Monique James Convicted of Child Abuse

By: Meaghan M. Norman Email
By: Meaghan M. Norman Email

A jury has convicted a mother of abusing her foster child.

Monique James took the stand on Wednesday defending herself and her disciplining as a parent.

"I pushed her," Monique James tearfully admitted in court. "I was frustrated so I pushed her."

It was emotional testimony from the woman who claims she was born to be a mother.

"I always wanted to adopt children and to make a difference."

James says she shoved her soon-to-be adoptive daughter into some steps when she didn't obey. The defense says James was trying to discipline her child and went too far -- but not to the point of child abuse.

"She may be responsible for the push on the side but other than that she is not responsible or guilty of child abuse," said Vincent Green, James' attorney.

"We did not beat our children. We loved our children. We did not abuse them."

James testified that some of the bruising was likely caused by a couple of spankings with a belt --- but claimed ---- that punishment was her only option.

"I didn't want to do it, but I didn't know what else to do. I know that it was a form of discipline. I thought it would work."

James claims the shove was out of frustration and the harm wasn't intentional. But when the little girl got to the hospital it was a matter of life or death.

"When someone comes in that bad ..... that person could die," said Dr. Stephen Guertin, a pediatrics specialist at Sparrow Hospital.

Doctor Guertin testified that the combination of injuries indicated long term abuse.

"Three impact sites on the head; multiplanal injuries, brain injury, grip marks, butt bruises and very clear whip marks, there was abuse."

After James says she shoved the girl --- she says the child fell from a step stool while washing her hands in a bathroom.

"From a simple stairway fall you wouldn't expect her to come in dying and she was," said Guertin. "For us, we knew the child had been abused."

But Guertin says the fall and the shove were just part of the story.

James faces a maximum of 15 years on the first-degree child abuse charge when she's sentenced in November. Her lawyer tells he may file an appeal.

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  • by Monica Location: Oak Park,Illinois on May 29, 2012 at 02:13 PM
    How could this woman and her husband lied about this case for past two years.The State of Michigan needs to be held liable for not furthering their investigation and all the children needs to be removed from the husband custody and needs to be charged!
  • by Latasha Robinson Location: Chicago on May 22, 2012 at 07:26 PM
    If Chauncey and Monique are such good people. Then why for the past 8 years have they lied about the where abouts of my nephew and kept my brother from seeing his son. They have collected child support from my brother and yearly gifts from my mother for the child. But have yet to allow my brother to see his son. They are both very sick people. She's abusive and she's getting what she deserves. God help people that condone this kind of ignorance . It won't be long before we make sure that my nephew never has to see her nor her spineless husband Chauncey again. Sign Mad and Dissapointed Aunt
  • by anonymous Location: el paso on Mar 4, 2011 at 09:24 PM
    Okay "fed up with idiots" you look like a freakin idiot right now, because you don't know what your talking about. You wasn't in the house with them and you don't know that Chauncey just sat back and watched her do it. You most likely don't have kids and don't know how frustraiting it is trying to raise your own plus two others and honestly I don't see you trying to adopt a child and change their life this is probly the only thing you have worth living for so get off this family's balls and go get a life cause your a jerk for calling people stuff and you only know what the media is telling you. There is a such thing as PROPAGANDA. I bet you didn't know this family goes to church twice a week, they don't drink or curse and I bet you do just about all of those and all of you others that say you got beat, no offense but this is not your family I'm not saying that this is okay but don't just jump to conclusions about what happened because like I said you wasn't in the house with them
  • by Joseph Location: Lansing on Oct 10, 2010 at 10:01 PM
    Chauncey and Monique are good people and fostering children is an admirable task. Most people are not willing to help others or loving enough to care. You point fingers at someone who takes the time to raise someone's child as there own. Who knows what mental condition the child was in but obviously they were trying to correct it. You all talk a good game of how things should be run in their home but your doors are shut to the wards of the state and the crack babies and quick to send your own parents to retirement homes. Point the finger at yourself for ignoring humanity. Monique was trying to make a difference and stepped up when there was a need.

