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Attorney DROD
Attorney DROD, Family Law Attorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 33
Experience:  Over 20 years experience in Family Law. Divorce, Child Support, Protective Orders, Enforcement of Orders, Child Protective Service, Power of Attorney, Custody/custody modification and more.
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Hello, I suspect that my daughters friend who lives down

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I suspect that my daughter's friend who lives down the street is being abused physically and without doubt emotionally. The child in question is 15, almost 16, is truly an amazing kid who makes straight A's, he wants to become a physicist, and his teachers love teaching him. I have had the pleasure of getting to know him this summer as he comes over and interacts with both my daughter age 14 and son age 16, both great kids, both make all A's and are motivated to become an attorney and a forensic scientist. When the child comes over, Eddie, it is obvious he is a good over-all kid. I teach teens at a local high school and can sense when something isn't quite right.
Some back ground data: I have talked to his mother in person and via phone and email. She has told me she has a documented bipolar disorder and goes off. The father died several years back from cancer and I think the mother has serious issues with anger because of the death. She formally had a documented drinking problem and has a dui on record and is currently trying to get her driver's licsense back. She also lost custody of her 2 kids for some time but she has had them back now for 3 years.
One month ago my daughter called me and said Eddie was hurt and probably has a head injury. The mother contacted the police. She is known for calling the police anytime there are arguments in the home. This time Eddie received a head concussion and was sent to the hospital. I saw the place on the wall where his head made a major indention. The mother told the police he ran into the wall. I don't know if I believe this. The mother told me in delight how the newer and younger police officers believed her verses in the past the officers were not so agreeable.
Tonight when Eddie went home, he texted my daughter that he was thrown out of his home with his kitten because he didn't get his mother the right type of candy bar and that the mother complained that she didn't get enough sleep the night before? He was locked outside. The mother later told him to come inside and that he better not call the police because she would say he ran away. Is there something he can do for future times to prove that this person is abusive and locked him outside? can he record her legally from his cell phone? Any advice? I truly feel sorry for the child and have analyzed all angles objectively.
Hello and thank you for using Just Answer. I am an attorney with over 20 years experience and I will be happy to provide you with an answer to your question.

First, I would like to remind you that it is best not to use real names on Just Answer. Conversations on Just Answer, although with an attorney in this case, are not protected by the attorney client privilege and it is possible through certain search engines that someone you may not want to have knowledge of this question could in fact read your questions and all my responses.

With that said, I am so sorry your daughter's friend is having so many problems at home. However, he is very fortunate to have an adult such as yourself in his life who is doing their best to offer advice for his protection.

I would like to start with the last question you asked and then work my way back to the prior question. Then, I would like to offer you some additional guidance which you may want to think about and decide if it is appropriate to discuss it with the young man.

In South Carolina the rules regarding recording conversations vary in shades of gray. For example, if the young man's cell phone has a recording device that he can use to tape record in person conversations (I am referring to conversations not over the telephone) it is permissible to record the conversation if the other party has no reasonable expectation that the conversation is private. Other parts of the law which I have found state that conversations over the phone or electronic communications can be recorded or preserved so long as one party to the communication consents to the recording. Therefore, if the two parties to a phone conversation are the young man and his mother and the young man consents to the recording, then this would be a lawful act. Here is the South Carolina statute which states that recordings are lawful so long as one party to the conversation consents:

S.C. Code Ann. §§ 17-30-20, 17-30-30.

If you google the citation you can read the entire statute.

As for your question of what the young man can do in the future to prove abuse, he has many options. He can report it to his teachers and or his school guidance counselor. He can go to the police station on his own and tell them he wants to make a record so there will be a record of what is happening to him. If he did not tell the doctors at the hospital how he obtained his concussion, he should go back and tell them and ask them to include it in his record. He should take pictures of the indentation in the wall where his head hit and give them to the police and hospital for his report and file. He can go see his regular doctor and tell the doctor everything and tell the doctor he wants the information in his medical file in the event anything should happen to him in the future. He will need to be firm and convicted when he does these things because due to his age he may not be taken too seriously at first. If he in fact feels in danger, he must stress this to all these authorities, explain his mother's illness and that her children were removed from her for a few years and that he wants all this documented so if something serious happens to him people will know it was not an accident.

One issue I would like to make sure you are aware of, although if you are a teacher, I am sure you know this, is that certain individuals have a duty to report child abuse or neglect if they have a strong suspicion or actual knowledge. Teachers are one group who must report. The statue, which is the first link below just states "teachers" it does not state you must be the teacher of the suspected victim. Also, under section 63-7-310 of the South Carolina child abuse reporting statute, entitled "Reporting by Other Persons" if someone has reason to believe abuse or neglect is occurring they have a duty to report. This statute is somewhat hard to interpret because it speaks of Guardian Ad Litems and attorneys, but it basically says they have a duty to report, but the duty of other person to report "is not limited to" Court appointed Guardians or Attorneys. Failure to report a reasonable belief or actual knowledge of child abuse is a criminal offense. I have provided you with a link that states this as well as the punishment for failure to report. If you are in doubt as to whether you should report (if you have not done so already) I urge you to speak to an attorney in your area, face to face so they can advise you what you should do in your particular situation.

Who is mandated to report abuse:

Who to report to:

Penalties for failing to report abuse:

There is one other consideration I would like to inform you of. In South Carolina, once a child reaches the age of 16, they may petition the court for emancipation. This means they are asking the court to rule they are an adult and allow them to leave home i.e. not be considered a runaway, and function in society as an adult. However, one major component of this is that the child be able to support themselves and show the court they are self sufficient. Another way for a minor to emancipate at age 16 is for the parent to give up their parental rights. Here is a link to an article pertaining to emancipation of a minor in South Carolina:

I strongly advise that if you choose to suggest this to the young man that you consult with a local attorney so that you have a complete grasp of the requirements.

I hope that this information will help your family's young friend.

If you have any follow up questions, please ask me. I want you to be satisfied with my answer and your experience with Just Answer. I know I have given you a great deal of information. I have tried to cover all the bases to make sure you are fully informed of the general principals of laws in your state which may effect not only your friend but yourself as well.

However, as a Just Answer expert I can offer only the general laws and options that may be available to you. But you should consult with an attorney you can meet face to face with.

If I have answered your question and you do not have any follow up questions, I would greatly appreciate a rating of a 3, 4 or 5 so that future Just Answer customers will have the benefit of knowing how you rate my service. Also, if I do not receive a rating of a 3, 4 or 5 I am not compensated for the Answer I have provided you.

Good luck to you. It is clear from the information you provided this young man has a very promising future and sincerely XXXXX XXXXX is able to reach his full potential.

Thank you again for allowing me to Answer your question.
Attorney DROD and other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Hello Lynn, I am checking in with you to see if you had any follow up questions for me. If you do, please ask and I will answer as soon as I can.

Thank you. Denise