TULSA - A former Tulsa day care worker pleaded no contest Monday to two counts of child abuse.
Meredith Howard was charged in November 2010 with sexually abusing a 19-month-old girl at John Knox Child Development Center. Howard was fired after her arrest.
A second charge of child abuse was filed shortly after, stemming from an incident in at Kirk of the Hills. According to court documents, Howard used unreasonable force on an 8-month-old baby, breaking his femur.
The second charge wasn't filed until after the second incident, preventing it from showing up on a background check conducted by John Knox when Howard was hired.
Shortly after Howard's arrest, Tulsa County District Attorney Tim Harris issued the following statement:
The Tulsa County DA has reviewed the previous decision by one of our Assistant DAs made in March of 2009 to decline criminal charges on Meredith Howard. Hindsight is always 20/20 but we should have approved criminal charges at that time. We filed those charges along with the new criminal allegations yesterday, Nov. 9, 2010. Our specific reasoning back in March of 2009 for our decline becomes relevant evidentiary issues at the present. Our present legal status prohibits us from publicly discussing evidence in either of the cases so as not to compromise our prosecution efforts or the due process rights of the defendant. The defendant is presumed innocent under our Constitution. We will be prepared to go forward with the evidence at the appropriate time.
Howard has been free on $100,000 bond since shortly after her arrest in 2010.
Following her plea Monday, she was released on her own recognizance.
Howard is due back in court Jan. 29, 2013 for sentencing.
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