Arizona Foster Mother Found Guilty of Child Abuse after Scalding Young Devani
by Health Impact News/MedicalKidnap.com Staff
The Arizona woman accused of scalding her adoptive child causing third degree burns to 80% of her body resulting in the amputation of all 10 toes has been found guilty of 2 of the 3 charges brought against her.
Samantha Osteraas of Tucson, Arizona, faces between 10 and 24 years in prison for hurting Devani, the little girl that the Arizona Department of Child Services placed into her care after removing her from a foster home where she was being abused in a pedophilia pornography ring.
A Pima County jury of 9 women and 3 men deliberated for 8 hours before reaching their verdict on Friday afternoon, October 19, 2018. According to News 4 Tucson, Osteraas:
…was found not guilty for the first count of child abuse. However, the jury did find her guilty for the lesser charge of reckless child abuse.
For the second child abuse count, she was found guilty.
One of the court watchers who was present for the emotional trial said that the jury decided that she was not guilty of “negligent child abuse,” which was the first count of abuse. They stopped short of saying that she burned Devani intentionally.
They did, however, find that Samantha Osteraas was guilty of delaying treatment after the burns occurred.
See Devani’s heartbreaking story of being taken from innocent parents who had never harmed her, then placed into one abusive situation after another:
Arizona Child Removed from Loving Family and Placed into Foster Care Where She was Repeatedly Raped – then 80% of Body Burned
Arizona Places 2 Year Old Child in Foster Pornographic Pedophile Ring – Foster Mom Burns 80% of Her Body
Advocates – Devani Is Beautiful!
Seven-year-old Devani appeared in court on Friday, October 12, to tell the judge and jury what happened to her. Court watchers told Health Impact News that they didn’t know what to expect when they saw her. None of them had seen her since before the incident.
They knew that she had suffered severe burns to most of her body and had undergone numerous surgeries and skin grafts. She had been placed into a medically-induced coma at one point, and her organs had been shutting down.
Devani has undergone 29 surgeries since being burned just after Christmas of 2016. All 10 of her toes had to be amputated. Advocates had no idea if the little girl would be able to walk again.
They were happy to see her walk into court on her own:
She looked so beautiful! She is so strong.
Two different advocates told us that it was clear from Devani’s demeanor that she refused to wear the label of “victim,” even though she has suffered more abuse than most people can imagine.
Devani has a different legal name after being adopted by Samantha and Justin Osteraas, but her advocates say that they will always call her by her real name, Devani Rose.
See our coverage of Devani’s testimony here:
Trial Begins for Little Arizona Girl Placed with Pedophiles in Foster Care and Burned by Adoptive Mom
Real Parents Not Allowed to See Devani in Court
Devani’s parents and grandmother, who are still fighting and praying that, somehow, their little girl will be returned to her family, were not allowed to see her testify.
They simply wanted to see her with their own eyes, something they have not been allowed to do since she was so brutally injured under state supervision. A simple request to be permitted to see her through a crack in the door or from behind a 1-way glass window was denied.
According to one witness, Guardian ad Litem Thea Gilbert brought in a psychologist to court to argue that seeing her birth parents would be “traumatizing” to the child. However, no mention was made of the potential trauma of seeing the woman who has scarred her for life.
Devani testified that Samantha Osteraas held her down in the bathtub with a pink towel. She named Osteraas and pointed her out to the jury.
Court watchers told us that they saw the trauma on the child’s face when she looked at Osteraas and their eyes met. They reported that their hearts broke as Devani “froze up” for about a half a minute.
Abuser – She Did This to Herself
Tucson.com reports that Osteraas denied holding her down. Her version of the story was that the 5-year-old child did this to herself:
Osteraas testified the child got into the hot water on her own and then stayed there until Osteraas found her in a dazed state.
There were “so many inconsistencies in Samantha’s story,” according to one of the court watchers we talked to.
The prosecuting attorney did not buy her story, either. Tucson.com reports:
Deputy Pima County Attorney Alan Goodwin had urged jurors to use common sense in deciding whether a child would sit in scalding water as the burns deepened, and whether a mother who claimed to care would wait hours to get help. The girl was “on death’s door” before Osteraas sought help, he said.
17 Calls Made Over 5-Hour Period Before 911 Called
He pointed out that the burns were so severe that she lost her toes. Yet, the accused waited for possibly 5 hours before making the phone call that should have been her first response. Phone records cited in court showed that Osteraas made 17 phone calls to various people before calling 911.
She said repeatedly that she was “in shock” and that was why she made 17 phone calls to a paramedic neighbor and his wife as well as to her husband before finally calling 911.
