Griswold, CT — A Connecticut woman has pleaded guilty to beating her foster child with a wooden spoon. She faces 100 days in prison, according to court documents.
Jami Littlefield told authorities that she paddled the girl on the buttocks because she was acting out. Littlefield was arrested in January after her foster daughter’s biological mother noticed bruises when the girl bent over to pick up a top during a supervised visit. Medical staff at the Pequot Health Center determined the bruises were caused by repeated strikes from a blunt instrument.
Police said the 51-year-old initially denied that she hit the girl, but she later said that she spanked the 4-year-old with the wooden spoon after she struck her granddaughter, spat at her, and called her a racial slur.
Littlefield’s plea bargain calls for a one-year prison sentence, to be suspended after 100 days served, for third-degree assault, which is a misdemeanor. Littlefield made the plea under the Alford doctrine, which means she did not admit her guilt, but instead admitted to sufficient evidence that could convince a judge or jury to find her guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Gary Kleeblatt, a spokesman for the Department of Children and Families, told The Day of New London that Littlefield’s foster care license was removed after her arrest. She received the license in 2004.
“This kind of thing is very rare, and we would expect it to be very rare,” Kleeblatt said. “In more than 99.8 percent of the time, this is not happening.”
The girl’s biological mother, Elizabeth Land, said she and her husband were having emotional and financial problems, which is why they volunteered signed their daughter and her older brother into foster care in August 2012. They wanted to work on providing a better home life for their children, and began attending supervised visits and are looking for appropriate housing.
Land said, “I want the world to know what happened to her because she was in a state-licensed foster home and she suffered these injuries.” She said she attended all of Littlefield’s court appearances and considered the guilty plea a “victory.”
Jami Littlefield is scheduled to be sentenced on July 17.