Reported child abuse on San Juan Island

Reported child abuse on San Juan Island

Two Friday Harbor women have been charged with assault of a child.

Christine Colleen Villers, 33, and Stacey Kantzer, 32, were both charged with Assault of a Child in the Third Degree (Domestic Violence) in the San Juan County Superior Court on Aug. 11. The charge is a Class C felony.

The arraignment for both women is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. on Aug. 24.

In charging documents, Prosecuting Attorney Randall Gaylord stated the women were accused of criminal negligence for causing bodily harm with substantial pain for an extended period of time to cause considerable suffering to a child who is under the age of 13. The women reportedly hit the child with a belt, resulting in bruising and swelling. Villers is the child’s mother.

According to the determination of probable cause, on July 17, the child’s father discovered bruises along his child’s thigh from the buttocks to their knees. The father reportedly showed a deputy photos of the bruises on the child’s legs, which were black and blue with visible swelling. The child also had neck bruises.

The deputy stated in the probable cause that the child’s parents live in separate houses and have shared custody.

The child and a younger sibling were interviewed wherein both stated Kantzer had struck the child 55 times with a belt, according to court documents. Villers said she held the child down and permitted Kantzer to use the belt as punishment.

Villers allegedly stated to the deputy she allowed Kantzer to hit her child with a belt as a discipline and that she was present for the punishment. According to court documents, Villers reportedly told deputies the entire punishment lasted for 45 minutes and was because the child had stolen money and not been “truthful about the theft.”

The deputy said Villers told them she saw the bruising on the child but thought it was an appropriate punishment for the child’s actions. She reportedly said she would not let it happen again.

According to court documents, Kantzer told the deputy that as a roommate and longtime friend of the child’s parents, she helps to raise the children. In her statement regarding the incident, she claimed to have “swatted” the child with her belt 4-5 times while holding the child’s nose to the wall as a time out. Kantzer stated Villers was on the phone for part of the punishment then helped to question the child about the money. According to court documents, when Villers pointed out the bruises on the child’s body, Kantzer reportedly said, “They kinda looked like my belt.”

While Villers had no listed criminal history, Kantzer has been convicted of 11 misdemeanors: marijuana possession less than or equal to 40 grams prior to legalization; minor in possession and/or consumption (as an adult); use/delivery of drug paraphernalia; driving under the influence; solicitation to possess a controlled substance; criminal solicitation; and driving with a suspended license in the third degree five times.