Woman Sentenced to 78 Years for Waterboarding Her Children

A St. Louis woman was sentenced Friday to 78 years in prison for the “systematic torture” and prolonged abuse of her three children. Lakechia Schonta Stanley, 34, faced 34 felonies, including multiple counts of assault and endangering the welfare of a child.
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St. Louis Today reports that Stanley admitted to beating, whipping and waterboarding her children. Her abuse came to light in October 2011 when one of her children reported her to a school librarian.

The child, then 10 years old, went to school complaining of severe pain in her arm, revealing in the course of the day that Stanley had recently beaten her with a baseball bat for not cleaning the kitchen quickly enough. She told the librarian that her younger sister, 8 years-old, was also beaten for taking too long in the shower.

According to prosecutors, the librarian found that the girl’s arm was cold and hard to the touch upon examining her. She was taken to a hospital where doctors concluded that her arm had endured such trauma that the blood supply to the limb had been restricted.

The girls later revealed the extent of their abuse in interviews with prosecutors, saying that they were whipped with electrical cords, forced into scalding or freezing showers, and beaten with various blunt objects. The three children all suffered extensive scarring and emotional trauma.

“She was supposed to be their mother, the one person they could trust. Instead she became a symbol of betrayal and fear, using every tool at her disposal to beat and torture her own innocent children,” assistant circuit attorney Tanja Engelhardt wrote in a sentencing memorandum.

The woman’s husband, 30-year-old Andrew Rui Stanley, pleaded guilty to similar charges last year, and was sentenced to 140 years in prison.