When Erica Hammel first met her ex-husband’s new girlfriend, something just seemed off about her, even though she couldn’t prove it.
While she desperately wanted a judge to reconsider allowing her 1-year-old son, Wyatt, overnight visits at her ex-husband’s house, Hammel was powerless in the decision.
What she didn’t know then was that her ex-husband’s new live-in girlfriend, Rachel Edwards, had two past child abuse convictions.
“When we were going through our divorce custody hearings, I had asked the judge not to grant my ex any overnights because I had my concerns about his girlfriend,” Hammel wrote on Change.org. “It was all hearsay and of course even after searching her name on the internet, I found nothing to support my suspicions and therefore the judge granted my ex husband several overnights.”
As Fox News reports, Hammel finally got the late-night phone call she’d been dreading all along: Wyatt was in the hospital.
Edwards had shaken the baby boy so violently that Wyatt was left with a fractured skull and brain damage.
Although the tiny toddler has since undergone multiple surgeries, Wyatt, now 3, is still partially blind and cognitively impaired.
Because there was no way to know that Edwards had two prior child abuse convictions, Hammel has now dedicated her life to changing the rules.
In a Change.org petition, Hammel calls for a child abuse registry, similar to what sex offenders must be placed on, for anybody convicted of child abuse.
“Wyatt’s Law” is currently before the Michigan registry, and Hammel is working hard to ensure that the bill passes.
“Children are the most innocent and vulnerable members of society. At age one, Wyatt obviously couldn’t fight back,” she told Fox News.