A 30-year-old Lawrence man has pleaded guilty to two counts of child abuse for a July incident involving two boys who were 14 and 12 at the time.
Stanley E. Burleson entered the guilty pleas in front of District Judge Peggy Kittel on Monday afternoon, according to Douglas County District Attorney Charles Branson’s office.
Burleson had faced a trial on four counts of child abuse and one count of making a criminal threat. In an August preliminary hearing, prosecutors accused Burleson of striking his girlfriend’s sons with a belt inside their home on two separate occasions and at one point standing over the older boy with his hand around the boy’s throat. Burleson had told a detective he didn’t believe he had abused the boys, who received treatment later at Lawrence Memorial Hospital for bruising and other injuries.
Burleson, who also had been living in the home, told police the boys had disobeyed his instructions about going to a swimming pool.
Police also testified the boys’ mother, Laura L. Sanders, 34, had struck the boys with a belt when she came home a few hours later. She faces two counts of child abuse and a preliminary hearing Nov. 8.
The boys’ grandmother had called police initially, and the boys were later taken into protective custody. Kittel is scheduled to sentence Burleson at 10 a.m. Nov. 18.