Getting Tough on Child Abusers

January 26, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
Assemblyman Mike Villines says he'll introduce "Adam's Law" within the next two weeks, named after a Fresno boy who was left permanently damaged after he was shaken as a toddler. At first glance, he may look like any other four year old, but Adam Carbajal can't walk or talk because of brain damage suffered just after his first birthday.

His mother's former boyfriend, Ramon Curiel, is now serving a 10 year prison sentence for the abuse but his grandparents say it's not long enough.

Alfredo Garcia, Adam's grandfather, says "This guy's going to be out for seven years he's going to get on with his life. What about Adam? He's going to be handicapped for the rest of his life."

Adam was only given a 5% chance of survival when he was first rushed to an emergency room.

Because he lived, Curiel was charged with 2 counts of willful cruelty to a child and corporal injury to a child which carry a maximum sentence of six years each.

Adam's grandparents appealed to Assemblyman Mike Villines for tougher laws.

Villines says the extent of injuries should be considered when a jury decides the punishment for child abusers. Villines says "If a child has a broken finger, that's considered the same as having a broken neck. And what we're saying is that's not right. We need to make sure we value that injury so we can put somebody away longer."

Villines says he'll be introducing a bill named "Adam's Law" next month which would mean a sentence of 15 years to life, if a person hits, shakes or hurts a child and causes permanent damage.

Maria Garcia knows the law won't affect Adam's case, but she says she's doing it for other children. She and her husband say they don't understand how anyone could oppose the law.

Maria Garcia, Adam's grandmother, says "That law is going to pass. I'm going to do whatever it takes. If I have to travel to Sacramento everyday, if I have to call them, send them videos of Adam of his seizures, of the struggles that he goes through every day?"

Assemblyman Villines says the extent of injuries is already considered when victims are over the age of 8. He says "Adam's Law" would close that loophole to protect all children.


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