A Chicago man who said he and his toddler daughter were playing when he bound her hand and foot, taped her mouth closed, and took a photograph of her that he posted on Facebook has been indicted on felony charges.
Andre Curry, 21, was charged with aggravated domestic battery, aggravated battery and unlawful restraint for allegedly binding his 22-month-old daughter's hands and feet with blue tape, placing another piece of tape over her mouth, then snapping a photo that he posted on line. The caption read: "This is wut happens wen my baby hits me back (-;"
The photo quickly made its way into the hands of police. Curry told investigators he and his daughter were joking around after he found her playing with a roll of painter's tape, but prosecutors were not amused. If convicted of the most serious charge, he could face up to seven years in prison.
Curry's attorney said the case had been "blown out of proportion" due to the quick spread of the photo on the Internet.
Pastor Torrey Barrett, who said he has been counseling Curry in jail since his arrest last month, said the man needs guidance, not prison time.
"There was no intent to cause harm to his daughter," Barrett said. "He's a young guy who had a youthful indiscretion, an error in judgment. He thought it was humorous and it wasn't."
Curry and the child's mother share custody of the little girl, and Curry was heartbroken to spend Christmas alone in jail, instead of with his daughter, Barrett said.
"This young man could use some guidance, some counseling and that's what we think happened," Barrett said. "He made a mistake, used poor judgment and did something he truly regrets."
Curry has no previous police record, and some people who know him describe him as a devoted single dad who works at Applebee's to support himself and his family. The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services said they had no previous contact with Curry's family and that the child was not injured.
Curry's bond was set at $100,000 and he was banned him from any contact with his child and from using the Internet. Curry's family is unable to raise enough money to bail him out.
Curry is due back in court Jan. 26, and his lawyer plans to file a motion to reduce bond.
Barrett and others have formed a group called Citizens Concerned for Andre Curry. They are collecting signatures on a petition to try to sway the judge to let Curry go free.
"It will do more harm to him, his daughter and society if he were to spend time in jail," Barrett said. "The best thing for him is to let him out and let him tell his story. He can warn others not to make the same mistake."