BEND, Ore. - (Update: Adding conditions of house arrest, GPS tracking monitor if released)
A Deschutes County judge on Friday rejected a bail-reduction request by a Bend babysitter facing 114 criminal charges, accused of leaving seven young children alone on numerous occasions while she went to the gym and a tanning salon – as prosecutors revealed new details of how she allegedly drugged the children to make her solo jaunts possible.
A defense lawyer had requested the expedited hearing after Circuit Judge Michael Adler last week raised the bail for January Neatherlin, 31, from $200,000 to $500,000 after her formal indictment on 78 counts of criminal mistreatment and 38 counts of recklessly endangering another.
In a six-page memorandum objecting to the bail reduction, Deputy District Attorney Kandy Gies provided the first details of the allegations in arguing that Neatherlin’s bail should remain high due to “the nature and seriousness of the criminal charges, the defendant’s lengthy criminal record, the state’s belief this defendant is a flight risk and for the protection of the child victims and the community.”
Gies wrote that police learned “the defendant would drug the infants and toddlers so they would sleep when defendant would leave the home.” She said records from the gym and tanning businesses backed up the claim that Neatherlin “left the home on most weekdays around the noon hour for workouts and tanning appointments.” Police also staked out her home on two occasions and saw her leave after several children had been dropped off.
One child who was interviewed at the KIDS Center, a facility involved in child abuse investigations, said Neatherlin would give the children “medicine” to make them sleep, and “would make the children take the medicine if they didn’t want to.”
While parents said Neatherlin gave their children melatonin to make them sleepy, District Attorney John Hummel told NewsChannel 21 by email, "We did not specify the type of drugs -- still investigating that detail."
Also, Gies wrote, “Several parents have come forward to identify injuries sustained by their children” while they were at the home, where she operated the unlicensed business, named Little Giggles Daycare.
The memorandum also widens the incidents beyond the seven recent victims, who ranged in age from 6 months to 4 ½ years old. It said parents and older children have confirmed such actions occurred over at least the past three years, well before the recent incidents that led to the charges.
Several parents and now-older children have confirmed Neatherlin had been drugging children and leaving them alone “over the past several years,” the motion stated, mentioning “a lengthy time period from 2014 to present.”
The prosecutor also revealed that the state had licensed Neatherlin’s “Little Giggles” business as a day care provider in July 2013, but it was suspended in January 2014, and a request to have her license reinstated was denied. Gies said the State Office of Child Care checked on “numerous complaints” that she was operating illegally, but they were unable to substantiate the claims because “the defendant refused to cooperate.”
Gies outlined Neatherlin’s lengthy criminal history, on theft and ID theft charges under three last names, the others being Livsey and Brooks, saying it was a clear “history of stealing and scamming others for her own personal benefit. That is exactly what the defendant has continued to do, the difference being in this case the defendant’s scam was such that she put the lives of many children at risk.”
The charges, Gies claimed, show Neatherlin’s “complete lack of empathy for others, lack of responsibility for the children she contracted to care for, and they show the threat to the community.”
Hummel said Neatherlin's defense lawyer argued she is not a flight risk, having appeared for court in all previous cases, and that she would not operate a day care while the current case is pending, nor contact with any children.
The DA said Adler cited in rejecting the bail-reduction request the potentially long prison term Neatherlin could face, as well as a comment by her ex-husband, who claimed she told him, "I'm never going back to prison."
However, Adler did add some conditions, should Neatherlin be released: that she would be required to be under house arrest, with a GPS tracking monitor on her ankle.