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Texas father arrested; police suspect baby’s sexual assault

A one-month old Texas child was the victim of life-threatening violence. Police believe they have evidence to show the biological father committed a violent sexual assault.

The tiny Titus County girl was taken to Children’s Hospital in Dallas with multiple injuries including trauma and several fractures. Hospital officials notified law enforcement authorities when it appeared the injuries were consistent with physical abuse.

Titus County sheriff’s deputies and a Texas Ranger responded to the report by visiting the hospital. Medical examinations indicated the child had been sexually violated. Doctors placed the baby on life support but grew optimistic over time that the 31-day-old girl would survive.

Investigators collected evidence at the hospital and interviewed several people before requesting warrants for a search of the parent’s home and an arrest. The 23-year-old father of the infant was arrested at Children’s Hospital and charged with aggravated sexual assault of a child.

The suspect was arraigned on first-degree felony charges in Dallas and later in Titus County. The baby’s father was jailed on a $1 million bond. If convicted, the biological father could be imprisoned for as little as five years or as long as a lifetime.

Police reports did not say whether the child’s mother was accused of any role in the alleged infant assault.

At one time, all states followed a court-created doctrine that gave parents immunity from civil lawsuits brought by or for their children. Creators and enforcers of the parental immunity doctrine felt more harm than good could come from interfamily lawsuits.

Many states have dropped the old doctrine in its entirety. Other states allow exceptions to the immunity rule including a parent’s "breach of duty" to their child through a criminal act.

Sexual abuse is a crime and could be considered a severe breach of parental duty in civil court. When negligence is proven, even when the litigating parties are immediate family members, damage awards are possible.

Source: dailytribune.com, "$1M bond set in child sexual assault charge," Lou Antonelli, Jan. 19, 2013

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