Mother feels the system failed her son


CHAMPAIGN COUNTY, Ill. (WCIA) — A mother is furious with the prison sentence given to her child’s abuser. Babysitter Michele Reed, of Tolono, was sentenced to three and a half years for aggravated battery. The family is still trying to come to terms with what happened in court.

Reed told police she shook and threw the then-6-month-old, Lailan, because she got frustrated. He now has permanent brain damage. Lailan’s mom doesn’t think three and a half years is long enough.

“We’ll never be satisfied. It doesn’t matter if she got one year or 20 years, regardless, she did what she did, which Lailan’s gonna deal with forever,” said Jessica Adams.

Adams knows there is no sentence which could heal her 2-year-old, but said three and half years is the farthest from it.

“When you’re a mom, especially a new mom, you have all these hopes for your kid and hope that they’ll be able to play sports and have a family of their own and you’re excited to watch them grow up and be their own independent person. And he may not be independent in his life.”

In 2017, Reed was taking care of Lailan in Tolono when, one day, Reed told police she got so frustrated with Duncan she shook and threw him. It caused bleeding in Duncan’s brain, retinal hemorrhages and a stroke.

“He cannot walk; he cannot talk. He can’t feed himself, he’s still incontinent. He had a stroke, so the right side of his body doesn’t work. And he can’t play with his right hand, broke his right arm, and he basically will probably be dependent on us forever,” said Adams.

Reed’s sentence was part of what’s called an Alford plea. It means Reed recognizes there was enough evidence to convict, but she’s allowed to maintain her innocence. Lailan’s mother says she’s worried her son is not the only one who has been failed by the system.

“People in our justice system here especially are just looking for a guilty plea, I don’t think they’re actually here to protect the children of this state and this county,” said Adams.

The state’s attorney could not be reached for comment about what this means for Reed going forward.

Reed was originally charged with aggravated battery, as well as aggravated battery of a child. She only pleaded guilty to aggravated battery.

Although Reed was sentenced to three and a half years behind bars, she got credit for 553 days served. It means she is already that much time into her sentence.

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