April 25, 2010

Cruel and Unusual Punishment for Children



About Carolyn: I wrote, received, and administered a Pennsylvania Children’s Trust Fund grant, which was designed to heal adults of their childhood abuse, enabling them to break the chain of abuse with their children. Within the grant I taught community members how to be first-responders to domestic violence/child abuse, ran a family support program and counseled adults to aid them in the healing process.


What do the following statements have in common?

 “I got real angry and flipped out… I started to freak out.

“I blew up.”
“I have a short temper. I just lost it.”

     They all include an uncontrollable rage resulting in “cruel and unusual” punishment applied to infants and toddlers by Southwestern Pennsylvania parents.

     Joshua L. Turner, 20, Black Lick Township, Indiana County, told police he bit, violently shook and repeatedly struck a nineteen-month-old boy with his fist after becoming “real angry and flipped out,…I wanted him to know what the pain felt like. I punched him as hard as I could…” even while he admitted he thought it was wrong to strike a child…“I started to freak out…That’s why I did what I did.” Five days later, the child died. Numerous bruises and bite marks on the face, chest, stomach and arms’ a broken left arm, and strangulation marks on his neck were the child’s punishment for biting.

     Richard Paul Fike III a.k.a. Zeddicus Zull Vorander, 22, Uniontown said he “blew up,” before allegedly threwing a towel rack at his seven-month old son (and punching his wife in the face, threatening her with a knife, and strangling her until she fell to the floor unconscious)…the cause? His wife walked in on him while he was viewing pornography in their residence. The infant’s crime? His presence at the scene.

     When Robert Lee Huseman, 19, Uniontown, was charged with aggravated assault for slapping his three-year-old stepdaughter, bruising the right side of her face and neck. He then told her: “It’s OK, I didn’t mean it,” the complaint said. He told police that he was “getting better…This time it was not as bad as before.” In 2001 he was charged for allegedly slapping his infant daughter “five times (he thought) with an open hand.” I have a short temper and “just lost it,” he told police. In 2005 he pled guilty after repeatedly striking a two-year-old boy, his then-girl friend’s son.

      Clinton Smith, 32, Troy Hill, accepted a plea deal for the 2007 sexual assault, beating and killing of ten-month-old Da’Niyah Jackson.  She had multiple organ failure, severe bruising on her face, arms and legs, and was bitten in the chest. Smith changed his story about the incident, stating in one that “he put a lot of pressure on her abdomen when he changed her diaper.” The child’s crime: being alive, being female.

     News reports state that Turner’s lawyer told jurors that “there is no evidence that Turner intended to kill the boy.”

     Just what did Turner expect would be the consequences of his actions?

     I wonder: Does the term “cruel and unusual punishment” fit the consequences these children paid for their actions? I also wonder when parents will “get it,” that uncontrolled rage directed at children—no, uncontrolled rage directed at any person—can have dire consequences. And we here in Southwestern Pennsylvania are not immune to instances of uncontrolled rage.

     The question becomes: What can we do to stop the violence?


      Common Pleas Judge Edward Borkowski, Smith’s judge, said “I can never understand the harming of a child.”

     Neither can I.

     Borkowski added to his message: “May God have mercy on your soul.”


Greensburg Tribune-Review, April 6, 2010, p. B3






Fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath

Punishment or Neglect: Neither is Correct

Breaking the Cycle of Abuse: A Devotion

Why women stay in abusive relationships: Is this the right question?


  1. These criminals should get the penalties that they deserve. The first man deserved the death penalty. he others should all have gone to prison; a place by thye way where they do not like those who mistreat children. “I have a bad temper,” is not an excuse for abuse of a child, a woman, or anyone!

    Comment by Will Patterson — April 25, 2010 @ 9:29 am | Reply

  2. Those who rape or molest children (or the elderly, or anyone for that matter, but, especially children!), are sick pervered creeps who should be castrated!

    Comment by Julia — April 26, 2010 @ 6:57 pm | Reply

  3. I agree that there is no excuse for brutally beating or abusing anyone, especially innocent children! And being angry or having an anger problem is not an excuse, there are other ways, more positive ways to get ones anger out! Those who use this as an excuse, are just morons, who may be lazy, and chose not to find another way to take out their anger and frustration! Even if they have been abused themselves, this still doesn’t give them the right or justification to hurt another human being; it is just a cop-out to choose to do wrong! They will pay for their actions one way or another; they should definately do some time in their local county jail/prison!

    Comment by Julia — April 26, 2010 @ 7:03 pm | Reply

  4. robert huseman right now is doing a 4- 12 year sentence in somerset prison . how to make a petition work and were to send it to show that no one wants him out in his neighborhood and there is at least 300 500 people i no will sign 100% for sure any info will help will get the petiton started and waiting for awnser

    Comment by silverdollar — May 27, 2012 @ 8:29 pm | Reply

  5. the petiton is to make him do his maxium sentence and not get out on his parole half serve time this is his third offense and child abuse is serious to protect a child for a few more years is worth it to me if even have to picket the jail what ever it takes to keep a child safe is worth ever minute of it love to hear feed back thank you much

    Comment by silverdollar — May 27, 2012 @ 8:36 pm | Reply

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