Mother found guilty of beating son with belt

Date: 2008-07-12

Mother found guilty of beating son with belt

Adopted mother admits to some of the abuse

June 12, 2008

VICTORVILLE — After just 15 minutes of deliberation, a jury Thursday convicted a Victorville woman of beating her 13-year-old adopted son with a belt.

Jacqueline Ann Lerma, 46, admitted to hitting her son on the butt and legs with a belt, but denied hitting him on the back or arms despite pictures depicting several marks in those areas.

“Didn’t you hit him pretty hard to leave those marks?” asked Deputy District Attorney Brieann Durose.

“Probably, yes,” answered Lerma.

Lerma adopted the victim — whose name is being withheld to protect his privacy — and four other children who were all formerly foster children of hers.

Lerma testified that she had been through two different county foster programs that included classes on parenting and discipline.

“In which one of those classes did they tell you it was appropriate to hit your child like that with a belt?” Durose asked.

Lerma admitted that none of the classes said it was OK.

She was convicted of inflicting corporal injury on a child, a felony, and could spend up to six years in prison.

When the boy testified, he admitted that on the day of the abuse, he had been sagging his pants and giving his father attitude.

The victim also testified that Lerma choked him until he couldn’t breathe.

“She was beating the hell out of him because she was angry and she lost it,” Durose told the jury. “He wasn’t the perfect 12-year-old, but he did not deserve the beating he got that day.”

Durose said she is waiting for a report from the Probation Department before she decides what sentence she will seek from the judge for Lerma’s crime.

Durose said that the fate of the other four children is up to Child Protective Services.

“The beating that the child received was not justified by any means, and the jury saw through any kind of smoke screen that the defense tried to put in front of them,” Durose added.

Lerma’s sentencing is set for July 11.


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