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Jan-22-2014 19:05printcomments

Investigation into Abuse of Four-Year Old Oregon Boy Continues

A long list of readers have contacted our newsroom asking if we know whether the mother will be charged. This report contains the latest information and also reveals the odd legal wranglings of an attorney in the case.

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Suspect in the child abuse case, Michael Abo, was fired from his role with the Yamhill County Sheriff where he worked as a deputy.

(MCMINNVILLE, OR) - The story of a four-year old boy who was beaten nearly to death in Sheridan is a tragic one. Many questions remain and the case is far from over. The suspect, Michael Abo, was fired from his job as a Yamhill County deputy, before becoming a reserve police officer with the city of Yamill. He is in jail facing two Measure 11 charges. The story was released by McMinnville Police days after Salem-News.com began asking questions.

Abo is a former cop

In the days leading up to the arrest of Abo, the family of the boy and community members, expressed concern that the suspect, Michael Abo, was still a free man in the days following the reported abuse and boy's hospitalization. The boy's injuries came to light on the first of January, Abo was arrested on the 4th of January, charged with two counts of first-degree Assault and two counts of first-degree Criminal Mistreatment.

The boy's injuries included seven broken ribs, a ruptured bowel, severe brain injuries and he was reportedly covered from head to toe with rug burns. It is not clear if officials followed Oregon's mandatory child abuse reporting procedure. Abo remained free after the boy was transported from the scene and ultimately Lifeflighted in a helicopter to a Portland trauma center. One newspaper reported that the boy's injuries were the result of two particular abuse incidents. According to what we have learned, there is no clear evidence at this point to reach that conclusion.

Unchecked Abuse

A source close to the boy said the abuse likely took place over a 30-day period, there was no count on how many different abusive incidents or contacts took place. The boy was in the daily care of unemployed Abo, whose role as a reserve officer was voluntary and involved approximately 20 hours per week. It was reported that Abo was no longer with Yamhill Police at the time of the reported crimes, but the city's Website clearly stated that Abo was part of their department for days following the arrest. We also learned that Abo was still in possession of his city police equipment, so it appears he had not fully parted ties with Yamhill Police.

Our newsroom has received credible information that the mother of the four-year old boy was essentially present throughout the period of abuse, yet failed to take measures to report or stop the reported aggression against the boy. Abo reportedly told ambulance drivers that the boy fell down the stairs. InfoWars, reports the boy’s mother claiming she never noticed the injuries because Abo wouldn’t let her dress or bathe him. It was revealed during a recent court hearing that Abo was a steroid user.

I spoke with the Chief of McMinnville's police department in recent days. I asked Ron Noble what the status of the investigation was, and he assured me that it was "an active investigation" and ongoing.

One person close to the case said, "This woman's 'show' of dedication to her son at this time is nothing more than self preservation." The individual explains that the boy's mother, "was indeed well aware that the boy was being physically and emotionally abused and chose to continue the relationship with Abo." At this point, character and material witnesses are abundant. Numerous readers have written to our newsroom saying the police need to charge the boy's mother with child endangerment and failure to protect.

Good Old Boy Network

Another person who knows the mother of the child, says the way police handle the case will send a clear message about the protection of children in Oregon. It seems there was a reluctance to charge Abo, and that reluctance continues with regard to the boy's mother.

Many in Yamhill County who wrote to our newsroom over the story say there is a "good old boy" network alive and well in their area. The spirit of cooperation in that network leads to extensive legal manipulation. One person who is familiar with the case, wrote, "As a Yamhill County resident I wanted to take the time to thank you for your article on M. Abo. You shined a bright light into the workings of our local law enforcement that our local news should have done. Living in Yamhill County I understand them shying away from this story, they live in and drive around this county and I doubt reprisals are out of bounds for our law enforcement."

One person who has shared information about the alleged abuse of the boy, says the mother may have had reasons for hesitating to report, based on Abo's status as a law enforcement officer in Oregon. "I am not assuming that the mother of this boy is not guilty of failing to protect this child or of participating in the child abuse, but I can say from experience that if she had tried to report the abuse or get help, she was probably prevented from doing so for one of two reasons: The police officer was criminally dissuading her from reporting it, or she tried to report it and the police refused to assist her."

