LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Following a pre-sentencing investigation, an Angelina County judge sentenced a Huntington man to seven years deferred adjudication for spanking a 1-year-old boy hard enough to leave a hand-shaped bruise on his bottom in 2014.
Judge Paul White of the 159th Judicial District Court sentenced Tom Clay Reeves, 24, to seven years deferred adjudication. Reeves pleaded guilty to a felony injury to a child charge on Nov. 20, 2014.
Deferred adjudication is basically the same thing as probation. The difference between probation and deferred adjudication is that a person on deferred adjudication will not have a criminal record for that particular offense if he or she doesn't get in trouble for that length of time.
White also ruled that Reeves is required to get a job within 30 days. He is also required to explore higher education. The judge also said Reeves is required to have a full-time job unless he is enrolled in school.
Reeves will also have to attend a parenting class within the next three months. In addition, he is not allowed to reside in a home alone with children. The children must be with another adult at all times. All the standard probation terms will apply as well.
If Reeves violates the terms of his deferred adjudication, the judge could sentence him to up to 10 years in prison.
According to the arrest affidavit, employees with Another Pumpkin Patch Day Care made the initial outcry to Child Protective Services on May 22 after they discovered a large, hand-shaped bruise on the child's bottom. The CPS officials took pictures of the toddler's injury and contacted the Huntington Police Department.
An investigator went to talk to the 1-year-old's mother at her home on Gipson Street on May 28. When the investigator told the mother about the call HPD had received from CPS about her son, she explained that on May 21, she was at work when she received a phone call from Reeves, who had been babysitting her son.
The mother told the investigator that she asked Reeves if the situation was serious enough for her to come home from work. He said yes, and when she got home, Reeves told her that her son had been acting up, and he had gotten aggravated and spanked the child hard enough to leave a bruise on his bottom, the affidavit stated.
At that point, the mother told Reeves that he needed to leave her house and find somewhere else to stay. Bobby Epperly, the chief of the Huntington Police Department, said Reeves had been staying at the family's house in Huntington.