Child abuse is always hard to talk about, but this case is particularly troubling. A St. Louis mother has been sentenced to 78 years for the cruel and systematic torture of her children. This woman’s actions were not accidental, and she deserves every year of her prison sentence.
Lakechia Schonta Stanley, 34, was sentenced last Friday on a number of assault and endangerment charges. In her case, the abuse of her children was described as “systematic torture.” According to her own children’s testimonies, Stanley beat, whipped and waterboarded them. Stanley’s husband, Andrew Rui Stanley, 30, was also sentenced on related charges to 160 years in prison.
It’s heartbreaking to imagine what this woman did to her two innocent daughters, and here is but one example: The abuse was first detected in October 2011 when Stanley’s older daughter complained of severe arm pain at school. The story soon came out that she had been beaten by her mother with a baseball bat for a small infraction of not cleaning the kitchen.
The then 10-year-old girl brought this accusation of abuse to her school librarian. The librarian recounts that when she touched the girl’s arm, it was cold. After being taken to the hospital, doctors confirmed that the girl had been hit so hard with a bat that the blood supply constricted, causing her arm to turn cold. Stanley’s older daughter also revealed that her then 8-year-old sister was assaulted for taking too long in the shower.
Stanley was accused of whipping her daughters with electrical cords and alternating freezing cold and scalding hot showers as punishment. Detective Robert Jauer stated, “The scarring on these two girls is the worst scarring I have ever seen on children from repeated whippings from objects.”
Assistant circuit attorney Tanja Engelhard touched upon what is so distressing about this case. In her statement to the judge, Engelhard insisted that Stanley’s actions were far worse than child abuse. Engelhard argued that a mother is supposed to be the one person young children can trust, yet this mother used every tool she had to torture her own kids.
These poor girls not only have to deal with the physical repercussions of abuse. They have to deal with the underlying emotional trauma from pain caused by the person they were supposed to trust the most. Stanley went out of her way to make her children’s lives a living hell in the most elaborate torture schemes. She is a monster, not a mother.