Bruises, a black eye, and a large hand print were visible on little Jacob Marbury’s face when his parents tried to press assault charges against their 1-year-old son’s babysitter in March.
Alicia Quinney and Joshua Marbury told the NY Daily News they left their baby in the care of former family friend, Markell Hilaire, who confessed to the assault.
Police did not arrest the 27-year-old babysitter because their hands were tied by an obscure Oregon law that says if a baby can’t speak legibly he can’t identify his abuser.
So Hilaire was free to go.
The public outcry that ensued — while not as intense as the Harambe gorilla uproar — was expressed mostly on Facebook, where Joshua’s post was shared over 400,000 times.
“Something needs to be done. NOBODY can just hit a child and more to just get away with it because the child can’t verbally tell you,” Marbury said on Facebook.
Under Oregon law, bruises are not classified as “physical injury” for non-verbal children but are for animals such as dogs, cats and gorillas.
Even the Washington County District Attorney’s Office admitted the law needs to be changed so those without a voice — like little Jacob — can seek justice.
The pressure was enough to persuade the district attorney’s office to arrest Hilaire on Monday, and charge him with assault.
Hilaire remains in jail on $10,000 bail.
His aunt, Dionee Hilaire, blamed Marbury and Quinney for leaving their son and his older sister with Hilaire, whom she says had been drinking.