Here is an interesting question which has been asked again and again since jurors returned a verdict of “Not Guilty” in the Casey Anthony murder trial: should Caylee’s mother, Casey Anthony, be allowed the privilege of giving birth to another child? She has smilingly made it clear in media interviews that she wants more children.
If someone kills another person by careless use of a motor vehicle they lose their licence to drive a car.
If a person cruelly kills a dog, they are banned from ever owning another dog.
But if a person neglects and murders their own child, they are free to continue bringing more children into the world.
There is doubt about the veracity of Casey Anthony’s claim by her defence that her father and brother sexually abused her for years. There is video footage of her at a prison visiting session with her parents where she berates her weeping father for saying he should have been a better grandfather to Caylee. Casey tells him not to say that; he was a great dad and granddad. She had spent three years in prison awaiting trial and had much time to reflect on her past life. During this prison visit or any other, as far as we know, she showed no signs of anger at either of her parents. To my mind, if the sexual abuse allegations were true, this was the very time and space in which she could have railed at her parents, while mourning the death of her little girl. How could she not have been angry? Her defence team argued that the abuse Casey suffered as a child was the reason she showed no emotion and partied even though she knew Caylee was dead.
In fact, Caylee had not been seen by extended family members for 31 days and was first reported missing by her maternal grandmother, Cindy, with whom she had lived since she was born. Casey had suddenly left the family home with Caylee, and Caylee was never seen alive again. Casey only called 911 to report that her daughter had been missing for “31 days” after her mother finally located Casey and informed her that she was going to let police know Caylee was missing because she was becoming increasingly worried about her granddaughter’s safety. Casey’s car had just been found abandoned and her father had noticed a strong smell of “decomposition” in the boot of the car.
A time-line was created by the prosecution with photos, boyfriend’s and other friend’s testimonies, to show that Casey partied and took part in a ‘hot body’ contest during the 31 days Caylee was supposedly missing. Friends and acquaintances testified Casey wasn’t depressed or upset in any way that they could ascertain, even though according to the evidence Casey already knew at the time that her daughter was dead. The strong circumstantial evidence brought out in court was that she had buried her daughter herself after borrowing a shovel from her next door neighbour. After which he saw her reverse her car into the family’s garage, when there was no one else at home at the time. Backing her car into the family’s garage was something he had never seen her do before. Casey also had never borrowed anything from her neighbour before even though they had lived in adjacent houses for years. Caylee’s body was later found in a rubbish bag beside a lane just a few houses down the street from where she and her extended family lived. Traces of chloroform were found in the boot of Casey’s abandoned car and her confiscated computer showed that she had downloaded information from the internet about the use of chloroform.
There was evidence admitted at the trial that Casey Anthony neglected her daughter Caylee, although she posed for many photos dressed up and made up, to promote the image of herself as a devoted mother. This part of the testimony reminded me of the case of the celebrated film star Joan Crawford, whose adopted daughter wrote about her and her adopted brother’s horrific lives with the star in a memoir called Mommie Dearest. In all the staged photos of Joan and her children, she advertised and marketed herself as a devoted mother, but she was nothing of the sort. The posed photos of Casey Anthony with Caylee, seemingly depicting Casey as a happy, devoted mother just don’t tally with various testimonies given at the trial.
Casey Anthony, in a long interview with a detective the day after she reported Caylee missing, answered questions in a rambling way in which she appeared to be making things up as she went along. She told the interviewing detective that she had last seen Caylee when she dropped her off at her nanny’s so she could go to work. And here is the rub: Casey Anthony couldn’t remember the woman’s exact address or phone number even though she had two mobile phones! She gave the detective several addresses for where she may have left Caylee, but none checked out. She said she had known her daughter’s nanny ever she was pregnant with Caylee, but that the woman shifted a lot, that’s why she was confused about the address. And she had several SIM cards which were mixed up, so she couldn’t remember where the nanny’s phone number was stored. The fictitious nanny was never found of course so Casey had to admit to the detective that she had lied in her first interview.
I always get suspicious when a woman like Casey Anthony uses sexual abuse by her father as a defence in a trial, and as an excuse for killing her own child, for not showing any emotion. Many hundreds of women have been abused by their fathers and close relatives, but usually this makes them even more determined to protect their own children from harm and neglect. I was a victim of sexual abuse by an uncle when I was ten years old and it took me years to be able even to talk about it, but it made me very aware of the dangers, and extra vigilant when males had access to my young children. Most of us so abused are over protective, if anything.
I worked as a social worker in NZ for a short time, and in the worst cases children were removed from their abusive mothers and fathers. But time and again those same mothers became pregnant again and those same fathers sired more children. The cycle of abuse continued with the next child. In one case the mother of eleven children, who had all subsequently been removed from her care one by one, quipped to the social worker, who along with police, rescued that eleventh child, “I don’t care, I’ll just have another one”. I left this career after only eighteen months because I could not handle the heartbreak of so many children repeatedly abused and murdered by those very people who should have loved and protected them.
All social workers who face this problem day after day, deserve medals of the highest order not only because of the good work they do, always without appreciation, but also because they spend their lives working to protect and rescue children from abusive families. The children that do come to the attention of welfare agencies are the tip of the iceberg, many die without ever having contact with welfare agencies. The tragedy is that agencies often fail largely because of the sheer numbers of children who need their help and the lack of resources available to them. Often when I worked as a social worker, we each handled 30 to 40 serious cases, with very limited support structures. Social welfare agencies are notoriously under-funded in my experience. Too many children have died and are still dying at the hands of their parents. Isn’t it about time that those men and women who kill their children are banned forever from having other children. Perhaps those men and women should be ordered by the courts to be sterilised. Like registers for paedophiles, there should be a register that holds the names of all those men and women so that in the event they apply for adoption or reversal of their operations their murderous and abusive histories will be available for all relevant agencies to access.
By now most people will know that Casey Anthony has been released after the jury found her “Not Guilty” of murder. She can now make millions by writing a best-selling book about her ‘ordeal’ (they are always best-sellers!) and by giving interviews to all types of media for huge sums. But judging by Twitter, other online comments, various media and legal reports, very few people believe this mother to be innocent of the murder of her child. I can only think of that beautiful little girl who lived for two and half years, who died a horrible death probably by her mother’s own hand, and whose death will never be avenged.
How is it that thousands of children in wealthy countries like, America, New Zealand and Australia, parents continue to murder their children? Each case is tragic, no matter what the circumstances. In a perfect world every child should be wanted and loved. But as we all know, this world is far from perfect, and children will continue to die unless drastic measures are taken, and people with a well documented history of abuse, neglect and murder of children, are prevented from procreating.
Food for thought.
Update from HUFF POST News source:
Casey Anthony is not going back to hostile Orange County without a fight. Lawyers representing Ms Anthony will appeal a court order mandating her to return to her home state to serve probation for a cheque-fraud conviction. Last week, Judge Belvin Perry ordered Ms Anthony to report to a probation officer in Orange County by noon on Aug. 26 — but her attorneys argue that the 25-year-old has already served the time. Due to a previous conviction for cashing $644.25 of bad cheques using a friend’s stolen cheque book, Ms Anthony still faces one year of supervised probation.
In dispute, due to a court process error, is whether Ms Anthony served her probation while in jail awaiting trial, or whether she must fulfill the probation after her release.