Boyfriend pleads guilty to child cruelty and sexual battery

CALCASIEU PARISH, LA (KPLC) - It was a severe case of child abuse in Calcasieu Parish. But now one of those responsible has been brought to justice. Christifor Austin went before Judge Ron Ware and now stands convicted of sexual battery and second degree cruelty to a juvenile for what he admits doing to two little girls ages five and two.

In August 2009, a woman and her boyfriend were arrested for severe child abuse of at least two of three small children living in a trailer at 3100 Topsy Bell Road. Their mother, Sarah Marshall is still waiting to stand trial, but Austin has made a plea deal with the state. He admits to the facts as outlined in court by prosecutors: that he seriously injured the five year old girl either through sexual activity or from kicking her in her private area-- and that he physically abused the two year old girl who suffered a broken pelvis.

Austin was sentenced to 35 years in prison as recommended by District Attorney John DeRosier who says part of the deal is that Austin must testify truthfully about Marshall. "One if the conditions of this arrangement is that he testify truthfully in that trial as to all matters requested of him by the state,"said DeRosier.

Austin,  who's thirty four right now,  is expected to be in his sixties before he's ever released from prison and then he'll be required to register as a sex offender for life. Explains DeRosier, "And once he gets out of prison, if he does, he will have very stringent requirements under the state statutes of Louisiana relative to registration, reporting, where his job is, where he lives, what he does and, of course, will be under supervision."

DeRosier hopes that others who might commit such crimes are getting an idea of what they can expect.  "I cannot understand why some people do the evil things that they do. But let me say this, I am more committed now. Law enforcement through the district attorney's office, the sheriff's department, who has worked so well with us and all of our law enforcement agencies. We will not tolerate abuse of our children and our elderly in Calcasieu Parish. What you've seen demonstrates what we're going to do with people who abuse our children and our elderly."

Sarah Marshall's trial is set to begin Monday morning. Her charges include thirteen counts of cruelty to a juvenile. Officials say her three children are in foster care and doing well.

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