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Accused child abusers sentenced to prison

Hernando Today
Published:   |   Updated: May 7, 2013 at 06:38 PM
BROOKSVILLE -

The father received 20 years in prison and the mother was sentenced to four years.

Both of them pleaded guilty to various child abuse charges related to the July 2011 water torture that landed their adopted 16-year-old son in the hospital.

Ronald White, 38, also was convicted of multiple counts of sexual battery of a 15-year-old girl.

White is still being investigated for sexual battery allegations in Pinellas County, according to reports.

Had he gone to trial for his Hernando felony counts and been convicted, he could have received life in prison.

His wife, Tammy White, pleaded guilty to two child abuse counts. She entered her plea last week in Hernando County Circuit Court. Her husband was sentenced the week prior.

The two were accused of forcing their special needs son of drinking gallons of water at once at their Spring Hill home off Medford Avenue. As a result, the boy went into septic shock and was airlifted to All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg in critical condition.

He survived his injuries.

Detectives said White roomed with a 15-year-old girl at the Ronald McDonald House in St. Petersburg while the boy was recovering at the hospital. It was during that stay that White had "many sexual encounters" with the girl, according to the Hernando County Sheriff's Office.

The girl also told detectives White had sex with her many more times in Hernando County, authorities said.

The reports of the sexual relations at the Ronald McDonald House were forwarded to the St. Petersburg Police Department, which then forwarded the case to the State Attorney's Office.

A spokeswoman with the State Attorney's Office in Clearwater did not return a message Thursday. She told Hernando Today in April the investigation remained open.

Hernando deputies said the couple moved to Spring Hill in 2011 from Georgia with their three adopted teenagers, all of whom were subjected to various forms of abuse.

Georgia law allows couples who adopt children to receive thousands of dollars in state assistance. Authorities said the couple decided to adopt in order to escape their financial problems.


wholt@hernandotoday.com (352) 544-5283
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