A woman charged with leaving her five children alone locked in a room with no food or access to a bathroom while she spent the night drinking pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of child abuse this week.
Hope Victoria Hutchinson, 26, pleaded guilty to the class A misdemeanor in 3rd District Court Monday after prosecutors agreed to dismiss four additional counts of child abuse.As part of the plea agreement, prosecutors said they will not seek jail time during the sentencing, scheduled for April 2. However, Judge Ann Boyden could sentence Hutchinson to spend up to 1 year in jail and pay a $2,500 fine.
The charges followed an investigation by Salt Lake police officers called to Hutchinson's house by her 7-year-old daughter. She and her younger siblings had managed to thwart a bedroom door's lock and then pushed away chairs that had been shoved up against the door to get out of the room.
Police found one child eating a stick of butter and another trying to eat frozen peas. Apparently they had not eaten since breakfast.
According to court documents, Hutchinson admitted to a Division of Child and Family Services worker that she'd left the children locked in the room alone every night for two weeks.
Hutchinson posted $2,500 bail to get out of jail after her arrest July 10.
However, the children have since remained in foster care.