Articles Posted in Florida

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Pool-Safety-240x300With a mobile phone or tablet in our hands most of the day, we now live in a world of almost endless distractions. While technology is wonderful and helpful, it also makes certain activities a bit more dangerous for children.  Whenever a child is in or near water, there is a danger or risk of drowning. Adult supervision is key to the safety of children; however, the presence of an adult in the water area is a bit different than the attention of an adult.  If the adult is physically present in the area of the pool or beach, the physical presence may not mean much if the adult is otherwise engaged in the latest text, tweet, or e-mail on the phone or tablet.  Because of this, it is important to have as top of mind awareness the safety needs of the children.

Nearly 7 out of 10 drownings occur while an adult is present. In a life and death situation, people need to be alert and aware of their surroundings. However, the pool presents a myriad of distractions; if a person is swimming in the pool, they can be surrounded by splashing and other people, which could take their attention away from the child they are supposed to be watching. And, even if the watcher is out of the pool, they could be reading a book or looking at their phone at the precise moment they need to step into action and prevent a drowning. But drownings are almost always preventable; in fact, it is the leading preventable cause of death for children under the age of 5. So what steps must one take in order to prevent a child from drowning?

Among the most important preventions one can take is to have a Designated Watcher whose sole purpose is to keep an eye on the people in the pool. These people are reminded to not look at their phones or other distractions and not leave the pool area unless another person replaces them. While a Watcher is the best preventative measure, there are other choices one can make to improve pool safety. Installing a gate around the pool would keep small children from running into the water and drowning before an adult can intervene. It also helps to have a number of flotation devices, like pool noodles or kickboards, that can be thrown into the pool for a child to grab onto. If these measures are implemented, children will be markedly more safe in the pool this summer.

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By David Wolf, Attorney
Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network

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Dennis Devlin, 57, a former Florida hotel owner, pleaded guilty to sexual exploitation of a 13-year-old boy. Devlin will spend at least 15 years in federal prison. Devlin is the former owner of the Desert Inn in Daytona Beach, Florida. Federal agents found an iPhone hidden in the bathroom ceiling of his second-floor hotel that contained sexually explicit images of the boy. A former employee of Devlin’s, 20-year-old Michael Ehmen, also pleaded guilty to the same federal charge. Ehmen admitted he recruited the boy, took him to the hotel for Devlin’s enjoyment, and received $100 for his recruitment. Police stated Ehmen also had sex (molested the boy) with Devlin for money and the two had an arrangement that Ehmen would bring “new people to visit [Devlin]” for more. Ehmen recruited the boy, the son of a friend, to help install security cameras at the hotel. On the way to the hotel Ehmen told the teenager Devlin would pay him to pose nude. Prosecutors said on a second visit to the hotel video was taken of Ehmen and the minor performing sexual acts together and spanking each other on Devlin’s bed. Devlin has a long history of sex-related charges in Volusia County and elsewhere. In 1988, 13 sex-related charges were dropped against him by prosecutors in Ocean View, Maryland. In 1993, he was charged with 23 crimes against a single boy; Devlin was convicted and spend 22 months in prison. However, in 2002 a judge overturned his conviction after the boy recanted his testimony as an adult. Federal agents seized the iPhone containing nude photos of the boy, as well as four DVD recordings of the boy and child porn in “several boxes” and on Devlin’s business computer. Sentencing dates have not been set for Ehmen or Devlin, they each face the same time range in federal prison. For more read Former Florida hotel owner pleads guilty to sexual exploitation of a 13-year-old boy.

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By David Wolf, Attorney

Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network

U.S.%20State%20Flag%20Florida.jpgUnder a new law that goes into effect August 2010 in Miami, Florida will ban lone adults at designated Miami beach playgrounds. Adults found without accompanying minors will be asked to leave, and possibly fined. The ordinance, which was passed unanimously, was proposed by Miami Beach Commissioner, Jorge Exposito, after he witnessed a man “behave lewdly” in front of children at a Miami park. However, the ordinance is only effective in 19 newly designated “child-required” playground areas.

