Foster parent pleads not guilty

Foster parent pleads not guilty

He's accused of intentionally scalding a toddler after she defecated in the tub

A White City foster parent pleaded not guilty to felony assault and mistreatment charges for allegedly holding a 1-year-old girl under scalding bath water after she defecated in the tub.

Trevor M. Emptage, 28, was arraigned Wednesday in Jackson County Circuit Court on two counts each of first-degree assault and first-degree criminal mistreatment before Judge Lorenzo Mejia. Emptage pleaded not guilty to all charges.

First-degree assault carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 71/2; years in the state penitentiary under Oregon's sentencing laws.

The case began just before 8 p.m. on March 4 when Rogue Valley Medical Center emergency-room doctors notified police they were treating a 1-year-old victim, who had suffered severe burns that appeared to have been caused by abuse, according to the Jackson County Sheriff's Department.

Investigators determined that Emptage became upset after the young girl defecated in the tub during a bath, according to the Sheriff's Department.

Evidence showed the child had been held in scalding hot water by force, causing first- and second-degree burns on her body from the waist down, sheriff's spokeswoman Andrea Carlson said.

The toddler was treated at a Portland hospital. She has now been released and is in foster care, said Carlson.

"She is currently beginning physical therapy," Carlson said, adding the toddler is starting to walk, but she has "a little bit of a limp" that hopefully will be corrected through physical therapy.

Carlson said more information may be released today on the child's condition.

Emptage remains in jail on $500,000 bail, an amount set earlier this month by Judge Timothy Barnack. A bail hearing has been set for today. A pretrial hearing has been set for 1:30 p.m., March 26.

Reach reporter Sanne Specht at 541-776-4497 or email sspecht@mailtribune.com.