On a scale from one to scumbag, where would you put a dad who abuses his baby? How about a dad who abused his 11-day-old baby while said baby was still in the NICU? That's what cops in Portsmouth, Virginia say happened recently.
The little boy was in a private room for some bonding with mom and dad when cops allege dad Matthew Wayne Strawn beat the child, resulting in contusions to his back and face. Let me repeat that, a child so small and so delicate that he was still in the neo-natal intensive care unit at a hospital was abused.
Folks, you don't find victims much more fragile than that. And yet, Strawn is already out walking the streets. He was released on a personal recognizance bond after being charged with one count each of felony child abuse and felonious assault for the alleged attack on the baby at the hospital.
What kind of message does that send about victims' rights? About the value put on this child?
The fact is, in this country, it's babies who are most likely to be abused. Most kids are 18 months or younger when they become victims of abuse or neglect. Every year, some 1,500 kids die of abuse or neglect. And of those, nearly 80 percent are 4 years old or younger.
These kids are too young to stick up for themselves. They depend on adults to do it for them.
When those adults abuse the gift of a child's love and trust, it's up to society to do something about it. Starting by taking allegations of abuse seriously ... and not letting an alleged child abuser out to walk the streets as if nothing ever happened.
If you were a judge, would you have let this guy out on his own recognizance?
Image via Portsmouth Sheriff's Office