Jacksonville Parent Charged With Burning Child With Scalding Bathwater

Jacksonville’s children deserve the right to be free from parents who intentionally abuse, neglect, or harm their children in any way. However, the accused parent deserves the right to have their case heard and fought for, particularly when the facts of the abuse are so unknown as to cause doubt whether the abuse even happened. If one has been accused of a similar act, one should contact an experienced attorney to fight for one’s case and ensure one’s rights are protected.

According to the Florida Times-Union, a Jacksonville mother has been charged with aggravated child abuse and child neglect after her eight-month-old child suffered burns in a bathtub. Amber Alethea Johnson, mother of two, was charged after authorities were called to her home, and subsequently took the child to a burn center. Johnson’s other child, a two-year-old, was found in the bathtub with the eight-month-old. That child was unharmed. images69.jpg

Jacksonville child abuse cases normally involve a parent who has either beaten their child, harmed their child mentally, or caused some other form of intentional harm to the child that, many times, clearly constitutes child abuse. However, when the facts of one’s case suggest either that one’s guilt is not clear or that another person caused the harm, one has a defense that must be heard.

Under Florida Statute 827.03, covering both aggravated child abuse and child neglect, a person accused of committing these acts could serve more than thirty years in prison. This is an extreme amount of prison time that the accused should not have to serve, based on facts that a State prosecutor cannot use to show that the accused willfully abused their child.

In this case, the accused was charged with aggravated child abuse for having her child in scalding hot bathwater. The problem the State will have with this charge is that the state must prove that Johnson intended to harm her child by knowingly leaving the child in hot water. This is the time when one should obtain an experienced Jacksonville child abuse defense attorney to fight for one’s case and ensure one’s rights are protected.

In this case, an experienced attorney could see that there are many other factors that could have caused the burns. The presence of Johnson in the bathroom is unknown. What is known is that the eight-month-old was found in the bathtub with a two-year-old, who was not burned. That two-year-old may not have had the intent to harm the eight-month-old, but there is a strong possibility that a two-year-old has the strength possible to turn a hot-water knob and scald a child, in the matter of only a few seconds.

Many possibilities like these arise where a parent might have stepped out of the room to grab a ringing telephone, get a towel to dry the children off from a bath, or other very normal circumstances of parenthood. That parent should not suffer at the hands of an angry State prosecutor because of a circumstance they could not expect nor control.


The Forbess Law Firm has been aiding clients who face criminal charges in Jacksonville for more than a decade and is here to provide aggressive criminal defense to anyone accused of a crime. If you or a loved one requires a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer, contact our firm today. We are available through our website or by calling us at 904-634-0900.

Additional Sources: Jacksonville mom charged in baby’s bathtub scalding, Staff, The Florida Times-Union