Updated Fri, Jan 31, 2014 5:48 am
A 54-year-old New Straitsville woman is facing numerous charges in Hocking County Municipal Court after allegedly gagging a child relative with soiled underwear as punishment.
Karen Sharpe is being held on a $1.1 million bond on charges of kidnapping, endangering children, assault and domestic violence.
Hocking County Sheriff Lanny North said detectives received a complaint on Wednesday alleging crimes against the child.
An investigation was launched, and after speaking with the two minors in the woman’s custody and collecting evidence that included audio and video clips, Sharpe was arrested at her home near the Perry County line and transported to Southeastern Ohio Regional Jail, where she remained Thursday evening.
The minors have been placed in the care of South Central Ohio Children Services.
Sharpe allegedly struck the side of the older child’s face on Jan. 19, causing a substantial amount of bruising.
The complaint further alleges Sharpe became enraged at the younger of the two children for stepping on her injured foot and allegedly forced the child to the floor and stuffed a soiled pair of men’s underwear into the child’s mouth.
She allegedly taped the underwear to the child’s face to secure it in place and forced the child to eat fecal matter.
Sharpe is accused of repeatedly yelling at and telling the child to swallow the fecal matter until the child vomited on the floor.
Sharpe then allegedly said she was going to make the child lick the vomit off the floor.
A videotape of the incident was recorded by the older child and collected as evidence, but is not being released to the public due to its graphic nature.
Sharpe appeared for a video arraignment Thursday in Hocking County Municipal Court and is being held on a $1.1 million bond.
She has been charged with kidnapping, a first-degree felony; two counts of endangering children, third-degree felonies; misdemeanor charges of endangering children; two counts of assault; and two counts of domestic violence.
Sharpe pleaded not guilty to all charges in court Thursday afternoon.
If found guilty of the misdemeanor charges, she could face six months in prison and a $1,000 fine.
If convicted of the first-degree felony, Sharpe could face three to 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine.
She also is facing one to three or one to five years in prison depending on the indictment and a $10,000 fine for each third-degree felony.
Hocking County Municipal Court Judge Fred Moses gave Sharpe the highest bond possible because of the nature of the crime and the involvement of minors.
Moses imposed a $500,000 appearance bond and a $500,000 cash or surety bond on the woman.
He also imposed a $100,000 recognizance bond on the misdemeanor charges.
If Sharpe were to post bond, she is to have no contact with the children, have no drugs or alcohol, not possess any weapons, and be placed on house arrest.
A temporary protection order is currently in place.