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updated: 1/11/2011 5:03 PM

St. Charles mother indicted in child beating

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A St. Charles woman was indicted Tuesday for her role in the beating of her 2-year-old daughter. The grand jury determined that even though the woman did not strike the girl, her failure to intercede on her child's behalf makes her accountable.

A Kane County grand jury indicted Cathleen Koch, 28, on one count of aggravated battery to a child, six counts of obstructing justice and six counts of endangering the life or health of a child. The first seven counts are felonies.

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James Cooper, 27, of Elburn, who was charged at the time of the Oct. 27 beating, was indicted on one count of aggravated battery to a child, a Class X felony, and three counts of misdemeanor endangering the life or health of a child.

Authorities said Cooper, Koch and the child had been living in a hotel room in the 1500 block of East Main Street in St. Charles. Relatives have said the child lived primarily with Koch's mother.

According to the indictments, Cooper knowingly caused great bodily harm to the girl in that he applied violent force to her body, that the child was placed in circumstances that endangered her life, and that Koch provided false information to authorities about the incident.

Police say Koch told them that Cooper had beaten the girl in the head that day. The girl became upset and started crying, and Cooper held the girl by her arms and shook her in midair. He then slammed her facedown onto the bed.

The child suffered broken bones and bleeding on the brain. When paramedics arrived the girl was not breathing, and she was bleeding from the mouth.

The indictments against Koch allege she permitted the child to be supervised by Cooper, even though she knew Cooper had previously injured the child; that she allowed Cooper to take the child while he went to buy drugs; and that she allowed the child to be in a room where heroin was stored.

The indictments also charge that Koch lied to police, telling them that she was alone in the hotel room when she knew Cooper was there; that the child was injured in a fall; that she did not know Cooper's last name; and that she lied about what vehicle Cooper may have used when leaving the hotel.

Prosecutors are seeking extended sentencing for Cooper, because they consider the offense "exceptionally brutal, heinous and wantonly cruel," according to a statement from the state's attorney's office.

According to the state's attorney's office, the Illinois Supreme Court has recognized that parents have a common-law duty to protect their children from known threats, such that, under certain conditions, the omission to act will give rise to criminal liability.

Cooper was arrested Oct. 29 in Batavia. He remains in the Kane County jail on $3 million bail. His next court date is Thursday.

A warrant was issued Tuesday for Koch's arrest. Bail was set at $100,000.

If convicted, Koch could face six to 30 years in prison and Cooper could face six to 60 years in prison.

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