More than three years after her legal ordeal began, the criminal abuse charge against a former instructional monitor at the Corbin Preschool Center accused of abusing a student in 2015 has been dismissed.
Tammi Eggen of Corbin had been indicted on one count of second-degree criminal abuse in connection with the alleged incident on Jan. 28, 2015 at the school.
A Knox County grand jury indicted Eggen in March 2015 following an investigation by Knox County Sheriff’s Deputy Claude Hudson.
According to the indictment, Eggen allegedly placed the then three-year-old child in a situation, which caused him to be in danger of death or serious physical injury.
However, according to a copy of the testimony Hudson gave to the grand jury, which was provided by Eggen’s attorney, David O. Smith, video surveillance of the incident in question showed Eggen carrying the child tucked under her arm and on her hip similar to how someone would carrying a football.
The child’s mother later took him to the hospital to be examined but no bruises or other injuries were found.
“This case was not a child abuse case or criminal abuse in the second degree,” Smith said adding that during a court hearing before Circuit Court Judge Greg Lay on Sept. 13, Hudson told the court that some of his statements to the grand jury were either miscommunication, speculation or error.
“The Court agrees that with a complicated statute such as Criminal Abuse, the better practice would have been to explain the elements of the crime to the Grand Jury,” Lay stated.
Under Kentucky Law, second-degree criminal abuse is defined as wantonly abusing another person or permitting another person of whom he/she has actual custody to be abused, causing serious physical injury, placing the individual in a situation that may cause him/her serious physical injury, or cause torture, cruel confinement or cruel punishment to a person 12 years of age or less, or who is physically or mentally helpless.
“Every expert testified her actions with inappropriate – no criminal,” Smith said.
“Judge Lay readily accepted the dismissal as he knew it was a miscarriage of justice and he routinely denies plea deals that involve years in prison,” Smith added.
While the order dismisses the case with prejudice, meaning it may not be reopened, Eggen agreed that she would not seek future employment as a, “care giver/educator in any public school or registered daycare facility.”
Commonwealth’s Attorney Jackie Steele said the child’s mother had remained involved in the case throughout and had told prosecutors she wanted to ensure Eggen was never again employed in a similar manner.
“The agreement was able to resolve that,” Steele said.