среда, 5 ноября 2008 г.

Mother enters insanity plea in abuse case

Minerva Lopez, 32, was initially charged last month with 16 counts of child abuse. Her husband, Porfirio Olivas-Lopez, 38, who was initially charged with 11 counts of child abuse, now faces 24 counts of child abuse.

Town of Madison police Detective Robb Hale, who is investigating the case, said the new abuse charges involve "other atrocious events" such as dunking the girl's head into a toilet and forcing her to eat insects and a dead mouse, along with more allegations that the girl was beaten with different objects.

Lopez also faces a charge of failure to act to prevent bodily harm.

Not guilty pleas were entered for Olivas-Lopez on the 24 felony charges he now faces. Taavi McMahon, attorney for Lopez, told Dane County Circuit Judge Stuart Schwartz that his client was pleading not guilty and not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect to the 25 felonies against her.

The 14-year-old girl is the victim in all but two of the charges, Hale said, and each of the other two charges involves a 5-year-old brother and an 8-year-old sister. Hale said the 14-year-old girl is out of the hospital and recovering in a safe location.

A criminal complaint filed Oct. 2 alleged that the girl was beaten at the family's Pheasant Ridge Trail apartment with a broomstick, a metal rod, a frying pan and other objects between April and September. The complaint also alleges that Lopez admitted scalding the girl with hot water, choking her, cutting her wrist with a kitchen knife and biting her face.

Lopez is in the Dane County Jail on $32,000 bail and Olivas-Lopez is being held on $24,000 bail. But bail is essentially academic because both also have immigration holds placed by U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement. The complaint did not say why the couple abused the girl, although Lopez attributed it to stress and Olivas-Lopez had claimed that the girl had "the devil in her." A child abuse expert wrote that the girl's injuries were the result of "serial child torture," the complaint states.

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