Rochester mother wrongfully accused of child abuse fights back

By Berkeley Brean

May 8, 2009 /

A young mother was an outcast in her community after being unfairly accused of child abuse and now she's fighting back.

Deliris Diaz was arrested two years ago and her children were taken away. Police and doctors thought she had burned her son in scalding water but the truth is it was the medication she gave her son and there was no warning about the side effects. She's suing the drug maker so it doesn't happen again.

Deliris Diaz said, “It was really depressing for me. Really, really depressing.”

Her son Jose was having trouble going to the bathroom so Diaz gave him drops of Little Tummys but the combination of the ingredient senna with his stool against his skin caused burns and blisters. It was so bad Diaz called 911 but when doctors and police saw the burns they suspected abuse and Diaz was arrested, indicted and facing seven years in prison.

Diaz said, “Every where I go people looked at me like I did something wrong.”

Then her lawyers found medical reports that said the laxative she gave her son caused the burns.
The charges were dropped and now Diaz is suing.

“Oh it's a very upsetting story, it's heartbreaking.” Lawyer Steve Schwarz filed this lawsuit against the makers of Little Tummys accusing them of having no warnings or instructions on the packaging about skin reactions in children, reactions that look like scalding.

Schwarz said, “She was absolutely separated from her kids for five months, couldn't live in the house with them over what in retrospect, looking back false allegations of child abuse.”

Now Diaz is back with all three of her children. She says the lawsuit is about more than just money. “It's going to help other people - other parents that might be going through the same process. They should know about this and I think not a lot of people know about this.”

Typically it takes about two years for these cases to go to trial so it is not a quick fix and Diaz is still listed as a child abuser with the county's child protective services. She says she can't get a job as a home health aide because of that. 

Her lawyer says they're going to ask the county again to remove her name. If they don't, that's another lawsuit.

View the current lawsuit



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