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Jury convicts Pierce County stepgrandmother of child assault

Post by Adam Lynn / The News Tribune on June 9, 2008 at 11:01 am with No Comments »
June 9, 2008 11:01 am

A Pierce County jury on Friday convicted Loni Venegas of abusing her stepgrandson in a case that state officials said was mishandled by state child welfare workers.

The jury deliberated for about a day and a half before convicting Venegas as charged of one count of first-degree child assault and two counts of second-degree child assault, deputy prosecutor Kevin McCann told Lights & Sirens on Monday. McCann and his colleague, Sunni Ko, prosecuted the case.

Venegas (seen here) faces between 10 years, 9 months and 14 years, three months in prison when she’s sentenced Friday.

Venegas was arrested last summer after a now 13-year-old boy told authorities he’d endured years of abuse at the woman’s hands. The boy moved in with Venegas and her husband, Remil Venegas, after his mother died in a car wreck. Remil Venegas is the boy’s maternal grandfather.

The boy testified during the nearly two-month trial that Loni Venegas punched him, choked him and raked his legs with forks over the past few years for transgressions of household rules.

Remil Venegas is scheduled to go to trial on one count of first-degree child assault June 19. He is accused of punching his grandson.

Teachers and guidance counselors reported to child welfare officials at least six times between 2004 and 2005 that they thought the boy was the victim of abuse or neglect.

Four of those reports were not investigated, a fact that Robin Arnold-Williams, director of the Department of Health and Social Services, later said was a mistake.

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