While child abuse is a serious problem in the United States, some Colorado parents may find themselves being accused of this crime even if their children have not actually been abused. In two recent cases, parents have been threatened with losing child custody after they were accused of child abuse, only to later find out that their children had a rare medical condition that was manifested in signs that were common in child abuse cases.
One man was unjustly accused of abusing his baby daughter after he reported hearing a popping sound as he was changing her. After taking her to the hospital, X-rays showed that the girl had sustained multiple fractures. The man was indicted by a grand jury and was facing second degree felony injury to a child. However, the mother of the child or a nanny was always around when the father was by his daughter. Neither of them saw any evidence of abuse. Likewise, the child’s pediatrician did not observe any signs of abuse during exams. The family scrambled to find a reason for why the child had sustained multiple fractures. They asked help from specialists across the country. Some doctors ruled out bone disorders, including brittle bone disease.
A family who went through a similar ordeal reached out to the family and told them about a condition called Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. This condition is an inherited connective tissue disorder and results in fragile bones and joints. The baby and the mother were both subsequently diagnosed with this condition, and charges were dropped against the father.
Parents may be unjustly accused of child abuse in child custody cases. They may decide to retain the services of a family law attorney to help investigate these allegations and provide evidence of any alternative explanation.
Source: WFAA, “Rare bone disease leads to bogus child abuse allegations”, Janet St. James, November 15, 2013