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Published January 29, 2014, 08:23 PM

Larimore woman sentenced for child neglect, unsanitary home

A judge Tuesday gave a Larimore, N.D., woman 18 months probation for child neglect after the woman’s three-year-old boy was photographed by a neighbor hanging his behind out a second-story window to defecate.

By: Stephen J. Lee, Grand Forks Herald

A judge Tuesday gave a Larimore, N.D., woman 18 months probation for child neglect after the woman’s three-year-old boy was photographed by a neighbor hanging his behind out a second-story window to defecate.

State District Judge Debbie Kleven sentenced Whitney McPhillips, 20, to 18 months supervised probation after she pleaded guilty Tuesday to felony abuse or neglect of her two sons, now 4 and 1, for keeping them in an unsanitary, unsafe home.

Kleven deferred imposition of any other sentence on the count that carries a top penalty of five years in prison.

Grand Forks County sheriff’s deputies said a neighbor called 911 in August after seeing the boy hanging out the window and she showed deputies the photo she took out of concern.

McPhillip’s mother gave deputies permission to enter the home. They reported McPhillips’ two boys looked healthy, but also saw small piles of feces and garbage, creating an unsanitary, unsafe living condition for the children.

The children were removed from the home that day and McPhillips was arrested, spending a day in jail. She was charged in September.

McPhillips reached an agreement with prosecutors in December to plead guilty in return for 60 days in jail and two years of probation.

But she said Tuesday Kleven gave her credit for being “a single mother and how young I am, … and the effort I have taken to show I’m not a bad person, I just made a mistake.”

She is taking counseling and parenting classes and hopes to be reunited with her sons.

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