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The Progress Home >> Friday, January 18, 2013 - Woman sentenced to prison for assaulting son

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Woman sentenced to prison for assaulting son
Friday, January 18, 2013
BELLEFONTE - Lesa M. Harriott was sentenced yesterday to serve 90 days to 23½ months in the Centre County Correctional Facility followed by three years of probation and mandatory treatment through the Batterer's Program.
On Nov. 2, she was found guilty of simple assault (a misdemeanor in the first degree) for causing bodily injury to her son, who was 5 years old at the time. Additionally, the Honorable Jonathan Grine found her guilty of harassment (a summary offense).
On the morning of April 30, the child arrived at his preschool and expressively declared to his teacher and the director that his mom had hit him the night before, leaving visible extensive bruising on the right side of his face. The preschool staff then contacted Children and Youth Services to report the abuse allegations. CYS sent a caseworker and two detectives from the Ferguson Township Police Department to the preschool in order to investigate the matter and interview the boy.
The victim told CYS and police that he was watching television when his mom came into the room and slapped him across the face because she wanted to watch her own television show. After being slapped, the child began to cry in pain and the mother proceeded to "tie his lips up" by covering his mouth and nose with her hand in an attempt to quiet him. As a result of her covering his mouth and nose, the child was unable to breathe. At that point, he began kicking and stomping his feet in a desperate attempt to get away.
Harriott, when questioned by authorities at her home, denied the allegations, stating that her son had been riding his bike in the living room and fell off the bike, hitting his face off a wooden coffee table.
At the trial, Harriott stuck to her story in that she never hit him in the face. The now 6-year-old boy testified by video conference as to the details of the event.
Harriott's request for bail pending appeal was denied by the judge, and she will begin her incarceration period immediately. Her punishment includes no contact with the boy.
"We are very pleased with the sentence in this matter," said District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller. "It is truly heartbreaking to realize an innocent 5-year-old was not safe at home and was not protected when he was with his own mother. His safety has been ensured since the day he was removed from the home and he is doing very well."
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