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A New Hampshire mom who pleaded guilty to brutally torturing her son has been sentenced to nine to 30 years in prison.
Christine Gelineau, 52, of Concord, burned off her mentally challenged 18-year-old son's nipples with a lighter, stabbed him with a pen and forced him to eat worms and feces. She also burned his penis to the point of causing permanent nerve damage.
Acquaintance Daniel Tyler Cantrell, 20, and the victim's 29-year-old cousin Amy Nason are also awaiting trial for torturing the man.
First Degree Assault
As part of a plea agreement, Gelineau pleaded guilty to first degree assault and witness tampering. In New Hampshire, one way a person commits the crime of first degree assault is by purposely causing serious bodily injury to someone.
By contrast, people commit second degree assault when they knowingly or recklessly cause serious bodily injury.
The distinction between the two turns on the defendant's intent and the level of bodily injury.
People act purposely when they intend to cause a particular result or engage in a particular course of conduct. Here, the intentional nature of Gelineau's abusive acts is readily apparent.
She and Cantrell told the 18-year-old victim that "if he did not eat some worms that were provided to him that they were going to burn his penis," prosecutor Tracy Connolly told Connecticut's WTIC-TV.
The tortured victim ate the worms as well as feces, but he still had his penis and nipples burned with a lighter.
Serious Bodily Injury
Serious bodily injury causes severe and permanent or lasting impairment to any part of the body.
Being stabbed with stabbed with a pen, having nipples burned off completely, and having a penis burned to the point of permanent nerve damage most certainly counts as serious bodily injury.
Cantrell is also accused of twisting and breaking the 18-year-old's ankle, reports WTIC-TV.
Initially, the 18-year-old victim claimed his injuries were self-inflicted, but he eventually admitted that he had been tortured, reports the Concord Monitor.
Gelineau and Cantrell were charged with witness tampering for coercing the victim into lying about the cause of the injuries.
The victim's saving grace was an incredibly brave 12-year-old girl who contacted officials at the Division of Children, Youth and Families, reports the Monitor.
She witnessed much of the abuse while spending the weekend with Nason's daughter, who lives in Gelineau's home.
It's not entirely clear what prompted the abuse, The Huffington Post reports.