Fire away.

A 13-year-old girl fatally shot her father in the face with a shotgun early yesterday morning as he slept in their Elizabeth Township home, according to police.

Rachel Booth was held without bond last night in the Allegheny County Jail, charged as an adult with homicide in the death of Matthew J. Booth, 34.

A close neighbor said the girl told her that Mr. Booth had sexually and physically abused her since she was 7. “The whole street knew about it,” said Suzanne Gruber, 20, who lives across the street from the Booth home. “He abused them both,” she said. “Some nights I would hear her screaming, ‘No, daddy! No! I’m sorry.’ She said she just couldn’t take it anymore.”

I don’t know where to begin.

An entire street knows that a 13-year-old girl is suffering sexual and physical abuse at the hands of her father an NO ONE DOES A THING ABOUT IT?!?

WTF?

I once called the cops on my upstairs neighbors when a fight became so physical that my walls were shaking. You can bet your last good bottle of Rolling Rock that if I EVER heard the words “No, daddy! No! I’m sorry!” screaming out from a house on my street, not only would I call the cops, but I would head over to that house and kick down the door in a blazing display of What The Hell Do You Think You’re Doing to That Child?!

Kids. I joke about them, but deep down, I absolutely heart them and because I grew up in a loving, warm, safe home with the best parents in the world, seeing any child not living the best life imaginable just hits me in the gut.  Childhood should be about candy, kickball, Mother May I, Kennywood, bike rides, and love.

It should NOT be spent in a filthy house with a filthy man.

Seeing a whole street of Burghers turn a blind eye to a child suffering unimaginable abuse makes me want to hit them all in the gut.  They should have banded together and called authorities over and over and over until someone did something.

If all this turns out to be true, this little kiddie is perfectly justified in her decision to shoot the asshole’s face off.

Every person on that street that knew about it and did nothing about it is the next Annoying Burgher. Your crowns are in the mail and by crowns I mean giant bags of angry hormonal pigeons.





15 Comments

  1. z
    July 31, 2007 9:17 am

    You go girl!!!! Each one of those “neighbors” should be held as an accessory. Add a few angry wasps to that bag of pigeons.



  2. Bethany
    July 31, 2007 9:38 am

    One thing is though that it says the County’s CYF agency ‘had been involved previously with the Booths’… Maybe it was the system who failed her, unfortunately. Still, though, I can’t imagine being a neighbor standing by and NOT calling the police every single day if I heard those kinds of things coming from the house.



  3. NY Luvs Pitts
    July 31, 2007 9:51 am

    two nights ago we have a girl in NY who bound, gagged and castrated her father for molesting her since she was 3. This was “the family’s secret”. I think the “family” should be held accountable for not doing anything to protect her. I hate it when people don’t do anything to help a child and then when something like this happens they just shake their head and say it’s such a shame.



  4. Ruby Vroom
    July 31, 2007 9:52 am

    That’s the saddest, sickest story I’ve read in awhile. And, it happened very close to where I grew up. Very disturbing. I just hope that all of these “neighbors” realize the only way to even begin to redeem themselves for turning a blind eye is by all showing up to speak in this girl’s defense when the trial comes and don’t just skulk back under their rocks as soon as the news reporters go away. Sadly, though, even that will be too little, too late.

    And, Pittgirl, I too have called 911 when I’ve heard adults in fights that sounded violent. To think that this entire street knew these children were being abused and didn’t do a thing turns my stomach.



  5. Judge Rufus Peckham
    July 31, 2007 9:59 am

    Thank you, PittGirl, for adding the all-important words, “[i]f all this turns out to be true.”



  6. Kelli
    July 31, 2007 10:01 am

    How do we know that the whole neighborhood knew?

    Because one person (who didn’t bother to do anything herself) claims that the entire neighborhood knew?

    I have to withhold my judgement of the entire neighborhood until there is more evidence people knew and didn’t do anything .

    I have called CYF. It isn’t an easy call to make. I knew that if it was discovered I was the one who made the call, I was going to get hurt. Bad. Scared me a lot more than any of the times I’ve reported domestic violence.



  7. skip
    July 31, 2007 10:54 am

    Pittgirl, thanks for opening a channel to discuss this tragedy.

    I have worked with CYF families on a contract basis with local non-profit agencies in the past. There is a lot of variability in the quality of the caseworkers; from exceptional to incompetent. Many are just overworked and underpaid–and therefore provide less than optimum service to families in the community. However, before caseworkers discharge a family or allow a child back into the home who has previously removed there is a ‘safety check’ that must be completed, both for physical and mental health, so that the child’s environment is considered healthy. This must be documented. I’d like to hear more about when CYF was involved. Apparently, Allegheny County CYF is now touted as ‘the’ national model in child welfare agencies; that is scary.

    Kelli, and anyone else who might consider calling the authorities on a child abuse situation, I believe calling in a childline can be done anonymously. I can understand your fear of neighbors finding out but neighbors, teachers, clergy, really anyone can call anonymously and confidentially.

    This situation in Elizabeth should have been prevented a long time ago. Sadly it wasn’t.



  8. parking chair
    July 31, 2007 11:00 am

    It’s all Suzanne Vega’s fault.

    Ever since that “Luka” song, ther’s been little support for abused kids.

    Obviously, i am making a joke, but this situation is not funny. Two abusive parents? a house covered in animal feces? I am guessing they didn’t live in the model suburban neighborhood filled with concerned citizens. I also have no doubt those neighbors were probably afraid to come forward because of the monster they were dealing with.

