TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – A Delaware County man accused of beating a disabled child is being held in the Adair County jail.

Jeremy Wayne Matthews, 44, of Eucha, is charged in Cherokee Nation Criminal Court.  He was taken into custody on July 14 and remains incarcerated. His next court date is Aug. 11, online court records show.

THE ALLEGATIONS

Photographs of the then 5-year-old victim showed several bruises about two inches in width and about eight inches long on the back of the child’s leg. The bruising area covered the entire width of the child’s back thigh and was surrounded by purple coloring, scratches, and faded bruises.

The child suffers from Pontine Cerebellum Hypoplasia, a rare neurodegenerative disorder where parts of the brain such as the cerebellum are underdeveloped or absent, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website.

Matthews admitted to Delaware County authorities he used a back scratcher and swatted the victim on the thighs.

During questioning, Matthews said “he did not hit him hard enough to leave any marks, that it was just a tap,” according to the arrest affidavit filed with charges in Delaware County District Court.

The victim’s mother told authorities the victim began screaming and Matthews came out of the bathroom, grabbed a wooden back scratcher, and swatted the child on the back of the legs.

The mother then left with the victim and took him to the INTEGRIS Grove Hospital emergency room. Matthews was found guilty in September 2020 in a Delaware County District Court non-jury trial and sentenced to eight years and ordered to have no contact with the victim, the victim’s mother, and grandmother, court records show.  He was released from the Oklahoma Department of Corrections in April 2021 after his attorney filed a “McGirt” motion.

The McGirt motion centered around the 2020 U.S. Supreme Court decision stating the Cherokee Nation reservation was never disestablished and because of the 113-year-old decision, prosecutors are prohibited from prosecuting wrongdoing on Cherokee Nation land.

Matthews is a member of the Cherokee Nation Tribe and his alleged wrongdoing occurred within the Cherokee Nation Reservation.

His case was picked up by Cherokee Nation Tribal Court in November 2021.