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By David Wolf, Attorney

Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network

State%20Maps%20Florida.jpgA 13-year-old boy of Bradenton, Florida was arrested for the beating and the possible rape of a 22-month-old girl in a home-based daycare facility. Heather Lovett, the 21-year-old owner of the facility, left the teenage boy in charge of the facility, Our Kids Day Care, while she took something to her boyfriend. Lovett is allegedly dating the teen’s father.

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By David Wolf, Attorney

Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network

Rank.jpgA new study done by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and partially funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, has quantified the extra financial burden carried by low-income families with a special needs child. The study was designed to look at cash outlay for special medical services based on the state in which the affected family lives. The study found that the financial burden varies significantly from state to state.

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By David Wolf, Attorney

Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network

Map%20of%20United%20States%20black%20and%20white%20showing%20all%20States.jpgThe United States Department of Health and Human Resources has a website that has a great reference tool for parents and caregivers with children in day care centers and child care centers. Each state regulates day care centers / child care centers through a state specific administrative code and / or policy manual. Go to State Administrative Rules and Policy Manuals for Child Care. Another good resource is located at the website for the National Resource Center for

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By Scott Soutullo, Attorney and David Wolf, Attorney

Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network

gavel.jpgInternet chat rooms serve as playgrounds for child predators looking to take advantage of children. In many instances, a child predator is able to lure the child not only out of the home but out of the child’s home state. William Joe Mitchell recently appeared in federal court and pleaded guilty to the charge of the interstate transportation of a minor for sex. Mr. Mitchell met a 15 year old girl in a chat room online and knowingly transported a child that he knew was underaged from Bartow (Polk County) Florida to Anadulsia, Alabama. These acts were in violation of Title 18, United States Code 2423 (a) which makes it a crime to transport a child under the age of 18 with the intent of having sex. Mr. Mitchell also violated Alabama law which makes it a crime for a person over the age of 16 to have sex with a child under the age of 16 when there is more than a 2 year age difference between the defendant and the child. Mr. Mitchell was 46 years old at the time of the crime. For his crimes, Mr. Mitchell faces a prison term of at least 10 years.

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An international study of child abuse reported in the British Medical Journal – Lancet revealed that there is an under reporting of child abuse in developed countries like the United States, Australia, United Kingdom and Canada. While it is difficult to provide an exact figure or percentage, researchers estimate that as few as 1 in 10 cases get reported and are confirmed by social service agencies. There are many reasons for this problem. They include the delicate nature of such reports, the short term effects of the reporting, the long term reports of the reporting, the uncertainty of the potential reporter of abuse, back log of cases in certain social service agencies, and other reasons. You can read more about this study at Most Child Abuse in Developed Nations including the United States Go Unreported.

Most states mandate the reporting of child abuse to the state agency responsible for fielding and investigating such calls. This is especially true for those professionals, caregivers, and educations like doctors, day care personnel, teachers, coaches, and others who have knowledge or a good faith suspicion that a child is being abused. If you suspect that a child is being abused, it makes sense to contact the local and / or state social welfare agency (example – Florida Department of Children and Families) to find out more information as to ways to report abuse and how abuse is defined by state statute, law, and / or ordinance.

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By Brooks P. Lynn, Attorney and David Wolf, Attorney

Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network

Santa%20Figure.jpgParades are places for celebration. Parades are also places of tragedy far too often for young children who are in the parade or merely watching the parade. In a Beaumont Texas Christmas Parade, Aaliyah Carter (age 11) was killed after falling and being run over by a parade float. Aalliyah attended Homer Elementary School in Beaumont, Texas. According to parade witnesses, Aaliyah was running alongside the truck when she tripped over another girl. The driver, who apparently was not aware that the girl was in the road, ran over the girl who was crushed by the parade float wheels. Aaliyah was taken to Christus St. Elizsabeth Hospital where she was pronounced dead on arrival from castastrophic head wounds. You can read more about the parade accident involving Aaliyah Carter at 11 Year Old Dies in Beaumont Texas Christmas Parade.