"There was no spot on his body spared. He was bruised and beaten from head to toe, literally…" Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice, Miriam Cyrulnik said before sentencing the 4-year old victim's aunt to 22 years in prison for first-degree manslaughter.
The parents of little Ethan Ali sat on opposite sides of the court, the father asking for the maximum sentence while the mother begged for leniency for her sister for the enraged killing of her only son. Christen Dale, 23, wept in court as her sentence was handed to her.
Be careful who you let in your home and around your children. Little Ethan Ali was killed by his own aunt because he, at 4 years old, misspelled his name. Natasha Dale and Leroy Ali welcomed Christen into their home, allowing her to live there in exchanged for taking care of Ethan while the parents worked. Christen alleged that she was teaching Ethan to spell his name when she became frustrated and began to beat him--a blow for each letter in his name. “Five blows to the back of the head, belt marks all over his body… This is just a small punishment to the rest of his body, this went non-stop for minutes,” said Assistant DA Frank DeGaetano in court.
If affordable, quality childcare were available to working families, perhaps this tragedy could have been prevented. Too often, people trust their children with friends and family members who are inexperienced in teaching children and understanding the nuances of child development. Not only did Christen Dale go too far, she should not have punished a 4-year-old boy for not knowing how to spell his name to begin with.
But little Ethan Ali is not the first victim of such brutal circumstances and, unfortunately, he will not be the last. With affordable, quality childcare for all working Americans, we can limit the amount of senseless deaths and abuses of innocent children at the hands of inexperienced caregivers (for lack of a better word). Ethan was killed by his own aunt because she lacked the patience and skill and understanding of how children learn. We can do better, America. We can do better.