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Erie court upholds child abuse sentencing

A judge from the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has upheld a prison sentence after a convicted child abuser attempted to have it reduced. Police in Erie found the woman's four-year-old naked and terribly bruised at her Chestnut Street apartment two years ago in October 2011. Police said that she was shivering and had a black eye and other bruises on her back, stomach, and legs. Police had gone to the residence after the toddler's grandmother asked them to check on the child. After securing the child, police say they found only one outfit in a closet and no clean underpants.

The mother pled guilty to aggravated assault and endangering the welfare of a child. She admitted to severely beating the child and leaving her malnourished. The mother then failed to show up to her sentencing hearing last October. Due to her absence, Erie County Judge Daniel Brabender sentenced her to anywhere from 76 to 152 months in prison, which is well beyond even the most severe sentence recommendations set forth by state officials in Harrisburg.

The woman felt that she had grounds for requesting a lighter sentence due to the fact that she was herself a former victim of domestic violence and has received treatment for drugs and alcohol in the past. After police took her, the child was placed in foster care. The woman's boyfriend admitted to officials that he had witnessed her beating the child on several occasions and that they would leave the child at home by herself.

Judge Brabender said that the woman was clearly using her mental health issues as a crutch and cited previous incidences where five of her children were once removed from her care in Ohio and that a sixth child was beaten and murdered by the child's father.

Source:, "Court upholds Erie abuser's sentence" 18 October 2013

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