by Beth Perry
Clash Daily Contributor
Jessica Dutro has been found guilty in the brutal beating death of her son, Zackary Dutro-Boggess. Dutro’s excuse for the heinous crime was that the tiny child acted “gay”.
Child abuse infuriates decent people and unfortunately the weekly headlines are full of horrific incidents of child abuse that defy all sense of human decency. This last week was no exception, though two cases in particular have gripped the country’s attention and roused our ire.
One of these cases involves the recent arrest of domestic partners, Eraca Dawn Craig and Christian Jessica Deanda of Salinas, California. Three children lived in the women’s home, two boys, ages 3 and 5, and an eight-year old girl. One of the boys is the biological son of one of the women, the other two children were adopted. Authorities had originally come to the home to investigate allegations of child neglect. While there they discovered the little girl had been chained to a wall to prevent her from eating. Police have described the child as looking like a concentration camp survivor. Following their rescue, the little girl had to spend five days in a hospital, and all three children were placed in protective custody. Craig and Deanda face numerous charges, including child neglect, felony child endangerment and felony false imprisonment.
The other horrendous case surrounds the trial of Jessica Dutro, an Oregon mother of four. Dutro had been on trial for severe child abuse leading to the death of her four-year old son, Zachary, in 2012. Last month, Dutro’s boyfriend, Brian Canady, pleaded guilty for his role in the child’s death. According to authorities the couple had regularly beaten Dutro’s older children (only her infant, fathered by Canady, had been spared torture). According to Canady’s testimony, both he and Dutro had taken turns kicking little Zachary shortly before he died. Just yesterday the jury handed in a verdict of GUILTY against Dutro.
In the case of Craig and Deanda, the domestic partners claim the reason their adopted daughter was emaciated –she weighed only 40 pounds when police discovered her — was because she would go on, “hunger strikes”. This excuse, of course, does not address the bruised and emaciated condition of the other two children. Nor, does it explain the girl being collared and chained or why these caretakers failed to have her treated for the malnutrition they say she brought on herself.
As for Jessica Dutro, she has infamously maintained that Zachary was abused because he “acted gay”. Even if homosexuality offends this woman’s sense of morality, this does not justify murdering anyone, let alone a tiny child. She gave birth to four children and dealt out a steadfast regiment of brutality against three of them. She made a conscious decision to be cruel.
Two very sickening cases here, with an obvious common theme: the innocent victims involved have been blamed by their tormentors. And we need to remember this is typical of abusers; they have no more of a commitment to truth than they do the children in their charge.
The LGBT community has taken Dutro’s crime to the soap box, presenting it as yet another act of discrimination against homosexuality. But this outrage is misplaced. The crime here is child abuse, not a bias conjured up by the wiles of a sadistic woman looking to take attention away from her crime.
Similarly, Craig and Deanda should be judged on the evidence of the crimes they’ve been charged with and not on opinion as to their relationship. An experienced attorney could turn negative public opinion to undermine their trials, and portray these women as victims of bias to the jury. This would be devastating for the children involved.
It is easy to see the devil at work when we believe a lifestyle goes against our god or nature itself. Likewise, it is easy to jump to the conclusion that every time a criminal utters an anti-gay statement, the devil is stirring the batter. History shows clearly that abusers come from every walk of life. They have come from fundamentalist religious cults to the politically savvy NAMBLA and from atheist fanatics that have tyrannized children in the name of fostering an agenda. Abusers can be religious, they can be atheist. They can be biological parents, adoption parents or foster parents. They can be rich, they can be poor. They can be liberals, conservative or moderate. They can be those who knew abuse as a child, but just as likely those who were loved unconditionally by those who raised them.
Likewise, decent people hail from a diverse spectrum of backgrounds, life styles, politics and belief systems. When we forget this and focus on what personal choices we disagree with, we make it easier for someone somewhere to make a cause célèbre out of the abuser. And I believe abusers enjoy playing martyrs and inspiring disagreement; it feeds their arrogance and draws attention away from their culpability.
More than anything, throwing accusations around trivializes the plight of the victims. These innocents have already suffered the pain of abuse and blame from their tormentors. As these two high-profile cases demonstrate, the ultimate cause of child abuse stems from a single choice shared by all abusers – the embrace of evil.
So let us do right by victims by keeping focused on the injustices they have endured. Let us demand justice for justice’s sake. Anything less plays into the hands and egos of the abusers.
Image: Courtesy of: http://hackingchristianity.net/2010/01/childrens-sermons-re-haiti.html
Beth Perry is a fiscally conservative Libertarian and a follower of Norse Traditionalism. She is known as a writer of children’s stories and as a contributor to Hubpages. Under her pen name, Anya Howard, she has authored several Romance novels and stories. Happily married and mother of four, Beth lives in the Smokey Mountains region of Tennessee where she has never made moonshine – though she has been known to dance under it. See: http://bethperry.hubpages.com/ http://anyahoward.com