MANITOWOC, Wis. – A Wisconsin woman was charged Thursday with child abuse for allegedly beating and scalding her 5-year-old son who has Down syndrome.
Ruthann Gneiser, 31, of Manitowoc, faces one felony count of physical abuse of a child, intentionally causing great bodily harm.
According to the complaint, Gneiser told an investigator she was angry and repeatedly struck the boy on his back. When he defecated in his pants, she pulled her son into the bathroom and made him stand in the shower under cold water, the complaint said. Authorities say she filled the bathtub with hot water and the boy sat in the scalding water.
The boy was screaming when he was in the cold and hot water, Gneiser told the investigator. She said she realized the water was too hot when she reached in to help her son clean his underwear and almost burned herself, the complaint said.
Gneiser said she believed the boy sat in the hot water for up to 1 ½ minutes, resulting in the boy suffering scald burns over 8 percent of his body, the complaint said.
According to the investigator, no medical attention was sought for the boy for about three hours. He was taken to a hospital Monday.
A doctor who examined the boy told the investigator that the number of his bruises were "too numerous to count," the complaint said.
Gneiser is free on $10,000 cash bail and is due to make her first court appearance Monday. Online court records do not list a defense attorney.