A Marana, AZ man charged with handcuffing his eldest son to furniture was sentenced this week to six months in jail and seven years’ probation. Federico J. Ballesteros II was indicted in February on three counts of child abuse and one count of custodial interference after his 14-year-old son told staff members at Marana Middle School he was too scared to go home.
During a forensic interview, the boy said his stepmother and father often forced him to sleep outside, that his stepmother wouldn’t give him breakfast, sometimes forced him to skip dinner and beat him with her hands, a belt and a horsewhip. The boy also said he was sometimes handcuffed to his brother’s bed or a chair in the living room. Detectives took photos of the boy’s hand after he said his stepmother forced him to burn it on the stove.
Three of the boy’s siblings and four cousins who live on the same property confirmed the boy’s story. According to court documents, the siblings also reported beatings. In addition, the underage cousins told authorities the stepmother asked them if they wanted to see what the 14-year-old watches at night and then played a pornographic movie for them while the boy’s 9-year-old sister was also present.
One month after Ballesteros’ indictment, prosecutors dismissed his case, but sought a second indictment against him that included his wife. Ballesteros was facing a custodial interference charge for keeping the 14-year-old away from his grandmother, his legal guardian, from April 1, 2003, through Dec. 31, 2011.
Ballesteros pleaded guilty to kidnapping last month. Pima County Superior Court Judge Howard Fell had the option of placing him on probation or sentencing him to between three and 12 1/2 years in prison.
All of the children living in the home were placed in the care of state Child Protective Services at the time of Ballesteros’ arrest.
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