It’s certainly tragic that a five year old victim of child sexual abuse contracted herpes, but in Indiana, it is not—in and of itself—a crime.
The victim’s grandmother feels it should be. “It’s appalling, it’s the most disturbing thing I’ve ever lived through in my life,” said Shelley, who prefers to withhold her last name.
Shelley is petitioning and pushing for the passage of “Cameron’s Law,” during the 2015 session of the Indiana General Assembly.
“It must be recognized as a separate crime, because it’s a life altering incident and it should be recognized as that, not just pushing it together with the whole group of molestation. That’s not right.”
Dale Bradshaw was sentenced to six years in prison for molesting the boy. Bradshaw was a family friend staying at the family home in Mishawaka when the crimes took place in late 2010 and early 2011.
Bradshaw could be released as early as June of 2015, but the boy is essentially serving a life sentence given the nature of the sexually transmitted disease. “He has suffered greatly with it. He has outbreaks at least every four to six weeks and he has to take medication three times a day for ten days,” said Shelley. “They're blisters, like chicken pox, and they itch like chicken pox.”
Shelley says that treating the herpes with medicine has been difficult since available doses are designed for adults—not children.
“And I'm certainly going to introduce some kind of legislation next session to see if this might be a penalty that warrants and enhancement,” said Ind. Sen. John Broden, (D) South Bend. “When you have this sort of resulting effect on the victim it sort of makes the crime one that frankly is worse.”
While passage of Cameron’s Law would not apply in Cameron’s case, Shelley hopes the law is changed before Bradshaw is scheduled to be released in June of 2015.
“I'm doing it for the kids. I'm doing it for the other kids so that the next child that is hurt will have justice. They will have justice, the system failed Cameron,” Shelley said.
More information on the petition drive can be found here: