January Neatherlin, 32, pleaded guilty to 11 counts of first-degree criminal mistreatment and a count of third-degree assault in February and was sentenced on Friday to 21 years and four months in prison.
The sentencing hearing came almost one year after police investigators found seven children under five years old drugged and unattended at Neatherlin's unlicensed Little Giggles Day Care while she was at a tanning salon.
Neatherlin had been telling parents they couldn't pick up or drop off their kids between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Police checked Cross Fit and Tan Republic records to find that's when she would leave the house, hours she referred to as "nap time".
Police said she drove her kids to school on the first trip and on the second went to a local tanning salon. Prosecutors initially appealed for a 35-year sentence.
Police started monitoring her after they received tips from a former boyfriend and a former roommate. With that said, I hope the court and the parents accept my apology. Neatherlin said she made a "very poor call" that has forever changed her life, "and may even end it". Her rap sheet reportedly dates back to 2007. Parents reported that their children still struggle with sleeping issues.
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Court documents described her as an individual having an "on-going, systematic scheme of doing what she wanted and getting what she wanted, without any concern for the danger she was placing others in".
None of the children in her care sustained any permanent damage from being given melatonin, according to the Tribune. She also conceded to overheating a bottle of milk resulting in giving a child burns.
Before being sentenced, she admitted "failing" the children in her care, but denied ever having hit a child. "I failed you all".
"In my opinion, your honor", Kevin Hord, one of the fathers of the children in the day care told the judge, "100 years would not be enough".
"There is something broken and something missing in you", Deschutes County Circuit Judge Wells Ashby told Neatherlin, according to the Bend Bulletin.
Neatherlin had been running the illegal childcare operation for about four years, and she also lied to parents about being a registered nurse, but had no such qualifications, according to The Oregonian.