A San Bernardino woman faces several felony charges for sexual abuse. These charges include making children in her care perform sexual acts against each other for her own perverse pleasure.

sexual abuse at school

According to official reports, Brandi Alma Valadez, 40, allegedly forced a 9-year-old boy in her care to engage in sexual activity with a young girl, 7, also in her care before sexually assaulting the girl herself. These reports state that Valadez used threats of physical violence to ensure both children complied with her demands.

During Valadez’s court appearance on Monday, city prosecutor Whitney Bokosky detailed the alleged abuse. She states it began during the summer of 2014 and took place in motels in Anaheim, Orange, and Costa Mesa.

“John Doe 2 [felt] threatened,” Bokosky said omitting the boy’s name in line with victim protections. “He does describe that Ms. Valadez threatened to put him into a bathtub that had hot water [if he refused to abuse Jane Doe].”

Another boy, 12, also allegedly raped and sexually assaulted the 7-year-old girl. This abuse began in August 2015 and continued to just before the arrest. Bokosky states that the boy would frequently force himself onto Jane Doe both when she was and was not under Valadez’s supervision. Prosecutors state in no uncertain terms that the Orange County woman knew that boy was sexually assaulting the girl and did not act to stop it.

After two years of dealing with the brutal abuse by a caregiver, both the 9-year-old and 7-year-old turned to family members. They recounted the threats and forced sexual interactions with Valadez. It was those relatives who contacted the local law enforcement. Following an investigation, police arrested Valadez at her San Bernardino home Wednesday, October 5. The exact relation Valadez has with Jane and Joe Doe 2 is being withheld, except to say that they were in her care during the time of the alleged abuses.

During Valadez’s court appearance on Monday, she was officially charged with a total of six felonies related to these events. These charges include two counts of child abuse, two counts of lewd acts on a child under the age of 14, and two counts of forcible lewd acts on a child under the age of 14, with a special sentencing enhancement for multiple victims. Valadez has not yet entered a plea, but if convicted on the aforementioned charges she could face between 60 years to life in prison.

The court is holding Valadez on a $1 million bail until her next court appearance on November 4.

FONTANA, California — Doctors took an 18-month-old off of life support after five days in the hospital. A teething necklace purportedly strangled the toddler during a nap at a Fontana daycare center. That daycare and its affiliated center are now under investigation.

daycare abuse lawsuit

Danielle Morin dropped off her son, Deacon, Wednesday, Oct. 5, at the Marriott Family Childcare. Marriott is one of two in-home daycares operated by Little Impressions Daycare and Learning Facility. When she returned at 5 p.m., she found herself amidst a mother’s worst nightmare as paramedics worked to revive her son. EMTs rushed Deacon to the hospital shortly after she arrived where he spent five days on life support. Morin made the decision to switch off that life support on Oct. 10 after multiple tests confirmed that the boy was brain dead.

The daycare’s employees told Morin her son had choked on his teething necklace during his afternoon nap.  However, Morin does not believe these employees are telling the whole story.

“‘Little Impressions daycare/Marriott daycare’ in Fontana do not know the facts and are trying to hide their lack of supervision by stating that Deacon choked on his Amber necklace,” Morin wrote in a social media post. “This is not the case and his medical examinations have shown another story. Deacon was strangled at daycare. Whether or not his beads were involved is still under investigation.”

Both of Little Impressions’s facilities are under investigation by the Fontana Police Department regarding the specifics of Deacon’s death, as well as by the California Department of Social Services, which is the state agency that licenses daycares.

Representatives from the state agency reported that Little Impressions operates under licensing from the umbrella name Jimenez Family Childcare. This group had received numerous citations in 2015 and was placed under probation for three years.

The Fontana investigation comes just over a month after the authorities shut down Coco’s Daycare, a child care facility in Atwater, Calif. Maria Moreta, the owner of the center, is facing accusations related to violating the personal rights of a child. Additionally, the center has faced violations for their failure to keep the facility safe for children due to improper fencing around, no locks on a backyard shed containing fertilizer and insecticides, and a lack of criminal background checks for employees.

Last month, police found the body of an 11-year-old boy stuffed in a closet in his Echo Park home. According to the city’s Department of Children and Family Services, there had been four calls between 2009 and 2012 regarding the health and safety of the boy, Yonatan Daniel Aguilar, who preferred to go by the name Daniel. Authorities are continuing to determine the exact circumstances of his death and whether a lack of follow-up by foster care abuse officials contributed to Daniel’s death.

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The boy had been dead for several hours by the time his body was rescued by local police officers. Those at the scene reported he had “obvious signs of malnutrition and visible injuries” with cuts along his face and other festering wounds. Officials later stated Daniel weighed a mere 34 pounds, less than half the national average for boys his age.

According to a Los Angeles Times investigation, two teachers contacted the local DCFS about Daniel in 2012 reporting general neglect and likely physical abuse. However, officials sent to explore these allegations determined that Daniel appeared to be living in a safe environment. Shortly afterward, his mother removed him from the school and Daniel dropped from the county’s radar. There would be no further reports of the boy until his abused body was found in his mother’s closet.

