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HOUSTON— Abigail Young was sentenced to 20 years in prison Tuesday because she failed to protect her 4-year-old daughter from unspeakable abuse. Emma Thompson died last year after she was brutally beaten and sexually assaulted.

Jurors Monday convicted Young of a lesser charge of reckless and serious bodily injury to a child by omission. They rejected a more serious charge of injury to a child by omission, which could have sent her to prison for life.

Emma died at a Woodlands hospital on June 27, 2009. An autopsy showed she had “80 contusions, a severe head laceration, scalp hemorrhaging, a skull fracture, internal bleeding and a severe tear and hemorrhaging to the vagina.”

The cause of death was listed as blunt force trauma to the abdominal area, which caused several internal injuries.

Initially, Young told investigators Emma hurt herself when she fell out of bed.

Investigators also said the girl had genital herpes when she died. Young’s former boyfriend, Lucas Coe, faces trial in September on charges of aggravated sexual assault and injury to a child.

CPS began investigating the family in early June of 2009 after Emma’s dad called, saying she was covered in bruises. Her pediatrician had also contacted CPS, because he suspected blisters in her mouth and genital area were caused by genital herpes.

But an exam at Texas Children’s Hospital found no evidence of sexual abuse, and CPS did not remove her from the home.

Weeks later, she was dead.

Because of Emma’s case, CPS decided to use more aggressive procedures when investigating allegations of abuse in children with sexually transmitted diseases.

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