Parents of a 15-year-old girl were arrested and charged with child abuse after they forced their daughter to live in an outside shed for disciplinary reasons. The teen wrote a note for her neighbor and left it in the door, but requested she withhold the communication from her mother. The girl asked the neighbor, Kim Wilkinson, to meet her outside and informed her that she needed assistance and something to eat.
Wilkinson observed from the note that the teen was locked out of the home she shared with her family and forced to use a garden hose to wash herself. Disturbed by what she witnessed, in addition to the teen’s request, the neighbor contacted the Fairfield County deputy sheriffs to investigate the girl’s parents.
Douglas and Kim Sherman were both taken into custody after they were accused of locking the teen outside of their home located at 10200 Lithopolis Road in Bloom Township while she slept in a dark shed without restroom facilities or water. Currently, both parents are out on bond and the teen and her brother have been placed in the care of County Child Protective Solutions.
The girl told authorities she was being punished for sneaking into her parents’ bedroom to gain access their computer. The teen’s temporary home was a 12 by 5 foot shed which is attached to the back of the property. Deputies found a bed made of cinder blocks that upheld a plywood sheet with cardboard on top. The 60-year-old mother of the teen told deputies her daughter only lived in the shed “from time to time” as discipline. She did not feel it was inappropriate because it was summer.
Often experts say cases of child abuse are difficult when attempting to prosecute an abuser because many times it happens behind close doors. Recently, Minnesota Vikings Adrian Peterson was benched after he was charged with child abuse for the manner he chose to discipline his son.
Peterson did not believe he had done anything wrong by hitting his child with a switch. Authorities disagree and have said, “There is a clear line between punishment and abuse.” Whenever marks on left on a child, the system has clarified that this would be considered excessive.
The reason the teen wanted to use the computer has not been stated. To have the girl live in an outside shed is clearly a case of discipline gone wrong. According to the incident report, the teen’s 64-year-old father has threatened Wilkins for contacting authorities. He called the neighbor a b***ch on the telephone and told her, “Payback is a b***ch.”
On Friday the girl’s mother, Kim, pleaded not guilty to child endangering and her husband, Douglas, pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor charges of telephone menacing and harassment along with third-degree felonies of child endangering and intimidation. Both are scheduled, on Friday, for a preliminary hearing in Fairfield County Municipal Court.
A 15-year-old teen has been rescued from her alleged abuse after a neighbor cared enough to report her findings. Upon receiving the note left by the teen, Kim Wilkinson did the honorable thing by involving authorities that removed the victim from her the home of her abusive parents. The parents were arrested and have been released pending an upcoming hearing.
By: Cherese Jackson (Virginia)