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Rica Rountree's father charged with 'failing to protect' Normal 8-year-old
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Rica Rountree's father charged with 'failing to protect' Normal 8-year-old


BLOOMINGTON — The father of Rica Rountree, the 8-year-old girl who died after her father's girlfriend repeatedly beat her and videotaped the abuse, has been charged with endangering the child's life.

Richard Rountree, 31, was in court Wednesday after he was charged on an arrest warrant “for circumstances surrounding the death of his minor daughter,” according to Normal police.

He is accused of endangering the life or health of a child, a Class 3 felony, for allegedly “permitting Rica Rountree to be exposed to and failed to protect (her) from ongoing physical child abuse that was occurring within their shared residence," the court documents read.

Rica died Jan. 26, 2019, of peritonitis due to intestinal perforation from blunt force trauma. In November, a McLean County jury found Rountree’s girlfriend, Cynthia Baker, guilty of murder, aggravated battery of a child, child endangerment and three counts of domestic battery.

The conduct described in Richard Rountree's charge was “a proximate cause” of the girl’s death.

Rountree is jailed in lieu of posting $10,035. His defense attorney requested a lower bond, but the judge declined.

Last week, a judge postponed sentencing for the girlfriend, Cynthia Baker, while her new attorney works to request a new trial on grounds of ineffective counsel.

Photos: Bloomington rally calls for reforms in the case of Rica Rountree

Contact Kelsey Watznauer at (309) 820-3254. Follow her on Twitter: @kwatznauer.

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