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Woman pleads guilty in assault

February 14, 1997

By MARLO BARNHART

Staff Writer

A woman who prayed before beating her teenage daughter last October was given probation before judgment Thursday in Washington County Circuit Court.

Yvonne G. Wallech, 34, of 16702 Broadfording Road, pleaded guilty to second-degree assault. In exchange for that plea, a charge of child abuse was dropped.

Wallech was placed on supervised probation for one year, fined $200 and ordered to report to Catoctin Counseling Center for evaluation and counseling.

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"We all know corporal punishment isn't unlawful in this state," said Circuit Judge John H. McDowell. "But the actions here went way beyond the bounds."

McDowell said he agreed to the probation before judgment because the victim asked, in a letter, that her mother not be punished.

Assistant State's Attorney Susan Lochbaum said authorities were told by the victim on Oct. 10 that her mother had beaten her with a belt.

The girl, then 17, apparently failed to do certain chores at the family home, Lochbaum said. Her mother took her aside and read Bible passages to her that day.

"The mother said her daughter had been disrespectful to her so she prayed about it and went to bed," Lochbaum said.

The girl was beaten the next day, Lochbaum said.

Defense attorney Ed Button said Wallech has two daughters, 13 and 18, and is heavily involved with the Church of God in Greencastle, Pa. Button said the church believes in corporal punishment.

"Both daughters were in home school with their mother as teacher," said Button, acknowledging that Wallech has a 10th-grade education.

While noting the church's belief in "spare the rod and spoil the child," Button said he realizes there is a limit.

"Yvonne doesn't take this lightly," Button said. "She took the night to pray and think, she didn't fly into a rage."

Looking at pictures of the now 18-year-old girl's bruised legs, thighs and buttocks, McDowell said he was disturbed by the case.

"Maybe one who does it in a rage isn't as bad as someone who thinks about it," McDowell said.

After the beating, the girl left the home, Button said. Her mother found her, picked her up and they went to church so the mother could explain to her "the necessity" for the punishment, Button said.

The victim now lives with her grandmother.

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