VANCEBURG -- A 54-year-old grandmother has pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree child abuse for restraining her 11-year-old special needs grandchild with duct tape for extended periods of time.
Lewis County Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Tom Bertram said Roberta Hobbs accepted a plea deal that reduced the original charges of first-degree child abuse to second-degree child abuse. Recommended sentence for Hobbs is five years in prison for each count with sentences to run consecutively for a total of 10 years, Bertram said.
Hobbs was arrested Oct. 27, 2009, a day after police responded to a tip from social services. Lewis County Deputy Gary Sparks said he and a person from social services visited the home that Monday, Oct. 26, and Hobbs admitted to restraining the child with duct tape.
Sparks described the conditions of the house as "horrendous," "filthy" and "very unkempt." He said there was dog feces on the floor.
The 11-year-old child was in school at the time he and the social services representative visited the home. Two other children, both 9 years old, were also in school. All three children were removed from the home by social services that day. Though the two younger children appeared to be fine, they could not be left in the home due to pending charges, Sparks said.
A warrant for Hobbs was signed Oct. 27. She was arrested and lodged in the Lewis County Detention Center.
Hobbs is the grandparent of the three children and was primary caregiver. Bertram said the children are in the care of other family members.