Tierra Lee, 26, was charged by the Racine County District Attorney‘s Office with child abuse and child neglect, causing great bodily harm. If convicted, Lee faces up to 64 years in prison and/or fined up to $35,000.
A passerby tipped police off to the girl’s condition on Saturday, and when they investigated, officers found a 2-year-old girl with serious burns to her legs and feet. A doctor said it appeared the girl had been dipped into scalding water, and not given medical treatment.
Josephine Lee, the woman with whom the girl had been staying, was charged Monday with child neglect for not seeking medical treatment for the girl. Josephine told police that the girl had the burns when she was dropped off. Police reported the girl was in extreme pain, and that she was taken to Children’s Hospital for treatment of her injuries, which included first- and second-degree burns on her feet and legs, according to the criminal complaint filed against Tierra Lee.
According to court records, Tierra Lee, the girl’s guardian, told police that she had been giving the girl a bath, and that when she left the room to get a towel, she heard the girl scream and water running in the tub. She said she called the hospital, asking what she should do if a child burned herself in the tub, and was told to watch the burns and to bring the child in if welts or blisters appeared.
But she did not take the girl in for medical treatment, police say, and that rather than bring the girl with her on the train to Illinois – saying she was worried about germ exposure – she left the girl with Josephine Lee.
The people who told police about the girl’s injuries said they believed she had been intentionally burned with hot water. Tierra Lee is in custody on $50,000 cash bond. She is due in court May 18 for a preliminary hearing.
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