Steamboat Springs Two former Grand County residents received the maximum sentence in a child abuse case Tuesday.
District Judge Mary Hoak sentenced Michael Kelly Monahan, 29, and Nicole Marie Monahan, 22, to three years in state prison. The attempted child abuse charges were connected to injuries sustained by the Monahans' 5-week-old daughter in 2006, when they lived in Grand Lake. The two now have addresses in the Denver area.
The infant had more than 20 bone fractures, Carole Krohn said. She is guardian ad litem for the 14th Judicial District, which includes Routt, Moffat and Grand counties. As guardian ad litem, Krohn contracts with the district to represent the interests of children. Hoak hears cases across the district, including in Steamboat Springs.
The Monahans pleaded guilty in March to attempted child abuse, a class 5 felony that carries a maximum penalty of three years in prison. The two initially were charged, in April 2006, with child abuse, a class 3 felony. That charge was pleaded down by prosecutor Elizabeth Oldham, chief deputy district attorney for Grand County.
"The reason why is we couldn't prove who exactly broke her bones," Oldham said. The child "had numerous broken bones. We could prove that both parents left her in a situation where she did have broken bones, and they did nothing to get her treatment."
Oldham said she was satisfied with the sentence.
"It was a struggle about how to make an appropriate offer in this case due to the severity of the injuries," she said, adding that local social services staff supported the plea.
The Monahans have another child, who was about 18 months old at the time of the abuse charge, Oldham said. Both children have been in the custody of social services, Oldham said. There was no abuse charge related to the older child.
Krohn represents the children in a civil case and testified at the criminal proceedings in Hot Sulphur Springs.
"The parent-child legal relationship has been terminated," she said.
Krohn said that in court Tuesday, Hoak said she considered refusing the plea deal because she found the sentences too lenient.
"The message is that it's the responsibility of parents to protect their children and that parents who fail to protect their children can and will be prosecuted criminally," Krohn said. "I think that's what Judge Hoak's specific message was, and to grant these criminal defendants any more leniency than to accept the plea bargain is not something she was willing to do."
The Monahans' attorneys could not be reached Wednesday.