Newton County woman receives 30-year prison sentence on child cruelty charges

Case against father of children is still pending

NEWTON COUNTY, GA (Dec. 16, 2023) On Dec. 12, Nora Rodgers, of Newton County, was sentenced to 60 years on probation, 30 of them to serve in prison, on child cruelty charges, according to Alcovy Judicial Circuit District Attorney Randy McGinley.

The Alcovy Judicial Circuit serves both Walton and Newton counties.

McGinley said the case against the father of the children, Carey Clark, is still pending.

Nora Rodgers

“He’s charged with 11 counts of Cruelty to Children in the First Degree, two counts of Aggravated Battery Family Violence, three counts of Aggravated Assault Family Violence, and two counts of Cruelty to Children in the Third Degree,” McGinley said.  

Rodgers had pleaded guilty to nine counts of cruelty to children in the first degree on Oct. 9 with sentencing pending until last Tuesday. The guilty plea was related to “the physical, mental and emotional abuse inflicted on her three stepchildren.” She also had three biological children living in the home with her but they reportedly did not receive the same level of abuse her stepchildren had been subjected to. However, when the abuse came to the attention of authorities, all six children were removed from the home.

The guilty plea stemmed from charges that had been investigated since Oct. 4, 2020 when a relative had notified authorities after checking on the children.

According to the DA’s office, “the children all had bruising, swelling, and physical marks showing the beatings they suffered. The nine-year-old had a black eye and severe bruising on his legs. The eight-year-old had bruises covering her body and scrapes and marks from physical punishments. The six-year-old child had the most significant physical injuries. She had scrapes, swelling, bruising covering her entire body and broken elbow. She also suffered severe internal injuries from the beatings, that could have led to her death and needed to be treated by Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta’s (CHOA’s) trauma team. Over the years the children had suffered torture under the guise of punishment. They were forced to do extreme bootcamp style exercises. They would have to run laps, squats with large logs from the yard, jumping jacks, etc., for extended time periods and to the point of exhaustion and injury. They would often have to perform these exercises in the middle of the night and in the heat of summer. When the exercises were not performed to Rodgers liking, she would then beat them. Rodgers would also spar with children, striking and hitting them. DFCS had previously been involved with the family and had instructed Rodgers she was not to use exercise or corporal punishment at all.

“All three of the children were malnourished, because Rodger’s would underfeed them and withhold food as ‘punishment.’ They would have time limits to eat their meals and Rodgers would blend their solid foods into one drink so they could eat even faster.”

The investigation and arrest was handled by the Newton County Sheriff’s Office and the prosecution was led by Deputy Chief ADA Bailey Wilkinson, Senior ADA Alex Stone, chief investigator Kelly Whire, senior victim advocate Shay Payne and legal assistant Sheila Cornelius. 

“The dedicated work of the prosecution team led to a result that guarantees that the victims will be well into adulthood before Rodgers gets out of prison,” said District Attorney Randy McGinley. “The DA’s Office sought justice for the victims but also that Rodgers would be in prison long enough that she could not harm these children or any other children. The prosecutors’ hard work led to a guilty plea with an appropriate sentence without the children having to testify at length and relive the abuse they faced,” McGinley said, going on to thank those who put the children. “A special thanks goes to the foster parents who cared for the children after their abuse and family of the children who reported the abuse. While Rodgers put herself above the well-being of the kids, so many others fought for them.”

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