Without question, many situations involving severe injuries to a child would involve immediate arrests, there is no doubt about it. Police are generally very quick taking such actions, and in some cases, law enforcement officers go out of their way to apprehend suspected child abusers. A four-year old child is completely helpless in an abusive situation.

The primary agency that responded to the Abo home the night the child's injuries were discovered, is the Sheridan Fire District. The West Valley Fire Dept. responded as back up. It is not clear whether or not police were present. Salem-News.com has contacted the Sheridan Fire Deputy Chief, Bill Alguire, in an effort to get to the bottom of what happened that night, the first of January 2014. He had not returned our call at press time. We will add his comments to the story when they become available.

According to ORS 419B-010-005 (Published here: http://www.sos.state.or.us/archives/pages/rules/oars_400/oar_411/411_350.html)

    (29) "Mandatory Reporter" means any public or private official as defined in OAR 407-045-0260 who comes in contact with and has reasonable cause to believe a child with or without an intellectual or developmental disability has suffered abuse, or comes in contact with any person whom the official has reasonable cause to believe abused a child, regardless of whether or not the knowledge of the abuse was gained in the reporter’s official capacity. Nothing contained in ORS 40.225 to 40.295 affects the duty to report imposed by this section, except that a psychiatrist, psychologist, clergy, attorney, or guardian ad litem appointed under ORS 419B.231 is not required to report such information communicated by a person if the communication is privileged under ORS 40.225 to 40.295.

Enter the Dragon: Oregon Attorney Circumnavigates First Amendment

The attention on this story in Salem shifted because Salem-News.com published a photo of the boy that his mother had uploaded to her public Facebook page. Attorney Meghan Bishop wrote to our newsroom, demanding that we pull the photograph of the boy down, calling it a violation of his privacy. The First Amendment protects our right to publish the picture, and we did it so that this boy would be more than just a name in a passing news report.

I find it curious that lawyer Meghan Bishop, who has been practicing law for less than five years, attempted to make herself the center of this story. She claims to be a lawyer for the child. We were able to confirm this information, however her motivations are not so clear.

A woman who sounds almost exactly like Bishop, claiming to be a Washington DC attorney, called KYKN Radio and asked that the station's listeners contact our advertisers and urge them to pull their ads. As I said, she sounded just like Ms. Bishop. This could be a coincidence but I don't think so. The radio host, apparently flattered by the attention of the attorney, joined in the slander, which was sickening. Salem-News.com writers are some of the most recognized journalists in the world. This radio hack with his limited audience personifies the media irresponsibility he purported to attack.

My Name is F*ck You

I was extremely disturbed by the slanderous statements on the Salem radio station. Shortly after that, Bishop had an attorney friend contact me in an effort to "smooth things over." This attorney, who claimed to be a friend of Bishop's, suggested that both Bishop and I had "lost sight of our respective roles". The conversation eventually grew hostile and the attorney, "Glen", terminated the call abruptly after spewing a burst of profanity. I called back to clarify this individual's actual full name and spelling, and my question was returned with, "My Name is F*ck You," and another hang up.

I have referenced Bishop being a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) attorney which, as it turns out, is not the case. Bishop is part of a child advocacy group that, from the best we can determine, goes by CACA and it isn't pronounced with a hard "c", even if perhaps in Bishop's case, it should be. The way she represented herself was very unclear. I vetted the information with the regional coordinator with CASA, who confirmed that she was not a CASA attorney. At any rate, Bishop stopped communicating with Salem-News.com after the phone call mentioned above.

The following excerpt is from Salem-News.com's registered complaint against Bishop with the Oregon State Bar.

