Green River Star -

By Stephanie Thompson
People Editor 

Abuse charges filed

 

April 18, 2018



A Green River man accused of excessively spanking his stepchild with the belt was charged with felony child abuse.

Joshua Gautreaux, 29, appeared in the Third District Court of Judge Richard Lavery at and arraignment to child abuse where he pleaded not guilty.

If found guilty of the felony, he could face a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a maximum $10,000 fine. A jury trial has been scheduled to take place at 9 a.m., June 11.

According to court documents, on Jan. 5, 2018, a Green River Police officer responded to a Green River residence for a child abuse report. Upon arriving, officers spoke with Kylashay Tucker, who said she was to babysit a five-year-old girl because her mother was going to the hospital to have another baby. Tucker noticed the girl had deep bruises on her and called the police.

The officer noticed bruises to the girl’s upper legs, arms and back. The officer asked the girl how she got the bruises and she said she got in trouble many times for throwing things out of her window and her dad spanked her with a belt many times. Tucker told the officer AT was the girl’s biological mother and her stepfather was Gautreaux. Tucker also told the officer that AT and Gautreaux have another child, a one-year-old and that AT was in the hospital having a baby.

Tucker also told the officer that she had witnessed a separate incident in October of 2017 where Gautreaux and AT left the children in the car for about two hours while they hung out at a restaurant. The five-year-old girl exited the car and was walking down the street. When Gautreaux and AT saw that the girl wasn’t in the car anymore, they searched the streets for her. When they found her, Gautreaux took of his belt and AT allegedly spanked her with it. Tucker said AT allegedly hit the girl with the belt all over her arms, hands, face and body about 10 times. Gautreaux allegedly threw her in the car.

Tucker said she thought someone had reported this incident, but later learned it wasn’t. Tucker said the spanking was “obviously excessive.”

After the officers learned all of this, he spoke with another officer and they determined the children needed to be placed into protective custody based on the history of abuse.

A different officer met with the girl to take photos of the bruises, which were on her arms, legs and back.

He also noticed other bruises and scraps that were consistent with abuse.

A Department of Family Services caseworker took the girl to Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County where she was examined by an emergency room physician.

The one-year-old child was dropped off at another woman’s home so she could watch the child, while the mom had a baby. Officers met with the woman and took the one-year-old into protective custody.

An officer and DFS caseworker then went to the MHSC to visit with AT and Gautreaux and inform them, that due to another report of deep bruising on the girl, they were going to take all of the children, including the baby that had just been born, into protective custody.

Gautreaux was interviewed by officers and he said the five-year-old girl was out of control and tearing up the house. He said the girl was getting into their knives and doing other dangerous and mischievous things.

Gautreaux told the officer the girl wouldn’t listen to him and he didn’t know what else to do so he removed his belt and spanked her.

He stated he “tore her butt up” to describe how he spanked her.

Gautreaux said that while he was spanking the girl she kept putting her hands in front of her butt, which is why bruises were found in other places.

Gautreaux said when he was a kid he got spanked with a belt and a lot worse than what he spanked her.

He said he did notice her bruises later and he could tell it was his belt that did it. He stressed that he never hit the girl with the belt bucket itself.

After Gautreaux found out the children were being placed in protective custody, he walked out of the hospital room saying things like it wasn’t fair. He was then arrested.

 

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