Lufkin man gets 2-year prison sentence for injuring autistic son

Russell Gorsuch (Source: Angelina County Jail)
Russell Gorsuch (Source: Angelina County Jail)

On Tuesday, an Angelina County judge approved a plea bargain by the Lufkin man who injured his autistic son when he yanked him down off the top of a bunk bed in July 2012.

As a result, Russell Allen Gorsuch, 31, faces a 2-year prison sentence. Gorsuch appeared in Judge Barry Bryan's 217th Judicial District Court Monday morning, a little more than a month after he pleaded guilty to a state-jail felony charge of recklessly injuring a child.

At that time, Bryan said that he wanted to review Gorsuch's criminal record before he approved the plea bargain.

Elmer Beckworth, a prosecutor with the Angelina County District Attorney's Office, said Gorsuch could opt to file for shock probation. Beckworth said whether or not Gorsuch gets placed into shock probation instead of having to finish out the remainder of his prison sentence depends on his conduct between now and then and whether he is willing to accept the conditions that will come with the shock probation.

According to an arrest warrant affidavit, Gorsuch took his son to a Nacogdoches doctor on July 19. The doctor noticed severe bruising on the back and buttocks of the child and asked Gorsuch what happened. Gorsuch did not give a good answer and the doctor called Child Protective Services, according to the affidavit.

A Lufkin Police detective began investigating the case and interviewed the child's parents, who denied knowledge of how the child got the bruising, according to the affidavit. The detective reported having a second interview with Gorsuch on Aug. 7 and he admitted to causing the injuries by grabbing him by the arm while he was on the top bunk and pulling him off the bed. The child struck the floor.

According to the affidavit, Gorsuch admitted he gets frustrated with the child, who is severally autistic and cannot communicate, and he "slings him around toward the chair" and he plops him down hard on his chair, which can cause injuries.

Lufkin Police spokesman Det. JB Smith said officers arrested Gorsuch at the CPS office, located at 1210 S. Chestnut Street. Smith said an employee said Gorsuch was in the lobby and cursing at other people in the lobby. The responding officer verified Gorsuch had a warrant and placed him under arrest.

In a previous East Texas News story, Lara Squires, the executive director of Harold's House said when parents can't communicate with their kids, it often leads to frustration and the possibility of the parents acting out in anger.

She stressed that with any children, communication is the key to proper discipline, adding that it becomes even more important when the child is autistic.

"The child is living an overwhelming and disorganizing world anyway, and they have a very difficult time communicating," Squiers said.

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