- By Emily Williams Staff Writer
A Springfield woman has been accused of striking a 6-year-old child in the head with a belt and a children’s services employee has been disciplined in connection with the case.
Semonicka Miller, 29, has been charged with assault and endangering children. She pleaded not guilty in Clark County Municipal Court on Tuesday.
A Clark County Children’s Services employee, Johnnie Miller, allegedly was present during the incident but didn’t report it. Johnnie Miller couldn’t be reached for comment on Tuesday.
Johnnie Miller, 32, was disciplined at work but faces no criminal charges, according to a report from Springfield police.
The alleged incident occurred on Dec. 15. The victim and other children were left unattended in a room of a home in the 2000 block of Clifton Avenue, according to the report.
The children were putting toys in either a fire or stove, which caused the fire alarms to go off, the police report says. While the child’s father was putting out the fire, Semonicka Miller came into the room and allegedly hit the child on the head with a belt, narrowly missing the child’s eye, the police report says.
The child’s alleged injuries were visible for at least a week after the incident, according to the report.
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Johnnie Miller called police on Jan. 4 and said that she was present when the incident happened but didn’t actually see it, the report says. According to the report, Johnnie Miller told police that Semonicka Miller was disciplining the children and said that the discipline was “cultural.”
“I advised Ms. J. Miller that striking a child with a belt across the head causing visible injuries that can be seen over a week after it occurred is never an acceptable form of discipline,” Detective Sandra Fent wrote in the police report.
After the incident, Johnnie Miller allegedly used makeup to cover up the injury before the child went to school, the police report says.
The case was transferred to Champaign County Children’s Services because of Johnnie Miller’s employment with Clark County Children’s Services, according to the police report.
A call from the Springfield News-Sun to Pam Meermans, deputy director of Clark County’s Family and Children’s Services Division, wasn’t returned by Tuesday afternoon. The News-Sun also has requested to review Johnnie Miller’s personnel file.
An organizational chart on the agency’s website lists Johnnie Miller as a social services worker.