Bolingbrook day care provider found guilty of burning child with hot water

October 19

JOLIET — Will County State’s Attorney James W. Glasgow announced Thursday that a Bolingbrook day care provider was found guilty of burning the hand of a 2-year old child who was under her care.

Circuit Judge Carla Alessio Policandriotes convicted Sharon Holt, 35, formerly of 139 Springleaf Drive, Bolingbrook of one count of aggravated battery to a child at the conclusion of a four-day bench trial Thursday.

The charge is a Class X felony, which carries a potential sentence of six to 30 years in prison with no possibility for probation. Policandriotes is scheduled to sentence Holt on January 4.

Holt cared for the 2-year-old boy at her home, which she called “Big Momma’s Day Care.” On Dec. 1, 2004, the defendant immersed the child’s hand in water that was hotter than 115 degrees. The child suffered a second-degree burn, requiring three surgeries and weeks of post-operative physical therapy to treat. His surgeon at one point feared his fingers might meld together while healing.

“Working parents place absolute faith in the day care providers they entrust with their children’s safety and well-being each day,” Glasgow said. “Sharon Holt violated that trust by plunging this helpless child’s hand into scalding water. Not only will she go to prison for her crime, but her felony conviction will ensure that she can never again hold a license that will allow her to legally care for other people’s children.”

The defendant initially said the child suffered a cut, and she offered ointment to the boy’s mother when she picked him up. Holt later told police she accidentally ran hot water instead of cold on the boy’s hand while washing the cut.

But three physicians testified during the trial that they examined the wound and found no evidence of a cut.

The director of the Child Protective Services team at Children’s Memorial Hospital, Dr. Emalee Flaherty, testified as an expert in the field of child abuse detection. She determined the injury was inflicted intentionally. She observed no splash-mark burns nor any parallel lines of burn, both of which would have been consistent with the child’s hand being placed under hot running water. The wound was an immersion burn, with a clear line of injury on the front and back of the hand, she testified.

Glasgow credited Bolingbrook Det. Scott Lustik for conducting a thorough and skillful investigation that enabled Assistant State’s Attorneys Sarah Jones and Jessica Colon-Sayre to successfully prosecute Holt.

“Everyone involved in the investigation and prosecution of this case brought some measure of justice to a little boy who suffered excruciating pain both at the time of the battery and during prolonged medical procedures. They spoke for the child who couldn’t speak for himself,” Glasgow said.