Joseph Babin

GONZALES — An Ascension Parish man was sentenced to 20 years in prison after he admitted maltreating a 9-year-old so severely the boy was malnourished and had wounds from a prior injury that had become infected and covered with maggots. 

Joseph Babin, 33, pleaded guilty to a count of second-degree cruelty to a juvenile after his arrest more than three years ago from the poor treatment of the child, prosecutors said Friday.

Local doctors had reported to sheriff's deputies in December 2015 that burn wounds the boy had received three months earlier and had been treated at an area hospital had not been cared for since then, prosecutors with the 23rd Judicial District said in a statement. 

Medical staffers told detectives the boy had also not been brought for follow-up appointments. When he did arrive at the hospital in late 2015 with a relative, he appeared to have had on the same bandages he was given when he was originally treated months earlier, prosecutors said.

The wounds, which stemmed from burns the boy received while playing with a lighter that set his shirt on fire, had become so infected he had a hard time moving his extremities, prosecutors said.

In the factual basis for Babin's plea, prosecutors also said the boy's wounds had a foul odor and maggots and his bandages were soiled with bodily fluids. The boy also hadn't been feed properly and had to have his head shaved after he was brought to the hospital because of a severe case of lice.

Babin was arrested in February 2016. In March 2017, after he had been released on bail and then failed to show up for court for more than a year, he was picked up on drug counts. After that, he twice tried to get into a work and rehabilitation facility, but prosecutor Joni Buquoi objected and the court denied the requests, court minutes show. 

In a letter to the judge earlier this year, Babin admitted to poor decisions with the child and asked for mercy and a four-year sentence.

Prosecutors dropped the drug counts against him, and Babin, 13091 Shee Lee Place, Gonzales, pleaded guilty as charged Monday to the cruelty count. Judge Jessie LeBlanc handed down the 20-year sentence.

Email David J. Mitchell at

Follow David J. Mitchell on Twitter, @NewsieDave.