Former Prattville day care employees sentenced in abuse case

Published: Feb. 17, 2023 at 5:40 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 17, 2023 at 8:36 PM CST
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PRATTVILLE, Ala. (WSFA) - A judge has sentenced three former Prattville day care employees for abusing children in their care.

Investigators say video evidence showed the abuse involved shoving and hitting, among other physical violence. It involved children under the age of 2 at Journey Church of the River Region. Officials say they got word of possible abuse when a potential employee, who was shadowing a worker, reported the assaults.

An investigation led to the arrests of Alice Sorrells, Leah Livingston and Susan Baker.

Because it is a split sentence District Judge Joy Booth will maintain jurisdiction. That is the reason she stated as to why she imposed a split sentence because she wanted to be able to keep a close eye on them and alter the sentence if need be. Also, because it is a split sentence they will not be eligible for any good time so they will serve the two years in jail day for day.

All three were convicted of two felony counts of child abuse and five misdemeanor counts of failure to report child abuse. District Judge Joy Booth gave them each the same 20-year sentence. They’ll serve the first two in the county jail before being released to community corrections.

19th Judicial Circuit District Attorney C.J. Robinson said while the sentence may appear lenient, it’s the best case scenario.

“They’ll be on community corrections for the essentially four years. So she’s really keeping her thumbs on each of these women for essentially six years before they even get to be released on probation,” Robinson said. “Under today’s climate, if they had been sentenced straight to DOC, you start building good time, you start doing these other things, and with mandatory release, not to mention parole hearings, I mean, there’s scenarios out there where they could be receiving parole hearings in less than a year.”

Robinson has drafted legislation that would expand the definition of child abuse by providing greater protections for children under the age of 6 and to any child under 18 who is nonverbal or has a mental deficiency.

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