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2 charged with child abuse after 8-year-old goes blind

Updated January 22, 2020 - 7:22 pm

A Las Vegas Valley woman and her ex-boyfriend face child abuse charges after an 8-year-old boy was struck in the eyes by a belt and became legally blind.

Jerashaun Jackson, 31, was arrested Jan. 3 and is charged with child abuse/neglect with substantial bodily or mental harm and allowing child abuse/neglect with substantial bodily or mental harm, according to jail records. Her ex-boyfriend, 28-year-old Akoya Hudgins, was arrested Dec. 2 and is charged with child abuse/neglect with substantial bodily or mental harm.

The Metropolitan Police Department received a call Dec. 1 from Sunrise Children’s Hospital about a child who was admitted “for trauma to his eyes and loss of vision,” according to an arrest report. Medical staff believed the injuries were from abuse or neglect.

Jackson told medical personnel the boy had been accidentally hit in the eyes by a belt around Nov. 25.

Hudgins told police he had been spanking the boy on his rear with a belt as punishment after the boy disobeyed his orders by removing a screen from his bedroom window, the arrest report said. Hudgins said the boy moved while being spanked, which caused him to strike the boy’s eyes.

Jackson told medical personnel that the boy had swelling and redness to his eyes but that she “believed the injury would go away on its own,” according to the report. The boy told Jackson on Dec. 1 he could “only see black,” so Jackson brought him to Sunrise Hospital’s emergency room.

Jackson told police she recalled a couple of prior instances of Hudgins physically disciplining the boy.

Jackson was the primary caregiver for two children — including the boy who was injured — but Hudgins also had been caring for the children since January 2019, according to the report.

Jackson and Hudgins broke up in fall 2019 but remained living together because they couldn’t afford to pay the rent without each other, according to the report. Jackson told police that Hudgins hadn’t been physically abusive toward her but that he was verbally abusive and aggressive.

The arrest report did not say what city the two adults and two children lived in.

Jackson told police that Hudgins was the primary caregiver for the children Nov. 25 while she was at work and that she didn’t believe the children would be in danger.

An MRI showed “sub-acute ischemic changes” to the injured boy’s optic nerve. The boy was transferred Dec. 6 to Stanford Hospital in California, where he had a cleaning procedure done to his eyes.

On Dec. 13, the boy was deemed legally blind and a doctor determined the injury was from abuse, according to the arrest report.

Jackson is being held at the Clark County Detention Center on $5,000 bail, and a preliminary hearing is April 16, according to jail records. Hudgins, also being held in the detention center, is scheduled to appear in court Thursday.

Contact Julie Wootton-Greener at jgreener@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2921. Follow @julieswootton on Twitter.

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