Gospel singer sentenced after pleading guilty to battering his wife

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james-fortune-and-wife.jpgGrammy-nominated gospel singer James Fortune pleaded guilty to physically abusing his wife Cheryl on Tuesday and accepted a third-degree felony assault charge plea deal.

He was sentenced by Fort Bend District Judge Maggie Jaramillo to five years of probation plus five days in jail, according to ABC 13. Aside from his time in jail, Fortune would also have to do 175 hours of community service and undergo a "batterer's intervention" programme. He is also prohibited from going anywhere near his wife.

His wife wishes Fortune would learn something valuable out of his time in prison. "I hope in all of this you get help. Serious help. Although this probation might be like a slap on the wrist, I hope you look at it as a moment to better yourself and change something within you for your future," Cheryl wrote in a note that was read in court.

She reportedly agreed to the plea deal this time around because she did not want to let her three kids go through the stressful journey of the trial, nor did she want any of them to testify against their own father.

When sought for comment, Fortune declined to give any as he walked out of court. His mother, on the other hand, insisted that he was not guilty but would not elaborate on her statement.

Investigators said Fortune, who sang "We Give You Glory" and "I Believe," hit his wife using a wooden vanity stool, kicked her, then threw her against a wall inside their Stafford home one night back in October 2014.

This was not the first time that Fortune accepted a plea deal. Back in 2002, he took six years of probation after scalding his four-year-old son in hot water. Even though Fortune claimed it was a form of discipline, investigators argued that it wasn't since 40 percent of his son's body was scalded. Yet, this is not Fortune's first brush with the law.

Lawsuit documents stated that in 2001 James Fortune burned his 4-year-old step son, leaving the boy with scarring of 2nd and 3rd degree burns on nearly half of his body. His wife Cheryl was also named in the lawsuit. After picking up his stepson from pre-school and hearing from the teacher that he was acting up in class, Fortune verbally scolded the boy, the suit said. He then prepared a [scalding] hot bath for the boy. The lawsuit also says Fortune told the boy to take off his clothes and [proceeded] to whip the boy before pushing the toddler into the bath and holding him underwater.

In 2003, James Fortune plead guilty to felony injury to a child and received 6 years deferred adjudication.

The biological father [sued] for $5 million in order to take care of the boy's continued plastic surgery.

AlwaysAList.com reports that Fortune attributed the allegations by his wife's ex as "an attack on his 'increased profile and financial viability' and contested the matter in civil court."

James' wife is expected to file for divorce.