Ashley Montaño, charged in 2014 with intentional child abuse resulting in great bodily harm after she hit a 2-year-old she was looking after, pleaded guilty this week to three counts of recklessly caused child abuse and one count of child abandonment resulting in injury.
The plea came after a false start earlier Monday, when 2nd Judicial District Judge David Williams said the proposed plea agreement was “the strangest … I’ve ever seen” and refused to accept it. After some revisions, the parties were back in court for Montaño’s plea, which specifies a five-year sentence but permits the judge to go as high as 18 years at sentencing. No sentencing date has been set.
The girl, A.P., was beaten so badly that she had to undergo emergency surgery for bleeding in the brain, according to earlier reports.
Assistant District Attorney Brittany DuChaussee said the girl has a large scar, but is a good-natured, happy child. It was unclear if there is permanent brain damage.
Montaño, 26, admitted to police that she repeatedly struck the toddler and threw her to the ground multiple times. She was able to post a $100,000 bond after about a year in custody, her attorney John McCall said.
Montaño was described as a “family friend ” who was caring for the girl while the child’s mother was jailed on a murder charge.
Montaño called 911 and initially told police and paramedics that the child had become unresponsive after falling from a bed.
Williams agreed to allow Montaño to accompany her sister out of state to recover from a difficult surgery, warning her: “If I grant this and you blow it, it will figure into your sentence.”