A Columbus father accused of not seeking medical attention for his daughter after taking pills was released from the Muscogee County Jail Thursday but he can’t go near the 15-year-old girl.
David James Hughes, 58, pleaded not guilty to one count of child cruelty second degree during a 2 p.m. hearing in Columbus Recorder’s Court. Judge Mary Buckner ordered Hughes’ released on $2,500 recognizance bond and bound the charge over to Muscogee Superior Court.
Detective Richard Campbell said the charge stemmed from a sexual incident that occurred between the girl and a 13-year-old boy. Custody of the girl is shared between the father and mother.
After the girl engaged in sex with the boy, Campbell said parents of the boy and girl met at Burger King Jan. 30 to discuss the incident when the girl stormed out of the restaurant. The daughter was taken back to her father’s 46th Street home where she took some pills on Feb. 3.
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While the girl sent a text to her mother about the pills, the father said the teen would be alright, Campbell told the court.
Represented by public defender Charles Lykins, Hughes testified that his daughter took between four and six pills. “I think she was grandstanding,” said Hughes who is a minister. “She wanted attention.”
The father said it was time for the daughter to think about where she was going if she died. “If you’re going to die, think about where you are going to go , to heaven or to hell,” he testified.
Hughes admitted that he put a lot of pressure on his daughter. “God sees these things and he knows your heart,” he said. “I prayed for her. It seemed like she turned over a new leaf.”
Police and paramedics arrived to transport the child to the emergency room for treatment.
Last summer, the father noted the girl took a container of pills and he took her to the emergency room. He stayed with her all night before going to work the next morning.
The girl has stayed with her mother since the charge was filed under the family violence act.