Lehigh Valley

Day care owner receives probation in child's death

3-month-old died in an unsafe sleeping position

EASTON, Pa. - A former Northampton County daycare operator avoided jail time for her role in the 2016 death of a 3-month-old child in her care.

Northampton County Judge Paula Roscioli sentenced Sharon Ballek on Friday to seven years probation and ordered the 60-year-old to pay a $5,000 fine.

The child's family left the courtroom without commenting on the sentence.

Ballek pleaded guilty in July to single misdemeanor counts of child endangerment and reckless endangerment, following a grand jury investigation into the April 2016 death at her Lehigh Township daycare, Sharon's Day Care.

A grand jury found that the baby, McKenna Rose Felmly, had been placed on her stomach to sleep even though Ballek knew it was an unsafe sleeping position. The position was linked to Sudden Unexplained Death in Infancy, which was ruled the official cause of death.

The grand jury also determined the baby was unsupervised during her nap.

Following Ballek's guilty plea, the Northampton County District Attorney's Office said it expected a probationary or short prison term.

State officials shut down the day care and revoked Ballek's license.


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