Testimony continues for woman accused of beating children with cord

Kathy Taylor mug shot courtesy of Angelina County Jail.
Kathy Taylor mug shot courtesy of Angelina County Jail.

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - A child claimed she was coached by her mother on what to say in a forensic interview, according to court testimony Tuesday morning in a Lufkin woman's abuse trial.

Kathy Taylor, 38, is on trial, charged with injury to a child.

The trial started Monday with Taylor's 17-year-old daughter telling jurors her mother duct-taped her wrists and mouth and burned her with a curling iron.

Testimony continued Tuesday with Amy Donohoe on the stand. Donohoe is the Harold's House, Angelina Alliance for Children program director.

She testified at length about the interview the organization conducted with Taylor's daughters.

Later Darlene Jackson, a Lufkin ISD records clerk and administrative assistant, brought the discipline, grades and attendance records for all three of Taylor's children.

Cassie Lynard Pierce, a former employee at the Angelina Alliance for Children and a current employee of the Rusk County Child Advocacy Center, took the stand. She said the children's father and stepmother were consistent in bringing the children to counseling.

With one child the woman said there was a diagnosis of post traumatic stress disorder. She said with more time, she probably would've diagnosed one of the daughters with complex PTSD, which is a more extreme case.

"Both girls had emotional issues which means that they are quick to anger, quick to be depressed," Pierce said.

She said one girl showed low self-esteem and anger issues.

"A lot of weeping and tears in counseling," said Pierce. She said the girls felt guilt for turning their mother in to authorities.

The defense lawyer pointed out that although Pierce said the girls would've been diagnosed with other disorders, they were never actually diagnosed.

The prosecution pointed out that the children had separate stories of separate occasions of abuse.

Taylor's attorney questioned the woman if she had ever dealt with a child that had been coached or was lying about their abuse. However, the witness told jurors those notes would be in a child's records.

Tuesday afternoon testimony began with Theresa Matthews, a Hudson ISD Intervention therapist. Matthews works with children that are at risk.

She testified that she began dealing with the Taylor children several years ago.

She said generally it was a CPS referral or something to do with their attendance because they were absent so often. Matthews said truancy has been a yearly problem with all the Taylor children. She said both girls have been withdrawn from Hudson 11 times in a five-year time span.

Matthews testified several times she would talk to the children when they are absent.

"One time in particular I went to the house and [Taylor] got very upset with me for coming out to the house," said Matthews.

Matthews went on to tell jurors that Taylor told her if she wanted her kids to be in school, they would be there. She said some trash workers that happened to be on their route stayed at Taylor's house with her until she was able to get in her car and leave because the defendant was so upset.

Matthews said when Taylor's son is with his dad, he is at school often and on time, but she testified when he is with his mother, truancy is an issue.

She said she is worried about the son graduating because he is failing classes and has several hours to make up due to absences.

Matthews testified she later saw one of the daughters at summer school.

"She was smiling and that was good to see," said Matthews. She said all the children wanted to be in school.

The defense attorney asked the woman if she had ever seen Taylor strike any of the three children. The woman said she had not.

Abby Swan, a  Hudson ISD special education teacher, took the stand and told jurors she has dealt with Taylor's son.

She said Taylor's son is one of the sweetest, most polite children she has ever had in her classroom.

"He's just a delight," she said. Swan said he did have an attendance problem. Apparently Taylor's son would tell her he was absent for various reasons including he didn't have any clean clothes, he had to stay home and do laundry or he had to take his mother somewhere.

She said at this point it is doubtful that he will graduate.

The defense attorney pointed out that Taylor's son is 19 and he is old enough to make sure his clothes are clean and that he gets to school.

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