Make crimes against children have stiffer sentences

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This petition is to change the justice system providing tougher penalties to crimes against children. As it stands today crimes against children get far less prison time then those who have crimes of drugs or stealing cars. There needs to be separate laws when it comes to children. At this point most get a slap on the wrist when they have assaulted ,harmed,injured or caused permanent injury to a child. Even in death one only gets maybe a few years in prison. These children are innocent and need to be protected. There needs to be proper justice . My daughter was one of those children , my daughter was poisened from birth to almost 5 months of age. with visine from a family friend. This person got a slap on the wrist, hardly anything and my daughter suffered lack of oxygen several times, causing brain injury and permanent delays and physical injury. My daughter will never eat solid foods or grow to be the person she should have been this person stole her infancy and destroyed her future. During her plea of guilty i heard precedent cases which sickened me.  I heard many of many of cases where people got hardly anything for the death of children, or causing injury or permanent brain injuries to babies, children. A person who steals a car or personal property gets more time than the death of a child or the permanent injury of a child and this needs to change.  This women got 6 years time served , she now just 4 years later will be getting out this summer. While my daughter has a life sentence to a damaged brain she was not born with. At present as a whole she is on the 6th percentile meaning 94% of children are smarter than her. She is globally mentally delayed. 

The parole board knows of her lack of insight , her no remorse to what she did and her anger . Yet she will be released to harm again.

 Here is what she went through and what she is now left with : a letter drafted to courts at time of prosecution of Christine Allen  This letter is a description of the medical, neurological and psychological impact upon Mia Coulombe- Elms from the poisoning that she suffered as a newborn and beyond. The facts of the poisonings are not in question. Mia was deliberately poisoned with Tetrahydozoline, the active ingredient found in products such as Visine. The poisoning occurred in the first days of life and continued, even when she was in hospital, until approximately 3-4 months of age. Mia was brought to medical attention at the Grand River Hospital's Emergency Room on the fourth day of life. However, mother reports that the infant was experiencing breath-holding spells right from the first day of life, so I believe that she was being poisoned by the perpetrator within the first few hours of life. Mia was hospitalized from the fourth day of life until almost 3 months, with only 2 very short spells at home during that time. She was initially hospitalized in Kitchener, at the Grand River Hospital. Because of severe breath-holding spells which required intensive care management, Mia was transferred to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) in the Children's Hospital in London, Ontario. She was there for approximately one month. The cause of her spells was not known at that time, and so, she was being extensively investigated. She underwent numerous tests and scans including: MRI scans of the brain several times, genetic testing, EEG and video EEG tests, cardiac testing, and innumerable blood tests, but all to no avail. These tests caused the child a great deal of pain, and anxiety. The poison, Tetrahydozoline, was not detectable by convential testing available in a hospital, so the cause of the child's symptoms remained undiagnosed. The child's symptoms included lethargy and low tone, poor feeding, hypothermia (low body temperature) and prolonged spells where she did not take a breath and turned blue. During the breathholding spells (medically, called “apneic spells”), Mia needed to be rescued by medical personnel and several times, had to be placed on a ventilator to breath for her until the spells resolved. During the apneic spells, her brain suffered a lack of oxygen, and irreversible brain injury occurred. The recurring nature of the poisonings and the ongoing apneic spells intermittently caused brain damage until the poisonings finally stopped at approximately three months of age. Because the Children's Hospital in London could not find a cause for Mia's symptoms, the parents requested a second opinion and she was transferred to The Hospital for Sick Children, in Toronto. Many of the same tests and scans that had been performed in London were repeated in Toronto, with the same results. At that time, no cause for the child's symptoms could be found and her symptoms mystified her doctors. Even though the tests were negative, she was started on medication for seizures, phenobarbital, and medication to treat gastro-esophageal reflux. Of course, these medications did not help because she did not have these disorders, and the side-effects of these medications only added to the child's symptoms. Of course, during these three months, Mia parents tried to be with her as much as possible. She was far from home, and there was an older sister at home who also had to be cared for. Obviously, the parents were under a tremendous amount of stress because they had an ill infant for whom the doctors could not seem to help, and they were trying to juggle the rest of their obligations such as family and jobs at the same time. To make matters worse, the doctors and nurses at the hospitals began to view the parents with suspicion, wondering if the parents were somehow causing the symptoms. The parents were under a great deal of stress and became angry at times with the doctors, and this only made matters worse. The Hospital for Sick Children staff only allowed parents to visit with Mia for 2 hours a day. The psychological stress that both the child and the parents felt during this time is almost beyond description. At about three months of age, Mia's spells stopped. This coincided with the perpetrator having less contact with the family and the child. About 4-5 months after discharge from hospital, the medications that Mia was on were discontinued. No further spells occurred. Then in July 2013, the cause of Mia's symptoms came to light with the information that she had been poisoned with Tetrahydoxyozoline. Finally, Mia's symptoms made sense. Infants poisoned with Tetrahydoxyozoline could demonstrate the following symptoms:

• Coma

• Difficulty breathing or no breathing

• Blurred vision

• Blue lips and fingernails

• Change in pupil size

• Changes in blood pressure (high at first, low later)

• Fast heartbeat

• Headache

• Irritability

• Low body temperature

• Nausea and vomiting

• Nervousness

• Seizures

• Tremors

In fact, Mia demonstrated many of these symptoms. Unfortunately, even though the poisonings finally stopped, the brain injury from frequent episodes of hypoxemia (low levels of oxygen in the blood) is permanent. The child is now approximately 20 months old and she is demonstrating many signs of brain injury.

