Mom: I’m not mad at neighbors — (Springfield News-Sun)

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Springfield News-Sun

By SHUVA RAHIM, News-Sun Staff Writer

June 20, 2003

 Barbara Thompson said Wednesday she isn’t angry at a neighbor for making a videotape that investigators say shows her husband hitting her infant son.
“I don’t have an opinion. I understand he’s trying to do what’s right,” she said of her neighbor, Brian DeBoard. “But why didn’t they come to me? I had no idea.”
DeBoard’s videotape shows Mark R. Foster, 29, of 5651 Willow Chase Circle, slapping, shaking and swinging his step-son, Tyler Thompson, by the ankles, investigators say.
DeBoard and his wife said they saw Foster hit the child, who will turn 1 on Sunday, on more than one occasion.
Thompson said the DeBoards moved into the Northridge neighborhood in early June and that she still hadn’t met them when Foster was arrested Monday.
Foster was released on a $10,000 bond Tuesday after being charged with felony child endangerment. Thompson said Wednesday that Foster was not now staying with her, but she would not say where he was.
The baby remained Wednesday at Mercy Medical Center, said Cathy Appel, deputy director for the social service division of Clark County Job and Family Services. She said the boy is being assessed and should be released soon, but she would not specify when that would happen then.
Thompson said she gets supervised visits with her son when she wants.
“He’s happy to see me when I come. He cries when I leave,” Thompson said Wednesday.
Thompson also has a 13-year-old daughter who, she said, is staying with relatives and is upset by the situation.
“She doesn’t want to be taken away from her mother,” Thompson said.
Thompson and Foster met in September and married in Tennessee in April.
After she saw the tape, Thompson said Foster lost control and that his medication wasn’t working.
Clark County Sheriff’s Lt. Russell Garman said Foster was taking Zoloft, a drug used to treat depression, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder.
When he viewed the video, Foster said he didn’t know what he was doing, Garman said.
While video showing such alleged abuse is rare, one official predicts that more cases like this will arise.
“I think we’ll see more people take the initiative and try to advocate for kids,” said Atiba Jones, executive director of Prevent Child Abuse Ohio, a statewide education and advocacy group. “As long as people don’t put themselves in danger (while videotaping), this sends a loud message across the state.”
Jones said some people may worry that reporting abuse may lead to unwanted attention by media. But he said it’s best to err on the side of the child’s safety.
“A lot of citizens don’t know where they’re crossing that line. If you were raised in a home where no physical discipline was used, any form looks like abuse. It’s that balance,” Jones said. “But if your gut tells you it’s abuse, report it and let Children Services decide.”