The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

June 6, 2011

Child-abuse convictions result in jail shock time

JOPLIN, Mo. — A rural Joplin couple were assessed suspended prison terms Monday, with 30 days of shock incarceration in the county jail, for physical abuse of their 8-year-old daughter.

At a hearing in Jasper County Circuit Court in Joplin, Judge Gayle Crane assessed William D. Ackerman, 42, and Micah L. Ackerman, 29, seven years each in prison on convictions for felony child abuse. The judge suspended execution of those sentences and placed them on probation for five years.

The couple’s plea bargains, reached in April with the Jasper County prosecutor’s office, had limited the prison time they might be assessed to five years. In granting probation, the judge increased the underlying sentence to the full seven years for a Class C felony and also required that each serve shock time in the county jail.

Probable-cause affidavits filed by an investigator with the Jasper County Sheriff’s Department state that the Ackermans became upset with their daughter in June of last year and that William Ackerman “spanked” her, leaving numerous bruises on the back of her thigh.

A family member forced the couple to take the child to a hospital by threatening to report them to police if they did not, the affidavits state.

The Ackermans told the hospital staff that the bruises were caused by the child riding a horse, but the child told investigators that her parents had spanked her with their hands and that her mother had used a belt on her, the documents state. The couple later admitted to what the child had reported, according to the affidavits.

The Ackermans were on probation at the time for a previous incident of child abuse, and there had been other hot line calls reporting bruising on the child, according to the affidavits.

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