SUNSET — A father angered by his 4-year-old daughter’s inability to write the letter B during homework ended up putting the girl in scalding water, causing injuries severe enough she’s been admitted to a Baton Rouge hospital burn unit, officials said.
The girl, who was not identified, is being fed through a tube in the burn unit at Baton Rouge General Medical Center. She’s traumatized by pain, running high fever and having trouble walking, St. Landry Parish sheriff’s Lt. Clay Higgins said in a news release.
Higgins said the girl is expected to recover, although treatment could take weeks or longer.
Detectives arrested the child’s father, Joshua Babineaux, on one count of second-degree cruelty to a juvenile. Also arrested was the girl’s mother, Tabatha Babineaux, who was booked on a count of accessory after the fact for allegedly not seeking medical help promptly.
The child had been bathed in scalding water on Jan. 10, Higgins said. “Interviews with the child indicated that the hot bath was the end result of a problem that began when she was unable to write the letter B while being tutored by her father.”
Higgins said Joshua Babineaux “became angered and applied some form of corporal punishment” that caused the child to urinate on herself. “The scalding bath allegedly followed,” Higgins said.
The girl’s mother treated the blisters that formed on her daughter’s back, legs and buttocks, but didn’t seek medical attention until Jan. 11, Higgins said.
“The burns were severe enough that a reasonable person would have sought emergency medical treatment immediately,” Higgins said.
The Babineauxs were released from the St. Landry Parish Jail after posting bail of $3,500 each. Higgins did not release the Babineauxs’ ages, and did not immediately return a call Wednesday evening.
Sheriff’s officials notified St. Landry Parish Child Protection Services, which is conducting a separate investigation.
“This incident is troubling on many levels,” Sheriff Bobby Guidroz said. “The Babineauxs have maintained that the scalding bath was an accident; however, the fact that proper medical treatment was not immediately provided, along with interviews with the child, led our detectives to the conclusion that the totality of the circumstances was criminal.”