- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 28, 2015

July 28—A Clovis couple faces 16 counts of child abuse against seven of their nine children, court records show.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Brian Stover said Patricia and Duane Gartner were indicted Friday by a grand jury.

Both posted $150,000 bond the day they were arrested early this month.

Patricia Gartner, reached by telephone at her home, referred questions to her attorney, Michael Garrett.

Garrett said his clients will plead not guilty.

“Child abuse can either be causing it, like Patricia did, or by allowing it to happen, like Duane did,” Stover said.

Garrett said the children are staying with relatives. They are not allowed to have contact with their parents, Stover said, because they will likely be called as witnesses when the case goes to trial.

The arrest affidavit alleges the children suffered bruises and death threats if they told anyone outside of the family what was happening in the home.

One child told investigators her mother beat a 10 year-old boy with a paddle because he “didn’t memorize something about brushing his teeth, and it made her impatient.” According to the child, her brother is mentally disabled.

The arrest affidavit alleges Patricia Gartner also punched her children in the face and throat, choked them and paddled them numerous times. One instance occurred while she still operated a Clovis daycare center, the affidavit alleges.

Patricia Gartner formerly ran ABC Daycare in Clovis, Stover said.

None of the criminal abuse allegations are connected to children who attended the daycare center, Stover said.


(c)2015 the Clovis News Journal (Clovis, N.M.)

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