Woman who beat foster child fined

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A South Lake Tahoe woman was fined $500 for beating her 5-year-old foster son in a Carson City parking lot.

Susan Jelitko-Bell, 44, pleaded guilty to one count of gross misdemeanor child abuse April 15.

She was arrested Dec. 31 in the WalMart parking lot after a witness from San Jose saw her repeatedly strike the 5-year-old mute boy who had soiled his pants.

According to police reports, the witness told deputies she observed Jelitko-Bell "strike the child four or five times in the face. The defendant was observed to grab the child by his ears and hair and bang his head against the driver's side door approximately five or six times."

Jelitko-Bell's 9-year-old son was also a witness to the incident and told police he saw his mother hit the boy, the report states.

The San Jose witness said in her statement Jelitko-Bell's son "stood on the opposite side of the car holding his hands over his ears, terrified."

According to police reports, Jelitko-Bell admitted she "lost it."

Police noted the child had redness on both ears, bruising on the left cheek and a small cut on his left ear. He was taken by California Child Protective Services to Barton Memorial Hospital for an evaluation.

The boy was placed in Jelitko-Bell's care by Koinonia Foster Homes, a state-licensed, nonprofit organization that places children in foster homes.

In a letter to the judge, Jelitko-Bell said she'd been a foster mother for five years and cared for 24 children.

Court records show that she completed 82 hours of community service and anger management classes prior to her Tuesday sentencing. She also resigned her foster care license and stipulated in the plea agreement that she would not participate in foster care or any type of child care unless it is approved by her probation officer and domestic violence counselor.

The child was returned to his natural parents.


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