TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – An outstanding warrant remains active for a Delaware County man accused of beating a disabled child.
Jeremy Wayne Matthews, 44, of Eucha, was charged in Cherokee Nation Criminal Court in November with child abuse. A warrant was issued the same day, online court records show.
Matthews was originally charged in Delaware County District Court in March 2019 with child abuse by injury. He was found guilty in September 2020 in a 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.
Due to a McGirt motion filed by Matthews’ attorney, he was released from the Oklahoma Department of Corrections in April 2021.
The crux of the McGirt motion centers 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.
The victim, 5 years old at the time of the abuse, 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.
Photographs showed several bruises about two inches in width and about eight inches long on the back of the victim’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.
Matthews admitted to Delaware County authorities he used a back scratcher and swatted the victim on the thighs.
During the course of 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.
In 2000 a misdemeanor assault and battery charge was filed against Matthews after he confessed to striking a teen boy on the head with his fist. Charges were dismissed, court records show.