Child abuse case in West Virginia ends in jail time

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Friday, September 15, 2006

A 35-year old woman, Venus Critchfield of Philipippi, West Virginia, United States was convicted of child abuse and sentenced to two to six years in prison.

Critchfield was accused of beating her stepchildren with boards, and using hooks and ropes to secure them and force them to stand for long periods of time. Critchfield also forced the children to continuously eat food and drink, and then eat their own vomit. Her stepson, now aged 17, described the abuse in court.

Circuit Judge Alan D. Moats called this the worst case he has seen in 30 years. "You have never been a mother. You are the antithesis of everything that is a mother." Moats said in court.

The abuse involved all six of Critchfield's children, however only some were willing to testify against her.

Critchfield pleaded guilty and was convicted of two counts of child abuse, with injury. The charges pertained to abuse committed from January 2001 until January 2002. She was sentenced to the maximum possible term.

State welfare services had removed the children, now 11-16 years old, from the Critchfields' care in previous cases.

Jenning Brian Critchfield, the father, is currently serving a 3-15 year sentence for abuse.

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