By JOSH NEWTON
A Cherokee County mother charged with using an iron to burn her 14-month-old baby last year will spend 17 years in prison as part of a plea agreement on child-abuse charges.
Jodi Leann Rock was 19 when she was arrested in April 2012. Investigators said Rock admitted she took a flat iron – used to straighten hair – and burned the baby’s legs and genitals. She reportedly told authorities she was straightening her hair when she closed the hot iron on the baby’s genitals.
As part of Rock’s no-contest plea this week, she admitted she told authorities she had done so.
Rock was given a 20-year prison sentence, with three years suspended and credit for time she has served in jail since her arrest more than a year ago. Her suspended sentence is to be supervised by the Department of Corrections.
Prosecutors alleged Rock also allowed her boyfriend to care for the baby, even though she should have known the boy “would be placed at risk of willful or malicious injury.” That occurred, according to investigators, when the child’s shoulder was broken during what Rock claimed was “rough” playing when the boy was thrown into the air and onto a bed.
When the child was being treated by medical personnel, they discovered the boy had suffered multiple fractures and an “obvious deformity” to his shoulders.