Woman gets 20 years in ‘parade of horribles’ child abuse case

Dianeth Pittman

A Clifton woman was sentenced this morning to 20 years in prison for what a senior Mesa County prosecutor called a “parade of horribles” child abuse case involving the woman’s own daughter, who was repeatedly burned by her mother with a heated knife.

Dianeth Pittman, 41, who laughed with attorneys while at one point rolling her eyes as a prosecutor addressed the court, stipulated to the 20-year prison term after pleading guilty to a single count of child abuse resulting in serious bodily injury.

Pittman explained she was pleading guilty, “not because I actually did this, but I don’t want to put my daughter through a trial.”

Under the terms of a plea agreement with the District Attorney’s Office, Pittman avoided a potentially longer prison sentence as prosecutors dismissed 14 other charges, including sexual assault on a child. Pittman’s last-minute plea deal comes as she was scheduled for trial starting on Monday. While District Judge Richard Gurley said he found the plea agreement “acceptable,” he suggested he’d impose tougher penalties had they been allowed under the deal.

“You shouldn’t be alone with a child again as far as I’m concerned,” the judge said before imposing the 20-year term.

Assistant District Attorney Rich Tuttle said his office agreed to the deal in order to spare the victim in the case —  now 10 and living in a Colorado Department of Human Services facility in the Denver — from having to testify in next week’s scheduled trial.

Pittman was arrested after her daughter came forward in May 2011 and reported her mother had burned her abdomen, on at least two different occasions, with a heated knife. Months after the initial disclosure, the girl reported she was also burned with the knife on her genitals.

Witnesses were also expected to testify to a “constellation” of other injuries inflicted by Pittman on the girl’s head and face, Tuttle told the judge.

Read the full story in Wednesday’s Daily Sentinel.


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