I-Team: Lawyer defends parents of ‘caged child’

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A mother accused of keeping her son in a cage is no longer in custody and the lawyer for the child’s parents is speaking out about the allegations.

The parents are accused of keeping their 4-year-old autistic son in a cage. Their lawyer is saying it sounds worse than it was. He’s calling the cage a homemade wooden crib that looked like it was from the 20s or 30s.

That’s much different than how others described it. A special needs teacher said it looked like something for a dangerous animal. The police described it as a metal cage/crib with plywood on it to keep the child from escaping.

Unfortunately, a photograph is not part of the public record at this time.

The attorney for the mother, Sheila Reyes, and the father, Juan Gonzales-Orozco, says they’re on house arrest.

They were not in court Tuesday because of an 8 News NOW camera in the courtroom. The parents’ attorney says the child was returned to them a year ago after they addressed issues in family court and the child is now doing well.

Police say when they found him in 2016, he was near bedding soaked in urine, he had a severe rash, and a pediatrician who examined the boy told investigators he had a developmental delay which appeared to be from neglect.

The attorney for the parents says they just didn’t have the resources they needed and the problem has been fixed.

“When you have children, they don’t come with a manual. They don’t come with an instruction booklet, especially disabled children,” said defense attorney John Turco. “So, unless you’re plugged into the system and people have made things aware and there’s people that are intervening or monitoring or you’re in a position where you’re aware of these things, you don’t know so you do the best you can in the situation you’re in.

Attorney John Turco insists the allegations are blown out of proportion. A prosecutor said, in court, she is looking at a lot of information from Child Protective Services and more charges could be coming.

At issue could be mandatory reporting. There are certain people who by law, have to report suspected child abuse or neglect. For example, doctors or teachers. In this case, a teacher at Red Rock Elementary School said she visited the child’s home twice and saw that homemade enclosure, was concerned and told her principal about it, but they did not report it to authorities. The same principal remains at that school.

After the I-Team reported this, the Clark County District Attorney said his office would be taking a closer look to possibly consider charges against the teacher and principal.
 

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