An Oklahoma mother allegedly sat by and helped as her boyfriend beat her young child with a belt, strapped her to a table, and forced her to wear a shock collar for a week.
An investigation into the toddler’s alleged abuse began on Friday when her mother Jeannette Wilson, 24, reported that she was in an abusive relationship with Gustus Pennington, also 24. She initially claimed that he beat her 3-year-old daughter for six days, the Rogers County Sheriff’s Office noted in probable cause affidavits, obtained by Oxygen.com.
Wilson said she and her daughter had moved in with Pennington one week prior. During that time, she claimed Pennington beat her child "with a belt, a board and had even put a dog shock collar on the child and shocked her for days until it [the collar] quit working,” the affidavits state.
Investigators noted that they saw "severe bruising, contusions and blooding whelps on the child's body" as well as "burn marks under the child's neck from the shock collar prongs.” The toddler "sat emotionless and seemed as if she was in a total state of shock" when the investigators spoke to her, according to the charging documents.
Investigators also said that the girl was "not acting anything like a three year old child.”
Pennington’s home was searched and a table with "nails which were used to tie her [the toddler] to the table" was allegedly found, as well as cameras which "were used to view and talk to the child when she was locked in a back bedroom."
At first, Wilson claimed she tried to halt the abuse but said that Pennington threatened to put the shock collar around Wilson’s neck and tie her to a shed if she tried to interfere with his abuse.
While investigators initially believed that Wilson was a victim, within a day their investigation led them to believe that she was a willing participant in the alleged abuse. They claimed that texts revealed that the couple planned and collaborated in the torture. In a Saturday interview with investigators, Wilson allegedly admitted that Pennington had convinced her to let him discipline her daughter "the way he knew how" after he heard the child "disrespect her mother by using a tone with her.”
Wilson said while he began by spanking the child, it soon escalated to the purchase of a dog shock collar and remote from PetSmart. Pennington allegedly thought it could be used to “rewire her brain” so the child wouldn’t manipulate Wilson anymore, according to her.
The mother allegedly admitted to investigators during that Saturday interview that she and her boyfriend "both spoke about what to set the collar intensity level to" and in at least one incident, it was set at the highest and most powerful level. She told investigators the couple would watch the child suffer as Pennington shocked her from their bedroom as she was locked in the separate back bedroom.
The child was also allegedly hit with a piece of wood, forced to take cold showers, and forced to hold up signs that said “I did not obey" and “I am a liar."
Despite these accusations, she routinely left the toddler alone with Pennington.
Additionally, meth was allegedly found at Pennington’s home during the investigator's search.
Pennington has been charged with kidnapping, domestic assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, child abuse, possession of a controlled substance, and possession of drug paraphernalia. Wilson has been charged with child abuse or neglect, and enabling child abuse.
Wilson is being held on a 2 million dollar bond while Pennington is being held on no bond.
It’s not clear if either have lawyers who can speak on their behalf.
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