Archive for Friday, November 18, 2011

Man sentenced to probation for beating girlfriend’s kids with belt

November 18, 2011


Stanley Burleson

Stanley Burleson

A Douglas County judge Friday morning ordered a 30-year-old man to serve three years on probation for abusing his girlfriend’s two sons, ages 14 and 12, with a belt in July at their Lawrence home.

District Judge Peggy Kittel also ordered Stanley Burleson to have no contact with the woman or her boys during his probation outside of family therapy sessions and any future supervised visitation sessions.

Burleson had pleaded guilty in October to two counts of child abuse. According to testimony, he became upset the boys had disobeyed his instructions about going to a swimming pool.

At one point on Friday, Kittel said she was prepared to send him to prison because of details in the case. Burleson had the boys remove their clothes because he didn’t believe the initial beating seemed to affect them very much, and he took breaks because he became tired and needed to regroup, the judge said.

Burleson was also accused of standing over the older boy, grabbing him by the throat and threatening him. The boys received treatment at Lawrence Memorial Hospital for bruising and other injuries.

“Those were some of the worse marks I’ve seen on children from a disciplinary whipping,” Kittel said.

The boys’ mother, Laura Sanders, has pleaded no contest to two counts of battery because she was also accused of striking the boys with a belt when she came home hours later. The boys’ grandmother, Kay Sanders, eventually reported the incident to police.

Kittel did have the option of sending Burleson, who now lives in the Kansas City area, to prison, and prosecutors said Friday they weren’t sure he had accepted responsibility for the crimes because he had often told investigators his mother had disciplined him with a belt.

“Discipline gone too far is one thing, but choking a child around the neck and saying, ‘I can kill you’ is a whole different field of action,” said Amy McGowan, a chief assistant district attorney.

But Burleson told Kittel he had attended parenting classes during his three months in jail and had continued to seek treatment, including for anger management, when he posted bond.

“I’m sorry for the mistakes I’ve made. I’ve hurt people I love. I will take the right steps to correct the problems I’ve caused,” he said. “I will make the right changes to my life to make sure something of this nature never happens again.”

Defense attorney Branden Smith said Burleson had been a longtime father figure to the boys and he had no intention of hurting them, but that the discipline went too far. The boys had also written letters to the judge saying they missed him and didn’t want him to go to prison.

“I know he’s sorry for what he’s done because he told me so,” Kay Sanders said. “So I do forgive him, and I love him because that’s what God teaches me, to be a forgiving person and to try to help those who have wronged us.”

Kittel said she was willing to give Burleson another chance based on the family’s attitude. He faces two years and seven months in prison if he violates his probation.

“I find that the family’s attitude is paramount, that they see the good in you,” Kittel said. “They want you to be there for them.”


doc1 6 years, 6 months ago

Yeah he went a little too far. Belt whippings used to be a staple in raising children and the world was better off for it. But what he did was extreme.

ksjayhawk74 6 years, 6 months ago

No, the World was not better when children were whipped with belts regularly. What you're talking about is back when domestic violence was accepted. A Man could also beat his wife and usually get away with it... That didn't make the World better either.

Beating children teaches them that it's OK to hurt people that they love and continues a cycle of violence that is difficult to break out of.

My Son is 14, has never been hit as punishment and he's a great, very well behaved young man.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 6 months ago

"Belt whippings used to be a staple in raising children and the world was better off for it."

The Taliban certainly agree.

Liberty275 6 years, 6 months ago

You'd think we would have gotten past beating our kids by now.

jafs 6 years, 6 months ago

Yes you would.

He should be in jail for assault/battery.

aletheia 6 years, 6 months ago

I never ceased to be amazed by the double-standard in our courts. If this man had gotten into a confrontation with a complete stranger on the street, he would have been charged with assault and probably would have been sentenced to jail time. Beat your children in the privacy of your home and call it "discipline" and you get counseling and probation. Disgusting. Those children have been victimized again by the system.

As for the letters the boys wrote to the judge, I'm not surprised. Victims of abuse typically feel responsible for the abuser, like "they made him do it" and now "he's in trouble" and "it's they're fault." "If they had just gone to the pool, none of this would have happened." Or, maybe they were coached by their mother on what to write. Hard to say.

In any case, abuse that is doled out in a family system is not only about the abuser, but the support system within the family. One cannot exist without the other.

I'm glad the grandmother alerted the authorities. I, too, believe in forgiveness, but that does not mean you have to continue to put those children at risk. There is a huge difference between forgiveness and tolerance. Eventually this man will be back in their homes and next time -- because there will be one -- they won't say a word, because of all the "trouble they caused."

I'm appalled.

deec 6 years, 6 months ago

He should have done it in the park after hours. Then he would have received a stiffer sentence.

Centerville 6 years, 6 months ago

Where is the natural father in all of this? And why doesn't he have custody?

Jimo 6 years, 6 months ago

One sure sign that his "disciplining" has gone to far?

When the fellow "took breaks because he became tired and needed to regroup".

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 6 months ago

This sounds more like ritualized torture than "punishment."

He should run for the Republican nomination for president-- he'd fit right in.

lunacydetector 6 years, 6 months ago

until laws are changed, this will continue.

kawrivercrow 6 years, 6 months ago

Sadly,the kids will probably end up as dysfunctional fringe-members of society, involved in habitual criminal behaviour. Meanwhile, Judge Kittel and her merry band of enablers will be protected by living in gated communities and enjoying plenty of security while on the job-site at court houses. They will never reap the consequence of the pathology they help foster with such permissive actions.

JayhawkFan1985 6 years, 6 months ago

Why does child abuse merit probation? Throw his sorry ass in jail for 1 year for each kid he abused. Have we learned nothing from Penn State?

KEITHMILES05 6 years, 6 months ago

A sorry SOS judge who has nor moral fiber to stand up for what is right and just.

jonas_opines 6 years, 6 months ago

Well shoot, too bad they weren't married. Then they'd be out of poverty and happy.

pace 6 years, 6 months ago

I hope they confiscated his leather belts and any other instruments he used to abuse his step kids. It doesn't matter what his victims say. he might love them, they him, but that does not matter. He beat and attacked the kids, should not go home and resume business as usual. Love is not all that matters, not in violent scenes, brutality, beatings, and assault. The safety of the children should come before the affection they hold.

mousemate 6 years, 6 months ago

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Sunny Parker 6 years, 6 months ago

The blame should be placed on the mother!

Not one mention of the judge and mother who beat the daughter with a belt? What happened with that case?

missmagoo 6 years, 6 months ago

I don't know which makes me more sick, Kittel or the child abuser. Child abuse NEVER merits probation.

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