Arrest made in abuse of Sherwood baby

Babysitter charged in case of beaten toddler

SHERWOOD, Ore. -- A babysitter has been arrested for assaulting a 1-year-old Sherwood boy after the child's parents shared photos of his injuries online.

Markell Deon Hilaire, 27, of Tacoma, was arrested Friday in connection with the abuse, according to the Washington County District Attorney's Office. He was charged with criminal mistreatment and assault.

In an extensive Facebook post last month, Joshua Marbury shared pictures of his son, Jacob, that showed bruises on the child's face.

The parents said the abuse happened in March they went out on a date. When they returned home after two hours, they found their babysitter asleep on a couch and Jacob crying. In the morning, they noticed the boy had a black eye, as well as bruising and scratches on his face.

Marbury said at the time that an Oregon court ruling was blocking the alleged abuser, Hilaire, from facing criminal charges.

According to court language, in order to prove felony abuse of a child, prosecutors must show that the child had "substantial pain" and incurred a "physical injury." An obstacle can arise for children who are too young to explain their injuries or even describe what happened, as would be the case with a 1-year-old.

In this case, because the child had bruises and not something as apparent as an open gash, it makes a felony abuse charge harder to prove, legal officials told KGW.

On Monday, the DA's office declined to provide further details on the arrest but said Oregon law needs to be fixed to protect vulnerable victims.

"Under current Oregon law, animals are more protected from physical injury than children," the statement reads.

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Jacob's father and his mother, Alicia Quinney, have been lobbying to get the law changed to provide additional protection to young victims.

A Change.org petition seeking "justice for child abuse victims" has collected more than 55,000 signatures. The petition is directed at Oregon's Supreme Court justices.

(Click here for Facebook post by father)

The case was featured prominently on a national broadcast of Inside Edition on May 23.

 

KGW reporter Nina Mehlhaf contributed to this report.


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