Charity Calvert-Romero, 32, was sentenced to three years in jail, Monday, after pleading no contest charges of intentional abuse of a child and obstructing an investigation.
Calvert was charged after the Chaves County Sheriff’s Office found her 5-year-old autistic child barricaded in a room at her West Hobson home, on June 10, 2013, when deputies arrived in response to a call about a domestic disturbance.
According to the affidavit of criminal complaint filed in Magistrate Court, deputies saw the child crying through a window. When deputies attempted to check on the 5-year-old, Calvert blocked the door to prevent their entrance into the residence.
When Sgt. Scott Ouilette entered the building, he located the girl trapped in a room by a series of child gates that had been screwed over the opening.
“We had to rip the cage down to get to her. … The caging was a big concern. She had no way to escape in case of fire, no way to get water, no way to escape the heat, and it was hotter inside the home than outside,” Chief Deputy Britt Snyder said.
The court records report that the temperature inside the residence was 105 degrees on June 10, and the child’s room had no ventilation. Officials observed deplorable conditions inside the residence — filth, feces, cockroaches and dirty dishes scattered around the house and inside the room.
Food was slid to the child through a slot in the barricade. A second door had also been nailed shut. The bedroom window had been broken and was covered with a board nailed to the outside of the building.
Calvert defended the use of barricades; however, on June 14, 2013, CCSO arrested both Calvert and the father, Edward Romero, 63.
Calvert received a sentence of three years on the charges of child abuse and 364 days for misdemeanor charges of obstruction. The sentences are to run concurrently.
Romero pleaded not guilty. The jury trial is scheduled for May 18.