The Justice Files: Surviving child abuse

Justice Files

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah) – His mother claimed Dominick Adams’ recovery was a miracle.

She and doctors didn’t know if her two-year-old would survive. In 2005, he was severely beaten by her then-boyfriend Mike Barber.  

But Dominick did. He’s now 18-years old and trying to live a normal life.

“It’s been a long time so it’s not something that I dread because I don’t remember most of it,” said Dominick.

Barber was charged with multiple counts related to child abuse. According to court documents, Barber was babysitting Dominick and his sister while their mother was at work.

Doctors found bruises on his head, face and body. His eye was damaged and blinded by a blow. There were bite marks on his back and shoulder. He had abrasions on his head. Both his arms were broken as was his collarbone.

West Valley police arrived at Adams’ home twice. The first time Barber claimed Dominick fell from the couch and hurt himself. He wasn’t arrested. One week later Barber called 911 to report that Dominick hurt himself when he fell in the bathtub.

But doctors and police disagreed. Barber disappeared after Dominick was taken to the hospital. A spokesperson from West Valley police said he could not be found and was “presumed to be avoiding arrest.” 

A warrant was issued and he was arrested the following month after police received a tip of his whereabouts.

A jury found Barber guilty on most of the charges in 2007 and was sentenced up to 15-years.

At his first parole hearing in 2007, Barber said he was sorry but offered excuses.

“Every day I have to live with myself with what I caused,” he said in 2007. “Drugs played a major part of my life. I am not blaming it on drugs. I’m just saying I was using. I was shooting heroin and living on 90 mg of methadone living at her house and she was leaving me with her children.”

Barber was denied parole in 2007 and again in 2014. This month, he was released after serving all 15-years.

“I don’t think justice was served because my son is blind in his right eye,” said his mother JenaV Adams. “He has a traumatic brain injury.”

Dominick wants to be a normal teenager but he’s aware of his limits.  

“I have a big scar in the back of my head,” he said. “So like kids asking me about it and stuff like that.  It restricted me from playing sports.

Motion on his right hand is still limited and he’s legally blind in his right eye. It’s a life sentence.

“I don’t say anything to myself about it because it wasn’t something that I could control,” he said.

As far as the man who causes his pain and suffering as a child, Dominick appeared ready to move on. Asked if he was mad at Barber, Dominick said somewhat.

“Yes, but it’s not something to be worried about,” he said.

These days, Dominick said he’s too busy being a teenager and preparing for the future.  He likes to compose music and writes his own lyrics. He said it’s a way to cope with what’s happened.

As far as forgiveness, Dominick Adams said he willing to offer a peace offering. 

“There’s some forgiveness,” he said.

But he said it comes with a caveat. He hoped Barber learned his lesson and will never hurt another child again.

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