Willmar woman sentenced to jail, five years of probation for malicious punishment of a child
Amanda Lynn Todd, 37, of Willmar, was sentenced to 180 days in Kandiyohi County Jail with 90 days to be served immediately after her hearing in court Jan. 26.
WILLMAR — One half of a couple charged for the alleged abuse of two children is now in jail, and will serve five years of probation.
Amanda Lynn Todd, 37, of Willmar, was sentenced Jan. 26 in Kandiyohi County District Court to immediately serve 90 days in jail for malicious punishment of a child — stemming from an investigation into severe bruising on the buttocks of two boys, ages 9 and 8.
A prison sentence of 12 months and one day was stayed for the five years of her probation. If she successfully completes probation, she will not have to serve the prison term.
Todd was initially charged with two counts of second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon, two counts of third-degree assault — substantial bodily harm and two counts of malicious punishment of a child in May 2022. All are felony-level offenses.
She eventually pleaded guilty to one count of malicious punishment of a child in November 2022. In exchange, the rest of the charges were dismissed.
Prosecutors recommended the jail sentence due to the severity of the alleged crimes.
When a forensic interview of the juveniles took place April 27, 2022, by a detective and a child protection worker, the 8-year-old child refused to show the bruises on his buttocks, but admitted to having bruises on his hand, leg and arm. The 9-year-old had a bruise on his face, but stated it was from goofing around with his brother.
According to the criminal complaint, Todd told investigators that she caused bruising on the 8-year-old by hitting him with a wooden board more than five times before stopping because her hand hurt.
In court on Jan. 26, Todd began to cry and was handed a box of tissues as Assistant Kandiyohi County Attorney Rachel Molsberry wrapped up her opening statement to the court.
Molsberry alleged that the wooden board, commonly referred to as a “one by two,” used to punish the children had split in two. She also described how the bruising left on both boys had wrapped from their buttocks down to their legs and one boy’s injuries had scabbed over.
According to the criminal complaint, a detective described the bruising as the worst he has seen on a child, and the closest thing he had seen previously was bruising on a child involved in a car crash.
Molsberry also said due to the shared trauma both boys endured, they are currently separated and can’t visit each other due to triggers.
In her statement, an emotional Todd said, “I know what I did was wrong.” She apologized and said, “I never intended to hurt or punish my boys.”
Kandiyohi County Judge Steven Wentzell sentenced Todd to a total of 180 days of jail, with 90 days to be served immediately.
Psarianos requested the first 90-day jail sentence to be stayed until February, but Judge Wentzell denied the request.
Todd’s attorney, Steven Psarianos, pointed to trauma Todd suffered in her childhood and upbringing. He also argued that Todd did not have a criminal history and was not a danger to the public.
Wentzell said that he was concerned about Todd not taking matters seriously. Despite cooperating with the presentencing investigation, he said that it still seemed Todd felt her punishment of the children was justified, before saying she “took away a sense of safety” from the children.
Wentzell also fined Todd $1,500.
The second 90-day jail term to start in April of 2024 may be deferred if Todd remains compliant with probation.
Among the conditions for Todd are following recommendations of an already completed domestic abuse evaluation and having no contact with the children, unless it’s deemed therapeutic for them and approved by a probation officer.
Todd will also have to complete a mental health evaluation, and any assaultive or threatening behavior would result in a probation violation.
Erik Brent Frederickson, also charged with six felonies for allegedly assaulting the boys, is scheduled to appear for a pretrial hearing March 7, 2023.
According to the criminal complaint, Frederickson has a previous conviction of malicious punishment of a child from an incident in 2016, and was discharged from probation in August 2019.