Delavan mother gets probation for child neglect

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Darryl Enriquez
December 28, 2010
— A Delavan mother of four was placed on two years probation Monday after pleading guilty to neglecting her children in a home with little food, mattresses on the floor, a moldy bathtub and marijuana in almost every room, including 27 plants in the basement and attic.

Colleen M. Dale-Lewis, 45, pleaded guilty in late November to four misdemeanor counts of child neglect.

The district attorney's office did not ask Judge Robert Kennedy at sentencing Monday to make Dale-Lewis serve jail time as a condition of probation.

The children—ages 7, 9, 11 and 13—were under the protection of the children's court while Dale-Lewis was taking mandatory parenting classes.

The children are back in her custody because she has improved her parenting skills, according to a court report.

Assistant District Attorney Haley J. Rea said prosecutors did not want the mother in jail because the kids' father faces possible jail time for his part in a related drug charge.

If both parents were in jail, the children would need to be placed in foster care.

Because the county reported that Dale-Lewis' parenting had improved, the better choice would be to keep her out of jail and let her be a mother to the children, Rea said.

Dale-Lewis declined to address Kennedy at sentencing.

A charge of manufacturing marijuana was dropped in exchange for guilty pleas on the four counts of child abuse. Kennedy said some question existed about Dale-Lewis' involvement in growing marijuana.

However, with the amount of pot found in the house, she would have had a difficult time fighting the charge, Kennedy said.

Her husband, Larry Lewis, 45, is charged with felony possession of marijuana with intent to deliver and a separate charge of possession of drug paraphernalia. He also is facing four counts of child neglect.

Lewis was pegged in the complaint against Dale-Lewis as the owner of the pot plants. He has a Jan. 12 status hearing before Judge David Reddy.

According to the criminal complaint against Dale-Lewis:

Police raided the home July 12, and Dale-Lewis told them she was sure they'd find some "stuff" in the home.

Without being asked, she told police she never went into the basement or the attic.

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