Child abuser's sentence a 'complete failure of the justice system,' mother says

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Andrea Behling
September 8, 2014

JANESVILLE—The sentence given to a Janesville man accused of hitting two children until they were bloody and unconscious is a "complete failure of the justice system," the mother of the children said.

As part of a plea agreement, Brandon L. Quinn, 23, of 1306 N. Washington St., No. 1, Janesville, pleaded guilty Thursday to one count of physical abuse of a child and was sentenced in Rock County Court to one year in jail plus five years probation, according to online court records.

An additional count of physical abuse of a child was dismissed.

Together, the two counts carried a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison.

Karen Little, mother of the 7-year-old boy and 9-year-old girl, said the sentence is insufficient for the “unspeakable things” Quinn did to her children, Little said.

The children were hit with a hammer, spoon and spatula until they were bloody and unconscious, according to the criminal complaint.

Quinn, who at the time was Little's boyfriend, is accused of hitting, kicking and choking the children July 1, according to the criminal complaint. He is not the father of the children, Quinn said in court Thursday.

Quinn is accused of striking the genitals of the 7-year-old boy with a spatula, causing the boy to bleed, according to the complaint.

“By the time (Quinn) gets off probation, we won't even know if my son will be able to have children,” Little wrote to The Gazette.

A babysitter who lived at the residence told police that while Little was at work in Janesville the night of the assault, Quinn made the children put their hands on a cutting board while he hit them with a spatula, according to the complaint.

The 9-year-old girl later told police Quinn hit her and her brother with a hammer in several places, causing both of them to bleed and black out several times, according to the complaint.

The 9-year-old told police Quinn tore off her underwear so he “could hit her right on her skin,” according to the complaint.

Quinn told police he was intoxicated at the time of the assault, according to the complaint.

“I obviously need counseling to figure out why I did what I did. I'm sorry for it. Can't do anything about it; but I'm trying to move forward,” Quinn said at Thursday's hearing, according to the court transcript.

The mother and babysitter were too scared of Quinn to report the assault right away, according to the complaint.

Janesville Police Deputy Chief Dan Davis said his department has not talked to prosecutors about the plea agreement.

"Historically, when people have made a decision that we don't understand, it's because we don't have all the information," Davis said.

Deputy District Attorney Perry Folts said Assistant District Attorney Richard Sullivan struck the plea agreement because of Quinn's lack of a prior record and so the children wouldn't have to testify at trial.

"We didn't want to put the kids through the trauma of having to testify against the person who had done this to them," Folts said.

"The guy's on probation for five years," Folts said. "If he doesn't succeed on probation, we'll have another shot at him, and we'll certainly take a different approach at that point."

In court Thursday, Assistant District Attorney Gerald Urbik, who was appearing on behalf of Sullivan, urged Judge James Daley to accept the plea agreement.

"Hopefully, the probation with the jail time ... will be sufficient to punish him and hopefully determine that probation will address the victim needs he has," Urbik told the court, according to the transcript.

Defense attorney Walter Isaacson told Daley that Quinn had no prior criminal record and was a child abuse victim himself.

Daley told Quinn he is a classic example of an abuse victim becoming an abuser.

"I've got to encourage you to realize that you've got to change your thinking pattern and change the way you deal with the world around you," Daley said, according to the transcript.

Little wrote to The Gazette that the children have been through “many nights of terror” from the hours of torture caused by Quinn.

Little said Quinn was “pretty severely” physically abused by his father.

There was no indication that Quinn was abusing her children before July 1, Little said.

“It's kind of like he just snapped,” Little said.

The children are in custody of Child Protective Services, and Little said they are doing OK.

Quinn will serve his jail sentence with Huber privileges for employment. He was ordered to receive mental health treatment and anger management, according to online court records. Quinn already had served 64 days in the Rock County Jail after he was charged July 3.

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