Grand jury gets aggravated child abuse case against Friendsville man
By Iva Butler | (email@example.com)
The aggravated child abuse charges against a 30-year-old Friendsville man were voluntarily waived to a Blount County grand Jury Thursday morning.
Johnathan Thomas Orr, Bonnie C. Curtis Lane, Friendsville, was scheduled to have a preliminary hearing on charges of three counts of aggravated child abuse, domestic violence with assault and resisting arrest.
Blount County Assistant District Attorney General Ellen Berez said she did not make Orr a plea-bargain offer. Defense attorney Ashley Bentley recommended Orr waive the right to a preliminary hearing and have the case go directly to the grand jury.
Orr remains in Blount County Jail under $170,000 bond. On Sept. 12 his bond was raised from $22,000, which Berez characterized as being “woefully inadequate,” to $170,000.
At that time two Blount County school resource officers, Brett Shaw of Union Grove and Timothy Burger of Friendsville Elementary, reported arresting Orr on Aug. 23 after they allegedly saw evidence and heard testimony that he beat three of his five children, ages 8, 7 and 6, with a stick.
The children’s mother also had bruises on her arms and legs, part of which she said she received “trying to protect my children” and others from before when her husband had been abusing her.
According to his wife, Orr had been abusive to the children before, particularly the 7-year-old with autism, but had never hit them with a stick.
The autistic child was reportedly beaten so badly, with marks from the stick on his arms, legs and back, the his parents kept him home from school so teachers and other students would not notice the bleeding and bruising.
The beating incident occurred when the children were playing outside with neighbor. Orr reportedly got angry, complaining that the house smelled of urine.
The autistic child is incontinent and urinated on himself, his mother said.
If the grand jury finds probably cause in November, the case will go to Blount County Circuit Court, where Orr can elect to have a jury trial.