TACOMA, WA – Today Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist charged Robin Ross, 40, with Criminal Mistreatment in the Second Degree for leaving her infant child in the care of her 14-year-old son while she was out smoking crack cocaine. The older child assaulted the infant, causing permanent brain damage. The defendant was arraigned today and bail was set at $500,000.
“Nothing is more important than the safety of our children,” said Prosecutor Mark Lindquist.
On the evening of November 30, 2012, the defendant left her residence, leaving 9-month-old M.J. and two-year-old S.H. in the care of their 14-year-old brother, C.J. The defendant stayed out all night smoking crack cocaine. When she returned home the next afternoon, she found M.J. unresponsive and called 911. The infant was transported to Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital where doctors discovered M.J. had suffered severe head trauma. According to the treating physician, M.J. is 80% brain dead and his chances of survival are extremely small.
Police interviewed C.J., who said he is jealous of and doesn’t like M.J. C.J. was watching M.J. and, when the infant spit on him and started crying, C.J. became angry and struck M.J. with a rubber ball and a pillow several times. M.J. continued to cry and C.J. violently shook him and dropped him on the bed. C.J. noticed M.J. was having trouble breathing and his eyes were unfocused, but he did not call 911 because he didn’t know his address and feared going to jail.
According to the defendant, C.J. has a history of anger problems and has been violent in the past. A few weeks prior, C.J. held a knife to his 10-year-old brother’s neck. The 10-year-old was interviewed and disclosed several incidents of abuse at the hands of C.J., including being placed in a choke hold, having a knife pointed at him and being hit with a bat. He also reported that C.J. had punched the two younger children in the past. The defendant was aware of these incidents, yet allowed C.J. to baby sit the children.
C.J. has been charged in Juvenile Court with Assault in the First Degree. Charges are only allegations and a person is presumed innocent unless he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
For more information, please contact Rebecca Stover at (253) 798-4910, [email protected].