Camerae L. Hubbert, a 30-year-old resident of East Drain Street in Bunnell, faces a felony count of child abuse after allegedly admitting to a law enforcement officer that she had repeatedly whipped her elementary-age child with an electric cord.
Bunnell Elementary School personnel became suspicious on April 6 when the child had a disciplinary issues and they intended to call his mother. The boy begged the school employee not to call her because, he told the employee, his mother hits him with en electric cord.
The next day a Bunnell Police Officer interviewed Hubbert at her home. She told the officer that she struck him with the cord “multiple times after not being able to find a belt to use” against him. She said that was a way to discipline him for his behavior at school.
The boy that had had “visible marks on multiple areas of his body that were consistent with marks from an extension cord,” Hubbert’s arrest report states. Hubbert subsequently stopped cooperating with law enforcement, the Child Protective Team and the Department of Children and families. Circuit Judge Chris France signed her arrest warrant on April 22, served to her at her apartment the next day. She was briefly booked at the Flagler County jail, bonding out within hours by posting bail on the $2,500 bond.
It isn’t always a given that the State Attorney’s Office will pursue the charge. There are gray areas in child abuse cases–state law in Florida as in all 49 other states gives parents the authority to beat their kids as long as it doesn’t rise to the level of malice, which the law defines as “circumstances from which one could conclude that a reasonable parent would not have engaged in the damaging acts toward the child for any valid reason and that the primary purpose of the acts was to cause the victim unjustifiable pain or injury.” So prosecutors may either be unwilling to pursue a case with gray areas or unable to if victims or witnesses recant their statements, as they sometimes do–at times because of intimidation from their own abuser, or, if they’re witnesses, because they don’t want to get further involved.
For example, the state announced it would not prosecute a mother accused of beating her son at an informal day care center in late March, just two weeks after the alleged offense. It announced within two weeks that it would not prosecute Lomack Bennett either on a charge of felony child abuse or on a charge of strangulation after he was accused of brutalizing his son for wearing make-up. (He still faces two felony drug charges for which he is being prosecuted.)
On the other hand, today the State Attorney filed two felony charge abuse charges against William Ziegler–that is, it ratified its intention to prosecute Ziegler–who was arrested earlier this month on two counts of abusing two of his three sons in the Mondex, and earlier this month filed a charging information against Charles Nazworth, accused of a similar count against a 7-year-old girl in mid-February.
The state is pursuing a child abuse charge against Phoebe Horton, a teacher in St. Augustine accused of whipping her son for peeing himself early last month. And the state is pursuing a charge of child abuse against Andrew Atkerson, accused of throwing and bruising his 9-year-old son and telling cops he may have “overpunished” him. (His wife has written the court, saying the case is “being completely blown out of proportion” as his ex-wife “cannot stand the fact that he married a younger woman.” She wrote that Atkerson never abused the child.)
The state also filed a charging information on the last day of March against Joshua A. Rodriguez, who had his 7-year-old cover up the welts he’d inflicted on her before she went to school, telling her it would keep her from getting in trouble. Rodriguez swiftly opted to comply with a pre-trial intervention program, which entails a form of admission to the charge without it being put on his record–at least for a 36-month period during which he will have to follow probation-like conditions. If he makes it through the 36 months without violations, the charge against him may be dropped. He also has the option of early termination after 18 months of compliance.
Abuse Hotline: Report Abuse Online
The Florida Abuse Hotline accepts reports 24 hours a day and 7 days a week of known or suspected child abuse, neglect, or abandonment and reports of known or suspected abuse, neglect, or exploitation of a vulnerable adult. Please use the links below to report a child or adult abuse.
If you suspect or know of a child or vulnerable adult in immediate danger, call 911.
TTY: 711 or
Any person who knows, or has reasonable cause to suspect, that a child is abused, abandoned, or neglected by a parent, legal custodian, caregiver, or other person responsible for the child’s welfare is a mandatory reporter. § 39.201(1)(a), Florida Statutes.
To report an allegation in Spanish or Creole, please call 1-800-962-2873, for TTY use 711 or 1-800-955-8771. This toll free number is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with counselors waiting to assist you.