Million March focuses attention on child abuse laws

Million March focuses attention on child abuse laws

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) - Marchers rally to raise awareness for child abuse laws.
SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) - 17-year old Summer Gonzales is a victim of child abuse.

But she felt re-victimized wihen charges were dropped against the man accused of sexually molesting her.

"I felt cheated from everybody because it's not fair because we deserve justice and we didn't get it," says Gonzales.

She was part of Utah's effort in joining the nationwide Million March against child abuse. Gonzales and other advocates gathered outside the Matheson court house. It's a way to raise awareness and push for tougher laws.

Summer's mother says the defendant later raped two young girls.

"I think that was the worst part for our family," says LeeAnn DelRio. "We couldn't get justice but now two other families are broken."

Utah's laws now make the punishment involving the death of a child like the same as an adult victim.

And now prosecutors do not have to prove intent as part of a child's murder, abuse or kidnapping.

The Charlie and Braden Act was recently passed in Washington state.

The two boys were killed by their father Josh Powell who was a suspect in the disappearance of his wife Susan Cox Powell.

The Washington law prevents a father suspected in the death of his wife from having custody of his children.
But it's not law in Utah.

Lucinda Martin who is an outspoken advocate on behalf of Ethan Stacy who was allegedly killed by his mother and boyfriend says it's time Utah has a similar law.

"The only way to protect children is to keep them from harm and if the person is dangerous that person should not be with them," says Martin.

She and others plan to continue researching the Charlie and Braden Act in hopes a lawmaker will sponsor a proposal at next year's legislative session.
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