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Pregnant Mother Cleared of Assault
June 9, 2008 permalink
When two social workers and five policemen entered the Urbana Illinois home of Donald Williams and his nine-month pregnant wife Patrice Moore-Williams to take their six children, the result was a melee in which the older children and one or both parents fought back. Prosecutors tried to blame the pregnant mother for an injury to social worker Pam Wendt. A jury has acquitted her of the charges. A jury cannot give her her children back.
Woman acquitted of charge she attacked DCFS worker
URBANA – An Urbana woman accused of battering a Department of Children and Family Services child protective investigator was acquitted of those charges Thursday.
A jury deliberated about four hours before acquitting Patrice Moore-Williams, 34, who listed an address in the 1100 block of Briarcliff Drive, of two counts of aggravated battery for a Jan. 10 attack on DCFS worker Pam Wendt.
Testimony in the two-day trial before Judge Heidi Ladd was that Wendt and co-worker Sheree Foley went to the home of Moore-Williams after receiving a report from an Urbana police officer that the six children there might be in danger. The women explained they are required to check out such reports within 24 hours of receiving them.
The women first went to the home on Jan. 8 and made contact with Donald Williams, 43, who told them his wife and children were not home.
Foley testified they later learned that Moore-Williams and the children were in a back bedroom. Foley described Williams as "very angry and intimidating" and that his actions caused her and Wendt to leave, saying they'd return the next day to check on the children.
The next morning, Foley said Williams again told the DCFS workers that his wife and children were gone.
On Jan. 10, the workers went to the house with Urbana police to check on the children, ages 3 to 13.
The check turned into a brawl among five Urbana police officers and Williams, while his wife, the six children and the two DCFS workers were all crowded into a narrow hallway trying to get the children out of the small house.
One of the children jumped on the back of a police officer and another bit Foley, according to testimony.
Wendt testified that during the melee, Moore-Williams came up behind her, grabbed her left hand and torqued her arm upward behind her back. Wendt said she had to have surgery on her shoulder and still feels the effects, she said.
In her defense, Moore-Williams denied that she touched Wendt and suggested Wendt, a 10-year DCFS employee, was making up the encounter to collect workman's compensation.
Her attorney, Assistant Public Defender Janie Miller-Jones, argued that none of the adults present saw Moore-Williams, who was nine months pregnant, touch Wendt.
Assistant State's Attorney Troy Lozar countered that was understandable given the chaos that was going on with nine adults and six children in a small area. Wendt, he said, was certain it was Moore-Williams who grabbed her and he argued that she had no motive to lie.
Donald Williams was also charged with aggravated battery to a peace officer and resisting arrest in connection with the incident but was found unfit to stand trial in March and is currently in a Department of Human Services facility.
His case is set for an Aug. 11 review.
Source: Urbana/Champaign News-Gazette