Wireless camera captures child abuse by mistake.

Seems some guy went out and bought himself a wireless camera for home security and after installing it he managed to accidentally pick up signals from a similar wireless camera in another home. As a result he suddenly became witness to child abuse by a foster mother.

local6.com – News – Alleged Child Abuse Caught On Neighbor’s Wireless Cam

The neighbor, who did not wish to be identified, bought a wireless surveillance camera for his home security. After he installed it, the camera ended up getting a signal from a different wireless camera in a nearby house.

The man saw two young children holding their hands in the air for more than an hour. He then put a tape in and began recording as a woman entered the room and hit one of the children in the chest.

Later, the woman was filmed returning to the room and hitting the other girl with a stick.

The man called police, who then went door-to-door until they found the woman. She turned out to be a foster mother.

This is one of those news items that is interesting on a number of different levels. First it shows how new technologies will continue to impact our lives in unexpected ways as they gain greater acceptance and presence in our lives. To say that they can be a mixed blessing is obviously an understatement. I bet the foster parents never thought their wireless camera would end up backfiring on them. You can see footage from the camera at the link above.

Secondly this is another in a series of stories I’ve read recently about foster parents abusing the kids in their care. Could someone please explain to me why the hell there seems to be so many abusive foster families out there? Why the hell are these people taking in these kids if they’re just going to get pissed and treat them like shit?

Thirdly it’ll be interesting to see how this plays out in court. I suspect the defense attorneys will try to claim that the wireless broadcast shouldn’t be allowed as evidence as it wasn’t intended to be a public broadcast. I also suspect the prosecution will argue that the stupidity of the defendants on the ramifications of installing a wireless camera is of no consequence. The broadcast was there and happened to be witnessed.

15 thoughts on “Wireless camera captures child abuse by mistake.

  1. Could someone please explain to me why the hell there seems to be so many abusive foster families out there? Why the hell are these people taking in these kids if they

  2. Foster kids = money.

    More foster kids = more money.

    If you can get them to sit quietly in the corner, you can use more of the money yourself.

    There are some badly-made incentives with the foster care system - it’s very abuseable.

    did

  3. I can’t even begin to comment on the article, and all the anger I feel about this women and other abusive parents/guardians. But, I did want to thank you for posting it. I’d not heard about this.

  4. I do think there are some folks in the foster care system that are in it for the money.  And even among those who are not, I have to wonder whether the level of emotional investment (of a sort that would, I would hope, make abuse less likely) is lower among foster parents than others.

    That said, I’m not sure the proportion of abusive foster parents is greater than that in the general parental population (statistics, anyone?).  I suspect, but can’t prove, that when abuse does happen in foster families, it’s both more newsworthy (since it gives us government agencies to blame) and results in different legal action (and reporting) than when it happens in other families.

  5. Allow me to clarify that I wasn’t trying to imply that I thought the incidence of abuse was greater among foster parents than in the general population. In fact, I’m often surprised that it seems to be common at all as I tend to consider taking on the role of foster parent indicitive of a very generous and selfless nature. I didn’t think there was enough money to be made in it to attract folks who would do it purely for the income as opposed to a deep-seated desire to help out the kids they take on. Obviously I’m mistaken, but that’s why these sort of stories always surprise the hell out of me.

  6. What if the camera picked up two people having sex in their home instead of the child abuse incident? Invasion of privacy? There are a whole lotta things that are gonna hit the fan,,,

  7. I thought about that. We have an X10 camera in our bedroom, pointing mostly right at the bed. No, nothing kinky. We had two male dogs, one of which who had taken to peeing on things he shouldn’t, and we couldn’t figure out whodunnit…so we installed the camera so I could see/record what was going on while I was in my office.

    I doubt it’s an invasion of privacy if it’s a signal you’re broadcasting. I assume that would be up to the camera owner to insure their signal was protected somehow. I don’t really know.

  8. Brandi’s pretty much nailed it. Most of the court cases I’ve seen come down the pike on issues like this in the past have been decided on the basis of “If you’re dumb enough to broadcast this stuff then you’re the one responsible if you get caught doing something you shouldn’t be.” If it were a case of the broadcast being encrypted and the witness had to hack it to view it then there might be an invasion of privacy claim to be made, but simply being too stupid to realize you’re broadcasting to the world (or at least the immediate neighborhood) isn’t likely to fly very far.

