Tulsa Woman Convicted Of Child Abuse Freed 10 Months Into 12-Yea - NewsOn6.com - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - KOTV.com |

News

Tulsa Woman Convicted Of Child Abuse Freed 10 Months Into 12-Year Prison Term

Posted: Updated:
Meredith Howard in a December photo from the Department of Corrections. Meredith Howard in a December photo from the Department of Corrections.
Her parents say Sophie still cries when she sees a hospital or ambulance. Her parents say Sophie still cries when she sees a hospital or ambulance.
Sophie's father, Matthew, said he has gotten no justice for his injured daughter. Sophie's father, Matthew, said he has gotten no justice for his injured daughter.
TULSA, Oklahoma -

A woman sentenced to 12 years in prison for abusing two different children is out after serving only 10 months. The judge told Meredith Howard she could do the rest of her time on probation as long as she spent the next two years at a ranch type setting out of state.

The families of the victims are outraged. They don't believe 10 months is long enough to punish Howard for what she did since she broke the thigh bone of a little boy and hurt a little girl so badly, she needed three surgeries. 

One of those children is Sophie. She's 4 and loves to play in the kitchen and pretend she's driving, but any time she sees a hospital or an ambulance, she cries in fear. Her dad says that's because of the surgeries she endured after being hurt by daycare worker Meredith Howard.

Sophie was 19 months old and attending John Knox development center where Howard was a worker.

Howard penetrated Sophie with such force, Sophie nearly bled to death on the way to the hospital, then had repeated surgeries - and they still don't know the long-term impact. 

Sophie's father, Matthew Stafford was shocked to learn that two years before Sophie's injury Howard had broken the leg of a 9-month-old boy at the Kirk of the Hills Mothers Day Out program where Howard was also a worker.

Howard pleaded no contest to both cases and the judge sentenced her to 12 years in prison.

But 10 months later, the judge released her.

"I haven't gotten justice for my child," said Matthew Stafford. "Ten months in prison for that? People are getting offenses for marijuana and going away for 20 years."

The judge agreed to send Howard to the Rainbow Acres in Arizona for two years. The website says it's a place where adults with developmental disabilities receive loving care on a ranch-style campus. 

"They get to go on shopping trips, sporting events, go on vacation," said Sarah McAmis of the Tulsa County District Attorney's Office. "I would like that, but if you've been convicted of abusing two kids, that shouldn't be an option for you."

12/20/2014 Related Story: Tulsa Day Care Worker Sentenced For Child Abuse Released

Rainbow Acres' website says it doesn't admit anyone with a history of hurting others, but Howard is to report there March 1. Her attorney says Howard's disabilities require something other than prison.

A psychologist who examined Howard says while she has low to average intelligence. Socially, she functions more like a child. The DA says the issue is the safety of other children. 

"We sincerely hope this defendant is not allowed to hurt any other innocent, helpless babies," McAmis said. 

When I asked Rainbow Acres why they're accepting someone with two felony child abuse convictions, they told me, "no comment."

Howard is allowed to be around the children in her own family, but not other kids.

Howard's attorney sent us a statement that says in part, Judge William Kellough is familiar with all the facts in this case and has a reputation for fairness and integrity.

Here is the statement from attorney Allen M. Smallwood:

Judge William Kellough has been the assigned judge in this case for over two years. He is as familiar with all of the facts and legal issues in this case as anyone involved in it. His reputation for fairness and integrity are above reproach. Armed with all the facts at his disposal he made his decision in this case which all parties are required to accept and live with.

Judge Kellough has, in the past, made decisions in other cases in which I was involved with which I might not have agreed. However, I always accept Judge Kellough's decisions as being well thought out and justified by all the facts and circumstances. I am unaware of any lawyer who practices before Judge Kellough who has any opinion different from mine about his good faith, integrity, and fairness.

Special Features

Community Calendar

Find out what's going on around town and submit events!

Share

See it! Shoot it! Send it! Share your weather pics and videos with NewsOn6.com!

iPhone App

Get breaking news, weather, sports & video directly on your iPhone.

Mobile Alerts

Get breaking news, headlines, weather alerts & more on your cell phone.

TV Schedule

Need to know what's on TV? Check out our television schedule.

Live Radar

WARN Interactive

Special Coverage

  • Bridge Tracker

    How safe are Oklahoma's bridges? Use Bridge Tracker to find out now.

  • Cold Case

    Join Lori and local homicide detectives as they search for Cold Case clues.

  • Crime Tracker

    Find out what crimes are committed in your area with Crime Tracker.

  • Fallen Heroes

    News On 6 honors our fallen Oklahoma heroes. View our interactive timeline.

  • Murrah Bombing Timeline

    Learn more about the events leading up to and following the bombing.

  • Storm Zone

    Watch tornadoes tear across Oklahoma and learn how to stay safe!

  • Turnpike Timelines

    View a historical road map of Oklahoma's turnpike system.

Powered by WorldNow
News On 6
303 N. Boston Ave.
Tulsa, OK 74103
TULSA'S OWN TM
GREEN COUNTRY'S OWN TM
Oklahoma's Own Newson6.com is proud to provide Oklahomans with timely and relevant news and information, sharing the stories, pictures and loves of Oklahomans across our great state including Tulsa's Own and Green Country's Own.
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014, WorldNow and KOTV. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.