Watching in disgust as his father physically abused his 2-year-old disabled brother, a sixth-grade student from Leander, Texas, decided to do something about it. Thanks to the young man’s incredible act of bravery, the alleged child-abusing father is now behind bars.
Alejandro Gonzalez, 48, is facing up to 10 years in prison, charged with a third-degree felony for injury to a child. Gonzalez’s sixth-grade son secretly filmed his father abusing his baby brother, who has cerebral palsy.
First, the boy sent the video to his sister before deleting it from his phone so his father wouldn’t find it. Then, the boy told school authorities at Wiley Middle School, who in turn alerted the Williamson County Sherrif’s Office.
According to a report from the Austin American-Statesman, the video showed Gonzalez grab his toddler by the hair and aggressively shake him.
The young boy was strapped into his high chair for mealtime, and Gonzalez allegedly became enraged when his son wouldn’t eat his food.
According to the arrest affidavit, the toddler has difficulty chewing and swallowing because of his cerebral palsy. Police confirmed that the middle school boy’s story was accurate after viewing the undisclosed video he’d sent to his older sister.
The sixth-grader went on to explain that this wasn’t the first time Gonzalez had abused his little brother. Police also saw pictures of bruise marks on the child’s bottom, a result of Gonzalez “disciplining the child using a belt and a fly swatter.”
Gonzalez is now at the Williamson County Jail, with a bond set at $100,000. Thanks to the bravery of an older brother, an innocent toddler will no longer suffer at the hands of his abusive father.
According to the World Health Organization, children with disabilities are three to four times more likely to be abused than their non-disabled peers.
Developmental delays, cognitive impairments, and the sheer trauma of the abuse often prevent a disabled child from being capable of speaking up.
“The impact of a child’s disability on their quality of life is very much dependent on the way other individuals treat them,” explained
Dr. Mark Bellis, a lead researcher for the WHO Collaborating Centre for Violence Prevention. “It is the duty of government and civil society to ensure that such victimization is exposed and prevented.”
Exposing evil is exactly what this middle school student did on behalf of his little brother. Without regard for his personal safety or potential ramifications had he been discovered filming in secret, this boy gave his disabled brother a much-needed voice.
Hopefully, this family has a strong support system that can help all the children involved find healing and wholeness after living in an abusive situation. May the actions of this young boy inspire others to speak out when they witness abuse.