A father has pleaded guilty to recklessly endangering another person for allowing his 6-year-old daughter’s teeth to rot to the point that she could have died.
Kenneth Wanamaker Jr., 37, of Northampton County, Pennsylvania, made a surprise plea deal just weeks before he was set to face trial. In addition to pleading guilty to reckless endangerment, he also pleaded guilty to false swearing.
He has been sentenced to two months to a year in prison and has been in jail since having his bail revoked in December for not enrolling in drug treatment. He is eligible for immediate release but, as part of his plea deal, must comply with the Division of Children, Youth and Families, pay a $750 fine, and serve 15 hours of community service.
Wanamaker and his partner, Jessica L. Hoffman, the girl’s mother, were accused of allowing their daughter’s teeth to become infected to the point that her life was in danger.
Dentist Eugene McGuire testified in court that 16 of the girl’s 20 teeth were either abscessed, needed to be pulled, or had severe root and tooth decay, reports The Morning Call.
According to Wanamaker’s defense attorney, Mark Freeman, the parents were waiting to change to a more affordable health insurance before getting their daughter treatment.
The child was scheduled to undergo surgery in March, but Wanamaker and Hoffman did not schedule a pre-operation exam so the procedure was never performed.
Wanamaker told ABC 13 that his daughter’s teeth did need some treatment, but that he and Hoffman were raising a happy and well-adjusted child who is involved in many activities, including youth car racing.
He does not believe authorities think his daughter’s life is really in danger.
"What law enforcement agency would wait six months and file these charges?" Wanamaker said. "It's all an act for me to comply, and do these requirements, and jump through hoops of the system."
The child has been scheduled to have the surgery this summer.
Wanamaker is still under investigation for the deaths of his other children. His infant son died in 2011 of pneumonia, and there were two stillborn deliveries since 2007, one of which was linked to Hoffman’s drug use.