A Fostoria woman was sentenced Wednesday to 36 months in prison, the maximum sentence, after being found guilty of charges of permitting child abuse and endangering children.
Christal A. Hinojosa, 22, was sentenced by Seneca County Common Pleas Court Judge Steve Shuff following a jury trial last month in which she was found guilty of allowing her live-in boyfriend to abuse her 2-year-old son, causing serious physical harm.
Seneca County Assistant Prosecutor Rhonda Best asked Shuff Wednesday to impose the maximum sentence on Hinojosa, who was indicted on the charges last year.
PHOTO BY ERIKA PLATT-HANDRU
Christal Hinojosa stands next to her attorney, John Kahler, during her sentencing hearing Wednesday in Seneca County Common Pleas Court Judge Steve Shuff’s courtroom. Hinojosa was sentenced to 36 months in prison on charges of permitting child abuse and endangering children.
Best said Hinojosa's son suffered brain injuries and required surgery after he was either "shaken or slammed" in February 2011.
"The abuse progressed to the point where he needed brain surgery," Best said during the sentencing.
His injuries also caused vision problems and seizures, Best said, and the boy, who now lives with his father in Georgia, continues to undergo rehabilitation and therapy.
Best said prior to the incident in February, bruises had been found on the boy's body. At one point, 28 bruises were discovered.
"The defendant continued to ignore what was going on in her home," she said.
A family member of the boy spoke Wednesday prior to the announcement of Hinojosa's sentence, and also asked Shuff to impose the maximum sentence.
"I ask myself all the time why Christal let someone do such bad things to (him)," the family member said. "I get sick to my stomach when I think about all that he went through for two months."
A victim's advocate also read letters Wednesday from other family members asking for the maximum sentence.
John Kahler, Hinojosa's attorney, said Hinojosa had been at work when her boyfriend abused the boy, and had believed him when he said he didn't hurt the 2-year-old.
"What Christal is guilty of is being blinded by her love for (her boyfriend)," he said.
The boyfriend has not been charged yet in connection to the abuse.
"That's not fair your honor, that's not justice," Kahler said.
"The worst form of this offense would be to cause these injuries," he said. "We know the boyfriend is the one who did it. It wasn't Christal who did this."
Hinojosa also spoke prior to the announcement of her sentence, apologizing to her family and her son's family.
"I'm sorry I didn't see what was right in front of me," she said. "Every day I wish I could go back and change what happened, but I can't."
Hinojosa has requested another attorney to appeal the case.