In reviewing Minnesota’s past child abuse tragedies to connect the dots between the sadness of four year old Dennis Jurgens murder by his adopted mother of 1965 (Lois Jurgens went on to adopt five other children after that murder) and the Eric Dean murder recently, I discovered the work done by St Paul Pioneer Press reporter Ruben Rosario on the beating death of three year old Desi Irving by her mother in 1997.
Ruben Rosario’s investigation turned up the exact same issues we are facing today and very candid remarks (1998) by then former head of Hennepin County’s Department of Children, Family and Adult Services.
Ruben and David Sanders draw attention to the lack of public transparency, closing cases without investigation, state laws that prohibit discussion of even the most egregious cases of child abuse, deliberately keeping child death cases “off the books” (30 cases in FL recently), and the impossible fact that government data often does not include deaths involving children whose families never came in contact with child protective services.
Ruben’s drew attention to Brown University research demonstrating that 15% of all murders during a 32 year period of investigation were the killing of one or more children by a parent, step-parent, caretaker or other parental figure.
One third of the victims were under one year old, and two-thirds were six or younger.
The need for a database clearing house, keeping data longer and making it more transparent and accessible are necessary if the public is to have any basis for understanding the depth and scope of child abuse in America today.
From someone who has witnessed child abuse tragedies as a volunteer guardian ad-Litem again and again over many years, it is obvious that our community’s big talk about how we value children is just that – talk and nothing more.
Thank you Ruben for your in depth reporting on child abuse & thank you Governor Dayton for remarking candidly on the “Colossal Failure” of child protective services that cost Eric Dean his tortured and painful four year-old life.Details