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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2003

    NY - Sierra Roberts, 7, beaten to death, Queens, 25 Oct 2005

    Back in Care of Her Father, Girl, 7, Is Killed

    (I didn't post the entire story, but I posted a lot of it because it's so sad )

    A Queens father was charged yesterday with killing his 7-year-old daughter, who tested positive for cocaine when she was born, spent time in foster care, and came to the attention of a city agency again two years ago because of suspicious injuries.

    The girl, Sierra Roberts, died on Oct. 25. An autopsy revealed severe internal injuries, including a ruptured bowel and extensive internal lacerations, according to the authorities.

    Prosecutors said her father, Russell Roberts, had physically abused her on Oct. 23 and 24, kneeing her in the abdomen on the first day and then bending her over the edge of a bed and beating her with a belt on the second day. Then, they said, knowing that Sierra was suffering, he waited before calling 911.

    It was the second time in two weeks that a birth parent was charged in the death of a child who had been placed in foster care by the city and then returned to the home.

    Last week, Tracina Vaughn was charged with reckless endangerment in Brooklyn because, prosecutors said, she had left her 16-month-old son, Dahquay Gillians, unsupervised in the bathtub, where he drowned.

    The back-to-back arrests come as the city has sought to emphasize its policy of keeping children with their birth parents whenever possible.

    When Sierra Helena Roberts's short life began, she tested positive for cocaine at birth and was immediately placed in foster care. She was returned to her father in 2001. Her mother, Mitchelena Hines, lives in North Carolina.

    In 2003, the Administration for Children's Services received a call from a Brooklyn doctor who was treating Sierra for a broken leg and learned, from another hospital, that she had sustained a fractured spine six months earlier. The agency investigated the injuries but accepted the father's assertions that both had occurred as a result of accidental falls.

    The way prosecutors say the girl sustained the fatal injuries was detailed during Mr. Roberts's arraignment yesterday in State Supreme Court in Queens on charges of second-degree murder, second-degree manslaughter, first-degree assault and endangering the welfare of a child.

    "He kneed Sierra several times in the abdomen, noticed the pain, did nothing about it," an assistant district attorney, Leigh Bishop, said. The father "then beat her with a belt the night before she died," Mr. Bishop said.

    Sierra was neither conscious nor breathing when she was brought by ambulance to Peninsula General Hospital in Far Rockaway. She was declared dead soon after.

    His lawyer, Howard R. Teichner, said Mr. Roberts was pleading not guilty. According to a court document, Mr. Roberts told the police that his daughter had been hurt while they were wrestling.

    The Administration for Children's Services said yesterday that it had received no complaints about the Roberts family since 2003.

    John B. Mattingly, the commissioner of the agency, said it would review all of its current practices regarding reunification of children with their biological parents after children have been in foster care.

    "Sierra had not been in our care for the last four years," he said in a written statement, "but we take responsibility for finding out whether Children's Services might have been able to do anything more to protect her during that time. We will make a full report to the public on this tragedy as soon as our investigation is complete."

    The girl, nicknamed C.C., attended first grade at P.S. 42. Several neighbors of the father and daughter on their quiet residential street in the Arverne section of the Rockaways said they had seen no signs of potential abuse. The father did not appear to work, they said, but the child was always neat and he walked her to school every day and was always with her.

    But Catherine Harris, 31, who had an apartment in the same neat townhouse complex, said she was troubled by the father-daughter relationship. At one point this year, she said, she noticed that Sierra had a bloodshot eye and asked the girl about it, but Sierra told Ms. Harris she had run into a doorknob.

    "His daughter was afraid of him, you could tell," Ms. Harris said.

    She said she had called Children's Services to complain but had heard nothing back.

    Children's Services said it first took custody of Sierra in January 1998, right after she and her mother both tested positive for cocaine in the hospital.

    Alonzo Freeman, 62, the girl's foster father, described Sierra as a happy child who lived easily with his other foster children, four boys.

    "She was such a sweet girl - he didn't deserve her," Mr. Freeman said of Mr. Roberts. "She was a very, very smart child."

    The baby's mother was out of her life, the agency said, but Mr. Roberts took classes on being a parent and drug treatment classes and continued to visit with Sierra each week.

    more here: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/18/ny...tml?oref=login

    member name: login8
    password: bugmenot

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    So many of the child deaths have some kind of drug connection! I hate what drugs are doing! And I beginning to not like CPS also!
    Just when I think that I have seen the most depraved things a human can do to another human, somebody posts a new story...........

    Why is it that when a custodial parent fails to provide for a child it is called neglect and is a criminal matter. But when a non custodial parent fails to provide it is called failure to support and is a civil matter?

    "Just when the caterpillar thought its world was over, it became a butterfly" ~ Michelle Knight

  3. #3
    SewingDeb's Avatar
    SewingDeb is offline "Sorry, I'm not qualified to land the plane."
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    This is so sad. I wish she had stayed in her foster home or they had been allowed to adopt her.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    In heels
    So sad.

    I will never understand why these kids are returned to abusive parents - it's not like they are going to get better

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Maybe if child services had bothered to check when the neighbour called them she would be alive now.We will never know now.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Yeah, what really bothers me is that she was visibly scared of him and they let her go with him anyway. Poor little girl, God rest her soul

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Russell Roberts

    Housed: Orleans
    Admission Date: 01/23/2007

    Offense: 1st Degree Manslaughter
    Sentence: 10 years

    First Parole Hearing: 11/2014
    Earliest Release Date: 01/15/2015
    Maximum Expiration Date: 06/21/2016

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Around here somewhere
    Now that's a sentence that pizzes me off. 10 years? 10 freaking years for beating his own child to death? Wonderful. Set an example there, way to show people that there are consequences when you kill your own children. Ugh. I hope he is taken care of at some point before release.
    JMO. Unless there's a link, I can't prove it.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    deep in the countryside of northern Alabama
    Oh my goodness, these cases just break my heart. These angels deserved a happy and loved life....just breaks my heart.
    The depths of which we are able to love will be measured by the depths we are able to love ourselves....et

    There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must NEVER be a time when we fail to protest. Elie Wiesel

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    first degree manslaughter? what is with these absurd charges?

    if he went up to a guy in a bar and did the same thing to him he would bet more then 10 lousy years

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