Working at a domestic abuse shelter is a very hard job. Although it tends to get glorified in the public eye as very rewarding work with lots of “warm and fuzzy” experiences, the truth is often much more harsh. Domestic abuse shelters are full of women who have come from violent homes and are trying to escape abusive partners. Some of them struggle with anger issues, and substance abuse. Many carry enormous emotional burdens, and are subject to the stress of constant fear.
As a result, the environment inside the shelter can be very turbulent, and very stressful. This may account for why a domestic abuse shelter worker in Washtenaw County allegedly lost control and acted out violently toward her son. 28-year-old Ashley Nicole Bell is said to have become unreasonably enraged at her son, and beat him with a leather belt until it broke.
According to court documents, on May 25th, family members of the child contacted police to report that several days prior, the 9-year-old boy had been severely beaten with a belt. However this, they said, wasn’t an isolated issue. Police reports show that the family has reached out to CPS in the past, with allegations of possible abuse by Bell. The Pinckney Police Department says that this is the first they’ve heard of it.
As of now, police are investigating the situation, but haven’t released many details.
Bell, they said, became “upset with the child and inappropriately disciplined him” but they released no information about what situation occurred that may have led to the abuse. They also shared nothing about possible prior abusive situations. For now, we will have to wait and see, although we would like to remind our readers that without the complete story, it is best to reserve judgement.
Court records show that Bell has been charged with Third Degree Child Abuse and Domestic Violence. Under Michigan law, Third Degree Child Abuse is when a person knowingly or intentionally does something that causes physical harm to a child. In this case, the prosecutor is required to prove that the child was actually harmed, not just placed at risk of harm. Child abuse in the third degree is a felony under state law, and is punishable by imprisonment for up to two years.
She is currently being held in the Washtenaw County Jail on an unpaid $150,000 bond. Her last court appearance was for an exam conference in the 53rd District Court in Howell. As of now, the Pinckney Police Department is being assisted in their investigation by the Michigan State Police.
The skilled attorneys at The Kronzek Firm have decades of combined experience in handling abuse and neglect cases in the Michigan courts. Our firm includes both family law attorneys and criminal defense attorneys, which means that whether the investigation was conducted by CPS or the police, we can walk you through every aspect of your case. Call 866 766 5245 to talk to an experienced abuse and neglect defense attorney today.