Woman guilty of depriving children of food, water | RecordCourier.com

Woman guilty of depriving children of food, water

by Sheila Gardner

A Gardnerville woman pleaded guilty Tuesday to child neglect, admitting she deprived her two young children of food and water and forced them to perform repetitive acts for hours.

Sandy June Linn, 38, faces up to six years in prison and a $5,000 fine at her sentencing June 12.

District Judge Dave Gamble refused to reduce her $10,000 bail or release Linn on her own recognizance. She has been in custody since she was arrested Jan. 23 following a civil proceeding before Gamble to determine if her children were in need of protection.

Originally charged with more serious offenses, Linn entered what Gamble described as a “half-hearted” guilty plea.

“I don’t want you to plead guilty if you don’t think you are guilty,” Gamble said.

Prior to the proceeding, Gamble disclosed that the children, an 8-year-old boy and 6-year-old girl, were staying at a foster home on the property he owns at City of Refuge.

He said the children were placed there because there was no other licensed care in Douglas County which would accept siblings. The judge also disclosed the little boy attends a Sunday school class taught by Gamble’s son.

Neither Linn or prosecutor Kris Brown wanted the judge to recuse himself from further proceedings.

“I recognize you told me you didn’t intentionally abuse or neglect the children,” Gamble said, referring to a letter Linn submitted. “I’m telling you if you don’t see anything wrong happened to your children as a result of your actions, you shouldn’t plead guilty.”

Lawyer Tod Young said Linn was pleading guilty to avoid possible conviction on more serious charges if she went to trial.

“She is very adamant that she wants to pursue probation and ultimately restore her relationship with these children,” Young said. “That’s most easily accomplished if she’s out of custody.

Linn told the judge her son was “a little drug baby. That’s pretty much where it started,” she said.

“She struggled with a lot of issues of life which we’ll bring out at sentencing. She was essentially abandoned as a child.”

Brown argued against releasing Linn.

“These are very serious charges,” Brown said. “She has no ties to the community. She now knows where the minor children live and could be a potential threat to them.”

Brown also referred to a pregnancy which Linn faked, going so far as to place a birth announcement in The Record-Courier a year ago for a daughter who did not exist.

“She was trying to goad the married man she identified as the father to trouble his marriage. She’s a liar and she has a malicious streak,” Brown said.

According to court documents, the abuse reportedly occurred from January 2003 until last October.

The charges against her allege that she deprived the boy of food and water to the extent that he is below average height and weight for his age group.

She was accused of forcing the little girl to stand in a corner for hours performing repetitive acts and stuffing a washrag in the child’s mouth.

The little boy reportedly was growing at three times the average rate for children his age since he was taken from his mother.

The girl suffers from bone disease and liver damage that doctors said was consistent with neglect.