Elburn man indicted for beating toddler

By on January 14, 2011

Kane County—An Elburn man and St. Charles woman were indicted Tuesday for their role in the October beating of her toddler.

James C. Cooper, 27, with a last known address on the 700 block of North First Street, Elburn, was indicted today by a Kane County grand jury, on one count of aggravated battery to a child, a Class X felony, and three counts of endangering the life or health of a child, each a Class A misdemeanor.

Cooper was charged by complaint in late October with one count of aggravated battery to a child, a Class X felony.

Cathleen Koch, 28, with a last known address on the 1500 block of Main Street, St. Charles, was indicted by a Kane County grand jury on one count of aggravated battery to a child, a Class X felony, six counts of obstructing justice, each a Class 3 felony, and six counts of endangering the life or health of a child, each a Class A misdemeanor.

The incident took place Oct. 27, 2010, in a hotel room in the 1500 block of East Main Street, St. Charles, where Cooper, Koch and the child had been living for several months.

According to the indictments, Cooper knowingly caused great bodily harm to the toddler in that he applied violent force to her body; that the child was placed in circumstances that endangered her life; and that Koch provided false information to authorities about the incident.

Prosecutors said that the offense was accompanied by exceptionally brutal or heinous behavior indicative of wanton cruelty and upon proof of that fact could seek an extended sentence for Cooper.

The charges against Koch are based on an allegation that she is legally responsible for the abusive acts of Cooper, her paramour.

The Illinois Supreme Court has recognized that parents have a common law duty to protect their children from known threats, such that, under certain conditions, the omission to act will give rise to criminal liability.

The indictment states that although Cathleen Koch did not personally strike her child, she knew of a serious and immediate threat to the welfare of her child and that her failure to intercede on her child’s behalf makes her legally responsible for the injuries inflicted by Cooper.

Cooper was taken into custody Oct. 29, 2010, in Batavia. He remains in custody in the Kane County jail on $3 million bail. His next court appearance has been set for 9 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 13, in Courtroom 319 in front of Circuit Judge Timothy Q. Sheldon.

Following the indictment, a warrant for Koch’s arrest was issued and her bail was set at $100,000.

If convicted of the most serious charge, Cooper could face a sentence of between six and 60 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections and Koch could face a sentence of between six and 30 years in IDOC.

The charges against Cooper and Koch are not proof of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial in which it is the state’s burden to prove his or her guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.