Daycare owner, worker who abused young children escape prison

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Abbeville (WTVY)-- Two Henry County women who admit they abused children at an Abbeville daycare will avoid prison if they abide by conditions of probation.

Mary Malone Clark and Dixie Lane last month pleaded guilty to Aggravated Child Abuse and were sentenced to seven years in prison each. They asked for probation and, Friday, Henry County Circuit Judge Larry Anderson approved the request.

Clark and Lane admitted they spanked children using a flyswatter and belt, made them spend the day in wet pants, and forced them to lick up spilled drinks. Police say the victims ranged in age from two to seven.

Clark, now 74, owned J and M Daycare and Lane worked there. After their 2016 arrests, the daycare lost its license and closed.

Clark must perform 40 hours of community service and Lane 80 hours. Both must make restitution that is still being worked out between the prosecutor and defense attorney. Court records show Clark has already paid $40,000 in restitution. They were also assessed fines and court costs.