Augusta grandmother pleads guilty to reduced child abuse charges

Satoafaiga

After several attempts by her attorneys, an Augusta woman accused of child abuse was sentenced to probation Friday.

Aileen M. Satoafaiga, 46, pleaded guilty in Richmond County Superior Court to reduced charges of cruelty to children in the second degree, and Judge J. Wade Padg­ett accepted the plea deal for a seven-year probation sentence.

What concerned him most, Padgett said, was that Satoafaiga had a family member hide the victim when deputies went to the house.

In September, the De­partment of Family and Chil­dren Services received a report that Satoafaiga’s 4-year-old grandson had missed a number of school days and that there was an anonymous call about child abuse.

When the officers questioned Satoafaiga on Sept. 14, her answers were inconsistent, and officers found the boy stashed in the attic during a search, Assis­tant District Attorney Adam Land told the judge in January. Satoa­faiga admitted hitting the child with a flip-flop several times, leaving small bruises on his face and chest.

It was a mistake and Satoafaiga panicked, defense attorney Travers Chance said. There has been a DFCS investigation, and custody of the boy has been transferred to another family member.

There had never been another DFCS report, Chance said. Satoafaiga had taken in the boy and his sibling because their father was in prison and their mother aban­doned them, Chance said.
Padgett refused the plea deal in January and again in February. On Friday, he said he had met in his office with the attorneys since then.

Padgett refused to allow Satoafaiga to have first offender status. While on probation, she is not to have primary care of any child.

2 in Richmond County jail on child cruelty charges

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