WARREN - A 27-year-old Liberty Township woman was reduced to tears Thursday as she was sentenced to three years in prison for what a prosecutor described as torturing a 5-year-old boy under her care.
Jenalynne Davidson pleaded guilty in December to charges of felonious assault and child endangering in exchange for prosecutors dismissing a charge of gross sexual imposition and misdemeanor domestic violence.
She had been free on $10,000 bond awaiting sentencing.
But Thursday, through her attorney, Davidson entered what's known as an Alford plea, meaning she would still plead guilty while maintaining her innocence and taking no responsibility for the allegations.
The only physical abuse Davidson admitted to was using a belt to punish the son of a boyfriend she was living with on Millicent Avenue.
Assistant county prosecutor Gabe Wildman said Davidson actually used the buckle end of the belt to whip the child.
''She truly tortured this child,'' Wildman said, explaining to Judge Ronald Rice that the boy suffered a broken arm along with scratches, bruises and claw marks on the ears, face, neck, torso and arms.
''I applaud teachers in Liberty Schools who reported the injuries to police. The educators noticed the broken arm and marks that were covered up with makeup,'' Wildman said. ''Police, and then Children Services became involved.''
He said Davidson's two daughters lived with her, her boyfriend and the victim. The victim's father would often work 12 to 13 hours a day as a paver during the period spelled out in the indictment from Sept. 1 to Oct. 18, 2011, when the boy was abused.
Wildman said there was evidence of choking in the form of petechial hemorrhaging in the eyes of the boy along with bruises and injuries to his genitalia, possibly as punishment for bed-wetting.
A woman identifying herself as an aunt of Davidson pleaded with the judge to give the defendant probation. She told the judge that Davidson's daughters needed their mother.