A woman was sentenced Thursday in Jackson County court for the first of two child abuse cases directed toward a nine-year-old girl.
Judge Clark Huey handed down the sentence to Ashley Ervin, 30, of five years confinement — two of which were suspended — and she was ordered to pay $1,000, victim’s compensations fees and upon release from the Department of Corrections, take required anger management courses and have supervised probation.
According to court records, Ervin was charged Jan. 29, 2015 with two counts of child abuse by injury and alternative-enabling child abuse by injury. The victim was the daughter of the defendant’s fiance Jorge Cruz.
According to the affidavit, on or about Jan. 7, 2015, the victim was struck with a belt about the back, buttocks and legs in such a manner to leave extensive bruising. The bruising was a horizontal pattern across the lower abdomen, buttocks and the upper legs .
According to court records, the alleged abuse occurred in the victim’s residence in the 400 block of E. Cypress Street in Altus. The victim was removed from the home and taken into emergency custody by the Department of Human Services or DHS personnel, when they were contacted by the victim’s school about the bruising.
Photographs were taken at the school, at the Jackson County Memorial Hospital Emergency Room and later at the Altus Police Department.
According to court records, the victim was given a cognitive graphic interview by the DHS child welfare supervisor, during which, the victim allegedly told the supervisor that the bruising was caused by cheerleading practice and that her “mommy Ashley” had only spanked her twice using a belt. The answers given during the interview appeared to have been coached and the interviewer believed that the victim had been told what to say when questioned about the bruising, the affidavit said.
Ervin appeared in court May 5 with Defense Attorney Michael Diver and prosecutor Assistant District Attorney Stephanie before Judge Clark Huey.
According to court records, Ervin waived the right to trial and entered a plea of guilty on the crime of enabling child abuse.
Assistant District Attorney John Thomas entered more than 10 exhibits into evidence in Jackson County Court on Thursday. Exhibits included photographs of the victims buttocks, thighs, legs and inner thighs and multiple screen shot text messages allegedly from Ervin to a friend describing the intent to “beat” the child.
Thomas asked about reporting bruises from cheerleading as a method to cover up the truth and if the victim was being forced to wear clothes to school that covered the bruises.
Witnesses for the defendant Thursday included Ervin’s friends and Cruz’s family, who described Ervin as nice, loving and an all around good person.
“I wanted Ashley to be my child’s mother because of the wonderful person she was,” Cruz told Thomas.
According to the affidavit, Ervin eventually admitted that she lost her temper and spanked the victim too hard — for about two minutes, multiple times with a belt.
Ervin said that some of the bruises likely came from the father, who she said also spanked the girl Jan. 7, 2015, the affidavit said.
Thomas said the photos of the bruises on the victim’s body were the result of the beatings from both Ervin and the child’s father, Cruz.
Cruz is a co-defendant pending the same criminal charges for child abuse.
Huey informed Cruz that his testimony could be used in that pending case.
According to testimony in the case, Ervin and Cruz met 11 years ago while working at the Sayre Correctional Facility and the victim was three years old at the time.
Reach Mary O. Esparza at 580-482-1221, ext. 2077.