Letter to KYKN General Manager Mike Frith

Hello Mike,

As simply as possible, your on air guy Bill Post and a Wash DC attorney took Salem-News.com to task for publishing the photo of a crime victim, and they spent substantial time Tuesday encouraging your listeners to call our advertisers and demand they drop their advertising with us.
We had our reasons for doing what we did - the photo came from the boy's family.  We did nothing wrong at all.  No laws were broken.
Your station is attempting to undermine another media agency and directly cost us money, while irreparably damaging our reputation. 
Your on-air guy Bill Post should dedicate a program toward cleaning this mess up and he should issue an extensive on-air apology to Salem-News.com for seeking to harm us when all we did was publish a photograph. 
To object is one thing, what Bill Post did is another, and there is little to do to counter his slanderous assault on our moral organization which is a Human Rights news agency based out of Salem, Oregon. 
I appreciate what you said on the phone about not monitoring your station but I think perhaps if you did, you would realize that you have a wild cannon with a microphone on your payroll who is going to bring legal action to your group, and his methods of affecting sales in this market are unscrupulous and frankly sickening.  The saddest part of all is that Mr. Post was doing nothing but sensationalizing a case about a broken child (http://www.salem-news.com/articles/january092014/abo-stay-jail-tk-jf.php) who needed to be shown - we did this so that his case would not be swept under the rug.

Tim King 
News editor, Salem-News.com
Online Global News Service Online since 2004

The next day we were alerted to the presence of an attorney on Salem radio station KYKN AM 1490, who was on a talk show hosted by Bill Post, repeatedly asking listeners to call Salem-News.com advertisers and urge them to drop their support of Salem-News.com due to what Bishop repeatedly called "unethical practices". Bishop accused Salem-News.com of "hiding behind the First Amendment". I stress again that no laws were violated, Salem-News.com was well within its rights to publish the photo. The attorney on the KYKN radio program claimed to be from Washington DC but she sounds exactly like the CASA lawyer Meghan Bishop. I have a court recording of Ms. Bishop and a clip of the attorney on the radio program and they are to me, indistinguishable.

On Thursday, 09 Jan. 2014, I left email and phone messages with Ms. Bishop asking if she received federal funds, who her supervisor was, and in which states she was certified to practice law. She had another attorney named "Glen" call me in a three way conversation with Ms. Bishop. The attorney "Glen" suggested that Ms. Bishop and I had perhaps lost track of our roles in the case, and attempted to explain again, how Salem-News.com was unethical for publishing the photo when we had reasons for doing so and in the process, no laws were violated. He and Ms. Bishop claimed that she did not participate in the radio show. I believe the radio appearance was in fact Ms. Bishop, and that she is not being honest.

The attorney "Glen" stated that Ms. Bishop had no contact with the mother in the case, and that she only represented the child. However I had heard Ms. Bishop state the very day before in court, that she has in fact met with the child's mother. When I brought this up she changed her story and said she met the mother but that it was "incidental".

Since Ms. Bishop was not forthright in that statement, it seems fair to consider that she may in fact have been the attorney on the radio program. It seemed very unusual for an attorney from Wash. DC to participate in a local case in this manner. The attorney "friend" of Bishop named "Glen" who I believe was male, used profanity in the call and hung up after behaving erratically toward the end of the conversation.

When I called back to ask him his full name he told me, "My name is fuck you." I understand that this behavior does not violate the Oregon Bar but it raised more concern over Bishop's behavior, and her changing stories - which caused her to seem very disingenuous. It was clear to me that she keeps company with at least one attorney, "Glen" - who is basically void of professionalism in his/her conduct. The reputation of Salem-News.com was seriously damaged by the radio program, it has caused irreparable harm. I believe Ms. Bishop has conducted herself in a manner that is highly inconsistent with the standards set forth by the Oregon State Bar.

The following letter was dispatched from our newsroom to the attorney in question, to help find a reasonable answer after she retaliated by adding the injured boy's grandparents to list barring them from visiting their own grandchild.

Meghan S. Bishop photo courtesy: avvo.com

Ms. Bishop,

I wrote to you earlier to see if you want to work out the problem with the grandparents' inability to visit their grandson. I am horrified that you would seek revenge over the photo being published by removing the boy's grandparent's ability to visit their grandson. This proves to me conclusively that you are not even remotely interested in the child's welfare. As an attorney unfamiliar with the First Amendment and Fair Use laws, I assume also that you also do not know that people in a comatose state often later report that they knew who was around them and what they said. As the grandparents never harmed and in fact very much love this damaged child, your client, you are causing severe harm to the child's health and welfare and I hope that you ultimately lose your license to practice law due to your reckless, unprofessional behavior. It appears that I have no choice but to see this through Ms. Bishop.

