Daycare owner sentenced for drugging children, leaving them to go tanning
Published Monday, March 12, 2018 11:03AM EDT
Last Updated Monday, March 12, 2018 3:40PM EDT
An Oregon woman who operated an unlicensed daycare centre has been sentenced to over 21 years for using sleeping drugs on children so she could run errands, including working out at the gym and visiting the tanning salon.
January Irene Neatherlin, 32, pleaded guilty to 11 counts of first-degree criminal mistreatment and one count of third-degree assault, according to the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office. A judge sentenced her on Friday to 31 months on each count, for a total of 21 years and four months.
Neatherlin dosed children at her Little Giggles daycare with melatonin, an over-the-counter sleeping aid, in order to put them to sleep, the court heard. She would then leave the kids behind to visit the tanning salon, participate in CrossFit classes or conduct other errands, the court heard. Parents were also told not to visit during this “nap time.”
Nearly a dozen parents were in the courtroom Friday to read their victim impact statements at Neatherlin’s sentencing hearing.
“She repeatedly administered a sleeping agent to a room full of infants, toddlers and children, and drove off in her car to fulfill her narcissistic needs,” one father said in court. “There is no room in our society for monsters like this.”
Several children were also found to have suffered injuries while in Neatherlin’s care, including one girl who sustained a brain injury consistent with shaken baby syndrome.
Neatherlin was arrested last March after a former roommate and an ex-boyfriend tipped police off to her activities, which occurred between 2013 and 2017 at the illegal daycare in Bend, Ore.
Neatherlin apologized to the parents and asked for their forgiveness in a prepared statement she read out at the hearing.
“Everybody makes mistakes but not everybody takes responsibility for those mistakes,” she said in court. Neatherlin said she made a “very poor call” that has forever changed her life, “and may even end it.”
She said she failed as a caretaker and as a parent to her own children.
The judge said Neatherlin will receive credit for time served on her sentence.