Thursday Sep 24 2009
Family that lost daughter says son was abused, too
By: Penne Usher Journal Correspondent
Juceams say Hannah's twin, Benjamin, shaken as well
Scott Juceam, whose daughter Hannah died May 13, 2006, allegedly from shaken baby syndrome, says that his son Benjamin, Hannah’s twin, was shaken by his teacher. Scott Juceam recently filed a claim against the Placer County Office of Education and Placer County seeking unspecified damages. Gayle Garbolino-Mojica, superintendent of the Placer County Office of Education, said the claim has no validity, has been fully investigated and found to be without merit. The Placer County District Attorney's Office also reviewed the Juceams' claims and has decided not to file criminal charges against the teacher in question. Benjamin Juceam, now 4, who has Downs Syndrome, is a student at the Sierra Christian Church Head Start program. Scott Juceam said the incidents took place between May 7 and May 13 of this year. The family was notified on the three-year anniversary of their daughter’s death, he said. “Lorena (Juceam's wife) was approached at the school when she was picking up Benjamin and told May 13 of all days, May 13 that (someone) had witnessed Benjamin’s teacher shake him,” Scott Juceam said. He said the school was aware the incidents had occurred and that there was an “escalation of violence” throughout the week. The teacher alleged to have shaken Benjamin for putting his hand in toilet water, Barbara Montague, is named in the lawsuit. Montague has reportedly been placed on administrative leave following the alleged May 13 incident. James Anderburg, executive director of administrative services for the Office of Education, issued the following statement Tuesday. “The Placer County Office of Education conducted its own investigation and also found no basis for the allegations of mistreatment by the teacher,” the statement reads. Garbolina-Mojica agreed. “As a parent I empathize with Mr. and Mrs. Juceam’s loss of their daughter and understand their deeply held concern about the safety and well being of our children," Garbolino-Mojica, said in the statement. "However, this matter has been fully investigated by the authorities and we are satisfied that students in our programs are safe and being served by professional, conscientious and highly skilled staff.” Garen Horst, supervising district attorney with the Placer County District Attorney’s Office, said his staff reviewed the case and met with the Juceam family. “We have declined the case as a criminal prosecution, “ Horst said. “Without getting into the facts -- we are charged with evaluating the charges to determine if a crime has occurred beyond a reasonable doubt. Based upon our evaluation we did not believe there was sufficient evidence to prove a crime had occurred beyond a reasonable doubt.” The Juceam family and Placer County prosecutors tried twice, unsuccessfully, to put the Juceams’ former nanny behind bars for Hannah’s death. Veronica Salcedo stood trial twice and was acquitted both times. “We couldn’t get 12 people to agree then,” Scott Juceam said. Now he says he’s looking to change a system that he says does not protect parents' rights while their children are under the care of another.