Recently, in Grand Traverse County, a child abuse plea agreement was reached with Joseph Franks, who pleaded guilty to 2nd degree child abuse. He was charged with 1st degree child abuse and torture of a four-year-old girl.
As part of the deal, the other charges will be dropped at sentencing. His sentencing date is December 19th. The other person charged, Andrea Limon, has a final pre-trial conference on December 12th.
Back in April, the young girl was taken from the house and sent to get medical treatment. However, it took an investigation team months to collect evidence and to arrest Franks and Limon. Court documents indicated that deputies were initially called by a babysitter who was worried about the child’s condition.
Grand Traverse Prosecutor Bob Cooney stated that the girl had serious bruising on the face, legs, arm, and back. In addition, there were cuts and hair removed from the child’s scalp and face. He also said the child was sometimes confined to her bedroom.
“I can generally say that it’s unusual that we charge torture, which is essentially cruel or extreme physical or mental suffering. And that’s unusual in a child abuse case,” Cooney said.
Additionally, court documents showed that the treating physician at the hospital where the child was taken noted her condition and concerns about poor treatment. The young girl weighed only 30.8 pounds.
Lieutenant Chris Barsheff from the local sheriff’s office said that in his 18 or 19 years in law enforcement he has not seen a child abuse case of this magnitude before.
Cooney said that the girl is not suffering from any life-endangering injuries and is currently in good health. She is now living with a relative.