Grandparents of shaken baby say court system, lawmakers failed to take action
Hampton, Va. – The grandparents of the boy who died years after his father violently shook him are saying lawmakers and judges could have done more to spread education about shaken baby syndrome, now that the father has been charged with abusing his newborn baby girl.
David Curtis Patton spent five years in prison for shaking his son Jared so badly in 2006 the boy died from brain injuries three years later.
“He was robbed of his life,” said Kathy Stowe, Jared’s grandmother.
Kathy and her husband Steve say the wounds left by Jared’s 2009 death were reopened last month when they learned Hampton police arrested Patton for hurting his daughter, who was conceived not long after he got out of prison for Jared’s death. Court records say the girl has brain injuries.
“Is he a monster?” said Kathy Stowe. “How could he do this again?”
Patton is only accused at this point, but Jared’s grandparents are pointing fingers at state lawmakers and the courts for not doing more to prevent this scenario.
“You spend five years in prison for child abuse. Do they give you education? Do they follow up after you’re out of prison to make sure you’re okay being around children?” she asked.
In 2007, James City County Judge Samuel Powell ordered Patton to have psychological evaluations, drugs screens and more after serving his five-year prison sentence, but there’s no mention of education for shaken baby syndrome.
The Stowes also lobbied the Virginia General Assembly for legislation that would require new parents to view videos on shaken baby syndrome, but state leaders shot it down.
“They just didn’t do anything,” said Steve Stowe. “They just dropped the ball and that’s the way it went.”
The Stowes say all they can do now is pray for Patton’s baby girl and hope the powers that be are paying attention.
“I would hope, number one, that the officials that have been present understand what happens when nothing’s done about rehabilitation,” Steve Stowe said.
Hampton police say Patton’s daughter has been released from the hospital and is in CPS custody. Patton will be back in Hampton JDR Court in July for a preliminary hearing.