Joshua Marbury, a father of two from Sherwood, Oregon, shared his family’s story on May 20, asking people to help him and his wife, Alicia Quinney, bring it to trial.
“TWO months ago if not longer my 1 year old son was smacked across the right side of his face by our babysitter (keep this person anonymous) to the point where MULTIPLE doctors (who in fact showed us hand prints) and the detective said it could have killed him,” Marbury wrote.
Joshua and Alicia came home to find baby Jacob on their bed screaming while their male babysitter was asleep. By the next morning, severe bruises on the toddler’s head and face were apparent.
“The first thing I saw was his black eye and at first I thought, ‘What happened to his eye?’ And then he turned over and I saw the whole side of his face was black-and-blue,” Quinney recalled in an interview with local news station KOIN.
At first, the babysitter, who was also a family friend, said that he did not know what happened to Jacob, but then he claimed that the bruise came after he dropped the baby on a concrete floor before confessing to police that he did in fact strike the one-year-old, according to KOIN.
“STILL this person was not arrested because they had to build a case and a jury to find him guilty BEFORE they go to jail,” Marbury wrote in his post.
Last week, Marbury and his wife learned that the abuser would not be prosecuted, despite his admission.
“After TWO months of waiting we only find out that charges are dropped BECAUSE my one year old cannot tell you verbally he was abused and my son did not show he was in pain OR that this person ‘intentionally’ did this,” Marbury added.
The case is currently with the district attorney, but for the case to actually move forward, a major change needs to happen to a controversial 2012 Oregon Court of Appeals ruling.
As things stand now, a victim of abuse needs to prove that he or she was in “substantial pain,” which can be difficult if a person can not speak due to age or mental disabilities.
The ruling, which now blocks Marbury from seeking justice for his son, came in a similar case, when babysitter Samantha Irene Wright appealed her sentence. She was accused of spanking a 16-month-old child after his parents found some bruising on his left buttock. Charges of first-degree criminal mistreatment against Wright were reversed after the state failed to prove that the baby she spanked had “impairment of physical condition or substantial pain.”
Baby Jacob’s bruises will not be entered into evidence, unless he himself says that he suffered.
This is why Marbury has come to people asking them to help him make Jacob’s story heard, hoping that this would bring a change.
“Something needs to be done,” he wrote. “NOBODY can just hit a child and more to just get away with it because the child cant verbally tell you. Your help is appreciated in the portland area if we can share or tag news and or local papers etc.”
Marbury’s appeal has triggered a worldwide wave of support from people who shared his May 20 post over 362,000 times by the end of its fourth day on Facebook. And the numbers of shares keep growing.
On Monday, hashtag #JusticeforJacob was trending on Facebook, which gave Marbury and his family a glimpse of hope.
“Everyone has brought amazing awareness about this law in Oregon that’s preventing our son from getting justice,”Jacob’s mother wrote on Tuesday.
On Twitter, frustrated people have been expressing support for Jacob and his parents while also demanding Oregon authorities to bring the babysitter to justice.
In the meantime, a family friend began a petition on Change.org to get “Justice for child abuse victims who are unable to voice their pain in the eyes of the law.”
In two days, the petition exceeded the goal number of 35,000 signatures, and on Monday the goal was adjusted to 50,000 after 36,000 signatures were collected.
“The goal is to reverse the law making it easier to convict child abusers. It will take the Oregon Supreme Court to ultimately overturn the ruling on the victim’s case,” Mackenzie Fry wrote on the petition. “We want the Oregon Supreme Court to review this case and serve justice to the abuser.”
Jacob’s aunt has also started a GoFundMe page to collect $10,000, which would help the family cover attorney fees.