A Fredericktown man will have a felony conviction on his record but his teaching certificate was not taken away.
Following a plea agreement, Circuit Court Judge Kenneth W. Pratte placed James R. Walker, 38, of Fredericktown, on five years of supervised probation for two counts of abuse of a child.
Also as a condition of probation, Walker will have to complete an anger management program and have no contact with the victim. He was also ordered not to have unsupervised contact with children under the age of 12 unless by court order.
If he violates his probation, Walker could be sentenced to up to seven years in prison.
The educator admitted to inflicting cruel and inhumane punishment to a small child by striking him twice in 2010 or 2011.
The charges stemmed from January of 2011. According to court records, the Children’s Division began an investigation the previous November when a 4-year-old child and another child told a woman that Walker had abused the 4-year-old by hitting the child in the head, choking the child, and pulling the child across the kitchen floor by the child’s hair.
With the plea agreement, the prosecuting attorney’s office agreed to place Walker on probation rather than ask for a sentence. On the day of sentencing Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Pat King asked the judge to sentence Walker so he would have a felony conviction record. Walker’s attorney, Joel Schwartz, asked for no felony conviction.
King said he felt Walker was minimizing what happened, while Schwartz said Walker had gone too far disciplining a child. Schwartz said Walker is a former Industrial Technology teacher at North County High School and does have a master’s degree.
After the arguments, the judge said Walker ought to have been educated and smart enough “not to treat a child like this.” Later on the judge added there was no excuse for what Walker did.