Salem man will get three years for youngster endangerment | Information, Sports activities, Jobs
LISBON — Justin W. Sommers, the man who allowed a toddler to sustain injuries while he was watching it in 2018, was sentenced on Friday to three years in prison by Common Pleas Court Judge Megan Bickerton.
On Jan. 26, 2018, Sommers, 32, state Route 9, Salem, reportedly was watching the two-year-old so the child’s mother, a single mother, could take another shift. The child sustained serious injuries while in his care leading to two third-degree felony counts of endangering a child, which Sommers had pleaded guilty in January of this year.
Sommers’ defense attorney James Wise called what happened to the child an accident. According to Sommers’ story, the child woke up in the middle of the night and while they were going downstairs, threw a cup at him and asked for more milk. He went to get the milk, leaving the child on the stairs and the child fell.
According to the prosecutor’s office, the child suffered serious head injuries, bruising, brain hemorrhages and quit breathing at one point.
Judge Megan Bickerton questioned how Sommers could be the kind, thoughtful, respectful and all the things his aunt Joann Cutter called him during a statement earlier and allow an injured child to suffer without calling 911.
“A person who has compassion finds medical help immediately for a child that is not breathing,” Bickerton said. She also rebuked a letter she had received from someone supporting Sommers indicating the mother should have had child gates or child proofing.
When Sommers indicated the child had been fine going up and down the stairs, Bickerton pointed out small children are a class of people who cannot protect themselves and require the protection of adults around them.
Bickerton pointed to Sommers’ admitted drug use and the $12,000 in child support he is behind on as showing he is not the person his family believes him to be.
When given a chance to speak in front of Bickerton on his own behalf, Sommers at first denied his drug use was as bad as it was indicated in the presentencing investigation. Bickerton stopped him, noting that the probation department did not fabricate anything in those reports and what was in there was based on what Sommers had admitted to doing.
“I experimented with drugs,” Sommers said. “I just feel he made it look worse than it was.”
He also did not like the accusations that he had gone to Texas after this happened in order to avoid responsibility. He and his aunt said he had gone to there to get a job and that he was told by Akron Children’s Hospital he should have no more contact with the child and the mother. Therefore, Sommers said he did not know how badly the child was injured.
“You had no ideas,” Bickerton said. “The child was seizing in your presence.”
Sentencing Sommers to three years in prison, Bickerton noted he still has not shown any remorse for the injuries to the child, who continues to have medical issues due to the injuries from that day.
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