OKLAHOMA CITY -- A little bit of vindication came Stacy McNieland's way Thursday evening.
"We were very, very happy that justice was served," she told NewsChannel 4. "We were looking up and we were celebrating."
Geneva Robinson and Joshua Granger had just received life sentences for abusing a seven-year-old girl inside what prosecutors call a "House of Horrors" on the city's southeast side.
Earlier this year, Robinson pleaded guilty to multiple counts of felony child abuse for actions including:
- pulling on the girl with pliers
- kicking the girl in the pubic area causing a fracture to her pubic bone
- striking the girl in her face causing injury
- scratching the girl on the neck causing injury
- approaching the girl while she slept and cutting off all of her hair
- striking the girl in the head
- withholding food to the extent that the girl had to steal food to eat
- not seeking medical care for the girl, who was visibly suffering from ringworm
- keeping the girl from attending school
- forcing the girl to sleep outside with the dogs
- cutting the finger of a six-year-old with scissors
McNieland, CEO of the Care Center, called it one of the worst cases she can remember.
"[Because of] the level of neglect and physical and sexual abuse," she said, describing the girl her center had treated. "That's called polyvictimization and what that means is several kinds of abuse are going on at the same time."
According to Care Center statistics, 1-in-3 girls and 1-in-5 boys ages 2-17 have been or will be abused in Oklahoma. Many of the cases occur within families, handed down from generation to generation.
In other cases, like in Owasso, parents told investigators they were "new parents" and didn't know how to care for children. Investigators called it one of the worst cases of child abuse they had ever seen.
In court Thursday, Robinson's lawyers asked for leniency, pointing out the defendant was raised in an abusive household and was thrust into motherhood at age 16.
"Families will come in and indicate that this has happened to them, that it got passed down to their sisters or brothers and they have a tendency to abuse because they were abused," McNieland said. "However, it takes one brave child or one brave adult to stand up and have the courage to say 'no more.'"
To help, McNieland wrote a book called "Rex Finds His Roar," designed to help kids and their parents understand and recognize the signs of abuse. Members of the Care Center are taking the book to schools, to tell kids it's okay to speak up on abuse and it's okay to say no to physical contact.
"This is an epidemic," she said. "We are drowning in a pool of wrong."
The Care Center can be reached at: 405-236-2100
The State Department of Health also has an office of child abuse prevention. The phone number is: 405-271-7611.