CASS COUNTY, Iowa -- The woman who lied about her daughter's cancer diagnosis won't serve time in prison for endangering the life of her child.
Leatha Slauson, 30, was sentenced in a Cass County courtroom on Tuesday morning. Slauson had faced up to 21 years in prison after pleading guilty to five charges including two counts of child endangerment, possessing and administering harmful substances and theft. She had originally faced twenty charges.
According to investigators, Slauson faked her daughter's cancer diagnosis and collected donations for her treatment. Slauson injected cancer treatment drugs and inserted a feeding tube into the girl. She also collected money from the community for help with her daughter's treatment and took her family on a trip to DisneyWorld with some of the proceeds.
"I'm so sorry it got this far. I never meant to hurt anyone," said Slauson on the stand.
Her uncle, Rex Carr, and a psychologist also testified on her behalf. Dr. Luis Rosell evaluated Slauson and determined that she suffers from an unspecified psychiatric disorder and depression. Slauson is currently receiving treatment for both.
"Any time a person commits a crime against a child, it is abhorrent, but when the person committing that crime is also the child's parent, it is even more repugnant," said Judge Kathleen Kilnoski.
Despite those harsh words, the Judge said that she doesn't think Slauson will benefit from prison time so she suspended her 10-year-sentence and gave her five years of probation instead.
"I've chosen five years instead of two because I think you need to have a long-term opportunity to watch how you adjust and proceed with your mental health treatment," said Kilnoski.
As part of her sentence, Slauson is not to have any contact with her children. She told the court that not seeing her five kids is the worst punishment of all.
"I'm so broken. I would give anything to be back with them in my lives. It kills me everyday waking up and not being with my babies, hearing their little voices, feeling their hugs," Slauson said as she fought back tears.
A hearing to determine the amount of restitution will take place in the next 30 days. According to investigators, Slauson collected more than $30,000 in donations from the community. As of today, $16,000 is still in the account.