An Atmore, Alabama, couple have been indicted for felony child abuse by an Escambia County grand jury. The woman, Tracy Linam, 37, is a kindergarten teacher at Rachel Patterson Elementary. She and her 44-year-old husband, Terry Desmond Linam, had been booked into the Escambia County Detention Center, but were subsequently released on bond of $165,000 each.
Court records indicate that the couple allegedly tortured, willfully abused and maltreated the children. The indictment states that each adult struck the children with a hand or foot in the genital area and included "shoving, cursing, belittling, threatening, pulling or snatching hair." The couple reportedly also forced the kids to take medication to make them sleep.
The two were each charged with three counts of aggravated child abuse, which is a Class B felony in Alabama, plus three counts of domestic violence in the third degree — a Class A misdemeanor, according to the Alabama Attorney General's office. Each of the felony counts represent a sentence of from one to 20 years, while the misdemeanor counts are punishable by one year in jail.
According to Joy Patterson, spokesperson for the Alabama Attorney General's office, the three children involved in the case were Terry Linam's from a previous marriage. It has been reported that the alleged abuse was physical, not sexual, according to Escambia County Chief Deputy Mike Lambert.
Lambert told the press that the indictments were a result of an ongoing investigation that began with the sheriff's office. During the investigation the district attorney recused himself due to “some conflicts,” according to Lambert. The case was then handed over to the attorney general's office, which continued the investigation and presented material to the grand jury.
This type of case can ruin a career, especially for someone who works with young children. Based on local reports, it appears that Tracy Linam has been placed on paid administrative leave until the case is resolved, this according to Escambia County School Board Superintendent, Billy Hines. The implications, however, are very serious. Serious enough to seek the best legal help available.
If you or someone you know has been accused of a crime, we advise that you retain a professional criminal defense attorney. We at Eversole Law understand that there's more than one side to any story. In addition to the embarrassment, defendants face a wrenching uncertainty about their futures. You need a defense team that will fight for your rights.
Escambia County teacher facing abuse charges placed on leave, AL.com, April 30, 2009
Pair indicted in child abuse case, BrewtonStandard.com, April 29, 2009