230 years in prison was the sentence that was handed down to a California man who was convicted of repeatedly raping his girlfriend’s juvenile daughter for a period of three years.

The 30-year-old man, Deon Austin Welch, reportedly started the assault on the child when she was just 11 years old.

As reported by KESQ news, Welch “began groping the girl when her mother was out of the apartment, or asleep.”

Eventually the assault moved on to “rape and sodomy.”

Sources say that when the molestation first started the girl reported the abuse to a county forensic examiner.  Little was done to protect the child from her abuser, as her mother interfered in the investigation by the forensic examiner, and the investigation came to a halt.    

Police were never notified of the alleged abuse.

It is reported by multiple news outlets that the girl’s mother was aware of the abuse but continued to deny the allegations against her boyfriend, at one point even reporting that Welch had left the country and moved to Mexico.

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The New York Post released Monday that the mother was later jailed for her failure to report the abuse and for interference with investigations.

When confronted, the mother admitted that she may have known about the abuse but that she may have forgotten or “tried to block it out.”  The New York Post also reported that the girl’s mother “pleaded guilty in June 2018 to child abuse, perjury and accessory to a felony and was sentenced to a year in jail and four years’ probation.”

The child suffered at the hands of Welch even after the Riverside County Department of Public Social Services was made aware of the abuse.

A June 2019 KESQ news report explained that the girl reported the ongoing rapes to a DPSS caseworker, who than confronted the child’s mother and her abuser. The news story states after the investigation, the child was left in the home with her abuser under a “safety plan” that her mother and abuser drafted with the case worker.  

Police were STILL not notified of the abuse taking place.

Sources report that, after DPSS became involved and set the safety plan into place, the child denied the abuse allegations when DPSS did home checks throughout a two-year period after the initial reports. It was only after the child’s mother brought her to a clinic three months pregnant that the investigations into the abuse we reinitiated.

KESQ reports that is was only when the mother asked the clinic for an abortion for her child that clinic workers contacted police to report the abuse. This reported resulted in the 2017 arrest of Welch, after a DNA test proved he was the father of the than 13-year old’s child.

On Monday August 12th it was reported by allindiaroundup.com:

“that [Welch] did not show any emotion in court after he was sentenced to 230 years in prison for raping and impregnating the child.” 

According to court records he was convicted and sentenced for the following; 16 counts of aggravated assault of child and a great bodily injury allegation.

As this case garnered public attention it was clear that there was a breakdown in the protection of the child by the Department of Public Social Services.   KESQ explains, the public outcry against the DPSS and their handling of the case resulted in:

“Director Susan von Zabern’s [resignation] in September, and county CEO George Johnson ordered a comprehensive review of practices and procedures within the agency.”

This is not the first case that has caused the Riverside County Department of Public Social Services to come under fire.

Recently the department has been faulted with their handling of a case involving a missing boy. 

In May of 2019 the Press Enterprise reported DPSS:

“knew that Noah McIntosh, the missing 8-year-old Corona boy whose father has been charged with murder, was being abused in his home, yet failed to protect him from further harm.”  

The news story goes on to state that the Noah’s grandfather had contacted the department fearing the children in the home were being abused, but the children were left in the care of their unmarried parents.

Another case involved a three-year-old girl that was living with her mother who suffered from mental illness. Workers from DPSS reportedly checked on the child several times but never actually went inside the home — only seeing the child from the doorway.

The Press Enterprise explained it wasn’t until “a neighbor flagged down a police officer to complain of a foul odor emanating from Gail’s mother’s apartment. The officer found the child on a mattress, hugging the remains of a dead baby, a child later determined to be Gail’s sibling.”  

It is reported that there was a severe breakdown in the administration of the DPSS and the way cases were being handled and monitored.  Other cases involving the DPSS are still being investigated.

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