Editorial: Lessons must be learned from child abuse case | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Editorial: Lessons must be learned from child abuse case

The trial date is soon to be set in one of the most heart-wrenching cases of child abuse ever seen here, or anywhere else.

Esther Rios, 56; her daughter Regina Rios, 33; and son-in-law Tomas Granados, 33, face felony charges for the alleged abuse of Regina Rios’ 16-year-old daughter and 11-year-old son. The children were discovered Jan. 19 after the girl ran away and told police she and her brother had been locked in a bathroom for years. They were severely malnourished.

So egregious have been the allegations and evidence that it has been difficult for even hardened professionals to keep emotions at bay. The justice of the peace presiding over the case, Robey Willis, put it succinctly when he said that “animals treat their children better than this.”

As hard as the stories, thus far, have been to stomach, it’s possible the details we learn from the trial will be even worse.

But it will be an important process, and not just so that justice is served. It’s critical that we as a community learn some lessons to ensure this does not happen again.

While this may be the worst case of child abuse we’ve heard about in years, it is far from the only one. The Carson City Sheriff’s Department receives hundreds of reports each year of child abuse, according to Sgt. Bob White. While investigators find evidence of abuse in fewer than 30 percent of those cases, that’s still a lot of children.

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Second, it’s up to all of us to do our part in putting a stop to all forms of abuse. The lesson from Sarah Koerner, who called police after seeing the starved girl struggling to push a shopping cart, cannot be overstated. Had she not made the call, those children would still be living in that bathroom. When parents fail, it’s up to the community to step in.

And lastly, a lesson that probably no one who has read the circumstances of this case needs to be reminded of – hug your kids a little tighter. Teach them the same lessons the rest of us are learning from all of this, and maybe there’s a chance this problem will fade away.

This community has stepped forward in a big way to help these kids, raising money and providing other support. There is good reason to believe the children can still live happy, productive lives.

But when the trial is over and there are no more stories, it will be up to us to make sure the final lessons of this case are not forgotten.

– From the Carson City Nevada Appeal.