For a whole year, and despite the intervention of county officials and a dentist, a 12-year-old Easton boy was kept in pain because his mother wouldn’t get him treatment for a decaying tooth, court records say.
And even though the boy finally saw a dentist in April, his mother, Melody Kemler, 42, has been charged with endangering the welfare of children and recklessly endangering another person. A county caseworker said her office had to force Kemler to take the boy to the dentist.
A warrant for Kemler’s arrest was approved Aug. 1 and she was taken into custody Sunday. The records do not explain the reason for the time gap.
This is the second time in as many years that an Easton parent has faced criminal charges for neglecting their child's dental care. Last year, Francisco Torres was charged after letting his son's teeth decay to the point that the teenager pulled two of them out. Torres pleaded guilty, was sentenced earlier this year to one to two years in prison.
Easton Police Det. Joe Alonzo wrote in a criminal complaint:
He got involved in the case on April 3 of this year, when he learned from Northampton County’s Children, Youth and Families Division that Kemler failed to get her son treatment for a decaying “six-year” molar.
Alonzo was told the decaying tooth had been causing pain since April 2011. A “six-year” molar refers to a tooth that usually grows in at age 6 or 7.
A children and youth caseworker said her office had made appointments for the boy but the mother failed to follow through on them.
Alonzo saw a copy of a letter from dentist Dr. David Bresler that said he told the mother her son’s tooth had to be extracted and a root canal performed. Without a root canal, Bresler wrote, the boy would be at risk of futher pain, an inability to eat and sleep and possible infection.
The mother had last visited with Bresler on Dec. 14, 2011.
On April 6, 2012, the boy finally saw a dentist. The proof was a letter from Dr. Thomas Madara, a dentist from St. Luke’s University Hospital, who wrote that he saw the boy to start treatment on the problem tooth.
The children and youth caseworker said her office made the appointment and forced Kemler to take her son to Madara’s office.
Kemler, of the 100 block of S. Sixth Street, was arraigned Sunday morning by on-duty District Judge Jackie Taschner of Palmer Township and released on $10,000 unsecured bail.