Judge: Drug dealer can live with allegedly abused baby
Following a court order Friday, a convicted city drug dealer will be allowed to continue living with her baby, who was taken to the hospital in February with a broken leg and cocaine in her system.
Since her release on supervised bail in September, Maria Sweeting, 33, and her child have been living with her parents at 2109 Central Ave.
Also living there is Grant Wright, a co-defendant of Sweeting’s, who police said “caused a severe makeshift spiral fracture” to the infant’s right leg by forcibly “twisting the baby’s leg,” which was “consistent with physical abuse,” in February, according to an affidavit.
Wright said he had sat on the baby by mistake, police alleged.
Following the baby’s urine test, which contained “a high level of cocaine,” according to court documents, Sweeting’s then-home on Brandon Avenue was searched and 58 grams of a controlled substance and a stolen handgun allegedly were found.
Sweeting was charged with crimes related to drug dealing, owning a stolen firearm and child endangerment.
The terms of her September supervised bail required her to have no contact with either her child or Wright. Though Sweeting was indicated for child abuse by Lycoming County Children and Youth Services, the case was closed when she transfered custody of the baby to her parents.
She was, however, released to her parents address, and so too was her husband in full knowledge of the court.
The district attorney’s office filed to revoke supervised bail Friday on those grounds as well as some urine and patch tests coming back positive for cocaine, methamphetamine, alcohol and adderall.
“Test results show increased cocaine, cocaine was found in the child’s system” in February, said Aaron M. Gallogly, assistant district attorney, adding that this was of significant concern for the baby’s continued safety.
Brittany Harding, a county caseworker, said she tested Sweeting on several occasions.
“It would appear that there was a new use,” she said. “I would assume that the same substance wouldn’t stay in her system for three weeks.”
If it were only drug issues, Harding said she would have continued to try programs, however contact with Wright and her child forced her to file to revoke her supervised bail.
Sweeting blamed the drug use on pills she purchased on the street which purported to aid in weight loss, but had illicit substances in them.
Crystal Sweeting, the defendant’s mother, also testified and said she was unaware of any drug use and that her daughter was a very good mother.
Though Judge Marc F. Lovecchio denied the commonwealth’s motion to revoke Sweeting’s supervised bail, and allowed Sweeting, Wright and the child to live in the same home, he set strict guidelines on her drug use.
“Should she test positive on anything, she will immediately be incarcerated,” he said as part of the court order.
If Sweeting chooses to use again, she is choosing not to see her children, he said.
“I can’t make you do any better, but I can give you more chances,” said Lovecchio. “This is your opportunity to get better.”