A Ringgold woman accused of abusing her 11-year-old adopted son is proclaiming her innocence.
Christine Evelyn Baughman, in a prepared statement issued Wednesday afternoon, Dec. 3 through her attorney, said she is “innocent of these allegations that have been made against her.”
“… As more light is cast upon this situation, her innocence will become apparent,” Baughman’s attorney Adam C. Cathey of Ringgold said in the statement.
“On November 25, 2014, Dr. (Henry) and Ms. Baughman were contacted by Catoosa County child protection and law enforcement authorities,” Cathey said. “At that time, Dr. and Ms. Baughman were informed of allegations having been made by an unknown third party regarding their son. Notwithstanding their full compliance with the investigation, Ms. Baughman was hastily arrested at 10:00 p.m. that evening. While the charges made against Ms. Baughman appear very serious, she wants to assure the community that she is innocent of these allegations that have been made against her.”
Baughman, 43, has been charged with first-degree cruelty to children. She is out of jail on $5,000 bond.
An incident report states that the alleged injuries came from the use of a belt by Baughman.
An investigation was launched following a welfare check of the boy at the family’s home on Nov. 22 after a complaint had been submitted to the Department of Family and Children Services.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation was also notified of the complaint, as was child crimes detective Tim Deal with the Catoosa County Sheriff’s Department.
“It’s a joint investigation,” sheriff Gary Sisk said Wednesday, Dec. 3. “Interviews were conducted in the case and the charge was then brought about.”
Detective Deal and GBI special agent April Wells GBI followed up with the child and set up an interview at the Lookout Mountain Children’s Advocacy Center on Nov. 25, reports show.
During the interview, the boy disclosed physical abuse and neglect, and detectives were given photographs of the boy’s injuries taken during the welfare check on Nov. 22.
Those photographs and the information obtained during the child’s interview were then sent to assistant district attorney Alan Norton, who instructed detective Deal and agent Wells to arrest Baughman.
Baughman’s statement said she understands the severity of the situation.
“The Baughman family remains supportive of their wife and mother during this very stressful time,” the statement reads. “They trust that as more light is cast upon this situation, her innocence will become apparent. With that in mind, however, the Baughmans understand that there is a process that must be followed in order to ensure the safety of all involved. They remain committed to working with local authorities to resolve this situation. As these matters will pose challenges for the Baughman family for the indefinite future, they desire the continued trust of the local community which they have enjoyed for nearly 15 years.”
A source close to the investigation said the family adopted the boy and his brother from the Ukraine during the summer of 2013 and that the adoption was finalized last November.
Sheriff Sisk wouldn’t go into details on the matter but did confirm that the two children were adopted by the Baughmans from overseas.
“Dr. and Ms. Baughman will not respond personally to any media inquiries at this time,” the statement reads. “All questions may be directed to their respective counsel: Adam C. Cathey on behalf of Christine Baughman and John Robert Wiggins on behalf of Dr. Henry Baughman.”