NEW HAMPTON — A former daycare owner pleaded nolo contendre (no contest) yesterday in the 4th Circuit Court, Laconia Division to one count of misdemeanor reckless conduct.
Ann Mitchell, the former owner of Annie's Place-Children's Learning Center was found guilty by Judge Jim Carroll and sentenced to one year of probation. She was fined $2,000 — all of which was suspended for two years pending good behavior. Mitchell was also ordered to complete 30 hours of community service within three months.
In March of 2014, and during an unannounced visit by the N.H. Child Care Licensing Unit, inspectors found children as young as 8-months-old placed in cribs under four-corner fitted sheets to get them to sleep at nap time.
One 12-month old was placed in a "pack and play" so tightly one the top of her head was showing.
After an investigation, Mitchell was charged with one felony count of child endangerment but she agreed to plead "nolo" to a reduced charge of reckless conduct for her action of placing a fitted sheet over one child.
A nolo contendre plea means the accused chooses not to contest the charges. If accepted by a judge, those pleas are typically used instead of guilty pleas if there collateral issues like a potential civil suit.
In Mitchell's case, Carroll accepted the plea without much enthusiasm, but said he understood.
Annie's Place was closed by the licensing board and Carroll also ordered Mitchell to obey any restrictions placed on her by it. She is also ordered to stay away from five of her name victims and their families who will not be identified by The Daily Sun.
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