I am glad the Oregon Bar is taking the matter very seriously, I am glad your behavior is a matter of public record. My offer to pull down the photo of the boy and add an addendum with the Oregon Bar complaint stating that we resolved our differences is still on the table, but I also have a story about you and your role under production at this time. There is a great deal to relate. If you choose to dismiss my offer, you are still welcome to send a statement about your position for the story.

Tim King

I know this is an unconventional report, but that is how it goes sometimes. Salem-News.com is a ground breaking international news agency from the Pacific NW; yet as frequently as we report needless crime and violence, it is no easy job covering tragic news like this. I never imagined that the story would change from being about a little boy who a system collectively failed, to a story about a photograph being published in a free country. Moreover, I did not anticipate a reprisal from an attorney, targeted toward some of the injured boy's closest living relatives, the boy's grandparents.

Our previous coverage:

Jan-09-2014: Officer Charged in Violent Abuse of 4-Year Old Boy Will Remain Behind Bars (VIDEO)

Jan-06-2014: Battered 4-Year Old Boy... the Ultimate Case of Police Brutality?

Jan 4, 2014: Former Deputy Arrested for Criminal Mistreatment and Assault, Four Year Old in Critical Condition‏



Comments Leave a comment on this story.

All comments and messages are approved by people and self promotional links or unacceptable comments are denied.

Seeking Justice January 23, 2014 8:19 am (Pacific time)

I am so pleased to see you standing tall in the face of such juvenile attacks. You are in the right, thank you for standing up for this little boy!

Just Me January 23, 2014 2:27 am (Pacific time)

Get real Tim, lawyers are the very people that have destroyed this country. Look in to the background of most polititions and you find a law degree.
Lawyers have been responible for the intentional complicating of our system for the purpose of end runs around our rights and the lining of their pockets. Go ahead Tim, gamble on the integrity of a lawyer, you will lose every time!

Not sure exactly what you mean, I am exposing the regrettable actions of a lawyer in this article.  But for the record, in spite of all of the problems, attorneys are a vital part of our system and those who operate in a moral and ethical manner, and they do exist, perform an extremely important service. One thing I won't do is lump all people of any particular profession, culture, etc. into a single entity. Good people exist in every walk of life. Thanks for your comment.  

MJ January 22, 2014 11:18 pm (Pacific time)

If anyone actually read this article, they would see that Mr. King added a disclaimer of sorts at the bottom, acknowledging that this is an "unconventional report". If anyone questions his ethics they should read a few other articles he has written, his detractors won't have a leg to stand on.

Erin January 22, 2014 11:08 pm (Pacific time)

Oh no!! I made a typo on comprehension. Eh. You believe that Ms. Bishop slandered you on a radio show? I  listened to the clip that you posted and I can see why you'd be unhappy about the possibility of losing advertisers. However, it didn't seem like anything untrue was said. I should also tell you that I know Ms.Bishop's voice (we're relatives), and that was not her. Clearly, you're upset, but that's no excuse for being unprofessional and vindictive.

*no typos, I hope, but posting on an iPhone is tricky

I am not vindictive, the whole thing was just very shocking and unusual, I only have three minutes of that radio program but trust me, there was plenty that you are not hearing, and it is very disturbing.  In all of my life I have never heard an attorney take that approach, and if the radio station had more than a couple of dozen listeners, they probably would not resort to such tactics.  I also find it troubling  that Ms. Bishop has repeatedly changed her story about having contact with  the mother.   I did not say that I know the person on the radio is her, I only said it sounded like her.  You had one typo and I took care of it for you, thanks for the comment.

B. Real January 22, 2014 11:05 pm (Pacific time)

What a joke of journalism. I anticipated reading an article about an abused little boy, and ended up reading a "news story" slandering an attorney. This will be my one and only experience with this "Global News Service". Not only was the article devoid of actual facts, I've read better writing in high school publications. I'll continue to turn to trusted local news sources for reliable local news, not some hack "reporter" from LA.

Sounds like a weak, lame attempt to insult a story that most people appreciate.  You are obviously a friend of Ms. Bishop and it is obvious that somebody "put the word out".  The funny thing is that I have seen comments mirroring this on some of the best written articles out there, when you don't have a good, reasonable defense, you move to the guns, we're not impressed. 

