Charlie Janeaux, 15 months, sips on a bottle at his great-grandmother's house in Port Neches on Wednesday. At 22 days old, Charlie Janeaux's skull was fractured by his father who is now serving 40 years in prison. Photo taken Wednesday, April, 18, 2012 Guiseppe Barranco/The Enterprise Photo: Guiseppe Barranco, STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER / The Beaumont Enterprise
Charlie Janeaux, 15 months, sips on a bottle at his...
Chelsee Janeaux feeds Charlie Janeaux, 15 months, at Nona Janeaux's, also pictured, Port Neches house on Wednesday. At 22 months, Charlie Janeaux's skull was fractured by his father and is now developing slowly for a boy his age. Photo taken Wednesday, April, 18, 2012 Guiseppe Barranco/The Enterprise Photo: Guiseppe Barranco, STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER / The Beaumont Enterprise
Chelsee Janeaux feeds Charlie Janeaux, 15 months, at Nona...
Chelsee Janeaux feeds Charlie Janeaux, 15 months, at Nona Janeaux's, also pictured, Port Neches house on Wednesday. At 22 days old, Charlie Janeaux's skull was fractured by his father who is now serving 40 years in prison. Photo taken Wednesday, April, 18, 2012 Guiseppe Barranco/The Enterprise Photo: Guiseppe Barranco, STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER / The Beaumont Enterprise
Chelsee Janeaux feeds Charlie Janeaux, 15 months, at Nona...
Nona Janeaux is the great-grand mother to a 15-month-old Charlie Janeaux who is now developing slowly due to abuse by his father. The young boy has difficulties holding his head up. Photo taken Wednesday, April, 18, 2012 Guiseppe Barranco/The Enterprise Photo: Guiseppe Barranco, STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER / The Beaumont Enterprise
Nona Janeaux is the great-grand mother to a 15-month-old Charlie...
Nona Janeaux is the great-grand mother to Charlie Janeaux, pictured, a 15-month-old boy who mind and body is now developing slowly due to abuse by his father. Photo taken Wednesday, April, 18, 2012 Guiseppe Barranco/The Enterprise Photo: Guiseppe Barranco, STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER / The Beaumont Enterprise
Nona Janeaux is the great-grand mother to Charlie Janeaux,...
Though Charlie, now 15 months old, should be walking, babbling and playing with his brother, he is still learning to roll over and sit up on his own because of the severe developmental delays the brain injury caused.
He still cannot see properly.
It's been a long year for Charlie and his family as they continue weekly therapy sessions and trips to see specialists in Houston.
Charlie's father, Jason LeBlanc, was sentenced to 40 years in prison. Charlie was sentenced to lifetime of therapy to learn things that come naturally to most young children.
Charlie's story is one of the more than 600 confirmed child abuse cases in Southeast Texas last year, six of
which claimed the lives of Jefferson County children.
Last year's more severe case, however, came out of Hardin County and resulted in the death of 4-year-old Breonna Nichole Loftin.
Loftin died Aug. 17 in a local hospital, where emergency room staff noticed bruises, burn marks, broken ribs and other signs of physical and sexual abuse on her body. Witnesses interviewed by sheriff's deputies said the girl was spanked, kicked, thrown across a room and forced to stand on top of water bottle caps while barefoot for punishment.
Loftin's mother, Amanda Nichole Guidry, 30, and her boyfriend, Jason Wade Delacerda, 34, are facing capital murder charges in Breonna's death. Trial dates have not been set, but a status hearing is set for July.
If the cases continue at this pace, by the end of the year there will be almost 1,600.
For the children who survive the trauma, the recovery will last longer than it takes for the physical wounds to heal, the authorities to close their cases or the abusers to face their punishments.
The physical trauma from child abuse is easier to notice and treat than the long-term mental affects, said Tammy Parsons, assessment center coordinator at Buckner Children's Village in Beaumont.
"Therapy is needed … as soon as they can get it," Parsons said.
When children are removed from their parents' or guardians' care during the course of an abuse investigation, the children are provided counseling, usually through contracted therapists or the Garth House.
The state pays for the therapy and any medical care as long as the child is its responsibility, but once the child is returned to guardians or adopted, the cost of care is often transferred.
Some new laws, though, have made it easier for families to get help paying for the continued, and often necessary, counseling, said Randi King, a prosecutor in the Jefferson County family courts.
"If something happens to you when you're 4 or 5 years old, then you're bopping along and it doesn't hit you until you're older that something happened," said King.
Parsons, who has worked with child abuse victims for more than 20 years, says each victim will need something different from the counselor they see.
"Every child has some uniqueness, but it depends on their personality, development, support systems and how the child viewed the trauma," she said.
Often, the issues the children face are broken trust or issues with adults or knowing what's healthy in relationships. Others can be fear, anxiety of closeness with others or thinking the abuse could happen again, Parsons said.
It's important to remember the secondary victims, too, said Julie Prudhome, clinical director at Beaumont's Garth House.
"We treat the parents and siblings because it affects the whole family," Prudhome said.
Prudhome said if the parent or guardian is coping well and has support during the often chaotic aftermath of abuse, then the children are more likely to do well.
After Charlie's father injured him by squeezing him so tightly last year - which occurred during what is believed to have been a fit of frustration in the middle of the night - Chelsee had her supportive family to lean on while even she was investigated for the abuse.
