LOCKPORT – A Town of Lockport woman pleaded not guilty in Niagara County Court Monday to an indictment accusing her of beating and trying to drown her 11-month-old daughter July 2.
Crystal N. Curthoys, 24, of Hollywood Drive in the Woodlands mobile home park, had been held on $25,000 bail since her arrest, but County Judge Sara Sheldon Farkas boosted the bail to $50,000 at the arraignment after hearing that Curthoys had plans to move to Minnesota.
Deputy District Attorney Holly E. Sloma said Curthoys had recently returned here from that state to live with her adoptive mother. Two days before the alleged assaults, the adoptive mother went to Family Court to try to win custody of the baby. Sloma said the court did eventually grant custody to Curthoys’ adoptive mother.
Sloma told Farkas that Curthoys, in an interview with Niagara County Sheriff’s Office investigators, admitted striking the girl twice in the head. The left side of the baby’s face was badly bruised, including hemorrhaging around the eye and an injury inside the ear.
Also, during what Sloma called “a bath-time routine,” Curthoys allegedly shoved the girl’s head under the water three times: once for about 20 seconds, then for about 30 seconds, and then for about 40 seconds.
“It was then that this defendant snapped out of it and removed the victim from the water,” Sloma told the judge.
The prosecutor said the baby girl vomited “loads of water” and was treated in Women & Children’s Hospital.
Sloma said as far as can be determined now, the baby does not seem to have suffered any permanent injury.
Assistant Public Defender David E. Blackley argued against increasing bail, noting that Curthoys, who faces two counts of second-degree assault, qualified for a public defender and hadn’t been able to post $25,000, but Farkas granted the prosecution request for an increase.
Curthoys is being held in the Niagara County Jail to await a pretrial conference Nov. 3.