The Richmond Register

Crime

October 19, 2013

Mother who admitted child abuse receives diverted sentence

RICHMOND — A woman who admitted last month she let another person physically abuse her toddler son will not serve any jail time if she follows the court’s conditions of her sentence for the next three years.

Kayleigh Norris, 23, pleaded guilty in September to second-degree criminal abuse as part of a plea agreement with the Madison County commonwealth’s attorney’s office. She originally had been charged with first-degree criminal abuse, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

Norris took her 18-month-old son to a local hospital in June 2012 for treatment of a right arm fracture, according to court documents. The medical staff discovered the child already was recovering from a two-week-old injury to his left wrist.

This information was reported to the Richmond police, and their investigation revealed the child had suffered several broken bones while he was in his mother’s care, an RPD report stated.

Shortly after the child was treated at the hospital, Norris admitted to police in a videotaped interview that only she and her boyfriend, Jeremiah Caleb Blair, had been around the child at the time, court documents show.

Blair had previously been accused of child abuse in court cases in Kentucky and Ohio involving different children, according to various records.

Blair died Aug. 29, 2012, and after that, Norris admitted in January in Madison Family Court that she had neglected her son. She was arrested that day, and a Madison grand jury later indicted her on the child abuse charge.

Madison Circuit Judge Jean C. Logue said during Thursday’s sentencing hearing that her review of the case report had “flabbergasted” her because the child essentially had been “tortured” under his mother’s care.

Logue said it was Norris’ duty, as a mother, to stand up for her child, but instead he had suffered numerous broken bones and even a skull fracture.

“That’s just hard to understand,” how a mother could let that happen to her child, Logue said.

As part of the plea agreement, Norris was sentenced to two years in prison to be diverted for three years under supervision. Norris is to have no further violations of the law, be lawfully employed or enrolled in school full time, comply with random drug testing, cooperate with the Department of Community-Based Services and comply with all orders issued by family court.

Norris does not currently have custody of the child and is undergoing parenting classes.

“This brings into question whether you should ever have a child in your custody,” Logue said.

If Norris adheres to all the requirements of her diversion for three years, the second-degree criminal abuse charge will be dismissed and expunged from her record.

Sarah Hogsed can be reached at shogsed@richmondregister.com or 624-6694.

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