Gross Motor Functioning:

Mia is able to walk, but she started late. She is still quite clumsy, and often walks into furniture, or the walls. She has poor balance. She has fluctuating levels of muscle tone. She has trouble raising her head at times. She walks very wide spaced because of poor balance. Normally, a child of her age would be a very steady walker and would be able to run stiffly. They would be able to climb up stairs one at a time holding onto the railing. The occupational therapist made the following observations:

In combination with clinical observations, parent interview and the results of the Caregiver Sensory Profile, Mia is presenting with vestibular processing difficulties. This is resulting in difficulties completing activities such as changing her diapers (requiring her to be tipped back and laid on her back). In addition, this appears also to be impacting her ability to perform motor activities. Thus influencing her ability to perform activities requiring dynamic balance and eye-hand coordination. Mia is presenting with difficulties processing vestibular based experiences.

She requires orthotics and special shoes because of her low muscle tone. She is stronger on the right side

than the left, and she shows weakness in her trunk.

Fine Motor Functioning:

For her age, Mia should have the following fine motor functions:

• Builds tower of four blocks

• Scribbles with crayon

• Dumps small objects from a bottle

However, she was not achieving any of these milestones as yet. At 20 months of age, she was functioning at the level of a 12 month old in the fine motor domain.

Adaptive and Social Functioning:

Mia is quite impaired in her adaptive and social functioning. She still demonstrates a great degree of anxiety with strangers. Often, she does not respond to her name. However, she may be hearing impaired. She chokes on her food and still can only eat pureed foods. She sometimes chokes on her own saliva because of discoordination with her swallowing. She is unable to follow simple directions like “give mama a hug”. She does not understand what is said to her. Her delays in this area are directly due to the brain injury she has suffered as an infant.

Speech delay:

Children of Mia's age should be able to speak between 20-40 words, but Mia only is able to speak one or two. She is again showing dramatic delay in speech development. See the findings of the speech

therapist below:

Expressive Language Skills:

Tamara reported that Mia was previously using some single words such as “mama”, “nana”, “buba” and “tada” but appears to have “lost them”. Mom reports that the only word that Mia is using spontaneously is uh-oh”. Mia’s imitation skills are developing. Mom reported that Mia has been imitating “mmm” for “more” and signing when given a verbal prompt during mealtime. She was able to imitate some gross motor and oral motor movements after a period of time; results were not

immediate. For example, initially, Mia required hand-over-hand prompting to shake her shaker like this clinician (tapping the floor or chair, shaking up in the air), however after a delay, was able to imitate the actions performed by this clinician. Mia was also observed to stick her tongue out following the action of this clinician, about two minutes later, indicating that her imitation skills are emerging, however may be slightly delayed due to increased processing time. Mia was also observed to wave and say “bye-bye” after her older sister left the room and the door was closed.

Mom reported that Mia required explicit teaching of waving and saying “bye-bye”. She disclosed that it is typical for Mia to wave after a time delay. During our home visit, Mia would say “bye-bye” intermittently throughout play. At times, it appeared as though she was meaning “all done” however this was not shown consistently. She was inconsistent with following routine or familiar directions with cues such as give me (with an open hand) or show me/point to directions as well as stopping when her name was called,understanding simple questions, and identifying two body parts on herself.

In terms of her expressive language development, Mia scored at the 19th percentile on the PLS-4

indicating low average skills for her age. According to the Rossetti, Mia’s expressive language skills are demonstrating scattered development. Due to her lack of initiation skills, she is demonstrating development at the 6-9 month and 9-12 month age ranges. Mia was observed to babble two syllables together, participate in a play routine with another person for 1-2 minutes and is beginning to imitate non-speech sounds. She had difficulty with oral imitation of duplicated syllables, vocalizing with intent, using a word to call a person and saying “mama” or “dada” meaningfully.The child appears to be also hearing impaired and is currently being investigated more fully. She may require hearing aids.

The family unit has suffered tremendously over the past 20 months. First came the stress of an ill infant with an apparently mysterious condition being cared for in hospitals far from home. Then came the added stress of increased scrutiny of their family by medical professionals, and coming under suspicion for somehow causing their child's symptoms. Then, with the knowledge of the cause of the child's symptoms, the realization that Mia had been harmed by a close friend of the family and the sense of betrayal that came with this knowledge, and the guilt that they exposed their child trustingly to this friend.

I believe that Mia's handicaps will be permanent. She will make gains and continue to grow and develop, but her development will not reach normal levels. It is very likely that Mia will not be able to look after herself as an adult and will require constant supervision to manage her affairs. She will require special schooling and support. She continues to have, and will have long into the future, many visits to various medical specialists and therapists including neurologists, orthopedic surgeons, orthotic makers,physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists and others.There can be no doubt that the poisonings she suffered and the permanent brain damage that ensued will cause Mia and her family immeasurable suffering for her entire life time.

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