Saturday, August 22, 2009

Utah couple charged with abuse after they tape the mouth of their son with autism

From The Salt Lake Tribune:

A Riverton, Utah, couple has been accused of child abuse after their handicapped son's mouth was duct-taped shut last week.

Steven E. Kimball, 42, and his wife Holly Kimball, 34, were charged in 3rd District Court on August 21 in connection with abuse of their 12-year-old boy, who is autistic.

Salt Lake County sheriff's deputies arrested Steven Kimball on Wednesday after reports that he had taped his wheelchair-bound stepson's mouth shut. Police later discovered that Holly put the tape on the child's mouth before her husband ripped it off.

Steven Kimball ripped off several layers of the boy's skin when he removed the tape, Salt Lake County sheriff's Lt. Don Hutson said.

Steven Kimball is charged with second-degree felony child abuse/neglect and Holly Kimball is charged with inflicting serious physical injury on a child with criminal negligence, a class A misdemeanor.

Holly Kimball put tape on her son's mouth because "he would not stop chattering," according to a booking statement filed at the Salt Lake County jail.

The boy, who can move only his head and arms, suffered swelling, cuts and abrasions. The child suffers from a form of muscular dystrophy and autism, and learns at a first-grade level, according to the booking statement.

Steven Kimball told police he "wanted it to hurt" when he pulled the tape off, according to the booking statement. He then used a rag to "briskly" remove some of the tape residue.

The boy's mouth was taped shut because the parents had become upset at things he was saying, Hutson said.

The boy's biological father --who shares custody of the boy with Holly Kimball -- discovered the injuries when he picked him up from a visit with his mother and stepfather, Hutson said.

Steven Kimball is being held in the Salt Lake County jail in lieu of $50,000 bail. Holly Kimball is awaiting court proceedings out of jail. An arraignment date has not been set in either case.