Stellar Award winning gospel artist James Fortune pleaded guilty to assaulting his wife of 14 years, Tuesday March 8th 2016. He will spend just five days in jail but could go to prison for ten years if he violates his 5 year probation.
ABC 13 reports that the Grammy-nominated singer pleaded guilty in a Houston Texas court room to a third degree felony charge of assault – family violence. Judge Maggie Jaramillo sentenced Mr. Fortune to five years of probation with 5 days in jail. He is required to complete a minimum of 175 hours of community service as well as a batterer’s intervention program.
Investigators say that in October of 2014 James Fortune struck his wife with a wooden vanity stool, kicked her and threw her against a wall inside their Houston TX home. The police report said that his wife was admitted to the emergency room at St. Luke’s Sugar Land with apparent broken bones and possible internal injuries. The prosecutor in this case read a victim impact statement from Cheryl Fortune in which she prayed thatJames Fortune would take this opportunity to get the help he needs. Mrs. Cheryl Fortune (victim) said “I hope in all of this you get help. Serious help. Although this probation might be like a slap on the wrist, I hope you look at it as a moment to better yourself and change something within you for your future,” she wrote.
Prosecutors say Cheryl Fortune agreed to the plea deal because she didn’t want to put their three children through a trial and possibly having to testify against their father. What a terrible situation for a mother to be in.
This isn’t the first time Fortune has been in custody for family assault. In 2002 he pleaded guilty to injury to a child for burning his stepson with hot water. He was placed on probation for six years in that case. The father of that child also filed a civil lawsuit against the couple in 2002. James Fortune pleaded guilty to pushing the 4 year old child into scolding hot water because the child had colored on a table, in school.
There are obviously some major problems going on in the Fortune house-hold. It sounds to me that the marriage is in serious trouble. The wife seems to only be protecting her children by not pursuing an even harsher conviction of her husband.
Domestic violence is a major problem in America. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, every 9 seconds a woman is beaten or assaulted in America. 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have been victims of some form of physical violence by an intimate partner within their lifetime. Intimate partner violence accounts for 15% of all violent crime. That means this is going on in a lot of relationships within our churches.
How do we help the women and even the men who are being abused at home? How do we give the victims a voice and lovingly hold the perpetrator responsible for their actions while also getting them help to control their anger. This problem affects our families, communities, businesses and churches. If this can happen in a premier gospel singer’s home then it can happen anywhere. We are praying for Cheryl Fortune and her children in this time of need and we hope that Mr. Fortune get serious help and goes thru a needed transformation.
Recently on facebook The Official James Fortune page has released an apology to fans about this incident.
What do you think about the apology and do you think it is an attempt to down play the situation?