Austin woman who beat baby accepts parental rights termination, gets prison time

Published 4:40 pm Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Austin woman who months ago caused life-threatening injuries to her now 2-year old daughter agreed Wednesday afternoon to a termination of parental rights petition and was sentenced to 36 months in a women’s state prison.


Heang Kim Sean, 22, was convicted of two felonies: second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon causing great bodily harm and third-degree assault causing great bodily harm. According to Alice Snater, guardian ad litem for both of Sean’s children, Sean will give up her parental rights. A termination of parental rights petition has also been filed against both fathers of Sean’s children, and pre-trials will later be set. Sean will be credited for 119 days served in the Mower County jail.

“It’s a very good day for justice, I think,” Snater said.

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Sean gave birth to a second child in October 2011, a boy, who was also placed in the custody of Mower County Human Services along with the child Sean had beaten weeks earlier.

Though Snater said both children are now doing well, the injured child will likely have lasting complications.

According to the court complaint, Sean caused injuries to her daughter that included liver lacerations, bruising of the intestinal wall and spleen and pancreas damage.

“She will have lifelong concerns because of those injuries,” Snater said.

Sean’s daughter, 18-months-old at the time, was in the hospital from Aug. 12 to Oct. 3, 2011, according to a court complaint. In that time, she had a blood transfusion and surgery to remove a section of her small intestine. Sean told police something must have happened at daycare. However, she said the toddler was “great” and able to eat and play when she picked her up from child care just after midnight on Aug. 12, hours before she was taken to St. Marys Hospital. Sean was arrested on a criminal complaint on Oct. 13.

The morning Sean took her daughter to the hospital, she said the child looked “pale, white, not normal and weak,” court documents stated.

A doctor told officers it was unlikely the toddler would have been able to eat, drink or play with such severe injuries, and added the injury could not have occurred without someone realizing the child was hurt, as she would have been in obvious pain, according to court documents.

“The medical records revealed the injuries received by the child would have taken extreme force, such as an automobile accident or a very hard blow to the abdomen by an adult,” the complaint stated.

The court complaint said the doctor thinks it is a “strong possibility” the injury took place between the hours on Aug. 12 when Sean picked the child up at daycare to the time the child was put to bed.

Snater said both children are in an undisclosed foster home.