Babysitter Arrested for Abuse of 1-Year-Old in Oregon

Petition, Facebook hashtag spurs arrest
June 7, 2016 Updated: June 8, 2016

An Oregon family said that a babysitter suspected of assaulting their 1-year-old son has been arrested.

Markell Deon Hilaire, 27, was arrested for criminal mistreatment and assault charges—a few weeks after the child’s parents, Alicia Quinney and Joshua Marbury, posted a picture of the boy, who appeared to suffer bruises and other injuries, on Facebook.

The parents demanded action from authorities to take action on the alleged mistreatment of their child.

The Sherwood couple said they came home to find Hilaire, a family friend they trusted, asleep on the couch. The baby, Jacob, was crying on the floor in his room, KPTV reported. Jacob woke the next morning with injuries—including a hand-shaped bruise—all over his body and face.

The parents then contacted police, but authorities pointed to a loophole in Oregon laws.

Prosecutors said that if the child is physically abused, in court they have to provide evidence that a child was in pain or the child was impaired. Victims have to be able to explain how they suffered, and if they’re too young to communicate, prosecutors said it would be hard to charge their alleged abuser with a crime, KPTV noted.

(Washington County Sheriff's Office)
(Washington County Sheriff’s Office)

But, in a twist of fate, Quinney wrote that prosecutors were “able to do more research and speak with the doctors and try to figure out if they had enough evidence that Jacob was in substantial pain, so they felt like they had enough to prove that,” according to her Facebook post.

She said the babysitter was arrested and is currently in custody.

The Oregonian reported Hilaire, who was the best friend of the boy’s father, had been staying with the family. He was watching the boy with his older sister on the night of the alleged abuse.

He pleaded not guilty to the charges during brief arraignment Monday afternoon in Washington County Circuit Court.

His aunt, Dionee Hilaire, said her nephew had been drinking alcohol before criticizing the parents for leaving the baby and another one of their children in his care.

Regarding Oregon’s abuse laws, prosecutors said the case does highlight major problems that prevent them from protecting children who can’t speak. “The term ‘physical injury’ to you and I means something very different than what it means under the law,” said Washington County Deputy District Attorney Kevin Barton last month, KPTV reported.