Another Conviction, another training, and Texas House of Representatives bill 1773

Good morning from warm and wonderful Fort Worth, Texas!

It’s been a busy two months. First off, the offender in the below case that I investigated pleaded guilty to Endangering a Child, which is a State Jail Felony in Texas, meaning punishment is capped at 2 years. The offender in this case accepted a plea to serve 8 months in a state jail facility. The offender intentionally lied to medical personnel which led to an unneeded colonoscopy and endoscopy being performed on the victim, who is the offender’s child:

The interesting aspect to this case is that if Texas House Bill 1773 would have been in effect when this offender committed this crime, she would have been subject to a third degree felony charge of “Obtaining Unneeded Medical Treatment By Deception For Child, Elderly Individual, or Disabled Individual.”

Texas House Bill 1773 creates a crime if a caregiver intentionally provides a false medical history to a health care provider to obtain an unneeded medical treatment for a child, elderly individual, or disabled individual. This would be the first law to specifically address this abuse in the United States and would provide an example for other states to follow, which is what normally occurs with new criminal law.

This is just another crime that is on the increase due to the internet and social media. Much like Child Trafficking, the internet and social media has made Medical Child Abuse much easier to commit. Social media has also provided a much easier attention seeking element, which is the motive for most offenders in these cases. As a society, we have addressed Child Trafficking with massive amounts of federal money and attention. Meanwhile, we have ignored Medical Child Abuse completely. There are no federal grants, no programs for victims, and certainly no task forces to help with medical record review. Hopefully this law brings attention to this form of abuse.

I recently completed an 8 hour online training for the Leflore, Oklahoma, Child Advocacy Center. Of the over 60 child abuse professionals that attended, only 6 had received any training on this form of abuse. Good feedback was received from attendees.

I hope everyone has a great weekend!

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