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Expert: Sean Paddock a victim of 'ritualistic abuse'

Posted June 6, 2008

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— A forensic pediatrician who testified Thursday that a Johnston County woman ritualistically tortured the six children entrusted to her care said she believes that abuse led to the death of adopted son.

"In my opinion, Sean Paddock, a 4-year-old child, was the victim of very severe child abuse," Dr. Sharon Cooper said. "He was the victim of ritualistic abuse. He was the victim of sadistic abuse. He was the victim of torture, and he was a child who died from fatal child homicide."

Lynn Paddock, 47, is on trial for first-degree murder in Sean's Feb. 26, 2006, death. Prosecutors have argued that Paddock wrapped him tightly in a blanket and that he suffocated.

"On the night that he died, he had external constrictions around his chest and he could not breathe adequately," Cooper said.

Cooper, who prosecutors said Friday is the state's last witness, said Sean had experienced, in the past, anxiety from having his mouth taped with duct tape and being forced to sit or lie underneath furniture, including a couch and a bed in the attic – where he was sleeping the nights before he died.

Defense attorneys, who expect to begin their case on Monday, say the boy's death was accidental and that Paddock's actions were discipline, not abuse.

Cooper also testified about the alleged abuse of the five surviving Paddock children – two of whom are Sean's biological siblings – saying they were forced to eat vomit and had pressure sores on their bodies from where they were confined to their beds.

They were also made to drink lots of water and had to wear diapers, she said, and would go for periods without food.

"All of these children, over a period of time, demonstrated they had been victims of starvation," Cooper said, adding that when they left the Paddocks' care, they gained significant weight, putting them back at healthy weights.

One child, she testified, was the victim of beatings and isolation and was "entombed" in pillows and blankets with a bookshelf on top of her. Another was repeatedly beaten and made to sit under a table, Cooper said.


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  • knock-knock Jun 6, 2008

    God, please show Sean extra love.

  • WRALblows Jun 6, 2008

    "Is wral anti death penalty? Every time I mention it in these cases, they don't want to post it."

    Yes posting in this forum is pointless sometimes. This may not even make it. It's funny that the press will be the first to yell "freedom of speech" when they can't get a story run but find censorship to be just fine in a press related forum. And to the "Moderators": moderation of expressed opinions through speech or writing = censorship. Doesn't matter what you refer to it as. For this reason any of my posts that might get passed you will reference you as Censors from now on. Enjoy your work.

  • b4self Jun 6, 2008

    I have followed this story everyday from day one and I get madder everyday something new is added. I still think Johnston Co. needs some serious changes in DSS and the adoption agengy nedds the same and Johnny Paddock should be in jail for aiding child abuse,AT THE VERY LEAST .Hope these children can find love now that she has no control and god please don't let this monster get away with this.

  • foxyladync Jun 6, 2008

    There is a special place in hell for monsters like her.

  • WRALblows Jun 6, 2008

    "When found guilty, may justice be sure, swift and without mercy. May the little one rest in peace, to suffer no more."

    Unfortunately no. In our system she will sit in a cell for an average of 11+ years while appeals processes run their coarse and politics play out surrounding the legality of the death penalty. She won't meet the swift end she deserves quickly, if ever. That's one of the reasons I'm opposed to the death penalty in it's current form. It is no deterrent. Others include malicious prosecution (filed under Nifong) and inequality in the way it's rendered as a sentence. We should have and use the death penalty only after the current justice system is fixed with the responsible parties held accountable. Prosecutors should not be held infallible.

  • jules wants Beth back Jun 6, 2008

    Every time I read an update on this story, it just breaks my heart and I want to cry. That poor little guy... :( I don't understand how all this could have gone un-reported for so long.

    I sure hope she gets what she has coming to her. I don't feel a bit sorry for her, and hope that the surviving children can go on to have good and happy lives.

  • bomanicous Jun 6, 2008

    If this woman is guilty of committing any of the alleged crimes or events there is no penalty harsh enough for her. The only good part of this is the kids are in better places now.

  • robjustrob Jun 6, 2008

    There is no describing the depths of sorrow my heart feels for this poor child and the others that most likely suffered under the care of this monster. What pathology is it that is so strong as to override the maternal instinct to protect and nurture? What rationale allows others to look the other way when the signs of child abuse present themselves? It is a sad commentary on the ability of a society to protect its young. When found guilty, may justice be sure, swift and without mercy.
    May the little one rest in peace, to suffer no more.

  • karrguy77 Jun 6, 2008

    It breaks my heart to read about these children. I think about my son, how small and helpless he is. I cant imagine why anyone would hurt such a defenseless being. Sean will never know the loving touch of someone who cares for him. What a horrible women! Hope she rots in helll.

  • Meandmytwo Jun 6, 2008

    I will be so glad when this is over and justice is served. I hope that she gets life without parol and then she will see how it feels to have other people to tell you when to eat, what to eat, when to go to bed, wake up and control your every move. She will pay for what pain and suffering that she has caused all the children. I pray that they can recover with the grace of God and be embraced with love from a welcoming family.