Windom foster mother charged with felony child abuse

A Windom foster parent is accused of spanking a toddler with enough force to leave bruises.

Patricia Michelle Jones, 50, was charged Tuesday in Cottonwood County Court with felony malicious punishment of a child under the age of four.

A criminal complaint says Windom police first received a report on January 2 that for the past two months, Jones was always screaming and yelling at the children, who were always crying.  The reporter said chaos had been happening for about two months. The witness told police Jones had threatened to smack the children for screaming and provided three videos to investigators.

The complaint says an adult voice can be heard in a video saying, “scream again and you’ll get some of this, scream.”  A child was heard screaming, followed by sounds of what “may be sounds of a spanking, and crying,” say court documents.

Four days later, on January 6, the father of a 3-year-old boy in Jones’ foster care called police when he noticed “several distinct bruises” on the child’s buttocks and hip during a visit.  Court documents say the boy told his father “mama Pat spanked me.”

Windom police, a child protection worker, and a representative from Kindred Foster Care met with Jones at her residence.  Jones denied threatening to slap or spank the children, but admitted it was her voice in the video. She told police she was just trying to get the children to calm down.

When investigators told her the toddler’s bruises had been reported, Jones said the boy engages in self-harm, but she always reports the incidents immediately to her case worker.  She claimed the child was angry that TV time was over and slammed himself down in a “little blue plastic chair,” causing the bruises.  She also said the boy pinches himself on the butt.

Messages between Jones and her caseworker indicated Jones reported that the boy had banged his head on the wall on January 3, but there were no reports about the blue chair.  The caseworker denied receiving any communication from Jones involving the bruising.

The complaint says a doctor from Child’s Voice in Sioux Falls reviewed photographs and said the boy’s injuries were “highly correlated with physical abuse,” but “not explained by sitting down hard in a chair.”

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