Lufkin grandmother who let grandson stay with sex offender gets more probation

Belinda Teel (Source: Angelina County Jail)
Belinda Teel (Source: Angelina County Jail)

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - An Angelina County Judge ordered an additional year of probation for the 46-year-old Lufkin grandmother who, with her daughter, allowed a registered sex offender to take care of the daughter's then-15-month-old son in January 2011. The child suffered serious injuries while he was in the man's custody.

Belinda Teel appeared in Judge Barry Bryan's 217 Judicial District Court Monday morning. Elmer Beckworth, an assistant prosecutor for Angelina County, said that Belinda Teel's initial 2-year probation was about to expire.

In light of the fact that Belinda Teel still owed outstanding court costs and fines and had failed a drug test in early spring of 2013, Bryan ordered that her probation be extended another year. As part of the terms of the extension, she will spend 30 days in jail, Beckworth said.

"Her officer filed a violation report with the District Attorney's Office because she was at the end of her community supervision term and still owed court-ordered fines/fees, and was unemployed," said Dustin Fore, a supervisor with Angelina County's Adult Probation Department.

Fore said if an offender is making a genuine effort to find a job, the Adult Probation Department will work with him or her by extending the deadline for him or her to find a job.However, in Belinda Teel's case, "her officer felt her lack of effort in regards to maintaining employment did not warrant an extension request."

"The violation report also included failed drug tests and Ms. Teel's non-compliance with efforts to address her substance use," Fore said.

Teel was arrested in January on a child endangerment charge after Belinda Teel and her daughter, Lachyah Teel, allowed Jeremei Grimes, a registered sex offender, to take Belinda Teel's 15-month-old grandson under his care for a few hours, even though they knew he is a registered sex offender. A few hours later, Grimes called the grandmother and told her the child was injured when he fell off a horse.

When the women saw the child again, they noticed injuries to the child's face and bruising from his neck to his pelvis.

The injuries became worse until Jan. 9, when Grimes told the women he would take the child to see his aunt, who is a nurse. Grimes returned with the child and told the women his aunt said the child was fine and just needed Tylenol. The child had more injuries to his hands, which he did not have before Grimes had him the second time, according to the affidavit.

The grandmother then decided to take the child to the hospital, where he was admitted overnight. Doctors called Lufkin Police officers to the hospital, and they interviewed the suspects.

According to the affidavit, Grimes admitted to lying about the child falling off a horse and about taking him to his aunt, but would not admit to how the child was injured. He even walked out of the interview after further questioning.

The women were questioned about why they would allow a registered sex offender to take the child, when he had not dated the woman in more than a year, and they had already accused him of molesting the child's older sister.

Belinda Teel pleaded guilty to her part in the crime in November 2011, accepting a two-year probation sentence.

Grimes accepted a 10-year probation sentence in November. Lachyah Teel received four years probation in November 2012.

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