COLUMBUS – A Platte County Court judge credited a Columbus mother on Thursday for making some changes in her parenting before setting a date for the city woman to be sentenced for her conviction of committing negligent child abuse almost a year ago.
Judge Frank Skorupa set Janis Beister for sentencing July 23 after the 37-year-old mother of two young girls pleaded no contest to negligent child abuse-no injury stemming from a report of possible abuse and neglect received from a Nebraska Health and Human Services hotline in May 2017.
“I want (the defense) to know the court is well aware of the substantial positive progress that has been made in the last year,” Skorupa said while setting the sentencing for July. The prosecution, the judge said, has specifically stipulated it would “not oppose” probation in the case.
In exchange for her plea on Thursday, the county attorney’s office dismissed a second negligent child abuse charge. Beister was initially facing two counts of child abuse and two counts of child neglect involving her daughters, then ages 4 and 2.
According to court documents, a Columbus Police investigation began on a May evening last year with Officer Alysson Norris making a visit to the family’s 14th Street home. The officer was greeted at the door by the two young girls.
The older daughter said her mother wasn’t at home, she was out picking up dance dresses for her, and their father was “on the road,” Norris wrote in her probable cause arrest statement. An adult woman, later identified as Beister, returned to the home while the officer was questioning the children.
Norris wrote that the older girl, who had bruising on the side of her face around the eye socket, described incidents in which she and her sister were struck with a belt for “naughty” behavior. Bruising was found on both sisters, the officer wrote.
The officer said Beister acknowledged she'd lost her temper with her children.
"Janis said she was going through a miscarriage and thinks the post-partum from that caused her to lose her temper," Norris wrote.