published Saturday, November 19th, 2011

Suspected child abuse reported earlier to Chattanooga police, state officials

Multiple people say they repeatedly contacted both local police and state child services about suspected abuse of six children before a recent beating sent four of the children to the hospital.

Jamie Lee Skiles, 34, waived his right to a hearing in Hamilton County Sessions Court Friday, sending the case to the grand jury, which will hear information on three charges of aggravated child abuse and neglect and one charge of child abuse and neglect.

"I do not understand why they were not removed prior to having the you-know-what beat out of them," said a woman who'd come in contact with the children through charitable work in public housing.

The children lived in the Emma Wheeler housing complex with their mother Melissa Pinion. Skiles was her boyfriend.

Skiles was sentenced to three years probation in 2001 for aggravated child abuse of a six-year-old in 1997, according to court documents.

The woman, who asked that her name not be used out of fear of retaliation from Skiles, said she saw deplorable living conditions and signs of abuse throughout the second half of 2010.

She said she reported incidents to the Tennessee Department of Children's Services multiple times, but the agency told her they could not place all six children in foster care. Despite calls and emails, case workers did nothing to prevent the abuse, she said.

The Department of Children's Services now has all six of Pinion's children in custody, said Molly Suddeth, communications director for the department. An investigation has been opened into the incident, she said, but declined to give further details, including whether anyone has ever called the department to report suspected child abuse, saying state law prohibits her from divulging such information.

On Nov. 12, two of Pinion's children ran to a neighbor's home, saying Skiles was beating them. Chattanooga police responded and arrested Skiles.

Four of the children were transported to Erlanger hospital, where staff found one 2-year-old twin had a broken leg and fractured ribs, while the other twin had perforated bowels and rib fractures. Both were hospitalized.

Medical personnel also examined a 7-year-old and 10-year-old and found minor bruising. Two other girls, a 13-year-old and a 5-year-old, were not taken to the hospital, according to a police report.

Pinion told police she was not home when the alleged abuse occurred.

A neighbor of Pinion and Skiles told the Times Free Press that she had called Chattanooga police multiple times about suspected ongoing child abuse.

Chattanooga police spokeswoman Sgt. Jerri Weary said Friday there had been a reported incident about an injury to Pinion's son, but it was ruled accidental.

Weary said police had not received any reports of child abuse at Pinion's home other than the recent incident. Police and Children's Services staff are investigating charges against Skiles.

On the day of the incident, Pinion's 13-year-old daughte told police that Skiles had the twins and the 7-year-old stand, facing the wall, with their arms above their heads. Skiles would punch their bodies if the children lowered their hands.

She said she saw Skiles hit her siblings in a similar manner about five other times for wetting the bed during naps. The 7-year-old had gotten in trouble at school.

The girl said Skiles sent the children upstairs and, when one of the twins began vomiting, he told them to have their mother take the boy to the hospital when she got home and he left the house, according to the arrest report.

Since 2003, Skiles has been charged with five drug-related charges, including methamphetamine manufacture, one count of domestic assault, theft and reckless endangerment.

about Todd South...

Todd South covers courts, poverty, technology, military and veterans for the Times Free Press. He has worked at the paper since 2008 and previously covered crime and safety in Southeast Tennessee and North Georgia. Todd’s hometown is Dodge City, Kan. He served five years in the U.S. Marine Corps and deployed to Iraq before returning to school for his journalism degree from the University of Georgia. Todd previously worked at the Anniston (Ala.) Star. Contact ...

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sangaree said...

Weary said police had not received any reports of child abuse at Pinion's home other than the recent incident.

I don't believe the above. No one should.

TFP, ask the woman who is alleged to have made the calls if she used the 911 emergency system or did she use the non-emergency number. Or even if it was the housing authority police or a local police cell phone number to make the call. The reason I'm suggesting this be asked is because many citizens, especially those living in public housing, have been given a separate number, even cell phone issued numbers to use that would not be recorded through normal channels. This way it's may have been left up to the discretion of the officer and nothing would be official on record that calls were made. Another C.Y.A. moment?