If that were true and she was in shock, wouldn’t it have been easier to call 911 than a neighbor?
Defense attorney Jeff Rogers suggested to jurors in closing arguments Thursday that the child may have been in such a confused state that she mistook her mother helping her out of the bath for holding her down. (Source).
He argued that the delay in calling for help was not intentional. Rogers was reportedly disappointed that the jury did not agree, and he says they plan to file an appeal. This is standard in criminal cases.
Sentencing – Aggravating Circumstances or Leniency Due to Abuser’s Own History in Foster Care?
Tucson.com reports that Samantha Osteraas will be sentenced on December 3. There are several factors involved in determining the length of her prison sentence, which could range from a minimum mandatory sentence of 10 years up to a maximum of 24 years.
The jury believes that there were factors present that increase the severity of the crimes committed against Devani:
After the verdicts were read, the jurors returned to the deliberation room to decide whether prosecutors had proven three so-called aggravating factors in the case:
- that the child had suffered emotionally,
- that she was 5 years old when the crime occurred, and
- that she was harmed by someone in a position of trust.
The jury found all of these factors were proven, which will allow the judge to consider them when determining Osteraas’ sentence.
Samantha Osteraas herself was adopted as a child. Her defense attorney pointed to her “very rough childhood,” which included abuse and foster care. Based on those factors, Jeff Rogers intends to request leniency in her sentencing.
The irony is that these same factors – being a victim of childhood abuse (or domestic violence as an adult), and growing up in foster care or being adopted – are frequently used by Child Protective Services agencies and social workers all across the United States to argue against leniency on birth parents.
Many loving parents who are falsely accused in the system hear in court that, because they have a history of being in foster care themselves, they cannot possibly know how to adequately parent.
These criteria do not actually determine the ability or suitability of anyone to parent, but social workers and attorneys pick and choose how to use facts such as these to twist to fit whatever agenda suits them in the moment.
The reality is that some children who grow up in the system, or who face any other challenge, are able to work through their pain and overcome the difficulties, while some grow up to repeat the patterns of abuse they experienced.
There was no leniency on Devani’s mother Michelle Tremor-Calderon when the state of Arizona terminated her parental rights and placed her child into horrific situations that she never would have faced in her mother’s care.
Now that the trial is over, Devani is still not with any of her family. Her legal name remains one assigned to her by her adopters, Samantha and Justin Osteraas. As far as we can determine, Devani is in yet another foster home.
Why Is GAL Thea Gilbert Still Allowed on the Case?
Shockingly, her Guardian ad Litem, Thea Gilbert, remains on her case. The attorney who is supposed to represent the child’s best interest has been with Devani’s case since the beginning.
Gilbert approved her placement with the now-imprisoned David Frodsham. Even after Devani’s mother Michelle Tremor-Calderon and transporter Beth Breen told Thea Gilbert that the child was terrified and showed clear signs of being sexually molested, Gilbert ignored them.
She and other Pima County social workers ignored the stories of other foster and adopted children in the home telling that they were being repeatedly raped and trafficked. One of the children has now aged out and is suing the state for millions of dollars for placing him and his brothers in such harm.
Arizona Foster Care System Revealed as Pedophile Ring: Former Foster Child Tortured for Years Sues for $15 Million
Despite being informed of the harm to Devani, Thea Gilbert recommended to the court that the Frodshams be allowed to adopt Devani.
According to KOLD News 13:
In November 2015, DCS investigated reports of sexual and physical abuse [by David Frodsham]. Those allegations were unsubstantiated.
Yet, they report:
DCS removed the child from the home of her biological parents in April 2013 when neglect allegations were substantiated.
[Note: these allegations against the parents were investigated by Health Impact News as well. We examined the DCS documents as well as the exonerating evidence, which clearly proved that the allegations were false from the very beginning. Source.]
After the pornography pedophile ring was busted by ICE, Gilbert approved Devani’s placement and subsequent adoption by Samantha and Justin Osteraas, despite clear warnings that the woman was prone to violence.
Two of the foster parent placements approved by Thea Gilbert and the Pima County DCS face at least a decade in prison each for heinous crimes committed against children.
Still, Thea Gilbert not only remains involved in the case, but she also refuses to so much as recuse herself.
When will those responsible for placing this child into harm’s way be held accountable? Are we truly to believe that they are above the law?
Why are the standards for non-biological fosters and adoptors consistently far more lenient than those to which biological parents are held?
There is a Facebook page established by supporters to continue to fight for “Justice for Devani Rose.”
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