Saginaw Couple Sent to Prison
Stephen Torres and his wife, Erica Jackson-Torres, have been sentenced to prison for their abuse of a relative's 2-year-old son. The Saginaw couple both accepted plea bargains in October, and plead no contest to attempted first degree child abuse.
The boy they abused was left in their care for a few days while his mother was moving to a new house. However, it wasn't until after she came to get him that she discovered what had happened during her absence.
According to court documents, the boy's mother, Crystal Williams, picked him up after several days, only to discover that he had bruises all over his body. Concerned, she took him to a local hospital, where he was examined by medical staff and discovered to have also sustained a number of other injuries.
The child's injuries included broken bones in his wrist, multiple ligature marks on his neck, cigarette burns on his face, marks on his body that appeared to be from a beating with a belt, and bruises all over his body. Although neither of the Torres' have admitted to causing the injuries, and neither has pointed the finger at each other, both have admitted that no one else was with the child during that period of time.
The couple appeared recently before Saginaw Circuit Court Judge Darnell Jackson for sentencing. The Judge referred to them as a "very serious danger to society in general and especially to children", and claimed that what they had done was no less than torture.
"One or both of you committed these terrible acts ," the Judge said to them before handing down the sentence. "Or one of you committed them, and the other did nothing to stop them or report them." This is a point on which both Stephen and Erica agree that they are sorry for - the fact that neither of them reported the child's injuries to the correct authorities.
Judge Jackson sentenced Steven A. Torres to prison for a minimum of seven and a half years and a maximum of 15 years. Erica M. Jackson-Torres was given five to seven and a half years in prison.
Although under Michigan law, attempted first degree child abuse is punishable by up to five years in prison, Judge Jackson stated that the nature of their crimes warranted a departure from state sentencing guidelines. "The guidelines as scored," explained the Judge, "are utterly insufficient to protect children from these two dangerous individuals."