Los Angeles : Gabriel Fernandez, 8 ans, torturé à mort par ses parents qui le soupçonnaient d'être gay

Los Angeles : Gabriel Fernandez, 8 ans, torturé à mort par ses parents qui le soupçonnaient d'être gay

>> Couple Indicted Over Torture Death of 8-Year-Old They Thought Was Gay

Un papa + une maman c’est élémentaire… sauf pour Gabriel Hernandez, 8 ans, tabassé à mort par ses parents qui le soupçonnaient d’être gay !

C’est ce que révèlent les détails sordides de cette affaire qui a refait surface dans la presse, suite à la convocation d’un Grand Jury mercredi dernier par les procureurs de l’État de Los Angeles : Sinthia Fernandez, 30 ans, et son compagnon, Isauro Aguierre, 37 ans, originaires de Palmdale en Californie, sont accusés du meurtre de leur petit garçon, qu’ils auraient torturé avec conviction parce qu’il était trop sensible et jouait avec des poupées. Un soir de mai 2013, Gabriel a succombé. Il ne respirait plus.

« Chaque parcelle de son corps a été exploitée pour davantage de souffrance », a expliqué l’un des ambulanciers qui a répondu à « l’appel d’urgence » de la mère, et trouvé l’enfant nu dans sa chambre avec une fracture du crâne et plusieurs côtés brisées. Il est décédé deux jours après.
« Maltraité régulièrement et battu plus sévèrement que de nombreux prisonniers de guerre », selon les déclarations d’un des avocats du district au « Los Angeles Times ».
« Les parents lui avait fait avaler les excréments du chat et son propre vomi lorsqu’ils l’avaient surpris en train de jouer à la poupée », témoigne Ezequiel, le grand frère de Gabriel, 13 ans.
« Maman disait qu’il était gay et l’appelait le petit homo. Elle l’aspergeait de spray au poivre et l’enfermait toutes les nuits dans le placard avec une chaussette dans la bouche. Il n’avait pas le droit d’aller aux toilettes. »

Objets contondants, boucles de ceinture et matraque… les parents n’auront pas lésiné ni manqué d’imagination pour le « guérir ». Ils avaient même réussi à lui faire sauter des dents. Un calvaire qui a duré huit mois. Depuis qu’ils ont obtenu en vérité la garde du garçon en octobre 2012, jusque là placé chez des proches.

Gabriel avait d’ailleurs laissé une petite note dans sa classe évoquant son suicide, las d’endurer les abus. Mais aucune preuve de maltraitance pour les services sociaux, maintes fois sollicités par l’enseignant et le grand-père du garçon : « Gabriel n’était pas en danger et n’avait pas non plus de plan immédiat ou spécifique pour mener à bien sa propre mort. »
Ils n’ont pas envisagé d’approfondir leur investigation et demander par exemple à Gabriel de relever sa chemise pour pouvoir constater les contusions, brulures et autres séquelles.
Cette affaire avait d’ailleurs incité les relances d’appels à la réforme des programmes de protection de l’enfance dans le comté en 2013. Les quatre agents concernés ont été seulement congédiés mais aucune mise en cause.

Retard dans la planification d’une audience préliminaire, acte d’accusation renvoyé… les procureurs n’ont pas encore décidé s’ils vont requérir la peine capitale pour Fernandez ou Aguierre, qui malgré les témoignages à charge, plaident « non coupable ».

Terrence Katchadourian
@stop_homophobie

>> A Los Angeles-area woman and her boyfriend have pleaded not guilty to capital murder charges related to the 2013 death of her 8-year-old son, Gabriel Fernandez, who was routinely « abused, beaten, and tortured more severely than many prisoner of war, » according to a deputy district attorney who spoke to the Los Angeles Times.
Pearl Sinthia Fernandez, 30, and her boyfriend, Isauro Aguirre, 37, of Palmdale, Calif., are accused of torturing the child for eight months, calling him gay, beating him when he played with dolls, striking him with belts and baseball bats, forcing him to eat cat feces and his own vomit, dousing him in pepper spray, and locking him inside a cabinet with a sock stuffed in his mouth and refusing to let him out to use the bathroom, according to court records and testimony from the child’s older siblings, the Times reports.
On the day Gabriel Fernandez came into state custody, May 22, 2013, his mother made a call to 911 reporting that her son wasn’t breathing. When paramedics arrived, they found the child in his bedroom naked, with a cracked skull, several broken ribs, and BB pellets in his lung and groin, according to the Times. Fernandez reportedly told paramedics that her son had fallen and hit his head on the dresser. The child died two days later. Gabriel’s older brother, Ezequiel, 13, recounted the beatings and abuse at the hands of their mother, reports NBC Los Angeles. The older brother testified that, out of the three children, only Gabriel underwent abuse. A possible reason could be that Gabriel’s mother suspected him of being gay. According to the Associated Press, Gabriel was punished whenever he played with dolls, called « gay, » and sent to school wearing girls’ clothes.

Gabriel came to live with his mother in October 2012 after living with relatives since his birth, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The more than 800-page testimony sheds light into Gabriel’s abuse and what led to his death. The Los Angeles Times reports Fernandez and Aguirre allegedly beat him with a belt buckle, a wooden club and other blunt objects, hitting him so hard once that some of his teeth feel out. Gabriel was forced to eat cat feces as punishment and he was shot with a BB gun.
Social workers and other authorities missed various signs of abuse despite warnings from teachers who found bruises on the boy as well as a suicide note, according to the L.A. Times.
Four social workers were fired for their neglect in Gabriel’s case, according to the Los Angeles Daily News.
« For eight straight months, he was abused, beaten and tortured more severely than many prisoners of war, » said Deputy District Attorney Jonathan Hatami told the Grand Jury, reports the L.A. Times.
On the day of Gabriel’s death, Fernandez became angry when he did not pick up his toys, according to Ezequiel’s testimony; she and Aguirre began beating the boy until he was unconscious.
« It just went quiet, and my mom came out like scared and told me to, to make up a story because she was going to call paramedics, and she told me to say that me and Gabriel were playing in her room and he hit his head on the cabinet, that it hit the cabinet, » Ezequiel testified, reports NBC Los Angeles.
One of the responding paramedics testified, « It was just like every inch of this child had been abused, » according to the L.A. Times.
The couple has pled not guilty to the charge of capital murder.

When the case first made local headlines last year, it prompted calls for reform to Los Angeles County child welfare programs, as social workers had responded to multiple reports from Gabriel’s teacher and grandfather about the abuse the boy suffered. In each instance, child welfare workers determined that Gabriel was not at risk, though the Times notes that those workers never lifted the child’s clothing to check for bruises or cuts. After social workers responded to a call from his teacher — who found a suicide note the boy had written — they concluded that the child did not have an immediate or specific plan to carry out his own death. The Times notes that two employees with the L.A. County Department of Children and Family Services were fired in the wake of the case. A third employee is appealing the firing motion to a civil service commission.
Fernandez and Aguierre each face an indictment of capital murder with a special circumstance of torture. After numerous delays in scheduling a preliminary hearing, L.A. County prosecutors convened a grand jury to consider the case, which returned the indictment July 28. Prosecutors have not yet decided if they will seek the death penalty for Fernandez or Aguierre.