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Tag Archives: Child Abuse

Criminal Practice — Child Abuse — Evidence – Testimony – Forensic Interviewer & Investigator – Hearsay Objection — Preservation (access required)

State v. Kromah Allowing a forensic interviewer to testify that she reached a compelling finding of child abuse was the equivalent of allowing her to say the child-victim was telling the truth. Nevertheless, any error was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt since the interviewer merely restated what the overwhelming evidence had already indicated: that the child’s injury was the result of physical abuse.

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Abuse victim gets second shot at justice   (access required)

When Kelly Waldron Bowles, 27, finally decided in 2002 to report years of sexual abuse at the hands of her former stepfather, a Dorchester County grand jury indicted Donald A. Baxter with second degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor and committing a lewd act upon a child. Baxter eventually pleaded guilty to the lesser offense of aggravated assault and battery by taking indecent liberties with a minor, and was sentenced to six years in prison, reduced to two years probation. He did no jail time. But in the civil suit that followed eight years later, it took Berkeley County Court of Common Pleas Judge Stephanie McDonald just one day to find for the victim. On November 15, McDonald awarded Bowles $14 million in damages on her claims of sexual assault, sexual battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress and gross negligence. “The award cannot replace the childhood and innocence that Kelly lost,” said her attorney, Joseph P. Griffith Jr. of Charleston (pictured).

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Tort/Negligence – Child Abuse – Photo Development – Reporter’s Statute – Common Law Duty (access required)

Doe v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. As we held in Doe v. Marion, 373 S.C. 390, 645 S.E.2d 245 (2007), there is no private right of action for failing to report suspected or known child abuse under the Reporter’s Statute, S.C. Code Ann. § 63-7-310(A). Moreover, defendant Wal-Mart had no common-law duty to protect an abused child, nor did Wal-Mart’s internal policies about developing photographs - or their violation - create such a duty. We affirm summary judgment for Wal-Mart.

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