Gallia County Prosecuting Attorney, Jason D. Holdren, announces that Margerete Watson, age 23, of Crown City, Ohio, was recently convicted of “Endangering Children with Serious Physical Harm Caused,” a felony of the second degree. Watson was sentenced by Gallia County Common Pleas Court Judge Margaret Evans to the maximum allowable prison term under Ohio law, a minimum period of 8 years and a maximum period of 12 years. Upon her release from prison, Watson will be placed on post release control and supervised by the Ohio Adult Parole Authority for 3 years.
On January 26, 2020, the Gallia County Sheriff’s Office and Gallia County Children Services responded to a call from hospital personnel regarding possible child abuse of a 6-week-old child. The victim, and infant child of Watson, suffered significant injuries including multiple bone fractures. After numerous untruthful statements to law enforcement officials as to the source of the injuries, Watson finally admitted to striking the child and causing the injuries.
“I want to thank the Gallia County Sheriff’s Office and Gallia County Children Services for thoroughly and promptly investigating this matter to ensure the protection of the most vulnerable among us, our children,” stated Holdren. “My office has and will continue to take a hardline approach in these cases by holding child abusers accountable for their actions.”Sheriff Matt Champlin added, “My office investigates tragedies every day, but in investigations such as this, where defenseless infant children are harmed by the very people who are responsible for protecting them, it is purely heartbreaking. I applaud my staff who worked so hard to ensure this investigation was thorough and complete. Further, I want to praise Prosecutor Holdren and his staff for their diligence in ensuring justice was served in this matter.”
UPDATE TO ORIGINAL POST:
In an effort to resolve any confusion that may exist I wanted to share a couple thoughts:
First, case information is released to the public so that our citizens maintain an awareness of events that occur in our local criminal justice system.
Second, the victim in this present case has fully recovered from these injuries. (Please do not confuse this case with a recent case involving the death of a toddler.)
Lastly, as your prosecuting attorney, I am satisfied that the maximum sentence was imposed in this case. However, this punishment does not seem appropriate for a parent who causes serious physical harm to their defenseless, infant child that they have a duty to love and protect. The penalties associated with this crime were established by our state legislature and can only be changed by the legislature. I have communicated my concerns about these penalties with State Representative Jason Stephens and he shares my concerns. Additionally, I look forward to working with him in an effort to change the penalties.
Jason D. Holdren
Gallia County, Ohio