Sunburned children's mom pleads not guilty
STEUBENVILLE, Ohio (CNN) -- After spending a week in the Jefferson County jail facing felony charges of allowing her three children to become severely sunburned, Eve Hibbits was released Wednesday after pleading not guilty to a misdemeanor charge.
The children, a 2-year-old and 10-month-old twins, suffered second degree burns after spending a day at the county fair in 95 degree heat.
At the arraignment Wednesday, the prosecutor dismissed the felony charges of child endangerment and filed the single misdemeanor charge against Hibbits, 31. No trial date was set.
She could have been sentenced to 15 years in jail on the felony charges.
If found guilty of the lesser charge, she would likely face probation, said Jefferson County Sheriff Fred Abdalla.
Abdalla said he felt justified in jailing Hibbit.
"I did what I felt I had to do, and if there's any criticism, I'll take it," he said. "I know these children are safe."
He said a family services worker will be checking in on the family bi-weekly.
"We didn't want the woman thrown in jail," he said. "The point is she needs help, and that's what she's getting."
Sun safety a must for children
May 28, 1999
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