Officers with LAPD’s special Abused Child Section arrested Daniel’s mother, Veronica Aguilar, 39, within days of his death. Prosecutors are charging Aguilar with murder, stating that the body’s clear signs of long-term and sustained neglect and malnourishment warranted the severity of the charge.

But Aguilar is likely not the only one to face charges and repercussions for Daniel’s avoidable death. This crime comes at the same time DCSF is undergoing investigations into several other high-profile cases of children dying or being seriously injured after social care workers received calls alleging parental and foster care abuse.

In the same month that Daniel’s body was found, Attorney Richard B. Koskoff recovered a $2.5 million settlement from a California social services agency in another case of foster care abuse overlooked by agency officials. The victim here was Mikayla O., a two-year-old, who suffered significant frontal lobe brain damage affecting her safety awareness, judgment, impulsivity, and executive functioning during a forced placement with her aunt Christina Porter. Officials were notified that Porter was not equipped to handle the child but failed to respond.

Information Source: LA Times, 29 Aug 2016

The American Bar Association first admitted women in 1918, then African Americans in 1943. Yet it has taken until 2016 for the legal organization to follow up on such nominal inclusion and take a stand against discriminatory speech and sexual abuse actions between members. In August, the A.B.A. passed a rule stating discrimination against or harassment of opposing counsel, or any member of the court, will be seen as professional misconduct.

aba discrimination rules

This new ethics rule forbids any comments or actions designed to single out a person on basis of sex, race, religion, disability, or other such personal characteristics. Any penalties, ranging from minor fines to potential disbarment, will be determined by state bar associations.

Currently, 23 states and the District of Columbia have defined protections against harassment, discrimination, and verbal sexual abuse by lawyers during the conduct of their professions. So while in half of the United States, such discrimination and harassment has been intense enough to require state bar intervention before the national association’s ‘catching up’ with the times, those in the other half of the country who were subjected to demeaning phrases and dismissals had next to no professional recourse.

In the U.S. legal system, only state bar associations are responsible for sanctioning attorneys for any and all types of professional misconduct. Before this national prohibition on harassment, discrimination, and verbal sexual abuse, such negative conduct that would be a fireable offense in most American offices would have had limited, if any, consequences. Those states previously lacking protections are now charged with creating repercussions against perpetrators.

This new guidance by the A.B.A. details what constitutes sexual, racial, etc. harassment and those settings where it might be applied. This includes both inside the courtroom and professional areas outside of it, such as where there is interaction with witnesses, co-workers, court personnel, lawyers and others. The rule pertains to every attorney, whether they are managing a law practice or law firm, participating in a bar association, business, or social activity organized and associated with in the course of their practice of law.

The rule and its passing had its expected critics, many of whom maintain that it impairs attorneys’ right to free speech during their representation of a client. However, it must be noted that no lawyer signed up to speak against its revision and passing at the August A.B.A. meeting.

Information Source: NY Times, 9 Aug 2016. 

Over 50 women have accused actor Bill Cosby of sexual abuse, but the former television star faces criminal charges in just one case. This imbalance is largely due to the stringent legal deadlines, or statutes of limitations, put on sexual abuse cases.

Statute of limitations are generally placed on crimes where physical evidence is hard to achieve. Their prosecution instead relies primarily on first-person testimonies. Legal deadlines thus help ensure cases are quickly investigated when memories and any hard evidence is fresh and can be readily confirmed.

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For example, charges of murder and embezzlement of public funds carry no time limit due the high possibility of hard evidence — the body in the former and money trail in the latter. In contrast, a 10-year old sexual assault case often relies only on testimony, motive, and opportunity, unless corroborative hospital and similar third-party records exist.

While officials recognize this difficulty, the severity of the Cosby accusations has incited national discussions about the validity of such deadlines. California and Nevada have taken these discussions to the next level and are attempting to remove time barriers to just prosecution — or at least move the line in the sand a bit further away.

Both houses of the California Legislature approved a new proposal to abolish the time limits for charging a person with rape, oral copulation, sodomy, lewd or lascivious acts, and continuous sex abuse of a child. Most of these crimes carry a 10-year statute of limitation in California, but the proposal mirrors a new Nevada law increasing their state deadline for rape prosecution from a mere four years to 20.

The bill now rests in the hands of Gov. Jerry Brown, who has a history of vetoing similar bills seeking to extend legal deadlines for sexual abuse lawsuits. Even if Gov. Brown waves the legislation through, there is no guarantee, given the difficulty in prosecuting sexual assault, that convictions will rise. According to non-profit RAINN’s research on sexual assault, for every 1,000 rapes in the United States, only 6 perpetrators will ever be incarcerated. Allegations of even older sex-related crimes will likely be more difficult for prosecutors to prove beyond reasonable doubt.

“But at least it gives victims an opportunity for law enforcement to really look into this,” said the bill’s co-sponsor, San Bernardino County Dist. Atty. Mike Ramos. “At least they have their day to sit down and say what happened.”

If you or someone you love has been the victim of sexual abuse, please contact our office at 888-212-0440 for a free case review.