CHEYENNE, Wyo. – A 43-year old man was arrested by the Laramie County Sheriff’s Office after it is alleged that he stood behind a child with special needs and squeezed his hand over their mouth for a prolonged period of time to keep them from screaming.
Dustin Yearnot made his initial appearance in Laramie County Circuit Court on June 25th, 2020 to hear the recommended charge of Felony Child Abuse read to him by Judge Denise Nau.
Officials with the LCSO say that on June 23rd, 2020 a deputy was dispatched to a hotel room to assist a Department of Family Services worker conduct a wellness check on an adult and a child.
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The deputy reports that when they arrived they made contact with the adult who said that they had gotten into a series of physical altercations with Yearnot during the course of the day on June 20th, 2020.
Court papers say that the accuser advised the deputy that a child who is living with special needs and has severely limited speaking abilities was present while they were fighting.
The accuser told law enforcement that at one point the child became upset over the fighting between themself and Yearnot and began to scream.
According to arrest information, the accuser told authorities that Yearnot stood behind the child and placed his hand around their mouth to stop them from screaming.
The deputy reported in the filed affidavit that they observed bruising on the face of the child that appeared to be the type of injury that can be caused by a hand squeezing an area for a long period.
The accuser told authorities that they suspected the bruising on the child’s face was caused by Yearnot’s actions, according to the affidavit.
Court paperwork says that the next day when Yearnot spoke with Law Enforcement, he informed them that it was common practice to hold their hand over the child’s mouth to try and stop them from screaming.
Wyoming state statues say that any person convicted of Felony Child Abuse can face up to ten years in prison and/or a fine of up to 10k.
All of those cited or arrested are presumed innocent until convicted in a court of law. Charges are subject to change following official filings from the Laramie County District Attorney’s Office.