A woman in Iowa has been arrested for allegedly allowing a grown man to impregnate her 11-year-old daughter after repeatedly being told he was having sex with the child. Tina Durant was charged with child endangerment after disregarding her child’s cry for help along with multiple witnesses who complained. In spite of the allegations against the man, the 37-year-old mother of two still allowed the 24-year-old family friend to share a bed with her daughter.
The Newton woman was taken into custody following an investigation which revealed she did nothing to protect her daughter from the accused Jacob White. Not only did the child complain about White’s inappropriate behavior but several witnesses addressed the issue with Durant. Allegedly, White had sexual contact with the child for several months but the woman simply would not listen to or act on the cries for help.
The investigation began after a recent doctor’s visit. During the visit the mother and child learned that the now 12-year-old was pregnant. Reportedly, a staff member of the medical facility overheard the child tell the mother, “I tried to tell you several times” and reported the allegation.
According to a police report, multiple witnesses stated they addressed their concerns with the mother but she refused to do anything about it. The report states one witness told Durant directly that she had seen White engaging in sexual behavior with the child and still, the woman refused to take the necessary action to protect her daughter. Not only did she not take action herself but she never reported the complaint to law enforcement or the Department of Human Services (DHS).
After DHS became involved they notified a Newton police detective. Part of the investigation included the child’s parents submitting printed copies of the girl’s Facebook conversations with White which aided greatly in the arrest of White. During an interview White admitted to law enforcement that he had grown emotionally attached to the girl who viewed him as a person she could confide in. He also admitted to having had a sexual relationship with her since January. White was arrested and charged with third-degree sexual abuse and Durant was hit with a child endangerment charge.
Executive director of the Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault, Elizabeth Barnhill, said she has found that charges involving child endangerment against a parent are more commonly found in cases where the child has been physically abused and either the parent or guardian knew but failed to seek help. Barnhill added,
I think the public sentiment is often to get angrier at the mother rather than the person who actually committed the abuse. I don’t know what happened here. The charge may be appropriate, but I also think it’s important to remember who committed the abuse. A man in his 20s who knew the age of the child and knew that what he was doing was a criminal act.
Amy McCoy, spokeswoman for DHS, said in Iowa the number of cases for sexual abuse is low and make up only about four percent of all abuse cases. Longtime staff members cannot recall a founded sexual abuse case that involved a pregnancy.
White is not in custody, but does have a no contact order with the victim. A court appearance has not been scheduled for his case. Police said Durant is facing criminal charges because she is the parent of a minor who knowingly permitted the continuing physical abuse or sexual abuse of a child. She was released from jail and has been ordered not to have any contact with her daughter. Her next court appearance was scheduled for September 9.
By: Cherese Jackson (Virginia)