Wis. dad gets probation for neglect of girl, 3
- Associated Press
- September 7, 2013 - 1:10 PM
LA CROSSE, Wis. — A La Crosse man who allowed his girlfriend to deprive his 3-year-old daughter of water was sentenced this week to three years of probation, but he'll serve eight years on a separate conviction for violating probation.
Dustin M. Barnes, 23, pleaded guilty in May to being party of the crime of neglecting a child. He received a stayed sentence Friday of three years in prison, meaning he'll serve the time if he violates the terms of his probation, the La Crosse Tribune reported (http://bit.ly/1cSEYsD ).
His three-year probation will begin when he finishes his eight-year prison term.
Authorities began investigating in January after a social worker noted the girl had lost weight and hair since returning to Barnes' home after a stint in foster care. Doctors also found fractures in her hands and feet.
In the six months the girl lived with Barnes and his girlfriend, Josie Dikeman, she was often locked in her room with toys out of reach or made to stand during timeouts that could last 90 minutes, relatives told investigators.
Dikeman, 21, also limited the girl to three drinks a day so she wouldn't wet her pants, prosecutors said. She was also forced to hold her hands in the air when she sat on an adult toilet so she wouldn't play in the water, which prosecutor Emily Hynek said she did because she was thirsty.
Defense attorney Eric Sanford said Barnes' judgment had been clouded by drug addiction. But Hynek said drugs weren't to blame. She said Barnes allowed Dikeman to control his life, and that he told her in a recorded phone conversation he didn't want pictures of the kids — just "good pictures" of her.
"This is an individual who let his own child suffer to keep a female happy," Hynek said.
Barnes apologized to the judge and said he just wants to be a father to his children.
"I was being selfish," he said. "That's not the life I want to live."
Dikeman is charged with felony child abuse and neglect. A message left at the office of her attorney, Sean O'Neill, on Saturday was not immediately returned.
© 2013 Star Tribune