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Cape man accused of striking child with belt, hanger, faces probation

By Staff | Oct 20, 2011

A Cape Coral man is facing five years of probation after being found guilty of child abuse for spanking a 5-year-old with a metal coat hanger and belt.

Rickey Anthony Washington, 24, of 641 S.E. 13th Place, Apt. 2, entered a plea of no contest in July to one count of cruelty toward a child, infliction of physical or mental injury. He was adjudicated guilty and received probation.

Assistant State Attorney Amanda Hutchison handled the case.

Samantha Syoen, spokeswoman for the state, explained Thursday that prosecutors agreed to a plea agreement for multiple reasons.

“One, we wanted to make sure the child was safe,” she said.

Washington can have no contact with the victim as part of the deal.

“We also did not want to revictimize the child,” Syoen said. “This is a very young child – the child is 5 years old.”

Another special condition under the agreement is that Washington must attend and complete a parenting course

“That education was important to us,” she said.

Defense attorney Marisa Boysen represented Washington.

Boysen declined to comment on the case Wednesday.

On April 20, a Lehigh Acres woman filed a child abuse report with the Cape police. The woman told officers that her daughter was at Washington’s home from April 15-20. When the girl returned home, she stated that Washington had beaten her with a metal coat hanger and a belt the previous evening.

The woman found bruises and lacerations on her daughter’s rear end.

According to police, in an interview with investigators, the child said she had been sleeping in her bed when she woke up to find that no one was home.

She became scared and used Washington’s girlfriend’s cell phone to call for help.

A woman reportedly answered the phone and told the child that someone would be right over. The girl went back to sleep, then was awakened a while later by Washington. He was allegedly angry and asked if she called anyone.

The girl told investigators that she was scared and answered no.

Washington struck her across the face with an open hand several times, according to police. He then retrieved the metal coat hanger from a closet and spanked the child. She said Washington also used the belt to spank her.

The girl described the beating as so painful that she had difficulty breathing as it happened. He reportedly asked “who’s the boss” during the spanking.

Washington was eventually taken into custody by authorities.

During an interview, he admitted to spanking the girl with his belt for lying, but denied using a coat hanger. He stated that he felt bad that he left marks on the child, but maintained that he only struck her five times, police said.