Sheriff’s deputies, called to assist Oklahoma Department of Human Services caseworkers conducting a child welfare check, have arrested a man who is alleged to have beaten a 1-year-old child with a belt, leaving multiple bruises on the child’s leg.
Records provided by the Pontotoc County Sheriff’s Office indicate deputies responded to a call for assistance from an OKDHS caseworker Dec. 18. The caseworker was investigating a report of child abuse at a home in the 18000 block of County Road 3588 in the Ahloso community, just outside of Ada.
Deputies report the caseworker contacted the sheriff’s office when the child’s father, James Lee Gregory, 29, of Ada, began “causing an issue.”
Records indicate the caseworker arrived at the home and, upon seeing the child, noticed bruises which “(corresponded) with the referral.” When the caseworker informed Gregory the child would need to be taken to a hospital for an examination, Gregory started “giving (the caseworker) issues.” At that point, according to deputies, the caseworker called for help.
According to reports filed by deputies, Gregory denied having any knowledge of the bruises until the caseworker looked at the child. Upon further questioning, deputies report, Gregory suggested “maybe the dog did it or … the child fell.”
Records indicate that while deputies instructed Gregory to prepare the child to be taken to a hospital for examination, they were contacted by an individual who alleged to have witnessed Gregory “hit the one-year-old with a belt about six times.”
“I was informed that (Gregory) did it pretty much everyday when the kids acted up,” Deputy Eric Niblett reported. “I was informed that if something didn’t happen that the individual feared for (the child’s) safety.”
During an interview at the sheriff’s office, deputies report that Gregory continued to deny having any knowledge of the bruises on the child’s leg, again suggesting a dog might have caused them or that the child might have fallen. Records indicate Gregory told deputies that a 14-year-old family member often watched the child and an older sibling while Gregory and his sister worked nights, that he had not changed the child’s diaper “in about a week,” and that he “never noticed a bruise.”
During a medical examination, records indicate doctors and deputies discovered the 1-year-old child had “a large bruise on the right thigh, red marks on the neck and also red marks on the back.” The child’s older sibling was also discovered to have “a very large mark on (the) left thigh and also (the) left calf.”
Deputies report the older sibling told them “(their) dad beats (them).”
Gregory is charged with two felony counts of child abuse by injury and is next scheduled to appear in Pontotoc County District Court at 2 p.m. Jan 16.
Contact Carl Lewis at 580-310-7520, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.