A.C. mother and sisters allegedly assaulted teen for refusing abortion
A pregnant Atlantic City teen was allegedly assaulted by her mother and two sisters for refusing to get an abortion.
Josefina Martinez-Vasquez, 49, and her two older daughters are charged with simple assault, criminal restraint and child endangerment in alleged attacks that continued for three days, according to the complaint.
The victim’s 12-year-old sister called police last Tuesday, telling them “her 16-year-old sister was actively being assaulted by her mother and two sisters,” Assistant Prosecutor Katrina Koerner told the judge.
The 16-year-old girl gave responding officers a written note saying she was five months pregnant and that her mother and sisters had been assaulting her since Sept. 17, Koerner said.
Deysi Cabrera, 20, punched her sister in the right leg, the victim told police.
During another incident, Cabrera struck her in the back with a cable wire while her 19-year old sister, Ashley Caberea, struck her with the wire of a hair straightener, the teen said.
The girl suffered a cut to her hand when she claims her mother held her down while Cabrera tried to cut her hair.
“It’s a very strange set of circumstances,” Judge William Todd Miller said during Martinez-Vasquez’s detention hearing Monday.
“Think of the mental harm of a 16-year-old not getting support of her mother and siblings,” he said. “The mental harm, the stress of just being pregnant at that age and your family attacking you. That’s just not right.”
Koerner also told the judge that the victim’s 23-year-old brother told a victim-witness advocate with the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office that “they shouldn’t even be locked up, it should be (the teen).”
The judge asked if the Division of Child Protection and Permanency was involved, saying he would not release Martinez-Vasquez if the girls were not protected.
Defense attorney Lauren Musarra said they had taken the 16-year-old.
The judge also made sure the 12-year-old was protected, lauding her actions during Cabrera’s separate hearing.
“The 12-year-old had the wisdom and the courage to go against the grain of the family and call police, and thank God,” he said. “There should be no retaliation whatsoever against the 12-year-old for taking a stand and protecting her sister.”
Cabrera’s attorney, Rob Johnson, questioned the number of second-degree child endangerment charges against his client, which indicated five children were present for the alleged incidents, including his client’s 1-year-old child.
“The fact that this defendant was essentially beating her sister in the presence of her own child doesn’t relieve her of the abuse and neglect of her own child,” the judge said.
He also found it “kind of odd for a 20-year-old who has a 1-year-old to be ganging up on her (teen sister) to have an abortion.”
Miller released the mother and Cabrera on Monday due to their lack of any criminal history and with the assurance there would be no contact between them and either of the younger girls.
Both will have to check in with the court twice a month, including once in person.
Caberea’s detention hearing was held Tuesday before Judge Joseph Levin, who also granted release.
PHOTO CAPTION: Josefina Martinez-Vasquez and her daughter Deysi Cabrera appear during their separate detention hearings Monday. Ashley Caberea is not pictured.