On July 4, Polk County Sheriff’s Special Victims Unit detectives arrested 32-year-old David Lee Sinnett of 2765 Holly Lane in Bartow, and charged him with one count of aggravated child abuse.
Sinnett recently spent time in prison for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, and was released in May 2010.
A day after his most recent arrest, on July 5, detectives also placed into custody 29-year-old Arlene Tilson of Bartow and charged her with one count child neglect and one count of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. This arrest was connected to the investigation into the abuse that detectives say was inflicted on the 2-year-old boy.
Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said he hopes both arrests serve as a wake up call to anyone who might think it’s acceptable to physically injures a child.
“We want to send a clear message that we will arrest anyone who harms a child, or stands there and watches someone harm a child,” Judd said. “It is unthinkable to me how anyone could allow a child to be abused by this violent man, and then not even take the child to the hospital or report the abuse to authorities.”
According to Carrie Eleazor, the public information officer for the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, Sinnett “beat a two-year-old boy he had access to with a clothes hanger about his face and body, causing several bruises and severely injuring the boy’s eye.”
Witnesses to the abuse told detectives that Sinnett “beat the child because he couldn’t pronounce his — the child’s — sister’s name correctly,” Eleazor noted in her report on the arrests. “A doctor’s examination of the child’s black eye revealed a fractured orbital bone, which according to the doctor could cause permanent eye damage or even loss of sight.”
Witnesses to the incident – and, according to the arrest report, Arelene herself – said Arelene watched what happened to the child but “did nothing to stop it,” Eleazor noted. “Nor did she take the boy to the hospital or report the abuse to Polk County Sheriff’s Office or any other authorities.”
The sheriff’s office is not releasing any details about Sinnett’s or the woman’s relationship to the child, “as it may reveal the identity of the child, and per Florida State Statute 119, child abuse victim information is confidential and exempt,” Eleazor noted.
Sinnett was placed in the Polk County Jail on Independence Day with no bond. His criminal history is a lengthy one, and “Sinnett has been in the Polk County Jail on eight prior occasions,” Eleazor noted.
His arrests in Polk County alone include aggravated assault – the original charge was attempted second degree murder, which was downgraded to aggravated assault – and possession of a concealed weapon by a convicted felon. He was found guilty on both counts in 2005.
He was given a five year prison sentence and sent to the Jefferson Correctional Institute in Monticello. He was released on May 27, 2010.
Earlier charges in Polk County include resisting arrest, possession of marijuana with the intent to sell, and possession of a weapon by a convicted felon in 2003; disorderly conduct in 2000; carrying a concealed weapon and possession of marijuana in 1998; and burglary in 1997. A guilty verdict was the result in each case.
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