Oh, lawyers. You gotta love ‘em.
In 2002, Jeffrey Baldwin of Toronto died of starvation at the age of five after severe abuse at the hands of his grandparents, Elva Bottineau and Norman Kidman. The grandparents were convicted child abusers but Jeffrey and several siblings were still handed into their care by a children’s aid organization after concerns arose that the parents were abusing their children. Jeffrey and a sister were locked in a bathroom for days on end, where they were forced to live in their own filth. Court testimony revealed that Bottineay and Kidman were interested in custody of the two children for the government checks they would collect. Jeffrey died of starvation on November 30, 2002. Kidman and Bottineau, were convicted of second-degree murder in 2006.
According to Wikipedia, Jeffrey’s case led to significant changes in policy by children’s aid societies in the granting of custody of children to relatives.
In happier days, the boy was a Superman fan who was even photographed wearing the classic uniform. According to his father, Richard Baldwin, “He wanted to fly. ... He tried jumping off the chair. We had to make him stop. He dressed up [as Superman] for Halloween one year. … He was so excited. I have that picture at home hanging on my wall. He was our little man of steel.”
A Toronto resident named Todd Boyce was so moved by this story—revealed in a long delayed inquest into the death earlier this year—that he started an indiegogo crowdfunding project to create a statue for the poor boy. The project had an initial goal of $25,000 (Canadian dollars), but raised in excess of $36,000. Noted Ontario sculptor Ruth Abernethy has completed the sculpture but it is now at a foundry waiting to be cast into bronze. The sculpture features Baldwin wearing his favorite garment—a shirt with the famous Superman logo.
The City of Toronto sought assurances that the monument would not violate any copyright laws before granting Boyce’s request to have the monument placed in Greenwood Park, near where Jeffrey grew up.
According to the Toronto Star, DC has denied the request.
DC’s senior vice-president of business and legal affairs, Amy Genkins, told Boyce in an email that “for a variety of legal reasons, we are not able to accede to the request, nor many other incredibly worthy projects that come to our attention.”
DC declined to comment.
Boyce feels that the Superman aspect was a crucial part of the bronze monument, which will include a bench: “I’m sort of empathetic to (DC’s) point of view on this, but I feel very strongly that the image of Jeffrey is so powerful. It’s the image of a vulnerable boy dressed up as the most invulnerable character in the universe. So I just feel like there’s something lost if we change it.”
Reluctantly, Boyce is going to have the “S” on the statue changed to a “J” for Jeffrey.
Via The Beat