Mother gets maximum sentence for failing to protect son from abuse

Whitley Sharp police booking photo (WHTM)

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – A Harrisburg woman will serve up to seven years in state prison over the physical abuse of her 5-year-old son by his father.

Whitley Sharp, 27, was ordered to a term of 3 ½ to 7 years. It’s the maximum sentence permitted under the law for the charge of endangering welfare of children.

Authorities say that in March, Sharp’s son was severely beaten by his father, James Slaughter, III, because of a bathroom accident. Sharp did not seek medical attention or call authorities.

Days later, the incident was reported by a family member. When police went to the home, Sharp told the child to lie about what happened.

In court, Judge John Cherry compared the child’s injuries to that of a person who was beaten and tortured in a concentration camp.

As Judge Cherry held up graphic images of the child’s injuries he told Sharp, “If I could give you ten to twenty years in this case—I would. What you did to this innocent child is disgraceful.”

Chief Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Gettle requested the maximum sentence, saying the only worse incidents she has seen were of children who died as a result of their injuries.

Slaughter is pending trial. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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