CHEYENNE – Four people are facing separate charges in Laramie County’s felony court in connection with separate incidents of physical or sexual child abuse.
James Rizzo is facing four charges of third-degree sexual abuse of a minor; Allen P. Flanary is facing a single count of physical child abuse; Charles A. Armajo is facing a single count of second-degree sexual abuse of a minor; and Jennifer M. McDonough is facing a single count of physical child abuse.
Law enforcement officials say that while it might be unusual for all of those cases to come to district court at the same time, the agencies haven’t seen an overall increase in child abuse or sex abuse cases.
“(Our detectives) haven’t really seen anything or noticed anything differently,” said Officer Kevin Malatesta with the Cheyenne Police Department. “It sounded like we had recommended these cases (to the District Attorney’s Office) and they’re now getting around to filing them. It’s not anything we’re seeing as a trend.”
Laramie County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Capt. Linda Gesell echoed that sentiment.
“We’re constantly investigating those cases, so I don’t know of anything that would be different than what we’re doing normally,” she said.
The following descriptions of the accusations are based on charging documents submitted to the courts by law enforcement. These charges have not yet been contested in a court of law.
The offense dates range from May and October, and the cases aren’t related.
According to charging documents:
Rizzo is facing accusations of sexually abusing a young girl after officers were called to a home in May in reference to a sexual battery.
The girl, 9, said a male friend of a family member had molested her when she took a shower and bath, and at least once when she was asleep.
The girl’s mother told police she didn’t believe her daughter had been molested, but she was aware of the accusations.
Flanary is accused of spanking a young boy with a flyswatter and belt.
A CPD officer investigating the case said he observed “significant red marks, bruising and raised skin (welts) down the left outer leg and buttocks.”
Flanary told police he spanked the boy with an open hand the night before when the child lied about finishing his food. He denied using anything other than his hand.
Flanary also faced two charges of child abuse and one count of aggravated child abuse in 2011, according to a previous WTE story. It was unclear Thursday evening whether he was ever convicted or sentenced for those crimes.
Armajo is facing accusations that he sexually assaulted a 15-year-old foreign exchange student.
The girl told a Laramie County Sheriff’s detective that she was helping Armajo butcher a deer shot while hunting, and Armajo said they needed to perform “a Native American ceremony to honor the deer.”
The girl said Armajo blew smoke into her mouth and asked her to lie down on her back. He then sexually assaulted her, the investigator wrote.
Armajo told the detective he was out on bond, and a Minnesota sheriff’s department confirmed he did have a previous warrant regarding a sex crime, but “they currently do not have any active warrants.”
McDonough faces accusations of slapping a baby.
A mother noticed when she picked her child up from at McDonough's home daycare that the baby had a bruise on the side of his face covering most of his cheek and the upper right side of his head. McDonough told the mother the child fell and hit his head on the coffee table.
The mother then took the child to the hospital and called law enforcement.
“The longer we spoke with the parents, the more apparent the bruising became,” the Laramie County Sheriff’s detective wrote.
McDonough apparently told investigators later she was “willing to accept the consequences of her actions. Jennifer advised even though (the baby) was crying, it did not justify her to slap him like that.”
CORRECTION: This story was corrected to reflect the timeline of events that led to McDonough's arrest.