Sunday, January 03, 2016

Petition drive seeks proper sentencing for Joplin man who bit, abused 9-month-old

Andrew Vaughan's sentences on child abuse charges in Jasper and Newton counties shocked the sensibilities of the people in this area.

There was no problem with the five years he was given by judges in the two counties, even though many would have liked to see a longer sentence, considering the crime, which was explained by Newton County assistant prosecutor Kathleen Miller in this passage from a KZRG report:

On March 6, 2014, the infant was left in the care of Vaughan and his wife. While Vaughan's wife took their own son to the doctor in Jasper County, he admitted to police to biting the baby, leaving teeth marks on the child because she wouldn't stop crying. Newton County Assistant Prosecutor Kathleen Miller tells News Talk KZRG the abuse continued at their Newton County home while his wife was napping.

"He had pulled her ears to the point that one ear had separated from the skull. Both ears were red and swollen to the extent that the earrings that were in the child's ears were bent. Additionally, there is indication, although no confession, that she had been hit a number of times in the back and squeezed. There was also bruising about her face and an examination determined that her collar bone had been broken."

The infant's mother immediately rushed her baby to the hospital upon picking her up, and reported the abuse to police.

The problem was not the five-year sentence, but the fact that Vaughn was sentenced in both counties with a 120-day callback, meaning he could have been back on the streets in four months.

It was later discovered that the 120-day callback could not be used on child abuse charges. Newton County officials are looking to resentence Vaughan for child abuse, guaranteeing a longer sentence, but according to the child's mother, Jasper County officials do not see it the same way. Vaughan's hearing is scheduled for Monday in Judge David Dally's courtroom.

On her petition, Justice for Tinsley Peterson, Tinsley's mother, Amanda Peterson is asking that Vaughan receive more than a slap on the wrist for what he did to Tinsley:

My daughter, Tinsley Peterson, was abused by my babysitter's (now ex) husband, Andrew Vaughan, on March 6, 2015. She was 9 months old at the time and he bit her, choked her, broke her collarbone, almost detached her ears from her head and squeezed her stomach so hard that he left bruises. The biting occurred in Jasper County in Joplin, Missouri and the rest of the abuse happened in Newton County. 

He was charged with a felony Child Abuse (class C) in each county and sentenced to 120 day shock incarceration. When he arrived at the St.Joe Department of Corrections they told Newton and Jasper that he is not eligible for the 120 day shock program because of his charge. 

Both counties planned on dropping the charge to Child Endangerment so that he could serve the 120 days shock. I talked to Newton County and they are leaving the charge as abuse, as they should and they are starting all over and re-sentencing him with the correct sentence. 

 Jasper County has been more of a battle. I argued with them on the phone for two days because they still want to change the charge to fit what they sentenced him to in the beginning. They charged him with the correct charge but sentenced him incorrectly. 

 Under Missouri law from the website Title: Child Welfare ManualSection 7: Glossary/ReferenceChapter 28: Physical AbuseEffective date: November 30, 2015 An adult biting a child is considered child abuse. NOT ENDANGERMENT! Please sign and share this petition to help me get the justice my daughter deserves! She was and still is somewhat, afraid of men. I cannot take her to the doctor if it is a male doctor. Me and my family have suffered so much mentally and emotionally and we would really like him to get the charge and sentence he deserves! Thank you all so much!

As of this writing, the petition has 1,725 signatures.


Anonymous said...

I wish I could say I was surprised at the Jasper county prosecutors office but I can't. I would be interested to know WHO in that office is behind wanting to change a verdict to fit a sentence. That sounds a little...well, a misconduct. Someone should look into that....Randy.

Anonymous said...

No seriously, Randy....look into it.