Woman accused of child abuse

GREENFIELD — A Greenfield woman charged with battering a child told police she struck the girl because she refused to go to bed then gave her a sleep aid when she wouldn’t stop crying, court records state.

Kimberly Long, 22, was arrested Tuesday on a felony charge of battery on a child after she failed to show up in court for a hearing on the case Monday.

She was booked into the Hancock County Jail on Tuesday and was in police custody for less than an hour before posting a $1,000 cash bond. She has pleaded not guilty to the charge.

Police began investigating Long when the child’s father took the girl to Hancock Regional Hospital after finding bruises on her body. The girl told investigators Long struck her because she had misbehaved, according to court documents.

Police and Department of Child Services social workers were called to the hospital after personnel there suspected child abuse. The girl had extensive red marks on her skin, police said.

The child’s father told police Long had a temper, but he’d never seen her become violent with the girl, court documents state.

Long watches the girl several times a week, and the child had been with her for a weekend before the injuries were discovered, court documents state.

The child said Long struck her because she wouldn’t go to bed, police said, and the child repeated those claims when questioned by social workers, court records state.

Police officers questioned Long about the child’s accusations. In an interview with investigators, Long admitted to hitting the girl but did not believe the blow was hard enough to leave a mark, court documents state.

Long told police she had let the girl stay up late watching a movie, but when she tried to put the child to bed, the girl threw a fit, yelling, screaming and kicking the bedroom door, according to court documents.

Long told police she hit the girl only once, but the child began crying harder after the blow, court documents state. Long gave the girl melatonin, an over-the-counter hormone that promotes sleep, to help calm her down, she told police. The child never complained of pain, Long said.

Prosecutors charged Long with a Level 6 felony in early December. Hancock Circuit Judge Richard Culver issued a summons, calling Long to court Monday for an initial hearing.

But Long never showed up, prompting Culver to seek an arrest warrant, court records show.

The battery charge carries a penalty of six months to two years behind bars and up to $10,000 in fines.

Caitlin VanOverberghe is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3237 or cvanoverberghe@greenfieldreporter.com.