Erin January 22, 2014 10:26 pm (Pacific time)

As an English teacher, it saddens me to see that, like you, some of your fans have low skills in reading comphrehension. Let's be clear, Ms. Bishop represents the child victim. You've printed her explanation of this and you've also acknowledged that you, yourself, confirmed this. She does not represent the mother. She is not interested in the accused. It's irresponsible for you to mislead the public about these things to suit your own agenda-- making a good and honest lawyer into a villain and yourself into some sort of crusader for justice. You are not judge and jury. You do not know, unequivocally, what took place in the little boy's home. If you are the defender of democracy, as your articles imply, calm down and let the justice system determine who is responsible for what happened to this sweet little boy and how they should be punished.

Erin, listen to a person slander you on the radio and then talk to me about being calm.  I am doing my best to convey the facts, I did not ask for the attack from Ms. Bishop, nor will we take it laying down.  We do not claim to know all of the facts, I don't recall saying I did.  At any rate thank you for your comment.

William Coleman January 22, 2014 9:44 pm (Pacific time)

This is clearly child endangerment on behalf of the mother. She knew that something was wrong with the little boy for weeks. She states that Michael wouldn't allow her to check out her on son. The mother should have taken her son out of the home to somewhere safe to check out her son. She could have taken him to a relative, or friend's house, then to the hospital. Common sense tells you if someone won't allowed you to bathe your own flesh and blood, clearly red flags were there!!!

This mother neglected her child. Ms Bishop, as her attorney should advised her to turn herself in for child endangerment. A crime was committed by the mother and lawyer Ms Bishop is protecting a criminal. The Little Boy may be dying because the mother refused to protect her own son, and the lawyer cares more about the mother's image than the boy's picture being shown to the public. Kids victim's stories need to be exposed, this is a beautiful picture of an innocent child. Maybe this lawyer doesn't have kids and doesn't want any!! The picture reminds us of how precious our kids are before they are beaten nearly to death. The picture could remind a child beater who's reading this to stop!!! Salem-news is this child's advocate!!

Lawyers with Integrity should advise their clients when they are at fault criminally, especially when she admits Micheal told her not to worry about her beaten child. The lawyer should have stated to the mother, "you are at fault, turn your self in!!" Then we will try to defend you. The mother has no conscience toward her son, she should feel like leaving this earth for what she allowed!!! I wonder how the father feels having a son dying, when he's defending this country and hoping one day his son will follow his footsteps. The Mother is guilty as Micheal!!! Salem news, continue to exposed the truth!!!

Julie January 22, 2014 9:29 pm (Pacific time)

Thank you Salem-News for telling it like it is. It seems clear that Ms Bishop has something personal to achieve here. Is she in love with this bad cop perhaps? LOL Or is it just political, and she enjoys taking the public's eye off the ball. This BAD COP is the subject. Why is she protecting him with all this BS? Great distraction technique....while that little boy struggles to stay alive. Where is the outrage about his condition? Why isn't THAT what she's worried about? The truth will win out, and Ms Bishop's peers will get tired of defending a sad representative of their profession.

Anonymous January 22, 2014 9:21 pm (Pacific time)

I dont care WHAT a person does for a living. Abuse is abuse is abuse! Do the crime...do the time!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Having been thru as much abuse and trauma as I have over the years...I am stand firm on NOT using "I was a victim" as an excuse! There is NO EXCUSE for hurting a child!!! NONE! ZERO! ZIP! NADDA!!!!!!! Go behind bars and pray for your salvation.

Josh Engelstead January 22, 2014 8:15 pm (Pacific time)

Dear readers,

To anyone familiar with juvenile dependency law, Ms. Bishop is a strong and positive advocate representing a child in extremely tragic circumstances. She has done great work on behalf of many similar children. It is sad when the tragedy of a child leads to meaningless sensational journalism, especially when due to the nature of her representation she is bound by confidentiality. I am disappointed in the quality and integrity of this report.

This is not sensational journalism, it is factual reporting about a tragic story in the midst of a meaningless distraction.  Here I thought all attorneys backed the First Amendment. 

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