James Nicholas Dotson was arrested, tried and convicted of injury to a child causing serious bodily injury, the child in question was his step-daughter. Since the court records never reveal her name, neither will I, you see I know a little about this case as James Dotson was a co-worker, in fact he sat two cubicles away from me and was on the same team as I. He was a jerk at work; I will say that, the only ones that seemed to like him was management, probably due to the fact that he was non-union and constantly bragged how he would cross the picket line if we ever went out on strike. Needless to say he was not popular with any of his co-workers.
To reconcile what I knew of James Dotson and what happened in his home was not a hard stretch for me. We all knew he didn’t like the little girl, he was always making disparaging remarks about her, and that she was always in the way when he wanted to play video games. Yes, video games.
In the court documents it outlines what was done to this child, I am going to copy what the court documents say verbatim so there is no mistaking where I got my information:
“ A.L. and her mother, Miranda, moved into appellant’s home in the summer of 2007. Appellant married Miranda in September of that year. A.L was five years old and weighed 51 pounds.
To discipline A.L., appellant would hit her with his hand, a belt, and a shoe. He would also kick her, tie her hands and put her in a closet, make her stand in a corner for hours at a time, make her stand or run in place while holding weights over her head, and kick and spank her when she got tired from the weights and fell to the ground. While she was living with appellant, A.L. was worried he would kill her.
About a week following appellant and Miranda’s wedding, A.L.’s teacher sent home a behavior report concerning an incident at school on a Wednesday. A.L. loved school, so to punish her, appellant and Miranda kept A.L. home on Thursday and Friday.
During those days, A.L. was punished by being made to stand up all day and by being struck. Miranda hit A.L. with a belt and appellant kicked her and hit her with his hands and a shoe. On Friday, A.L. had been made to stand in the living room all day, and she was trying to carry out her punishment of running in place while holding a weight. The weight was “very heavy” for her, it made her tired, and she fell to the ground. Appellant became angry with A.L. for falling and kicked her one last time in the leg. When appellant kicked A.L.’s right leg, he broke her femur.
A.L. testified he did not apologize or help her, but continued “being mean.” He and Miranda initially lied to 911 and the hospital staff, saying that A.L. had broken her leg by falling off the bed. Only after being confronted with the medical staff’s suspicions of abuse did appellant confess that he had broken A.L.’s femur by kicking her.
A.L.’s femur was completely broken in two. At trial, multiple medical professionals testified that a broken femur is a “very” uncommon injury since the femur is one of the strongest bones in the body and the most difficult to break. A.L.’s femur was not broken in the middle, but was broken high up by her hip, where a break would require more force. Dr. Matthew Cox, medical director of the child abuse program at Children’s Medical Center, testified that A.L. had sustained a very directed blow to the top of her thigh, a very acute sharp injury. According to Dr. Cox, a violent kick could contain enough force to break a femur if it was executed with “severe” force.
In addition to the broken femur, A.L. arrived at the hospital with multiple bruises and abrasions to her arms, legs, shoulder and torso. She had recent belt marks and a recent bruise on her back that showed the tread marks of a shoe, a bruise that appellant admitted he could have caused. The bruises were of different ages, evidencing multiple episodes of abuse over a two-week period. A.L. also showed signs of a pancreatic injury, which could have been caused by a blunt force to her abdomen or back.
Multiple medical witnesses who saw A.L. after her leg was broken testified that A.L. believed she deserved to be punished because she was “bad.” They also testified to her high tolerance for pain and her matter-of-fact attitude toward her injury, indicating she was accustomed to being abused. Allison Nyugen, a physician’s assistant in the Emergency Room of Medical City Hospital with seven years of experience, testified A.L.’s case was the worst case of child abuse she had witnessed in a hospital setting.”
What these documents do not tell you is that her mother and her maternal grandmother were not only in the home; they witnessed the abuse first hand and turned a blind eye. As a mother and a grandmother I cannot imagine allowing this kind of abuse inflicted on a child, much less my own flesh and blood.
What I want to know is why was this case not in the news? Where were the reporters? Where was Nancy Grace? This is one of the most horrific cases of abuse that a hospital worker had witnessed in her seven years there, why did we not hear about it? This poor child thought she was going to die in this house, I can only imagine it was divine intervention that day that her leg was broken and they had to take her to the hospital for treatment.
I believe in my whole heart that this case should have been reported, it happened right here in Collin County, Texas, in a small town, a picturesque town, if it happens here, it happens everywhere. I wonder if the teacher who reported her bad behavior realized the punishment that would be heaped onto this child. Kept home two days from school to endure pain, torture, suffering and finally a broken femur. I wonder if she ever knew what happened to her pupil, why she never came back to school after she sent her report home. Not that I am blaming the teacher, but if she did find out, you know she had to feel incredibly guilty.
It is my understanding from what James Dotson revealed at work, that the little girl’s father was trying to gain custody of the child before any of this happened. I wonder why Miranda didn’t let her go, if you allow your child to be used as a punching bag, why do you want to keep her? There are so many unanswered questions to this case. I pray daily for this child and have since 2007 when we all first learned of this tragedy, this preventable tragedy. I pray she is safe, I pray for her physical recovery and I pray for her psyche. I understand she is now with the father that fought so hard to get her, I hope he is good to her.