CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland mother who abused her three-year-old son so severely that he had to be revived by emergency room personnel at MetroHealth Medical Center has been sentenced to 19 years in prison, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty said.
Carla Rivera, 28, entered a plea of guilty on May 21 to two counts of endangering children, one count of felonious assault and one misdemeanor count of domestic violence.
Rivera's three-year-old son was unresponsive when he was taken to MetroHealth the night of March 4. After bringing him back to life, physicians there diagnosed the child with a lacerated spleen, perforated bowel, fractured ribs, severe malnutrition and kidney failure.
He was later taken to Akron Children's Hospital for additional treatment, and then to a rehabilitation unit at the Cleveland Clinic.
After a series of surgeries to repair his internal injuries and the loss of five toes because of frostbite, the child, who is now 4, is living with his father.
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"It takes a special kind of monster who would do this to her own child," said Assistant County Prosecutor Jennifer Driscoll, who along with Assistant County Prosecutor Melissa Riley represented the State of Ohio in this case.
After the defendant, police officers and the father of the victim spoke at today's sentencing hearing, Common Pleas Court Judge Kathleen Ann Sutula ordered Rivera – who has six other children – to spend 19 years in prison, the maximum sentence available.
"A four-year-old child is lucky to be alive," said Sutula. "The greatest unconditional love is between a mother and a child, but not in this case."
Sutula also sentenced Rivera's boyfriend and co-defendant, Jorge Rosario-Colazzo, to 18 months in prison. On May 21, Rosario-Colazzo, 28, of Cleveland, pleaded guilty to one count of attempted endangering children.
"I find it despicable and cowardly that you did not help this child of tender years," Judge Sutula said.