A west suburban woman and her boyfriend were indicted this week in a brutal beating that left the woman's toddler brain damaged in October. But now, lawyers for the mother are saying she should be considered a victim--not a suspect.
Cathleen Koch, 28, turned herself in at the St. Charles police department this week, months after her boyfriend brutally attacked her 23-month-old daughter, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Koch's boyfriend, 27-year-old James C. Cooper, was arrested for the beating in October, but authorities also blamed the child's mother for putting her daughter in such a dangerous situation and lying to the authorities to protect her boyfriend.
The Kane County Chronicle reports on what happened in the St. Charles Super 8 Motel on October 27:
Cooper had been hitting the woman's head with his fist before turning his attention to the girl when she began to cry, police said, and he reportedly yelled at the girl to be quiet, held her by the arms and shook her as she was suspended in the air. He then slammed the girl face down on the bed, at which time she was unresponsive, not breathing and bleeding from the mouth, police said.
Koch reportedly lied to both police and paramedics following the incident, but her lawyer claims she did so only to protect herself from Cooper, who threatened her with violence if she talked to the police, according to the Chicago Tribune.
"She, herself, is a victim of James Cooper during this attack on [her daughter]" attorney Liz Lovig told the Kane County Chronicle, adding that the charges "have the potential to have a chilling effect on domestic violence" cases because Koch was threatened and attacked and then charged.
Prosecutors, however, said that Koch's actions were a clear violation of Illinois law, which states:
"A parent may not sit idly by while another person abuses her child. Parents are required to intercede on their child's behalf and, if they fail to act, they risk being held responsible for the other person's criminal conduct."
Cooper has been charged with one count of aggravated battery to a child and three misdemeanor counts of endangering the life or health of a child. He is being held in Kane County jail on $3 million bond. Koch was charged with one count of aggravated battery to a child, six felony counts of obstructing justice and six misdemeanor counts of endangering the life or health of a child.