For more than two years, the family of Zander Saucier has experienced a constant and gut-wrenching pain over the torture the boy suffered at the hands of his father, Nathan Blake McCrory.
But the pain didn’t end there for Emily Saucier, mother of the now 5-year-old boy.
She couldn’t let go of the worry that went along with the thought of her young son having to testify at a trial about the beatings and other pain his father inflicted upon him at the ages of 1 and 3.
On Wednesday, the angst and concern ended for Saucier when McCrory, 26, pleaded guilty to multiple counts of felony child abuse and one count of manufacturing marijuana.
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The abuse case occurred during incidents in April 2016 and April 2014, said Assistant District Attorney Angel Myers.
Admitting child abuse
Judge Robert Krebs almost reconsidered accepting McCrory’s plea after he again blamed his son’s injuries on falling down some stairs, not once but twice, and said other injuries could be attributed to an ATV accident.
The judge warned McCrory he wouldn’t accept the plea until he admitted his actions.
But McCrory said he didn’t remember a lot about what happened that weekend in April 2016 because he was using prescription painkillers at the time. Authorities also found a marijuana plant growing in a room in his home.
Myers pointed out the boy’s sister said she saw McCrory whipping Zander and then heard his cries when his father took him out to a closed room outside where the abuse continued.
After McCrory explained how prescriptions drugs affected his memory, Krebs accepted the pleas, sentencing McCrory to a total of 55 years for the two child abuse charges and the drug charge. He will have to serve 25 of those years. The two felony abuse sentences run concurrently.
“On April 11, 2016, I received the worst news a mother could ever receive,” Saucier said prior to McCrory’s sentencing. “For several days, the doctors couldn’t tell us if Zander was going to make it or not.
“It has been the longest two years of our lives,” she said, with other family seated beside her. “Over the past 702 days, there have been many ups and downs. My son who is now five, struggles with anger, nightmares and confusion.”
Saucier said Zander will say things like, “’Mommie, I don’t understand why I can’t have a good daddy to come eat lunch with me like my friends.”
As a mother, she said, every disappointment or pain her son feels hurts.
“I find myself stuttering, trying to find the correct words to throw together to help him understand.” she said.
At other times, she said, she has seen the fear that comes upon her son when he thinks his father is near. On one occasion, she said, her son saw a pickup truck that looked like his father’s, and the boy wet his pants because he was afraid.
“No child should have to endure that type of fear,” Saucier said.
The media is to blame
McCrory’s family said the media made McCrory out to be a “monster,” something they say has never been the truth.
“I helped raise him,” his grandmother Sheila McCrory said. “I took him to church every Sunday. He’s not an evil person. I love him with all my heart and I can’t stand to hear people say things about him I’ve never seen.
“He said a lot of things today (in his admissions to the crimes) because he feels like he has to,” she added, also saying she had noticed bruises on Zander when his father first took custody of him for the weekend when the abuse occurred.
She said the bruising was already there before McCrory got him for the weekend, but she didn’t think to take any pictures of them.
Sheila McCrory then blasted what she called “the fake news.”
“They can make people evil,” she said. “They can make people whatever they want. I know my grandson and I breaks a grandmother’s heart to see this. He loves his children with all his heart. He loved them. I don’t care what anybody says, I know he does.”
Faith guiding family
Zander has been in counseling since the crimes and will continue to do so until the doctors say otherwise.
Saucier and other relatives, including Jimmy Spears, say their faith has helped them and Zander get through the ordeal.
“My faith is strong and I will one day find the strength to forgive,” Saucier said. “The pain and anger I hold in my heart is not healthy. With the help of family and friends, we are ready to close this chapter and move on I pray for peace.”