Plea deal reached for family facing criminal charges for abuse

A Pennsylvania mother pulled her son out of school in Aug. 2013. Nearly a year later, in Aug. 2014, neighbors told authorities that they believed the boy was being abused. Since that time, the boy’s mother, grandmother and the grandmother’s husband have been facing criminal charges.

When he was removed from the home, the 7-year-old boy weighed under 25 pounds. Authorities claim that he was beaten, starved and forced to bathe in ice water. Supposedly, when he was allowed out of the home, it was only onto the back porch. Reportedly, while outside, he would catch bugs to eat. It remains unclear why this child was singled out since there were other children in the home.

The adults were originally charged with numerous crimes, including attempted murder. Recently, however, the boy’s mother and grandmother pleaded guilty to felony aggravated assault in the first degree. Both women face prison sentences ranging from a minimum of five years to a maximum of 10 years. The grandmother’s husband pleaded guilty to endangering the welfare of a child in the third degree for which he faces a sentence up to a maximum of seven years and fines up to $15,000. As part of their plea deals, a dismissal of the more serious charges was entered.

Even though each of them was fully entitled to a trial in a Pennsylvania court, it was most likely not in the best interest of any of them. Overwhelming evidence of the abuse appears to have been gathered against the adults facing criminal charges in this case. As a result, negotiating plea agreements gave each of them a guaranteed maximum sentence and the ability to avoid the uncertainty of a trial.

Source: Reuters, “Pennsylvania family take plea deal in starving boy case“, Elizabeth Daley, Feb. 6, 2015

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