WESTMINSTER — Saying the beating of a 15-year-old boy with a belt and electrical cord was "an isolated incident" for the teen's mother, Circuit Judge Raymond E. Beck Sr. sentenced her to two years of probation and gave her the opportunity to erase the child abuse and battery convictions against her.
In awarding the probation before judgment, Beck said that the 41-year-old New Windsor woman -- whose name is being withheldto protect the identity of her son -- "had every right to discipline" her son.
"I think this got out of hand that night," the judge said at the end of a 20-minute sentencing hearing Friday. "But I think this is anisolated incident."
A probation before judgment means that if thedefendant successfully completes the terms of probation, the conviction will disappear from the person's criminal record. If the terms ofprobation are broken, however, the judge can revoke the probation and impose up to the maximum penalty -- in this case, 15 years in prison -- for the crime.
The woman, who appeared Friday morning wearinga religious pin, was convicted by a county jury of child abuse and battery in December.
During that trial, the woman told the jury that she beat her son on Aug. 2, 1991, with a leather belt and an electrical extension cord because he disobeyed her.
She said the teen-ager was grounded because he was expelled from summer school. She also testified that she beat him after he went out of the house without her permission.
She told the jury that her only intention in beatingher son was to discipline him after he became increasingly violent.
The boy ran out of the house after the beating; he was found alongWestern Chapel Road by state police. He was covered with bruises andwelts, police said.
One state police corporal testified at the trial that the boy's mother told him that she "wanted to get a knife and kill" the boy during the beating.
On Friday, the woman quietly told the judge that she hoped to rebuild her relationship with her son, who is now living out of the home.
"I do love him very much," she said. "What I did that night wasn't a normal night. I feared for mylife."
Assistant State's Attorney Kathi Hill, who prosecuted the case, said Friday that the beating was "very, very off-base."
"Violence begets violence," she said. "He was horribly beaten. She is notremorseful. She never said, 'I'm really sorry I hurt my son.' "
Hill argued against the probation before judgment, saying that while she did not want to see the woman sentenced to jail because she has three other children living at home, she wanted the conviction and a sentence on the record.