mother sentenced

Amanda McCartney

A woman who was initially charged with failing to report child abuse in connection with the sexual assault of her young daughter has been sentenced to six months in state jail for endangering a child.

The defendant, Amanda McCartney, pled true to the charges against her in the indictment.

According to the indictment, on Aug. 2, 2016, the mother intentionally, knowingly, recklessly or with criminal negligence engaged in conduct, by omission, that placed her then 6-year-old daughter in imminent danger of death, bodily injury or physical or mental impairment by allowing her to be unsupervised with co-defendant Christopher McCartney; and did not voluntarily deliver the child to a designated emergency care provider.

Christopher McCartney, Amanda McCartney’s husband, was convicted of five counts of aggravated sexual assault of the child back in March and sentenced to 375 years in prison for the crime.

The other co-defendant in the case, Joseph James “JJ” Craver”, the stepfather’s friend, was also sentenced back in May for violating the victim. A Harrison County jury found Craver guilty of three counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child and sentenced him to 297 years in prison.

In the latest sentencing, the mother was facing up to two years in prison for the crime, but pled to six months state jail through a plea bargain agreement made between the defendant and the state.

“I visited with the family of the victim and we decided that in lieu of this 9-year-old victim, who lives two states away having to testify once again that we would offer six months state jail time,” said Harrison County First Assistant District Attorney Madison Hood. “Under the statute, the maximum for endangering a child is two years state jail.

“The defendant has no criminal history, but we were not willing to offer her probation,” said Hood.

During the trial of Amanda’s husband, the jury heard excerpts from a journal written during the victim’s therapy sessions at Texarkana Children’s Advocacy Center that noted that her mother would keep walking in on incidents of sexual abuse. Testimony also revealed that the mother told her husband not to report the abuse done by the third co-defendant, Craver.

Hood said the victim is now safe and sound with her aunt and uncle and is doing well. She noted that the mother no longer has custody of any of her children.

The prosecutor said she’s glad that the case has finally been resolved, particularly for the sake of the child, who had already testified in the trials of her stepfather, Christopher McCartney, in March and then Craver, in May.

“It was my opinion that the victim having to testify three times in a year against her biological mother would not have been in her best interest,” said Hood. “She would have been our main witness yet again.

“We all agreed for the defendant to plea to six months state jail, day for day, so this could finally be behind her,” said Hood. “The victim has testified in two jury trials this year … she is 9 years old.”

Because a plea agreement was made in Amanda McCartney’s case, she has no right of appeal.

Endangering a child is a state jail felony that carries a punishment range of 180 days to two years. An optional fine up to $10,000 may be assessed.