Eight year old boy, adopted with his siblings Sharnea and Shamale, by Catherine Marie Hudson. Even before their adoption in 1996, when the three children were in Hudson's foster care abuse had been reported.
From April 18, 1996, through November 13, 1997, eleven different witnesses filed twenty-six child-abuse reports in writing to the Worcester County Department of Social Services (WCDSS) and to the state's attorney in Worcester County concerning the Hudson children. Reports were filed by schoolteachers, the school nurse, the school therapist, the vice principal, several teacher's aides, and a few summer program workers.
All reports were unsubstantiated except two, which "alleged that the previous foster parent and her son were responsible for injuries to the children" (even though the children had already been living with Hudson for two years)
In December 1996, WCDSS child protection staff met with the school staff "regarding the numerous reports of suspected abuse already filed with [the WCDSS] from the Buckingham Elementary School.
WCDSS officials told the school staff that they "were overreacting and that [the WCDSS] had seen worse."
The staff was intimidated by orders from the WCDSS not to send children to the nurse or counselor unless treatment was needed, "not to do extensive questioning or investigating," "not to question caseworkers as to when they are coming to the school," and "not to make follow-up calls to workers."
The WCDSS called the Board of Education, complaining that the school staff was harassing them. The school was "told that burns, cuts, bruises, and open wounds were not enough" to substantiate child abuse.
In January 1998, the WCDSS closed the case. On March 24, 1998, Shamir died "in the Hudson household, a sanctuary arranged, approved and supervised by the state, a place that produced no fewer than two dozen reports of suspected abuse in the past two years."
Placement type: Adoption
Type of abuse: Lethal physical abuse
Abuser: Adoptive mother
Organizations: Worcester County Department of Social Services