SKOWHEGAN, Maine (AP) — A girl who was 10 when she was charged with causing the death of a baby in her mother's care pleaded guilty to several misdemeanors Wednesday under an agreement in which a manslaughter charge was dropped.
A judge signed off on the plea deal, and the Fairfield girl, now 12, pleaded guilty during a closed-door proceeding.
Deputy Attorney General William Stokes said the agreement includes a treatment plan that will be in place at least until the girl turns 18. During that time, the girl will remain in the custody of the Maine Department of Health and Human Services.
"I'm satisfied with the outcome. It was the best that we could accomplish given the complexities of the case and the age of the juvenile," he said.
Before the charges were reduced, the girl was believed to be the youngest person to face a manslaughter charge in Maine in at least 30 years. The Associated Press generally doesn't identify juveniles accused of crimes.
The girl was charged in the July 2012 death of 3-month-old Brooklyn Foss-Greenaway, who was staying overnight in the girl's home. Results of the autopsy on the baby have never been released. But the infant's mother, Nicole Greenaway, said police told her that her daughter had been suffocated and had ingested medication before she died.
Greenaway expressed frustration Wednesday with the reduced charges.
Before the hearing, she stood on the courthouse steps with a poster with photos of her daughter. She said serious charges were warranted against both the girl and her mother, who'd been babysitting the infant.
It wasn't clear what misdemeanors the girl pleaded to. Under state law, misdemeanor charges against a juvenile aren't made public.
Maine's juvenile system is designed with rehabilitation in mind, and making the girl a productive member of society was the goal all along, Stokes said.
"We've put in place a plan that gives her the best opportunity to succeed," he said.