Bucks Judge Jails 2 In Child Abuse

Posted: June 25, 1988

A Bucks County man, who a judge said beat his girlfriend's 3-year-old daughter "within an inch of her life" with an electrical cord, was sentenced yesterday to seven to 15 years in a state prison. The child's mother was ordered to serve one to two years in a county jail for failing to protect her daughter from the assaults.

After viewing photographs of Christina Haggart, who was found burned, beaten and bruised in a motel room, Bucks County President Judge Isaac S. Garb yesterday told Robert Langer, 25, he had nearly killed the child during two weeks of beatings in February. Raising his voice, Garb told Christina's mother, Holly Haggart, 27, that she was "inadequate" as a mother.

"Children are precious to us," Garb said during the sentencing hearing. ''Everybody loves a child. I might ask you, what could a 3-year-old possibly do . . . to justify that kind of physical abuse?"

Langer and Haggart pleaded guilty Monday to charges that they recklessly endangered Christina's welfare. Langer also was charged with aggravated assault and simple assault.

When Langer's attorney asked him how he felt during the sentencing, Langer responded: "I'm a piece of dirt."

The two were arrested March 1 after police found Christina lying on the floor of a room in the Country House Motel on Route 1 in Morrisville, Falls Township. Christina suffered burns, cuts and a broken jaw and was hospitalized for two weeks. She is still being treated for her injuries, said Bucks County Assistant District Attorney Patricia Cooley.

Haggart worked at the motel and lived there with Langer and her four children. Christina and Haggart's other children - Ronnie, 7; Shawn, 6, and Heather Marie, 5, - have been placed in foster homes, Cooley said.

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