Ethics Hero: Flaviane Carvalho

I love this story, and not just because it supports several Ethics Alarms principles, like the duty to confront, the duty to rescue, and the duty to fix the problem.

In Orlando on January 1, 2021, Mrs. Potato restaurant employee Flaviane Carvalho noticed that a young boy was sitting secluded from his parents and a a young girl. Carvalho said the boy was wearing a mask and hoodie as he sat at the table along with two adults and a young girl. She also noticed that he had a scratch in between in his eyebrows and wasn’t eating, even though food had been brought to the table. She asked the table if their food and drinks were all right, and when the one of the adults replied that the boy would eat his dinner at home, Carvalho said she began to think something was seriously wrong.

She did not decide to “minding her own business,” but instead decided that as a proactive and ethical member of society, this was her business. Carvalho stood behind the boy’s parents and held up a note asking the boy if he was OK. When the 11-year-old shook his head, she wrote a second note asking, “Do you need help?”  This time, the boy nodded yes. Carvalho called her boss and then called 911.

Police arrived and questioned the child, who told detectives he had suffered abuse at the hands of his stepfather, identified as Timothy Lee Wilson II.  Wilson was arrested at the restaurant, and the boy’s mother, Kristen Swann, was taken into custody on later that week after the boy made additional disclosures of alleged abuse.

This week, a jury found Wilson, 36, guilty of two counts of false imprisonment of a child under the age of 13, three counts of aggravated child abuse with a weapon, four counts of aggravated child abuse, and one count of child neglect. A  news release from the  state attorney general’s office revealed that the jury had found that the boy
… had been tortured, maliciously punished, and deprived of food and water for days at a time. A search warrant revealed that the victim was kept in a separate hotel room used for storage, away from Mr. Wilson, the victim’s mother, and the younger sibling. Duct tape covered the peep hole to the victim’s room, he routinely was deprived of food and beverages, was made to do military-style exercises, hung upside down from a door by his neck and feet, and at one point, handcuffed to a dolly cart on Christmas Day. Officers recovered multiple items used as weapons—a bent metal pole, a wooden broom, a dolly cart, handcuffs, and ratchet straps used to tie the victim up.

I hope Wilson isn’t expecting a Father’s Day card. His slug of a wife is pleading not guilty, and will stand trial for multiple felony abuse charges, including neglect of a child, aggravated abuse and failure to report child abuse,

Orlando Police Detective Erin Lawler told reporters, “If Ms. Carvalho would not have said something when she saw it, that little boy would probably not be with us much longer.” Carvalho’s told CNN affiliate WESH, “We need to pay attention for the ones that (are) in need, and step forward to do something to change the situation.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself!

6 thoughts on “Ethics Hero: Flaviane Carvalho

  1. Times are finally changing. That wasn’t the case in the 1950s. Many noticed abuse but never said anything. I spent years in an abusive foster home. Decades later, I reconnected with some folks I knew from outside that family and learned they were aware of what was going on….and had tried to talk to my foster mom, but never spoke to me – either to ask if I needed help or to tell me they knew that how I was treated was wrong. One admitted she told my foster mom, “You’re going to kill her if you don’t stop!”
    It was definitely a “mind your own business” mindset then. Even my caseworker wasn’t any help. She would call the family two weeks ahead of a visit – so all was calm upon her arrival. And again, that person never talked to me. Fortunately, I had the inner strength to break the cycle once I graduated from high school and moved away. I made good choices from then on and refused to ever be a “victim” again. Hope this young man has the same strength to move forward in a positive direction. It can be done!

  2. Ethics hero? How about just plain hero? She quite possibly risked her own safety at the hands of these creeps if she’d been caught.

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