GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. -- The details of this child abuse case are shocking and may be difficult to read for some.
A Gwinnett County stepfather and mother are charged with dozens of counts of child cruelty and aggravated battery for what the Gwinnett County District Attorney’s office is calling “astounding.”
Investigators said Rimmon Lewis, 32, and Angela Strothers, 33, brutally beat and severely disfigured parts of a 13-year-old’s body while forcing her to live in disgraceful conditions.
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Photos | Gwinnett couple charged with child abuse
Strothers is the biological mother and Lewis is her stepdad. A grand jury indicted the couple in November. According to the indictment, Lewis seriously disfigured the girl’s back and feet by striking her “repeatedly with the leg of a child’s table and a black leather belt.”
The beatings caused “prolonged numbness” and immobility in some cases. The alleged abuse took place over an unknown timeline that could span years.
Lewis is also accused of, among other things, disfiguring the girl’s mouth by “pushing his thumbs into (her mouth) …with such force as to split the corners of her mouth,” leaving scarring on both corners. The Gwinnett County D.A.’s office said Lewis did this because the girl would stutter around him.
Both Lewis and Strothers are accused of repeatedly locking the girl in a laundry room for hours on end and forcing her to, among other things, complete “standards” that included standing “barefoot on food cans while writing a sentence 1,000 times.”
The girl was left inside the laundry room for so long that she urinated on herself, according to the indictment. It goes on to detail that she was beat with a table leg and “forced to sleep in her urine-soaked clothing and go to school wearing said urine-soaked clothing.”
In one incident, she was reportedly forced to drink laundry detergent. The indictment also alleges that she was forced to take very hot or very cold baths. The child was subject to “excessive physical pain” through various beatings detailed across several of the indictment’s charges.
Someone at her school noticed that she had been injured and was hungry throughout the year.
She contacted Gwinnett police who initially investigated and charged the pair with one count of child cruelty.
After an interview with district attorney investigators, more details of the extended abuse were revealed. That’s where the additional charges came in.
“Once we started talking to her it became very clear that it was a much more significant case,” Assistant District Attorney Tracie Cason said.
“The severity of what happened to this child over a number of years is just astounding.”
Carson said there were four younger boys in the house during the abuse.
“She was not allowed to eat with the family. She was not allowed to eat until her step father determined that she could eat, and when she was allowed to eat, often she was only given leftovers while the family ate a full, hot meal; Or she was given PB&J or at times she was made to eat cat food.”
The Gwinnett County D.A.’s office said in 2014 in Cobb Co., Lewis was convicted of child abuse charges for assaults against the same child. He was put on probation for that charge and later moved the family to Gwinnett Co. where the abuse continued, according to authorities.
Right now, Lewis is back in jail for violating his probation for the 2014 child abuse case out of Cobb Co. with these current charges. There is a bench warrant out for Strother’s arrest, so she is not in custody.
The victim and four other children are in DFCS custody. Carson said it will take years for the girl to recover.
“It’s amazing that she was able to survive given the circumstances of what she had to go through.”
Lewis is charged with 15 counts of cruelty to children, four counts of aggravated battery and one count of aggravated stalking for trying to get in contact with the victim to apologize.
Strothers is charged with four counts of cruelty to children and one county of aggravated stalking for trying to get in contact with her daughter to apologize.