Possible Army-State Agreement Violation In Child Abuse Case
Army Wants To Work On Child Abuse Prevention
POSTED: 6:10 pm HST July 21, 2005
UPDATED: 6:43 pm HST July 21, 2005
HONOLULU — The Army may have violated an agreement with the state about child abuse investigations in the death of Talia Williams, 5, KITV 4 News has learned. She allegedly died from abuse at the hands of her father and stepmother.
The case now has the Army taking a more public role in advocating child abuse prevention in Hawaii.
Neighbors twice complained about possible child abuse at the Williams home leading up to the girl’s death on Saturday, sources told KITV 4 News.
Military Police went to the house once, but couldn’t confirm abuse, officials said.
The couple was sent to counseling after the second complaint. Talia’s stepmother, Delilah Williams, also sought Army marriage counseling, sources said.
Talia’s father, Naeem, and her stepmother admitted to beating the child, officials said.
The Army has an agreement to inform the state about any child abuse investigations, but the state said it did not happen with the Williamses.
“I really can’t comment; I really don’t know. I can’t say at this point. There is a very aggressive investigation into the specifics on this case,” Col. Chuck Callahan said.
The case has prompted the Army to take a more public role in raising the awareness of the child abuse problem in Hawaii.
“Part of it is my being here today. The Army’s response is that we’re very committed to supporting these young families, young soldiers that we’re asking to do very difficult things a long way from their home,” Blueprint For Change Executive Director Lydia Hemmings said.
“Support them as they learn to develop as parents and as young married couples and to take care of their children,” Callahan said.
Representatives of the Army’s Family Advocacy Program are working with a handful of community agencies to develop a broad response to prevent child abuse.
The Army has, not yet charged Naeem Williams.
A detention hearing is scheduled for Friday for Delilah Williams. Her lawyer said there is another side to her story.