A daycare worker has been convicted of second degree manslaughter of a 3-month old infant entrusted to her care. The woman, 64-year-old Beverly Ann Greenagel of Minnesota, placed the baby on his front side on a blanket for a nap and the baby died of positional asphyxia. At first, I thought this was harsh. Although the woman only received 45 days in jail, she will obviously never again be able to work in her field, and will most likely have a difficult time getting a job anywhere with this on her record. But after reading more, I'm thinking she wasn't punished enough.
Greenagel was running a daycare and watching over 21 children when she placed little Dane Ableidinger down for a nap -- but she placed him on his stomach on a blanket. This not only reportedly went against the terms of "safe sleeping standards" of her daycare license, but directly contracted what the parents had instructed her to do.
Additionally, although there were 21 children in the daycare, it was only licensed to care for 12-15 (depending on which report you read). So already this woman was overworked and not able to monitor every child the way she should have been.
And then it gets even more egregious. After the boy was discovered dead, Greenagel reportedly tried to cover up what she had done by getting rid of the bloody blanket and telling her 12-year-old helper to lie to investigators and say that the infant was sleeping on his back in a crib. While Greenagel had been in the business 35 years and had earned many kudos and awards, she had also received citations. Her helper was also one year below the legal minimum age to assist in a daycare.
Although the sentence was less than is usually given to someone convicted of this type of crime, the judge went lentient on her since she will have to give a presentation to daycare providers every year for the next 10 years, warning them about the dangers of not following safety guidelines. However, she only has to give this once a year, on the anniversary of Dane's death.
I think she is much better served out in the community educating other childcare providers than languishing in prison, however, 10 speeches over 10 years is not very much! How many people will she actually reach?
I would have liked to have seen a stricter sentence here. Dane lost his life over something easily avoidable; and Dane's parents are sentenced to a lifetime of grief.
Did she get enough time?
Image via Dakota County Police