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(NEW YORK POST) — A female daycare owner convicted of abusing children, some sexually, was given a slap on the wrist Monday by an Ohio judge, who ordered her to spend just 30 days in jail as part of a reported plea deal.
Kimberly Hignite, of Grove City, had been accused of abusing at least five children while operating an unlicensed daycare out of her home, according to WBNS.
When cops arrested her last May, they said she had two dozen children in her care — all of whom were being watched by Hignite’s 71-year-old mother. The kids were between the ages of 7 months and 5 years. Police said many were left unattended in separate rooms, strapped down to car seats.
“One of my girls developed an anxiety-driven hair-pulling habit to the point that she was nearly bald,” one mother said in court Monday at Hignite’s sentencing.
“My heart breaks anytime I think about how my children were left alone, strapped into their car seats crying,” the mom added.
At least three kids were sexually abused, with prosecutors accusing Hignite of making them play the “silly private game” — which involved forced sexual touching.
“Miss Kim forced them to play using a tan and blue game board with pictures of private parts and a red spinner,” recalled another mother. “Your Honor, the sound of my autistic son and little girl being able to describe what that grown woman’s vagina looks like and feels like, is something we regrettably will never be able to forget, and honestly something that I can never forgive.”
A third mother claimed her child had to be treated for injuries she suffered at the hands of Hignite.
“My infant was left in her winter snowsuit, all day long strapped in her car seat, coming home sweating, dehydrated and hungry with awful diaper rashes to the point she was bleeding,” the mom said. “I had to take her to the doctor.”
Despite the allegations, prosecutors allowed Hignite to skate on the plea deal — which also requires her to pay for her incarceration, along with a $4,200 fine. They told WBNS that one reason they agreed to dismiss most of the charges was because some of the alleged victims’ families weren’t cooperating with the district attorney’s office.
Hignite is expected to serve her 30 days in the Richland County jail.