'Rebirthing' mom enters guilty plea

Newmaker gets deferred judgment

Denver Post/October 12, 2001
By Kieran Nicholson

Golden -- Jeane Newmaker pleaded guilty Thursday to negligent child abuse resulting in death and received a four-year deferred judgment that could eventually wipe her record clean.

The deferred judgment also means that the North Carolina Board of Nursing will not be able to take disciplinary measures against Newmaker, a pediatric nurse.

Newmaker is the adoptive mother of 10-year-old Candace Newmaker, who died in a "rebirthing" session gone awry in April 2000.

She had brought her daughter to Evergreen from North Carolina for an intensive, two-week psychotherapy program that was supposed to treat an attachment disorder.

"If there was a deferred prosecution, we don't have the jurisdiction to take action," said Donna Mooney, director of discipline with the North Carolina Board of Nursing.

"As soon as we get formal documents from Colorado that a deferred judgment has been entered, her license will be cleared, and it will be like there has never been an investigation or anything."

Newmaker responded Thursday to direct questions from District Judge Jane Tidball about her competency and understanding of the court procedures. She declined to comment after the hearing.

As part of her plea agreement, Newmaker will undergo mental-health evaluations, psychotherapy and grief counseling.

She also was sentenced to 400 hours of community service, 100 hours annually for four years.

She wants to return to pediatric nursing, said Pamela Mackey, her attorney.

"We're extremely pleased with the judge's ruling," said Mackey. "This case will ultimately be dismissed. We believe that's how this case should end."

Newmaker is the last of five defendants in the case to be sentenced. Therapists Connell Watkins and Julie Ponder were convicted in April and sentenced to 16 years each in prison. Their assistants - Jack McDaniel and Brita St. Clair - pleaded guilty last week and were sentenced to 10 years probation.

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