Two women have been charged with child abuse for holding down a 13-year-old relative and beating her with a belt.
Debbie L. Freeman, 51, and Lillie Richey, 29, were charged Friday with felony abuse of a minor child, which is punishable by no more than life in prison, no less than a year in jail and/or a fine of $500 to $5,000.
According to an affidavit filed in the case, Enid police were contacted April 24 by the girl’s school concerning a possible case of child abuse.
An officer spoke with the girl, who said between 5 and 7 p.m. April 23, Richey held her down while Freeman beat her with a belt. The officer noted seeing welts across the girl’s upper arms and lower part of the back, which according to the girl, were the result of the beating, according to the affidavit.
The girl told police she had snuck out of her home because Freeman and Richey were not going to let her attend school because of the injuries.
In a statement made to police, the girl said she had been outside April 23 when she was involved with an altercation with a younger relative. Afterward, the girl said she was approached by Freeman, who had a belt and told the girl to bend over.
The girl said at first she was compliant but then began to fight back, not allowing Freeman to strike her anymore, according to the affidavit. The girl said Richey then grabbed her by the hair and threw her to the ground. When she got up, the girl said Richey threw her to the ground again and choked her. She said Freeman began hitting her with a heavy brown leather belt, according to the affidavit.
During another interview with a detective, the girl estimated Freeman hit her with the belt for about 30 minutes.
Detectives spoke with Freeman, who said the girl had been helping her prepare dinner when she struck another child in the back, knocking the child down, according to the affidavit. Freeman said she decided to spank the girl and retrieved a belt. Freeman said she asked the girl to lie across a chair and knew it was OK to spank to her as long as it was on the bottom, according to the affidavit. She said she spanked the girl three times but the girl kept jumping up.
Freeman said the girl did not want her to spank her anymore and rushed her and pushed her into an entertainment center, according to the affidavit. Freeman said she told the girl she was going to spank her again. She said the girl again rushed her and head-butted her in the face, according to the affidavit. She said she began to swing the belt at the girl each time she came back at her.
Freeman told detectives she was aware of the injuries on the girl’s arms and was not going to let her attend school because of those injuries, according to the affidavit.
Richey told detectives the girl had assaulted a relative and Freeman began to spank her with a belt. She said the girl kept moving around and at one point head-butted Freeman in the mouth, according to the affidavit.
Richey said she grabbed the girl because she was beating up Freeman, and Freeman began swinging the belt around, according to the affidavit. Richey said while Freeman was swinging the belt around she struck the girl in the arms several times, causing the injuries the girl had, according to the affidavit. Richey said she and Freeman were not going to allow the girl to attend school because of the injuries to her arm and had not gotten the girl medical attention, according to the affidavit.
On April 27, the girl was seen by a pediatrician, who said the her injuries were consistent with being beaten with a belt. The doctor said the bruises were “abusive in nature” and “not typical of usual childhood discipline,” the affidavit states.
Both women were arraigned on the charges and are free on $5,000 recognizance bonds under the condition they obtain an attorney. Both were ordered to return to court June 22 for a bond appearance.