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Friday, February 3, 2012

Baby Leg Breaker Sentenced

February 1, 2012 saw the Ashikaga branch of the Utsunomiya District Court in Tochigi-ken sentence 30-year-old Saotome Yuko (surname first) to  four-and-a-half years in prison for the heinous crime of maliciously breaking the legs of four babies.

Japan - It's A Wonderful Rife wonders if there was an irony involved in the sentencing taking place in Ashikaga, as 'ashi' is indeed the Japanese word for... you guessed it - leg.

Between April and May 2010, Saotome-san approached mothers in children's shops and other public places. She would ask the mothers is she could hold their baby, and then while holding the child, she would, without warning, break their legs. 
According to court documents, the judge said Saotome could not be excused of her crimes on the grounds of temporary insanity stating instead that her crimes were motivated by jealousy at seeing happy mothers.

On Friday May 28, 2010, Saotome was arrested after deliberately breaking the bones in both legs of a three-month-old baby girl two days earlier at a kids shop in Ashikaga. She had told the child's 26-year-old mother that she has a cute baby and then asked if she could hold her. after about five minutes of holding, she broke the baby's legs near her thighs, returned the crying baby to the mother and then left the store.

Editorial Aside here: What? The courts are saying Saotome was sane? Jealousy? That's insane. If she were healthy mentally jealous or not at the happiness of another's good fortune, she would not break a baby's legs. Maybe this isn't temporary insanity, but simple insanity! Look - my brother won an Emmy for writing a kid's animated show maybe eight years ago. While I may not be jealous, I am envious. And even still, I am happy for his success, and wish I had some more for myself.  Do you know why I don't want to breaks his arms? It's because I am sane! I am mentally healthy. Saotome - regardless of how much you might find her despicable, clearly was not in charge of her emotions. Did she go insane on four separate occasions? Maybe... seeing a happy parent and child acted as a trigger for horrible acts. Maybe. Did she see a psychiatrist to determine her mental state? Seriously... does a sane person do what she does? She needs mental health help - not a jail cell.         

While not noted in any news story I read, this blog certainly hopes the babies suffered no permanent damage. The same for the obviously traumatized mothers. Were any of these actions caught on a store camera? Did she deny she did these acts? Did the parents see her do this? I'm sure they did - why would a parent leave their baby with a stranger and then walk off? They wouldn't. There is more to this story, I am sure.

Look... as a father, I would kill anyone who hurt my child. Four-and-a-half years - if she is sane - is not that hard a slap for such a heinous act. But, if she is mentally ill - do we punish a person for not being in control?

Your opinions are always welcome - just keep the profanity out of any discussion, please.

Files compiled by Andrew Joseph


  1. What the f*ck???? I heard about this but didn't pay any attention to this because I've been dead to the world. I agree with you that this woman is insane. I don't know if 4.5 years in prison is going to help. This person needs serious help... I also am surprised that the comment above mine if from some clowns trying to sell baby care products. You'd think they bother to read posts before they decide to try to spam them.

    1. Hah! I usually get rid of the spam messages like that.
      With your articles on mental health, my family issues on mental health and then this story, I am very much aware of what constitutes healthy behavior - or at least behavior accepted by societies around the world.
      I don't know Japan's laws re: mental health/insanity/temporary insanity and criminality - but speaking as a human being, putting someone in jail rather than trying to resolve the actual problem seems counter-productive.

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