Mother dis­mayed no one will be charged in son’s as­sault

Honolulu Star-Advertiser - - LOCAL - By Rob Perez rperez@starad­ver­tiser.com Pey­ton Valiente was 17 months old when he re­ceived a se­vere blow to his head while un­der the care of a babysit­ter. Pey­ton is now 4 years old, above.

The mother of Pey­ton Valiente, a boy who was se­verely in­jured at age 17 months while un­der the care of his babysit­ter in 2015, said Wed­nes­day she was dis­ap­pointed no one will be charged with her son’s as­sault.

Chelsea Valiente ex­pressed her dis­ap­point­ment shortly af­ter the At­tor­ney General’s of­fice an­nounced that it would not be able to bring crim­i­nal charges in the case. “Any­thing short of con­vic­tion, I will never be 100 per­cent sat­is­fied,” Valiente said.

But Valiente added that she ap­pre­ci­ated the ef­forts of the AG’s of­fice and a Honolulu Po­lice De­part­ment de­tec­tive in try­ing to re­vive the case. “It was tough be­cause the ini­tial work was so sloppy,” she said.

Valiente was re­fer­ring to the ini­tial in­ves­ti­ga­tion by HPD, which even­tu­ally ac­knowl­edged that the probe fell short of de­part­ment stan­dards.

At the time of Pey­ton’s as­sault, he was un­der the care of Manuela Ramos, who was mar­ried to then-HPD of­fi­cer Mark Ramos. Mark Ramos has since re­tired from the force.

The case gen­er­ated ex­ten­sive me­dia cov­er­age af­ter the on­line news site Civil Beat dis­closed that HPD did not fol­low rec­om­mended pro­ce­dures when it ini­tially in­ves­ti­gated Pey­ton’s in­juries.

At­tor­ney General Doug Chin sub­se­quently agreed to take on the case. In July, Chin con­vened a grand jury to hear tes­ti­mony in the case.

Manuela Ramos and her daugh­ter, Theresa, ap­peared be­fore the grand jury, but they as­serted their Fifth Amend­ment rights against in­crim­i­nat­ing them­selves, de­rail­ing any pros­e­cu­tion, ac­cord­ing to Valiente and a spokesman for the AG’s of­fice. Manuela Ramos was car­ing for Pey­ton in her home, and Theresa was also at the house.

Chin in­formed Pey­ton’s par­ents on Fri­day that a sus­pect could not be iden­ti­fied, pre­clud­ing any crim­i­nal pros­e­cu­tion.

“It was dif­fi­cult to have to break the news to the par­ents, Chelsea and Rey Valiente, that our find­ings did not re­sult in charges against a per­pe­tra­tor,” Chin said in a news re­lease. “De­spite the out­come, we hope they re­ceive some com­fort by the re­newed ef­forts to iden­tify Pey­ton’s as­sailant and bring that per­son to jus­tice.”

Even though the AG’s of­fice rep­re­sented the Valientes’ last hope of a pros­e­cu­tion, a neg­li­gence law­suit that the cou­ple filed against the Ramos’ is pend­ing.

Chelsea Valiente also said fed­eral of­fi­cials are in­ves­ti­gat­ing the way the state De­part­ment of Hu­man Ser­vices han­dled Pey­ton’s case.

She al­leged in an Aug. 28 let­ter to the U.S. De­part­ment of Health and Hu­man Ser­vices that the state agency mis­han­dled the case, wrong­fully im­pli­cat­ing her and her hus­band for the abuse and, when they were cleared, fail­ing to hold the sus­pected per­pe­tra­tor ac­count­able. DHS iden­ti­fied Manuela Ramos as the al­leged per­pe­tra­tor in court doc­u­ments.

Pey­ton is now 4. It’s not clear whether the se­vere head in­jury he suf­fered in 2015 will re­sult in long-term ef­fects.

PHO­TOS COURTESY CHELSEA VALIENTE

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