Two Year Old Duct Taped, Seven Year Old in Dryer

The ways in which people mistreat the children in their care are often as horrifying as they are inexplicable to the minds of most people. Two stories of this kind of abuse came across my desk today. Though it can be disheartening to share such stories, awareness is one of the best ways to get people to react when they witness cases of child abuse or cruelty.

The first took place in Charleston, West Virginia, where two people are being charged with child abuse and neglect. Jessica McClure is charged with forcing her son to sleep in a child safety seat on the floor, which was "filled" with garbage, unidentified animal feces, and infested with cockroaches. McClure was charged with child neglect creating the risk of injury. She is being held on a $100,000 bond.

Also charged in the abuse of the same two year old boy is James Usher, who was supposed to be watching the child when he and one other person, Della Jackson, immobilized the child with duct tape. They duct taped the toddlers' ankles together, duct taped his arms to his body, and covered his mouth with more tape. The pair then decided to take a picture of their handy work with a digital camera.

A third party found these pictures and alerted police, resulting in Usher's arrest. Usher was charged with child abuse resulting in injury. Police are still looking for Jackson.

The second story is unrelated to the first in everything aside from the startling nature of the child abuse. In Cleveland, Ohio, a father has been arrested with putting his seven year old daughter in the dryer, closing the door, and turning the machine on.

Steve McClairin,36, was arraigned for multiple charges including child endangerment, assault, domestic violence and kidnapping.

Prosecutors in this case have called the accusations in this story horrific.

"There's no explaining this type of activity, why any individual would place any human being or any animal or anything in a dryer is unexplainable and to a normal thinking person, there's no explanation and obviously this man has issues," said Mike O'Malley, who is First Assistant to Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Bill Mason.

Charges were filed against McClairin after his daughter's school contacted child services. The girl had been informing her teachers that her father put her in the dryer. She had been put in the dryer on more than one occasion.

McClairin's daughter suffers from a medical condition which prevents her from growing. The girl is said to be about three feet tall.

McClairin is now in jail on a $250,000 bond, waiting trial later this month. He faces a maximum sentence of up to thirty-three years in prison.

"If you're capable of putting your child in a clothes dryer you're probably capable of a lot of horrible things," said O'Malley.

Every year, an estimated 1,760 children die of abuse and neglect and untold numbers of others are injured or suffering. Often the only way to help these children is to be alert for the signs and symptoms of the various forms of abuse or neglect a child might suffer and to immediately contact the proper authorities. Visit Preventing Child Abuse & Neglect for more information about what you should do should you if you suspect a child is being abused. From stories like this, remember it is always better to sound a false alarm than stand by while a child is possibly being abused or neglected.