A Lakewood man was sentenced in Pierce County Superior Court on Friday for beating his 2-year-old daughter, submerging her in water and dangling her off a balcony last May.
Judge James Orlando sentenced 20-year-old Seaton Moore Jr. to seven years in custody and no contact with the daughter, followed by mental health treatment and parenting classes.
Defense attorney Laura Carnell noted that Moore had no criminal history. She stated that perhaps the incident occurred because Moore was too young to father a child and had a rough upbringing.
“I think this has been and eye-opening experience for Mr. Moore,” she said. “He is a good person and I think this has been a serious shock for him.”
She also noted that Moore has shown no signs of drug or alcohol abuse, has no mental health problems and has cooperated with police, taking the matter very seriously.
Moore, crying, read a letter he’d written:
“I’m sorry to my daughter. I’m sorry to my family for putting them through all this chaos and confusion.
“I’m sorry I wasn’t ready to be a father to her. When I get out, I’m more than willing to take classes and go back to school, not only to better myself but also to be a positive role model and person she can look up to.”
Orlando said being a parent is “not just biological.”
“Being a parent comes with a huge responsibility,” the judge said. “A big part of that is not harming your child. It’s a line most people wouldn’t think of crossing, but you’ve crossed it already.”
Moore initially faced the charge of first-degree child assault, but later pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of attempted assault of a child in the first degree.
Charging papers give this account of the incident:
Moore was arrested May 20 after police, responding to another call, saw him holding his daughter off a third-story balcony.
Officers found the girl in bed, “shaking profusely,” covered in bruises and with a swollen jaw.
Moore’s girlfriend told officers the girl was eating when she began throwing up, angering Moore, who took her to the bathroom and beat her.
Paramedics who evaluated the child at the apartment “noted she had some oatmeal that was in her mouth but was too frightened to let go of the oatmeal.”
She was taken to Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital and Health Center, where doctors found she was covered with bruises on her face, stomach, legs, arms, back and buttocks.
The bruises were in various stages of healing, indicating the abuse was ongoing.
The child also suffered hemorrhaging in her left eye and a cut to her lip.
Moore admitted to submerging his daughter in water, slamming her into two bathroom fixtures, beating her with his hands, whipping her with a belt and hanging her from the balcony “in an attempt to scare her,” records show.