An Oregon couple sought help online to bring justice against the man who beat their 1-year-old son after he seemed to escape justice because of technicality.
Alicia Quinney and Joshua Marbury had left their son, Jacob, with Markell Hilaire in March. When they returned home, they were shocked to find him with a black eye and a large bruise on the side of his face. They took the baby to the hospital after the incident, where he was treated.
Social workers took pictures and documented the injuries. The parents then filed a police report and waited for a response from anyone, but none came.
It turned out that Hilaire might have escaped justice on a technicality because Oregon law required proof that victims of child abuse were in substantial pain. Since Jacob couldn’t articulate his injuries or his pain, prosecutors told the couple that the abuse was nearly impossible to prove, KPTV reported.
After waiting for over two months for some kind of justice, the frustrated couple posted photos of their bruised son to Facebook, asking for help from the community.
Their efforts paid off. The post went viral and it eventually led the Washington County district attorney to charge Hilaire with criminal mistreatment and assault.
Hilaire appeared at the Washington County Law Enforcement Center where he pleaded not guilty Monday to accusations. As of Monday evening, he was still in custody on $10,000 bail.
The prosecuting attorney also asked for a change in Oregon’s state child abuse law.
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It’s great to see social media working for the good of something, as Quinney and Marbury are correct — the laws in Oregon do need to be changed to accommodate victims who are unable to speak.
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