*Update* James Fortune’s 2nd Statement, Biolgoical Father Speaks & 911 Call
By now I’m sure that you’re all aware of the pending lawsuit against James Fortune and his wife, Cheryl, stemming from child abuse allegations back in 2001. Allegedly, James severely burned his stepson, Cheryl’s biological son, by pushing him into a bathtub of scalding hot water. The child was four at the time. He suffered excruciating burns to a majority of his body, from his waist to his feet and on his hands. Since the time of the incident the boy has undergone numerous skin grafts in an effort to remove the scars. Now, the biological father, Roderick Davenport, is suing the Fortune’s to pay for plastic surgery to fix the disfiguring scars on his son’s body. He’s asking for $5 million to take care of the procedures. Davenport says that he is pursuing the lawsuit now because the child is 15 and old enough for the surgeries.
According to Fox News, Davenport says the injuries at the time of the incident looked like his son was burned with fire. In the video below you can see the damage done by the scalding hot water. We warn you that they are graphic, even though some parts are blurred out. Davenport also says he couldn’t believe that someone would do that to a 4 year old. He claims he was informed by doctors that his son was likely held in the scalding hot water in order to receive such severe burns.
In James’ initial call to 911 after the child was burned, he claimed that his son burned himself in the bathtub by messing around and turning the water on hot. The 4 year old spent 63 days at Shriner’s Burn Hospital in Galveston after he was flown there by life flight. Child Protective Services took custody away from Cheryl. After an investigation Davenport was granted custody and Cheryl was given visitation.
“He has had dreams that awake him at night. He remembers the helicopter,” says Davenport. Reports say that in 2003, James Fortune pled guilty to Felony Injury to a Child and was given six years deferred adjudication, however, he denies this report. James has released a statement regarding the lawsuit earlier this week, and recently released another. Here is his second statement:
“Several months ago I received a demand for payment from my stepson’s father for an injury to my stepson that occurred in 2001. In the midst of negotiating a settlement regarding that injury, I was served with a lawsuit and now my wife and I are defending ourselves in civil court. At no time in my life was I convicted of felony injury to a child. Following my step-son’s injury, there was a criminal investigation and all matters were resolved.
Since that time, my family and I, including my stepson, have maintained a continuous loving family environment. Although his father has maintained custody, Cheryl and I have enjoyed continuous uninterrupted open visitations with my step-son since 2001.
We are shocked by this lawsuit but understand people are free to use the court system to pursue matters, whether or not the claims are baseless. We are confident through this process, the ultimate decision maker will render an outcome that is just and fair. We believe in our American justice system and know that once all facts are made transparent justice will prevail in our favor.
This lawsuit is a direct result of our desire to continue the uninterrupted love, commitment and financial support as well as to protect the ongoing well being while enhancing the current living conditions of our son. We have given our stepson who is currently in our care during his summer break continuous support and understand these allegations are a direct result of not only our increased profile and financial viability but an individual’s desire to exploit such.
We intend to vehemently defend our right to protect our family while maintaining the character integrity and trusted core values the Fortune family has been blessed to exemplify.”
DO YOU THINK RODERICK IS ATTEMPTING TO EXTORT THE FORTUNES? OR DOES THIS SEEM LIKE A REASONABLE/LEGIT LAWSUIT?