Ferguson Township woman gets jail sentence for child abuse

A Ferguson Township woman will spend at least three months in county jail for abusing a 5-year-old child.

Lesa M. Harriott was sentenced Thursday to serve 90 days to 23 1/2 months in the Centre County Correctional Facility for slapping the boy’s face hard enough to leave extensive bruising, prosecutors said.

After her release from jail, Harriott will serve three years probation and will receive mandatory treatment through the Batterer’s Program, according to the Centre County District Attorney’s Office.

Harriott was found guilty in November of a misdemeanor charge of simple assault. Centre County Judge Jonathan Grine also found her guilty of harassment, a summary offense.

Police began investigating in April when the child arrived at preschool with visible bruising. The boy told police he was watching television when Harriott struck him because she wanted to watch another show, prosecutors said.

Harriott initially told police the boy had been riding his bicycle in the living room and fell onto a wooden coffee table.

She maintained at trial that she never hit the child in the face. The boy, now 6, testified by video conference about the details of the event, prosecutors said.

Grine on Thursday denied Harriott’s request to be released on bail pending her appeal. She will begin serving her sentence immediately.

When the charges were filed in April, it was the second time in 10 months that Harriott faced child abuse allegations.

She was charged in July 2011 with endangering the welfare of a child after police alleged she hit a teenager with wooden bed slats a few months before that. Then in December 2011, she pleaded down to a summary count of disorderly conduct and paid a $25 fine.