In response to child abuse allegations that the authorities have deemed “horrific,” a woman and her boyfriend are facing felony charges for the reportedly abominable chosen method of punishment believed to be used on two youths.
25-year-old Sabrina Irene Emerick has two boys, ages 5 and 7, with whom she and her boyfriend reside in Greenville, South Carolina.
In early April 2018, one of the children went to school and the staff believed that he was showing signs to cause them to suspect he might be a victim of abuse. The suspicions were reported to the Department of Social Services and they immediately began to explore the validity of the claims.
In mid-February, after extensive exploration of the situation, DSS believed they had enough information to attest that abuse in the home was the cause of the child’s reported injuries, which they posited had begun in September 2018.
Emerick’s longstanding boyfriend, 37-year-old Robert Earl Kailiala Saladaga, was presumed as the person who was administering the alleged abuse. After DSS reported their findings to the authorities Saladaga and Emerick were charged for suspicion of cruelty to children.
Lt. Jason Rampey of the Greenwood Police gave a press interview regarding the situation where he stated that the two boys, who DSS has rehomed with a relative, for the time being, underwent forensic interviews at the Julie Valentine Center that took quite a bit of time to acquire. Rampey further disclosed he believes that is a result of the difficulty involved in getting the children to talk about allegations of abuse toward their parents with people that they don’t know.
Rampey additionally reported that it is “hard to rely on” the testimony of youngsters, but that everything the kids talk about regarding situations like this should be viewed with seriousness.
During their time talking with the specialists at the Julie Valentine Center the boys reportedly eventually spoke of several types of punishment that they had allegedly endured. Some of the things they allegedly spoke of were being disciplined for accidentally urinating in their sleep on the sofa, and getting in trouble at school. The punishments ranged from using a pillow over their faces to restrict airflow, rubbing hot peppers on sensitive places of their bodies until they felt a burning sensation, and pelting one of the boys with a BB gun.
During the press interview, Rampey also stated that the information collected from the kids was “critical.”
It should also be noted that studies have shown that while their recounts of abusive events should not be dismissed, more often than not the information provided is inaccurate. More than half of the time, specialists are not able to distinguish factual accounts from what has been coined “false memories” because the youngsters “genuinely believe(s) the event happened.” In those situations, the signs that are present and used to determine when someone is not telling the truth would likely be absent.
Saladaga was taken into custody and he is facing charges of one count of unlawful neglect of a child, two counts of cruelty to children, and assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature. After paying his ordered $25,000 bond Saladaga was let out of jail with stipulations requiring that he wear an electronic monitoring device, and is prohibited from contacting the children.
While the authorities do not think Emerick was a part of actually abusing the kids, she was booked on charges of unlawful neglect of a child, and two counts of cruelty to children, based on the belief that she did not step in and protect them during the alleged abusive incidents. She was discharged from custody after paying a $10,000 bond.
If you or someone you love is suspected of child abuse, contact Orange County criminal defense lawyer Staycie R. Sena at (949) 477-8088 for a consultation now.