This will be an archive of heinous actions by those involved in child welfare, foster care and adoption. We forewarn you that these are deeply disturbing stories that may involve sex abuse, murder, kidnapping and other horrendous actions.
From Reinholds, Pennsylvania, foster parent Joshua T. Martin, 23, was arrested for “seriously beating his own three-year-old foster child [Bella on September 21, 2012].
In court papers the suspect and foster parent of this child told police that the girl “annoyed” him so he physically abused her to the point where she has severe brain damage. ”
“According to court papers, he admitted to police that he punched the girl’s head and hit her head against a door frame after she threw up her dinner and was being “uncooperative.”
During the beating she sustained “severe brain damage”. She has other injuries, as well, that doctors said were consistent with child abuse.
She’s at the Hershey Medical Center being evaluated. Martin was booked in the Lancaster County Prison and faces multiple charges.
Martin’s wife [Maria] has not been charged. He said he acted alone. The couple has two other foster children ages one and two.”
[WHPTV 9/27/12 by Chris Papst]
He is being held on ” $500,000 cash bail.”
“Martin later told a state police trooper that he had become frustrated with the girl Friday after she threw up her dinner. He said he was rough with the child as he showered and changed her and his roughness would have left bruising on her body, documents state.
He said he also struck the girl’s head on a wooden door frame while carrying her to her bedroom, and then punched her in the head with a closed fist using a good deal of force because she was uncooperative while he roughly dressed her, police said in the documents.
Martin said the girl threw up her dinner again on Sunday and somehow fell as he was helping her, according to documents. He said she fell to the ground and became unresponsive while he was roughly re-dressing her.”
[ABC 27 9/27/12 by Miles Snyder]
“Martin is charged with aggravated assault and endangering the welfare of children.
Court papers show the 3-year-old was treated at Reading Hospital on Sunday for suspected physical and sexual abuse.”
Bella’s mother states in the video that if Bella’s condition does not improve soon that she will have to “pull the plug.”
The video states that Bella and her two siblings had only been with the Martins for one month. Lancaster County Children and Youth Social Service Agency was the foster care agency. They were “agency of the year” in 2007 and still brag about that on their home page.
“The two other children have been moved to a new foster home.”
“The county Children and Youth Agency said it will do its own internal investigation of this case in tandem with one by the state Department of Public Welfare.
State police said additional charges are pending.”
Man accused of punching 3-year-old girl, banging her head
REFORM Puzzle Piece
Update: In the world’s quickest (non)investigation, Lancaster County Human Services has already concluded that they need not make any changes to their foster care placement practices. Yes, just keep putting 3 toddlers with barely legal foster parents. Way to go!
This new article reveals that the Martins had been foster parents for two years (since they were 21!)
“Belle is on life support at Penn State Hershey Medical Center.
Lancaster County Human Service Director Jim Laughman talked about the foster family on Tuesday.
“Everything came back crystal clear on the family. They had great references, everybody spoke very positively about them,” Laughman said.
The county said it puts potential parents through state and federal background checks, does orientations, trainings, interviews and monthly home visits.
“There was no indication that there was any problem,” Laughman said.”
“”The reality may be we may never find a reason why. Sometimes people make bad choices and they snap,” Laughman said” [Is this guy for real?]
“Laughman said this is a very rare case and that 99.9 percent of foster parents are excellent caregivers.” [Then how come just being in foster care or adopted is the #5 risk for child abuse?]
Update 2: York Daily Record reveals the child’s full name as Belle’ Roeting.
“Joey Melton stood in front of a crowd of people Saturday night and thanked them for caring about his daughter.
Three-year-old Belle’ Roeting of Lancaster County was allegedly abused while in the care of her foster father two weeks ago, according to police. She is in Hershey Medical Center recovering from her injuries.
Joshua Martin, 23, is being held in Lancaster County Prison, charged with the girl’s abuse, according to Lancaster Newspapers.
The girl’s biological father, Melton, who grew up in Wrightsville, is staying at Hershey’s Ronald McDonald House so he can watch Belle’s recovery.
As a group of about 150 people gathered at Samuel S. Lewis State Park Saturday night, Melton was only able to share a few words.
“I’m just so hurt right now,” he said to the crowd.
Belle’s paternal grandmother, Melanie Budiarto, said she wanted to have the event to bring awareness of child abuse around the world.
In the weeks since Belle’ was hospitalized, support from the community has flooded the Facebook page “Prayers for Belle.'” By Saturday evening, there were more than 5,500 “likes” on the page.
Relatives from Colorado, Canada, Texas and other areas posted their support and offered up prayers.
At 8 p.m. Saturday, many of them lit candles, even if they couldn’t all be in the same place.
A battery-operated candle was even placed in Belle’s room at the hospital, Budiarto said.
“I’m ragged,” Budiarto said. “You hear about abuse and how horrible it is, but when it hits home — you just can’t imagine the pain.”
The little girl has slowly been improving, her family said.
