• The girl weighed just 28 pounds when she was rescued 
  • The child is now in the custody of a family friend who plans to adopt her
  • She has older brothers who were also removed from the home

An Ohio woman was sentenced to three years in jail for padlocking a 7-year-old girl in a dog cage in the basement of her home.

According to Stark County prosecutors, Lillian Cottrell, 29, and her boyfriend, Derek Mayle, 30, of Canton, tortured the girl for seven months last year and kept her padlocked in the cage as punishment, US News reported.

When the girl was rescued from the home by child welfare officials, she weighed just 28 pounds. She is now in the custody of a family friend who plans to adopt her.

Cottrell has already pleaded guilty to child endangerment, US News reported. Mayle, who faced the same charge, is scheduled to stand trial in March.

According to court records, Cottrell and Mayle “tortured and cruelly abused” the child from Jan. 1, 2019, through July 30, 2019, The Repository reported. Dan Petricini, assistant prosecuting attorney, said the child was related to Cottrell, and added she has older brothers who were also removed from the home. However, investigators found no evidence that they were being treated like her.

During the sentencing, Cottrell was admonished by the judge for rolling her eyes and grinning.

"You have dishonored the word 'mother,' Judge Frank Forchione said, describing the child abuse as "disgusting."

The judge chided the defendant while watching her on a video monitor.

"Don't you laugh at me," the judge said, to which Cottrell responded, "I'm not," The Repository reported.

Forchione rebuked Cottrell saying she didn't appear to grasp the seriousness of the trauma she's caused the victim.

"You think putting a 7-year-old in a cage is a good discipline. You're going to find out very shortly it's not much fun because I'm going to give you the same. I'm going to lock you up in a cage and we'll see how you like it. A 7-year-old child is just a crown jewel of life. They're not to be treated like some kind of animal — this is sickening," said the judge.

Cottrell didn't address the court when given an opportunity.

"We're just pleased Cottrell took responsibility and pleaded guilty and was sentenced to the maximum under the law. The little girl is doing well in her placement and is thriving," Petricini said.

child abuse
Child abuse Gettyimages/chameleonseye