EASTON, Pa. | A New Jersey woman told a Northampton County judge that she’s addressing her addictions and taking steps to avoid a repeat of the night in which her young daughter was found wandering a casino hotel.
Rebecca Yandoli, of Readington Township, Hunterdon County, pleaded guilty in February to a single misdemeanor count of child endangerment in connection with the Nov. 16, 2019, incident at the Wind Creek Casino in Bethlehem. Security found Yandoli’s 4-year-old daughter wandering the hotel lobby looking for her mother, who left the girl in a room by herself to gamble.
Yandoli left the girl about 1:15 a.m., and security found her about 4 a.m.
The 27-year-old appeared before Northampton County Judge Michael Koury on Tuesday via Skype to be sentenced. She told the judge that she hasn’t gambled since that night. And while she can’t undo what she did, Yandoli said she’s attending counseling, has learned coping skills to help her make better decisions and is doing everything in her power to rectify what she did.
Defense attorney Scott Wilhelm asked the court to consider a probationary sentence for Yandoli. The single mother was battling a gambling addiction the night she left her daughter alone and has previously struggled with other addictions, according to the defense.
Wilhem said Yandoli has since successfully completed a parenting skills class and attends addiction counseling sessions. She’s accepted responsibility for what she did and social workers in Pennsylvania and New Jersey have closed their investigations into Yandoli, he said.
“There is no excuse for what she did,” Wilhelm said. “It is completely unacceptable to leave a 4-year-old in a hotel room by herself, but she did it because of an overwhelming compulsion to gamble.”
Assistant District Attorney Laura Majewski called Yandoli’s actions “appalling” but agreed with the defense that a probationary sentence is warranted. She asked the judge to consider a lengthy period of supervision that includes drug and mental health counseling and full-time employment. Yandoli said she’s been employed full-time since 2017 and will continue to do so.
Satisfied Yandoli was addressing her issues, the judge sentenced her to five years probation with ongoing counseling and a ban from any casino.