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Woman charged with endangerment of daughter sentenced

June 09, 2005|by DON AINES

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - A Chambersburg woman who allowed her 11-year-old daughter to sleep with an older teenager will be spending her nights in Franklin County Prison for the next nine to 23 months.

The 33-year-old woman, whose name is being withheld to protect the identity of the child, received the sentence Wednesday in Franklin County Court from Judge John R. Walker. The woman had pleaded no contest April 18 to charges of endangering the welfare of a child and criminal conspiracy to sexually exploit a child.

"She wasn't technically pimping her daughter, but she was allowing her daughter to sleep across the hall in someone else's bedroom," Walker said during the sentencing.

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Chambersburg police began investigating in April 2004 after Children and Youth Services said the child possibly was being subjected to sexual assaults, according to the affidavit of probable cause. Officials at the girl's elementary school told police she "discussed sexual activity like an adult to other children" and spoke of having a 19-year-old boyfriend.

On June 5, 2004, police searched the mother's South Main Street apartment and the apartment where the boyfriend lived. In his apartment, where several other men also lived, police found photos of him with the girl, police alleged.

The mother at first denied knowing of the relationship, but later said she knew "her daughter was involved with him sexually, but she had no control over her," police stated in the affidavit.

The girl told police her mother encouraged the relationship and that she slept in his apartment for two months, according to the affidavit.

The girl did not have a bed in her mother's apartment and often slept on the floor when she was staying there, Assistant District Attorney Bret Palmer said. The girl and another sibling have been placed in foster care, she said.

Walker ordered that the woman have no contact with the victim. He also fined the woman $600.

"You don't know the whole story. You are sitting here judging me, but you don't know the whole story," the woman told Walker toward the end of the sentencing hearing. She did not elaborate.

Palmer said there was some doubt as to the exact age of the illegal alien the 11-year-old was staying with and he was adjudicated as a juvenile.

At the time charges first were filed against the mother, she also was charged with three counts of bigamy, having allegedly been married four times since 1993 without having ever gotten a divorce. Palmer said those charges were dismissed because the marriages took place outside of Pennsylvania and the court had no jurisdiction.

Walker ordered that a sample of the woman's DNA be collected for a state database, but the woman does not fall under the community notification requirements of Pennsylvania's Megan's Law, Palmer said.

The statues to which the woman pleaded no contest are not covered by Megan's Law, according to Palmer.

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