- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 28, 2015

July 28—COLUMBUS — A 21-year-old Columbus mother will be sentenced next month after being convicted of child abuse charges in connection with bruising injuries found when her two young children were taken to a local hospital in January.

Defendant Jodie Shelly pleaded no contest Monday in Platte County Court to committing child abuse stemming from injuries discovered by medical personnel when the defendant’s 3-year-old daughter was taken to Columbus Community Hospital on Jan. 19.

Judge Frank Skorupa scheduled Shelly for sentencing Aug. 31 on the two Class I misdemeanors.

In exchange for Shelly’s pleas, the Platte County Attorney’s Office reduced the charges from Class 3A felonies to misdemeanors. The felonies each carried a maximum penalty of up to five years in prison, while the misdemeanors are each punishable by up to a year in the county jail.

Shelly’s live-in boyfriend at the time of the January incidents, Ryan Roberts, 24, was sentenced in May to five years in prison on two counts of felony child abuse.

Shelly and Roberts were arrested Jan. 19 after Shelly took her 3-year-old daughter to the hospital for treatment for bruising to her head, face and shoulders.

The hospital visit spurred a Columbus Police investigation that revealed the girl had been injured during an angry outburst by her mother.

Columbus Police officials said Roberts was subsequently arrested when the investigation at the hospital and couple’s residence determined the city woman’s 1-year-old son also suffered facial injuries.

“Shelly admitted during an interview that she has an anger problem. She admitted that she grabs her daughter too firmly when she is whining or arguing with her brother,” Investigator Gregory Sealock reported in his statement supporting the arrests.

Sealock said Shelly claimed a bruise on the back of her daughter’s head was caused by a fall in the bathtub while the girl was in Roberts’ care.

During the CCH visit, Shelly told authorities multiple versions of where her son was, but the boy eventually arrived at the hospital in Roberts’ custody.

The boy had “very visible swollen lips as well as other facial bruising,” Sealock said.

“Roberts stated that (the boy) had bitten him four to five days ago. Ryan stated that after he was bitten that he ‘backhanded’ (the boy) very hard in the mouth, causing the injury,” Sealock said in his statement.

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(c)2015 the Columbus Telegram (Columbus, Neb.)

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