BEDFORD – On Thursday, the jury heard from Indiana State Investigators and the Department of Child Services who were called to investigate a report of possible child abuse at the home of Scott and Cherry Blattert.
The oldest daughter was able to capture the beating of her younger sister on video. The jury has viewed the graphic video numerous times.
In the video, Blattert is seen smacking the child with a belt 27 times, slamming her face down into the couch cushion, telling her “You are a rebellious, wicked animal” and then slamming his elbow into the back of the child’s neck. The oldest testified on Wednesday she just was able to only capture just a small portion of the beating on video.
The child pictured in the video will testify this morning at 8:30 a.m. in Lawrence County Superior Court I with Judge John Plummer III presiding.
Blattert, of Springville, is facing felony charges of aggravated battery when the assault possesses a substantial risk of death, strangulation, three counts of domestic battery resulting in moderate bodily injury, and five counts of domestic battery with bodily injury on a person under the age of 14.
His wife and mother to the children, Cherry Blattert is also charged in the case. She is facing charges of neglect of a dependent resulting in bodily injury and domestic battery. Her court date is pending.
Defense attorney John Boren, of Boren, Oliver & Coffey LLP in Bloomington, questioned investigators about what they discovered.
Presenting the case for the state are Deputy Prosecutors Joshua Scherschel and Sarah Cummings.
Justin Boren told the jury Blattert has a right to discipline his children and Blattert believes in corporal punishment. Indiana law does not prohibit “reasonable corporal punishment” from being used to discipline a child. He also said DCS visited the home and was not able to substantiate any abuse on their first visit to the home. However, after an Indiana State Police investigation, all 10 children were removed from the home on October 31, 2019.
According to the CDC, physical punishment, sometimes called corporal punishment, is anything done to cause pain or discomfort in response to your child’s undesirable behaviors. Examples of physical punishment include – spanking (one of the most common methods of physical punishment).
What are acts of commission – words or overt actions that cause harm or threat of harm.
What are acts of omission – failure to provide basic needs or to protect from harm or potential harm.
- Corporal punishment
- Physical exercise (e.g., push-ups, running);
- Requiring or using force to make the child take an uncomfortable position;
- Verbal remarks that ridicule the child and/or his or her family;
- Denial of emotional response;
- Denial of essential services (e.g., health care, food, clothing, bedding, sleep, mail, or
family visitation, etc.);
- Threats of removal or denying reunification;
- Placement in a locked room; and/or
- Holding with physical, mechanical, or chemical restraints.
Methods of corporal punishment include hitting, slapping, spanking, shaking, punching, kicking, choking, electric shock, confinement in small spaces, excessive exercise, and fixed postures for long periods. Instruments used in corporal punishment include leather straps, switches, baseball bats, and fists.
Now retired ISP Trooper Julie Deel testified that on October 31, 2019, she was asked to assist the Department of Child Services with a report of physical abuse of juveniles at the Blattert home on Armstrong Station Road.
After viewing the video, Trooper Deel arrested Scott Blattert on charges of domestic battery and neglect of a dependent.
Defense Attorney Justin Boren asked Trooper Deel if she viewed anything in the video that would cause a “risk of death”. Trooper Deel testified she arrested Blattert on charges according to Indiana statute and that the final charging is determined by the Lawrence County Prosecutor’s Office.
ISP Detective Michael Robbins continued the investigation into the physical abuse and after attending forensic interviews of the children at Susie’s Place in Bloomington requested a search warrant for the home. On November 1, 2019, investigators executed that warrant and seized evidence including the glue sticks with the ends covered with gray duct tape allegedly used to beat the children. No glue gun was found in the house.
As a result of the continuing investigation, arrest warrants were obtained for Cherry Lynn Blattert, and again for Scott Blattert.
Cherry was arrested at her home on November 6, 2019. Scott Blattert was at his place of employment on NSA Crane Naval Base in Greene County. Trooper Richard Klun of the ISP A.C.E.S. and K9 Loki, with assistance from the NSA Crane Police Department, located Scott Blattert and executed his arrest warrant without incident. Blattert was arrested on a charge of strangulation.
Detective Robbins was also asked why he only charged Blattert with strangulation. He said the Lawrence County Prosecutor’s Office determines the final charges.
DCS assessment case worker Jennifer Rutan testified DCS began their investigation after receiving a report of child abuse on the department’s hotline. After viewing the video, investigators contacted ISP to assist in the investigation.
The defense argued Rutan couldn’t testify as an expert on what constitutes abuse.
But Judge Plummer ruled, “She can testify on what she did, observed and why she did what she did when removing the children from the some.”
He then instructed the jury,” It is your call not her’s to determine if the children were abused.”