    "Orphans & vulnerable children are NOT a cause.Caring for them is a biblical mandate we can't ignore. To do nothing is sin." ~ Pastor Rick Warren
  • by Anonymous Location: Lansing on Oct 8, 2010 at 07:41 AM
    There is good and bad in this situation. The good is the child is still alive. The bad is the mother she thought loved here is going to prison. To be honest the State is at fault also. There needs to be a complete investigation. I am a mother that was charged with neglect and come to find out it was not me, but my child. The foster care system in Michigan is seriously lacking in responsiblity to protect the children from this abuse. This is a on going problem in this country really no matter what state. People in these position think it is just a job, let me get my check. I will leave you with this comment: ABUSE IS INEVITABLE IF THE PURPOSE OF A THING IS NOT KNOWN. The late Marvin Gaye sang about the children, did he see this coming before he died... God Bless and protect our children in this system. Help the parents in this system. Watch the workers in this system. And most of all Everybody needs to PRAY for everyone in the system. God Bless........
  • by Fed up with Idiots on Oct 8, 2010 at 07:20 AM
    Chauncey is the jerk who ruined his own reputation, he allowed Monique to beat a child almost to death and did absolutely nothing to stop it. How dare anyone say they are loving, church going peole who wouldn't do this. The pictures speak a totally different story, a child spent 2 month in intensive care and they are good parents. I would think C PS should take a look at your home and your kids if you think beating a child is ok, or blow it off as just an accident. I am not against spanking, but I am against beating a child. Purple, yellow and black and blue brusess do not come from a spanking they come from a beating. The court said she was guilty. I dont think the TV sensatinalized it, I heard the DR testify, and saw the picutres. That was enough for a lot of us. Please stop trying to make it just nothing. Do not try to minimizie, or trivialize this. It was a very serious crime. The child deserves more than it was an accident. The Doctor says this will be with her forever.
  • by Anonymous on Oct 8, 2010 at 06:11 AM
    Matt: There is a big difference in the public face people put on and what happens behind close doors. Example: My mother was much loved in Lansing, did a lot of Charity work, was active in her Church had a world of friends... at home this woman beat me with wire hangers, broke my nose, and also my arm. just to give a couple of examples. No one besides my dad (who closed his eyes to all of it) knew, I was to ashamed to say anything, and back then it was bad kids not parents. I spent years in therapy, and I will carry the scars forever. Please do not ever try to justify leaving black and blue marks on a baby. Do not tell me brain damage was an accident. This woman may be wonderful in your eyes, but she is a monster in mine. No child can do anything that warrants almost beating them to death. The Dr. said the child almost DIED from the beating. I repeat this woman is a monster. I also don't think her husband is any better.
  • by Anonymous on Oct 8, 2010 at 05:46 AM
    I was beaten by a belt when I was 12 years old. My mother left welts from head to toe. Even on my face, what did I do wrong. I didn't carry out the trash. I still have the scars, and I wouldn't wish the pain on a grownup let alone a 4 year old baby. My parents were God fearing Church going also. By the way this wasn't the first or last beating I got. It didn't stop until I was in HS and my Gym teacher saw some welts. She called the police. My mother was arrested. This woman needs to go away for a long long time. Please do not try to defend what she did. No child deserves to be beaten almost to death. Not one child should be punished like that.
  • by Lee on Oct 8, 2010 at 04:52 AM
    Gloria do you have mush for a brain? The child almost died from the beatings she got. That is no accident! The woman lost her temper and almost killed a small child. That no accident, that is abuse. I feel sorry for anyone who thinks beating a child half to death, and calling it a spanking is an accident. You obviously have no concept of what a belt can do. Whatever the punishment, it is not enough. This child will have to live with the results for the rest of her life. What could she have done that deserved that kind of a beating? Wetting her pants didn't.
  • by Matt Location: Lansing on Oct 7, 2010 at 08:30 PM
    Before we rush to judgment, let's take a step back and realize we never truly know what's going on in the home. And the only info we got was gory details listed by the news (whose main agenda is to attract more viewers, not objectively report the news). I have known Chauncey (the husband) and he is a committed church and family man who never so much as swore or drank. I've known Monique since high school - and she has always been a kind sweet hearted person. What happened was horrible, but quite honestly, could have happened to anyone who spanks or disciplines their children. Before you paint them as monsters, think about some of the punishments you yourselves have doled out, or the negligence that you may be guilty of. Get perspective, and pray for that little girl AND the James'; none of them wanted things to end up like this.

    And 'Dana' - Chauncey has never been convicted of domestic assault previously - that's the plea deal he took on THIS case. Get your facts straight before you drag someones name through the mud. Jerk.
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