A man who has been identified as Danzell Mitchell has been accused of grabbing an eleven-year-old girl in a bathroom in a Cobb County mall this past Tuesday.
The young girl was at the mall with her family when this incident allegedly occurred. She went to the bathroom and according to the reports, she was grabbed by Mitchell when she came out of one of the stalls, and he allegedly proceeded to hold a knife to her throat.
She told her father that she was able to get free and then pointed to Mitchell as he walked out of the women's bathroom.
Mitchell was then tackled and restrained by shoppers up until authorities arrived.
He is facing charges of aggravated assault and first-degree cruelty to children.
Today, I'd like to focus on the cruelty to children charge. Cruelty to children charges are not only serious but the charges and the law behind them can be confusing.
The Georgia Code recognizes three different degrees of cruelty to children in Georgia and each are defined by different conduct and have different penalties if the accused person is found guilty.
Cruelty to Children in Georgia
Cruelty to Children in the First-Degree - Georgia Law defines first-degree cruelty to children as:
When a parent, guardian, or other person supervising a child under the age of 18 willfully deprives the child of necessary sustenance to the extent that the child's well being is jeopardized, or when a person maliciously causes a child under the age of 18 cruel or excessive physical or mental pain. O.C.G.A. §16-5-70 (a)-(b).
Cruelty to children in the first degree is a felony. The penalty for conviction is a prison sentence between five and twenty years.
Cruelty to Children in the Second-Degree - Georgia Law defines second-degree cruelty to children as:
When a person with criminal negligence causes a child less than 18 years old cruel or excessive physical or mental pain. O.C.G.A. §16-5-70(c).
Cruelty to children in the second degree is a felony. The penalty for conviction is a prison sentence between five to ten years.
Cruelty to Children in the Third-Degree - Georgia Law defines third-degree cruelty to children as:
When either a person, who is the primary aggressor, intentionally allows a child under the age of 18 to witness the commission of a forcible felony, battery, or family violence battery; or a person, who is the primary aggressor, having knowledge that a child under the age of 18 is present and sees or hears the act, commits a forcible felony, battery, or family violence battery. O.C.G.A. §16-5-70(d).
Cruelty to children in the third degree is a misdemeanor. The penalty for conviction can include a jail sentence for up to 12 months, a fine up to $1,000, or both.
As I mentioned above, first-degree cruelty to children is a felony. According to reports, Mitchell is charged with first-degree cruelty to children. If the facts stated in the reports are true, Mitchell should also face charges of battery and sexual battery.
Battery in Georgia: A person commits the offense of battery when he or she intentionally causes substantial harm or visible bodily harm to another. O.C.G.A. §16-5-23.1
Sexual Battery in Georgia: A person commits the offense of sexual battery when he or she intentionally makes physical contact with the intimate parts of the body of another person without the consent of that person. O.C.G.A. §16-6-22.1.
However, it is important to remember that no one should be assumed guilty just because they have been accused of a crime.
If you or a loved one has been accused of a crime in Georgia, you need a Georgia Criminal Defense Attorney to help. Crimes involving children have extremely negative connotations, and it may seem impossible or futile to fight the charge. A charge is not the same as a conviction. Contact us today.