Part I: Case Study
Please review the YouTube video entitled “The Murder of Baby Briana” by “davedavedude” (6:55 minutes) – if this link changes, you can search for the title and author (both in quotation marks) to locate the video. This video uploaded on Aug 21, 2008. This is a disturbing but important story of a fatal case of child abuse. It is the case of baby Briana Lopez, who was abused from birth by both parents and other family members. We as a nation must make cases like these nonexistent. This story has strengthened my desire to work in the social service field. The reporter is Kim Vallez, and the copyright is by KRQE news 13, www.krqe.com.
UPDATE: The mother of baby Briana, Stephanie Lopez, was found not guilty on the charge of intentional child abuse resulting in death. She was convicted of child abuse resulting in death and child abuse negligent permit. She was found innocent of intentional child abuse, because she did not inflict the abuse but allowed it to happen.
Briana’s father, 22-year-old Andy Walters, was convicted of child abuse resulting in death, conspiracy, criminal sexual penetration, and two counts of child abuse. Uncle Steven Lopez was found guilty of child abuse resulting in death, conspiracy, and criminal sexual penetration. Paternal grandmother Patricia Walters and Uncle Robert Walters were found guilty of failure to report child abuse.
Sentencing: Susana Martinez asked for the maximum punishment possible for all of them. Sadly, their sentences do not fit their crimes. It took a jury of seven men and five women nine hours to find all of them guilty. Andy Walters, the father, received a mere 57 years in prison and her Uncle Steven Lopez received only 51 years for sexually abusing and causing the death of Briana due to abuse and neglect. Stephanie Lopez, her mother, received a very short sentence of 27 years in prison for child abuse and neglect resulting in death.
The Jury decided that she was not guilty of intentional abuse since she did not inflict the abuse but had allowed it to take place. Briana’s Grandmother, Patricia Walters and her Uncle, Robert Walters Jr each got off easy with only 60 days in jail for failing to report the abuse and save Briana’s life. Keep in mind that prisoners usually get out much earlier than the sentences given, with good time, 20% of the sentence can be eliminated. There is also parole available. As each guilty verdict was read, the Lopez and Walters families showed their emotions by embracing and crying. The only one of the defendants to show emotion at that time was Steven Lopez who is the twin brother of Stephanie, put his head in his hands and started to cry. When the jury was dismissed and had left the court room, the defendants then began to show their emotions by crying and hugging their lawyers who tried to console them. Stephanie and Steven were allowed to hug each other and cry before being lead out of the court room by guards.
Directions: Review the YouTube video about the murder of Baby Briana in the Module 6 Lecture Notes. Also, research child abuse laws in your state and answer the following questions:
Summarize the details of the crimes against Baby Briana (gathering information).
Based on the sentencing information provided in the lecture notes, do you believe the sentences were fair for all individuals charged? Why or why not?
Outline the child abuse laws in your state. What are the possible penalties for the crime of child abuse?
Do you believe that your state needs stiffer penalties for child abuse? Why or why not?
Who are mandatory reporters of child abuse by state law?
What are some resources available for child abuse in your state and community?
Be sure to include proper APA formatting, including a cover page, in text citations, and a reference page.
You will also be graded on your grammar and spelling.
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