Local woman charged with child abuse

Mille Lacs County Times

A rural Milaca woman faces five child abuse allegations after charges were filed in Mille Lacs County this past Friday.

The charges stem from an incident Mille Lacs County Sheriff’s Deputies began investigating Dec. 10, 2011 when they arrived at the Fairview Northland Hospital in Princeton. At the hospital, deputies met with a 3-year-old child and the child’s mother. The woman told deputies that her child had been cared for by Mary Janelle Roelofs, 46, from 8:30 a.m. to around 6 p.m. the day before at her residence in Princeton. Deputies saw bruising on the child and photographed the injuries.

The child told his mother Roelofs had made him stand outside in the cold several times that day. The child and an adult also in Roelofs’ care told the mother and investigators that during one of these times, the child wet his pants. Both said Roelofs changed his wet pants, and put a pull-up on him. The child said later he was put outside again wearing only a t-shirt and pull-up.

The child told his mother and investigators that a few weeks before this incident, Roelofs had punched the boy all over. The adult witness told investigators that the 3-year-old had pushed another child and Roelofs began punching him all over his stomach, sides, arms, shoulders and on top of the head.

Law enforcement received the medical records for the 3-year-old child from the examination Dec. 10. Police also took a statement from the attending doctor. The doctor said he would have been concerned about the bruises even without the mother’s statements because they are located in unusual places. Bruises were found on the child’s upper back, chest, neck and shoulders. Superficial scratches were also found on the child’s face.

Roelofs has been charged with three counts of malicious punishment of a child, one count of child neglect and one count of endangerment of a child. She  faces a combined maximum penalty of nine years in jail and up to $22,000 in fines.

Roelofs’ next court date is Tuesday, Feb. 28.

For the full story, see the Thursday, Feb. 16 print edition of the Times.