Lakewood child abuse suspect pleads guilty

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By Deborah Swearingen

A Lakewood woman pleaded guilty Feb. 21 to one class-4 felony charge of child abuse with serious bodily injury.

Melissa Mangeri, 28, was arrested in October in connection with the assault of her then-2-year-old daughter. According to the arrest affidavit, Mangeri was present during one or more of the assaults on her daughter and failed to seek assistance. This placed the child “in a situation that posed a threat of injury or death.”

As a stipulation of her guilty plea, Mangeri must testify against Joshua Gonzales during his April 9 jury trial. Gonzales, 22, is accused of seriously injuring Mangeri’s daughter in September and was charged with serious bodily harm, a charge to which he has pleaded not guilty.

Gonzales is believed to have beaten Mangeri’s daughter in the 1400 block of South Pierson Street in Lakewood on Sept. 11. Three days later, the victim, who has since turned 3, and her mother were discovered outside of Doull Elementary School in Denver. Mangeri called 911 to report her child was having a medical emergency. When medical help arrived, the child was “unresponsive and not breathing,” according to the arrest affidavit.

Following Gonzales’ trial, Mangeri will return to court for a May 17 sentencing hearing. According to Judge Dennis Hall, she faces a variety of penalties, including two to eight years in prison, up to $500,000 in fines or a probationary sentence.

Initially, Mangeri was held at the Jeffco jail on a $50,000 bond. The bond was later modified to $30,000. She posted bond Oct. 20 and is no longer in custody.