Mom who put son in dryer sentenced

By Associated Press

Mom who put son in dryer sentenced By Associated Press NILES -- A woman who disciplined her 6-year-old son by placing him inside a running clothes dryer has been sentenced to two to 15 years in prison.

Berrien County Trial Court Judge Casper O. Grathwohl came down hard on Tressa Ellen Jaroch during her sentencing hearing Monday. "What can a mother be thinking about to put a child in a dryer?" he asked Jaroch, 28, of Buchanan.

Ryan Jaroch received bumps, bruises and red skin during the approximately two minutes he spent tumbling inside the dryer on March 21. The boy's psychological scars will last for years, the judge said.

Tressa Jaroch was arrested March 31 and pleaded guilty on Sept. 8 to a charge of first-degree child abuse. She said she closed the dryer door on Ryan to punish him for playing hide-and-seek inside the machine after she had told him not to.

"Her intent was to punish the child and to teach him a lesson," Jeffrey B. Taylor, an assistant prosecutor for Berrien County, said Wednesday. "Due to naivete and a lack of common sense, she never really realized how dangerous it was to do what she did to her child." She also admitted to knowing that closing the door would start the dryer.

Ryan's 8-year-old sister, Katelyn, pulled him from the machine, according to police reports. Both children are now in the custody of their paternal grandmother, the Herald-Palladium of St. Joseph reported Tuesday.

Authorities were notified in late March after the children's father, Charles Jaroch, discovered Ryan's bruises while visiting the boy and girl. The Jarochs are separated.

The woman apologized to her family at her sentencing hearing.

"I know what I did was wrong," Tressa Jaroch said. "I want to apologize to my family and my kids. I haven't had the chance to say I'm sorry. I love my son with all my heart. ... I'm going to do whatever you say I have to do. I'm willing to face the consequences."

Since her arrest, the woman has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Her lawyer, Sean Drew of Niles, said she had undergone surgery within the past two weeks and was scheduled to start five weeks of radiation therapy on Nov. 18.

Drew had asked for leniency because of his client's medical condition, her limited educational background and the absence of a previous criminal record. He blamed the episode on Jaroch's "lack of common sense" and said his client was "devastated" by the sentence.

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