An arrest has now been made in the case of an Oregon babysitter who avoided charges in the alleged beating of a 1-year-old boy because of a loophole in state law, authorities say.
Markell Hilaire, 27, was arrested Friday, weeks after the parents of a boy he was left in charge of took to social media to blast authorities for failing to act because of a technicality.
The charges include Criminal Mistreatment, Assault in the Third Degree, and Assault in the Fourth Degree, according to a statement from the Washington County District Attorney.
The arrest comes at the heels of a firestorm of outrage that erupted after the boy's father, Joshua Marbury, posted photos to Facebook of his son's bruised and battered face.
"After TWO months of waiting we only find out that charges are dropped BECAUSE my one year old cannot tell you verbally he was abused and my son did not show he was in pain OR that this person "intentionally" did this," Marbury wrote on Facebook. "I am SO furious that im not using profanity HOPING something is done and this goes viral."
Marbury's hopes were met and then some as his post was shared more than 400,000 times.
Hundreds of subsequent posts across national media have demanded to know why no one was being charged.
“The whole side of his face black and blue,” his mom told Inside Edition. “His arm was bruised. The next day, bruises on his back showed up. He had marks under his eye, in his eye. His ear had a bunch of marks in it."
The boy, Jacob, also had a black eye.
Hilaire was arraigned Monday and is due back in court June 27. He has not yet been assigned an attorney.
The couple says they became enraged when a local prosecutor told them the case would be hard to prove because baby Jacob is too young to describe what happened.
In an update she posted Monday, the boy's mother, Alicia Quinney, said she's relieved an arrest was made but that she wants the law altered for taking so long.
"Thank you all for your support and continued support as this case moves forward. We will keep fighting for Oregon's law to be changed!!" she wrote.
State law requires prosecutors to prove an abused child experienced “substantial pain” before an adult can be convicted of felony assault or criminal mistreatment. Appellate rulings have made that difficult to document if the child can’t articulate their suffering.
The district attorney's office appeared to agree with Quinney in their statement, writing: "Although charges were filed in this particular case, the need to fix Oregon law to protect vulnerable victims remains. Under current Oregon law, animals are more protected from physical injury than many children."