Child abuse expert testifies at Trebilcock trial

Date: 2012-07-20
Source: tdn

July 20, 2012 5:45 pm • By Leslie Slape / The Daily News
An expert on child abuse testified that, in his professional opinion, Jeffrey and Rebecca Trebilcock's adopted son was suffering from neglect as the couple's child-abuse trial ended its first week.

Dr. Thomas Dalvano, medical director of the Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect program at Doernbecher Children's Hospital in Portland, saw the Trebilcock's adopted son at Doernbecher in March 2011.

The Trebilcocks, both 45, each are accused of one count of first-degree criminal mistreatment and four counts second-degree criminal mistreatment of their three adopted children. Judge Michael Evans is hearing the bench trial, which is expected to last two weeks.

Dalvano said the boy, then 13, weighed only 49 pounds when examined.

"We were looking at an extremely malnourished child," he said, adding that he found no underlying medical condition.

"In my opinion, he was being neglected because he wasn't being given enough to eat," Dalvano said.

He said the boy also suffered from hypothermia from being "left in a too-cold environment," and eczema, a skin condition that cleared up during the boy's eight days at Doernbecher.

Dalvano told deputy prosecutor James Smith that the boy did not have cellulitis, a skin infection; rickets, a loss of calcium in the bones; or sepsis, a bacterial infection in the bloodstream. In cross-examination, defense attorneys Ted DeBray and Kevin Blondin asked Dalvano about all these conditions, noting that two weeks after the boy was discharged from Doernbecher he was diagnosed with cellulitis. They maintain that many factors could explain the boy's poor condition.

DeBray asked Dalvano if the boy's abnormally low height could be due to psychosocial dwarfism, in which stress causes the body to stop producing a growth hormone.

Dalvano replied that the boy gained 8 pounds, "just by feeding. That's not psychosocial dwarfism, that's malnourished."

Prosecution testimony will resume Monday and the defense will begin its case Tuesday or Wednesday. The Trebilcocks are expected to testify Thursday.

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