Megan Marie Sterenczak, 26, entered Alford pleas in Forsyth Superior Court to two counts of misdemeanor child abuse and two counts of misdemeanor contributing to the delinquency of a child. The Alford pleas mean that Sterenczak didn’t admit guilt but acknowledged that Forsyth County prosecutors had enough evidence to convict her if the case had gone to trial.
Sterenczak was initially charged with two felony counts of negligent child abuse inflicting serious physical injury. As part of the plea arrangement, Sterenczak was allowed to plead guilty to the two misdemeanor child abuse charges.
Judge Edwin Wilson of Forsyth Superior Court consolidated the four charges into two. Wilson gave Sterenczak two consecutive sentences of 60 days in jail. He suspended those sentences and placed her on 24 months of supervised probation.
On Sept. 10, 2013, the twin’s grandmother took the babies to Pioneer Medical Center in King, Assistant District Attorney Kia Chavious said in court.
Doctors found that the brothers had rashes on their neck that appeared infected. They also had bug bites.
According to indictments, they had bug bites on their back and thighs.
The babies were in carriers. Doctors would not bring the toddler’s carriers inside the hospital because they found roaches inside and the carriers reeked of urine, Chavious said. They immediately contacted law-enforcement.
Sterenczak told investigators that she had taken the children to her pediatrician in August and that the doctor had prescribed creams to treat the rashes. Sterenczak also later told investigators that she never bathed the children because she feared they would drown, Chavious said in court.
Sterenczak also rarely took the children out of the carriers, Chavious said.
Chavious said the children are fine now and are in the custody of their paternal grandparents. Sterenczak also has a five-year-old daughter who is in foster care. Chavious said DSS officials found no evidence that the girl had been neglected or abused.
Kevin Mauney, Sterenczak’s attorney, said Sterenczak has taken parenting classes and is holding down two jobs. She has supervised visits with her children, he said. Mauney said Sterenczak did have postpartum depression.
Sterenczak said in court that she never meant to hurt her children and vowed to Wilson that she would do everything she could to make sure this didn’t happen again.
“My kids mean everything to me,” she said.