By Matt Youngfrau
LOCH SHELDRAKE December 20, 2002 On Monday, a Loch Sheldrake couple were arrested and charged with abusing the six-year-old boy they were babysitting.
Jennifer Lynn Schoonmaker, 20, was charged with assault in the second degree, a felony, and endangering the welfare of a child, a misdemeanor. Also charged was Nashawn Pettway, 21, with two counts of assault in the second degree, felonies, criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree and endangering the welfare of a child, both misdemeanors.
Schoonmaker is being held on $2,500 bail and Pettway on $5,000 bail. Both are in the Sullivan County Jail awaiting a December 23 court appearance.
The charges stem from an incident that allegedly happened while the couple was babysitting the child. According to the Fallsburg Police Department, the child scratched out I love you with a thumbtack on a dresser and was subsequently beat Sunday with a belt and thrown to the floor and at a wall until he was nearly unconscious.
The boys mother discovered the bruises and called police.
Someone did a number on that kid, commented Fallsburg Police Chief Brent Lawrence. This was not the first time the couple watched the kid. We have to operate on the accusations.
The incident was the subject of a great deal of discussion on WSUL radio Wednesday morning. The Riley and Bill Show asked listeners to call in with their opinions. According to morning DJ Jim Riley, the phones were ringing off the hook from 7 a.m. to past 10 a.m. Even with four people answering the phones, they could not handle the volume.
A lot of people had something to say. I havent seen anything like it, remarked Riley. Some said they were wrongly accused. The calls ran the entire gamut. Anybody and any opinion is always welcome to call us . . . [and] it is very exciting that Sullivan County is a very intelligent and very opinionated community.
When Lawrence was told that people calling WSUL had stated there was more to the story, he requested that anyone with any information pertinent to the case please call him at 434-4422.