Parents On Both Sides Address Medical Child Abuse Charge


Wednesday, August 26th 2020, 6:19 pm
By: Reagan Ledbetter


TULSA, Okla. -

A woman accused of medical child abuse said the allegations against her are just a power move in a custody battle with the child's father.

The child's father said his daughter was put through excessive doctor’s appointments and he’s thankful the charge was filed.

Related Story: Bixby Woman Arrested For Suspected Medical Child Abuse

An affidavit said Debra Billingsly took the child to 72 doctor visits at 21 different doctors, all before the little girl was three years old. Billingsly's attorney said those numbers are completely inflated to make his client look guilty, before they ever get to court.

Billingsly and her attorney both said she’s innocent.

Attorney David Keesling said a lot of the doctors’ visits were just phone calls or follow up visits, requested by a doctor and most times, there was never any procedure performed on the child at all.

He said the child was never treated for a condition unless a doctor thought it was needed.

Keesling said this is the father’s way to gain advantage in an intense custody battle.

"That's what this is all about. This is not about a mom that actually abused her child. The facts are going to show that,” said Keesling. “I think a lot of times, parents do what they think is best. When someone can sit back and second guess them, then charge them with crimes as a way to manipulate a civil case, that should scare every single person in this county."

The little girl's father, Denver Ward, said this has nothing to do with custody and everything to do with him believing his child was being abused. 

His attorney said they are grateful the Tulsa County District Attorney’s office filed the charges.

Tulsa County DA Steve Kunzweiler said these types of cases are rare, but it doesn't mean they don't happen.

He said with physical abuse or sexual abuse, there is often visible evidence, but with this case, a lot of it depends on the opinions of expert. 

"It's one thing to level and point a finger at someone and said I think they are doing it. It's an entirely different thing to said, can I prove that?” said Kunzweiler.

The affidavit said a doctor who's an expert in child abuse did review the child's medical records in this case and did rule it a case of medical child abuse.