Local News

Bill Aimed at Protecting Children from Abuse

(Indianapolis, IN) - The death of a four-year old La Porte County boy from child abuse is the incentive for legislation filed downstate.


State Senator Mike Bohacek (R-Michiana Shores) has filed the bill.

Senate Bill 26 would allow caregivers of children in need of services the right to free legal counsel in court cases.


The attorney would be paid out of the Public Defense Fund.


Bohacek said this would allow the caretaker to be heard and represented in court even if they cannot afford their own legal representation.


This bill is in response to a law passed last year.


The new law gives a caretaker authority to intervene as a concerned party in a court proceeding over a child-parent relationship.


"SB 26 is the continuation of my work to prevent tragedies like that of Judah Morgan. That never should have happened, and I am doing what I can to help protect children like Judah who need help," Bohacek said.


Morgan, was found dead after suffering severe injuries from blunt force trauma in the home of his birth parents in October of 2021.


He was previously in the care of his foster mother and second cousin, Jenna Hullett, before custody was ordered returned to his biological natural parents.


Hullett concerned about the boy’s well-being tried speaking against the placement of Judah back with them.


She felt her warnings were being ignored.


Bohacek said he crafted the legislation after learning about the difficulties of Hullett in trying to maintain custody of the boy.


“I hope to be able to help some of these family caregivers provide for the children they love.  These caregivers genuinely want what's best for the children and deserve to have a right to representation in court, even if they can't afford their own representation," he said.


Alan Morgan, 29, was given a 70-year prison sentence in November for the death of his son.


His mother, Mary Yoder, is charged for knowing about the abuse but failing to report it to the proper authorities.


The case against her remains undecided.





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