DENTON, MD., FEB. 23 -- Calling her "the worst parent of the decade," a judge has ordered a pregnant woman convicted of allowing her live-in boyfriend to abuse her children to spend Mother's Days in jail for the next 10 years.
"In my opinion, you get the award for the worst parent of the decade," Circuit Court Judge Owen Wise said in passing sentence Monday on Toni Shahan, 29. "It's a shame that you are allowed to bear children."
Shahan pleaded guilty to three counts of child abuse in the incidents that occurred between October 1985 and March 1986 involving her three children, all under age 10.
She was given a reduced sentence in exchange for her agreement to testify against her boyfriend, John Woodlin, 19, said Karen Kaludis, the former assistant state's attorney who prosecuted the case.
Woodlin has pleaded guilty to two counts of child abuse and one count of committing a sexual act with a person under the age of 14 and will be sentenced Wednesday.
Caroline County Deputy Sheriff David Kibler said each boy informed his mother that he was being sexually abused, but she did nothing to protect them.
Kaludis told Wise that, of all the cases of child abuse she had ever seen, "This is the worst, the ugliest and the most disgusting. The children really suffered . . . . She should pay some price for these dastardly deeds."
Shahan, whose sons are now being cared for in a foster home, was also ordered to serve 60 days in the Caroline County Jail after the birth of her child, who is due in March.
She was ordered to serve five years' supervised probation and to undergo treatment.
The judge forbade Shahan to have contact with her sons without the consent of the Department of Social Services.
After Shahan gives birth, the agency will determine if the baby is being properly cared.