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Child Abuser Michael Abo Sentenced 7.5 Years in Oregon PrisonBonnie King Salem-News.com
This case has saddened much of Yamhill County.
(McMINNVILLE, Ore.) - Michael Abo pleaded Guilty on Wednesday. He is guilty of beating a 4-year old boy nearly to death on New Year’s Eve 2013. The abuse caused permanent, life-altering damage to his girlfriend’s young son, which he admits to.
This week, he was sentenced 7.5 years for his crime. Some say, not nearly long enough.
Abo is an ex-Deputy Sheriff from Yamhill County, and was living in Sheridan, Oregon with girlfriend Brandy Robertson and her son at the time of the incident.
The Sheridan Fire Department responded to the Abo residence in the 400 block of Northwest Evans Street, paramedics were told that a 4-year-old boy had been injured severely. He was later Life-Flighted to OHSU in Portland.
At the hospital, Abo denied hurting the child. He said that the little boy fell from the stairwell inside their home.
He had no answers or explanations for detectives about the numerous bruises and internal injuries, including: a severe brain injury, bruising to his right and left legs, his left arm, stomach area, upper and lower back, left eye, forehead, and pelvic area; he also had seven broken ribs and internal injuries to his bowel and large intestine.
Abo told a deputy he did not see the child fall, he just heard the thump. Then, he said, he found the boy lying on his back at the bottom of the stairs.
The facts did not support Abo’s claim. According to the doctors, the injuries were caused by blunt force trauma. Medical staff said the brain injury “would not be consistent with a fall from a stairwell,” according to court documents.
Michael Shane Abo went to work as a civilian employee for the Yamhill County Sheriff’s Office in December 2007. Eight months later he became a Deputy Sheriff. He was a Deputy for just over 4 years, then was discharged in November 2012 and became a reserve officer with the Yamhill Police Department.
Because of his background with the Yamhill County law enforcement, McMinnville police investigated the case.
This week, the little boy’s family law attorney, Meghan S. Bishop, told the court that he will need care for the rest of his life, and though he wants to be like a normal child going to kindergarten and eventually to prom, “he won’t be able to.” He has suffered life-altering injuries and is experiencing post-traumatic stress.
Guilty to First Degree Assault
The child’s mother, Brandy Robertson cried uncontrollably when Abo was led into the courtroom on Wednesday.
Robertson is not a completely innocent party in this ordeal; she was indicted by the Yamhill County grand jury in January 2014. Last month, she plead guilty to two counts of second-degree criminal mistreatment.
Robertson admitted that she unlawfully and intentionally or knowingly withheld care for her child or medical attention. She said Abo threatened her, and she was afraid of him.
Robertson initially told detectives Abo had tried to explain to her that Noah’s bruising was caused while teaching the boy how to wrestle. She said in court that she should have known about the abuse and should have reported it. She will serve a short jail sentence as part of her plea deal.
She read a statement to the court, describing what it was like to see her son in the hospital, lying on the bed hooked up to dozens of tubes. She said she saw a “huge” piece of her son’s skull missing.
“I hope you pay in hell for this,” she said to Abo. “I hope those images and sounds of my son’s scream haunt you.”
As she read her statement, she dropped her to knees, pleading for the judge to give Abo a longer sentence.
The Abuser Hangs His Head
On Wednesday, March 4, 2015, Michael Abo entered a guilty plea to one count of first-degree assault in Circuit Court, before Judge Collins. Abo then spoke to the court, saying he is “really sorry” for what he did to the little boy. Then, without making eye contact with the boy’s mother, he said that “not a day goes by when he doesn’t think about the boy and his actions”. The victim’s family was not impressed.
“I don't know why he wasn't charged with attempted murder in the beginning," Steven Sengezer, Noah's grandfather, commented after court. "He tried to kill my grandson."
Judge Collins said to Abo, “I cannot think of words that fully encompass the depth of harm that was inflicted by you.”
The Judge said if he had the option he would sentence Abo to more than life in prison because “you imposed a life sentence on (the boy.)”
Under Oregon law, the mandatory minimum for a person with no criminal record convicted of first-degree assault is 90 months in prison, which is what Abo was sentenced. He was not tried for Attempted Murder. Child advocates are baffled by the absence of additional charges, considering the gravity of the crime.
Prosecutors might have taken advantage of the option to file for an upward departure, asking for the judge to go beyond that sentence, but for some unknown reason, that request was not made. Abo was led out of the courtroom in handcuffs.
After Abo was sentenced, Brandy Robertson told KOIN 6 News, “Noah has to live with this for the rest of his life and Mike Abo should be behind bars for the rest of his life.”
The 7.5 year sentence Abo received is “a slap on the wrist,” she said. Scores of others agree and have voiced their agreement with that assessment, via facebook and news agency comments sections.
The boy’s mother said she and her family have started an online petition to make tougher sentencing guidelines for child abusers.
She said she hopes others will learn from the mistakes she made. "I made the mistake of trusting someone and let them intimidate me and let me hide in the background," Robertson said.
The best part of this story is that the little boy lived. He is five years old now, and is out of the wheelchair, able to walk on his own. He still has a long, difficult road ahead of him.
All of this pain and anguish was completely avoidable; he could have lived a healthy, normal life, were it not for those tasked with his care and protection.
Today, he lives with his grandparents in Washington State and is making steady progress.
SEE SALEM-NEWS.COM PREVIOUS COVERAGE, by Tim King:
Jan 4, 2014: Former Deputy Arrested for Criminal Mistreatment and Assault, Four Year Old in Critical Condition
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