Jack LattaStaff Writer
August 28, 2012
PRESTONSBURG — Shawn Cordle was released from jail this week, after a plea agreement was reached with Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office in one of last year’s most notorious child abuse cases.
Last year, Cordle, and his wife, Amber Cordle, both of Prestonsburg, were arrested after police were dispatched to the couple’s home, where they found five children living in filth. The Cordles were both charged with two counts of unlawful imprisonment, five counts of endangering the welfare of a minor and five counts of first-degree criminal abuse of a child 12 and under.
On Monday, Floyd Circuit Judge John David Caudill sentenced Shawn Cordle to one year in prison, or time served, as the defendant had already served his year. Cordle received one year for each of the unlawful imprisonment charges, and one year for each of the endangering the welfare of a minor charges. His sentences were to be served concurrently. The charges of first-degree criminal abuse were dismissed.
Commonwealth’s Attorney Arnold Brent Turner said Shawn Cordle’s crime was not so much abuse as it was more acute neglect. Turner said it is was Cordle who called for emergency help, because he had one child who needed to go to the hospital and couldn’t leave the others.
“He was pretty much in a situation where he was overwhelmed,” said Turner. “It was not intentional abuse, but more extreme neglect.”
When emergency medical service crews arrived at the Cordles’ residence, they found three children with blisters and rashes, and two more children were found upstairs, trapped in a room, lying in feces and urine. All five children were taken to Highlands Regional Medical Center, where they were all admitted. Two children reportedly had severe infections from diaper rashes.
Turner said Amber Cordle is expected to be sentenced to two years in prison for her role in the neglect of the children. He explained she hadn’t been home in weeks, and had more or less abandoned the children to her husband. “Between the two of them, the evidence shows that she was more culpable,” Turner said.
According to Turner, social service groups had made numerous visits to the home and had reported nothing that would suggest the children had been living in those conditions for an extended period of time.
“This was a gentleman who was overwhelmed,” said defense attorney Emma Jones. “I’m really happy to see him go home.”
Cordle was released from jail Monday. Turner said Cordle may be able to regain some of his privileges with his oldest child. All of the Cordles’ children were taken into custody by social services.
Amber Cordle’s sentencing is scheduled for September.