Jerome Mitchell, accused of child abuse when a teacher saw scratches and bruising on a young girl, has accepted a plea that knocks the charge down to a misdemeanor without Mitchell's having to admit to a criminal act, according to court documents.
Mitchell, 60, and Herminia Ibarra-Mitchell, 60, were arrested on Jan. 15. Mitchell was accused of child abuse, and Ibarra-Mitchell was accused of child abuse and child molestation. A police report said a teacher of the victim noticed scratches and "extensive bruising" on the girl and the school called Prescott Valley police.
The school official who made the call said that she had training and experience that led her to believe the girl was an abuse victim, the report said, and she found bruises over "a large portion of her body."
On July 29, Superior Court Judge Tina Ainley found that Ibarra-Mitchell was not competent to stand trial and not treatable by the Yavapai County Restoration to Competency program. She dismissed the charges against Ibarra-Mitchelland released her.
Mitchell has agreed to accept an Alford guilty plea, court documents said. He will accept a class 1 misdemeanor, permitting health to be imperiled, but he does not admit the committed the act. An Alford plea means that he recognizes that the prosecution could likely prove the charge.
The judge, however, enters a "guilty" plea. The charge comes with a six-month jail sentence and up to three years' probation.
Superior Court Judge Tina Ainley will sentence him on Oct. 28.