Child in Bartley’s care “abused”

(WBIR/staff reports) The boy who died from an injury suffered while in the care of convicted Campbell County school shooter Kenneth Bartley in May “was physically abused by an unknown abuser,” according to Child Protective Services of Fairfax County, Va.
That differs from the the Virginia Medical Examiner’s office, whose August report listed the boy’s manner of death as “undetermined.”
In May, 3-year-old Beckett Josef Podominick suffered a fatal head injury while being cared for by Bartley. The boy was the son of Erin TePaske, Bartley’s counselor, with whom Bartley had been living as part of a court arrangement.
TePaske has maintained her son’s death was an accident, caused when he tried opening an outward-swinging door at the top of the steps at the rear of Tepaske’s home. TePaske said the boy’s grip slipped while he was pulling, sending him backwards with great force. She said the child’s back arched and his head was the first part of his body to break the fall as he hit a concrete block on the ground, causing a traumatic brain injury that killed him.
In August, the Virginia Medical Examiner’s report revealed the boy’s death was caused by “blunt head trauma” but stopped short of naming the cause.
A record that has recently come to light, however, goes further.
In a letter dated Oct. 7, officials with Child Protective Services of Fairfax County told Beckett’s biological father Matt Podominick, of Chattanooga, that, “a preponderance of the evidence indicates Beckett Podominick was physically abused by an unknown abuser.”
The Child Protective Services investigation was initiated on May 11, 2015. The boy’s injury happened on Mother’s Day – May 10 – and he died several days later.
In 2005, 14-year-old Bartley shot and killed Campbell County Comprehensive School administrator Ken Bruce and wounded the school’s principal and vice principal. Bartley confessed to the crime, pleaded guilty, was convicted of first-degree murder and, went to prison. The conviction was eventually thrown out and Bartley got a new trial, at the conclusion of which he was convicted of a reduced crime of reckless homicide, and set free with time served in February 2014.
A few months later, Bartley assaulted his father and his mother on separate occasions, pleaded guilty to domestic assault and was sentenced to probation.
TePaske agreed to give Bartley a fresh start in Virginia and provide psychological treatment.
She is a former psychological counselor with Helen Ross McNabb and helped treat Bartley many years ago. She agreed to help Bartley with psychological treatment now that he is an adult who spent eight years behind bars during almost his entire teenage life and early 20s.
Judge Shayne Sexton signed an order in February that allowed Bartley to leave the state and live with TePaske in Virginia while still under the watchful eye of the court. He was required to undergo counseling, find a full-time job, and submit written progress reports every 45 days.

About Jim Harris

Jim Harris has been WYSH's News & Sports Director since 2000. In addition to reporting local news, he is the play-by-play voice for Clinton High School football, boys' and girls' basketball and baseball. Catch Jim live weekdays beginning at 6:20 am for live local news, sports, weather and traffic plus the Community Bulletin Board, shenanigans with Ron Meredith and more on the Country Club Morning Show on WYSH & WQLA. Jim lives in Clinton with his wife Kelly and daughter Carolina, his mother-in-law and cats Lucius and Oliver.

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