A former Bismarck day care provider convicted of child abuse for grabbing a 3-year-old’s ears was sentenced Monday to 1 1/2 years in prison.
Marlene Steedsman, 56, also must spend three years on probation and register as an offender against children, according to court documents.
A witness testified at Steedsman’s trial in January that one of the boy’s ears was red and swollen and bruises were forming when he was picked up from her in-home day care. The boy told the witness Steedsman had tried to “break ears off” because he wet his pants.
The conviction is Steedsman’s second related to the injury of a child in her care. In 2017, she pleaded guilty to misdemeanor false information to law enforcement. In that case, she admitted to not telling police or the child's parents that a 5-month-old had fallen from a swing while being pushed by another child in her care. Steedsman instead told police the child had a minor scratch on her head, before later admitting the full incident.
The injured child was airlifted to a Minneapolis hospital with blood hemorrhages around her brain, retinal hemorrhages in her left eye and a skull fracture that was discovered later.
Steedsman said she lied because she was scared and wanted to protect the other child involved. She was still on unsupervised probation for that incident when the case involving the 3-year-old was charged.