A man was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison Thursday for beating a 6-year-old over spilled water.
By Christine Dempsey, cdempsey@courant.com
Hartford Currant, February 10, 2011

NEW BRITAIN - James Roberts, 41, pleaded guilty to second-degree assault and risk of injury to a minor before Superior Court Judge Hillary B.Strackbein. She then sentenced him to seven years in prison, suspended after 2 1/2, followed by four years of probation.

One condition of his probation is that he attend anger management classes.
"You can't stike a child, ever."

Judge Hillary B.Strackbein

"You can't stike a child, ever," Strackbein said.

According to prosecutor Helen McLellan, the boy went to school on March 14, 2009 with bruises on his arms and face.

Police investigated and learned that the abuse happened the night before, when Roberts was babysitting him. Water spilled on the boy's homework, she said.

Roberts' lawyer, Frank Canace, said his client has learned his lesson that what he did was wrong. He said Roberts' cultural background he's from the Caribbean might have played a role in the incident, which Canace referred to as "corporal punishment."

Strackbein used a different term.

"It's simply abuse, what you did," Strackbein told Roberts.

When she asked if he had anything to say, Roberts apologized.

"I'd like to say I'm sorry," he said.

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