Dad accused of posting pic of bound child: I’m no ‘monster’
MARY MITCHELL firstname.lastname@example.org March 2, 2012 7:46PM
Andre Curry, who after posting a picture of Facebook, was charged with 3 felonies. Friday, March 2, 2012. | Brian Jackson~Sun-Times
Updated: April 4, 2012 8:09AM
With the click of a button, Andre Curry became the poster child for how not to use Facebook.
After Curry posted on his Facebook page a photograph of his toddler daughter bound in blue painter’s tape, Curry was arrested and charged with three felonies including unlawful restraint.
On Friday, Curry went on an old-school media blitz to try to reshape his public image as a powerful legal team gears up to fight the charges.
“I want to let people know who I am as a father, a parent and a young man overall,” said Curry during an interview at the K.L.E.O. Community Family Life Center on the South Side. “I don’t want people to go on with the idea of Andre Curry being a monster.”
He had never been arrested before that December incident. But the judge set a $100,000 bail, which his family couldn’t raise, and the young father spent Christmas and New Year’s in Cook County Jail. It would be 39 days before Curry walked out of jail after a judge reduced his bail to $30,000.
Curry, 21, said being locked up was a nightmare. “There were people who wanted to hurt me in jail for what they thought I had done,” he said. “They thought I had harmed my child when honestly that was not the case at all.”
He has maintained that the tape incident was a bad joke and not abuse. “I am a loving father. I care deeply and solely about my daughter,” Curry told me. “Her well-being is a priority to me. . . . I want people to know I love my child. I care for my child, and I am responsible for all my actions.”
Because of the charges, Curry isn’t allowed to have supervised visits with his daughter. He has seen her once since he was arrested and that was to comply with the judge’s order for a psychological evaluation.
“I am not able to have supervised visits,” he said. “I have not seen her since Dec. 20, which is really heart-aching. I never thought I would be taken away from my child, never dreamed I would be away from her period.”
Yesmin Doss, the baby’s mother, told me she supports Curry 100 percent.
“I’ve known Andre for five years, I know his character. As mad as I was, I didn’t want this to be the reason why he has to be away from his daughter and family,” she said during a telephone interview.
“I don’t think he deserves what he has been given . . . jail time and him being away from his daughter and him being portrayed so badly. I am going to have his back through all of this,” she said. “This is being blown out of proportion.”
Curry’s family has hired the Henderson Adam law firm to defend him against the charges.
And Curry is getting help from other influential people in the city.
Pastor Torrey L. Barrett, the son of T.L. Barrett, a legendary minister and activist on the city’s South Side, went to Cook County Jail to meet Curry after seeing his story on the TV news.
“My first reaction was, ‘Wow.’ My second reaction was: ‘I bet you he didn’t mean his child any harm.’ Two minutes into the conversation with him, I knew right away this was a young man who made a mistake,” Barrett said.
Barrett said supporters turned in more than 500 signatures showing support for Curry and asking that the charges be dropped.
Barrett wants to use Curry’s notoriety to send a positive message about young black fathers. “We see Andre as being a poster child for the young black father,” he said. “He is a young man who at the age of 19 didn’t run from the responsibility of having a child. He was with his baby’s mother when the child was born. He stayed in the hospital and cut the umbilical cord. He signed the birth certificate and has been a loving father since then. Now we want him to counsel other young men who may be neglecting their child so he can tell them the true treasures that they are missing.”
In the meantime, Curry’s family has hired the powerful defense lawyers to persuade prosecutors to drop the criminal charges.
Barrett is leading a fund-raising effort for Curry’s legal defense.
He wants to create a legal fund that could be tapped into, not only for Curry’s legal battle, but for legal representation of other youths.
“These are young people who make simple mistakes that may not be actually crimes, but without proper representation, these young men can end up behind bars,” Barrett said.
Curry is barred from using the Internet and being around anyone under 18.
He has a word of caution for people who are still putting their business on the Internet: “I would just say if you have to second-guess anything before you put it on there, stop doing it altogether.”