    It’s considered akin to standing naked in front of your living room window with the shades open and then claiming that if people weren’t invading your privacy by looking in your window they wouldn’t have seen you naked and thusly you shouldn’t be liable for public obscenity charges.

  9. Some time ago, I checked into foster parenting because I wanted to be of some help to a child who needed it. I got an inside view of it because a friend of mine works for Child Services in our capital. It is actually a myth that there is money to be made this way. In fact, one of the deterring factors I had to consider was that the state may not actually provide enough for the child. There is no profit to be made here. Foster parents must, but often do not, educate themselves on their rights and that which the state requires the caseworkers to do and provide. The reason they should is because there are far too many caseworkers who do not do their jobs - one reason is that they are overloaded with cases, and another reason is that as in any place, some people just don’t do their jobs. The worst part about it is that a lot of children are placed and never checked on afterward. To ask why foster parents take on kids and abuse them is as easy to figure out as why stressed out and abusive parents continue to have more - and I am not talking about those on welfare who might be doing it to “make money.”

  10. I think you are right, most probably the defence raised would be that the video was a breach of the 4th Amendment (Search & Seizure) specifically the seizure element since it was taken without consent.

    If the person who got the video was part of a police operation, I think it would most probably be a breach esepcially if there is no warrant.

    As an aside, one issue that I think is interesting is as technology progress, is there a need to change the rules regarding the state’s collection of information. At the moment if for example a police was standing on the public street and looked into the window of someone’s private home and saw them abusing the child, then such collection of information obviously do not require a warrant. But as seen in this case, technology have progressed to the point that you may not need to step into a person’s house to see what is happening inside. The end result is as if one had entered a person’s home. If one adopts the restrictive approach where one needs a warrant only if one enters someone’s home then for better or worse (less privacy v more security?) you are agreeing to allow the state unfettered access.

    However, since the person is a ‘third party’ such a surveillance as compared to the agent of a state is often view less offensive. After all if you had voluntarily confess to your friends about a crime you did and your friend reported to the police then the constitution does not protect how you choose your ‘friends.’

    But the scenario where a ‘friend’ merely reports in their own words what they heard and the scenario of an electronic device recording everything verbatim, I think is quite distinct. Obviously if a criminal was silly enough to speak or act in front of a recording device then such evidence can be used. The reason is that the criminal had ‘assumed the risk’ and know about the possible danger. But to claim that one ‘assumes the risk’ of electronic surveillance, although one was oblivious to the risk makes no logical sense.

    What happens if one accept such wireless technology evidence and the next case comes along where one was using wireless technology to observe their neighbour’s daughter changing clothes. Would the daughter be left without a recourse?

    As the Massachusetts supreme court stated ‘the relevant question is not whether the criminals must bear the risk of warrantless surveillance, but whether it should be imposed on all members of society.’

    So I think the video evidence should be quashed. But that does not mean that the foster parents is off the hook as other evidence, medical and interviews with the children themselve should provide sufficient evidence to convict the foster parents in question

  11. I’ve been sayin’ it, and sayin’ it and sayin’ it. Women can be every bit as brutal as men, if not more so in some ways…
    I’m not mysogynistic or anti-feminism, I’m just anti-femiNAZIsm. If you could, I’d really like to know where I can find that news reel.
    I find it interesting that it didn’t make many headlines or I’d have heard about it by now. Do you know if she was a single mom or a foster couple(sic) or has she or they been charged or what…This kind of thing is extremely important to men everywhere who get fucked over in custody hearings nationwide. Where was the dad or mom?
    Keep up the great writing…

  12. If you could, I’d really like to know where I can find that news reel.
    I find it interesting that it didn’t make many headlines or I’d have heard about it by now. Do you know if she was a single mom or a foster couple(sic) or has she or they been charged or what…This kind of thing is extremely important to men everywhere who get screwed over in custody hearings nationwide. Where was the dad and mom, or were they both deemed unfit?
    By the way, this is a great blog and keep up the stellar writing…

  13. i think it was a good thing that he had the camera beacuse they would of still be getting beatin till this day and it was problyu for the better that he did that because thanx to him the kids are probily in a much better place now and being treated like normal kids

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