Because Charlie wasn't even a month old when it happened, he will only remember the trauma second-hand.
His brother, Jason, though, was a year old at the time and has experienced the fallout from the abuse - being taken from his family by Child Protective Services during the investigation, losing his father to the prison system and seeing his brother's injuries and the therapy he must endure.
Chelsee has full custody of the boys and has divorced their father and changed all of their names back to Janeaux. Jason LeBlanc signed off on his parental rights, according to Chelsee Janeaux.
Nona Janeaux, the boys' great-grandmother, had custody of them during the abuse investigation. She said it took a while to realize baby Jason was affected by the crime.
"We focused on Charlie for so long, Charlie was the only question and we put Jason on a shelf," she said. "It was only when he started reacting to that that we realized he was suffering, too. He lost his dad and that whole side of his family. We'd prayed for Charlie and realized we needed to ask for prayers for Jason too because so much of this involved him."
Chelsee said Jason, now 2, suffered from some anxiety throughout the past year, but it has waned since she's been able to spend more time with him.
Though they've been doing well, Chelsee said she broke down crying when Jason said the word "Daddy" last week.
She tries not to talk badly about their father and the abuse in front of the boys because she knows one day they'll want to know more about him.
Still, it is hard for her to get past the fact that he's never apologized directly to her for his actions that handicapped their son and put him behind bars.
"(Charlie) doesn't remember, but he'll have his whole life to be reminded of what happened to him," Chelsee said.
She expects Charlie to start crawling in a few months, though it's a milestone he should have hit a year ago.
His vision is slowly improving and Nona Janeaux said his vision therapist said he likely won't need typical Braille when he's older. Instead, he will be able to use a version of Braille that includes pictures, which means he won't be completely blind.
Charlie will also continue to see his occupational and physical therapists until he is about 3 years old, when he'll enter Highland Park Elementary's preschool program as a special needs student.
"He'll have a hard life, but I'll take it," Chelsee said of the lifetime of therapy he'll endure. She's just thankful her son is alive.
Other local child abuse cases
- In another case from last year, a Beaumont mother was sentenced to 25 years in prison for burning her 5-year-old daughter's feet with boiling water.
According to authorities, Lois Ann Brazier was bathing her 5-year-old daughter in an infant bathtub and boiled water for the bath on the stove, then poured the water on the child and scalded her feet
Brazier's boyfriend, Rufus Williams Jr., 53, was also charged with injury to a child on accusations he waited three days to get medical attention for the child.
Williams is scheduled to be sentenced this week.
The daughter will have to have treatment throughout her adolescence and will continue to have skin graft surgeries because of the injuries she suffered.
- Twenty-five-year-old Jamie Alyse Laday and Dewayne McKinley Byrd, 24, who have been indicted on first-degree felony injury to a child charges in connection to the beating of Laday's 2-year-old son, have a trial date set for later this month.
The child was severely beaten Jan. 25, 2011 in Beaumont and was transferred to Texas Children's Hospital in Houston for treatment.
He is still in physical therapy and now lives with his father in Houston.
- In a disturbing case from 2010, a two-year-old boy was bit on the face, dragged by his genitals for a distance of six feet and then slung by his genitals - actions the judge in the case called "heartless."
Charles Cornelius Wright, 25, was accused of first degree injury to a child after detectives noted a human bite mark, scratches and bruises on the child's torso consistent with being beaten with a belt, severely swollen genitals and cigarette burns on the child's back.
Wright pleaded guilty to the first-degree felony and was sentenced to 15 years in prison.
- A man accused of beating his 4-year-old son so severely beating that the boy coughed up blood, served two years in state jail and has since been released.
John Clyde Cornelius, 27, was released last August after the 2009 incident that alleged he chased his son with a chainsaw and threw objects at him. The boy, whose mother was awarded custody after the incident, was treated in Houston for his injuries.
- Authorities say a now 7-year-old Lumberton girl is doing well after a 2007 incident when her mother's boyfriend put her in the dryer and turned it on for 45 seconds to a minute.
The girl, who was 2 at the time, suffered bruises and first degree burns on her waist, elbows and back.
Bobby Lynn Curtis is serving a 12 year sentence for the charge and is eligible for parole next year.
- A warrant is still out for a Beaumont man indicted on charges of injury to a child after his 9-month-old son suffered injuries consistent with shaken baby trauma.
Joshua Allen Shane Williams was indicted last year on the charge, but is considered at-large.
According to court documents, Williams, 22, was watching his 9-month-old son while the child's mother went to the store. When the mother returned, the child was lethargic and clearly ill, court documents said.
The child was taken to the hospital where he was diagnosed with several injuries consistent with shaken baby trauma.
Williams could face life in prison if convicted of the first-degree felony.
Ongoing Child Protective Services cases
- Roderick Demond Hale, 35, was arrested April 3 on Highland Avenue in Beaumont for leaving an infant at home alone.
- Jacoby Lee Richard, 23, is accused of shaking a crying child and striking the child's head on a door jamb on April 1. The child was taken to Christus St. Elizabeth Hospital with seizures and a skull fracture, court papers state.
- Ricky Metcalfe, 46, is accused of kicking a 10-month-old and another family member on April 3, according to court records. Court papers allege Metcalfe was drunk at the time.