Trey Mewes, Austin Daily Herald –
Two Austin women pleaded not guilty in Mower County court last week to making a 9-year-old child hold jugs of milk in the air for hours on end and beating the child with a belt or wooden stick.
Shavon Melisa Blake, 28, faces one count of malicious punishment of a child with less than substantial bodily harm and one count of misdemeanor domestic assault. Jacqueline Glenda Richardson, 48, faces two counts of malicious punishment of a child with less than substantial bodily harm.
According to the court complaint, an Austin Public Schools teacher told authorities a student was being abused at home. Two parents also thought the child was being abused, as well.
Blake reportedly punched the child in the face and in the back several times before, according to the victim. The police report states the child told police he or she was frequently told to carry a milk jug around the house, from 2 p.m. until 11 p.m. or 1 a.m., and the jug was sometimes filled with rotten milk or pop can tops. At times, the child allegedly would have to kneel on the floor and keep two milk jugs in the air.
The victim told police it hurts to hold the jugs for so long and the child would lose feeling in the arms.
The child also said he or she is sometimes struck with a belt, spoons, or a stick by Blake, Richardson or Richardson’s boyfriend as punishment. Police photographed a bruise on one of the victim’s legs, which the victim said was from being hit with a stick and belt.
Police interviewed the child’s 8-year-old relative, who told police he or she also has to carry milk jugs at times as punishment as well as a bottle filled with pop can tops. The 8-year-old told police Richardson strikes with a stick if the 8-year-old drops the jugs or the bottle, and that the child prefers being punished with the stick as “the stick is easier than the bottles,” according to the police report.
Police went to Blake’s home and arrested her on Sept. 7, according to a court file. Blake allegedly told police the children are punished by carrying the milk jugs whenever they are at Richardson’s home, and that injuries were from bug bites and falling down.
Richardson arrived at Blake’s home as officers were leaving and told police they don’t want to beat the children, so they use the bottles and jugs. Both Richardson and Blake told police the children hold the containers for about 30 minutes, but the child’s grandmother told police the children hold the containers for two hours, according to the report. Richardson was also arrested and allegedly told police both children are lying. Police took the bottles containing pop can tops.
Richardson and Blake face pretrials on Jan. 18, 2013.