By Dave Sereno
CantonRep.com staff writer
Posted May 05, 2010 @ 01:32 PM
Last update May 05, 2010 @ 01:45 PM
CANTON — Whatever his reasoning, Lee M. Deitrick thought it wise to tattoo a toddler’s bottom.
It wasn’t even his child.
Now the 20-year-old Louisville man has learned his punishment. He was sentenced Wednesday to three years in prison.
Deitrick pleaded guilty in Stark County Common Pleas Court to two felony child endangering charges as part of a plea deal with county prosecutors.
Deitrick tattooed the outline of the letter “A” on the child’s buttock. The mark covers about one-half inch.
The mother — a friend of Deitrick’s — left her then-19-month-old at Deitrick’s W. Main Street home for a few hours on Nov. 7 while she visited a friend in the hospital, said Katie Chawla, assistant Stark County prosecutor.
One of the child’s relatives, 17-year-old Brandi Nelson, held the girl across her lap, Chawla said.
“I don’t know whose idea it was. It was late in the evening and apparently somebody thought it was a good idea,” Chawla said.
County prosecutors maintain the tattooing caused the girl serious, permanent disfigurement and involved sharp and or prolonged pain. Deitrick had the tattoo equipment and has given tattoos to others, Chawla said.
Deitrick declined when asked by Judge Lee Sinclair if he wished to say anything during his court hearing.
Defense attorney Eugene O’Byrne told the judge that Deitrick wanted to take responsibility and move on.
Deitrick watched the child — whose name begins with “A” — often, O’Byrne said.
“There was no malice,” he said. “More of an error in judgment.”
Nelson, in March, had pleaded true — the juvenile equivalent of guilty — to a felony child endangering charge in Stark County Family Court and is awaiting sentencing in June, court officials said.
Deitrick had faced up to eight years in prison on one charge and five on the other had he been given the maximum term.
His 3-year term will start after he completes his current prison sentence for previous, unrelated convictions. He had been released early for felony domestic violence and misdemeanor violating a protection order convictions. That 18-month prison term was reimposed in February.
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