Samuel Moore, 5, died in Indiana last week, the victim of longtime abuse. Samuel’s mother knew that her boyfriend had been striking her son with his hand and a belt for five months, but police say she did not intervene, reports the Indianapolis Star. Parents turning away or ignoring abuse of their child at the hands of a spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend is a recurring theme in abuse and neglect cases, which have claimed the lives of one Indiana child a week, on average, over the past decade.
Said Robert Billingham Sr., a professor of human development and family studies at Indiana University: “The June Cleaver image of the perfect mother willing to fight to the death for her child is a myth. The only thing we can say with certainty is that this is not as uncommon as people would like to think.” In Indiana, one-third of those accused in the 22 child abuse deaths from July 1, 2003, through June 30, 2004, was a parent’s boyfriend or girlfriend. Authorities have cited that cause in at least three of six child abuse deaths that have occurred in the state in the past six weeks.