Newark mom accused of locking son in basement gets 3-year term

Angel Abram, left, sits next to her defense attorney Kristin Burkett, right, and sobs after Abram pleaded guilty to one count of child endangering and was sentenced to three years in prison Monday, July 11, 2016, in Licking County Common Pleas Court in Newark, Ohio. Authorities say Abram and her boyfriend kept her 6-year-old son in a 6-by-8-foot room when he wasn't in school, and beat him with a belt. (Michael Lehmkuhle/The Advocate via AP) NO SALES; MANDATORY CREDIT

NEWARK, OH (AP) – An Ohio woman accused of regularly locking her young son in an unfinished basement for months has pleaded guilty to one count of child endangering and has been sentenced to three years in prison.

Angel Abram, 35, pleaded guilty and was sentenced Monday in Newark. Authorities said Abram and her boyfriend kept her 6-year-old son in a 6-foot-by-8-foot room in the basement of their home when he wasn’t in school and beat him with a belt.

The boy was forced to eat his meals in the dirty basement, authorities said, and he had to use a toddler potty that he emptied himself as a bathroom.

“He was the forgotten child, the disposable child,” Assistant Licking County Prosecutor Paula Sawyers said.

The abuse apparently stemmed from the boy’s attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and behavioral issues, according to Sawyers. Abram’s attorney Kristin Burkett said her client has battered woman’s syndrome and was unable to leave her boyfriend.

“She was not able to get herself out of the situation,” Burkett said. “She failed to protect him, we don’t disagree with that.”

Judge David Branstool said that he didn’t believe the case was “classic battered woman’s syndrome,” adding that he didn’t understand Abram’s behavior.

“It’s hard to comprehend how this could happen and you not leave or at least get him out of there,” Branstool told Abram. “At what point do you stand up and protect your child? You had many opportunities to do that and you didn’t.”

Abram’s boyfriend, 39-year-old Joshua Bergeron, pleaded no contest to a child endangering charge and a weapons count and was sentenced in March to four years.

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