Stateline man sentenced to prison for child abuse
A Stateline man was sentenced to one to three years in state prison Monday by Judge Michael Gibbons for breaking his 6-year-old daughter’s leg.
Scott Hill, 41, was arrested after taking his daughter to the emergency room with a broken leg.
“I take full responsibly for my actions,” Hill told the court before his sentencing. “My daughters and my wife mean more to me than anything. I can’t tell you how sorry I am.”
According to court records, officers had to sift through varied stories, but believe Hill was struggling with his daughter while attempting to spank her for breaking a house rule – getting food from the kitchen without the parents’ help. Hill and his wife, Mary, also have another daughter.
Mary Hill was also sentenced in Tahoe Justice court to misdemeanor child abuse or neglect. She was sentenced to six months in jail, but five months were suspended, so she served 30 days.
Hill’s attorney, Mark Jackson, attempted to get parts of the parole and probation pre-sentence report dropped because it listed three unsubstantiated reports of social workers called to investigate the home.
“The division (of probation) works under separate guidelines. I would object under the fact that my client didn’t have due process – he didn’t have the opportunity to counsel. Even if they were substantiated, I would ask you not to put much evidence into them, but they found nothing,” Jackson said.
Gibbons said he wanted to hear what the physical or emotional impact had been on the child and asked the CASA director Jeanne Clement to investigate.
Clement said the child had to stay in the hospital for 21 days and was in a body cast for about 58 days.
“She has to go to physical therapy every day for the injury and is unable to attend school,” Clement said. “Her foster parents said the trauma to (her) is extreme and the extent has not been determined.”
She also said the little girl talked very little about her father, and when she did it was not favorable.
But, Hill’s brother and mother-in-law spoke to the court and disagreed with that.
“She wants very, very much to see her father. She asks about her father. She holds no grudge against her father. She loves her father very, very much,” Elizabeth Steinwind said.
Hill’s brother, David, stood up for his brother.
“He’s a good person. He has a problem with drinking. He does need help with drinking,” David Hill said.
Jackson said that what Scott Hill needed was alcohol counseling. He said Hill, a security guard at a casino, had been drinking until 4 a.m. the day of the incident and awoke early to find the child had disobeyed the house rule.
“There’s a big difference between an accident and intentionally doing it, even though it may have been inappropriate behavior,” Jackson said. “From the very moment I met him, the amount of remorse he has expressed has been unbelievable. I haven’t seen that in a client in the past year.”
Jackson asked Hill be placed on probation with 90 days in jail.
Gibbons said he didn’t give the man a heavier sentence because he did seem to be honestly remorseful for what had happened.
“The court takes a very dim view of child abuse because they can’t take care of themselves,” he said. “When you get out and start over, at some point you will have a life with your children, but it’s not going to be right now.”
Gibbons said a civil case, which placed the children in a foster home, has already been heard and Hill was ordered to undergo alcohol and domestic violence counseling through that case in order to get his children back.
He must also pay a $25 assessment fee and restitution for the hospital costs. Hill was given credit for 60 days served in the Douglas County Jail.