MONROE, N.C. (AP) — A former social worker in North Carolina was sentenced Tuesday to up to 17 months in prison after pleading guilty to child abuse charges that arose when a boy in her care was found handcuffed to a porch with a dead chicken around his neck.
Under terms of Wanda Sue Larson's plea arrangement, she also was given a suspended sentence for failure to carry out her duties as a Union County social worker. That charge stemmed from her failure to protect the boy and the other children in the home.
The then-11-year-old boy was found at Larson's home in November 2013.
Larson apologized in court, saying she wished she had done a better job of protecting the children.
Her boyfriend, Dorian Harper, pleaded guilty March 18 to similar charges and was sentenced to at least six years in prison.
Prosecutors said during Harper's hearing that the boy was beaten and starved and had been forced to sleep on a floor chained to part of a railroad tie.
Larson had been the boy's legal guardian for years and was a supervisor with the local Department of Social Services. She had adopted four other children who were in the home when the couple was arrested. The children, ranging in age from 7 to 14, have been placed in social services custody in another county.
Robison said he has agreed to a plea deal for Larson, as he did for Harper, largely because he does not want to revictimize the boy by forcing him to testify.