Kauai charter school administrator Hedy Sullivan was sentenced to a year in jail yesterday for tying up and beating her 11-year-old son with a baseball bat.
Hedy Sullivan: Convicted child beater says she plans to keep job as school administrator.
Sullivan, who is administrator of the Kula Aupuni Niihau A Kahelelani Aloha charter school in Kekaha, pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree assault in the incident last April.
She was accused of tying her adopted son by the neck and hands and striking him several times with a bat and a piece of wood.
The beating left him badly bruised.
"Nothing, nothing justifies what you did," Kauai Circuit Judge George Masuoka told Sullivan.
The son and a younger brother have since been taken from her custody.
Sullivan accepted responsibility and asked for leniency before the sentencing.
"I have lost my sons. I have lost my family life and I stand to lose my life," she said.
However, prosecutors called the sentence too lenient.
"We felt her actions warranted a more severe punishment," said Deputy Prosecutor Jennifer Winn, who had asked the court for a five-year jail term.
|The school board's decision to stand behind Sullivan after her arrest prompted calls for greater state control over charter school boards.|
Sullivan must report Friday to begin serving her sentence. She also received five years of probation, a $4,000 fine and 1,000 hours of community service.
The case threw a spotlight on the issue of charter school governance. Charter schools are public schools that are governed by their own school board and enjoy wide autonomy from the state.
The school board's decision to stand behind Sullivan after her arrest prompted calls for greater state control over charter school boards.
It was not immediately clear how the sentencing would affect Sullivan's future at the school. Court records showed Sullivan intended to retain her position.
The decision lies entirely with the school's board, said Jim Shon, executive director of the Charter School Administrative Office.
"I think it's in the best interest of the school to find another administrator and to bring in other folks on the board to help guide them at this time," he said. "If they cling to a 'nothing changes' view, that's not a real positive thing."
HAVE YOU BEEN
TO THE NEWSROOM?