A Bismarck daycare provider is accused of grabbing a 3-year-old boy roughly by the ears for peeing his pants.
Marlene Steedsman, 55, was charged in South Central District Court with felony child abuse at her home day care.
According to court documents, the boy’s mother noticed her son’s ears were red, had lacerations and bruises were forming when she picked him up from daycare on June 15. Upon asking him what happened, the boy allegedly told his mother that Steedsman had tried to “break ears off” for having peed his pants.
When the mother confronted Steedsman, Steedsman told her the injury likely occurred when the boy and another 2-year-old being cared for at the daycare had wrestled. The mother told other parents with children at the daycare and a number pulled their children from Steedsman’s care.
Steedsman then dissolved her daycare.
When police talked to Steedsman about the incident, she admitted she hadn’t seen the boy wrestling but based her assumption on previous behavior. She told police the boy had peed his pants that day but nothing was said in court documents of her grabbing the boy by the ears.
Steedsman is also charged with misdemeanor defamation for actions she allegedly took to get back at the boy’s mother for her reports of the incident to the other parents.
Steedsman allegedly admitted to police that she had sent a fraudulent, anonymous letter to the mother’s employer trying to defame her. The letter claimed the woman, a health care industry worker, had been talking about a patient’s medical procedures in a bar.
When police asked Steedsman why she sent the letter, she allegedly responded: “I just wanted her to feel how I felt …. She kind of ruined my life.”
Steedsman also told the police she wasn’t in the bar she had accused the mother of divulging patient information in.