A stepdad from Gwinnett County, Georgia reportedly tortured a teen girl in his care, beating her severely and forcing her to consume detergent and cat food. Rimmon H. Lewis has been charged with 15 counts of first-degree cruelty to children, four counts of aggravated battery and one count of aggravated stalking, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
In March, Lewis’ then-13-year-old stepdaughter was covered in bruises, prompting a staff member at her school to contact authorities. Lewis was arrested in April.
According to WSBTV, Gwinnett County Police initially charged Lewis and the victim’s mother, Angela Strothers, each with one count of abuse, but prosecutors added more charges to the couple after looking further into the case, which led to another indictment in November.
According to Lewis’ indictment paperwork, the teen girl was routinely locked up in her family’s laundry room. While they ate decent meals, she was fed scraps and sometimes worse.
"There were times she was only allowed to eat cat food, and there were times she wasn't allowed to eat at all until the defendant decided she could eat," prosecutor Tracie Cason told WSBTV. Sometimes she was being punished for “stuttering.” Other times, according to the indictment paperwork, Lewis would be "pushing his thumbs into the mouth of (victim) with such force as to split the corners of her mouth and with such severity to leave scarring to both corners of her mouth."
Often, she was allegedly locked up in confinement so long that the victim ended up urinating and defecating on herself. And then, according to AJC.com, she was forced to wear the urine-soaked clothing out of the house.
Lewis beat the child routinely, including once with a leg of a table, according to the indictment. Other times, he forced her into either a scalding hot bath or a freezing cold one.
“It’s amazing to me how this child survived as long as she did,” Cason said.
At the time of Lewis' arrest, he was on probation after being convicted of abusing the same victim in 2014. According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Lewis pleaded guilty to simple assault, first degree cruelty to children and four counts of third degree cruelty to children. Lewis was sentenced to 12 months in prison and 10 years probation, and he was released on time served after entering his guilty plea.
After his April arrest, Lewis pleaded guilty to violating his probation and was sentenced to five years in prison, which he is currently serving. Strothers was indicted on cruelty charges, but is out on bond. The girl and her siblings are now in the care of the state.
[Photo: Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office]