SANDPOINT — A Laclede man accused of hog-tying a nephew with Asperger’s syndrome pleaded guilty Tuesday to a reduced child endangerment charge.
Shane Lee Crawford was accused of forcing the 12-year-old boy to the ground and binding the child’s hands and feet together in September of last year. Crawford said in court that he bound the child to keep him from running away.
“He would run off. We couldn’t stop him,” said Crawford.
Asperger’s syndrome is an autism spectrum disorder, a pervasive developmental disorder marked by inappropriate social behavior.
Crawford, 38, was originally charged with injury to a child at the felony level, but a plea agreement reduced the offense to misdemeanor because an unidentified witness was unable to testify, Bonner County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Shane Greenbank said.
The terms of the agreement proposed a 180-day jail sentence with 135 days suspended and 45 days credit for time served. The sentence would run concurrently with Crawford’s sentence in a previous child endangerment case.
Crawford was accused of choking his son. He was charged at the felony level and pleaded to a misdemeanor charge of injury to a child. He was sentenced to 180 days in jail with 166 days suspended and 14 days credit for time served.
Crawford’s supervised probation would be extended to the fall of 2013.
Jeremy Featherston, Crawford’s defense counsel, said the key thrust in both cases was his client’s need for counseling and guidance on avoiding inappropriate parental behaviors.
“What have you learned from all this?” asked Judge Debra Heise.
“The laws have changed a lot since I was a child,” Crawford answered.
Crawford added that the counseling he’s received has equipped him with better tools for coping with outbursts and de-escalating situations.
Heise approved the terms of the plea agreement due to the emphasis on Crawford’s counseling.