November 19, 2011 at 9:09 a.m.
westie79 said...

I wish Skiles had smiled on the booking photo. I wanted to see his tooth. "Polly want a cracker?"

November 19, 2011 at 11:36 a.m.
macropetala8 said...

To: Mr. Todd South and TFP.

No record of several calls made.

Mr. South and TFP, instead of looking for any actual 911 calls or 698-2525 calls or any written reports, you may want to ask the CPD if there were any field interviews carried out, and if so how many and how often. On field interviews the police isn't required to file a written report. He/she calls in and may just say something to the effect that they spoke with all individuals involved and sent all parties on their way.

I agree with the poster that in many cases police have given out their cell phone numbers for individuals to call and report possible criminal activity. This way there's no paper trail left and all involved, minus the victims(s} and callers, are in the clear.

November 19, 2011 at 1:06 p.m.
kathy said...

Public Housing? Wake up taxpayers, you are paying for boyfriends to lay with these women at your expense. Unfortunately the children pay the price, every time. Until women start acting responsibly this will continue, and the taxpayer will pick up the bill. Personally I am sick and tired of it. The children should be adopted out into decent homes, the women have a tubal ligation, the men a vasectomy, and put into the street.

November 19, 2011 at 2:49 p.m.
fedup350 said...

You people dont care anything at all about these kids. You are only using this story to post your far out police consiracy theories. What a bucnh of uncaring self serving losers you are. Just to be sure those above know to whom I am talking about, sangaree and macropetala8 it is you to whom I am refering. Secret police numbers? Give me a break. I bet the black helicopters were hovering over this lady when she was making these supposed phone calls and was wiping out any trace that she called. You know, CYA, Holy cow what a couple of misfits. Do you two goofballs even know that the 911 call center isnt run by the police? It is run by an independent 911 board made up of civilians. There goes that conspiracy theory. sheesh!

November 19, 2011 at 5:30 p.m.
jesse said...

the bottom line is when someone like this goes thru the system on 14 felony charges (including child abuse) and goes back on the street w/no jail time then the system(where ever you want to put the blame) has failed!(thats 14 convictions) untill the "system"quits taking the easy way out this kind of crime is not going to stop! you can't wait till some child is killed to put these animals away!

November 19, 2011 at 5:40 p.m.
macropetala8 said...

fedup350, who said anything about secret police numbers? You really need to check yourself. You're so filled up with hate that you're crashing and burning from the inside out.

It's well known, except from you, and no secret that for quite sometime police were allowed to give out their cell phone numbers for citizens to call directly. They were suppose to be used only for non-emergency reasons by citizens, like reporting a suspicious person walking through the neighborhood. However,like all things, they came to be used for other reasons too.

Also, fedup350, tenants living in public housing do have a number they can call directly to the housing authority police instead of going through CPD or using 911. You are such an angry fool! You really do have a serious anger, mental health problem.

November 19, 2011 at 7:30 p.m.
jesse said...

sounds like macropatela is gittin a little ragged around the edges!

startin to sound like austrian from la la land, callin every body a fool and dumb ass!maybe he's the one w/mental health issues!

November 19, 2011 at 8:04 p.m.
macropetala8 said...

jesse. Must be fedup's alter ego? Or split personality?

The thing is Chattanooga Housing Authority has its own police force. Complete with its own police chief and phone numbers for tenants to call. That is if they're being truthful and upfront about having received no calls from anyone. Maybe that's why the Chattanooga police dept. has no record of any calls. It would be wise for TFP to re-interview the individuals who said they made several calls reporting abuse of these children. Ask them which numbers did they use? 911 emergency or Housing Authority numbers they're told to call?

I never understood why the housing authority felt a need to hire its own police force. Especially when on most every issue the CPD ends up responding anyway. That's another government waste that could have been well spent on job skills and training to help the people transition from public housing. Plus, most housing authority cops are rejects from other agencies, who got rid of them for various reasons. Even conduct unbecoming or having engaged in criminal activities themselves.

November 20, 2011 at 5:55 p.m.
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