11 week old dies at the hands of her father
By Debbie Herb, Child Welfare Examiner
www.examiner.com, December 21, 2010

Easton, PA - Joseph A. Urquia, 21, has a history of child abuse. Last year, he admitted to assaulting his daughter, who was 3 months old at the time, by spanking her and causing a large bruise across her entire buttocks. Urquia told an Easton detective he had struck the baby "out of frustration". Originally accused of felony aggravated assault, Urquia eventually pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of simple assault, a misdemeanor, and was sentenced to 18 months of probation by Northampton County Judge Leonard Zito. Yes, you read correctly, they allowed him to plead to a lesser charge. He is still on probation for this offense.

An October 2009 letter from a county case worker said Urquia had been "very cooperative" with mandated classes that included anger management, family therapy, parenting education and individual therapy.

On Sunday, Urquia became frustrated again with his new daughter who was only 11 weeks old because she wouldn’t stop crying. This time, his frustration turned lethal and an 11 week old baby girl is now dead. She was removed from life support on Tuesday. After initially stating that he had dropped the baby in the bathroom, he admitted to hitting in the head with a closed fist twice.

Joseph A. Urquia, 21, was arraigned for homicide.

The judge who allowed him to plead to a lesser charge on the abuse of his 3 month old daughter is what caused the death of this child. This may just be an opinion, but how many children have to die before someone steps in and says, enough. We need tougher laws. When it comes to abuse of a child, there should never be the opportunity to plea bargain. Did the 3 month old have the opportunity to plea bargain with her father to possibly agree to a lesser form of abuse?

By the time you finish reading this article 2-3 children will have suffered abuse in the United States. Within the next hour 166 children will have suffered abuse or neglect. By the time you go to bed tonight, this number will have reached close to 4000. Out of those 4000, 4 children will die at the hands of their abusers. These statistics are outrageous, but show that we need to be the voices for these children. If you suspect child abuse, please report it. Protect our children!

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