Crime · published · work

Waynesboro couple going to prison for abusing teen

This article originally appeared in The News Virginian on December 13, 2018.

A Waynesboro couple was sentenced Wednesday in Waynesboro Circuit Court for abusing a developmentally disabled teenager.

Brad E. Young, 40, and his wife, Natrina P. Johnson, 37, were arrested by the Waynesboro Police Department in February after police were informed that Johnson’s 14-year-old son was being abused.

Young and Johnson each were convicted of child abuse in August and were facing up to 10 years in prison.

On Wednesday, Judge Charles Ricketts III sentenced Young to 10 years in prison with five years suspended. Johnson was sentenced to a year for allowing the beatings.

Both were immediately sent to Middle River Regional Jail following the sentencing.

According to the couple’s prosecutor, the 14 year-old with the mental capacity of a six-year-old had received over 80 marks on his body from a belt. The abuse itself was done by Young on two different occasions in October 2017, and was condoned by Johnson, said Elysse Stolpe, the Waynesboro assistant commonwealth’s attorney.

Johnson’s conflicting statements in court revealed she was aware of what was occurring, but made no efforts to stop the abusive activity.

“She said that she had instructed Mr. Young to beat the child,” said Stolpe, referring to an early statement Johnson made during the trial that contradicted a later one in which she claimed ignorance of her husband’s actions.

The beatings were performed by Young because the boy had stolen a small item from a classmate at Kate Collins Middle School in Waynesboro, Stolpe said.

The abuse was discovered after a teacher’s aide at Kate Collins Middle School noticed several injuries on the teen when helping him remove his sweater. Police and Child Protective Services were then notified.

“We do unfortunately see a fair number of child abuse cases, though they range in severity,” Stolpe said. “This case is one of the worst cases in our office, just based on the severity and number of injuries.”

Stolpe was particularly disturbed by the abuse of a mentally handicapped child, who thus has little capacity to speak up, defend himself, or verbalize his experience.

Currently, the boy is living in a foster home.


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