Mom Sentenced For Failing To Protect Son

By: Gary Smollen Email
By: Gary Smollen Email

The story is so heartbreaking even the judge described the crime against a 6-month-old boy as being "horrific." His mother was sentenced Thursday for not protecting him from her boyfriend.

The child suffered numerous broken bones and was burned on his genitals and other parts of his body. Starr Manzo was sentenced to one-year in the Sarpy County Jail. With good behavior, she could be out in six months.

It's important to note that Manzo isn't accused of any of the abuse, her misdemeanor charge stems from her not protecting her son.

Manzo broke down in the courtroom. She had hoped for probation and to be reunited with her son. Pictures show what his foster mother says is a miraculous recovery. Surviving the beating was the first miracle. The recovery being ahead of schedule is a blessing.

"He had the broken legs, the broken arm, the broken ribs and all that and we've worked with him at physical therapy," said Jen Cervantes. "He went twice a week and they've moved that to once a month now because he is doing so well."

The boy, now a little over a year old, still scratches open some of the burn scars, so Jen says another surgery is in his future. It is for the pain and suffering Jen testified against Manzo, receiving probation from the court.

"I just wanted justice for Javier, I just wanted justice for him and the judge did it and now he can hopefully live a happy life." There were accusations that Jen is trying to adopt the boy, something she says she never intended to do.

The sentence of a year in jail surprised some because a deal had been reached. If Starr changed she would get probation. It was an agreement Judge Todd Hutton chose to ignore.

"He doesn't have to follow that, he can do whatever he deems fit and I think he did a really good job of taking into account the severity of the injuries that Javier sustained and looking at the whole picture," said Brandi Lang.

Everyone agrees that Starr had an extremely rough childhood and has made wonderful progress in changing and becoming a nurturing mother, but in the end the judge decided that probation wasn't enough of a punishment.

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