A former Mt. Airy, Georgia police chief and his wife have pleaded guilty to child cruelty charges. The couple kept their four adopted children locked in a room for years and were given very little food.
Initially, the couple faced molestation charges, but prosecutors dropped the charges in exchange for guilty pleas on three of the child cruelty charges.
Richard and Cheryl Burton were facing 28 counts of child cruelty.
… in Habersham County, an area where law enforcement is known for tossing grenades at babies, the former police chief of tiny Mount Airy (population 604), and his wife, were sentenced to 25 weekends in the county jail for child abuse.
For less than six months the population of Mount Airy will be 602 during church services.
Richard and Cheryl Burton originally faced 28 counts of child cruelty for allegedly keeping their four adopted children locked in a room for years with little food.
Prosecutors dropped child molestation charges against the former police chief in exchange for guilty pleas to three of the child cruelty charges. Richard Burton will not have to register as a sex offender because of the plea deal.
I’m not sure what the average sentence is for child abusers, but I think it is more than 50 weekend days at the county jail.
Do you think the police chief and his wife will be treated better in jail than the average criminal?
Chief Assistant District Attorney Eddie Staples admits police are different.
“The witness list for the defense included law enforcement officers from this community,” Staples said. “Those are the people we go into court everyday and tell the jurors, ‘These are credible people.’ And they were going to come and testify to Richard Burton particularly, but the Burtons’ good character.”
It’s a pity the law doesn’t treat us all equally.
According to 11 Alive, the children were rescued after one of them, Will, ran away in 2012 and told police about the situation. The Burtons were then arrested.
Fran Chastain, who adopted the children’s older brother years ago, adopted all four last year and can’t believe the couple ended up with 25 weekends in jail as a sentence.
“I think it’s way too light,” Chastain said. “We feel like this is just sending this wrong message.”
Chastain continued to say that the children bear physical and emotional scars, but they’re healing.
Police officers from the community defended them in court. The abused children got no justice.
The Burtons adopted the children in 2004 when their birth mother lost her parental rights.
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