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Charges dropped against man accused of abuse

Prosecutors couldn't prove the Tampa man hurt his girlfriend's son.

By ABBIE VANSICKLE
Published April 20, 2007


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TAMPA - Prosecutors have dropped charges against a Tampa man accused of abusing his girlfriend's young son.

"We could not establish the defendant committed this offense," said Assistant State Attorney Pam Bondi.

Deputies arrested Joshua O. Yarborough, 27, on Feb. 22, accusing him of harming the toddler.

The 2 1/2-year-old boy had a fractured skull and swelling around his eyes and cheeks, according to his father, David Clary.

Prosecutors couldn't prove that Yarborough had caused the boy's injuries. The decision was made in late March, and prosecutors closed the case this month, said Bondi.

That decision angered the boy's father, who believes someone should be punished for his son's pain.

"I just don't understand why nobody's being charged," Clary said.

Bondi said prosecutors carefully weighed the evidence before making their decision. They didn't have proof, she said.

A medical expert couldn't be certain that the abuse happened when Yarborough and the boy were alone together, Bondi said.

Yarborough could not be reached for comment.

Witness statements also didn't clear things up. One witness said the boy was hurt when he fell out of a crib, Bondi said.

Clary, 33, who lives near New Port Richey, said he is disabled and stays home to care for the boy and the couple's other son, who is 8 months old.

Clary and his wife separated in the fall, and they are in the midst of a divorce and custody hearings, he said.

The fallout of his son's injuries is serious, he said. The boy is in counseling. His pediatrician said the boy seemed frightened and irritable, uncharacteristic for the usually happy child.

"I will keep pushing this until something happens," Clary said. "This is not fair for my children. It's not fair for anybody's children."

Abbie VanSickle can be reached at 813 226-3373 or vansickle@sptimes.com.

[Last modified April 20, 2007, 00:36:25]


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