Pennsylvania Mother Rana Cooper Stands Trial for Daughter's Abuse
By Olivia Demarinis
A Pennsylvania mother will stand trial on abuse charges after she allegedly forced her daughter to eat cat litter and tried to sew her mouth shut.
Rana Cooper, 46, told reporters that she is "a very good mother" after she left Thursday's preliminary hearing.
The girl, now 16 years old, said she was abused because her mother considered her "embarrassing to the family," which is a large group with seven sons.
"I was not allowed to go anywhere with the family," she said.
The girl testified that she suffered from abuse for several years; in one instance, her mother tried to sew the girl's mouth shut but stopped at one jab of the needle. She also testified that her mother would choke her until she blacked out, bit her on the nose, watched as she was attacked by a Rottweiler and held her head underwater in the sink.
"I don't think this child understood how horrific these things were," assistant district attorney for Washington County Traci McDonald said. "She thought it was discipline."
State police Cpl. Robert Copechal said several people at the girl's school were interviewed and verified her story through a guidance counselor's notes.
"She came to school with injuries and with some excuse to explain them away," Copechal testified at the hearing. He added that she would wear clothing that was clearly too small and would "eat her lunch as if she were starving."
After the hearing Thursday, the girl's father and Rana's husband Richard Cooper was arraigned by District Judge Gary Halvekla on one count of endangering the welfare of a child. Authorities said he was responsible for not stopping the abuse, according to the Associated Press.
Rana was charged by state police of assault, reckless endangerment and endangering the welfare of a child and is free on $100,000 unsecured bond.