Friday, August 12, 2011

Child Protective Services Had Investigated Hospitalized 6-year-old’s Parents

by JJ Hensley on Aug. 12, 2011

State officials were already in the process of investigating an allegation of child abuse on a 6-year-old Phoenix boy when the child’s parents took him to the hospital earlier this week with injuries that Phoenix police allege the child received when one of his parents slammed the boy’s head into a bedroom wall.

Phoenix police arrested Jacob Gibson’s parents, Jennifer Paul, 37, and Benny Gibson, 49, at Phoenix Children’s Hospital earlier this week on suspicion of child abuse.

Jacob remains hospitalized with a swollen brain and is not expected to survive his injuries, according to police.

Child Protective Services officials have been a consistent presence in Jacob’s life, according to a preliminary report released Friday morning, investigating at least five allegations of child abuse during the past four years.

The most recent CPS investigation into allegations that Jacob had golf-ball sized knot on the side of his head and two black eyes was launched last month and is still ongoing, according to the brief CPS report on the state’s involvement with Jacob.

Another investigation -into allegations that Benny Gibson “put his hands around Jacob’s neck in a choking motion” after he picked the boy up from school in May- is also ongoing, according to the report.

CPS officials had also launched three prior investigations into allegations of abuse against Jacob in 2007, 2009 and 2010, but investigators determined each of those allegations were unsubstantiated and offered the family “community services.”

The unsubstantiated allegations listed in the report included:

- A 2007 claim that Jacob was seen with bruises on his legs.

- A report in 2009 that Benny Gibson was yelling at Jacob and hitting him on the head in addition to forcing the boy to sit outside the family’s apartment naked because Jacob wet his pants.

- A 2010 claim that the left side of Jacob’s face was swollen as a result of abuse and that “Benny Gibson rants and yells at Jacob and requires Jacob to stand on a box at attention for punishment.”

A Phoenix police spokesman said officers also went to the family’s apartment near 19th and Glendale avenues during the past two months to investigate a report that Jacob was abused, but no one was home at the time and officers left unable to follow up on the anonymous tip.


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