Thayer takes plea bargain; Judge Killin hands down sentence
April 13, 2022
Julie R. Thayer appeared in Phillips County Court in front of Judge Kim Killin for sentencing last week. It is the first time Thayer has been inside the court room in front of a Judge following original charges of child abuse and assault last fall. Since the onset of her case, Thayer has appeared via tele-conference technology but that changed last week when she appeared for her final sentencing hearing.
As part of her plea agreement with the State reached two months ago, Thayer pled guilty to one count of child abuse and following a pre-sentencing investigation by the probation department, received two years supervised probation including anger management and mental health support education. She has already completed the anger management classes, per her attorney Justie Nicol.
At the start of the sentencing hearing Thursday morning, the father of one of the two victims in the case addressed the court, briefly.
“She was a person of great trust,” the father said. A letter from the parents of the second victim was on file with the judge before the hearing.
Representation from the 13th Judicial District addressed the court first, telling Judge Killin that with a stipulated sentencing in the plea agreement, she felt Thayer had been reluctant to take responsibility for her actions. However, Thayer and her attorney argued otherwise, noting that Thayer had written letters of apology to those directly involved with the case. Thayer read one letter out loud, addressing a victim whose parents who were present in the court room.
“I am sorry for my inappropriate behavior. I am ashamed and am sorry for any pain and suffering I may have caused,” Thayer read from her piece of paper. She went on to say she is remorseful and embarrassed for what she did and for breaking the trust of their family who had offered her support in the past.
“My actions have ruined relationships,” said Thayer. “Please accept my apology from the bottom of my heart.”
In addition to two years of supervised probation, Thayer also received 40 hours of useful public service and a fine. Before imposing a fine, both sides argued for what they felt would be a fair amount; Thayer’s side asking for suspension of any fines upon the completion of a successful probation period.
Thayer’s attorney argued that with the onset of the charges came the loss of her job and income. She said that the case has damaged Thayer’s reputation in the community and she will no longer be able to work in her trained profession. Nicol said Thayer is now unemployed and without income.
Judge Killin handed down the minimum fine for the charge, equaling $250 but noted there will be other court and probation costs associated with the sentencing, including a $100 fee for public service, fees for class hours and mental health assistance. Thayer will have six months to complete the 40 community service hours.
“I know this is not easy on anyone,” Judge Killin said at the conclusion of the hearing. “I have kids, so it is difficult. Hopefully we can move on and get people healthy so this doesn’t happen again.” Killin said she hopes a resolution in the case aids in healing and closure for the families and helps mend things for the Haxtun childcare center to move forward.
Original charges against Thayer stem from an incident at the then Haxtun Community Childcare Center and included two counts of assault in the third degree and two charges of child abuse. Shortly after the charges, Thayer resigned from her position as Director of the center.
Since Thayer’s exit, the childcare center has not only retained and educated new and existing staff members, but have changed names in efforts to leave an unfortunate situation in the past and move forward in a new light with the Haxtun community.
“I hope this is somewhat satisfactory to you,” Killin said in addressing those in the court room last week.