A Mauston woman accused of abusing her children says the charges against her don't reflect what actually took place in her home Oct. 10.
“They pinpoint the worst of it… they leave out the rest of the story,” Kayla Alexander said Nov. 2.
Kayla Alexander was charged Oct. 11 with physically harming a child, a felony, and misdemeanor child neglect. If convicted of both charges, she faces up to $20,000 in fines and nearly 7 years in prison.
Prosecutors say Kayla Alexander purposefully struck her 5-year-old son on the face after he refused to get dressed for school. Kayla Alexander said when her son refused to get dressed for school after she pleaded with him to do so, she spanked him three times on the bottom. She said the fourth time, he moved and she unintentionally struck him in the face.
A school official reported marks on the child's face to authorities, who reported the boy had “scratch-like/broken blood vessel type marks.” Kayla Alexander said she asked investigators to show her photos of the injuries, but they declined.
"I have no idea what it looked like," she said.
According to the criminal complaint filed by prosecutors, when Child Protective Services investigators spoke with the boy, he said his mother had hit him.
Kayla Alexander, who has four children, believes investigators asked her youngest son leading questions and he didn't understand the meaning of what was happening.
“I really think that he was asked yes or no questions, and he just answered, 'Yes,'” Kayla Alexander said.
In addition to the 5-year-old boy, she and her husband Brian Alexander have two other boys ages 7 and 8 and a young girl.
Kayla Alexander said investigators also took a comment her 7-year-old made about their bathing frequency out of context to support the child neglect charge.
The criminal complaint alleges the 7-year-old said the children only bathe once a week. However, Kayla Alexander said the family bathes all children on a selected day each week, but the children are bathed separately on other nights as needed.
“My two bed-wetters usually get baths daily… I’m very anal about keeping them clean,” she said.
According to the criminal complaint, the 7-year-old also told investigators that "at school if you lied you could not get hurt but at home he could get hurt." Kayla Alexander said she believes her son was talking about spanking, not abuse.
She also said investigators misconstrued her statements about breaking her children's toys.
Prosecutors say Kayla Alexander told investigators that she would break the children's toys and throw them away when they are left out too long.
She said she teaches her children when toys are left out they might accidentally get stepped on and broken. When a toy is accidentally damaged after it is left out, she said she would show the toy to her children.
“I’d finish breaking them and then tell them that’s what happens when you leave your toys out,” Kayla Alexander said.
Brian Alexander said he inadvertently has damaged toys left out as well, but said the damaged items are replaced.
“I get up at 5 o’clock in the morning, I walk down the hallway, I’ll find a Hot Wheels car, trucks, you know, I step on them, and they just break,” he said.
Following the investigation, the four children briefly stayed with their maternal grandfather, but have since returned home to live with their parents.
“They were only there like that for a week, and then they were allowed to come home as soon as (their) interview was over,” Kayla Alexander said.
Since the interviews with Child Protective Services, Kayla Alexander said the children's behavior has been “getting worse” and that she has been in contact with their teachers every day.
She appeared in court Nov. 8 and was appointed Daniel Berkos as her attorney. She is due in court again Dec. 6.