She opens her eyes. She’s started moving her arms again, grabbing at the breathing tube that keeps her lungs moving while she recovers.
She looks like she wants to scream, Budiarto said.
“We just hope she keeps improving,” she said. “We hope things keep moving forward and soon she can be the little girl we remember.”
How to help
To help the family pay for gas, phone minutes and other needs during this time, visit fundrazr.com/campaigns/8Muze.”
[York Daily Record 10/6/12 by Rebecca LeFever]
Update 3: “According to the prosecutor in this case, the three-year-old foster child that Joshua Martin is accused of beating is doing better and will live. But she was beaten so badly that she will have to learn how to walk, talk, and eat all over again.
“Mr. Martin, do you have anything you want to say to your family or to your wife?” questioned CBS 21.
Joshua Martin was did not respond as he left a courtroom in New Holland after waiving his right to a preliminary hearing.
Last month, the Lancaster County man was arrested for seriously beating his own three-year-old foster child and giving her severe brain damage. In court papers, the 23-year-old told police that the girl “annoyed” him so he punched her head and hit her head against a door frame after she threw up her dinner and was being “uncooperative.”
He admitted to police that he did do it, but said his wife, with whom he had two other foster children, was not involved.
“Her injuries are catastrophic,” explained Lancaster County Assistant District Attorney Randy Miller. “I don’t know how else to describe it. It’s very sad, obviously for [her] and the community. We’ll try to go on from here.”
“He definitely had concern for the child and does have concern for the child. And sometimes bad things happen,” stated Martin’s attorney, Jeffrey Conrad. “Why those things happen, we may never know. But one can feel still very upset about that and he feels that and he wants to see a full recovery for the child.”
Martin will be in court again on November 28 for a formal arraignment. He will remain in Lancaster County Prison on $500,000 bail.
The three-year-old is still at the Penn State Hershey Medical Center. ”
[WHPV 10/23/12 by Chris Papst]
Update 4: “A Lancaster County judge described the horrific injuries inflicted during a beating last year as a “life sentence” for 4-year-old Belle Roeting.
However, Joshua Martin, the foster father accused of punching the child, doesn’t deserve to be “warehoused” in prison for the rest of his life, the judge said Friday.
“There is no good resolution here,” Judge David Ashworth said while ordering Martin to serve 5 1/2 to 20 years in state prison. “The only appropriate remedy is beyond the means of this court.”
“It is my sincere hope that Belle will miraculously recover from this. It will require a miracle.”
Earlier in the hearing, Martin, 24, bowed his head and cried as a prosecutor described the many permanent injuries inflicted during the September beating in Reinholds, when Belle was 3 years old.
“There will be no prom,” Assistant District Attorney Randall L. Miller told the judge. “No first Communion, no marriage, no motherhood.
“That’s all gone now.”
Belle sustained a traumatic brain injury that blinded her and has left her in a wheelchair, dependent upon others to care for her, Miller said.
Martin read aloud a message to his former foster daughter, who lived with him and his wife for 90 days before the beating.
“To my dear Belle,” Martin began, as he and his many supporters wept. “I’m very sorry, dear child. You were placed in my care and I failed you. I will forever hold myself accountable to you. I pray for you every day, that you will go on to live a long, happy life.”
Martin told Ashworth he was experiencing stress because there were three young children in his home when he struck Belle, whom he said had misbehaved at dinner.
“I confess to you that for a short time period I became frustrated with Belle and handled her recklessly,” he told the judge. “I’m admitting clearly to you my guilt. I’m asking you to forgive me.”
Among the approximately 40 spectators were Martin’s family, as well as representatives of Lancaster County Children & Youth, who placed Belle with the Martins.
Several of Martin’s relatives asked the judge for mercy.
“Joshua’s caring and kind heart has always shown,” his father, Earl Martin said, while holding his wife.
Said defense attorney Jeffrey Conrad: “The action here is so incredibly out of character with the rest of this man’s life. When he was at his weakest moment, he failed and struck a child.”
Miller countered that the beating itself wasn’t the only crime committed; Martin failed to summon help for the child for two full days.
Immediate medical attention would have limited the damage, Miller said.
Instead, Belle now takes 13 different types of medication every day, can’t swallow food and can’t speak, the prosecutor said.
Doctors at Reading Hospital and Hershey Medical Center literally saved the girl’s life.
“She was given her Last Rites. She was going to die,” Miller said. “We were preparing [charges] for criminal homicide.”
Ashworth called the crime inexcusable.
“This was a precious little girl and you took that away from her,” he told Martin. “You can’t take back what you’ve done. What you should have done, you did not do.”
Martin also was ordered to pay more than $118,000 in medical costs, which will continue to accumulate. Conrad said Martin and his wife, Marla, have a check for $45,000, which they will file immediately with the court.
“That’s everything these two have,” Conrad said, noting the couple sold their house to raise the money.
Marla Martin sat silently during the hourlong hearing, and walked out of the courtroom without saying a word.”
[Lancaster Online 5/24/13 by Brett Hambright]