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Mother, step-father
accused of abusing boys

by Alan McArthur
Landmark reporter

Two Platte County residents are charged with child endangerment involving alleged abuse against two young boys.

The mother and step-father of the four-year-old and one-year-old boys were charged with two counts each of child endangerment in the first degree after the children were rushed to the hospital.

Patrick E. Gerhardt, 28, and his wife Leona F. Gerhardt, 41, have been charged with child endangerment by the Platte County Prosecutor.

According to the probable cause statement, the Platte County Sheriff's Department responded to the home in the 7400 block of Oak Drive in unincorporated Platte County on Thursday, June 4.

Deputies found an injury on the four-year-old's forehead about three inches in circumference as well as “numerous” bruises and scrapes on the boy's head, arms, and legs. The report says the injuries range in size from the tip of an ink pen to the size of a half dollar.

“Very little of (the boy's) face was not covered with some type of injury,” the deputy wrote.

The deputies also found that the boy's buttocks were entirely covered with bruises. The boy's testicles were also swollen to the size of a large orange and were dark red in color.

The one-year-old had large bruises on the side of his head and a bump around three inches in circumference on the side of his head. The boy had large cuts on the inside of his lips and long, thin bruises on his legs. His buttocks were also entirely covered with bruises, according to court papers.

Both children were rushed to Children's Mercy Hospital for treatment.

During an interview with authorities, the mother said she works during the day and leaves the boys at the home with her husband, Patrick. She told deputies she met him in February 2009 and married him in April 2009.

Leona allegedly told the deputies that Patrick told her the injuries were inflicted with the “boys being boys” and were accidents.

On Wednesday, June 3, Leona came home and Patrick allegedly told her that the one-year-old had hit his head and later while watching TV fell over and passed out. Patrick allegedly told her that when he woke the child, the child started vomiting. Patrick then allegedly cleaned up the child and gave him an ice pack and Tylenol.

Leona allegedly admitted to causing the injuries to the buttocks of both boys by spanking them with a plastic rod from a window shade. She told the deputy she was “very angry and didn't think she spanked them that hard.” Leona also told the deputies that both she and Patrick had spanked the children on their buttocks.

When asked why Patrick didn't go to the hospital, Leona said he had told her that he “didn't want the doctors and nurses questioning him and thinking he caused the injuries to the kids.”

Patrick allegedly told deputies he saw Leona spank the boys with a plastic belt and that he had also spanked the boy's buttocks with a belt, but did not cause injuries. He also allegedly told deputies that the four-year-old had slipped while getting out of the bathtub causing the injury to his testicles.

Patrick also denied causing any injuries to the boys.

Authorities say a relative provided photos of injuries to the children from May 8, 2009.

On Wednesday, Patrick Gerhardt was still in the Platte County Detention Center.

According to court records, Patrick Gerhardt had two orders of protection filed against him in December 2000. Another order of protection was filed against him in February 2007. Another order of protection was filed and granted against Gerhardt in February 2008.

The system also shows Gerhardt got a divorce in April 2008 and was ordered to pay $227 in child support.

Bond was set at $20,000 for Patrick Gerhardt. During a hearing on Monday, June 8, Gerhardt requested his bond be reduced, but it was denied. The next scheduled hearing for Gerhardt is on Tuesday, June 16.

Bond was set at $20,000 for Leona Gerhardt also. She remains in custody.



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