Stillwater woman charged with felony child abuse

Katherine Hufham

A 27-year-old Stillwater woman, Katherine Marie Hufham, is being charged with felony child abuse after Stillwater Police allege she struck and injured a child, 7, and kept the child out of school for a week.

According to a probable cause affidavit, police were referred to the case by the Department of Human Services. The DHS case stated that the child was absent from school the week of Jan. 22-28, and on the day the child arrived back to school, was seen to have bruising under both eyes along with purple and green bruising on her face.

The report said that the child was taken to the Saville Center where the child underwent a physical exam. It was during the time, according to the report, the child told the nurse that Hufham had struck the child in the head with a book and water bottle an unknown amount of times and kicked the child. The child was then admitted to OU Medical Center to check for internal injuries, but was discharged with no concerns and placed into foster care.

According to the affidavit, SPD Detective Sherae LeJeune says from images taken during the physical exam, it appeared the child “received severe, repeated blows with a hard object about her head, face and neck area. Based on the coloration of the bruising it appeared as though the injuries may have been in the late stages of healing.”

LeJeune next interviewed Hufham, who according to the affidavit, said she had been developing anger issues, saying she had become overwhelmed with the children and dealing with her frustration by screaming into pillows, strangling pillows and kicking furniture. Hufham told police she needed professional help.

“Katherine wanted me to know she was taking medication for migraines, which may have contributed to blackouts, memory loss and irritability,” LeJeune wrote.

According to the report, Hufham described the incident with the child as her becoming annoyed with the child during a homework reading assignment. She told police she had verbally reprimanded the child several times, leaving to cool off and then returning. Hufham told police she lost her temper after the child started goofing off again. She said she “tapped” the child on the head with a water bottle to get the child to focus, and after the child refused to comply with the assignment, “went for a ‘tap’ but her anger took over.”

Hufham told police the child complained of headache, that she tried to treat the inflammation with ice and that she used a mixture of turmeric and apple cider vinegar around the child’s eyes to reduce inflammation. She told police she did not take the child to a doctor because Hufham and another child in the household were sick. LeJeune wrote that Hufham said she knew that if they went to the doctor that the doctor would call DHS, “and she did not want them involved.”

Hufham was then placed under arrest. Felony child abuse is punishable by imprisonment for not more life, or a fine of not less than $500 nor more than $5,000 or both fine and imprisonment. Hufham posted bond on Monday.