‘This is child abuse’ says judge during Kelton Ragan sentencing

In a McCracken County courtroom Monday, 19-year-old father Kelton Ragan was sentenced to eight years in jail for child abuse. He’s convicted of breaking his 3-month-old son’s leg when lifting him up.

Ragan pleaded guilty.  

 "What happened was a freak accident due to recklessness," he said to the judge. "I never intentionally meant to do anything to my son."

Ragan’s grandfather, Keith Ragan, spoke on behalf of his grandson’s character. He said when Kelton lived with them, he was well-behaved and never aggressive.

Keith was choked up from the start.

"Contrary to how he has been characterized, we do not believe he intentionally hurt his son on that eventful morning," Keith said. "He was reckless, and frankly, I’d stand in line with those who say stupid and lazy."

Kelton’s grandmother held onto him as he and his grandfather asked for a shorter sentence.

"This is never going to happen again," said Kelton. "All I want to do in this world is be there and provide for my son and be the father that he needs."

"Eight years removed from his family is not only not going to make him a better father upon release," said Keith. "It deprives the family unit of the care he could provide."

McCracken County Circuit Judge Tim Kaltenbach said Kelton should get the eight-year sentence so he is not near his son or his other child who was born just two days ago.

"We’re talking about a 3-month-old child —certainly, completely, utterly defenseless," said Kaltenbach.

Kaltenbach said medical examiners also found the infant had fractured ribs. Ragan said he had nothing to do with that injury.

"A child does what a child naturally does, which is cry and is irritable. It won’t stop crying. You cannot react to a child by abusing a child, and that’s what this is," said Kaltenbach.

Ragan was immediately placed into custody and jailed in the McCracken County Regional Jail. He is not up for probation.

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