Two-year-old punished in dryer

Friday, August 24, 2007

27-year-old Bobby Lynn Curtis admitted to putting his girlfriend's two-year-old daughter into a clothes dryer as punishment because she had "thrown a fit," police in Lumberton, Texas said Wednesday. Curtis faces up to 99 years in prison for the incident which he blamed on anger-management issues in a surprise news conference Wednesday morning at the Hardin County jail.

"I'm truly sorry what I've done," he told a reporter. Curtis, a construction worker, was bathing the child, whose name has not been released, Sunday evening while her mother was out shopping. The child objected to having her hair washed, which angered Curtis. "She just kept hollering. I kept getting madder and madder," he recalled.

Curtis told police that he took the girl to the already running, hot dryer, put the child in it and turned it on. He left the child tumbling for about five seconds before getting her out. The child, who told her mother what had happened the following morning, suffered first- and second-degree burns to her arms. "Bobby put me in the dryer," she told her mother. She was treated and released from the hospital Monday. Her mother contacted the police and Curtis was arrested and jailed that night on $150,000 bond.

Curtis, who had been living with his girlfriend for about a year along with her six-year-old son, two-year-old daughter and their 12-week-old baby girl, said that he had hoped the girl would be "too scared to say anything." He added, "I was hoping that being as young as she was, it was something she wouldn't remember."

One legal expert says that Curtis' news conference was an unwise move. Curtis was not represented by counsel at the time and may find it difficult to find representation now. "He should have kept his mouth shut," said Adam Gershowitz, a South Texas College of Law criminal law professor. "Whatever happens, I want to be able to see my little girl again," Curtis said.

Child Protective Services has determined that the child shall remain with her mother.