A Placentia couple were sentenced to three years of informal probation Thursday after pleading guilty to misdemeanor child endangerment for chaining their troublesome 9-year-old son to a closet post.
At the hearing in Municipal Court in Fullerton, attorneys for both sides agreed that neither Guadencio Martinez nor Irma Ventura wanted to hurt the oldest of their four children. When they bound him by his left ankle to a post in the bedroom closet on Feb. 18, they were simply tired of his constant nighttime wanderings from home, attorneys said.
The parents were originally charged with felony child endangerment, but those charges were downgraded after prosecutors learned that the boy had not been physically harmed.
Deputy Dist. Atty. Tom Crofoot said the couple have been "cooperating 100%" with county child welfare officials since the incident and have faithfully attended parenting classes and family therapy sessions.
"What they did was inappropriate, there is no question about that," but the couple were only trying to keep the boy out of trouble, Crofoot said.
Deputy Public Defender Jamalyn Ollinger, who represented Martinez, said the couple were "having a difficult time with an overactive child" and did not know where to go for help. "Everyone agrees that the kid was out of control and that these people did not have the best parenting skills," said Erick Larsh, Ventura's attorney.
While Martinez and Ventura attend parenting classes, their three youngest children, ages 3, 5 and 7, are in the custody of their grandparents, Crofoot said. The juvenile courts will review the family's situation periodically, he said. The troubled boy is in the custody of county child welfare officials and is receiving therapy.