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There is more blame to go around in Cooper abuse case

web posted March 2, 2007

OPINION – The recent story of Foster Mother Belinda Cooper being arrested for charges of assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature and child neglect has struck the hearts of many readers. Cooper is accused of stripping a 12-year-old foster child and beating him with different items on his buttocks and his face in addition to verbal abuse during the alleged events. To top it off, the beatings are captured on video, supposedly at Cooper’s direction.

Since EdgefieldDaily.com broke the story that was picked up by area media over the next few days, we have received hundreds of e-mails on the case. Many of the comments sent in stating what should be done to Ms. Cooper would be too vulgar to appear even on a porn site for sadists and masochists.

The central issue in the case is not just the allegations against Belinda Cooper, but also the inaction by the Department of Social Services. How could something like this go on for so long and undetected if they were doing their job and checking up on the children they placed in Cooper’s home?

This is not the first report of a child being abused while in foster care, a Bettis Academy woman has provided information to EdgefieldDaily.com that relatives of hers were abused after being taken into “protective custody” by DSS last year. That case is said to be under investigation.

What is for certain is the emotional scars that this already traumatized child will have to face will extend many years into his life, if not forever. Somebody should pay, including the Department of Social Services.

We would like to see a court appointed guardian for the child file a law suit on behalf of the child to pay for these damages. DSS is responsible for the foster parents they oversee and thus the ultimate blame lies with them for not supervising their contracted employees.

Belinda Cooper will stand trial for the crimes she is accused of committing and more charges are said to be coming in the near future. In our opinion the Department of Social Services should be standing right beside her in the courtroom as accomplices, before, during, and after the fact. At very least they should answer for their negligence.

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