An Oregon woman who gave drugs to children in her care so they’d sleep while she went tanning and to CrossFit has been sentenced to 21 years in prison, The Oregonian is reporting.
January Neatherlin, 32, pleaded guilty to 11 counts of first-degree criminal mistreatment and one count of third-degree assault for a series of crimes that took place in March 2017.
Spurned on by a tip from her former boyfriend and former roommate, police began conducting surveillance on Little Giggles, the illegal day care center that Neatherlin ran without a license. On one occasion, while seven children were supposed to be in her care, she drove her own kids to school while leaving the others at home. On another occasion, children were left alone in the day care while she went to a local tanning salon.
Meanwhile, Neatherlin had been telling parents that they were not allowed to drop off or pick up children at her day care center between the hours of 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m., referring to the time period as “Nap Time.” Actually, say cops, records from a local gym indicate that she was either tanning or doing CrossFit during those times.
As for the children left alone at the day care center: they were found to have melatonin in their systems. Melatonin is an over-the-counter, natural sleep aid that Neatherlin had given to the kids to make them sleep while she was away.
Video: @Lauren_KTVZ wraps up a dramatic, emotional day in court and gets parents’ reaction to a 21-year sentence handed down to January Neatherlin, a Bend unlicensed day care operator who admitted leaving babies and young children home alone for hours https://t.co/S28tQBF6g7
— KTVZ NewsChannel 21 (@KTVZ) March 10, 2018
Besides drugging and neglecting the children, at least one child in Neatherlin’s care wound up in a hospital with head injuries. She also admitted to giving a child a bottle of scalded milk, resulting in burns.
While behind bars, court records say, Neatherlin approached other inmates, asking them to help her with her story, asking them to claim that they had worked for her.
In court, a tearful Neatherlin apologized to her victims and their families, according to The Bend Bulletin.
“I loved all my day care kids as my own, and I believe they loved me and enjoyed hanging out with me during the week, But I failed you all. I let you all down.”
Parent Kevin Hord told the judge that he didn’t think Neatherlin’s 21-year sentence is strong enough.
“In my opinion, your honor, 100 years would not be enough.”