At the age of 17, the woman said, she wondered if she would do right by her first-born son and give him a good life.
As she told common pleas Judge Charles Cooper Wednesday, she will forever be eaten alive by the guilt of not knowing just how bad off her son was those seven years ago, living with an abusive stepfather.
“I’ll never really know what happened to him,” she said.
The woman, whose name is not being used as to not identify her now 15-year-old son, addressed the court with her family by her side after her husband, Joshua Jones, 34, address unknown, pleaded guilty to child endangerment, a second-degree felony.
According to the indictment Jones “did torture or cruelly abuse” the boy from January 2004 to December 2006.
Cooper sentenced the man to seven years in prison.
Jones turned himself into police in December, seven years after the abuse had taken place at their home in South Point.
In a report filed by the sheriff’s office, Jones confessed to physically abusing the boy during a two-year period, making him eat human and animal feces, choking the boy until he was unconscious and breaking a glass candle jar over his head.
According to that report, Jones came forward after learning that the boy may have suffered brain damage.
“I put complete faith in someone who never deserved it,” the child’s mother said.
She went on to say that Jones lied to her about her son’s frequent injuries and that she believed him.
The boy wasn’t present in court to face Jones. He is being held in the Ross County Juvenile Detention Center on criminal charges, which his mother blames on the abuse he suffered.
“(He) doesn’t have the ability to be in society right now because he was raised like an animal, and he acts like one sometimes,” the woman told the court.
The boy’s step grandfather read a statement from the child transcribed from an audiotape, saying he thought Jones was a monster and that he relived the abuse through frequent nightmares.
The step grandfather also addressed the court, saying the entire family would feel guilt for not understanding what was going on at the time of the abuse.
“Everyone in the family knew Josh had a problem with anger,” the man said. “… We wanted to believe the problems were a lot less serious that what they are.”
Warren Morford, Jones’ attorney, said the man had a religious experience that led him to confess to the abuse.
“At the time of the abuse, there were demons inside his head from his earlier life, compounded with drug abuse,” Morford said.
Jones spoke, saying the guilt and shame he has felt over the past seven years has been a lot to bear.
“In no way can I come up with the words to express how ashamed I am of my actions,” Jones said. “… If anything comes of this, I just hope they can heal.”
By Michelle Goodman - The Ironton Tribune, Ohio (MCT)
©2013 The Ironton Tribune (Ironton, Ohio)
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