A Walworth County judge Thursday ordered jail time and probation for an Elkhorn woman who failed to prevent the sexual assault of a child by another child while they were in her care.
As part of a plea agreement, Hannah L. Jernigan, now 33, was sentenced to four years of probation along with nine months in the Walworth County Jail with work release, court records show. The probation term was part of the agreement, while both sides argued the length of jail time.
Jernigan pleaded guilty Thursday to one count of felony failure to act in the sexual assault of a child, according to online court records. Counts of neglecting a child and a related charge, along with another child neglect charge from a different case, were dismissed and read into the record.
Prosecutors said in the criminal complaint that one young child said another put his “privates” in her and touched her inappropriately three times. The boy was dropped off at Jernigan’s home at about 8 a.m. Feb. 17, 2017.
In the complaint, Jernigan said she was sleeping and didn’t know the boy was dropped off at her home. However, a woman told police Jernigan was aware the boy was coming over because of a texting conversation the night before.
The girl told police the boy assaulted her while Jernigan was in another room watching TV, according to the complaint.
On that morning, Jernigan sent a text that is quoted in the complaint as, “Seriously she dropped (the boy) off already??? I told u I had to go to the jail to do that bs. What if I wasn’t here??”
The other child neglect case stemmed from the same girl who said in July 2016 the same boy and another person inappropriately touched her, according to the complaint.
“When asked why she (Jernigan) hadn’t taken the appropriate measures of not having Victim 1 (the girl) be put in the same situation with Victim 2 (the boy), the defendant had no answer,” the complaint states.
A condition of Jernigan’s probation is to complete 40 hours of community service for each year of probation.
Jernigan’s jail sentence begins May 24.