    There is no worse crime than sexually and physically abusing a child – especially your own child. These kids will not be comfortable trusting anyone for a long long time.

    PittGirl, “Annoying Burgher” is way too gentle a title for Ms Gruber and anyone else who heard those screams and did nothing.



  9. Kelli
    July 31, 2007 11:53 am

    Skip,

    I did make my report anonymously. However, I had to describe what I heard that prompted that report and I was warned that could very well give away my location, which would then reveal my identity. So I had to give a description of what was going on in the house with no directional clues.

    For example, I couldn’t say that it sounded like the mother threw the kid against an interior wall, because I was the only one who shared an interior wall with their unit. The witnesses on the street would not have been able to identify that sound the same way as me, therefore, that would give away my location. I could only report things that were generic enough that any of the witnesses could have reported it (and trust me, there were other witnesses beyond myself)

    I too worked with CYF, as a CASA, for nearly two years. I don’t have a whole of lot confidence in the promise of confidentiality. I don’t believe that confidentiality for anonymous reports is necessarily a priority for them – which I understand to a point. Their primary concern should be protecting children, confidentiality be damned. However, if they do not protect those who report, then reports will go down, making it that much harder to investigate.

    And a monster that would abuse their child would not hesitate to harm anyone and everyone else. There is a very good reason that CYF caseworkers can and do request police escorts when removing a child from their parent’s care.



  10. TRUTHTELLER
    July 31, 2007 1:22 pm

    Everyone gets what they deserve, sooner or later, be it good or bad…that includes those who just let things go because “it’s not their problem” or whatever other LAME excuse they make. This was a child, unable to advocate for herself and without a parent who was willing to act as her advocate. EVERYONE who witnessed or heard these things should be ashamed of themselves and WILL (if by nothing but the grace of god) get what they deserve. Looks like daddy did… :(



  11. toni
    July 31, 2007 2:13 pm

    The girl’s mother, Michelle Fazek, 33, of White Oak, said she had filed numerous complaints during the past few years with police and the county Office of Children, Youth and Families about the deplorable conditions of the home in which her daughter and son, Matthew Booth Jr., 14, were living.

    CYF officials didn’t return calls for comment.

    “My kids never told me specifically that they were being abused, but they looked like they were, and I always suspected it,” Fazek said after her daughter’s arraignment. “I tried to get someone to help her and no one would listen, and now my 13-year-old daughter is in jail.”

    On Feb. 16, 2006, Rachel Booth called Fazek early in the morning screaming that she had tried to commit suicide, according to court records. A week later, Matthew Booth Sr. called Fazek and said Rachel Booth had been sexually assaulted two months earlier by a family friend, who later committed suicide, court records state.
    http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/cityregion/s_519831.html

    Let me tell you 2 things…. I called the cops several years ago when I heard the woman who lived upstairs of me at the time and her boyfriend fighting. I called when I literally heard her body thrown up against the connecting door ro my apartment. Right after I unlocked the door, snagged her arm, and dragged her in before locking him out. You know what the police said? I only HEARD the incident, NOT saw it! They said hearing doesn’t count because I couldn’t know 100% what was going on!

    Called CYS on a person a few years ago for the condition her kids were in…hers was mostly neglect… the kids were going hungry. She was a crackhead that lived in the same apartment complex. As far as I could tell they never even check out my complaint.



  12. Still A. Fan
    July 31, 2007 6:15 pm

    justice was served…a little later than i would have liked, but served. the only way this could have ended better would have been to prosecute the guy, send him to prison and let him get ass raped over and over while screaming, “no, i’m sorry”. everyone who reads this blog…i suggest if you have kids you should read “protecting the gift” and “the gift of fear”. i read them on the advice of a security expert i know. he also had me read “tears of rage” which is the john walsh book written about his son adam. if you are around my age (35-40) or older you will remember ADAM as the first really big national child disappearance. i think it was around 1980 or so. the book actually has the letter that the killer wrote to walsh from prison detailing what he did to his son. it’s horific, but it’s meant to be. it’s meant to be a wakeup call and to trust your instincts. adam’s mom, against her better judgement, allowed him at 12 to hang out in Sears near an Atari on display watching other kids play while she returned an item. The rest, as they say….is history.



  13. silverb
    July 31, 2007 8:38 pm

    I was so disgusted when I read that story that I couldn’t think what to do next. The only explanation is that the neighbor clearly doesn’t possess enough intelligence to assist another being in jeopardy and then continuing in her ingnorant bliss tells the world how everyone knew and did nothing.
    Even uneducated semi-literate, semi-civilized people know to help a not fully grown like animal. We just have to question the morality of everyone out there – these folks are just a sample of the ‘don’t care’ – ‘don’t help’ attitude.
    Let’s get our sh1t together



  14. K
    August 1, 2007 12:54 am

    The brother’s story sounds fishy to me.

    I bet he did it.

    And yes… the whole street needs their ass kicked.



  15. Trish
    August 3, 2007 6:39 am

    Actually, Adam Walsh was six when he was murdered.

    Parents get so up in arms about “stranger abductions.” Yes, they do happen … but most of the time people who mess with kids are known to the kids. And there’s some like this tool who like to, shall we say, grow their own victims. I swear there should be extensive psychological tests for people before they breed.