Former Gary pastor gets probation for 2005 child scalding
By Ruth Ann Krause Post-Tribune correspondent December 18, 2012 3:40PM
Carlton Davis in 2001. | File Photo~Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 22, 2013 6:16AM
Carlton Franklin Davis cried at the podium as he expressed remorse for intentionally harming his infant son more than seven years ago.
“I take full responsibility for my son being hurt,” Davis said, moments before Lake Superior Court Judge Clarence Murray imposed a sentence of four years on probation and 400 hours of community service. “I’m very sorry for my actions. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about and replay what happened.”
Though two character witnesses, including the boy’s adoptive mother, referred to the crime as an accident, Davis admitted in court on June 29 that he held the 7-month-old boy under extremely hot water, which scalded him and caused third-degree burns to his lower body.
The skin peeled off the child’s legs, feet, genitals and buttocks. The child’s toes were the only part of the boy’s lower body spared from burns, which required surgeries at Shriner’s Children’s Hospital in Cincinnati and follow-up visits to Riley Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis.
Davis, 55, a former minister of New Hope Missionary Baptist Church in Gary, was fired as pastor after his now-wife, Serrita Monique Kendrick Davis, made public allegations that Davis had fathered her child while he was married. Davis has four adult daughters.
Defense attorney Derrick Julkes said his client breaks down during meetings in Julkes’ office about how the crime affected his son and his family.
Bertha Sims, 75, who adopted the boy, said Davis is active in the child’s life, taking him to swimming, soccer and tae kwan do. Davis also helps the boy with his homework and is teaching him Greek and Hebrew. Sims, who was widowed a couple years ago, said she thinks Davis’ interaction with the child is a positive thing for the boy.
Deputy prosecutor Aleksandra Dimitrijevic argued for prison time in light of the severity of the injuries on a defenseless baby and the favorable plea agreement Davis received. Davis had faced six to 20 years on the original charge. He faced two to eight years on the neglect charge to which he pleaded guilty. “Mr. Davis is not, in the state’s eyes, a pillar of the community. He’s a fraud,” Dimitrijevic said.
Davis’ wife, Serrita Davis, 32, also was charged, but the case against her was dismissed.
Since the crime, the couple has had two more children, and she is pregnant.
Davis spent one day in jail.