A northwest Iowa babysitter who admitted to authorities that she picked up a toddler and threw her because the three-year-old didn’t ask for help taking off her jacket will spend decades in prison.
Rochelle Sapp, the in-home day care provider who was charged with causing the death of an Orange City toddler last year, has been sentenced to 100 years in prison following a plea agreement announced this morning in Orange City.
The 34-year-old Sapp pled guilty to one count of involuntary manslaughter, a Class D felony, and one count of child endangerment resulting in death, a class B felony. Sapp also entered an Alford Plea to multiple additional acts of child endangerment. An Alford Plea is a guilty plea whereby the defendant doesn’t admit the criminal act, but acknowledges the prosecution has sufficient evidence to obtain a conviction.
District Court Judge Edward Jacobson sentenced Sapp to a five-year prison term for involuntary manslaughter and a 50 year prison term for child endangerment resulting in death. Jacobson sentenced Sapp to an additional 50 years on the multiple acts of child endangerment, for a total prison term of up to 100 years. Sapp will be eligible for parole under the terms of the plea agreement.
The charges against Sapp stem from an incident in October of last year in which three-year-old Autumn Elgersma of Orange City suffered fatal injuries while in Sapp’s care.
(Reporting by Tom Traughber, KIWA, Sheldon)