Wilmington – Attorney General Beau Biden today announced that Robert Hohn and Shannon Watterson, a Newark couple, have received multi-year prison sentences for abusing and neglecting one of their children, a 12 year-old son, over a three-month period last fall.
“The lengthy sentences we sought and that were imposed upon these defendants today reflect the significant harm caused by child abuse and neglect and they send a clear message to child abusers that you will face significant consequences for your crimes,” Biden said today.
Hohn, then age 42, and Watterson, then age 40, of the 100 block of Brookside Boulevard in Newark, were arrested on November 28, 2012 by New Castle County Police and charged with child abuse after a police investigation revealed that their son had been physically abused and become malnourished after they locked him in his bedroom for a three-month period, causing serious physical injury by failing to feed him regularly, neglecting to provide medical care, and failing to enroll the child in an adequate educational curriculum. In addition, both were charged with Endangering the Welfare of a Child for committing child abuse and/or assault against the child in the presence of three other children who were living in the home. The police investigation was initiated after the victim escaped from his home and responded to the residence of a neighbor, who contacted police.
This morning, New Castle County Superior Court Judge M. Jane Brady sentenced Shannon Watterson to five years and one month in prison and sentenced Robert Hohn, IV to six years and one month in prison. In addition, Judge Brady ordered both defendants, while incarcerated, to spend 10 days in solitary confinement each year beginning on November 28, the date of their arrest. She also ordered the pair to have no contact with the son who was the victim of their abuse and ordered them to have no contact with the three other children who lived in the household at the time of their arrest unless approved by Family Court.
Hohn and Watterson were indicted on multiple charges in March, 2013 and both pled guilty to one count of Assault 2nd Degree and one count of Endangering the Welfare of a Child in September, 2013. Both defendants have been incarcerated in lieu of $282,500 cash bail since their arrest.
Biden reported that his office has closely monitored the welfare of the abused son who, now at 13 years-old, is happy and well cared for. “The vast majority of abused children are victimized by parents or others who have responsibility for their care,” Biden added. “It’s not a child’s responsibility to protect him- or herself, it’s ours and I urge all adults who suspect that a child is being abused or neglected to fulfill their legal and moral duty by contacting the Delaware Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-292-9582.”
# # #