Law aimed at protecting military children is tested just weeks a - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Law aimed at protecting military children is tested just weeks after being signed

Talia Williams (Image: Family) Talia Williams (Image: Family)
WAHIAWA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Talia's Law, which was signed by President Barrack Obama on December 23, 2016, is being tested after the infant son of a Schofield soldier died.

Hawaii News Now has learned that the Honolulu Police Department, not the Army, made the initial call to the state's Child Protective Services agency after the 2-month-old boy was taken to Wahiawa General Hospital on Jan. 29.  He was suffering from severe head injuries, including a fractured skull.  He was transferred to Tripler Army Medical Center where he was on life support until Feb. 1, when he died.

The parents are considered persons of interest in the case, which is under investigation by the Army and FBI.

The new federal law -- Talia's Law -- requires military officials to immediately notify CPS when they suspect child abuse.  

The law was named after Talia Williams, the 5-year old girl who was beaten to death by her father, an Army soldier stationed at Schofield Barracks in 2005. The girl had made an outcry to a military doctor, her teachers also notified military officials, and neighbors expressed concern for the girl to military police. Despite those efforts, no one from the Army called CPS and Talia remained in the home for months.  

Talia's father, Naeem Williams, is serving life without parole. The stepmother, Delilah Williams, is serving 20 years in prison. 

Attorney Mark Davis, who represented Talia Williams' biological mother, said the law is about protecting kids.

"The primary determination has to be the safety of the child, not the punishment of the abuser, but the safety of the child," he said.

The law was introduced by U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, in 2015.  President Barrack Obama signed it into law late last year.  

Davis says prompt notification to CPS was required in this latest Army case under the new law, even though the child died and was too young to establish a pattern of abuse.  

The intervention is aimed at not only protecting the victim, he said, "but any other child in the household."

An Army spokesman tells Hawaii News Now, military investigators did contact CPS after the initial report by HPD.

Because of that initial report, an 18-month old sibling was removed from the Schofield soldier's home. 

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