everybody else who is dealing with this to be able to come forward and be the voice for the people that need help.”