Man to stand trial for Child Abuse after
HUDSONVILLE, MI – The father accused of manslaughter in his son’s death was ordered Friday to stand trial for two counts of child abuse.
In a Hudsonville courtroom, Judge Judy Mulder dismissed a third count – child abuse in the presence of another child — that Timothy Koets faced.
“(Koets’) daughter was not present when (Samuel Koets) was left on the porch,” Mulder said in court Friday afternoon. “So the acts the defendant did to commit the child abuse in this case — the act of leaving his child alone on the porch unsupervised — was not done in the present of a child. It’s very unfortunate that his daughter had to find her brother alone in the pool in the way she did, but the act of child abuse …. was not done with the other child present so I am not able to find that there’s probably cause to bind over on count 3.”
Mulder did, however, bound Tim Koets over on two child abuse counts, one of which is a felony punishable by up to four years in prison.
“The facts presented that supported this at the time of the preliminary examination were that Samuel was left on a porch unattended, that the defendant did not assure that his wife was awake to care for Samuel,” said Mulder from the bench.
“There was some testimony that he awoke her. There was also some competing testimony that he texted his daughter during the course of the time he was gone indicating that he thought his wife was sleeping. I’m paraphrasing… but that’s how those texts read. There was also testimony that Samuel Koets functioned as an 18-month-old, that he was a nonverbal child and that he was attracted to water. So … a reasonable jury listening to those facts could find that this was a reckless act that caused a serious injury to his son, Samuel. So, therefore I’m going to bind it over on count 2 (felony child abuse in the second degree).”
Sam drowned after climbing into the backyard pool at the family’s home near Hudsonville. Authorities say his father, a professor at Grand Rapids Community College, left him unattended when he went to work on March 28, 2019. When one of his daughters texted him that Sam was in the icy pool, he allegedly texted back, “would you make sure the freak is OK?”
Koets and his wife Michelle Koets told “Inside Edition” in an interview that aired earlier this week that he woke his wife up before he left for work but she fell back asleep.
“It is not a reckless act for one parent to leave a child in the care of another parent,” Koets’ attorney argued Friday before his client was bound over. “He woke his wife up. He thought she was awake.”
In the “Inside Edition” interview, the Koetses rejected the notion that Tim Koets was negligent or uncaring. But investigators told News 8 that Sam Koets was also living in “disturbing” conditions before the drowning.
Outside the courtroom Friday, Koets’ attorney said while he knew Michelle Koets and a daughter had been contacted by “Inside Edition” and might do an interview, he did not know beforehand that Tim Koets would participate in the story.
“Had a discussion with my client and that will not be occurring again,” defense attorney David Kallman said.
Also Friday, both Tim and Michelle Koets were arraigned on charges that they kept filling their son’s Ritalin prescription for months after he died. Authorities say they were taking the drugs themselves.
Daycare worker arrested, charged with
2 counts of aggravated Child Abuse
BRANDON, FL – A daycare worker in Brandon was arrested on Friday for two counts of aggravated child abuse, officials say.
The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office say on Dec. 18, the parents of an infant took their child to the pediatrician when the baby turned pale in color and began throwing up. The baby spent the say attending Shepherd Day Care at 208 Terrace Drive in Brandon.
The infant was in the sole care and custody of 20-year-old Sarah Loria at the daycare.
The pediatrician initially diagnosed the baby with a stomach virus.
On Dec. 20, when Loria was caring for the baby, the infant became unresponsive. Loria then contacted the parent’s who transported the baby to a local hosital.
After an evaluation, it was confirmed that the infant suffered from shaken baby syndrome from both incidents.
On Friday, detectives with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office located and arrested Loria for two counts of aggravated child abuse.
She was transported to the Orient Road Jail without incident.
Battle Creek stepmother charged with
Child Abuse of twin girls
BATTLE CREEK, MI – A Battle Creek stepmother is facing up to life in prison if convicted of child abuse of twin sisters.
Ashley Swartout, 25, was arraigned Thursday in Calhoun County District Court on one count of first-degree child abuse and one count of second-degree child abuse.
She faces up to life in prison on the first-degree charge and 10 years in prison on the second-degree charge.
Swartout was arrested Monday after Battle Creek police obtained a warrant following an investigation which began Dec. 16.
Police said Swartout and her husband, Nathaniel Callahan, 28, the father of the twin seven-year-old girls, brought one of the children to Bronson Battle Creek hospital at 9:49 p.m. Dec. 16 for treatment.
Doctors notified police after finding severe bruising and swelling to both sides of the girl’s face as well as bruises on her arms, front and back of her torso and a bloody lower lip.
The girl said her stepmother was angry because the child was not doing her chores and grabbed her by the hair and banged her head against the walls and floor. The girl said the woman also twisted her arm behind her back and told the girl she would break it.
Swartout told police she has seizures and does not recall the incident. She said she remembers being angry at the girl about homework and chores but blacked out and remembers nothing until she was on the bathroom floor and her husband was over her.
Callahan told police his wife has a long history of seizures and doctors have been unable to diagnose the cause. She is not able to have a driver’s license because of the condition.
However the girl said her stepmother was talking to her when the reported assault first began and then had a seizure and began to throw up.
Callahan came home from work and both he and Swarthout took the girl to the hospital.
Images of Child Abuse, Animal Abuse seized
JACKSON COUNTY, OR – A Jackson County man was arrested Friday on felony charges after police said they found hundreds of child pornography images and dozens of images of animals being sexually abused.
Gary Lee Watts, 61, was arrested at his home in the 7300 block of Upper Applegate Road early Friday morning, capping off an investigation going back more than a year, according to a press release issued by the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office.
Southern Oregon High-Tech Crimes Task Force investigators said they found more than 700 images of child pornography on equipment seized from Watts’ home, according to the sheriff’s office, plus more than 50 images of animal sexual abuse.
The sheriff’s office started its investigation in September of last year, after the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children® alerted local police of child pornography being downloaded at the home.
The sheriff’s office had assistance from Oregon State Police, Medford police and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in the case.
The sheriff’s office arrested Watts on 20 felony counts of first-degree encouraging child sexual abuse and 10 misdemeanor counts of encouraging sexual assault of an animal. Watts was held in the Jackson County Jail Friday on $275,000 bail, records show.
Court records show no prior criminal history for Watts.