Society

Convicted Child Abuser Meredith Howard Released After 10 Months Of 12-Year Prison Sentence

| by Kathryn Schroeder

Meredith Howard was sentenced to 12 years in prison for abusing two children. She has been released after serving only 10 months in jail.

The judge released Howard with the stipulation that she could serve the rest of her sentence on probation, as long as she spent the next two years on a ranch-type setting out of state, reports NewsOn6.

The families of the victims are obviously upset by the judges’ decision.

"I haven't gotten justice for my child," said Matthew Stafford. "Ten months in prison for that? People are getting offenses for marijuana and going away for 20 years."

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Stafford’s daughter Sophie, 4, was one of the children abused by Howard.

Sophie was abused when she was 19-months-old and attending John Knox development center, where Howard worked.

Howard’s abuse of Sophie was forced penetration. She required repeated surgeries and nearly bled to death on the way to the hospital. The long-term impact of her injuries is unknown.

Sophie still cries when she sees a hospital or an ambulance.

The other child, a boy, had his thigh bone broken by Howard.

The judge ordered Howard to be sent to Rainbow Acres in Arizona for two years.  

Rainbow Acres describes itself as a place where “adults with developmental disabilities receive loving care and enjoy a beautiful, ranch-style campus amid the scenic beauty of Arizona’s Verde Valley.”

Rainbow Acres does not usually accept people with a history of violence.

Mike Kowalski, director of ranch operations and staff development, believes the staff and residents will be safe with Howard at Rainbow Acres, reports Verde Independent.

“We would have said this isn't the right place. We put our ranchers' safety first here. First and foremost, the safety of our ranchers is our priority. We can ask anyone to leave who doesn't meet our behavior criteria," Kowalski said.

Howard was examined by a psychologist who found she has low to average intelligence and functions more like a child socially.

"They get to go on shopping trips, sporting events, go on vacation," said Sarah McAmis of the Tulsa County District Attorney's Office. "I would like that, but if you've been convicted of abusing two kids, that shouldn't be an option for you."

The District Attorney is concerned for the safety of other children.

"We sincerely hope this defendant is not allowed to hurt any other innocent, helpless babies," McAmis said. 

Howard is allowed to be around children in her own family, but not others.