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Mother of severely beaten child handed maximum sentence in Dauphin County Court

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Whitley Sharp

DAUPHIN COUNTY, Pa. – Whitley Sharp, 27, formerly of the 400 block of S. 13th Street, Harrisburg, is handed the maximum sentence permitted under the law  for the charge of Endangering  Welfare of Children.  Judge John Cherry sentenced Sharp this morning to 3 ½ years to 7 years in a state penitentiary for failing to protect her five year old child.

On March 2,  the child was severely beaten by his father because of a potty accident.  Sharp did not seek medical attention for the child, nor did she contact the authorities.  When police went to the home two days after the assault, after the abuse was finally reported by another family member, she told the child to lie about what had happened to cause the injuries.

Judge Cherry, before handing down the sentence, indicated that the child looked like someone who was beaten and tortured in a concentration camp.  Chief Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Gettle requested the maximum sentence, indicating “the only incidents where I have seen worse injuries over my 20 years as a prosecutor were children who died as a result of their injuries.”

Judge Cherry indicated that the evidence was overwhelming that the defendant failed to protect her child and that, in fact, she took efforts to protect the abuser.  As he held up the graphic images of the child’s injuries, he reflected that they were “horrid”.   “Ms. Sharp if I could give you ten to twenty years in this case—I would.  What you did to this innocent child is disgraceful,” Cherry stated.

Co-defendant James Slaughter, III, is pending trial.