Man gets four years in child endangering case
By Joe Gorman
A Campbell man was sentenced Tuesday in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court to four years in prison on child-endangering charges.
Benjamin Chaibi, 31, will serve the sentence concurrent to a one-year sentence he is serving in an unrelated case after pleading guilty before Judge Anthony D’Apolito to three second-degree felony counts of child endangering.
Assistant Prosecutor Jennifer McLaughlin said Chaibi was addicted to heroin and living with his girlfriend, who was also addicted to heroin. Her three children – two 6-year olds and a 3-year-old – suffered burns, cuts and bruises while in their care, McLaughlin said.
The mother, Elizabeth Hall, 29, was offered probation if she agreed to testify against Chaibi and she pleaded guilty to one count of child endangering. She has yet to be sentenced, and she is presently in drug treatment and trying to get her children back.
McLaughlin said a foster family has custody of the children.
Chaibi said he wanted to take responsibility for his actions but he also said he thinks Hall is getting off too easily. He said he loves the children and did his best to care for them.
“I look at it like this: I love those kids. They called me dad. I messed up,” Chaibi said. “They were making me out to seem like the devil. I need to go to prison. I need some time.”
Judge D’Apolito said it is very rare a defendant will not only admit they did something wrong but also admit that they deserve to be in prison. He said the fact Chaibi loves the children makes the situation worse because he had a chance to save them and did not.
“You had an opportunity to be a hero,” Judge D’Apolito said.
McLaughlin said she would not oppose early release for Chaibi when he has served the minimum amount of his sentence, but Judge D’Apolito said he wants Chaibi to serve the majority of his sentence before he considers a request for early release.