So the kids’ mom pled guilty to criminal child abuse this week. Now what?
Originally, she had confessed, but then had retracted her statement. Then she said that it was just the one time abuse of one child. But since the kids were going to testify, she changed her plea to guilty of abusing both kids consistently and regularly over the past four years. Yes, FOUR years. Essentially, she agreed that she had been abusing the kids since social services had stopped making follow up visits from the last time she was convicted of child abuse.
Sentencing won’t be for another couple of months. And the county still has the plan to return the kids home to dad. So not a whole lot has changed in our day to day life.
But 8-year-old Watchful is so relieved that his mom told the truth. Now, he feels validated. Everyone has to believe him now. (Though with the physical evidence and past history, everyone knew it was true.) And 10-year-old Joyful is really hopeful that mom will have a long jail time. If mom’s in jail, she and her brother are safe.
The State attorney had wanted the kids to testify and it’s their statements to the prosecution and their willingness to testify which changed this from a charge of more minor crime with a shorter sentence, to a crime that fit the truth and came with a longer sentence. The therapists had been against the kids testifying. But I am glad that we had the kids talk to the attorney. Now they have justice, or at least something closer to justice (can there ever be justice for abusing kids their whole lives?). And while mom is in jail, the kids will be a whole lot safer for a whole lot longer.
At this point, the State attorney wants the kids to write victim impact statements. Again, the therapists are against it. The therapists worry about the emotional burden of having been part of mom’s imprisonment. But what about the emotional burden of worrying that mom will eventually get out of jail and come and get you? That’s what happened last time. Mom served time, got out, the county stopped following the case after a while, and mom started beating the kids again. How relieved the kids would be if they didn’t have to worry about seeing mom for a very, very long time. The victim impact statement could help persuade the judge to give a longer sentence, or to make the sentences consecutive rather than concurrent.
The kids would also be able to speak their truth and be heard. Doesn’t that count for something?